Ship Models

SHIP MODELS

Once we had a firm grasp on, and established our position in the train world, we turned our attention to ships. We had never seen a contemporary ship model that we were impressed with, so we decided to try our hand at building world-class ship models.

We chose the USS Arizona in 1:192 scale as our very first model, as we had grown up next door to a survivor and had a certain fondness for this ship.  We acquired all the reference material necessary and went looking for someone who had the ability to build models on a whole new level.  We started our search here in the United States and soon realized that anyone with the words, “Master Modeler” on their business card meant very little to us.

With the help of many, we turned our search worldwide and were invited to visit the former Soviet Union where we were told about some excellent ship model builders.  We accepted the invitation and, upon meeting these guys and viewing their work, immediately knew we had found what we were looking for. We instantly recognized the passion these guys all shared for their work and knew that with western technology and materials, financial support, and the necessary reference materials, they could achieve the level of quality we were after and ultimately elevate the art of ship model building.  Mission accomplished. 

As you’ll see, our ship models speak for themselves.  We start by subscribing to museum accepted standards and materials.  Our hulls are made of an exclusive, high definition resin.  Our superstructures are made of brass and, no matter how small the handrails, they are all hand soldered. If the real ship had wood decks, so too our models.  We created a three-ply venire plywood 1/32" thick, and using original drawings for the ship, we utilize a specially modified laser to create the planking, and every other detail found on the real ship deck floor.   We continue to believe that no detail is too small.

Our latest example of this detail can be found on the anti-aircraft guns of our newest ship model, the Yamato.  The 2mm long barrels are brass and, not only have the correct taper, but also have a bore.  And there are seventy-seven (77) of them on this model.

SHIP MODEL DEVELOPMENT

We invest a significant amount of time and money into our development plans and have had the rare privilege of gaining access to most of the original plans we’ve asked for.  And while we are asked on a regular basis to purchase these plans, unfortunately we do not share them.  First and foremost, in most cases we have “exclusive use” agreements for these reference materials from the original source.  On the rare occasion that we are not under exclusive agreements, the possibility of finding these plans for sale on the open market is just too great a risk for us to take (thereby degrading the value of our models).

Throughout the years, we have encountered various obstacles in our ship building operation.  One such obstacle was the use of museum-approved materials that have a stable shelf life of up to four hundred fifty years.  For example, most hulls are made from wood.  When building am model, you can achieve a nice shape in wood, but you can’t achieve the weld lines, input and discharge ports, as well as all of the other subtle features found on a life-size hull.  The only way to get this detail is to cast the hull.  However, materials such as fiberglass and off-the-shelf resins don’t last the required length of time.  After a bit of research, we were able to locate an aerospace resin that did just that.  We designed a method whereby we could cast the hull with reliefs and undercuts, and still be able to pull it from the mold.  And, funny enough, customers are usually so pre-occupied with the deck details, that they don’t truly notice the hull until months later.

Another challenge we faced was the deck.  Wood moves depending on temperature and moisture content.  Developing a means to laser cut and etch our ship decks was not difficult.  But finding a wood that was to scale and color, and then keeping it from lifting from the deck, proved difficult.  We finally created a three-ply piece of marine grade wood, 1/32” thick, and attached it with a high-tech glue to prevent it from lifting from the hull.

 
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