Monthly Archives: September 2012

Model Ship Books


Just one of many titles listed at the Matthews Model Marine bookstore

Over the years, I have purchased, read, used, and reviewed a fair number of model ship building books, and historical books that give meaning and context of the subjects to the model builder.

I frequently recommend one title or another to modelers, but have recently found that some titles are out of print and hard to find. And even though my books are all on a shelf near my desk, I find that I forget what is there (so many books!). So why not list them all in one place, with links to places to review and purchase the books?

Great idea! And being lazy, and already an “Amazon Associate”, I decided to make use of Amazon’s free Associate Store function to set up the Matthews Model Marine Bookstore. One of the neat things here is that I can add some of my own comments, while readers can see others’ comments and reviews as well. Also, since Amazon has entries for just about every book in existence, even those only available on the used book market, I can include listings for all the oldies but goodies.

Full disclosure: Amazon Associates (me) get a small kickback, er, commission, on sales. The sales are COMPLETELY handled by Amazon, so you don’t have to worry about me messing up a shipment. And the very small bone Amazon throws to me costs the buyer nothing more… the pennies in question either go to Amazon share holders, or towards my next bottle of CA glue.

What’s in the bookstore? Well, I’m mainly a scale R/C ship buff, so there are plenty of titles in that area. And since we scale R/C’ers use many of the same techniques pioneered by static modelers, there are a number titles from that field. Then, tug boats, PT’s, and Chris Crafts are popular R/C subjects, so there are quite a few titles dealing with the real boats and their histories and usage.

Take a look, and buy a book! You’ll be helping me with my glue habit  😉


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DeAgostini’s “Sovereign of the Seas” Post #01

Detail- HMS Sovereign of the Seas

Makers of model ship kits face some existential challenges: Fewer young people have been raised with the model-building tradition (bodes ill for the future), and we baby boomers who do enjoy model building have many other distractions competing for our limited expendable income. Then there is the sticker-shock that comes with quality model kits, the time commitment for building models, and the doubts that many potential model builders have about their abilities to pull off a good build. But the UK firm DeAgostini may have the answer, and other kit producers may do well to observe and learn.

First, DeAgostini has chosen a limited (but growing) list of popular subjects, allowing them to focus the needed time on complete product development. By “complete”, I mean not just the box full of parts, but thorough documentation of the subject and the build process, and assuring that the kit design can actually be assembled without the builder needing to re-engineer the whole thing (Billing Boats, are you listening?).

Next, DeAgostini spreads the cost and the build itself over time, which makes the purchase a little easier to rationalize— they offer a subscription with 135 payments of £5.99 ($9.60) for the SotS spread over about 2 years. This seems easier than laying out $1300 in one chunk… it becomes almost invisible, like buying a Starbucks coffee every day!

The subscription itself is novel, consisting of a magazine/practicum installment, along with the next few bits of kit to assemble. These arrive at your doorstep at the rate of one per week, which should easily allow you to keep up with the build without overwhelming your available time.

I have signed up, and am looking forward to reporting more on the build itself in the near future.

Some more on the model:

  • Depicts the famous gilded ship, launched in 1637 .
  • With over 100 guns, the largest and heaviest armed ship of her day.
  • It’s a big model, at 1100 mm long in 1:84 scale.
  • Plank-on-bulkhead construction
  • Lots of labor saving parts: Laser-cut frames, presewn sails, machined metal castings, etc.
  • More info at DeAgostini’s site,

The DeAgostini web site includes other content too: Other products, modelers’ forum, tutorials, Encyclopedia of Ships, and more.


Filed under Marine History, Model Ship Building

Baywatch Rescue Boat- On the Cover in Germany!

Sept. 2012 ModellWerft

My LA County Fire Department Rescue Boat (yes, the REAL Baywatch!) is the cover story in the September 2012 issue of the German magazine “ModellWerft“. Germany? You bet… the Baywatch series was incredibly popular there, so the story was a natural for them. They gave me 10 full pages (wow!), including photos of the real boats, my build, and my boat on the water. Also in the article- a simple plan set with hull lines. Already, a reader in Belgium tells me he is preparing to build a version. Neat!

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