Model Shipways Armed Virginia Sloop

So, my new kit arrived yesterday :-D

Just a little background: I chose this particular kit because the folks on the Drydock Models forums seemed to agree that this was one of a couple good starter boats. Reasons include good instructions, high kit quality, less scratch building, and the availability of kit-specific training materials.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Lauck Street Shipyard has a very detailed course on building this kit. It goes into an enormous amount of detail and aims to teach many of the tricks of the trade in regards to model ship building. If you are curious, they have the first section of many of the courses available to download and check out for free.

So there is a little background, which brings us up to the new kit. I spent last night picking through the parts and making sure everything was accounted for. After an hour or two of counting parts and measuring wood stock, it seemed everything was in order. There was a tiny bit of damage to one of the very thin laser-cut deck sheets, but it was something that was easily glued back on. I re-glued it last night and it seems to be good as new today, but will take a little sanding once installed later.

I'm now waiting for some organizational items to arrive, to help get my workspace cleaned up a little, and I'm also waiting for the aforementioned building course to arrive. But in the mean time, I have gotten the first section of the course, through which I can read and begin a bit of work. I've also purchased "How to Build First Rate Ship Models From Kits" by Ben Lankford (available from, which I'll be reading as well. All in all, I'm hoping to learn a great deal while building this ship, so that I need much less assistance on the next one.

The box:

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The box..... opened!

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After all the counting and sorting and such:

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Hobby Expo 2009

I was up bright and early this morning in order to head north to Petaluma, California, and Hobby Expo 2009. I was hoping to see some well-built models, be introduced to some aspects of the hobby that I was not familiar with, and perhaps run across some hard-to-find items carried by vendors there.

I arrived around 10:30 in the morning and upon entering the building, wandered past a few folding tables stacked high with plastic model kits, and then found myself in the r/c room. There was a little course set up on the floor and a few tables for r/c rock crawlers (something I didn't even know existed), and a small race track for tiny r/c cars. There were a few r/c airplane tables, a table with some r/c tanks (I had run across these at Maker Fair, as well), and a 'robot' table. As I wandered in, there was a fellow heading outside to the pond to fly his electric plane, so I followed along.

The plane that was flying and one of the r/c plane tables:

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After that I found my way into the main room, where there were a few central tables, with models on display, and a ring of vendors around the outside. Here are some images of the models that were on display.

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Besides the main room, there was also a room with a few wooden ship models, some model railroads, and quite a few maquettes. I also ran across what appeared to be a room full of model terrain and people playing table-top war games with little tanks and people. I didn't hang around long in there, as I've never been big on table-top games.

All in all, the event was larger that I had been expecting, but still not particularly huge. There was a vendor selling resin car kits and photo-etched detail sheets that were pretty impressive. I believe he also sells them from his website here: (also there is a link on the right side of this page, now). Most of the kits and parts he was selling were Japanese imports made by a company called Studio 27.

While I was checking out the model ships, I noticed the group exhibiting (Redwood Empire Model Shipwrights, I think), had their monthly meetings at a local hobby shop. Figuring that if the ship guys met there, the store might sell things that would be handy in my upcoming build, so I decided to go check it out. It turns out that this particular store had some of the best selection of any brick-and-morter hobby store that I have ever been to. If you are in the north bay, and are interested in a hobby store, be sure to check out Hobbytown USA in Petaluma ( They were even having a sale on all plastic models (buy two, get the third free). I picked up two WWII German armor models (both of which were also discounted $20-25 each), both made by Dragon, and a WWII motorcycle model, along with various other odds and ends.

All three models have a pretty high level of detail, having some photoetched parts, very fine molding, etc. Here are a few images of the kits, although I'm planning on putting these aside for a while (probably until the summer, when I can open up the apartment for airbrushing, etc). I just couldn't pass up the great discounts at the hobby store :-)

The motorcycle:
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First tank model (this one came with a little booklet telling me all about how awesome the quality of the kit was):

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The other tank model. This one had an enormous amount of parts that formed a mountain of plastic on my desk, and were, frankly, a bit intimidating.

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That's all from me for now. My next kit should arrive mid next week, so I'll post some pics when that arrives.

1930 Chris Craft Runabout in 1/24 scale

Here are a few images of the last model I finished. This was the first model that I have ever done that had a finished wood construction. When I was a kid I had done a few of the little balsa airplanes that have a tissue out surface, but this boat was a totally different beast.

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This kit is a Dumas Boats 1930 Chris Craft Runabout at 1/24 scale. The finished product is about 12" long. It's got a balsa frame and underplanking, with mahogany final planking.

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Previous to this kit, almost all of the kits I have built have been plastic. This meant the emphasis was far and away on the painting and cleanup of the plastic. A little filler here, some shading and weathering there and the kits come out nice. This, on the other hand, was a good deal more about the construction, with hardly any painting at all. There was a great deal of shaping and sanding of the raw planks of wood, which, while making a saw-dusty mess of my office, made me feel much more like I had actually BUILT the model, rather than just assembled a kit. There was also a bit of metal cleanup and polishing on the white metal parts, and some working with materials I had not dealt with before (sheet adhesive aluminum).

Overall, I learned quite a bit and whet my appetite for further exploration into the ship building process. As a result, I decided to order up a new ship model (see previous post), with a good deal more complexity, and give that a try.

New model ordered, Model Expo 2009

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So I've ordered up a new model to start on: A Model Shipways 1:48 scale Armed Virginia Sloop. After finishing my first wooden model, I decided that I liked it, and that I should give something a little more complicated a try. I think I will also get the course on building this particular model from: Hopefully this will help me learn many of the tricks of the trade, without making a mess of things.

More info on the model, image source, etc can be had here:

Also, this weekend is Hobby Expo 2009, up in Petaluma. I only just discovered this the other day, and having never been to one of these things myself, I figured I would go up and check it out. I'm hoping there will be someone there selling some of the Maschinen Krieger (sp?) kits, since they seem to be tricky to find these days.