There is no image that represents model making more than a picture of a father and son attempting to piece together an 18th century sailing ship. The beauty of these vast ocean crossing vessels, has captured the imagination of many for so long. Whether it be the attraction of crossing the sea of just the sheer beauty of the vessels themselves, their popularity has resulted in them being successfully introduced into the modelling market. There are many versions of each famous sailing ship covering a wide range of difficulty levels. There is such a massive array of models in this category, ranging from the early years sailing ships to the most technically advanced modern war ships.
A look back in history reveals that ship models are as old as the boats themselves. Models have been found in ancient tombs in Egypt plus models have also been discovered in Greece and other ancient civilizations. This is hardly surprising as in those times travelling by a ship was seen as being the most complex mechanisms in their world. The first companies to produce commercial models appeared at the start of the 20th century with Bassett-Lowke in the United Kingdom and Bouchers in the States. These original lead cast models with wooden hulls, in time gave way to the plastic kit models for the warships. However, many sailing models are still available in wood.
One of the most detailed models available is Lord Nelson’s flagship the HMS victory which is a 1:84 wooden scale model, and is produced by Model Space at a cost of 700 pounds. This model is incredibly detailed with sails, riggings, flags, armament and even crew members. Supplied with the kit is a manual describing all of Nelson’s ships alongside an in-depth construction booklet. As well as this there are videos available on line to help the modelers to construct the ship. The model like the ship is a work of art and has attracted much interest and many sales.
The largest warship to have served was the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise (CVN-65) which was 342 metres long and could carry 4600 serving men and women. It was decommissioned in February 2017 after serving on the seas for 55 years. This has been reproduced in model form by Tamiya. The plastic kit model comes with over 600 pieces and is a 1:350 scale model. The model includes landing lights on the large deck and the landing areas are clearly marked.
Different planes and jets are included plus elevators, cranes and antenna wire to make the model more life-like. This desire to make the model similar to the real thing is reflected in the range of paints that are supplied. There are 13 different types of paints and the kit comes with a detailed assembly manual. Despite the detail of the model the instructions are so clear that most modelers with enough time, can put this air craft carrier together regardless of their skill level. Although the model is predominately plastic kit it is also supplied with metal pieces to go inside the hull to make it sturdier. The cost of the model is around 250 US dollars and despite the cost it hasn’t stopped it being a popular purchase.
The boat and ship models have continued to be purchased over the years. Even without the need to be propelled across the water the extreme details of these models have fed men’s and women’s fascination with these craft that have conquered the seas. There are many models of boats that are radio controlled but although they are popular they have in no way diminished the interest in these static models.