construction is the most difficult process and a
nightmare to many model ship builders. Artisans
have to heat bend individual planks according to the
curves of the hull and nail and glue them one by one
onto the frame. Moreover, since wood expands and
contracts, planks must be small, thin and treated.
Real ships have been built
like that. Great ship models
in nautical museums across the world are all like that.
costs, many commercial model ships builders machine
carve ship hulls from solid pieces of wood. These
solid-hull ship models also carry solid superstructures
which are given dark decal (which surely will curl up in
several years) to portray portholes and windows, etc...
At the time of business inception, our founders once
faced tough choices between traditional planking and the
solid hull and also resin hull method. Cost and
profit pressure kept mounting but thanks to the generous
financial supports from many patrons, we finally made up
our mind that we would maintain the classic way until
"the end of the world." Not only the hulls,
all of our ship models also have hollow
superstructures that are comprised of many small pieces
of wood cut and glued together. That's why we can
place light bulbs inside.
And here is an excerpt from the kit maker Model
Shipwrights: "There are a number of variations within
the category of what is considered “solid hull ship
models,” but while these construction methods differ
substantially, they all share the fact the shape of the
hull is not created by the modeler applying planks over
an open framework of bulkheads or frames. Some solid
hull ship model kits even require planking to be affixed
over the hull, but the hull is still a solid form
beneath the planking.
Solid hull ship model kits
are generally considered to be the easiest to construct."
A good way
to comprehend the value of a ship model is to question
whether it can be housed in an art gallery in an
upscale neighborhood. Those art galleries prize
models that have natural materials and tremendous amount
of personal attention.
following video shows very well the traditional planking
method. We use this method on all our ship models
(Ocean liner models, cruise ship models, cargo ship
models, naval ship models, yacht models...) Even
the hulls of our submarine models are also
plank-on-frame. The only exception is the
submersible RC submarines because of their operation
from model ship builder J. Brent shows making thin wood
planks is a time-consuming process (starting at 3:30.)
The video also displays necessary tools and the
extensive labor involved in the making of plank-on-frame
from the Modelers' Shipyard teaching how to plank a ship
model. After watching this video you'll see why solid wood and resin
hulls make more sense for many model makers:
are some representative photos:
The Skeleton Bench (by Bilgoray
Pozner) must have been inspired by a beautiful
The following video shows how a computerized machine
can make a solid hull:
And this one from MIT university shows how simple it
is to hand carve a hull. Fast forward to 25:00
for the core:
This video shows a traditional workshop and the
painstaking way to make parts from scratch.
Eventually many manufactures will use 3-D printers.
For more about traditional woodworking method,
please click on the photos below.
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