Models of the Week

MODEL OF THE WEEK The Dutch Pinasschip

10 October 2015

Well I have run onto a bunch of great models in the last 6 months, but this one is my current favorite and I just happened on to her a couple days back. She is a gorgeous little Dutch pinnace that won the gold medal at the Nautical Research Guild in 2011. Here’s the link: Dutch Pinnace

…and here are the pictures. Enjoy. MK








25 February 2015

A couple years ago I had the good fortune to explore the wonderful coasts of Georgia and I had a chance to stop in at Savannah for a couple of days to visit it’s historic charm. During this sojourn I was able to spend a couple of hours in their fine “Ships of the Sea” Maritime Museum. It’s always such a thrill for me to find one I didn’t know about or haven’t been to before – even if on the small side.

The Savannah Maritime Museum is a gem of historic models, fine art, and nautical artifacts that all tell the story of Savannah’s rich maritime heritage. Its housed in an old mansion, the Scarborough House, once belonging to the original owner of the first steamship Savannah. The price of entry is a little steep in my opinion, but there are numerous discounts, for military, senior, and AAA members.

I especially enjoyed their sampling of figureheads. There are some really nice examples here and I always study every detail and wonder at all the places they’ve been, seas they’ve spanned and the things they’ve seen when they were still attached to the prows of their long departed vessels. If you’re into clippers, then you need to take a look at the paintings in this place. There is an excellent collection of paintings by numerous artists of every shape and size of yankee clipper.

The artifacts and nautical displays are also quite good and tell the history of navigation. From astrolabes to hourglasses – octants and sextants, its all here. Also the museum boasts a really nice and fairly extensive ivory and scrimshaw display to include a really nice 18th century bone and ivory model brigantine.

Understandably, I most enjoyed the ship models. I am more favorable to the earlier eras of exploration and the Golden Age, so one model particularly held my fancy. The Anne is a large scale model of the first ship to bring settler’s to Savannah in 1732. She is an English merchantmen of about the 1710-20 timeframe and typical of English or Dutch Guineamen built at that time with only the weather-deck designed and rigged for armament. I love this ship with its clear 17th century influence still prevalent in her rake, lines and decoration. She is probably very close to what Blackbeard’s famous “Queen Anne’s Revenge” would have actually looked like before the pirate pierced the “slave/cargo deck” for twenty more guns acquired from other ships.

Her claim to fame is that she is the ship that brought the first colonists to the Savannah area in 1733. She was 200 tons, 87 feet long, and 26 feet at the beam. Here are some pictures. Unfortunately there was a lot of glare on the glass case around her. I did my best.


And a little more about the museum for those that are interested….

A late 18th century French ship of the line adorns the center of the main model room. She is typical of ships of this era and type. Several early steam era models are also in this room. All the models are in large glass cases which made it really difficult to get good pictures of anything with all the glare from the windows and lighting reflecting off of the glass. I only included the pictures that turned out decently. I had to delete dozens that just didn’t make the cut due to the lighting.

The house has a spacious central hall with a skylight above skirted by the banister railing of stairs and floor above. In this space is what I believe to be the museum’s largest and most impressive model. The mid 19th century model (pre-Civil War era) U.S. frigate Savannah – and she is a sight to behold. Her large guns are all proudly run out and she has the distinctive circular track fore and aft guns with crews at the ready. An excellent example of ship evolution into the modern era. The guns are pre Whitworth or Parrot, but I would wager could hold a six pound powder charge. I commented to an observer that they would have had 10 times the power of the large 36 pounders on the French Ship of the Line in the previous room.


Almost all of these impressive models were commissioned from the famous modeler Joseph Gallettini. However there is a very large and conspicuous model upstairs that was originally built for the British Admiralty in 1803. This model is of the HMS Shannon. I was at quite a loss when I saw her. I was not expecting to see this vintage of model there and wondered how she came to be in America and even more – in the South. At any rate she is there. For anyone modeling the Shannon, I recommend a visit. Most of my photos of her didn’t turn out so good. I did the best I could.

To my shock the time just zipped by and I barely had a chance to visit the book store and buy a few books and souvenirs before the museum closed. The staff were friendly and helpful and this place is clean, well maintained and has very easy access with excellent parking in the rear.


If you ever get down Georgia-way, I highly recommend a visit to this treasure of a museum. You won’t be disappointed. website: Ships of the Sea Museum
The complete set of Photos I took of the museum can be viewed HERE


MODEL OF THE WEEK 108gun Sophia Amalia (1650)

01 February 2015


The beautiful ship of the line, Sophia Amalia was constructed for the Danish Navy under the English shipwright James Robbins at the Hovedøen dockyards in Christiania (Oslo) Norway in 1650. Traditionally a shipyard for merchant ships, only four warships were built there between 1646-1700. She was commissioned by King Christian IV specifically to surpass the great English ship HMS Sovereign of the Seas. It is VERY clear when you look at her that James Robbins seems to have almost copied the great Phineas Pett’s design for Sovereign of the Seas. They almost look like they could be sisters. The English and Pett influence is clearly evident. Upon her completion, she was largest ship built for Dano-Norwegian navy up to that time. She was 51.8 meters long and at that time one of the largest naval vessels in the world. She was named after the German Princess of Brunswick – Sophia Amalia, the wife of King Frederick III.

Originally her dimensions were 165 x 38-6 x 17-6 ft. , but she was rebuilt in 1673 (165 x 40-3 x 20 ft). Her displacement was c.2000-2200 tons. For armament Sophia Amalia carried 86-108 guns at different times of her career:(She originally mounted 108guns with twenty-eight 24pounders on her lower gun deck surpassing the Sovereign by eight guns at the time. She was lightened to 100 guns in 1662, but received 102 guns in her final refit in 1673. She was manned at different times in her career with 571 to 643 men.

During her career she took part in the numerous battles of the Second Northern War, the Dano-Swedish War of 1658-1660, and the Scanian War, however she is conspicuously missing from the line-up at the great Dutch-Danish victory over the Grand Swedish Fleet at the Battle of Oland(1676). I have not been able to find out why??? She would have been the largest ship there. Instead the 68gun Churprindsen is recorded as Admiral Niels Juel’s flagship and the 80gun Christianus V as Dutch Admiral Cornelis Tromp’s flagship. I know from a study of the battle that there had been a lot of bad weather preceding, so perhaps part of the fleet fell behind? Sofia Amalia was finally condemned and broken up in 1687.

This beautiful model of this great and powerful warship currently resides in the Danish Maritime Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark. Royal Danish Naval Museum

Here are a bunch of great pics on an excellent German model ship site I often visit: Pictures of ship model Sophia Amalia

Isn’t she lovely! I love the Seahorse on the figurehead on this one. I have assembled a large amount of photos for her. I even have some Van de Velde drawings of her which is fascinating to me because it causes me to ask the questions. Did Van de Velde do the drawings in Denmark? Did he accompany the fleet there as he so often did? Or did the ship come to Holland on a state visit. I think not. I do not think her deep draft would have allowed her to make it to any of the Dutch cities unless she was cradled. I very much doubt they would have gone to the trouble plus it would be a little demeaning for a great warship. I think they must have cradled the Royal Charles when they brought her back to Amsterdam as a war trophy. Intriguing to think about nonetheless! I will be posting this great new collection to my ship images repository on Flickr in the next day.


MODEL OF THE WEEK: 15 January 2015

WILLIAM REX (1698): Dutch 72gunner



Today’s model is of the 72gun William Rex. I first saw this model in 1993 at the The National Maritime Museum (Het Scheepvaart Musuem) in Amsterdam Netherlands Ship Museum I took many pictures and lots of video of ALL the ships in the museum over numerous visits that year and the next year. This model is not my favorite. In fact it’s not even in my top ten in that particular museum. However, it is a beautiful model of particular interest and it is just bloody HUGE. Most of the really impressive models in that museum are examples from the 1650s through the 1670s. This model however was built in 1698 in Flushing(Vlissingen) and is a replica of a real warship laid down in those very dockyards.

She is a beautiful example of a large Dutch Man O War built during the period of the War of the Spanish Succession – the last war of the Golden Age bringing in the 18th century with a tremendous bang. The war lasted 13 years and a conflict of its scale would not come again during the 18th century until its end with the Napoleonic Wars.

We don’t know much about the William Rex’s career. I could find hardly anything out about it. I’m sure there is a Dutch source somewhere never translated into English. This is a fascinating period though with a Dutch King sitting on the throne of England and all operations between English and Dutch fleets being mounted with duel command and combined fleets. I have a picture of the Battle of Vigo Bay 1702 which shows the combined Anglo-Dutch Allied fleet bottling up the Spanish Treasure Fleet which was protected by a French escort fleet composed mostly of large French ships of the line. Even though most of the treasure was offloaded, the Allies were able to destroy the combined Franco-Spanish fleet.


What I find really compelling about this painting is that the large Dutch manowar on the right looks an awful lot like the William Rex. Dutch ships were rarely built with above 80 or 90 guns because they had shallower drafts to accommodate the many shallow areas on the approaches to most Dutch cities. Notice also how different the transom or tafferel/taffrail decoration is than earlier in the 17th century. Ships of the Anglo-Dutch war and Franco-Dutch war era usually only had a single gallery of windows with decoration above which often identified the ship itself giving clues of where it was from by paintings of its town of origin or carved and gilded coats of arms.

Here we see two full galleries of windows and not so much decoration above. This mirrors the French and English practice. The Dutch had built ships with two galleries previous but most were for export to France and Spain. Now they copy everyone else and get with the times instead of building ships their own way. I find this kind of sad especially because the following decades saw a dramatic even drastic drop in Dutch naval power at the same time Britain began to dramatically expand and “rule the waves”.

The William Rex no longer sits in the Maritime museum. She was moved to the Rijkmuseum a short distance away. Rijksmueum

She actually caught my eye this last week because of some pictures I ran into online and a REALLY cool video of her restoration not too long ago. Take a look:

And here is the site I was telling you about. William Rex Model




28 December 2014


Pictures of the Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion

This is the massive Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion y de las Animas. This fine model is housed in the Naval Museum of Madrid. She was originally built in 1682 and mounted 90 guns. I special ordered a book (in Spanish) on her description with good plans which I plan to upload and share. I eventually would like to build her either 3D or as a scratch built wood model. I will do more on her as a feature as I peruse the Spanish (which I am still learning) to learn her history. I know she survived until 1705 but haven’t figured out what actions/battles she was involved in. Obviously she was one of the largest Spanish Warships of the day. I find it amusing that people focus on the San Felipe when I personally find the Concepcion far more attractive.

Video of the Naval Museum of Madrid



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