Making Models More Interesting 

Anthony Addams shows some examples of how to enhance our enjoyment of the hobby


Just as with cars and electronics etc., so the modelling world is continually evolving. Years ago wood was the main material, but now plastic is often the preferred choice for model boat construction, so here we are considering further examples of trends that have been observed and enjoyed. 

Models that make you smile!

On the Nottingham MBC stand at the Coalville National Model Boat Show 2015, they displayed a great range called Krazy Kraft, their rules requiring models to be powered and steerable and these pictures show some of their fun craft. This is a nice club activity and brings a fun element into the hobby, Photos 1, 2 and 3.


This model of Yorkshire Bell by Alan Norwood, Photo 4, has a wonderful collection of colourful passengers and crew, bringing a smile to anyone viewing this fine model which perhaps captures the whole point of a day out on a pleasure steamer. The figures are not exact in terms of detail, but do convey the whole concept very nicely.

Extraordinary realism

The steel herring drifter Jamie on the Nottingham MBC stand has its decks cluttered with all the paraphernalia of a working trawler, Photos 5 and 6. The minute crabs, just 3mm across in the bottom of some fish boxes, were actually obtained from a fishmonger spotted cleaning off some fish. The stern view captures the atmosphere of a working boat, setting a standard for anyone trying to achieve the same degree of realism.

Italian playboy

Lenn 2 by Jim Cushing is scratch built. This fine model captures the 'pulling power' of the young rich Italian man with not one, but two girls on board and how a bikini clad girl has been created is interesting, Photos 7 and 8.

Showing the scale?

The superb model of HMS Ocean, Photo 9, uses figures sparingly to emphasise the size of this warship. Many such models lack any human connection at all, making them appear dead, although I do appreciate that in real life, very often few of the crew would be visible anyway on deck. 

Another example of demonstrating the overall scale is the single figure about to climb the ladder on this, my own, model of a French tuna fishing boat, Photo 10

On the toilet?

Adrian Abbot could not resist the temptation to include a seaman in the 'heads', on his cutaway model of a Fairmile D MTB and why not as it adds interest and a touch of humour, Photo 11.


This couple in Photo 12, make for a charming display on the open boat called True Image, seen on the Nottingham MBC stand.

Exquisite paintwork

This Amelia Rose canal boat in Photo 13 is superbly decorated and has lots of subtle detail such as the dog and the watering can on its roof. It is very small and was made by 3D printing and then hand-painted for the decoration.

Busy barge scene

Displayed at the International Model Boat Show 2014, this diorama of a barge at a quay in Photo 14, is dedicated to the memory of those who fought and gave their lives in WWI. Sailing barges continued to move all kinds of cargo throughout that war, often crossing the channel to support the army in France.

Accessory suppliers 

Many accessories are homemade, but there is an increasing variety of miniature accessories being produced by ever more imaginative suppliers. These include Adrian Clutterbuck of Adrian's Marine Figures with offerings such as those in Photo 15 and DK Figures specialising in 1:12 scale, Photo 16. Another manufacturer with all sorts of accessories in various scales is Macs Mouldings, Photo 17. There are of course numerous others and that is why it is a good idea to try and at least visit one or two dedicated model boat shows every year to at least view, touch and perhaps buy, what is on offer from all the manufacturers.


The purpose of all this has been to suggest ways of enhancing and bringing our models to life and perhaps Photo 18 also shows what is possible, using mostly off-the-shelf accessories. There is also much to be had from the railway and military modelling scenes, and their trade shows are perhaps something we should all, if we have the time, visit from time to time. Unfortunately in the UK, the number of large multi-discipline shows has waned as model boaters, model engineers and aeromodellers have all largely gone their own way. Lastly, the annual IPMS National Event at Telford in November of each year, usually on the same weekend as the International Model Boat Show at Leamington Spa, is also well worth a visit if you have the time.

Enjoy your hobby - Anthony