Category Archives: Ship Modeling News

Ship modeling related news.

My Next Japanese Boat Models Display Next Month

For those of you in the Bay Area in March and interested in models of traditional Japanese watercraft, I’m setting up my first display of 2018 next month. The models will be in the display window of Union Bank’s community room, located inside the Japan Center’s East Mall, from March 1st through March 31st, 2018.

Models will include kit build models from Woody Joe and Thermal Studio, as well as four scratch built models, two of which will be brand new to the display.

Here’s my original post on


Building an Old-Style Japanese Roadside Teahouse

Last year around this time, I purchased a few Woody Joe temple and mini architectural kits from none other than Zootoyz, where I buy all my Woody Joe kits.  Incidentally, if you haven’t visited in a while, you should check it out. Morikawa-san revamped the site and it looks really nice. If you buy a kit from him and build it, be sure to send him photos. Also, the folks at Woody Joe would love to see them too.

In any case, in early January, I had a weekend to kill, so I started one of the mini-kits. This one is called Sato no chaya, or Sato’s tea house. It’s a very simple kit that costs around $26 plus shipping. My guess is that the scale is somewhere around 1/50.

Teahouse Mini-Architecture Kit

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Shipyard (Paper Models from Poland) Changes Product Lineup

I just found out recently that the polish paper model company Shipyard, is changing its product lineup a little, in order to make room for their new line of HO scale railroad accessories. Basically, the name of the company is now VESSEL, and they now have two separate product brands: Shipyard and Railway Miniatures.


Basically, all HO scale products are now sold only under the Railway Miniatures brand. This includes all HO scale lighthouses, dockyard accessories and some new buildings. I think it’s a great idea, but there are some oddities, particularly for American model railroad enthusiasts, in that the products are a mix of 17th through 19th century dockyard equipment and European buildings. Some new stuff is modern era, but still has a European flavor.

So, there’s probably not a lot in this product line that will appear here in the U.S., but I still think it’s good for VESSEL to expand its product lineup.

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2018 International Ship Modeling Conference in Rochefort, France

[Updated 1/11/18]

Approaching the end of the year, I find that my brain is just beginning to start functioning normally again (normal, for me) after having been down with an exhausting cold that struck just before Christmas. It wiped out my holidays, but I’m happy to be feeling mostly better again.

The first thing to deal with after coming out of this mental haze, is some information I just received on a new international ship modeler’s conference, which is being put together to take place in Rochefort, France from October 18th through October 21st.

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Trabaccolo Paper Model on

A ship modeler on the website recently finished this beautiful model of a Trabaccolo, a type of Adriatic Sea coasting ship. The model was built from a kit by WAK, a Polish company. I don’t know the details of the kit, but I found 1/100 scale WAK kit in the online shop at



This is a beautifully built model, done using the printed parts mostly untouched except to clean up the part edges. You can see a lot more on the build log of this model by the member named Seahorse:  Trabaccolo [WAK] – just for some practice –

Having completed a couple paper model kits myself from the Polish manufacturer Shipyard (now officially goes by the name Vessel Company), I’m a bit intrigued by kits from this and other manufacturers. I don’t know about other kits from WAK, but this one gives you printed individual planks for planking the hull and deck. I’m really curious to try one out. Given that this particular kit is only 39 PLN, or about $11 plus shipping, it’s an easy purchase. Ω

South Bay Model Shipwrights November Meeting

I made it to the meeting of the South Bay Model Shipwrights, which is a very long-standing and respected ship model club that was started by Jean Eckert back in 1982 and has operated continuously ever since. Some current and past distinguished members include Jerry Blair, Dr. Clayton Feldman, of course Jean Eckert, Ed Von Der Porten, the late Charles Parsons, and many more.

The club currently meets at the Los Altos Public Library in Los Altos, California, at 6:00 pm, generally on the third Friday of every month. The club, though much smaller than in the past, is  currently headed by Jim Rhetta, who recently completed the rigging of a model of the 3-masted schooner Fannie Gorham for a couple who’s father had passed away after completing most of the hardware.

Jim brought the model, which was in a case built by member and past-president Walt Hlavecek, and presented it to the couple at the meeting this past Friday. Jim did a nice job, and they seemed very happy with it.

Meanwhile, here are some photos from the meeting:

George Sloup talks about the WWI German battlecruiser Goeben, which he has been building from a paper model kit. Here he’s showing some info from a book on German WWI ships.

Jacob Cohn’s 1/64-scale model of the Baltic schooner Scotland sits in the foreground.

An elevated bow view of Jacob Cohn’s Baltic schooner model showing some more of the rigging detail.

Another view of Jacob’s nicely done Baltic schooner.

The group’s newest member Lou Cierra brought in his 3rd wooden ship model, the paddlewheel steamer Gulnara, built from a kit by the German manufacturer Krick.

Another view of the Gulnara with my own wasen models visible in the background. Ken Lum’s detailing of shields for the Drakkar Viking ship are visible in the left foreground.

Lou describes some of the work and issues he faced on this 1/50-scale model, which he started only last month.

The South Bay meetings are usually preceded by a dinner at a local landmark, Chef Chu’s Chinese restaurant. The meetings generally last until 9pm or so. I always enjoy these meetings, particularly with our regular gatherings at Chef Chu’s. Only a few of us attend the pre-meeting dinner, but it’s always a nice way to start the evening.

The meetings, and dinner for that matter, are always open to guests and new members. If you’re interested in joining the group, best thing to do is to contact the president, Jim Rhetta, at

Next month, the club will be meeting for a holiday dinner instead of the regular meeting, but will be meeting again as usual in January.

In the meantime, if you want to see a bit of the happenings of the club, you can find information on their website at Ω

Feature Kit: Artesania Latina’s French Privateer Cutter Le Renard, 1813

I’ve always like the look of the cutter rig. After building my model of the HMS Alert paper model by Shipyard, I became enamored with them. There are several kits of this type available, but this is a really nice looking, good sized model. I think Artesania Latina has come a long way in improving the scale appearance and details of their kits, while still keeping a nice, relatively low price point.

Ages of Sail

Looking for a beautiful ship model subject that’s big enough to display, easy enough to build, won’t takes years to complete, and at an affordable price? Take a look at the French privateer cutter, Le Rendard, 1813. 

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New Ancre Books Title – N.S. del Rosario Feluca 1759

I just got a notice from Ancre Books of France of a new Monograph on the Nostra Signora del Rosario, a typical sardine-fishing felucca of Sanremo, built in 1759.

The monograph, written by Franco Fissoro and translated by Francois Fougerat, is 200 pages of detailed information, with 130 of those pages are on the construction of the model. The book appears to be loaded with photos, includes 8 full-color pages, and includes 20 plates in 1/36 scale detailing the frames. The cost is 110 Euros plus shipping.

You can see more details about this new volume on Ancre’s site here:


NRG Conference this Week in St. Petersburg, Florida

For those who weren’t aware, if you happen to be in the area of St. Petersburg, Florida this week, you should consider checking out the NRG Conference, which is being held at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront hotel.

The annual conference is an international gathering of ship modelers that will take place from Thursday, October 26th through Saturday, October 28th. Local tours of interest take place on Thursday, while Technical sessions and symposiums, plus the annual membership meeting and banquet, take place on Saturday.

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Waiting in Anticipation for the Queen Anne Style Barge

Syren Ship Model Company, who brings us some of the finest blocks and rigging line available, plus a host of other products, is preparing to release their first complete kit, the Queen Anne Style Barge, c. 1708.

Chuck Passaro’s latest work. Soon to be available as a kit.

As you might recall, Chuck Passaro, is the designer of Model Shipway’s 18th Century English Longboat and 21ft. English Pinnace kits, among others. He also created a set of plans and sells them, along with fittings kits and bulkheads sets of the English cutter Cheerful, 1806.

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