Category Archives: Card Models

News about card (paper) models.

Renesans Paint Colors for Shipyard Kits

Those of you familiar with Shipyard paper kits may have come across some color reference numbers and wondered what colors they correspond to. Shipyard references a brand of paint called Renesans, which is an artist’s acrylic line of matte finish colors that work really well with the paper kits. They are included with Shipyard’s boxed edition Laser Cardboard series of kits, but the problem is that you can’t buy the paints here in the U.S.

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A 1/72-Scale HMS Mercury Card Model

I’m not the only one with an HMS Mercury paper model in progress. Here’s one based on the 1/72-scale boxed edition kits in Shipyard’s Laser Cardboard Kit series. This is a really nice kit, and I’d love to work on one of them. The HMS Mercury is Shipyard’s flagship product.

Take a look at the pictures of this builder’s project. Seeing these gave me some inspiration to make some progress on my own HMS Mercury.

Wooden ship model builders, I’m telling you that you should look at trying one of these kits. They are challenging, but really rewarding to build.

Ages of Sail

This past weekend, we had a vendor table at the IPMS show in San Jose, and had a chance to talk to many people, including a number of customers. One of them, Ron Palma, is building a 1/72-scale model of the British sixth-rate frigate HMS Mercury from Shipyards Laser Cardboard Kit series.

Yesterday, he sent along some progress photos and said that we could share them, which we are very excited to do!

Ron has the hull mostly completed and copper sheathed. Keep in mind that while the frieze work is included in the kit, the whole model does not come pre-printed. So, the excellent paint job is Ron’s handiwork. He commented that the cannon barrels have been taped to protect them from the clear-coat overspray he gave the hull.

Ron’s done an outstanding job, but commented on how well this Shipyard kit has been engineered. He’s getting pretty close to…

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HMS Mercury in 1/96 Scale – The Next Paper Model Project

Having completed Shipyard’s HMS Alert kit, it just didn’t feel right to not have a paper model to work on. There’s something about the simplicity of paper that is just too darned cool!

Of course, I have plenty of wooden ship model projects, but it’s nice to have a paper model going in the background. As with other background projects I’ve had in the past, there is no rush to get it done. There’s also nothing that says I have to ever get it done. But, having completed the Alert, I can see taking on another kit and carrying it to completion.

Now, I have Shipyard’s Super Modellar Plans (that’s Shipyard’s spelling, by the way, not mine) for the Santa Leocadia, a Spanish 38-gun frigate in 1/72 scale. The “Super” part of that title means that the plans include the laser-cut frames and some other items to give you a start on the model. However, beyond that, it’s really designed as a scratch build project. That’s something that, as a wooden ship modeler, I can probably do. But, I’m really not looking for something that requires a great deal of thought and planning time. I’d rather just go with a kit that I can just follow along and build.

There are the “Laser Cardboard Series” of ship model kits, which are boxed sets and include cast resin figurehead and scrollwork, turned brass cannons, wooden dowels for masts, pre-cut sail cloth, etc. Those kits are really nice and are in a larger 1/72 scale.

However, I already have a paper model kit on hand that I bought more than a year ago. It is Shipyard’s 1/96 scale HMS Mercury kit.

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Like most of the other paper model kits, this one comes with color printed parts that have to be cut out. Also, like most of these kits, the internal framework comes already laser cut, so getting started is very easy (note that HMS Victory and HMS Endeavour are notable exceptions and you have to build-up the framework parts and cut them out before you can assemble them).

The most daunting thing about this kit is the rigging. HMS Alert had only one mast with two yardarms. HMS Mercury is considerably more complex. I considered this, but also have been an admirer of British admiralty models, which show the ships at launch. Such a ship is now fitted out and has no masts and hence no rigging. Instead, poles were erected with large decorative admiralty flags. So, looking at this kit, I thought, what better kit to use for an admiralty style model.

Of course, there’s a long way to go before I come to that fork in the road. By that time, I may just be itching to build the masts and add rigging and sails!

Lots of parts...

Lots of parts!

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Another view of the parts.

In any case, we’re looking here at a 28-gun Enterprize-class sixth-rate frigate. At 1/96 scale, the model, rigged, is about 26 inches long. That’s a pretty small model, really. I know a lot of ship modelers won’t build at that small scale. That’s one of the reasons I’m considering the admiralty-style model.

For those who want an easier model, but like the subject, Shipyard makes a boxed edition of this same model, but it comes with all the parts laser cut, and it’s in a more comfortable 1/72 scale. But, since I’m just a paper model beginner, and it’s a lot more expensive, I figured I’d work on the 1/96 scale paper model kit. It means a lot of cutting of small parts, but there’s no rush.

Here are the first stages of my build, assembling the pre-cut framework…

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That was the easiest part of the kit and took a very short time to get this far. If you’re trying this CUT the parts out, don’t ever try to punch them out or you’ll tear or tweak something out of shape.

The whole thing “dry fits” together very easily. Once everything looks straight and twist-free, then it can be glued together. I used fast drying CA instant glue. You only have to touch it to the parts and it wicks right into the joints. With thicker glue, you risk bumping a piece out of place. So, I save the thicker stuff for other assemblies.

I’ll use Aileen’s Tacky Glue, DAP Weldwood contact cement, Elmer’s white glue, or slow cure CA depending on the application.

After the framework is assembled, the partial inner deck is put in place and the hull “skin” is added. This is the first of the layers that will cover the hull. With more layers, the hull takes on a more naturally smooth shape. Afterwards, the pre-printed deck pieces are cut out and, one of the features that separates the Shipyard kits from most wooden ship model kits, the great cabin  detail begins with the checkerboard pattern floor covering.

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Later, the partitions and knees are built up and put in place to provide interior detail and support for the bulwarks.

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Finally, here’s a glimpse of the instructions that show you what goes where. Note the numbers that indicate how thick each piece must be built up to. It’s all a kind of code with almost no written out text. Mostly, build in general order of the part numbers and put the parts where you see them in the instruction sheets.

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I hope others reading this will find inspiration rather than intimidation. This is actually a very easy building process, it just takes time. So… “Just keep swimming…”, “put one foot in front of the other…”, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step!”

 

HMS Alert – Project Completed

Here it is, about a month after I said I should have the model done in about a week. HMS Alert, my first paper model project is finally done. I added the last of the rope coils last night and and working on the case.

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This is from the Shipyard line of kits from the Polish company called Vessel. The kits are sold in the U.S. by Ages of Sail (http://www.agesofsail.com). The hull and nearly all the deck details are cut from pre-printed paper parts provided in the kit. Some things, like the mast and spars and blocks are wood, purchased separately.

The sails are cloth, and the cannons are brass, sold by Syren Ship Model Company as small swivel guns. The blocks are swiss pear blocks that were also sold by Syren (sadly discontinued). Some other aftermarket parts were used, such as the gratings and the gun carriages, which I adapted from a detail kit sold by the Polish company GPM for a different model.

Building this model was a real challenge in patience for me – there are a LOT of little parts to cut, and the instructions take a bit of study, like it’s in code. But overall, I had a blast building it. The kits are VERY inexpensive and if you photocopy the parts before you begin, you can usually recover from basic screw-ups – I certainly had a LOT of opportunity for that!

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I highly recommend trying a paper model kit. But not just any kit, I recommend one of the kits from Shipyard. The models are constructed in a fashion that’s closer to wood ship modeling than is true for most other paper kits. These kits are very high quality, but you just need to be aware that you will either have to make just about everything from paper provided in the kit, or you have to provide some of your own materials, like cloth for the sails, dowels for the masts, etc.

If you have a bit more money than time, you should consider getting one of the boxed kits that is part of the Shipyard product line that used to be called Laser Cardboard Kits. These kits contain everything you need in one tidy package. Of course, it’s more money. Also, few part are pre-printed for you. The big advantage is that ALL the parts are laser cut for you – a big time saver. Also, all the boxed ship kits are in a larger 1:72 scale, whereas all the paper ship kits are all 1:96 scale.

This particular model is going to a good home with a fellow ship modeler who has been admiring it since I first brought it to a ship model meeting. He encouraged me to finish it up, and I will be transferring possession of it next week. In the meantime, I’m busy working on a case for the model.

But, this isn’t the last you’ll see of HMS Alert. The new owner and I have made tentative arrangements for me to take it to the Nautical Research Guild conference in October. The model made its first debut at the conference in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2014, so it’s only fitting that it make an official appearance as a completed model in a case this Fall.

I know I’m going to miss working on this paper model. So, I started working on another one that will take it’s place as a low-priority background project. The model is Shipyard’s 1:96 scale HMS Mercury, a 28-gun Enterprize-class sixth rate frigate. At this point, I’m not planning on rigging her. Rather, I’m thinking of making a type of admiralty display model rigged with launch flags. Of course, things change over time, so you never know. Stay tuned! Ω

 

Santa Leocadia Paper Model Ship Kit – Just for Fun


Once in a while, you just want to stick something together without being too involved in a project. Sometimes paper models work quite well for this.

This last weekend, I had some time to work on a project, but I just wasn’t in the mood to work on my wood or paper projects. I had a Santa Leocadia Super Modellar Plans set from Shipyard of Poland sitting on my shelf for well over a year. This is really a set of model plans that included the basic hull in the form of a laser-cut paper model kit in 1/72 scale.

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However, the kit really stops there. It’s designed to provide the basic hull, but the builder is expected to build the rest using paper, wood or whatever. The hull even requires planking with 1/16″ thick planks. My plan was to build up the model as far as the included parts go and possibly add the parts I got as part of a Santa Leocadia “Super Detail Set” that I bought from GPM, another Polish company. This set includes ships wheel, capstan, gun carriages, ship’s stove, etc.

I figure I can use the model completed that far as a display example of paper ship model kits. We’ll see. My HMS Alert started off this way, but I’m almost done with that one now. So, who knows.

The Santa Loecadia is a 38-gun Spanish Frigate built in 1777.

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It’s fun just fitting parts together like this. At this stage, the kit parts don’t have to be glued together, the parts fit tightly enough to stay together. There’s still plenty to do on this kit. It goes together just like all the other Shipyard paper ship model kits. Next is to fit the subdecks and to cover the hull with the first layer of “Sub-Planking”, which is made up strips that fill the space between adjacent frames.

I got my Shipyard product from Ages of Sail. You just have to pay attention to the difference between the Modellar Plans and the Super Modellar Plans. The “Super” versions includes the laser-cut parts in 1/72 scale. These were limited edition products and Ages of Sail has only a few left. However, I’ve seen that these are also available from the Polish manufacturer GPM.

Shipyard’s 1:96-scale HMS Alert 1777, Paper Model Kit – Part VII

I haven’t posted an update on this project for a several months, so figured it was time.

I now have someone who wants the completed model, so that pushed this project up in priority.  Initially, it was more of a test to see what building in paper was like. But, it was so much fun that I kept going with it. Now, it’s close enough to completion to really push to finish it.

I finished building the carriage guns, blackening them and adding breech ropes. For the ropes, I ended up using Morope brand model rope. The main reason for using Morope was simply to test out the product. This model rope certainly looks good, but it does want to unravel quite easily. I found it best to put a drop of CA glue at the point where I want to cut the line. After the CA dries, I cut the line and there’s no unravelling.

The other model rope I was considering was the stuff sold by Syren Ship Model Company. Initially, I avoided this rigging line because for most purposes, the lay of the rope is backwards. It’s all left-hand or S-laid rope. I’ve since changed my mind about the Syren model rope because it’s so nice to work with. It’s stiff, but flexible, doesn’t unravel, and looks great. However, since I already started using Morope, I figured I’d continue with it.

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Not so clear photo of the finished cannon on carriage with Morope breeching rope.

For the cannons, I ended up using turned brass barrels sold by Syren Ship Model Company as swivel guns. One of the sizes worked out perfectly for this models small carriage guns. Making the carriages was the hard part. But, there’s only a dozen to get through.

I then had to add eyebolts at the ends of the breech ropes and drill the bulwarks to mount them. The deck is open and so drilling and adding the eyebolts into place wasn’t too bad. But, the model is more delicate than a wooden one, so it required extra care.

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HMS Alert in my shipyard with Colonial Schooner in background. All cannons are in place and rigged with breech ropes.

As you can see, the taffrail is pretty well complete. That’s one feature that really made me sweat. Getting those stanchions all in place and then adding the rail and trying to make it run as flat as possible… I’d put off building the rail for a while until I could muster enough nerve to deal with it. Since then, it’s been mostly smooth sailing.

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I worked on the sails some time ago. They’re are cloth and purchased as a separate accessory set available from Shipyard. They are pre-printed, but only on one side. Getting the lines of the cloth to show through required lightly tracing them onto the blank side in pencil.

Bolt ropes were glued around the edges using simple white glue. I also added all the small ropes to the two reefing bands on the mainsail.

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I’d purchased the masting set from Shipyard too. This just consists of some dowels and a few laser cut cardboard pieces for the cross trees, mast cap, etc.

For blocks, I decided to use some swiss pear blocks I bought from Syren Ship Model Company. They stopped making them rather abruptly and did a big sell-off before I’d had a chance to stock up on more of the sizes I needed. But, this model doesn’t use too many, so I figured I’d go ahead and use them. Anyway, they’re really nice looking blocks. I made up a batch of paper blocks, but I figured I’d use the swiss pear ones while I had them.

Finally, I began the process of rigging by adding the lower deadeyes into place, and rigging the shrouds. As you can see the main boom is also in place. I had to finish up all the details on it first, then decided I’d better add it before too much other rigging gets in the way.

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I have to now add all the blocks I’ll need on the mast, gaff and yards and sails. Then, I’m going to have to tie the backstays around the mast head so I can finish up adding the main and preventer stays which will lead down to the top of the stem. Really starting to feel like I’m getting into the home stretch on this model.

One interesting thing I’ve discovered is that the deadeyes are really pretty securely attached on this paper model. That was one thing I had concerns about. But, I wire stropped them and then simply bent the bottom of the wire to insert into holes I drilled into the hull, forming the chainplate. A faux chainplate is then glued to the face of the wire.

An Inside Look at Shipyard’s HMS Wolf Laser Cardboard Kit

Recently, Ages of Sail, the importer I’ve been doing some work for this past year, has gotten in a new shipment of card or paper model kits from Shipyard of Poland. The most recent significant addition is the boxed Laser Cardboard Series kit HMS Wolf, 1752, and I managed to take a look at the product and get some photos so you can get a better look at what’s included in this kit.

First off, HMS Wolf was a snow-rigged brig of war, meaning she carried two square-rigged masts, with an auxiliary mast attached to the back of the mainmast that carries the boom and gaff of the spanker sail. The ship was armed with 10 guns.

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The Shipyard kit is produced in 1/72 scale and measures about 20.5″ long overall. As with all Laser Cardboard Series kits, the boxed kit has all card stock parts laser cut. Colorful hull decorations are nicely printed on high quality paper, but the bulk of the parts are on plain white card stock, so the model must be painted. For that, the manufacturer includes several jars of nice quality acrylic paint and a pair of brushes.

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Parts are neatly stored, while all the instructions, drawings and laser-cut sheets are kept safely underneath.

 

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Blocks are also the same laser-cut blocks that Shipyard sells separately. These are paper and have to be assembled and painted. The low-level relief carvings are laser etched card stock, and look pretty nice. And, of course, the heart of the kit are the several sheets of laser-cut parts. Having been working on a paper model kit where all the parts have to be cut by hand, the sight of these precisely cut and detailed parts just makes me drool.

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But, not all paper modeling is necessarily done in paper. For one thing, wooden dowels are included for making the masts and spars, and a set of cloth sails are included as well, though as with individually available sail set for the their Paper Model series kits, these sails are pre-printed and laser cut, so no cutting or sewing is required. Another big time saver of these boxed edition kits are the pre-made brass cannon and swivel gun barrels, which are not only pre-made, saving time and effort, but they’re beautifully turned from brass.

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One of the big features of the Laser Cardboard Series kits is that low-relief carvings are made from laser-etched card stock, the figurehead and some of the larger carvings are fully 3D rendered in cast resin. Other parts included in the kit are rigging line, wire for making eyebolts and chainplates and such, clear acrylic for the gallery windows, and colorfully printed cloth flags.

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But, maybe the biggest thing that differentiates the boxed kit from its smaller Paper Model Series cousin (HMS Wolf is available as a 1/96-scale pre-printed card model kit where you have to cut all the parts out yourself) is the full-color, 32-page, photo-filled instruction book. This is in addition to the 7 double-sided sheets of drawings.

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The new HMS Wolf kit joins the ranks of Shipyard’s boxed kits, which includes the cutter HMS Alert, Schooner Berbice, French lugger Le Coureur, the Santa Maria, the Dutch built Swedish pinnace Papegojan, and the frigate HMS Mercury. Though about less 40% smaller than the HMS Mercury, HMS Wolf is the second largest of the Shipyard kits. It’s less complicated rig and much lower price point than HMS Mercury should make it a popular kit. Having dabbled in card modeling myself, I can say that this kit is on my definite build list. Ω

Shipyard’s 1:96-scale HMS Alert 1777, Paper Model Kit – Part V

Several months ago, I acquired Shipyard’s HMS Mercury 1/96-scale paper model kit. I had to check it out as part of my research into the hobby and also because I just couldn’t help myself.

In addition, I bought a matching laser cut detail set from GPM. The basic kit includes the laser cut frames, but the detail set includes some very nice features like the gratings, parts for the ship’s boats, cleats, blocks and deadeyes, cannon and carronade carriages, and especially nice are the laser cut parts for the stern and quarter galleries. I just couldn’t imaging using the printed windows or trying to cut out the frames.

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I got an idea and looked over the 1/96-scale HMS Mercury detail set and discovered that several items in that set are compatibly with the Alert. Maybe that’s saying that the kits aren’t to precise scale. Nevertheless, the detail kit for the Mercury cost me about $35 shipped from Poland, and I’m quite willing to sacrifice it for the good of the cause.

Turns out that the quarter deck cannon carriages are a perfect match for the Alerts carriages (and the right quantity), the gratings look like I’ll be able to cut them to size, some of the cleats are perfect match and there are some others that I think I can trim quite easily. Also, while I’ve already acquired laser cut blocks and deadeyes of the right size, the Mercury detail set has a ton of these and enough of the smaller ones are the right size to use for the Alert.

Anyway, the point here being that if you want to make your life easier with this kit (and probably others too), get one of the detail sets from GPM. It’s definitely going to give my project a boost.

First thing I did was to replace the printed hatch gratings with the laser cut ones. They actually turned out to be a pretty close fit, needing only minor trimming. Once painted I put them in place and you can see them in place here with the printed ones next to them.

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Now, getting back to the kit parts, I was on a roll and decided to make a simple sliding type hatch cover for the wardroom companionway. At 1/96 it doesn’t have to be that sophisticated. Needed planking, so I printed out 0.25pt lines 1/16″ apart. I’m using Adobe Illustrator for a number of other tasks, so it was easy enough to fire it up and make the pattern. I’ll probably add some kind of handle, either bent wire or a simple block type handle from paper. The completed piece was painted and set into place.

I also found an old screen in the garage. It turns out that the mesh is the exact size I need for the mullion pattern for the companion way over the captain’s cabin. I pulled out a bottle of canopy glue, which I bought for another project, but didn’t like the way it worked. For this one and the small glass panes, it worked great – Just squeezed a little out to fill in all the holes in the piece of screen material. Once dried it looked perfect, so I cut down to the exact size I needed and dropped it into place.

I also built and cleaned up the deck pumps and decided to give them natural wood looking handles instead of leaving them their printed color, which was red.

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Being on a roll, I decided to try to make some progress with a rather daunting sub-assembly, the windlass. I say daunting because the windlass barrel alone consisted of 31 REALLY small parts that all had to be cut out and glued together properly. I did manage. However, it required a concerted effort to break the mental barrier of taking on the complicated assembly. Once started, it actually went pretty quickly.

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DSC03993There’s still more to do here, but the basic barrel is done. As for what’s next, I try to keep that open. There are still many small assemblies that need to be completed, and there’s not particular order they need to be done in. Also, there is the matter of the cannon barrels. I went ahead and rolled the barrels using the kit patterns. I wanted to see how well they might work. But, I’m considering turning them in brass, or at least turning masters in brass if I decide to cast them.

Shipyard’s 1:96-scale HMS Alert 1777, Paper Model Kit – Part IV

As I mentioned previously, the Alert paper model has been somewhat of a distraction. But, after reaching a bit of burnout from a recent heavy workload, I needed the distraction. I’d actually worked on the model a bit more since my last posting and here’s an update of some of the work that was done.

The cap rail went on pretty easily, though cutting the rectangular openings for the timber heads  proved to be a challenge. As with most of the parts I worked on, I began by painting to get rid of the white edges. At some point, I’d get a little paint on the printed areas of the part and found it was just pretty much standard practice to paint over those areas too to even out the color.

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I also installed the catheads, which are built-up from several layers of paper and then covered with the printed paper. Again, these look a lot better after cleaning up, but I was pretty pleased with how they went into place and how sturdy they were.

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Those timber heads were a real pain to get half-way uniform looking and properly trimmed to shape. I also found it took some work to get them to fit the holes I’d cut into the cap rail and had to do a lot of extra fitting work. Still, when painted, it all looked pretty nice. Not perfect, but nice.

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Next, I decided to tackle something that seemed like it would be pretty easy, the shot racks. The paper model just gives printed racks with black circles to represent the shot. At this small scale, it’s probably fine to leave it that as it’s hard to tell when you have scale cannon balls in place.

For the cannon balls, I found some appropriately sized ball bearing and blackened them. I’d originally used a larger size that seemed to look nice, but they were way out of scale, so I got a new order in of a smaller size that worked perfectly. Mounting these in the shot racks was a lot like playing those old games that used to come in boxes of Cracker Jacks where you have the tiny balls rolling around in a sealed plastic box and you had to get them all to settle into the tiny indents to “win.”

Note the one little ball bearing that escaped in the upper part of the picture. Somewhere buried in my carpet are several ball bearings that will NEVER be seen again, ever.

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The first shot rack installed. It was a bit of a challenge to hold it in place while glueing. I found it easiest for me to use my thumb to hold the part against the bulwarks, then use a pair of hemostats in my free hand to nudge the part until it was perfectly straight, then drop the hemostats for a bottle of thin, fast setting CA. A tiny amount locked the piece in place and it is quite firmly set.

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Though it’s a blurry photo, you can see that all the shot racks were put into place and then the white edges were painted. It all turned out quite nice.

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When I would run into more daunting tasks, I’d occasionally assemble some of the parts needed for later assemblies. Here all the parts were assembled and cleaned up and touched up. There are plenty of parts like this that need to be done, so there’s no shortage of small tasks.

Things went together quite well, but the long, thin shanks of the anchors are a bit delicate. With the stocks attached, it’s going to be very easy to accidentally twist or buckle them, so I’m saving that assembly for later.

IMG_0413I also played around with making the mast and the cap and crosstrees for the topmast. I’d purchased the masting set for this model, which included dowels and laser-cut cardboard pieces for the details. But, I wasn’t particularly happy with the quality of the wood, so I used my own birch dowels, stained with, if I recall correctly now, Minwax Golden Oak stain.

I tried using the laser-cut cardboard parts, which were easy to assembly. But, I found that parts built-up from layers of paper were generally sturdier. For the mast cap, the laser-cut parts worked out fine, but I had more problems with the crosstrees. Also, I guess I didn’t get the squared section of the mast doubling small enough, so the crosstrees wouldn’t fit. I didn’t notice this until later in the build, so I had to adjust the work a little and seems okay.

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I don’t have any photos of the most recent work, but I added the channels and other small hull details. I also didn’t like the way my original transom planking looked under the counter. I’ve redone the area twice and the last time it seemed to come out well enough for my task. I’ll post more photos of that work next time, along with any new work I complete.

Paper Model Troubles

I’ve been working with paper models for more than 6 months and I still think they’re a really fun and interesting medium to work in, though I have yet to finish one. The kits from Shipyard of Poland, particularly the kits which provide parts already laser cut, are very high quality kits that are quite different than most paper model kits.

Since I started, I picked up a couple lighthouse kits, which provide all parts laser cut. I’ve also picked up a couple things from GPM, another Polish paper model manufacturer and online supplier, including a laser-cut detail set designed specifically for the one of the Shipyard kits. I’ve also picked up a GPM paper model and I’ve noted the big difference between the kits from these two companies.

 

All in all, I’ve been enjoying playing around with these, and have found one issue that can stop you in your tracks. I can’t say anything about GPM yet because I haven’t tried building one of their kits, I just have one on-hand. But, so far, the kits from Shipyard’s Paper Model series look first rate.  The problem I ran into recently was with one of their Laser Cut Model series, specifically, the 1/87-scale North Reef Lighthouse kit.okladka

The kit is a fairly detailed lighthouse kit, but during construction I discovered that mine had a couple flaws. One was very minor in that there were supposed to be a number of holes cut to allow insertion of tabs on other pieces. Oddly enough, all the holes were cut except one. It’s as if someone using a CAD program accidentally deleted the object making the slot. But that wasn’t the only flaw. There were supposed to be 16 triangular supports, and there they were all nicely arranged together on the laser-cut sheet all 15… 15? Where was the 16th? There was a nice triangular spot for it in the grid of parts, but that one was missing too.

Well, those were minor issues. As a ship modeler, I’m used to fabricating parts. And that missing hole was easily dealt with – In this case it was simplest to cut off the unused tab. But then I discovered that there were some parts I was missing. I initially figured I had just misplaced the sheet that the parts were on, so later on, I just took out another kit. This was easy enough to do since I was doing this for an online company that carries their products. But, that kit was missing the same sheet.

Okay, a bad batch is understandable, so I contact Shipyard using the contact form on their website some time in early December. I hadn’t heard back from them about the issues in early January, so I sent them two emails using a company email account. That got no reply. Then, suddenly 2 weeks later, I got an email saying that they would get back to me with a reply in a week. Then nothing. I emailed them again a couple weeks later and they said they would reply in 2-3 days. Then again nothing.

So, it has been 2 months and even to representative of a US seller of their kits, their response is pretty bad. This does not bode well, especially after I pointed out that we weren’t ordering anything until I could make recommendations on what to order, and that depended upon their responses to my emails. So, what to do?

Well, overall their kits are good and I’ve only run into this one, albeit nasty, issue. I’ve since personally ordered a replacement kit, the same 1:87-scale North Reef Lighthouse, and it has everything it’s supposed to have. So, I figure there are definitely bad batches out there. I’ve also worked on a 1:72-scale version with the parts all present, plus a 1:72-scale Alcatraz Island Lighthouse (a simpler kit of a SF Bay Area landmark) that’s all good. So, maybe this is just a fluke. Just be prepared to get poor support from Shipyard if you have a problem.

alcatraz

On the positive side, I’ve ordered direct from them on at least four occasions with no problems whatsoever. The orders take no more than maybe 2 weeks to get and they provide a tracking number that will work with USPS once it gets to the States, so it’s easy to follow your package.

Now regarding GPM, I’ve placed two separate orders. The first one took a few weeks, but did eventually arrive and all was well with that one. The second order I placed I am still waiting for and its been over 5 weeks now. There is no tracking number provided by GPM, so I simply have to wait and see. Like I said, the first one arrived with no issues, so I’m still hopeful.

For those of you who don’t want to worry about shipping, Ages of Sail DOES have a number of the Lighthouses from the Laser Cut Model series, plus many of the ships in the Paper Model series. They’ve been running very low on the popular smaller ships, so give them a call if you’re interested in one of those. Also, a lot of this stuff hasn’t made it to their online shop, so again, check with them if you’re looking for something. Ω