Category Archives: Ship Modeling News

Ship modeling related news.

Building the Kanrin Maru – Japan’s First Screw Steamer

It’s been just about three years since I last wrote about researching the Kanrin Maru, and I really haven’t done much about it lately, but I did start construction of the 1/75-scale model based on the kit from the Japanese wooden model kit manufacturer, Woody Joe. The model is being constructed with modifications based on my research.

I started construction long ago on this model, but set it aside for other, higher priority projects. Recently, I realized that I don’t have any models on permanent display anywhere. My only models on display are my Japanese traditional wooden boat models that I put on display in San Francisco’s Japantown a couple times a year.

There is a possibility that I could build this model and have it on display at the Mare Island Museum, where they have an existing display dedicated to the Kanrin Maru’s 1860 diplomatic mission to San Francisco.

Woody Joe’s 1/75-scale Kanrin Maru kit.

The Build Plan

The hull of the Woody Joe kit is very close to the line drawings I acquired of the ship, so it’s an excellent start to building what should be a pretty accurate model. There are a few details of the kit that I will change or am considering changing:

  • The planking and shape of the hull at the bulwarks
  • The presence of a winch above the propeller well in the kit
  • The shape of the hawse pipes from the kit
  • The location of the hawse pipes on the deck of the kit
  • The armament
  • The location and configuration of the ship’s wheel
  • The size of the turnbuckles provided in the kit
  • The configuration of the fore-and-aft sails
  • The presence of mast wooldings in the kit
  • The presence of a mizzen mast top in the kit
  • The absence of coal loading ports in the kit
  • Miscellaneous small details

I’ll deal with these as the build progresses. Continue reading

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Model Boats on Parade – September 16 in San Francisco

Sorry, I know this is a very last minute posting, but I was just reminded that the San Francisco Model Yacht Club is holding its annual model boat event tomorrow, Sunday, September 16, 2018, at Spreckles Lake in Golden Gate Park.

The event setup begins at 9:30am. It’s open to the public and should go on most of the day. The club will have its clubhouse open, so you can view various boats on display that aren’t out in the water. Plus, you’ll have an opportunity to see all kinds of powered RC models, some small, some VERY BIG, plus RC sailboats. There’s even a group that does free sail racing, where the boats, powered only by the wind, are pre-set to guide themselves across the lake.

Here’s the informational flyer from the SFMYC’s website:

Get set for a fun and interesting day in the park! Ω

 

Seaways’ Ships in Scale Ceases Publication

Sad news for ship modelers everywhere. Seaways’ Ships in Scale has apparently ceased publication. This, according to the Nautical Research Guild, whose own Journal will be working to pick up some of the void left behind by the long time periodical. The last issue sent out was the Spring issue, 2018, which is still listed on their website, and no official announcement has been posted or been mailed out to subscribers.

If you recall, it was exactly a year ago that the publication went from bi-monthly to quarterly. To my knowledge, the issue was primarily one of time involvement of the publisher, and as recently as a month ago, they were still accepting advertising.

Speaking strictly for myself, this is sad news in that the magazine was a great way for me to get written material out to a wide audience. I’ve personally had five articles published in Ships in Scale over the years, but no more.

Still, this is an opportunity for the Nautical Research Guild to expand the Nautical Research Journal and to hopefully pick up some of those Ships in Scale subscribers to reach a larger audience.

HMS Alert Follow Up and Youtube Video

At the 2016 NRG Conference in San Diego, CA. Photo by Ryland Craze.

And, since Ages of Sail needed some kind of Youtube presence, I took my review photos, construction photos, and completed model photos, and put them together into a slide show with text transitions and some classical music.

I actually put this together about a year ago and then forgot all about it. I was looking at posting some other video recently and rediscovered it. So, here it is in all its splendor, HMS Alert from the Shipyard paper model kit, with some additions…


And, just in case you want to try building this kit yourself, here’s a link to it on Ages of Sail: https://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/hms-alert-1777-1:96—shipyard-mk019–paper-model-kit.html

Note that it now appears as part of two other combination sets. In this one, which included Le Coureur: https://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/30-anniversary-collection–the-opponents–shipyard-mkj005–paper-model.html

And this one, which includes Le Coureur as well as HMS Mercury: https://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/30-anniversary-collection–north-europe-part-2–shipyard-mkj003–paper-model.html

Ship Model Okumoto – Youtube Videos

I just put up a post about the frame model kits from Ship Model Okumoto and immediately found some interesting stuff on Youtube.

Here is just one of the interesting videos showing one of the models going together by the kit designer Akira Okumoto. In this case, it’s the model of the French warship La Couronne. What I find particularly interesting, beyond the kit itself, is how he doesn’t use any kind of framing jig to build it.

He also makes cuts to the wood with a Japanese-style saw freehand, just following a line he draws on the wood. There’s no final sanding for correction. He just cuts the wood and glues it into place and that’s that.

There are several videos. Of course, he’s speaking Japanese, but most of video is just following the build. Interesting stuff!

 

Ship Model Okumoto – New Frame-Model Kits

The Nautical Research Guild just posted some basic previews of 4 new kits from the new ship model kit manufacturer Ship Model Okumoto on ModelShipWorld.com. This is a new company in Japan that is producing a line of kits for those modelers who want to build a frame or admiralty-style model relatively quickly and easily.

Hannah by Ship Model Okumoto in 1/70 scale.

They offer four kits, the Revolutionary War schooner Hannah, the bark HMS Endeavour, the Santa Maria, and the 17th century French warship La Couronne. All are frame-style model kits with all parts laser cut for ease of assembly.

La Couronne by Ship Model Okumoto in 1/123 scale.

Construction times on these kits vary from an estimated 100 hours for the Hannah, on up to 240 hours for HMS Endeavour. These build times are far lower than what ship modelers usually have to face when building ship models. Normally, models like these have to be built from scratch or from semi-kits (like those from The Lumberyard), and can take many months to a year or more to complete.

Santa Maria by Ship Model Okumoto in 1/80 scale.

Given that these models require only enough sanding to clean up the char on the laser cutting and to bevel the frame edges, I suspect that working on these models should create a fairly limited amount of dust.

Now, don’t quote me on this, but I believe the intent of these kits is to build them as is – that they are not just the beginnings of a model to be planked over, painted, rigged, etc. You might be able to do that if you really want, but I think these are pretty well designed to be stand-alone kits.

HMS Endeavor from Ship Model Okumoto in 1/80 scale.

Of course, the kits, being from Japan, have instructions written in Japanese, but these days, phone apps like Google Translate, make that pretty much a non-issue. Plus, I understand that the instructions are well illustrated with color photos.

Check out Ship Model Okumoto here: https://ec.en.ship-model.net

Also, read over the details of each kit, as reviewed on the NRG’s Model Ship World using the links below:

Hannah, 1/70 scale

HMS Endeavour, 1/80 scale

La Couronne, 1/123 scale

Santa Maria, 1/80 scale

If I learn more about these kits, I’ll post updates. Ω

New and Bigger Longboat Kit from Model Shipways

I just saw a post on Model Ship World announcing this new kit from Model Shipways. This is basically a larger, armed version of the Chuck Passaro-designed 18th Century English Longboat kit. The original kit was a 1/4″ scale, or 1:48 scale, model that measured just under 12″ long. The new kit is produced at 1/2″ scale, or 1:24 scale.

The new kit is then just about 2′ long, which should make it an easier build for beginners. I’d add that while many people call the original kit a “beginner” kit, having built it, I would never recommend it for beginners. The only thing that might be okay for beginners in that kit was the simple rigging and the low price. However, this kit’s size should make it much easier to work on, still retaining the simple rig and relatively low price of $119.99.

The price of this kit includes the new cast metal cannons and other fittings, all basswood strips and laser-cut parts with no plywood used (still a cheap wood), and photo-etched brass decorative scroll work, rather than the printed paper ones from the smaller kit. It also boasts a full 48-page instruction booklet.


To check out the listing, click here: http://modelexpo-online.com/Model-Shipways-MS1460-18th-Century-Armed-Longboat–Laser-Cut-Wood-Metal-Photo-etched-Brass-Kit_p_3218.html

The smaller kit appears to be available still, and it still makes a nice, small display model. The new kit matches the scale of the 21ft English Pinnace kit, and should make a nice addition to any ship modeler’s collection. Ω

King Khufu’s Solar Boat – Woody Joe Kit – Model Built by Don Dressel

Several years ago, Woody Joe came out with a unique wooden model kit of the Solar Barge of Khufu, also known as Cheops, King of Egypt from 2589 B.C. to 2566 B.C. The ship was buried with King Khufu, and intended for use in the afterlife. It measures 143 feet long and is one of the most well preserved, largest and oldest vessel ever discovered.

Woody Joe produces this 1/72-scale kit, making heavy use of laser-cut wooden parts. It’s a beautifully designed kit, with the model measuring around 23″ long when complete.

It’s designed to be fairly easy to build, though of course the instructions are in Japanese. Mr. Dressel reported that he did have some difficulty interpreting some of the instructions until he downloaded the Google Translate app on his iPad.

Zootoyz, an excellent online seller featuring Woody Joe kits, lists the kit as a Level 2 kit on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most difficult. Woody Joe suggests that completion of the kit should take about 25 hours, which makes it one of their quicker builds.

The kit has a list price of ¥22,000, which is around $200. And, with Zootoyz new wooden model online shop and it’s introductory discount extended through the end of June, the price comes down to $184 plus shipping.

For more information about King Khufu, see this Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khufu

Or for info specifically about the solar boat, there is this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khufu_ship

Mr. Dressel says he will be displaying his model at the upcoming 2018 NRG conference in Las Vegas, which is just a few months away.

The Hayling Hoy of 1759 – New Book by David Antscherl

David Antscherl has done it again in this newest publication from Seawatch Books.

 

This newest title details the construction of an English Hoy, a harbor craft used to transport cargo and passengers. The book details the plank-on-frame construction of one of these vessels, using framing techniques from the first volume of The Fully Framed Model, a.k.a. The Swan series.

The Seawatch Books description doesn’t give many specifics about the vessel or the plans. Presumably, the plans are the same 1/4″ scale (1:48), as those in the Swan series were. Anchor hoy’s being cutter-rigged will certainly make this a smaller model in comparison with a full-rigged ship. I’m looking for more details now and will revise this post with any updates I find.

The book is a large format 8-1/2″ x 11″, 200 pages, hardcover, with 8 color pages and 3 sheets of plans, and sells for $70 plus shipping.

 

Website Dedicated to La Renommée, 1744

Ship modeler David Stockman sent me a link to a really beautifully done website he maintains about the French frigate La Renommée of 1744.

Image of a model by Luigi Balestrieri.

Lots of great information there! And, if you’re thinking about building the Euromodel kit, make sure to check out his comments on the kit.

In any case, you should check out his website, which is at: http://larenommeeship.com. Ω