Category Archives: Ship Modeling News

Ship modeling related news.

New Kits All Around – OcCre Polaris, Model Shipway’s Dory, Plus Vanguard Models at Ages of Sail

While the Corona virus continues on, the world is on fire, and I sit in the midst of a new city curfew… But, on the up side, there’s a lot of good news on the ship modeling scene.

European manufacturers have re-opened and shipments of kit and fittings have begun again, so the big online shops are able to restock. The main problem for them is the limited number of flights now, which is limiting shipments and making it extremely expensive. So, don’t be surprised if some prices creep upwards a little.

But, just as important are some nice new kit releases and new product line availability.

 

OcCre Polaris

The first new news is a new wooden ship model kit from OcCre Model of Spain, the Polaris.

Now, may of you who have been building ship models for a while may recognize that this kit appears to be OcCre’s answer to Artesania Latina’s Virginia Pilot Boat Swift. And, with the stocks of AL kits slowly diminishing, this seems to be a good release, filling the important niche of the popular beginning kit.

Making the kit an even better fit for beginners are the illustrated, step-by-step instructions. Plus, OcCre has produced a 84-part series of short videos, showing every step of construction.

Now, I think the kit is already ideal for beginning ship modelers, but this mini video series pretty well seals the deal.  If only they’d added a nice soundtrack…

In any case, you can order yours at an introductory price of $99 at Ages of Sail here: https://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/polaris-(occre-1:50).html

 

New Grand Banks Dory from Model Shipways

It’s always nice to see Model Shipways release some new products, and the Lowell Grand Bands Dory is a great subject. With the demise of Midwest wooden boat kits, there’s a big hole in the market for well documented, simple kits with good, english language instructions, and this appears to be just that.

This kit was designed by the very talented ship modeler David Antscherl, who authored the very popular and detail series of books on the Swan Class Sloops, as well as one on the Fireship Comet, the Greenwich Hospital Barge, and others.

This 1/24 scale kit measures 10″ long and comes in at the ideal beginner’s price point of around $35. It features laser-cut basswood parts, and is described as the first in a series of progressive model tutorials.

I’ve exchanged emails with Mr. Antscherl as soon as I spotted the kit bearing his credentials, and we can expect to see a couple more subjects in the very near future.

In the meantime, they were on sale, and I had a coupon(!), so I ordered one for myself. I think the folks at the ship model club will love to see this one. That is, once we can start meeting again…

Check it out here: https://modelexpo-online.com/Lowell-Grand-Banks-Dory-Scale-124_p_3957.html

 

Vanguard Models at Ages of Sail

Good news for those who want to find a US seller of kits from the very talented Chris Watton, who gave us Caldercraft’s Nelson’s Navy and Amati’s Victory Models lines of kits. I was surprised to find out that he and the owner of Ages of Sail have been in talks, and the first shipment of Vanguard Models products are on their way to the Ages of Sail shop as you read this.

Vanguard Models, the new venture run by Chris Watton himself, has already released four kits now. One of the most recent is a type of Scottish fishing boat called a Zulu. I’d never seen one before, but it’s a beautiful looking boat. Either that, or it’s such a beautiful looking model kit that it makes me think it’s a beautiful boat.

All the kits from Vanguard Models are 1/64 scale, at least for now, and they look to be very nicely design using innovative engineering and quality parts. Also, the instruction look to be very nicely illustrated with accompanying text in english.

Expect to see the four kits listed soon at  Ages of Sail. Ω

 

 

 

 

European Ship Model Manufacturers Re-Opening

Good news for us ship modelers during this COVID-19 crisis. It seems that all the European manufacturers are opening up their businesses. This means that your favorite hobby dealers will soon be able to restock the kits they’ve been running out of.

This mostly affects Italian manufacturers Mantua/Panart, Corel, and Amati, and Spanish manufacturers Constructo and OcCre.

HMS Beagle And HMS Terror are two of the more popular kits from OcCre Models of Spain that have been unavailable in the U.S.

So, if you’re looking for a specific kit that’s been out of stock, keep watching the websites of your favorite sellers, or check with them to find out when they expect to be restocked.

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 WasenModeler.com 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?

Ω

2020 NRG Conference at Channel Islands Maritime Museum

Good news for Nautical Research Guild members in California. Today the NRG just announce that next conference will take place from October 15-17 at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard, CA.

It’s a bit of a small venue for the event, I think. But, the collection of models and marine art is wonderful.

For myself, my earliest years of ship modeling were associated with this museum. As I lived less than an hour away, I made many trips to look over the collection of models, my favorite being those made by the late Ed Marple.

I was even president of the model guild for a short time, but my service was cut short when I went back to school and had a shift in family life. I probably still know 3 or 4 people there, who I will hopefully see again, as I fully intend to go the conference this Fall.

Other details about the conference aren’t available at this time, except that there will be no special hotel arrangements for the conference. Keep an eye on the NRG website for further news. Ω

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