Category Archives: Ship Model Blogs

HMS Mercury in 1/96 Scale – 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.


At this point, I began to wonder how well this model was going to go together and test fit the fo’csle and quarter decks. I had to dig through the diagrams and all to figure out if this was all going to work okay in the end. So far, it seems like it should be okay, though there’s more gap around the bow that I would like. Not sure yet how to fix this, if it even needs fixing. But, it was nice to see how well the decks seated into place. There are a couple beams I will have to fashion and put into place before these decks can go on. And, of course, I’ll need to finish some internal details, plus the cannons.

In the lower photos, you can also see the galley stove under construction. Below, you can see where it will eventually go.

Of course, there’s a lot of work to do to the stove before it goes into place.

Finally, I added the remaining parts for the interior of the great cabin, aft. There’s some furniture to go in here. That’s one of those things which is pretty neat about these Shipyard ship model kits. Of course, if you want to be able to see any of this stuff, you’ll have to modify the original kit, which includes printed windows. Those would normally need to be carefully cut open, but the detail kit I bought from GPM includes some laser-cut parts for the gallery windows.

I’m starting to think about the outer layer that’s going to go on the model. The kit includes printed parts for two configurations of the ship, one for the original 1779 paint scheme and another for the 1795 (Black and Yellow) paint scheme. I was always planning to build this in the 1779 configuration, but I’m thinking about the later configuration, just because it’s different (for this kit, anyway).

HMS Mercury in 1/96 Scale – The Build, Part 2

I’m not a paper/card modeler, but after building Shipyard’s paper model of HMS Alert, I enjoyed the project so much that I tinkered with a couple other subjects. I have two of them at the moment, and like with my ship modeling scratch build projects, I start on a few different ones until one of them stands out and calls to me to be taken to completion. That’s actually how HMS Alert came to be. I had no particular plans to complete the model initially – it was just a tinkering project.

Now, one of my current paper model tinkering projects is  Shipyard’s 1/96-scale HMS Mercury paper model kit. The ship is a 28-gun Enterprize-class sixth-rate frigate. As I mentioned before, there is a 1/72-scale boxed version where all the parts are laser-cut instead of printed, but that kit is around $500. Mine is about $35 at the North American distributor for Shipyard products, Ages of Sail.

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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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Amati Swedish Gunboat Build – Part 4

Well, I did not end up finish this model for the IPMS show in San Jose in March. I decided to set it aside to let others in our build group catch-up, though I know that two of the members are at least as far along as I am. Anyway, I had work to do to for my display of Japanese boats, which ran from March 1st through the 31st.

Then, last weekend, we had a ship modelers’ get-together again at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum. It’s been the usual 3 months since our last gathering and it was good to see the fellow ship modelers and their projects again.

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AL’s Independence – Completing the Rigging

I’ve been working on this model for a long time now, and recently, I’ve been trying to focus on finishing her up. I don’t have too much to say about the model at this stage, except that it’s a lot easier to follow someone else’s rigging plan than trying to work it out from scratch, or even modifying someone else’s plan.

Colonial Schooner Independence nearly complete. Apologies for the ad hoc backdrop that needs ironing.

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AL’s Independence – Headrails and Rigging

Yes, I’m finally getting around to wrapping up the Colonial Schooner Independence. I’ve worked on it here and there, but hadn’t made any blog posts about in quite some time.

The last task that I was concerned about was to construct some headrails from scratch. Mostly, this is one of those tasks which is painful, because the brain says it’s painful. In actuality, it wasn’t that bad, but did take some mental work to wrap my head around where to even begin.

I found some examples that were more complex and finally found some that were simpler. I made sure that the images of those simpler ones became embedded in my brain. So, here’s what I came up with…

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Amati Swedish Gunboat Build – Part 3

A couple weeks ago, we had another quarterly meeting of ship modelers at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum. This is the group that includes our group build of the Amati Swedish Gunboat kit. We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, so it’s literally put a damper on ship model meeting attendance over the past couple months. But, one of the other members of the group build showed up, and it was enough to inspire me to press on with this build.

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Amati Swedish Gunboat Build – Part 2

While this is a group build that I’ve been working on together with 4 other people in a local group of ship modelers, a couple people have fallen behind and we haven’t had a group build meeting in many months now. So, I decided I should be making some progress. I know a couple others have made headway on their projects, and I figured I should get caught up a little

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Buying the Tosa Wasen Kit

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If you’re looking to buy the kit, there is good news! There is a faster, less expensive method than trying to get it through Amazon-Japan where I got mine. I found out that manufacturer will sell direct to the USA for a very good price. To buy from the manufacturer,  send an email to the company: info@thermal-kobo.jp. For buyers from other countries. I don’t know what his policy is, but you can always ask.

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Price for the kit is 13,000 Yen. Shipping is via EMS (A Chinese Express Mail Service that ends with a USPS delivery) for 2,400 Yen. Payment has to be via Paypal, sending to the email address above.

This is a really good price. Makes the whole thing with express shipping only about $150. I went ahead and ordered a second kit.

The only thing that I’m not so sure about is that the kit is shipped in its own box, but wrapped with a bubblewrap bag. It’s a long box, so it seems like it would be easy to bend in half. But, I received the first kit this way and it was delivered just fine. Then again, I generally have good experiences with the US Postal Service here.

It looks like I might have been their first international sale of this kit, as the owner posted a picture of the kit shipping out to the USA on their Facebook page.

When you order one, please feel free to mention where you heard about it. Ω

Amati Swedish Gunboat Build – Part I


While I haven’t really considered this among my list of current builds, I am continuing this project for our local build group project. There are still 5 of us, each working on his own model. We last got together back in late August, and I have hardly touched it, hoping that those who are a behind will have some time to get caught up.

Here are some photos showing the early progress on my model.

This kit’s hull is supposed to be single-planked using 1mm beech wood. This seemed awfully thin for a single planking layer, so we decided to use some balsa filler blocks to fill in between the frames. This worked out quite nicely. I think it was the first time any of us tried the technique.

One of the first things I did was to cut away the exposed portion of the strongback/keel. My original plan was to glue down a narrow strip of wood along the keel and then fashion a stem post and keel and attach it into place, forming a natural rabbet.

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The deck sheet was used to aid in the alignment of the bulwarks. At this stage the hull filler was completed and filed to shape along with the bulkheads.

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There was a slight droop in the deck sheet on one side, so I used a piece of scrap glued in place to provide support.

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Before planking started, I used the top deck sheet to help in shaping the bulkhead tops so that the sheet would lay in a nice fair curve. I also used this to help align the upper hull planks.

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The hull planking is beech wood, which bends nicely with a little soaking and heat. I decided somewhere along the line to forgo adding the keel at this stage. I added the narrow strip along the line of the keel, and just
butted the planking up against it, figuring I’d add a keel afterwards.img_0805

After adding a few planks on each side, I then added the deck planking and the lining of the bulkheads at each end of the deck. To simulate caulking, I edged the deck planking in pencil, which I also did with the hull planking.

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I could have actually waited until a later stage to plank the deck, but I always enjoy deck planking, and wanted to make some headway before getting back to the hull planking.

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Previous post on the Swedish Gunboat build: Swedish Gunboat Group Build