Category Archives: My General Blog

Another Model Kits of a Ship at the Battle of Trafalgar

Earlier this month, I wrote a post listing available kits of ships involved in the Battle of Trafalgar. Well, it turns out I missed one. I completely slipped my mind because it’s rather hard to find. That is a kit of the Spanish 112-gun, 3-decker Principe de Asturias, from the Spanish kit maker Disar Model.

Disar Model’s wooden model ship kit of the 112-gun Principe de Asturias

The main problem with the kit is that I’m not aware of any online retailer that carries it. Ages of Sail carries the line of Disar Model kits in North America, but for some reason doesn’t carry this particular kit. But, it appears to be out there, so I’m adding it to my list.

Anyway, I’ve righted a wrong, and updated my post on the Model Kits of the Ships at the Battle of Trafalgar. Ω

Model Kits of the Ships at the Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar, which took place on October 21, 1805, was a decisive battle that took place between the British fleet and a combined fleet of French and Spanish warships. The battle took place during the early part of the Napoleonic Wars, and confirmed the dominance of British seapower. All together, some 60 ships of the line were involved in the engagement.

Click here for the Wikipedia entry on the Battle of Trafalgar

Corel HMS Victory is one of many HMS Victory kits on the market.

Many ship modelers are interested in modeling the most famous ship to both lead and survive that battle, the aptly named HMS Victory. But, the Victory, wasn’t the only ship at Trafalgar. As mentioned, there were nearly 60 other line-of-battle ships involved. So, what were these other ships? Or, more specifically, what ships were involved with kits available?

Let  me begin by point out that, for some reason, there are no kits that I am aware of for any of the French warships involved in the battle. Maybe it’s because there aren’t any manufacturers of French wooden ship model kits, at least none I am aware of. So, the French subjects get the raw end of the deal. But, if anyone is aware of a kit of a French line-of-battle ship that was at Trafalgar, please leave me a comment.

Of the British ships, we, of course, have HMS Victory, of which there are about a dozen kits, plus cross-section and bow section kits. Other British ships really include only the 64-gun ship HMS Agamemnon made by Caldercraft, and the 74-gun Bellerophon, which is one of the optional builds of Amati/Victory Models HMS Vanguard kit.

Amati Victory Models’ HMS Vanguard kit. While the Vanguard was not at Trafalgar, this kit includes optional parts to build it as HMS Bellerophon, which was at Trafalgar.

But, then we come to the Spanish ships and that’s where we find that with the appearance of the Spanish kit manufacturer OcCre, and the return of Artesania Latina’s San Juan Nepomuceno, the Spanish fleet at Trafalgar is well covered. If you include cross-sections and similar kits, then you can also add in Disar Model (another Spanish kit manufacturer) to the list with their 1/32-scale “battle station” kit representing a section of the Spanish 100-gun ship Rayo. But, even more importantly, is their large kit of the Spanish 3-decker, Principe de Asturias.

Disar Model’s Navio Rayo Battle Station kit. The Rayo was a 100-gun Spanish ship at Trafalgar.

The Montañes is one of several big kits produced by OcCre of large Spanish warships.

Disar Model’s model kit of the 117-gun Principe de Asturias.

Below is a list of all the wooden kits I could think of that cover the line-of-battle ships at Trafalgar. I didn’t include plastic kits, but many subject are covered there as well. I also decided not to list all the available kits of HMS Victory, as we all know that there are way too many kit of this deservedly famous ship. Mentioning each of them would simply overwhelm the list below.


British Ships of the Line

HMS Victory – Many kits in many scales.

HMS Agamemnon – Caldercraft 1/64-scale kit.

HMS Bellerophon – Amati/Victory Models 1/72-scale HMS Vanguard build option

French Ships of the Line


Spanish Ships of the Line

Santisima Trinidad – OcCre 1/90-scale kit; OcCre 1/90-scale hull cross-section kit.

San Ildefonso – OcCre 1/70-scale kit.

Montañes – OcCre 1/70-scale kit

San Juan Nepomuceno – Artesania Latina 1/90-scale kit.

Principe de Asturias – Disar Model 1/72-scale kit.

Rayo – Disar Model 1/32-scale combat station kit.


You may note that this list doesn’t take into account any of the smaller ships that were at Trafalgar, I listed only line-of-battle ships, that is, ships of the 3rd rate or larger (64-guns or more). There were just over a dozen frigates and schooners present at the battle as well. Of these, I’m only aware of one kit available, and that is a very nice, 1/64-scale Caldercraft model of a the British schooner HMS Pickle. Plus, I might as well mention that there are also a couple ship’s boat kits from Disar Model that are claimed to be the larger boats of HMS Agamemnon and of the French ship Bucentaure.

As for other ships that were at Trafalgar, like the French ships, it looks like scratch modeling is the only way to build one of them, but that takes us outside the scope of this article. Hopefully, one of the kits mentioned above will satisfy the needs of ship modelers looking for an interesting Trafalgar subject.


Kits Listed on Ebay

There are a lot of life changes going on for me right now, so I’ve decided to part with a portion of that ever-present stack of ship model kits. I’m still working out which kits I will never get to, and which ones I might want to take on some day. But, for now, I’ve managed to come up with a list of some of the simpler ones. So, if you’re interested in any of these, nab them off of Ebay, or send me a comment.

Model Shipways Phantom NY Pilot Boat 1868 Wooden Ship Solid Hull

Brigantine Newsboy, 1854 – Model Shipways Wood Ship Kit #2008 – Barely Started

Woody Joe 1/24 Sailing Japanese Fishing Boat Hacchoro 8-oar Wooden Model Kit

Chesapeake Bay Skipjack Midwest Products Wood Kit

Model Shipways Wood Ship Kit # 2016 – 1/64 scale Colonial Schooner Sultana 1767

Some of these are simple auctions to help them move, some are only for sale with “Buy Now” options, as they’re generally worth more to me, like the Hacchoro. It’s priced a little high, because Woody Joe kits are currently expensive to get from Japan.

I may be listing more kits in the future, but I got tired of creating listings for now. But, there are a couple old Yellow Box kits, another Midwest kit, a HUGE Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack kit from Laughing Whale (now sold by BlueJacket), a big classic Flying Cloud solid hull kit from BlueJacket, a brand new Keel Klamper, and some books.

Oh, and if you need a nice, 27″ retina display iMac with 32GB RAM and a 1TD SSD drive (not a Fusion drive), I’ve got one of those listed as well:

27-inch 5K Retina iMac Late 2014 – 4GHz Quad i7, 32GB, 1T SSD, M295X – MINTY!

What can I say? The holidays are coming and I need the cash…

Shipyard’s Dutch Fluit Schwarzer Rabe – A Paper Model Saves the Day

It’s a happy day when a paper model kit shows up to give me back a taste of ship modeling again. Last week, my Dutch fluit model kit showed up in the mail and it didn’t take me long to open it up and get started.

As I mentioned before, family health matters have me stuck in the house where I grew up, with no trace of ship modeling material except text and images on the Internet. In order to give me back a small part of my absent ship modeling self, I ordered the paper model kit from Ages of Sail. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to build the Dutch fluit Schwarzer Rabe (Black Raven) or the Dutch pinnace Papegojan. Both paper model kits are available and in 1/96-scale. I ended up buying the Schwazer Rabe for about $38. But, looking back, I realized that there is a special edition set, The Opponents of the Battle of Oliwa, which contains both kits. Didn’t really matter though, as Ages of Sail, where I got my kit, doesn’t stock that particular product. But, it’s out there somewhere.

Anyway, the Schwarzer Rabe kit is plenty of project work for the duration. The kit was a little under $40 from Ages of Sail and can be purchased here. The kit is a 1/96-scale paper model kit from Shipyard of Poland, and measures just about 16″ when complete.

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Shipmodeling and Blogging Withdrawls

After announcing my brief blog hiatus a little over a week ago, you might have noticed I’m still blogging. Well, it’s turned out that blogging is a good distraction from family health matters, so here I am writing again. In addition to needing to do a bit of blogging, I’m really finding myself going through some ship modeling withdrawals as well. Now, I don’t have a whole lot of time and space to be working on much, so I mostly think about ship modeling. But, I decided to go ahead and have the good folks at Ages of Sail send me a paper model kit.

Paper model kits require a minimum of tools, result in less mess than wooden ship models, and  the kits are very inexpensive. Perusing the Ages of Sail site was a fun distraction, but I finally settled on Shipyard’s paper kit number MK010, the Dutch fluit Schwartzer Rabe. The ship is a 3-masted armed cargo ship carrying 10 guns. The kit, like just about all of Shipyard’s paper kit series ships (the MK series) is 1/96-scale and this model will measure about 40.5cm or just about 16″ long when complete.

I chose this kit because it’s interesting and different. To be honest, I really wanted to get the Papegojan, which is a similar type of ship, as I’ve actually been eyeing the larger laser-cut card model. But, someone in my ship model club is building it, and I think it would be nice to work on something a little different from his.

The kit should arrive tomorrow, so I’ll post more about it after it arrives. However, I will mention that the Polish card model company GPM has a detail set available for this kit, which provides more laser-cut parts to make the paper model look nicer. I will probably be ordering that shortly. The extra parts shouldn’t be needed until later in the build, so the time it takes to get the set shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

OcCre Part Kits

So, you might think that getting the paper kit and ordering the detail set would be enough to overcome my shipmodeling withdrawals, but no. One of the things I’ve been thinking about for a long time, aside from the thought that I’ve got too many unfinished projects on-hand, is that some of those bigger kits of Spanish warships from the Spanish kit manufacturer OcCre are pretty cool.

Over the last year or so, I’ve taken a liking to the late 18th century Spanish warships. I particularly love the way the Spanish named some of their ships, and the way those names roll of the tongue in Spanish. Names like the Neustra Señiora de las Mercedes. Now, this kits are kind of pricey when purchased from US dealers and I’m not really sure why. It’s possible to order them from overseas, but the cost of the kit, plus shipping, is really more than I want to spend, so I started thinking about Part Kits or Packs, as OcCre likes to call them.

OcCre has four kits that can be purchased over 6 sets. The kits are the Santissima Trinidad, the San Ildefonso, the Nuestra Señiora del Pilar, and the Montañes. I know that in the long run, these kits cost more this way due to the extra shipping and the premium that the company charges for offering the kits in parts. But, I thought it might be fun to try.

Now, I actually looked at some of the de Agostini / Model-Space subscriptions, but those cost even more, and when I looked recently, most of the subscriptions were marked out of stock. So, I went with an OcCre kit. The model kit is the Montañes, a Spanish 3rd rate ship of the line, which is probably the one Spanish ship that has a short and less interesting name, but I like the ship, and she survived Trafalgar.

OcCre’s 1/70-scale 74-gun third rate ship of the line, Montañes

Anyway, I’m very interested in learning how these part kits work out. I’ll definitely be posting more about it in the very near future. So, if you’re interested in OcCre’s part kits and the experience of ordering and receiving them, stay tuned.  Ω



Brief Blog Hiatus

Those following this blog may have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately, nor have I done any ship modeling work. It is a temporary hiatus, but should last at least a couple more weeks as my 95-year-old mother was diagnosed as having had a mini-stroke.

After a night in the ER and a few days in the hospital for observation, she was transferred to a convalescent center, where she was quarantined, isolated from other patients for about 10 days. After she had sufficiently recovered, I was able to take her to her home. But, she is in need of full-time assistance and observation. So, that’s all I’m able to do for the time being, aside from posting this little update. Everything else is on hold until other arrangements can be made for her care.

So, I hope you are able to find enough on this site to keep your interest. More will be posted in a few weeks. I’m very much looking forward to being able to work on my ship modeling projects again very soon!

Revisiting an Awe Inspiring Shipyard HMS Mercury Build

I think it was about three years ago when I wrote a post about a gentleman in Germany who was building the 1/96-scale card model of the frigate HMS Mercury produced by Shipyard of Poland – this is the same kit I started way back, but didn’t finish (it’s on my shelf still, waiting for me to do more work on it).

Turns out that around the same time, I posted something about someone who was building a 1/72-scale version of the same ship, building it from what Shipyard called their Laser Cardboard kit. I’d forgotten about this build for a long time, but today, I spotted it online again, and this model has really come a long ways. This model has turned into quite an awesome build in the rigging stages. This builder has been posting on Facebook, so I took a look at what he’s been doing.

As you can see, this is an incredible model and it’s card model. The kit itself has something to do with all the detail you see in the build, but obviously this builder is extremely talented!

But, speaking of the Shipyard kit, I’ve seen it and it’s a pretty amazing feat of engineering. It’s on the pricey side. But, when you consider how much work is already done for the builder, it actually looks like it’s a very good deal, even at close to $500.

Some people will balk at the price tag, thinking card stock is inferior to wood. But, wooden ship model kits require a lot of effort to plank a hull, cut out gun ports so they’re perfectly even, deal with simplified headrails and stern and quarter galleries. These card models even detail the great cabin, which you can see through the finely detailed gallery windows.

But, in any case, you can’t argue with the beautiful results that this modeler is achieving. See the progress details yourself on his Facebook page at: Ω




My Mid-Summer Update


Things are progressing slowly here. I’m working on projects, but not making a huge amount of progress. To boost my productivity, I built another one of those Woody Joe mini-architecture kits, which I’ll post something about later. It didn’t distract me for long, but hoping it will give me a little more model building momentum. We shall see.

Technically, this model is not quite done, as I’m going to paint a few figures to add to it and give it some life. My 95 year-old mother loves these dioramas with little people in them, so I’m going to give it to her when it’s done. That is, if we can find a place to put it – it’ll the the fourth such model I’ve given her.

The Gift of Gifting

Because I can’t display my Japanese boat models anywhere with this Covid crisis going on, and no one would be out and about much to see them, I’m finding my models are getting a bit crowded here. So, I’m finding homes for a couple of the simpler ones, making nice, personal gifts for a few people who’ve been particularly generous and supportive.

So, I’m in the process of making a couple simple display bases and realizing that I need to make a few small accessories for the models – things to put inside the boats, to make them more fun to look inside, like bailers, paddles, poles, adding mooring lines, and so forth.

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Zoom Meetings for Ship Modelers

These days, It’s pretty tough on ship model clubs, not being able to gather together to swap model making stories. But, like other groups across the country, the South Bay Model Shipwrights recently tested out meeting using video conferencing. Zoom has practically become a household word now, though there are other systems available.

This past Thursday, the group had its first test meeting, which I was involved in. It was the first time I had seen some of my ship modeling friends in months, so it was a nice virtual gathering. Being a test meeting, it was just a subset of the whole club, but it wasn’t really all that much smaller than many of the physical meetings.

There were a few glitches to iron out, but overall it was a success. The main issue may be in the use of the free Zoom meeting accounts, which allow only 40 minute meetings. There are ways around this, which require members to log out and then back in, but this being the group’s first meeting, Zoom automatically extends it as a courtesy.

Next week, the group is going to attempt a meeting of the full members, at least those that have computers with video conferencing capabilities anyway. The hope is to meet regularly, maybe even every two weeks, as these meetings provide the only means for some of us to maintain some kind of normal-ish social contact. We’ll see how that works out.

Other Zoom Meetings

I’m personally considering setting up a Zoom paid subscription, as it will allow me to host meetings without such time limits. I’m hoping to get the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights together with a Zoom meeting, as this small group has all but disappeared. Other clubs have been holding similar meetings these days, including the Chicago club and the SMA in Fullerton.

Today, I missed out on a Zoom class by Douglas Brooks on half hull modeling. I think it was the first he’d done by Zoom. I’m interested to hear from him as to how it went.

Zoom and Wasen Modeling

I’ve personally been attending a Zoom meeting of a wasen (Japanese traditional boat) study group that meets every other week, and I have to say that of all the terrible things we have to deal with because of the Covid-19 crisis, by forcing groups into virtual meetings, it’s given me an opportunity to meet with folks and to participate in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able. Hopefully, once things get better, some amount of these video meetings will continue to take place.

And while it’s not a ship model group, this group, called Wasen Kenkyu Kai, has finally given me an audience that is specifically interesting in the things I’ve been modeling so much lately. Sadly, my Japanese language skills are very poor, so it can be a frustrating experience. Time to really work on my conversational Japanese!

Regarding Zoom and my work on traditional Japanese boats, given the scattered interest in the subject, I’m starting to think I need to host a Zoom meeting of people who are interested enough in the subject to join a virtual meeting. I’m sure it would be a very small meeting, but it might at least prove interesting. Ω 





Shipmodeling during the COVID-19 crisis

When I started to compose this post, people in my area were voluntarily staying home and practicing social distancing. Events across the Bay Area were being canceled, and, being part of a Japanese music and dance performing group, we were particularly affected by this, as we are quickly approaching Cherry Blossom season, our busiest time of the year.

But that was a whole week ago, before the Bay Area shelter in place order was given and then more recently, the statewide order. The cancelation of all these events seems trivial now as everyone is forced to mostly stay at home. Other states are also issuing similar orders, so we’re almost all facing the same situation.

I hope everyone out there stays safe and healthy and, if you’re getting bored at home, there’s always ship modeling.

I see that Model Expo is closed down due to the coronavirus now. But, Ages of Sail has a huge inventory of ship model kits, fittings, and supplies, and is still shipping, but they’ve closed their show room in San Lorenzo, CA, so orders are only by mail. For those looking for specific kits, particularly the more popular ones, I understand that they will become increasingly difficult to find, as shipments out of Europe are heavily affected.

For me, I have a backlog of projects, that I hope to be able to work on, now that work is so slow. For the blog here, I’m going to finish up the Dana next. Also, there is Woody Joe’s Kitamaebune model that I’ve been posting on the companion site that is pretty far along now, and some other loose ends that need attending to, which I’d like to deal with before long.

Hopefully, we’ll all get through these times and get back to work, but why not have a little fun with some ship modeling in the meantime?