Tag Archives: Nautical Research Journal

Published Ship Modeling Article by Clare Hess

From 2012 to 2017, I was pretty active with not just building ship models, but writing ship modeling related articles for Seaways’ Ships in Scale and the Nautical Research Journal. In that time, I must have written 4 build articles, a book review, and 3 or 4 out of the box kit reviews.

Of course, this was before I created this blog or my wasen modeler blog, so the magazines gave me an outlet for my need to write. They also gave me a bit of pocket money to maintain this sometimes expensive ship modeling habit. And, before anyone jumps on me about how low the per-hour cost of ship modeling can actually be, when you spend as many hours as I have on ship modeling, the per-hour cost may be low, but the per-month cost starts to really add up!

In any case, I have pdf copies of many of the articles, sent back to me by the publisher as digital proofs for my review prior to publication. Since I get questions from time to time about models I’ve built, for which I’ve also written articles, I figured I should finally put these together in one place so that others might be able to get something from them, even it’s nothing more than a laugh.

So, I created a new page on this site, listed under the Resources menu, called Articles. Just select that page and you’ll find links to my Mary Taylor, Higaki Kaisen, and Tosa Wasen articles, as well as a couple others. Note that many articles are missing, as I never received proofs from the publishers for these. Also, a couple articles I’ve written, but never submitted. Perhaps I will in the future. And, at some point, I may post the submitted drafts of the missing articles.

Regarding copyright, they have reverted to me after the initial publishing. You have my permission to use them as you see fit for your own personal, non-commercial use. If you want someone else to read them, please send them a link to this site to download the articles for themselves. Anyway, it drives traffic to my site, and it’s always nice to see more people visiting here. 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

My Writing Plans – March 2016 Update

Tosa Wasen

IMG_2085For those interested in the Tosa Wasen kit, I’ve basically finished writing my article. I know this wasn’t part of my post back in December when I last wrote about my writing plans. But, now that the model is done and I’ve had a chance to really think about the importance of the kit, I figured it deserved a write up.

In January, I contacted Paul Fontenoy, who is, among other things, the editor of the Nautical Research Journal, so he knows the article is coming. I’ve also had the benefit of getting a read through by Douglas Brooks, who has been a great help to me in better understanding Japanese watercraft.

Now, I just have to take a few better photos of the model and it the article will be ready to send out.

Book Review

book_coverWhen I mentioned the Tosa Wasen article to Paul Fontenoy, he realized that there was no review in the Nautical Research Journal yet of Douglas Brooks’ book Japanese Wooden Boatbuiding. He asked me to write one and I agreed. Having never written a book review or anything of this kind for the Journal, I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out. Also, while I’ve read through various important section of the book, I hadn’t read it cover to cover.

Well, that’s the first thing I had to do, and I’m really glad I did – Not just to be able to write an accurate book review, but also because this is a very interesting book, filled not only with lots of details on building traditional Japanese boats, but with some great narrative of the author’s experiences in Japan, some quite humorous and some quite moving.

I just sent in my draft of the book review. If it doesn’t need revision, it should be appearing in the near future.


DSC04135About a month ago, I finally reached the end of the instruction book in my translation and notes on this kit from Woody Joe. This isn’t an article to be published, but rather something that I’m making available to anyone who’d like to have it. The notes are now available here as a 17-page downloadable PDF file. I’m also sending copies off to Woody Joe and to Zootoyz and they will see if they want to do anything with it.

For the future, I am considering building a more detailed version of the Hacchoro based on the Woody Joe kit, and I may write that up as an article. I managed to recently make contact with someone in Japan who is connected with the modern Hacchoro boats in Yaizu. He’s been sending me some information and, now that I’m planning to make a research trip to Japan, I’m making arrangements to meet him and to see a Hacchoro first-hand.

Higaki Kaisen

DSC02470I’ve been dragging my feet on this simply because I want to include background information, and I want that to be as accurate and as interesting as possible. With the Tosa Wasen article and the Hacchoro notes done, I think it’s time to push this up to the front and get it finished and in print.

The problem is, every time I turn around, I learn more about bezaisen (the general term for this type of ship), and find challenges to my current understanding of the ships. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to see one up close. While I’m making arrangements to see the replica ship Hakusan-Maru in the Fall, that won’t really help me with this article, which I’m ready to send off soon.

This will be going to Seaways’ Ships in Scale, though the amount of background detail I’m putting together is probably better suited to the Nautical Research Journal. I’ve seen other authors split up their material between the two publications, but I don’t think I’m going to go that far.

I’m hoping to see this delayed article get published late this year or early next year. It will definitely be a multi-part article.

Higaki Kaisen in NRG Journal

I got a nice surprise a couple months ago when the editor of the Nautical Research Journal, Paul Fontenoy, asked me to submit a short article on my Higaki Kaisen model. So, a while back, I sent him some photos to use and a very short write-up with some captions to accompany the photos. Then, I got an even nicer surprise when I was told the model would appear on the cover.

Cover NRJ 59-3 for Web-1

Having been an NRG member/supporter and having long admired the models that have graced the pages of the Journal, this was a really tremendous honor. Now, I’ll have to admit, it really the model subject and the uniqueness of the kit that got the model on the cover and not my artistry or craftsmanship. But, still it’s pretty nice to see it there.

Of course, being that I’ve been advocating Woody Joe kits here, it’s great to get people’s attention this way. I got an extra copy of the issue and sent it Woody Joe and they should be receiving it any time now. I’m sure they’ll be very happy to see their kit receive such attention.

The timing of this article probably couldn’t be any better, as I just submitted the proofs for my Higaki Kaisen kit review article, which will appear in Seaways’ Ships in Scale in the next few weeks. As for my history/build article for Ships in Scale, I’ve been getting pretty distracted with all the projects I’m trying to get done. But, with these articles both out in August/September, I’ll need to get back on it very soon.

But, while I’m mentioning the NRG here, I would like to say that this is a really fine organization, dedicated to ship modeling, and it deserves and needs your support. It’s not all academic and it’s not about being “purists” or anything of the like. The tagline “Advancing Ship Modeling Through Research” is just to say it’s about making better models, it’s about helping the modeler make better models, it’s about getting help to build better models.

Seeing my own model on the cover, I can’t help but wonder when the last time was that a kit build was featured on the cover? Times really do change. So, join the NRG. It’s a great organization, you’ll be supporting a great cause (ship modeling) and you’ll get your quarterly issue of the Journal!