Category Archives: Ship Modeling News

Ship modeling related news.

This is a Battle of Trafalgar Diorama???

I’m usually writing to promote ship modeling and products made for ship modelers. After all, the more promotion of the subject and more support for the manufacturers, the more interesting projects we’ll find to build. So, I was looking at some of the offerings by the Spanish wooden model company, Disar. They make some okay stuff, and recently, I’ve noticed some much nicer products coming from them.

The kits they produce seem to have decent wood with fittings stored in compartmentalized plastic box that is actually useful, long after the model is complete. Their instructions are pretty complete and in step-by-step photos style, and many of the subjects they produce are fairly unique – not just another HMS Victory or Bounty, etc.

I started looking through their downloadable product catalog for some information on them, and for those of you interested in buying their kits, they don’t sell them on their website, but you can get them from Ages of Sail and elsewhere. But, it was while looking through their catalog that I found something that made me laugh.

I found a diorama kit labeled The Battle of Trafalgar. The famous battle that saw the victory of the British fleet, but the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. the battle saw lines of French and Spanish 3-decker warships cut by the British lines. The classic, epic battle of sailors fighting from behind wooden floating fortresses. So, I’m not sure that this is a very good representation of that famous battle…

 

In addition, they offered The Battle of the Nile diorama. Again, a famous battle which saw a victorious  British fleet was commanded by Nelson. But, again, I’m not sure who thought this was a good representation of that battle either…

Now, it might have happened, but I can’t understand the point of a ship’s boat battling with an enemy ship’s boat while the massive warships were engaged in battle. I mean, if you were in this scene, and you sank or captured the other ship’s boat, who would really care? It wouldn’t have affected the overall battle in any way, except maybe preventing the enemy from pickup up their own survivors from the sea.

I guess it’s an interesting product for someone, but I would recommend not trying to link it to one of these major battles. I think what’s best about it is the idea it suggests of putting a small boat model into a diorama. It’s a neat idea and dioramas are always fun to look at. Ω

 

New Ancre Titles in 2019

It’s been a while now since both Jean Budriot and Hubert Berti have passed away, but Ancre books has continued to publish new titles and add new language versions to existing ones, and for some reason, I’m having a hard time keeping tabs on them. Their work keeps slipping under my radar, so I’m not quite sure what exactly I’ve missed.

But, I did get an announcement of two new titles this year, as well as the release of their 2020 calendar.

The first one, which I believe was released some months ago, is a monograph on the Louise, an Argenteuil racing yacht of 1878. The photos showing the author’s model look truly beautiful. I can’t imagine that I could make a model that looks this good. But, the subject looks intrinsically beautiful, so it would be hard to go wrong with it.

This book is available in English as well as in French, Spanish, or Italian, and at 68€, it’s one of the less expensive monographs published by Ancre. The book is 52 pages and includes 10 sheets of plans at 1/15 scale.

 

The second monograph announced is the Aries lighter, a French riverboat of 1833. This boat is a flat-bottomed tartan or tartanee, a small mediterranean sailing ship that was apparently quite popular in the 17th through the 19th centuries.

This 144-page monograph includes 16 sheets of drawings in 1/48 and 1/96 scales. It’s available in English, French, or Italian and will be available at the end of this month (November). It looks like it will have an introductory price of 89€ through the end of 2019. After that, the price will go up to 97€.

For more info on these, visit https://ancre.fr/en/

These both look like they will make great scratch build projects, or just more books to add to that growing collection of nifty stuff to have on the shelf! Ω

NRG Conference in New Bedford, MA Next Week

It’s time for the annual Nautical Research Guild Conference again. This year it’s in New Bedford, Massachusetts (Ha, I passed the spell check!), at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, October 24-26, 2019.

This should be an ideal place to hold a ship modeling conference. I’ve never been there myself, and have always want to visit. However, since I’ve only really attended the conferences for Ages of Sail, and this event has almost no vendors due to Massachusetts sales tax laws, or so I’m told, I’m not going to be there.

A couple members from the South Bay Model Shipwrights club will be going, so I’ll be looking forward to hearing what they have to say about it at next month’s meeting.

One thing I will be missing out on is their collection of Japanese prints and historical information about Japanese whaling, which could aid me in my research of Japanese traditional boats, which includes the Japanese whaleboats, called Kujirabune. I know that the Japanese whaling museum in Taiji, Japan, has some kind of connection, being that both involve the history of whaling.

In any case, if you’re interested in the Conference, there’s still time. Visit the NRG’s webpage for more details: https://www.thenrg.org/nrg-2019-conference.php

Ω

 

 

NRG’s Planked Half Hull Kit

I don’t know how this got past me – I guess I’ve been a bit pre-occupied with other things these last couple months. But the Nautical Research Guild just posted a notice on ModelShipWorld that their Half Hull Planking Project is now available.

The model project, created by Toni Levine, is intended to teach the practice of spiling techniques, which is the method used to shape and fit the planking on a real, full-sized ship. She points out in one of her posts that the project uses some shortcuts and compromises that work well, making it suitable for novice as well as experienced ship modelers.

The availability of the kit for the project was recently announced, and it can be purchased for $65 for MSW members and $52 for full NRG members. Price does not including shipping, which is $10 in the US, $20 to Canada, and $26 to other international destinations. The kit is on the NRG web site at:

https://thenrg.org/the-nrg-store.php#!/Half-Hull-Planking-Kit/c/41410202/offset=0&sort=normal

You can follow Toni Levine’s build on Model Ship World and learn more about the project here: https://modelshipworld.com/topic/21980-half-hull-planking-project/

This sounds like a great way to learn planking techniques without having to deal with all the masting, rigging, and deck details of a full ship model. I could use a course on spiling techniques myself, so I may have to give this project a go myself. Ω

New MSW Scratch Build Project Available – HMS Winchelsea

Chuck Passaro, ship modeler and owner/operator of Syren Model Ship Company, recently announced on Model Ship World his plans to change the operational model of his company somewhat, and will no longer be developing new kits. He will be continuing to focus on producing blocks, rigging line, and his existing kits, but has decided to change course for future developments.

In keeping with the new changes, he has teamed up with Model Ship World to make a new online project available to NRG/MSW members. The project, which he has been developing over the course of several years, is the 32-gun British frigate Winchelsea, 1764.

Interested builders will need to be a member of the Model Ship World online forum, but there is no cost to join. As am MSW member (and MSW members are automatically registered as NRG associate members), you can then pay a $15 access fee, and you will receive details on accessing and downloading the drawings and monograph.

Payment is made through the NRG website here: https://www.thenrg.org/plans-and-projects.php#!/HMS-Winchelsea-Plan-Access-MSW/p/146083138/category=13294033

Or just go to https://www.thenrg.organd click on the Plans & Projects tab, and then the HMS Winchelsea Plan Access button. A message will be sent to you on MSW on how to access and download the drawings necessary for this build.

The project is designed as a plank-on-bulkhead model project for first-time scratch builders. The drawings are specifically for a 1/4″ scale (1:48), unrigged model, with a hull measuring about 38″ long.

While this is designed as a first-time scratch modeler’s project, some laser-cut parts will be available for purchase through Syren Ship Model Company’s Winchelsea page for those who so choose. The first chapter of the monograph is also available to download on that page.

More information about the group project can be found on MSW here: https://modelshipworld.com/topic/21441-hms-winchelsea-1764-32-gun-frigate-group-project-info/

There are other group projects available to members as well, including the Medway Longboat (kit’s similar to Model Expo’s 18th Century English Longboat, but much nicer materials and detail), an Introduction to Relief Carving, as well as a 28-gun frigate, HMS Triton, build.

This looks to be a nice new ship modeling project, a great way to delve into scratch building, or to just take on a wonderful looking build-as-you-go project. Ω

Woody Joe’s USS Susquehanna Now Available!

Here’s some good news for ship modelers, particularly those interested in the early sail-rigged steamers. Woody Joe has just released their new U.S.S. Susquehanna kit. This is one of the famous “Black Ships” that were party of Matthew Perry’s squadron to open trade with Japan in 1853.

The 1/120-scale laser-cut kit measures just about 34″ long when completed. The cost is about $400 plus shipping. That makes it one of the pricier kits, but it is also one of the few kits available anywhere of an American paddlewheel steamer.

When I get caught up on projects a bit, I’d really love to build this. The kit, like many Woody Joe kits, is designed to be easy to build. They list it as 190 hours construction time, which is in comparison to 200 hours for their big Cutty Sark kit and 100 hours for their Sir Winston Churchill kit.

I’ve found Woody Joe kits to be accurate, but leaving room for the builder to upgrade the kit by adding details beyond what’s provided in the kit. Of course, you will need to deal with instructions that are only available in Japanese. But, the instructions are extremely well illustrated, and pretty easy to follow, and there is actually very little text or need for it. But, if you have a smart phone, the use of the Google Translate app will help you make sure you don’t miss anything.

You’ll probably find the kit on Amazon or Ebay. But, as always, I recommend the Japanese online shop Zootoyz.jp for service and support. Here’s a direct link to the kit on their site: https://www.japan-wooden-model-kits-zootoyz.shop/contents/en-us/p24912_USS-SUSQUEHANNA-Wooden-Sailing-Ship-Model-Kits-by-Woody-JOE.html

At the moment, I’ve noticed that the product does not appear on the original Zootoyz.jp site, but does appear on the newer “wooden products only” site (accessible from the Zootoyz home page). But, just click on the direct link above and it will get you there.

Ω

Artesania Latina Going Away

It looks like the classic line of ship model kits from Artesania Latina are going away. I’ve been told this from industry sources I trust.

Many staff from Artesania had already left the company to start their own wooden ship modeling companies, including OcCre and Disar Model. I’m told this occurred as Artesania Latina shifted its production to China. Both product lines can be found in North America at Ages of Sail.

It appears that the company operations have already ceased and the website now has a generic “We’ll be back soon” message posted on it. Their products have become increasingly difficult to find, so those of you who really want to build specific Artesania Latina kits should get them while you can. Perhaps there is a possibility that one of the existing ship model companies, like OcCre or Disar, will resurrect some part of their lineup? No word on that yet, but I wouldn’t count on it.

One of the things that made Artesania Latina kits so popular was that they were just about the only line of wooden ship model kits available through the major hobby retailer distribution channels. So they were the often the first wooden ship model kits that hobbyists were exposed to. I know that is true for me.

The first wooden ship model kit I ever took notice of was Artesania Latina’s Swift kit in a hobby shop in downtown Santa Barbara, about a block from where I used to work. That and a completed model on display seriously caught my attention and hooked me for life.

Artesania Latina’s Swift

It’s sad to see them go. But, of course, there have always been tons of kits selling on Ebay, both new and pre-owned, and it will take a while before the “classic” kits like the Swift disappear for good. But, the newer popular subjects like the Surprise and Hermione are already getting hard to find. Ω

 

 

Vanguard Models – HMS Alert Kit Available

Just saw the news this morning on Model Ship World that Chris Watton’s Vanguard Models site is now fully functional and his new HMS Alert kits are available for sale.

The 1/64-scale cutter model measures 637mm long and 517mm high – that’s about 25″ long and 20″ high – and sells for £180.00 plus shipping, or just under $230.

You can order the kit here: https://vanguardmodels.com/h-m-armed-cutter-alertstatic

Mr. Watton says that he’ll now be working on the next project, the brig HMS Speedy.

 

 

Vanguard Models – New Ship Model Company Venture by Chris Watton

Chris Watton is the designer behind Amati’s Victory Models line of ship model kits. These are some of the finest wooden ship model kits available. Now, Mr. Watton is now branching out on his own with a his new brand of ship model kits called Vanguard Models.

He’s announce on the Model Ship World forum that his first kit will be a 1/64-scale kit of the English cutter HMS Alert, which he expects to be released sometime around the end of May.

Image from Vaguard Models new website.

The details on the model appear to be up to Chris Watton’s fine standards, and I expect this is going to sell like hotcakes. Of course, it depends somewhat on the price point for these, plus shipping costs. That information is yet to be posted.

This looks to be only the first of what I hope will be many more products by Mr. Watton. Future products mentioned include the 14-gun English brig, HMS Speedy, and the 50-gun fourth-rate ship of the line, HMS Bristol. For now, the only source for the kits is the new Vanguard Models webiste, which appears to be in testing still.

You can keep track of developments by following posts on Model Ship World (click the earlier link), or possibly just keep checking the new website.

Woody Joe’s New USS Susquehanna Kit in the Works

I just saw an exciting post on Woody Joe’s Facebook page today. Woody Joe is developing a new 1/120-scale wooden model kit of the USS Susquehanna, one of the famous kurofune or black ships of Commodore Perry’s squadron that sailed into Edo Bay in 1853 and 1854 to force a trade treaty with Japan.

These are photos posted on Facebook by Woody Joe of their prototype. There are many details that need to be worked out yet, so there is no word yet on pricing or availability. But, it is clearly a plank-on-bulkhead kit of the 3-masted barque-rigged paddlewheel steam frigate. At 1/120 scale, the model will measure about 34″ long.

Again, no price is set yet. But, based on their kits of similar size and detail, my guess is that it will run somewhere around 45,000¥ or about $400. We’ll see how close I come to the actual total. This kit appears to rely on more photo-etched brass than past kits, which can add a lot to a kit’s cost.

There’s a general lack of mid 19th-Century steamship model kits. This will join their own Kanrin Maru kit to help fill that gap. I, for one, am really looking forward to the release of this kit. But, I guess I should finish my own Kanrin Maru build before I get started on this one. So, it’s just as well that it’s not quite ready for release yet.

Zootoyz.jp will have the kit for sale as soon as it becomes available. I’ll make sure to post an update as soon as I find out more. Ω