It’s not enough that I belong to two long-standing Bay Area ship model clubs, the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights and the South Bay Model Shipwrights, but a couple years back, I got together with a couple local people I met on the ship modeling forums and we started a quarterly get-together that mostly meets at the Naval and Historical Museum in Vallejo, California.
Recently, a couple of us discussed the merits of having us all, or at least a group of us, working on the same kit, but each person with his own model. The idea was that we could better discuss techniques and problem solving if we were all dealing with the same issues at, more or less, the same time.
Being that physical location of the ship model store and distributor Ages of Sail is pretty local to all of us, we decided to go with an fairly simple, inexpensive kit they carry by Amati. Part of the decision was price based and availability of enough for all involved in the project. There were a couple ideas in the running, but we ended up agreeing to work on Amati’s Swedish Gunboat kit, sometimes listed in Italian as Cannoniera Svedese – 1775.
Amati’s Swedish Gunboat kit
It’s a fairly small model with single plank-on-bulkhead construction, simple armament, a light amount of rigging and sails. The completed model measures just under 14″ in length. Though it’s not actually listed anywhere, according to an email from Amati (and thanks to ship modeler Bill Bunderson for contacting them about it) the scale is roughly 1/50.
Here’s a peek at the components of the kit, which sells for $109 at Ages of Sail.
Our group bought five of the kits and officially started construction and had our first build meeting just about 2 weeks ago.
Some interesting things about this kit is that it is single planked using beech wood strips. Also, you have to be really good at working with basic drawings as the one sheet of plans is all the instruction you get in the kit. As we’re discovering, if you’ve built ship models before, this seems to be pretty much a non-issue. Of course, it helps to be involved in a group build as you can discuss everything with other group members.
Looking at half the plans sheet
As for accuracy, there are a few small details that I’m questioning, like the mini capstan located immediately behind the foremast, but as we have been researching the subject on the Internet, much of the design seems to be fairly reasonable.
So far, I would say this is a neat kit of an interesting subject and is working out great as the subject of our group build. Also, the dynamics of everyone working on the same kit is definitely inspiring and I think we’re all learning something from the project.
For one thing, I learned how to create an online forum (it’s a private forum just for this group project) using tools available from my web hosting service, Godaddy.
In terms of history, I knew nothing about Sweden, her Archipelago fleet, her war with Russia, any of her naval engagements or, finally, anything about her gunboats. So, this has been quite enlightening. I don’t know how accurate this kit is. But, it’s been a fun and interesting build, and I’m really glad we decided to do this.
I’ll post updates as we go. Stay tuned!