Since I started building wooden kits, I looked at the Plank-on-Frame models with great awe. Exposing the internal structure of the ship with all the beautiful complexity is extremely appealing to me as an engineer. This year my wife convinced me to take the plunge and try to build one myself. After building 10+ wooden models I felt confident enough to attempt building some small and well-made POF kit. Seeing a group build for this model on Ships of Scale forums, along with the positive reviews and acceptable price (around 600EUR after import taxes) helped me to make the decision in favour of this kit from the new Chinese manufacturer Trident Models.
This model attracted me because of graceful, beautiful lines, and my desire to try a recent model by famous Chris Watton. After all, I quite enjoyed his design in Lady Nelson, and the kits from Vanguard Models had glowing reviews on a Model Ship World forum. HM Brig Sloop Flirt There is nothing remarkable about ship herself. She was built in 1782 and had a relatively uneventful career in the Navy.
Continuing the series of retrospectives, let’s take a look at year 2023. While in a global, geopolitical sense the year was just as bad as 2022 (at least from my perspective), from the modelling standpoint it was actually fairly good. On the surface of it, I only completed two models. But it’s the model that count, not the total number. HMS Terror I’m delighted that the dreaded HMS Terror is finally finished!
Once I built up some confidence with wooden kits, especially after St. Gabriel I felt confident enough to start the ‘proper’ wooden ship. Like you know, one which you have to plank manually and scratch-build most of the stuff. As you probably know, picking the right subject you are really interested in is the key to success. Especially when built is expected to take many months. After careful considerations and reading Model Ship World a lot, I picked this kit from OcCre.
This tiny kit was purchased to compliment HMS Terror. OcCre provided cast metal boats with Terror kit, however I lack artistic talent to make them presentable enough to pass for wood. For this reason I took measures of biggest boat that was intended to be put on ship’s deck, and ordered similarly sized boat kit from Vanguard Models. Model quality It is made by Vanguard Models, by legendary Chris Watton, so I had no doubts the kit will be great.
I like the ‘year in review’ format I tried for the first time last year, so here we go again. No point in sugarcoating it - 2022 was a terrible, terrible year, with horrible war starting in Europe. Of course this affected all parts of my life, including hobbies, as I was too depressed and anxious to bring myself back to it. Eventually I managed (or rather forced myself) to do at least some modelling, if anything because it calms me and improves my mental health.
Leudo Leudo is a type of cargo ship, used in Mediterranean Sea to carry various goods. Of course, most people familiar with the subject will think about the wine-carrying type of Leudo, and that’s exactly what this model depicts. Model quality This is an upgraded Pear version of the kit, so the material quality is very good. But I have few issues with the design of the kit. Unlike Falkonet’s Yawl which was superb, this kit feels over-engineered to the point where it detracts from builder’s experience.
Legendary Renault FT-17, most influential and revolutionary tank design in history. It’s so tiny by modern standards that 1/35 model feels like 1/48. That’s why it’s even more interesting and challenging to build it with full interior. Model quality It’s just perfect, even compared to modern Airfix kits. No flash, very dense and hard plastic allowing amazing level of details, and very detailed build manual. It’s the best plastic kit I’ve ever built.
Protected Cruiser Varyag Built in USA in 1899 for the Imperial Russian Navy, Varyag became very famous in Russia after the Battle of Chemulpo Bay. In that battle, she got trapped in the bay and tried to break out by fighting against Japanese squadron. Sadly she scored no hits on the enemy, lost 31 men dead and 191 injured, returned back to the bay and got scuttled. The Russian government took the opportunity to turn this very unsuccessful battle into a publicity stunt.
First time I’m doing this ‘year in review’ thing, decided to give it a try. Turns out, I only completed two models this year, mostly thanks to the fact that sailing ships take enormous amount of time to finish. I track the days I worked on the models, but not the amount of time, which of course varies from 20 minutes to multiple hours. I can work on more than one model in a single day, so adding those numbers up is kinda misleading.
I wanted to build a cutter since I first saw someone else build in the modelshipworld.com gallery. They look very graceful and elegant and fast! HM Cutter Lady Nelson Funny enough, there was no such ship, instead this model depicts an abstract 18th-century British cutter, inspired by Sherbourne-class. As I was attracted by the looks of the subject, not by the history of a particular ship, it didn’t bother me.
With this small and simple kit I wanted to get a break from rigging HMS Terror I’ve been building for over a year now. Providence Whaleboat Typical whaleboat used for whaling during the 19th century in New England. Such boats were carried on board of whaling ships and used to hunt and harpoon whales. While I definitely disapprove whaling as a practice, the whaleboat itself is quite a beautiful subject.
Another wooden model. The more I build them, the more I love doing it. The manufacturer is a Russian company called Falkonet, they specialize in extremely detailed kits. Four-oared yawl of XIX century Not much to say about the subject, it’s a fairly typical yawl from that age. The box says it’s based on real historical plans from 19th century, by English shipwright Benjamin Stuckey. Model quality It’s absolutely excellent, level of details is insane and superior to what I’ve seen in other manufacturer’s kits.
Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c3 The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 was a British single-engine tractor two-seat biplane designed and developed at the Royal Aircraft Factory. Most production aircraft were constructed under contract by various private companies, both established aircraft manufacturers and firms that had not previously built aircraft. Around 3,500 were manufactured in all. from Wikipedia. I picked this model on my visit to Royal Air Force Museum London. The museum is absolutely awesome, and they even have BE2b aircraft on display.
SS Jeremiah O’Brien SS Jeremiah O’Brien is one of the few surviving Liberty Ships - cargo ships massively built by US in WW2. Used everywhere - from arctic convoys to D-Day, those ships became a legend. This particular ship is currently based in San Francisco where I had the pleasure to see and visit her. Obviously after the visit I decided to build the model of this remarkable ship. I decided to go with 1/700 scale, mostly because I already had HMS Hood in ~1/700, but now I see how choosing this scale was a huge mistake.
I can’t really help it - wooden models attract me more and more. This one is yet another tiny boat kit that I bought for like 10 Euros on my trip to Russia. The manufacturer is Falkonet, apparently they focus on smaller stuff like boats and yachts, no tall ships in the catalog so far. Wooden boat from year 1763 Some luxurious wooden boat from Catherine The Great era. Well, basically a typical 6-oar boat with ornaments on the side.
Ever since I was a passenger on one of this things thanks to Viking Splash Tours, I wanted to build this model. It’s remarkable that truck/boat hybrid built 70 years ago is still able to move, and even sail. As for the model, I’ve got Eduard PE kit for it, because I really enjoyed working with PE while building HMS Hood, and it adds so much to the look. The Mighty DUKW This remarkable vehicle is a modification of CCKW truck, and DUKW comes from:
For some reason wooden kits keep attracting me more and more. This one is the third I’m building, all from the same Russian company called Master Korabel (Мастер Корабел). St Gabriel deck-boat This was the main ship of the First Kamchatka Expedition lead by Danish explorer Vitus Bering for Russian Tsar Peter The Great in 1724-1730. Model quality Just as with previous kits from this company I had no major issues with the model, wooden parts are awesome and very well engineered.
Boat It’s essentially the same boat type as the one I’ve built from wood, and in same scale. This made it particularly fun to build as I was able to directly compare both builds. Model quality It’s very good, the wooden texture is beautifully executed, and the were no flash at all. My only tiny complaint is about seam lines, but as there were so few details it wasn’t a problem.
After I visited famous HMS Victory in Portsmouth this summer, I wanted to build something related to her. My experience with wooden kits tells me that building the full HMS Victory model is a very big project that I’m not ready for yet, not to mention the sheer size of it. So building this kit allowed me to scratch that HMS Victory itch without spending a year on it. English Carronade Carronade is a short cannon that was used by the Royal Navy, and HMS Victory carries two of such cannons on her forecastle.
As I had great fun building my first wooden kit, on my next trip to Russia I bought a bunch of other kits from local manufacturers. This modern kit is again from Russian company called Master Korabel (Мастер Корабел), is fully laser-cut and costs less than 10 Euros. Launch This is just a general purpose boat used on sail ships in 17th century. Nothing really special about it. Model quality Just as with previous kit from this company I had no issues, fit was almost perfect.
My first ever wooden kit, yay! I was always intimidated by wooden ship kits, assuming huge amount of scratch-building and crafting. Also I knew from my childhood plastic kit experience that rigging is quite challenging on Tall Ships. Luckily nowadays thanks to modern technologies like laser cutters and CAD software wooden kits are enhanced with pre-shaped laser cut hull planks and details. Considering this I decided to give it a try and build something relatively simple, relatively cheap and without complex rigging.
Very good modern kit from Battle of Britain: Ready For Battle set. The Albion 3-Point Refueller Not much information available online about this machines. Refuellers like this were in use with the RAF during the Battle of Britain. Apparently having 3 fuel hoses cut down the refuelling time. Model quality Almost no flash, great detailed instructions, excellent fit, good decals. Just perfect. Build notes The build was straightforward, no fit issues at all.
Neat modern kit by Zvezda. The model is tiny, details are crisp, and build is straightforward bar the challenge of working with such small parts. I’ve enjoyed building it a lot, much more than I expected - normally I don’t do anything modern. Russian Destroyer “Sovremenny” (Современный). Commissioned in 1980, this ship was the first destroyer built by USSR in 20 years. This fact is reflected in ships name - ‘Sovremenny’ means ‘modern’, ‘contemporary’.
Italery kit from 1978, which explains strange 1/720 scale. I’ve got Zvezda version just because it was a present. Interesting fact - Zvezda is not allowed to sell this kit outside of ex-USSR because it’s just cheaper in it’s version. The Mighty HMS Hood Built in 1918, the only ship in her class, this battlecruiser remained the largest and most powerful warship for 20 years. She tragically sank during the Battle of the Denmark Strait with the loss of all but 3 of her crew of 1418 men.
Nice little model from Battle of Britain: Ready For Battle set. The whole kit is fantastic - it’s ’new tool’, so perfect quality and level of details. I’ve decided to start with truck just to learn how to paint vehicles and try some new techniques. It’s the first model I’ve painted after I read awesome Adam’s Armour book by Adam Wilder, so I’ve tried to apply knowledge I’ve got from the book.
Ever since I’ve been in San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and seen Hercules tug there, I knew I want to build something like it. Quick research on scalemates.com showed that only reasonable option I had was this ancient Revell kit from 1979, so I had no choice but to build it. Model quality As you might expect from a kit designed in 1955, the quality is bad by modern standards.
This model attracted me because of it’s subject. This Tupolev I-4 plane is little known even amongst ex-USSR modellers despite being first Soviet all-metal fighter. And it’s a sesquiplane, which is also interesting to me. Model quality If you think that nothing surprising here, because it’s old Zvezda, here comes the surprise - it’s actually not. It’s Zvezda making Encore Models kit from ninetieth. So the quality is even a bit worse then I expected.
Another blast from the past. Bought this model in 2010, just because I wanted to build some WW1 biplane. So it waited 6 years for me do find time and space to build it. Lucky for me, I didn’t even start it in 2010 except for gluing two engine halves together, so it wasn’t ruined and I had no problems with old paint. Model quality I’ve built it right after BA-10, and the quality difference was drastic.
My first completed model after a 6 year hiatus. Started to build it in 2009, it was the first model I’ve used airbrush on. Tried salt chipping on it (with totally inappropriate base color). Then I simply didn’t have time or space for model making, and only after moving to Dublin in 2016 I finally got back to this wonderful hobby. So just to get my grip on it back, I’ve finished this one.