Category Archives: Card Models

News about card (paper) models.

Revisiting an Awe Inspiring Shipyard HMS Mercury Build

I think it was about three years ago when I wrote a post about a gentleman in Germany who was building the 1/96-scale card model of the frigate HMS Mercury produced by Shipyard of Poland – this is the same kit I started way back, but didn’t finish (it’s on my shelf still, waiting for me to do more work on it).

Turns out that around the same time, I posted something about someone who was building a 1/72-scale version of the same ship, building it from what Shipyard called their Laser Cardboard kit. I’d forgotten about this build for a long time, but today, I spotted it online again, and this model has really come a long ways. This model has turned into quite an awesome build in the rigging stages. This builder has been posting on Facebook, so I took a look at what he’s been doing.

As you can see, this is an incredible model and it’s card model. The kit itself has something to do with all the detail you see in the build, but obviously this builder is extremely talented!

But, speaking of the Shipyard kit, I’ve seen it and it’s a pretty amazing feat of engineering. It’s on the pricey side. But, when you consider how much work is already done for the builder, it actually looks like it’s a very good deal, even at close to $500.

Some people will balk at the price tag, thinking card stock is inferior to wood. But, wooden ship model kits require a lot of effort to plank a hull, cut out gun ports so they’re perfectly even, deal with simplified headrails and stern and quarter galleries. These card models even detail the great cabin, which you can see through the finely detailed gallery windows.

But, in any case, you can’t argue with the beautiful results that this modeler is achieving. See the progress details yourself on his Facebook page at: Ω




Paper Models in the Nautical Research Journal

Paper model enthusiasts rejoice! The Summer 2020 issue of the Journal of the Nautical Research Society (Vol. 65, No. 2) just arrived in the mail this last week, containing a nice full-length article on paper models.

Th cover of the Summer 2020 issue of the Journal, featuring Shipyard’s HMS Wolf

It’s not the first time paper models have been seen in the the Journal, but this is the first I’ve seen that provides an overview of the available kinds of kits available. Ab Hoving wrote an excellent article on scratch building a Dutch fluit, which he made from paper. There may be other examples as well, but it was good to see this recent article, especially since it discussing the array of available kits.

As the article points out, paper modeling has many advantages over our traditional wooden model hobby. Paper models tend to be less expensive, don’t require as many tools as for wooden model building, make less mess than wooden ship modeling, and so can often be built in a much smaller space. It also tends to be more acceptable in close proximity to other people, as significant others may have fewer issues with you cutting paper in the living room with them that with sawing wood or sanding.

Many know that I’m an advocate of paper modeling, though I don’t suggest that it’s for everyone, or that paper models are better than wooden ones. I just think they’re neat and that people should take a serious look at building one. Also, I think there’s a stigma associated with them that because they’re paper, they are “real” ship models. Ab Hoving’s work, as well as other other talented modelers, disprove that idea.

A past issue of the Journal, Fall 2016, features Ab Hoving’s scratch built Dutch Fluit on the cover – an extraordinary model that he built from paper.

This issue of the Journal even features a full-color photo of a paper model built of the 10-gun snow-rigged brig HMS Wolf. It is a beautiful laser-cut kit from the Polish manufacturer Shipyard. One that I always thought would be interesting to build.

Paper models have been popular in Europe for a long time, and it would be nice to see more ship modelers involved in this medium. Ω

Shipyard Paper Block Sets Now Available at Ages of Sail

Here’s some good news for builders of Shipyard’s 1/96-scale paper model kits. Note, only whole blocks sets are available.

Ages of Sail

We’ve actually had these for a while, but just realized they weren’t on our web shop. So, here they are now!

These are the block sets for each of the 1/96-scale paper model ship kits produced by Model-Vessel for their Shipyard model kits and include both blocks and deadeyes.

These are the same style of blocks included in their 1/72-scale Laser Cardboard kits, but made for 1/96-scale. As such, they need to be assembled. Each block is made up of 3 or more layers that need to be glued together. Blocks come in groups on laser-cut sheets – one layer per sheet. This makes alignment easy. After the sheets are glued together, the completed blocks can be cut free. The blocks are then easily cleaned up and painted.

Each set includes more than enough blocks to complete your kit. Find there here:

Note that we only sell the blocks in…

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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:—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:–the-opponents–shipyard-mkj005–paper-model.html

And this one, which includes Le Coureur as well as HMS Mercury:–north-europe-part-2–shipyard-mkj003–paper-model.html

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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HMS Mercury Paper Model – The Build, Part 5

HMS Mercury’s Cannons

Before I can put too much of the interior detail into place, I really need to add the cannon carriages and probably the gun tackle too. The main reason is that if I am going to add any amount of gun tackle, I need some room to add ringbolts and blocks and such in the tight confines of the model’s interior. This will be more difficult if I try to do this after adding other interior furnishings.

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HMS Mercury Paper Model – The Build, Part 4

The 1/96-scale HMS Mercury paper model continues. Since my last posting on the subject, I’ve been considering posting a little more regularly to the build logs on this site. I’ve traditionally posted in more regularly on major ship modeling forums and posted larger summaries here. But, for various reasons, I think it makes more sense for me to post more details here.

We’ll see how it goes. It would mean more frequent, probably shorter posts. I just don’t want to overwhelm my blog here with a lot of small posts that aren’t of particular interest to all visitors. I may have to reorganize this site a little, so that build log posts aren’t part of the main stream of posts on this site. Everything is a work in progress…

HMS Mercury’s Stove

Having some interior detail is one of the interesting aspects of these Shipyard brand kits. I don’t know if I’ll be using all of the interior furnishings, but certainly want to include the major ones, even though these will be extremely difficult to ever see inside the completed model.

I built the stove straight from the kit, with a few modifications. I don’t know how the stoves external gear functions, but there is a what looks like a chain driven mechanism, apparently for turning a spit. The chain drive was printed on paper, two gears and the connecting chain, and it was just too hard to cut out as a single piece. So, instead, I cut the gears out and then just added wire to represent the chain. I also used a heavier piece of wire for the external axle.

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Found! Renesans Paints for Shipyard Kits

Several months ago, you may recall that I’d written a post about a brand of paints that the Polish card model manufacturer Shipyard includes in their boxed kits. The brand is a Polish brand of matte artist’s acrylics called Renesans. Ever since I discovered these paints more than a year ago, I’ve really liked how well they work on paper models.

Here’s a link to my previous post:

I used these paints on my 1/96-scale HMS Alert model and amusing them on my 1/96-scale HMS Mercury model as well. I have enough paint remaining from these and some left over from a lighthouse kit I built, that my supply is okay. But, it has bothered me that other people couldn’t try them out, as Shipyard stopped selling these paints on their website. They still include small jars of them in their boxed kits, but you can’t get refills.

Renesans actually has at least four lines of paints. The paint in question is called Renesans Colours. I contacted Shipyard and while it was nice of them to respond, and though they said they contacted the paint manufacturer, they didn’t provide anything useful.

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An Intro to Card Models – V108 Torpedo Boat

For those of you looking for nice tutorial on card model building, check out Chris Coyle’s tutorial on The Nautical Research Guild’s Model Ship World. In this tutorial, Chris uses a small, downloadable model of a German WWII V108 Torpedo Boat produced by Digital Navy.

The company produces several card models, that you can download for around $35 to $40. However, they have given Model Ship World permission to host the downloadable files for their tutorial and you can get these for free. You will, of course, need a color printer and some good quality card stock paper to print on.


Completed waterline version of the V108 card model built by Chris Coyle and featured in his tutorial

Since I’ve been working on a couple paper models, I thought it would be a good idea to follow this tutorial and try my hand at building this relatively simple card model myself. The startup cost is hard to beat, and you really need only very basic tools for start modeling in paper.

This is probably a lot more common type of paper modeling than what I’ve been building from Shipyard kits, which is why I want to run though the tutorial.

If you want to give it a try too, I encourage you to register with Model Ship World (it’s free) and start a build log there.

I started mine, which you can visit at:


HMS Mercury Paper Model – The Build, Part 3

To begin with, I have to revise something I stated earlier about card modeling being challenging.

The biggest challenge about these Shipyard paper model kits is a mental one. When you get one of these kits, you instantly see a gazillion parts, and you have to cut out each and every one, plus you might decided to cut out windows instead of using printed windows, etc. That’s intimidating.

So, I’m finding that approaching construction of one of these kits is a lot like tying ratlines on a ship model. You can’t think about all those knots you have to tie – you just have to start and do one at a time until you get to the end. Building this model is about baby steps. You can’t count how many baby steps you have to take, you just have to take them one at a time and keep on going.

HMS Mercury Progress

First off, I glued the new pieces into place in the fo’csle and then added the doors back on. If you recall, I’d added the doors earlier and then decided I didn’t like printed windows. So, I removed them and the related partitions and cut out the window panes and used canopy glue to add the “glass”. In addition to the doors, I also finished the inner bulwarks pieces at the bow.

As you can see in the photo below, I still have to “edge” the gun port sills with red paint.

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