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miniature ship models

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pete graham01/03/2020 16:50:12
39 forum posts

I was not sure under which forum heading I should introduce myself but Scratch Building seemed to be appropriate,

I am a somewhat aged ex seafarer with a long interest in ship more or less started in 1952 when I discovered that Bryant and Mays safety matches were contained in boxes made from very thin veneer- like wood which was a modellers delight ( once the paper covering was removed).

I never settled into any particular period or type of ship modelling and was happy to have a go at anything at all which included a hand built USS Constitution to a 6 foot long German Type 1X U Boat. Surface voyages only !!

About 5 years ago I started making merchant ship models to the popular scale of 1 / 1200 ( 1" to 100 ft) and was keen on the period from the 1920s to about 1960 , ...... This was a period when "Ships still looked like Ships" . I decline to comment on what I think they look like now !!.

More recently, I adapted my preferred scale to 1" to 75ft which is just a bit more comfortable on my eyesight and "digital dexterity".

It would be very interesting to hear from anyone who models in these small scales .


Ray Wood 201/03/2020 17:08:24
1996 forum posts
712 photos

Hi Pete,

Take a look at Bob Wilson's threads on this forum.

Regards Ray

Bob Wilson04/03/2020 07:26:46
1673 forum posts
301 photos

glenmoor resized.jpgarabia out of case (large).jpgdonna francisca.jpgAs Ray says, that is practically all I build. 100 foot to 1 inch is a bit too small for me, but I do like 32 feet to 1 inch or 25 feet to one inch. Here are four of them, but if you look in my photos, you will find hundreds more. They are all scratchbuilt from bits and pieces with no shop-bought parts. Extremely unpopular amongst model shipbuilders, but as you will probably know, collectors love them


1 complete (medium).jpg

Edited By Bob Wilson on 04/03/2020 07:28:00

Bob Wilson04/03/2020 07:35:07
1673 forum posts
301 photos

Some more. Winchester Castle - Kenya - Amarna -

winchester castle.jpgkenya.jpgamarna (large).jpg

pete graham04/03/2020 10:55:14
39 forum posts

Hi Bob, I have realised that you are Shipbuilder from SN.....I recognised the Parker Pen and , of course, your magnificent models which I have long admired.

I note with great interest your comments about "scratch building" , "bits and pieces", and" no bought parts".....this to me is the absolute essence of model ship building in the smaller scales. I know that like me, you will have boxes of all sorts of oddments which some day will get adapted to shipboard fittings.

I once bought from Ebay some moulded plastic lifeboats at an illusionary scale of 100ft to utter disaster. So I continue to make them by hand as I go along . Perfectly at home for a 4 boat tramp but a bit of a pain for a double banked array on a liner. But an enjoyable pain.

I must mention the rigging on your is superb and you must be proud to achieve this realism. I think that rigging on my mini scales is best left be practical at all it has to be under scale and perhaps even then it can be obtrusive. I don't think that I have ever had comments about missing rigging , even from "old salts" .

Thank you for replying to my post.

With Best Regards


And a PS. I had written a previous response to your message about 40 minutes ago, much on the lines of the above. For some reason it "disappeared" in mid sentence . So might be anywhere.

Bob Wilson04/03/2020 13:46:25
1673 forum posts
301 photos

Hi Pete,

Thanks for reply. The Parker pen seems to have become my trademarksmiley I agree, 100 foot to 1 inch is really a bit too small for rigging, but no problem with it at 32 or 25 feet to the inch using wire rather than thread.

I am an "old salt" myself - MN1959/61 (training college) then early 1961 to late 1992 at sea. Last ship RMS St Helena -

Best wishes


pete graham02/04/2020 15:58:38
39 forum posts

Bob., I was going to place this thread in the general forum but since you have mentioned bristol board elsewhere I wondered if I could bother you again . I have read many complimentary references to bristol board but have never EVER seen it. . John Bowen referred to it as suitable for deck cards ( the single ply) . I use home made decking material, made from brown envelope paper in 3 layers , each layer soaked in PVA and then bonded under pressure until absolutely dry. . Its as tough as old boots and cuts neatly but does not take a micro drill very well ....the exit is not too tidy. Would bristol Board have any advantage over this

Best Wishes


Bob Wilson02/04/2020 17:25:15
1673 forum posts
301 photos

Hi Pete,

I don't recall mentioning Bristol Board. I think it is just good quality card, but I don't use it! My decks are all scored wood, in the form of either 1/32nd or 1/64th marine plywood obtained from either Ebay or model shops. Here is an example of my scored decks. Very good down to 32 feet to 1 inch, but don't know about smaller scales.


scored deck (large).jpg

Bob Wilson10/04/2020 20:36:04
1673 forum posts
301 photos

I see in one of my old articles written over 40 years ago, I did mention using Bristol Board, but I had really forgotten all about it. I have changed my methods so many times over the years, it is difficult to remember all of them - surprise Bob

pete graham11/04/2020 13:43:09
39 forum posts

Hi Bob, ,Nice of you to pin point your mention of Bristol Board way back 40 years ago. My "claiim" to have seen a reference you made recently obviously incorrect and I am wondering if it was something Bowen wrote.

Incidentally, re. the download. I have been a bit disorganised with an out of date card and hopefully will have it sorted very soon.


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