Tag Archives: NRG

NRG Annual Membership Meeting

The Nautical Research Guild’s annual conference for 2020 is cancelled due to COVID issues, but they recently announced that they will be holding their annual membership meeting after all, only it will be a virtual meeting. Members will be able to attend the meeting from the safety and comfort of their own homes. The meeting, normally part of the conference, is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 5th, at 11am Central / 9am Pacific.

The NRG is now asking members to RSVP, so they can plan on how much they need to upgrade their video conferencing service. Attending the membership meeting is free to all members, but it sounds like the NRG itself will need to pay for the upgraded service.

I haven’t seen any of this information actually posted on the NRG website yet. So, if you’re a member, please make sure to contact the main office with your response. Watch your email for more information. Ω

Galley Washington, 1776 – New Plans from the NRG

I received a nice surprise in the mail today when a set of plans I ordered from the Nautical Research Guild showed up. I kind of splurged for my own birthday this year and got these plans and a few other things that I’ll write about in a future post.

The Washington was a galley built by General Arnold for service on the Lake Champlain in 1776. Because the prevailing winds on the lake blew along the length of the lake, she and her 3 sister ships were lateen rigged for the superior performance when sailing close to the wind.


These are VERY nice plans. They are model plans and designed for the construction of a 1/4″ scale plank-on-frame model. All the frames are drawn out, taking up 4 of the 10 sheets of plans. The details are nicely done and overall, the set of plans is top notch.

The NRG did managed to disappoint in one area. There are no standard plan views necessary to scratch-build the model in your own style. These are strictly plank-on-frame plans. There is also no sail plan.

But, given that the ship was lateen rigged, the latter issue shouldn’t be too much of a problem, though it’s harder to find detailed information on this type of rig than for the more conventional square rig or schooner rig. So, some additional planning would be required for the addition of sails.

As for the missing plan views, since Howard Chapelle already drew up the hull lines and includes them in his book The History of American Sailing Ships, they can be ordered easily enough from the Smithsonian for $25, which includes handling/processing charges.

In any case, it’s a really nice set of drawings that include all the frames, a framing jig, details of the keel, deadwood, stem pieces, beams, and internal features and more. I’m really excited to get these plans. This might finally be my entry to plank-on-frame ship modeling.

One interesting feature of the Washington and her sister ships is that they had some really wild selection of cannons – a result of having to use whatever ordnance was available. As a result, the Washington had a pair of 18 pdr cannons, a pair of 12s, a pair of 9s, four 4s, a 2 pdr, and eight swivels, though these plans don’t show the 2 pdr. I’ll guess I’ll have to read the monograph to learn more about this.

The monograph, by the way, is a free download from the NRG website. It too is a beautiful piece of work. All this was done, by the way, by Jeff Staudt, who also created the Bomb Vessel Granado Cross Section plans that are sold by the Model Ship Builder site.

Anyway, the 10-sheet set of plans is $65, plus $10 shipping in the US. They are copyright stamped in red with a unique identification number. A personalized letter of permission to copy for personal use is included, which references the identification number. If you get a set, and you’re an NRG member, be sure to contact the NRG office for a $15 coupon code before ordering. If you’re not a member, I highly recommend joining up!

Hurry, Only 30 Days Left to Enter NRG Photo Contest

The Nautical Research Guild’s 2015 Photographic Ship Model Competition is still open for entries. But, if you intend to submit your ship model photos, you’d better hurry as the deadline is May 31st, 2015. This is the third such competition, the first one being in 2011 and the next in 2013. There are some truly amazing models entered by NRG members, but it’s not all about winning, it’s also about learning from others. The submissions are reviewed by a panel of knowledgeable judges, who will score and provide comments and evaluation. It’s not easy to put yourself out on a limb to critique, but in the end it’s all about building better models.

This is my model of the Private Armed Schooner Lively, 1813. It is a scratch-build based on kit plans from the old North River Scale Model company. Maybe I'll enter it finally this year.

This is my model of the Private Armed Schooner Lively, 1813. It is a scratch-build based on kit plans from the old North River Scale Model company. Maybe I’ll finally enter it in the NRG competition this year.

I’ve personally never entered the contest, though I was all set to enter my Mary Taylor and Privateer Lively models in the first competition. But, at the time, the rules stated that no photo modifications were allowed and I couldn’t get a decent photo without adjusting the exposure and color balance settings, so I didn’t bother. I was a bit irked (and apparently wasn’t alone), when such adjustments were allowed, even though the rules said otherwise.

Since then, the rules have been modified to allow such photos as long as they are not retouched, so I think I will go ahead and enter a couple models, possibly even the Higaki Kaisen model, just to say I did it.

The competition is open only to NRG members, though that includes associate members. That means that all you have to do is sign up on the Model Ship World forum for free, since MSW is owned by the NRG and all MSW members are automatically given NRG associate member status.

If you aren’t an NRG member, but are interested and want to enter the competition, here’s a good opportunity to join, as the NRG has a special offer that include entry fee and NRG membership for only $55, which equates to joining the NRG and then paying only $7 for the first competition entry instead of the $15 that regular members have to pay or $20 for associate members.

Check out the details on the NRG site here:


A pdf of file of the rules can be downloaded along with the entry forms. Winners and prizes announced at the NRG Conference in Mystic, CT this Fall. Even if you don’t enter, I highly recommend supporting the NRG by becoming a member and receiving their quarterly journal.

NRG Shop Notes Out of Print

I just learned this week that the Nautical Research Guild has run out of the original Ship Modeler’s Shop Notes book.


This is a classic compilation of technical articles from the first 25 years of the Nautical Research Journal and the NRG’s Secretary’s Monthly Letter. My own copy is pretty well worn out, but it looks like it’s going to have to keep together a little while longer and, fortunately, Ship Modeler’s Shop Notes II, which is made up of articles from the 1981-2005 is still available.

If you find an available copy of Shop Notes available and don’t have one, you might want to snatch it up. However, it’s probably not gone for good. At some point, I suspect that the NRG will offer it again in some form or another.

2014 NRG Conference in St. Louis, MO, Oct 16-18

Next week is the Nautical Research Guild conference. It’s in St. Louis this year and I actually get to go. This will be only the second NRG conference I’ve attended. My first was the one held in the San Francisco Bay Area back in 2011, I think it was. I only made it to that one because it was local. The one in St. Louis will be my first one that’s out of the area, as most of them are. However, I managed to get the trip paid for by the ship model distributor and store Ages of Sail.

As I’ve mentioned before here, I’ve been doing some work helping them out as they’re right down the road in the East Bay in San Lorenzo, CA. I basically told the owner I’d be willing to help him out with the business if he sends me to the conference. He agreed, so I’m flying out of SFO a week from tomorrow. Of course, I’m going to be working there, but it’s a 3-day conference, so I should have plenty of time to meet up with ship modeling friends and acquaintances. I’m told that it shouldn’t be a problem to pop in on a seminar or two, so I’ll target a couple and catch what I can.

The NRG is a good organization and I encourage all ship modelers to support it. You don’t have to be a member to attend, but I believe members receive some kind of discount. You can visit the NRG site for information about the Technical and General sessions and Round Table discussions: http://www.thenrg.org/2014-nrg-ship-model-convention.php

I believe we’re past the date for getting hotel discounts (the event is at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel), so you might need to find accommodations to fit your budget, but you should still be able to register for the conference itself.


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!


The Nautical Research Guild and Model Ship World Team Up

Last week, the Nautical Research Guild sent out an announcement that it had acquired the ship modeling forum Model Ship World. At the same time, notices were posted on MSW announcing the merger, as they called it. Now, the site is officially called The NRG’s Model Ship World.214497643.jpg

The only details I’ve seen regarding the new relationship is that the NRG will fund any shortfall in the sites fundraising operation, and any surplus MSW funding will go to the NRG. MSW members will automatically become associate members of the NRG. Free membership with MSW gets any benefits of NRG membership, but won’t receive the Nautical Research Journal.

Model Ship Word is a very active forum with a large membership, and already, MWS members are becoming more aware of the NRG and some have responded that they are now signing up for full membership. That’s a very good thing for the NRG. This also gives the NRG a stronger web presence, which it has sorely been lacking and will perhaps encourage it’s regular members to become more active and networked.

Reactions of MSW members are very good. But, MSW members tend to not speak out against actions of the site’s administrators, as on a site like this, people do tend to dog-pile on dissenters. Still, this will probably work out very well for MSW and offer more opportunities to learn and share the art of ship modeling.

Personally, I’m already a member of both, but I think this will end up encouraging me to do more on the NRG’s MSW site. I currently maintain a blog on my USS Saginaw model there, though it hasn’t been updated very quickly lately. I may end up moving or starting another blog there soon. They do tend to encourage you to make progress on your projects.

And here’s my own personal plug for The Nautical Research Guild. This is a great organization that encourages ship modeling. You don’t have to be an expert ship modeler to be a member, nor do you have to be a scratch builder. I joined as a beginner back in the 90’s and found tremendous inspiration in the pages of the Journal. And now, they have a mentorship program if you want someone to help you along, and will soon be hosting webinars and more. So, join today if you haven’t already done so.