Tag Archives: Wood Ship Model Kit

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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Bay Area Ship Modelers’ Group Build – Amati’s Swedish Gunboat

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

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.

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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!

Schooner Winston Churchill Kit Re-Release from Woody Joe

Just caught this today as I was doing my rounds on the Internet. Woody Joe has certainly kept busy. At this past weekend’s hobby show in Tokyo showed the prototype of a new kit they’re going to be releasing of a 1/144-scale WWII era I-400 IJN Submarine. Then, this morning, I discovered an announcement on their website of a revamped 1-75-scale kit of the 3-masted schooner Winston Churchill, just released 9/28/15.

I’ve only seen the original kit on the Internet. But from the looks of this new kit, I would say that they’ve not only improved construction of the kit, they’ve also improved scale detail as well.

I wasn’t particularly excited about the old kit. But, after seeing photos of the new kit, I’m impressed enough to want to get this kit. It’s 5000¥ more than the old kit, bringing it up to 30,000¥ (about $250), but the increase in price looks absolutely worth it.

Check it out here: Winston Churchill on Woody Joe Ω


My Woody Joe Update for February 2015

The news doesn’t seem to stop here when it comes to Woody Joe and me. I just posted my update on building the Iwakuni Castle kit, which is very close to being done. And, regarding that build, I can honestly say that I’m a ship modeler! By that, I mean that I’m not so good at castle building. It’s turning out okay, and it’s a great kit, but I know that I’d be doing a much better job if I were building a ship.

Speaking of ships, Woody Joe seems to be constantly releasing products. A few weeks ago, I noticed something new on their website. Apparently, they’ve just released a kit of the Japanese built Spanish Galleon San Juan Bautista. I don’t know a whole lot about the history of the ship, but that there is a full-sized replica, and this kit is based on that replica. This is a 1/80-scale plank-on-bulkhead kit that measures just about 28″ long when complete and lists for ¥38,000, which is about $320. Sant Juan Bautista (2)The image here is right off of Woody Joe’s website. But you can find more detailed photos elsewhere on the web. And, that brings me to the next development, Woody Joe has just established a presence on Facebook. So, if you like Woody Joe, go visit their page and give them a Like: Woody Joe on Facebook.

Back to my end of things, I just made arrangements to display my Higaki Kaisen model at the window display of Union Bank’s community room in San Francisco’s Japantown. The display faces into the mall there, so visitors to the mall will be able to see it. The display will run from Friday, February 13th, to probably no than Wednesday, April 1st. I’d like to leave it on display longer, but there are other displays scheduled, particularly for the Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place mid-April. Once it is seen there, I’m hoping the bank manager or mall manager will like it enough to want to display it somewhere more long term. We’ll see how things go in a month or so.

The location isn’t the most ideal, as the mall in split into 2 parts, and the part where the model will be has far fewer attraction. Still, it’s a nice location in that there is another large display case across the courtyard from where the model will be that usually has some traditional Japanese things that the model kind of fits into. Today, I went over to TAP Plastics to pick up some literature display holders and I created a simple one-page write up to accompany the model. I also made a copy of the cover the Nautical Research Journal issue where the model appears. So, I’m hoping to create a nice informational display. I’ll post more once the display is actually up.

On another note, I just finished up a kit review article on Woody Joe’s Charles Royal Yacht kit. The kit has been in production for nearly 7 years now, but it’s still not well known here in the U.S., and it’s a really nice looking kit. I’m also using the article to draw more attention to the Japanese ship model society called The Rope, which uses the kit to teach beginning ship modelers. To this end, I’ve gotten some help from Don Dressel of the Ship Modelers Association (Fullerton, CA) who has in turn put me in touch with Mr. Norio Uriu of The Rope. That group was kind enough to provide some photos of completed models of the Charles Yacht built by their club members.

The Rope is particularly significant to this kit because one of their long time members, now deceased, helped Woody Joe design the kit, and another member created the original carvings used to create the kit’s decorative castings. You’ll just have to read the details when the article is published. An email exchange with the Ships in Scale editors indicated that it might be a relatively quick turn-around from submission to publication this time. So, we’ll see how that goes. I’m sending the article to a couple people to review for me, and then it’s off to the SIS editors.