Category Archives: Ship Modeling News

Ship modeling related news.

Visiting Papermodelers.com

First off, before anyone asks, I AM a wood ship model builder first and foremost. I know that question may come up, because I’ve been posting a lot about paper models.

Well, I just think they’re so darned neat! I can’t help but be intrigued by them. But, they haven’t replaced my love for wooden ship models. So, don’t think I’m changing this site. I just think the paper models should be more popular than they are.

Heck, how many wooden ship models can be built on a card table in your living room without all the dust, wood shavings, splinters, etc. And with the local heat wave we’ve been having here in California, it’s too hot to work in the garage, where I can make a lot of dust and noise, working on my wooden models.

Anyway, as the North American distributor for Shipyard products, Ages of Sail has TONS of Shipyard kits and many of the accessories, so I’m trying to find a way to help get the word out and generate some interest.

So, I found myself registering an account on Papermodelers.com and found some great stuff there. They have a lot of everything being built there, including ships. Most ships are steel navy, and those that are of the sailing variety are often scratch builds. But, there are some Shipyard sailing ship builds here and there.

Here you can see that I stole a copy of their picture of the week. I know nothing about the model, so if you want to know more about it, be sure to visit their site. I think you can read the threads even if you’re not a registered user.

I signed up many months ago, but finally posted some photos of my Crowdy Head Lighthouse and HMS Alert models there. Hope to see some more Shipyard related activity there.

Last night, I had a chat via Facebook with Tomek Kliszynski of Shipyard, discussing ways to help him get more visibility for his products in the North American market, since they’re already doing well in the European market. Don’t know if I can help him much, but I will certainly build some more of their kits!

Building a Hozugawa Ayubune Model in 1/10 Scale

One of two new ship modeling projects of Japanese subjects – A small river fishing boat called an Ayubune that follows the work of boatbuilder Douglas Brooks. The second project will be introduced shortly. Stay tuned!

Wasen Modeler

There are a lot of potential wasen subjects to model, but good plans are difficult to come by. Also, when decent drawings are found, it’s often difficult to find or to understand the details of the subject. I’ve been toying with a lot of different possible model building subjects, but would usually run into some issue that kept me from pursuing it further.

Recently, I sort of re-discovered a subject that I seem to have overlooked before. It is a boat that Douglas Brooks wrote about in past blogs from about 3 years ago, when he was building a boat in Kameoka, Japan, which is about 16 miles west of Kyoto. There, he built a Hozugawa Ayubune, a type of simple fishing boat that was used on the Hozu river.

15 shaku Ayubune built by Douglas Brooks in Kameoka, Japan, in 2014. Photo courtesy of Douglas Brooks.

The boat is a…

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Photos from the Golden Hind Repair

I was just sent some photos taken last Friday during the final stages of my repair work on Raymond Aker’s Golden Hind model. The model is on display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center of the Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

The repair work is done – yes, I finally finished a ship model related project – and the model is back in its display, with a new, more colorful backdrop.

All photos are courtesy of the National Park Service.

Repairing the Golden Hind

A couple months ago, fellow ship modeler Ed Von Der Porten (you might have read his articles in Seaways’ Ships in Scale magazine), got me lined up with some work for the Pt. Reyes National Seashore. The job entailed doing some light repair work to the large Golden Hind model on display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center at Pt. Reyes Station. I’ve done some various repair work before, but this is the first work done at the a museum level. We worked out the details and the work too place over the past couple weeks, with the bulk of the work done on-site.

The model is one of the Golden Hind, built by Raymond Aker back in the 1950s. The model is HUGE, built at 1:12 scale. I don’t know the specifics of how long it took him to build the model, but it’s not an ordinary model, it’s a cut-away, showing all the interior and structural details.

 

Raymond Aker was an artist and there are many signs of that in this model. The first thing that’s noticeable is the use of forced perspective to make the viewer feel a lot closer to the model, almost as if one was on the deck. It’s quite a visual experience and must have required an enormous amount of planning.

While the mainmast is normal in all respects, the features of the fore and mizzen masts are purposely distorted. Below is a photo of the mizzen crow’s nest. You can see that the mast cap is skewed and also the tenon. Not only that, but if you could see the squared sections of the mast, like the heel of the mizzen topmast, you’d see that was distorted too. Even the positions of the shrouds are slightly moved.

You can also tell that the builder was an artist when you look at some of the painted details inside the ship, like the stern chaser, which is a painted cardboard cutout. All of the figures on the model are made the same way, and clearly painted using watercolors with very nice shading and highlighting.

When you look at the ladders, you’ll notice false shadows painted below each step. Also, in the above photo, you can see how the upper deck shows bright red bulwarks, which are much more subdued in the shadows of the deck below.

There is, of course, much more to see about this model, and if you’re in the area, I highly recommend taking a drive out to Pt. Reyes Station. It’s a nice drive, and there lovely scenery and hiking out there. The model itself is in the Bear Valley Visitor Center inside the theater.

As for the repair work, it’s all done, mostly some small rigging repairs, such as the spritsail sling, fore lower yard starboard lift, the fore topsail bowlines, mizzen parrals, etc. Also, the thread holding the bolt ropes to the sails is very fragile and has come off in many places, so I did some work on those.

Working on a model for a museum presented some new challenges for me. First, was doing all the work on-site, second, was that the model was so large, it had to sit on the floor, and I did most all of the work standing, lastly, due to strict standards of preservation, I had to do all the work wearing gloves. That’s something I’ve never done before, and it took some getting used to.

As it turns out, it wasn’t all that bad. Working with small parts in particular, I discovered that I never dropped any small parts while wearing gloves. And, as any ship modeler out there knows,  dropping parts is one of the most frustrating occurrences in ship modeling, as parts dropped are often never found again. I may just have to try using gloves more often.

The only problem with these surgical gloves is that my hands get sweaty. Fortunately, I had some very thin cotton gloves I could wear inside these, and that helped out a lot.

The model is very narrow. It’s designed to be viewed directly from the side, and forced perspective is used to give it the illusion of depth.

 

The model is now done, and around 4pm yesterday, we lifted her back onto her display cabinet, and the acrylic panels were put back into place. There is also a new backdrop that seems to really bring out the color on the model and really makes it pop. This is a neat model. Go see it if you can. Ω

Shipyard’s Online Store is Back

Good news for paper modelers. Shipyard, the Polish manufacturer of paper sailing ship and lighthouse model kits has re-established it’s online store.

Since the North American distributor, Ages of Sail, has expanded the number of Shipyard products it carries and lists on it’s online store, this may not be all that significant. But, it does provide another channel for acquiring the Shipyard kits. Of course, you’ll have to deal with prices in Zloty and shipping from Poland, and I tried using their site and couldn’t get past some shipping address errors, but I’m sure that will be fixed soon enough.

For those who specifically want to use Shipyard’s laser-cut paper blocks and deadeyes, this is a good way to get them, as they are the one class of items that is not carried by Ages of Sail. For my own models, I’ve used commercially available wooden blocks, but it’s just a matter of personal preference.

 

It’s always nice to have more sources for products. The other source I’ve found useful is the Polish company GPM, which sells some Shipyard products, as well as some unique laser-cut accessory items for Shipyard kits. You can find them at http://www.gpm.pl. Ω

My Projects Update

While I’ve been working on the Japanese shrine model this past week, I’ve hit a minor snag. What I thought was an adhesive backing on some wood veneer turns out to be simply a lining to keep the thin wood from falling apart. I can’t tell what it is, if it’s a shiny, slick kind of paper, or if it’s plastic. I sent a question about it to my contact at Woody Joe and, in the meantime, I’m testing out how well wood glue adheres to it on some scrap material. One way or the other, I should know tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m finishing up the rigging and final details on the Colonial Schooner Independence model. Mostly, I’m dealing with rope coils now. So, it was quite fortuitous that the latest newsletter from the Midwest Model Shipwrights of Chicago, The Forecastle Report, had a nice article on making rope coils by Bob Filipowski.

I’m also trying to push forward with a rigging project for a friend, and of course there is the HMS Victory model I’ve been working on for the past few years.

On top of all that, I managed to land a very good, short term repair job project for the Bear Creek Visitor Center at Pt. Reyes Station, which is part of the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, just north of San Francisco.

The project is to do some basic repair work to a large and rather unusual model of the Gold Hind built by the late Raymond Akers back in the 1950s. The model is a cutaway that has been designed to display up close against a wall. As such, the model is uniquely made so that the width of the ship has been scaled down. It is designed to be only viewed directly from the side.

Raymond Akers’ Golden Hind model.

I’ll be driving up there in about a week to do some preliminary work. The bulk of the work has to be done on-site at the end of the month, and I’ll be spending a couple days there to get it all done. It’s a nice short-term project that involves mostly small rigging repair and a little cleaning. It’s an honor to be able to work on Mr. Akers’ model, and it will be nice to be doing some work for the National Park Service. It’s especially nice that it’s a pretty self-contained project that won’t last beyond this month.

In the meantime, I’ve been missing doing research, which is really my favorite task in ship modeling. I’m just a researcher at heart. So, I’ve been digging up my Japanese boat resources and doing translations and such, trying to figure out what a good model subject will be. It’s difficult to decide since there is some information available about a lot of different kinds of boats, but not a lot on any one in particular.

The exception are boats that are the subject of Douglas Brooks’ work. The thing about those, is that they are fairly simple boat designs, but have some very fine details. So, I can build small versions of those, but they end up a bit too simple to look at. I could build them in a large scale, like 1/10, but then the details are about nail positions, tenons, mortises, etc., and I’m not very good at those things. I’m better at the larger details, like planks, beams, decking, and other structural details.

Two subjects I’m considering now an Amibune, which is a subject that Douglas Brooks had been studying, so I have access to measurements and some photos. The other is to model the Senzanmaru, which is a Kujirabune, a type of fast whale boat. I can make a generic Kujirabune, but it would be interesting to model the Senzanmaru itself and to paint it like the actual boat.

The Senzanmaru (千山丸) at Tokushima Castle Museum.

I’ve been studying the design of this boat through a book and drawings I purchased from a museum shop in Toba, Japan. Some of the small details I’m still not sure I understand. I could do a smaller scale model, which would overlook some of those details, but I’m tempted to do something large enough, maybe as large as 1/10 scale, that would allow me to try to make an impressive looking model, complete with colorful painting and banners.

For the next couple weeks, at least, I’ll probably continue to gather info on the Senzanmaru and Kujirabune and Amibune, until I find I have enough to do a reasonable build.

In the meantime, I got my Japanese boat models back from the last display in Japantown and have some minor repair work to do. I also have my Kamakura period Umibune back now and can continue working on it. I did managed to finish some important detail on the roof of the main deckhouse, but there are a number of other details I’ll be adding. I’ll write more about that on my wasen modeler site.

Finally, I never sent my article in to Ships in Scale on the building of the paper model of the HMS Alert. I’ll give it another read-through, but last time, I thought I should write a section on paper modeling in general. We’ll see how it feels when I re-read it. If it feels okay, I’ll just go ahead and mail it in, and maybe it will show up in the magazine by the end of the year or early next year. Ω

 

AL’s Independence – Swivel Guns

It occurred to me that I haven’t been posting enough about my own traditional western-style model ships what with my Japanese boat models and now the Japanese shrine build. Also, as I’d been in something of a slump due to project overload, I thought it might help me move forward by writing some more project updates.

Though I’ve written plenty about the cannons on my model, I don’t think I’ve said anything about the swivel guns. Clearly, I’ve replaced everything else from the original kit, and the swivel guns are no exception. I’ve being going back and forth on the scale of this model, and for the person I’m building this for, I don’t think the exact scale really matters. For the swivel guns, I ended up going with the 1/48-scale turned brass swivel guns sold by Syren Ship Model Company.

AL kit barrels in brass. Lumberyard replacements in pewter.

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Victory Models Sale at Ages of Sail

If your looking for a great kit for your next project, it’s hard to go wrong with one from Victory Models, Amati’s high-end line of kits developed by ship modeler Chris Watton. And, now is a really good time to buy one if you’re in North America, as Amati’s U.S. distributor, Ages of Sail, is having a rare sale on these kits. Another good reason to buy from them is their free Amati parts replacement policy.

Ages of Sail is offering a special, very rare, limited time discount on them kits from Amati/Victory Models. From now through June 1st, 2017, you can save $50 to $150 on one of these amazing kits. There’s no special coupon code to mess with, just visit our website and see the savings. Check them out now Amati is […]

via Spring Special on Amati Victory Models! — Ages of Sail

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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Shop Notes I is Back in Print

The venerable Ship Modeler’s Shop Notes book is back in print. I bought my first copy of this book in a perfect-bound edition way back around 1993. Heavily used and with many sections pages breaking loose from the binding, I located and purchased a newer used copy. But, I grew so attached to my old copy that I still haven’t gotten rid of it. Now that the book is back in print, perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to the old book and pass it along to recycling…

Ages of Sail

The popular Ship Modeler’s Shop Notes (book 1) was first published by the Nautical Research Guild in 1979 and has been out of print for many year, but it is now back in print and copies are In Stock at Ages of Sail!

From the NRG website:

The Nautical Research Guild’s Ship Modeler’s Shop Notes book, first published in 1979 and out of print for several years, is now back in print. This popular and insightful volume discusses the construction of ship models in numerous articles written by marine historians and ship model builders. Edited by Merritt Edson and assisted by Ben Lankford, Edward Mueller and Norman Rubin, the book is a compilation of shop notes and longer articles from out-of-print material contained in Volumes 1 through 25 of the Nautical Research Journal. This book has been a standard for ship model building, and highly acclaimed by professionals and…

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