Topics of Interest

(Click a topic to learn more)

Ship's wheel. This is a functional precise replica of a double steering wheel  with ten spokes in each wheel commonly used aboard  the early XIX. A special platform with gratings has been prepared to accommodate the carved stations, the drum and the wheels  and keeps  the wheelsman’s feet dry in bad weather.  Every piece is made of prime grade Suisse pear wood.  More than 250 small parts are fixed together  and some are so precisely hand shaped that no glue is required to fix them together. Is has been prepared with great care for the model of a 14 gun corvette made in 1833 by the Bombay dockyard for the ruler of Oman. (Source: Carlos Montalvão)

Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle (US) or dazzle painting, was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I, and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards. Credited to the British marine artist Norman Wilkinson, though with a rejected prior claim by the zoologist John Graham Kerr, it consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colors, interrupting and intersecting each other.

Unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention of dazzle is not to conceal but to make it difficult to estimate a target's range, speed, and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that he had intended dazzle more to mislead the enemy about a ship's course and so to take up a poor firing position, than actually to cause the enemy to miss his shot when firing. (Source: Wikipedia)

War of 1812. on Lake Ontario

The war of the carpenters!

An interesting and powerful presentation about the War of 1812 provided by the Military History Society of Rochester. Click the link to download a PDF version:

Modelshipwright Guild of Western NY

Participated at the IPMS (N0r East Con 46) show in Batavia NY, May 19 and 20, 2017!

Thanks to the support and efforts of Chuck Baylis the Military History Society director we were able to make an impressive showing at this annual event for plastic modelers. The effort was spear headed by the director and was timely as the Nautical Research Guild has recently announced its affiliation with IPMS/USA. Interestingly the individual standing in front of the USS Langley recalls that his father served aboard the USS Whipple during WWII and witnessed the torpedoing of this carrier in 1942.

A New Model for the Museum

With the departure of the USS Langley from the museum sometime the summer of 2017 to its new home at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum there is need for a new display at the Military History Society Museum. The picture at the right is a river patrol boat of the Viet Nam era, a PBR Mark 1 that the director wishes to display. It will be a 1/6 scale model and at this scale can be detailed and outfitted to a high degree. Logically our membership will volunteer time and effort to realize this model. 

As of December 2017 we formally kicked off the group build. We have opened a "Build Log" on the Model Ship World site. One can follow the progress there.

Until July of 2021 one of the major problems in the construction of the model has been the acquistion of adequate drawings and data surrounding certain aspects of these vessels. In particular the forward gun tub has alluded our efforts in faithful reproduction. However in July through our on line posting on the Model Ship World web site we had a break through. A member of this forum alerted us that he had a document (NAV ORD document) describing the sub assemblies invovled. With those drawings and descriptions it has provided us with the much needed information to build this complex assembly








A Very Noteworthy Event and Seminar

Carlos Montalvao is a member of our guild. Albeit he is a distant member, living in Lisbon Portugal, he communicates and contributes to our group by sharing his incredible talents and expertise in the art of ship modeling. Recently he completed a 1:24 scale model of the Sultanah for a newly built museum in Oman. The museum has published a description of the model which we provide here.  A photo of the model is in our Gallery. One can learn more of the model and the modeler by accessing the following web link

Carlos journeyed to the US in July of 2018 and treated Model Shipwright Members and guests to an enthralling description of the Sultanah history and model build. You will find the seminar on the following drive for your review;

It is quite descriptive but sadly you will miss his wonderful delivery and will not witness his humor, passion and diligent pursuit of excellence.

Attendees included 3 members of the Niagara Ontario ship modelers, 2 guests from the NJ/PA area and we even had one guest who happened to be in town from Missouri. Two members of the Onatrio group presented their builds. One was an excellent model of HMS Ontario and the other was of a Hailing Hoy model built by "Druxey" (see Model Ship World/Scratch Builds). And as luck would have Jim Kennard of Lake Ontario ship wreck discoveries spoke to and presented a video of his finding of HMS Ontario!

Half Hull Models A brief History and Modeling Techniques

Recently a presentation was made at our monthly meeting on the fascinating topic of half hulls as used in ship design in the 1800's and in today's time frame. It is not meant to be a full modeling treatment but should lead one to strike out on their own.

Meeting Room

Following A Dream

Have you ever had a dream about doing something that sets your imagination on fire and consumes your thoughts? I think we all have. I certainly did. Since I was young I have always wanted to build a sail boat. Over time that morphed into restoration of a boat, which morphed into restoration of a wooden Chris Craft 17 footer that just because of life circumstances. I even wanted to sail on a wind jammer as part of the crew when I retired. That too died a slow death. 

Recently I discovered "Acorn to Arabella" a web site and You Tube video series about 2, 30 something young men building, from the ground up a 38 foot ketch to sail around the world when completed. So I find as I follow the build process I am living my unfulfilled dream through them. While this isn't about ship modeling it certainly is about boat building. It is an education in the process and testimony to their determination and grit. It is an investment in viewing time but well worth the investment.  In their words here is a brief on the project and you can follow the build on You Tube.

Arabella will be a Colin Archer inspired, double ended ketch, designed by William Atkin, displacing 25,000 lbs and having berths for up to 5 people, but which can be sailed single handed. Measuring 37’6” on deck, with a 30’ waterline, and carrying 816 sq ft of sail. The frame will be built of White Oak, planked out of White Cedar and a White Pine deck.

Colin Archer was a famous Scottish naval architect and shipbuilder from Larvik Norway.  His designs were used primarily for fishing vessels on the North Sea and for polar expeditions. The boats were designed for efficient sailing and the ability to stay afloat in rough weather and big seas.  The Atkins are a legendary family of boat designers; they refined and tweaked Archer’s designs to create numerous double enders such as Thistle, Vixen and of course Ingrid.  Some of which are still afloat today, the original Vixen has made two circumnavigations of the world to date and is capable of many more.

Meeting Agenda; Next meeting

Please open the attached PDF to view the next monthly meeting agenda


A Research Journey via The Essex of 1799

As one gets deeper into the art of ship modeling, especially those of period dating it becomes a journey of that doesn't always seem to have an end point or produces results that may disappoint. After all, we are probing into an era dating back centuries in which archival information just may not exist in abundance. Herein is an example of available information on an American vessel, The Essex of 1799, which has a decent amount of information available albeit incomplete. For the modeler this can be a research journey with dubious results. Explore the results and see for yourself.



Meeting Agenda; Next meeting

Please open the attached PDF to view the next monthly meeting agenda



Research and data Gathering for The Flying Cloud

A major component of a modelers pursuit is the fidelity and accuracy of his model. One of our members has decided to build the clipper Flying Cloud built by Donald McKay. Thi entry will serve to document the member's data collection. It is intended to serve others as well.


37th Annual Model Ship Conference and Display

Six members attended this conference in April of 2019. In this annual event modeler's vendors and guests converge in New London Conn. to share their work and gather in fellowship. It is a splendid event worth the effort to attend. Below is a PDF of some of the content of that session


A Very Special and Possible Future Model

Recen tly  US Coast Guard drawings for vintage MLB were acquired from a member of Model Ship World. A restored CG36500 MLB can be found in Orleans Massachucetts. CG36500 history dates back to the mid 1900s and was resposible for the rescue of 30 seaman off Chatham in 1952. It has been modeled before but has special significance to the author. In researching the project a fascinating set of facts was gathered in regard to the USCG evolution which may be of interest to others


Restoration of an Exquisite Model

A member of the group recently acquired a model of a Florida Fishing Sharpie of 1899 modeled to exacting requiremnets by an unknown modeler. The plan used was developed by Howard Chappelle and a copy of the drawing has been requested from the Smithsonian Institue which holds all the plans, half hulls and some models depicited in The National Watercraft Collection by Chappelle.


By chance the model was found in an antique shop in the Finger Lakes Area of NYS. It is need of some minor repair and a fitting stand and case. The new owner will post the restoration on Model Ship Work in the Scratch Built section of the noted era.


The attached PDF depicts its path to identity and briefly explores the origin of the Sharpie and its evolution. 


Building The NRG Half Hull Model

One of our members gave an excellent session on his experiences building the half hull model offered by the Nautical Research Guild. It is a very useful and inexpensive way to practice the art of hull planking. You can guide yourself through this easily followable series of slides expertly done and presented by one of our members.

This treatment fits nicely with the Shop Notes on Planking in Resources