Tag Archives: south bay model shipwrights

Displaying Models at the Showcase of Miniatures

This weekend is the annual Good Sam Showcase of Miniatures, an event organized primarily for doll house enthusiasts. But, as the overall theme is “miniatures”, the organizers were happy to include ship models and boat models. The event takes place at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose on Saturday and Sunday, October 8th and 9th. Those interested should visit their website at https://goodsamshowcase.org. This year, the South Bay Model Shipwrights club is participating, and I brought some models for display.

For this exhibit, I brought my Mary Taylor model, a 1/72 scale Japanese boats display, a 1/10 scale Japanese fishing boat, and a 1/24 scale Japanese pleasure boat. I also brought in the South Bay Model Shipwrights club’s Drakkar Viking Ship, which was a group build. I didn’t participate in its construction, but the model was on display at Ages of Sail, and I made arrangements to pick it up and bring it to the show.

My 1/64-scale scratch-built Mary Taylor and the club built Drakkar Viking Ship.

I participated one time before, back in 2013, where I brought my 1/64-scale scratch-built Mary Taylor model, along with an under-construction English longboat. This time, I thought the Japanese boat models might be of interest to the visitors, particularly the larger scale ones, which are very close to common dollhouse scales.

The ship and boat models display at the 2013 Showcase

The Yakatabune model, in particular, is in 1/24 scale, a.k.a. 1/2″ scale, which puts it right at a popular dollhouse scale. This model event sports an interior, with a table, floor cushions, and musical instrument laid out inside the tatami-room floor.

The even larger scale Tosa wasen model, is 1/10-scale, which is actually larger than the largest of the common dollhouse scales of 1/12 or 1″ scale. But, the extras and the large details will, I hope, appeal to the dollhouse crowd.

I brought the 1/72-scale models of the Tonegawa Takasebune and the Utasebune as I’ve had them on my shelf together under a single acrylic cover, and they were the first models I thought to bring, due to their easy portability and small display space.

Two other club members are bringing models for the club display. Looking back at my photos, I kind of feel like I’m hogging all the display space. Then again, these are all models that I’ve built myself, and I’ve been itching to get some of my Japanese subjects out on display again, so this was my chance.

This is a short display, and I’ll have to collect them all tomorrow. It’s about an hour drive for me each way to San Jose, plus the hotel charged me $5 just so I could unload my car (and another $5 when I go to pick them up), but it was good to put them out in front of the public again. I hope I get the opportunity to do something similar again soon. Ω

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Zoom Meetings for Ship Modelers

These days, It’s pretty tough on ship model clubs, not being able to gather together to swap model making stories. But, like other groups across the country, the South Bay Model Shipwrights recently tested out meeting using video conferencing. Zoom has practically become a household word now, though there are other systems available.

This past Thursday, the group had its first test meeting, which I was involved in. It was the first time I had seen some of my ship modeling friends in months, so it was a nice virtual gathering. Being a test meeting, it was just a subset of the whole club, but it wasn’t really all that much smaller than many of the physical meetings.

There were a few glitches to iron out, but overall it was a success. The main issue may be in the use of the free Zoom meeting accounts, which allow only 40 minute meetings. There are ways around this, which require members to log out and then back in, but this being the group’s first meeting, Zoom automatically extends it as a courtesy.

Next week, the group is going to attempt a meeting of the full members, at least those that have computers with video conferencing capabilities anyway. The hope is to meet regularly, maybe even every two weeks, as these meetings provide the only means for some of us to maintain some kind of normal-ish social contact. We’ll see how that works out.

Other Zoom Meetings

I’m personally considering setting up a Zoom paid subscription, as it will allow me to host meetings without such time limits. I’m hoping to get the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights together with a Zoom meeting, as this small group has all but disappeared. Other clubs have been holding similar meetings these days, including the Chicago club and the SMA in Fullerton.

Today, I missed out on a Zoom class by Douglas Brooks on half hull modeling. I think it was the first he’d done by Zoom. I’m interested to hear from him as to how it went.

Zoom and Wasen Modeling

I’ve personally been attending a Zoom meeting of a wasen (Japanese traditional boat) study group that meets every other week, and I have to say that of all the terrible things we have to deal with because of the Covid-19 crisis, by forcing groups into virtual meetings, it’s given me an opportunity to meet with folks and to participate in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able. Hopefully, once things get better, some amount of these video meetings will continue to take place.

And while it’s not a ship model group, this group, called Wasen Kenkyu Kai, has finally given me an audience that is specifically interesting in the things I’ve been modeling so much lately. Sadly, my Japanese language skills are very poor, so it can be a frustrating experience. Time to really work on my conversational Japanese!

Regarding Zoom and my work on traditional Japanese boats, given the scattered interest in the subject, I’m starting to think I need to host a Zoom meeting of people who are interested enough in the subject to join a virtual meeting. I’m sure it would be a very small meeting, but it might at least prove interesting. Ω 

 

 

 

 

South Bay Model Shipwrights – No March Meeting

It seems that the coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting events in the Bay Area, and the monthly meeting of the South Bay Model Shipwrights has been canceled for the month of March. The next scheduled meeting is on Friday, April 10th.

The club is expected to have a table set up again at this years IPMS show in San Jose, which takes place on Saturday, April 18th.

Club meetings normally take place at 7pm on the 3rd Friday of every month, but this is subject to room availability at Los Altos Public Library.

South Bay Model Shipwrights Meeting
7:00pm
Los Altos Public Library
13 S. San Antonio Road
Los Altos, CA

For more information about the group, visit http://www.sbmodelships.com or email club president Jim Retta here.

Ω

Ed Von Der Porten, 1933-2018

I was shocked to read just a short time ago that my friend and long time ship modeler, historian, author, editor, teacher, Edward Von Der Porten passed away on Sunday, April 8th, 2018, following surgery complications. He was 84 years old.

Ed was a long-time member of the South Bay Model Shipwrights, which is where I met him. He served as co-VP and I know the members there will miss him and his fabulous work and expertise he brought to the group. Many of his ship modeling articles have graced the pages of Ships in Scale magazine, and he read over and critiqued many of my ship modeling articles for me, and guided me toward becoming a better writer. He even helped me get some ship model repair work with the National Park Service. I will always be in his debt for his guidance, kind support, and friendship.

There was an article posted on the San Francisco Chronicle’s website today about the man and his life. I hope you’ll take the time to read it: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Scholar-on-Sir-Francis-Drake-s-North-Bay-12826077.php

Edit: There was another article in the local Press Democrat: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8209238-181/ed-von-der-porten-santa?sba=AAS

San Francisco Bay Area – January 2018 Ship Model Meetings

With the Government shutdown over the weekend, and the closing of the National Parks, the January Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights meeting had to be cancelled. The group will meet again at their regularly scheduled February meeting, which is Saturday, February 17th at 9:30am aboard the Eureka.

However, this didn’t affect two other groups that met this month. One of these is the South Bay Model Shipwrights, which normally meets on the third Friday of each month at 7pm at the Los Altos Public Library. This is a great and very social group, with several members meeting for a pre-meeting dinner at Chef Chu’s restaurant, just up the street from the library.

This is one of the early ship modeling groups and was started by Jean Eckert in 1982. While the group is much smaller than it was in its heyday, the members still keep it an interesting and active club.

Here are a few photos from the January meeting…

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South Bay Model Shipwrights November Meeting

I made it to the meeting of the South Bay Model Shipwrights, which is a very long-standing and respected ship model club that was started by Jean Eckert back in 1982 and has operated continuously ever since. Some current and past distinguished members include Jerry Blair, Dr. Clayton Feldman, of course Jean Eckert, Ed Von Der Porten, the late Charles Parsons, and many more.

The club currently meets at the Los Altos Public Library in Los Altos, California, at 6:00 pm, generally on the third Friday of every month. The club, though much smaller than in the past, is  currently headed by Jim Rhetta, who recently completed the rigging of a model of the 3-masted schooner Fannie Gorham for a couple who’s father had passed away after completing most of the hardware.

Jim brought the model, which was in a case built by member and past-president Walt Hlavecek, and presented it to the couple at the meeting this past Friday. Jim did a nice job, and they seemed very happy with it.

Meanwhile, here are some photos from the meeting:

George Sloup talks about the WWI German battlecruiser Goeben, which he has been building from a paper model kit. Here he’s showing some info from a book on German WWI ships.

Jacob Cohn’s 1/64-scale model of the Baltic schooner Scotland sits in the foreground.

An elevated bow view of Jacob Cohn’s Baltic schooner model showing some more of the rigging detail.

Another view of Jacob’s nicely done Baltic schooner.

The group’s newest member Lou Cierra brought in his 3rd wooden ship model, the paddlewheel steamer Gulnara, built from a kit by the German manufacturer Krick.

Another view of the Gulnara with my own wasen models visible in the background. Ken Lum’s detailing of shields for the Drakkar Viking ship are visible in the left foreground.


Lou describes some of the work and issues he faced on this 1/50-scale model, which he started only last month.

The South Bay meetings are usually preceded by a dinner at a local landmark, Chef Chu’s Chinese restaurant. The meetings generally last until 9pm or so. I always enjoy these meetings, particularly with our regular gatherings at Chef Chu’s. Only a few of us attend the pre-meeting dinner, but it’s always a nice way to start the evening.

The meetings, and dinner for that matter, are always open to guests and new members. If you’re interested in joining the group, best thing to do is to contact the president, Jim Rhetta, at jmrhetta@yahoo.com.

Next month, the club will be meeting for a holiday dinner instead of the regular meeting, but will be meeting again as usual in January.

In the meantime, if you want to see a bit of the happenings of the club, you can find information on their website at sbmodelships.com. Ω

Bay Area Ship Model Meetings Schedules

This seems to be one of those months that isn’t good for ship model clubs in the Bay Area. Two groups, the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights and the South Bay Model Shipwrights have had to adjust their schedules and/or meeting locations due to problems with their regular meeting places.

The South Bay Model Shipwrights, which normally meets at the Los Altos Library on the third Friday evening of the month was well prepared for changes to their meeting location since they have to reserve it well in advance. This month’s meeting is being held at the home/workshop of local ship modeler Bill Tandler on Saturday, March 22. This is the second modified meeting schedule/location in a row for the South Bay group, but the schedule should be back to normal in April and beyond.

The Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights just found out that work is being done on the gangway entrance to the ferry boat Eureka. So, there is no access to the group’s workshop. There is no word as to whether anyone has checked with the park to find out if we can meet somewhere else for the meeting and an email was just sent out to the members that the meeting is being canceled.

Regular Meeting Schedules:

South Bay Model Shipwrights normally meets on the third Friday of the month at 6:30 pm at the Los Altos Library, 13 South San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94024. This group often has a nice presentation program and access to the meeting room is right off the library parking lot, so model transportation is very convenient.

Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights meet on the third Saturday of the month at 9:30 am aboard the ferry boat Eureka within the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park (just look for the ships). There is no free parking nearby except for the members/volunteers and by the time the meeting is done, the park is open to the public, so you do have to navigate wandering tourists – good to know if you plan to bring a project. There is free parking at the bottom of Van Ness Avenue which is about a 5-10 minute walk along the Aquatic Park.

Ship Modeler’s Forum Meet-Up happens at irregular intervals. It’s not a club, but more of a get together of folks who frequent the on-line ship modeling forums. For now, the small gatherings take place at the  Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum at 734 Marin Street, Vallejo, CA 94590. The location is fairly central to those who have been attending and the meeting room is directly off the parking lot, so moving models is very easy. The next meeting isn’t set yet, but probably a Saturday morning in late May or early June. An announcement will be posted when a schedule is set.

Red Oak Victory Model Shipwrights seems to have the most consistent meeting schedule. The group meets on the second Saturday of the month at 10:00 am in the Petty Officer’s Mess aboard the Red Oak Victory.

Ship Models on the Jeremiah O’Brien This Saturday, June 22nd

There will be a small, but special one-day display of ship models from San Francisco Bay Area modelers on board the Liberty Ship Jeremiah O’Brien at Fisherman’s Wharf this Saturday as part of the ship’s 70th anniversary celebration. The display was organized by the South Bay Model Shipwrights club in Los Altos, CA, and local ship model clubs were invited to participate.

The bulk of the models will probably be from the South Bay club. Those of you in the area might be interested in stopping by and seeing what’s there. Plus, there is the tour of the ship. And, the SF National Maritime Park is just down the street, so you can make a day of it!

If you can’t make it, hopefully, this will just be one of many attempts to organize and promote ship modeling in the SF Bay Area.

Details on visiting the Jeremiah O’Brien are here: http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org