Select a gallery...
Click any image to expand with more information
The Society has always followed the convention that a working model must be an accurate, miniature replication of an actual vessel and not merely be of an imaginary craft that works such as the modern model racing yacht. The construction and operation of scale working sailing models offers problems and pleasures not found in their static display counterparts. The choice of a suitable subject is all-important particularly when it comes to the choice of rig. Anyone starting in this work should consider a model to a fairly large scale such as 1:24 or larger and a simple fore and aft rig of no more than two or three sails. The construction method must be robust enough to cope with water and wind and even collision whilst at the same time allowing the appearance and detail of the model to be an accurate representation of the original vessel. Watertightness is vital to protect expensive radio-control equipment which has enormously increased the ability to replicate the handling of sails, be they on multi-mast vessels with square rigging or simple one mast vessels with fore and aft rig. Careful ballasting is needed to ensure the model floats to her marks and can stand up to her canvas. The keys to a first-class model are: good subject choice, accurate and detailed scale appearance and atmosphere, reliability and a totally realistic performance on the water.
That said, it must be recognized that hydrodynamic properties do not scale linearly, and to achieve realistic sailing performance it is often necessary to fit deeper, oversize rudders and ballasted fin keels. These are often made removable so that the model can be put on display.
Just as real ships and other waterborne craft come in all shapes and sizes, so too do the models that depict them. There are several approaches to the static model such as educational, commemorative, decorative or as an aid to design. Perhaps the most important distinguishing feature of the static model is that, as near as the model maker can ensure, it should be an exact replica of the full-size ship. This involves detailed and extensive research, together with the authentication of information used to build it. The method of hull construction can vary, some models are built in exactly the same way as the original, others are formed in simpler ways but the visible signs of these other methods must appear as true to scale. In some cases a finished model is deliberately left incomplete. A traditional style is the 17th Century Navy Board or Dockyard style, where the lower part of the hull is left un-planked to show the framing, often in stylized form. As the majority of such vessels are built of wood, the modeller needs to consider how best to represent the original. Wood grains do not scale, and shipbuilding timbers like oak, pine and teak are inappropriate in a model. They need to be simulated using, typically, woods like box and pear. Rigging, sails and masts pose special problems particularly if a model is to a very small scale and there comes a time when exact replication has to be modified. For the static display model of a sailing ship a glass or perspex case to protect it is essential, not the least from dust.
Marine painting can take many forms, involve several different mediums and employ vastly different interpretations of the subject matter. For those who also construct model ships the approach tends towards the conservative and naturally, though not always, to the depiction of those vessels of especial interest to the painter. Whatever medium is used the aim must be to create a picture that has atmosphere, depicts the subject accurately and provides a good composition that leads the viewer’s eye into and through that picture. Perhaps the two main challenges for the marine artist are creating the movement of the sea convincingly and managing the complex perspective of a ship under way.
The Society has always followed the convention that a working model must be an accurate, miniature replication of an actual vessel and not merely be of an imaginary craft that works such as the modern model racing hydroplane. The working power model offers the possibility of speed, manoeuvre, and the operation of individual on-deck equipment such as gun turrets, winches and signals. The construction of a powered working model must be sufficiently robust to manage the effects of speed through the water and the possibility of collision with other models. At the same time, it is important to ensure that the model is accurate in detail and measurement to the original it portrays. A sound watertight hull is of critical importance to protect expensive radio-control equipment. A degree of ballasting will be necessary to ensure that the model floats to its marks. The keys to a first-class model are: a good choice of subject, accurate and detailed scale appearance and atmosphere, reliability and a totally realistic performance on the water. This last is difficult to achieve and the larger the model the more likely a good result.
Just as real ships and other waterborne craft come in all shapes and sizes, so too do the models that depict them. There are several approaches to the static model such as educational, commemorative, decorative or as an aid to design. Perhaps the most important distinguishing feature of the static model is that, as near as the model maker can ensure, it should be an exact replica of the full-size ship. This involves detailed and extensive research, together with the authentication of information used to build it. One of the main considerations in the choice of subject for a static power model is the scale. For example, if a container ship is 900 feet long and a scale of 1:192 (1/16th inch = 1 foot) is chosen, the resulting model will be close on 6’ in length. It therefore follows that except in the case of relatively small vessels the model maker is forced into very small scales, which means that the model’s detailing will require fine work, similar to that of a jeweller. It therefore follows that many static power models fall into the bracket of ‘miniature’, now normally accepted at 1: 384 or 1/32nd inch = 1 foot. This sort of work calls for great patience but the results can be delightful. As with its sailing counterpart the static power model should be displayed or at least stored within a glass or Perspex case.
Today, a miniature model is generally accepted as being built to a scale of 1: 384 (1/32nd inch = 1 foot) or smaller. As real ships vary from the large to the enormous, there is a particular fascination in seeing them shrunk to a tiny size, perhaps portrayed in their own little piece of ocean, captured and frozen at an instant of calm, storm or battle. The miniature model of a ship gives room in a normal home to show a range of vessels through history, or the competing vessels of navies, shipping lines or technologies. The skill in making these models is in deciding what can be left out without spoiling the ‘spirit’ of the ship, in finding materials which will replicate wood, iron, cordage, canvas and bunting and how the illusion of something can be created without constructing it like the original. At these scales almost all ‘real’ materials are denied to the miniaturist. Perhaps the greatest challenge is to find ways of holding things while you make them!