2018 Exhibits of Ship Models


2018 was a busy time for the modelers of the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights: three exhibits as well as 12 meetings and 12 workshops. That hardly gave some members time to actually build. But we all survived – nay, thrived. Because nothing beats the satisfaction of solving the problems connected with modeling with the help of fellow shipwrights.

The first exhibit was in April, and was the second time we displayed our models and presented our knowledge to attendees at the two-day Lone Tree Library show. In addition to the exhibit, we did presentations about ship modeling, including ships in bottles by Dan Siemens, paper modeling for kids by Jay Phillip, and pirating by Jim Cuscaden in costume. We also conducted kids “workshops” where children were given simple kits, supplies and instructions on how to build them. The kits were designed and fabricated by Ralph Buckwalter, Tim Brown and volunteers working an assembly line after several meetings.


The second exhibit was at Bemis Library in Littleton on the last weekend in September, 2018. It was an attendant-hosted show but there was the exhibit only. Though only publicized within the library’s patrons, the visitors were impressed and enthusiastic.


The third show was our annual RMSW Exhibit in the basement of Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, where we meet every month. It occurred just two weeks after the Bemis show. Non-the-less, participation by the membership was outstanding in terms of models shown, members standing watch and setting up /tearing down. Our annual “Modeler’s Choice Award was won by John McGann for his model of the steam turbine-driven Turbinia.


Enjoy the photos and model/builder profiles that follow.

Galilee – Schooner

Name of Ship: Galilee
Period: 1800’s to 1930’s

Name of Modeler: Ralph Buckwalter
Type of Model: Scratch Built

Galilee was originally built as a Brigantine by one of the most famous ship builders on the west coast in the late 1800’s, Matthew Turner.  He built at least 154 wood hulled ships in his ship yards. After Turner’s death the Galilee was sold to the Union Fish company and sent to Alaska in the cod-fishing trade.

The cod fishing voyages came to an end around 1927. She then spent two years as one of a small fleet of vessels operating off Cape San Lucas in the growing tuna industry. The Galilee’s life as a sea worthy vessel came to an unpleasant finish. In the early 1930’s she started the final decline from a graceful brigantine to a fishing schooner powered with a smoking diesel.

Ending up in her original port the Galilee was bought in 1934 by a former British officer Captain John Quinn who beached her on the Sausalito shoreline. Captain Quinn and his wife converted Galilee to a houseboat, built a wharf out to the ship strung old San Francisco gas lamps to illuminate the houseboat and placed potted plants on her deck. During the 30s and 40s  many of the outdated sailing vessels were towed to Richardson bay and sunk in the mudflats. Thanks to Captain Quinn, Galilee survived the ravages of time longer than any other vessel. Unfortunately Captain Quinn grew too old to live aboard and sold it to a photographer who, with his wife and children lived on the ship untill1962 when the city of Sausalito condemned the Galilee as unfit for habitation and ordered her to be abandoned and destroyed. A trustee of the San Francisco Maritime Museum purchased her with the intention of making her as a landmark.

A maritime park was established in Benicia named the Matthew Turner Shipyard Park. A 16 ft. sectioned was cut off the Galilee and shipped to the park. A section of the stern was cut off and moved to the San Francisco Maritime Museum where it can be seen today. It is now called the longest schooner ever built: the stern in San Francisco and the bow in Benicia.

.Modeler’s biography: Ralph Buckwalter, a retired Mechanical Engineer has been modeling for about 14 years. He joined the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights in 2000.

CSS Alabama

Model Name: CSS Alabama
Period: Civil War
Type: Modified Kit

Modeler’s Name: Martin Jelsema
Time: 700 hours

Build Materials: This Model is a modified plank on bulkhead Mamoli kit build. Both deck configuration and rigging deviated from the Mamoli plans to follow the details illustrated in the book by Andrew Bowcock, Anatomy of a Confederate Raider. Hull is double planked in basswood and walnut. The “hammocks” on the rails are Q-tips. Completed with wood, cord and metal fittings.

Ship’s Story: The CSS Alabama was Confederate raider whose mission was to interrupt Union merchant trade during the Civil War. During it’s two years of raiding it captured 63 American merchant ships and one War Ship. It was in port at Cherbourg, France when “called out” by the USS Kearsarge. It was sunk by the Kearsarge. It was discovered by divers and is being raised little by little by the French.

Modeler’s Bio: This is Martin Jelsema’s third build since “retiring” as a marketing consultant four years ago. As a teenager he built the wooden schooner model of the Bluenose. He collected tools for the next 50 years in anticipation of renewing the hobby. Martin lives in Littleton with his wife Gus..

Yacht Mary

Name of  Model: Yacht Mary
Period ship sailed: 1650 – 1660
Type of model: Scratch Build

Modeler’s name: Brian Davies
Scale of model: 1:32
Build time: on going

Description of build, including materials: I am building this model using basswood and Elmer’s Wood Glue. Purchased hull plans from Mamoli over internet and enlarged at Kinkos. Using tools by Dremel and sanding blocks on this model.

Ship’s history: Mary was built by the Dutch East India company and given to Charles II upon being re-elected to British royalty. Charles learned to sail and enjoyed the Dutch statenjachts (state yachts or VIP ferries) while in political hiding because of Oliver Cromwell. Charles proceeded to build a fleet of yachts he used for racing, and sold Mary to the British Navy around 1655. Mary was wrecked in 1660 on a rocky island crossing between England and Scotland on a foggy morning

Modeler’s biography: This is my third model project, but first time attempting an admiralty model. My other projects were two Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack kits by Midwest.


Name of Model:  Spanish Carrack
Period ship sailed:  1490s
Type of Model: Plastic kit

Modeler’s Name:  Mark Persichetti
Scale of model:  3/32″ =1″
Build Time:  NA

Description of build, including materials:   All the smooth-plastic surfaces were sanded with coarse-grit paper, to give them a wood-grain appearance.  I added extra details to the kit’s interior spaces, such as gun carriages, bunks, and tiller with dampening tackle – much of which can’t be seen now!  I hand-made cloth sails with hand-sewn bolt ropes.  The model’s Mediterranean-style rigging blocks were from Heller (France) plastic kits.

Ship’s Story:  Carracks were large cargo-carrying vessels, with a broad beam (width) compared to its length, and rather deep draft (depth in the water).  Carracks generally had a continuous main deck, unbroken by full-width bulwarks (walls).  The large area under the main deck was used to carry as much cargo as possible.  Carracks generally had a raised deck aft of the main mast, which provided some shelter over the main deck, and might also have a raised forecastle deck and a separate Captain’s/Master’s cabin aft.

This particular model is based on a reproduction of the Santa Maria, built to plans done by researcher Julio F Guillen in Spain in 1929.  The ship, currently on display in Barcelona, was rebuilt in 1951.

Modeler’s Bio:  I have been making models since the 1950s.  My first sailing-ship model was a smaller-scale Old Ironsides kit by Revell.  Ships have been my favorite modeling subject since


This scratch-built model by John McGann won the “Modeler’s Choice” Award at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Shipwright’s October Exhibit at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware.

It is a model of the BritishTurbinia, the first steam turbine-powered steamship. Built as an experimental vessel in 1894, and easily the fastest ship in the world at that time, Turbinia was demonstrated dramatically at the Spithead Navy Review in 1897 and set the standard for the next generation of steamships, the majority of which would be turbine powered. The vessel is currently located at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England, while her original powerplant is located at the Science Museum in London
(The description above is from Wikipedia)

John built this model from scratch using plans of the original. John is a retired commercial construction superintendent. First ship model completed 1944.

Yankee Tender

Name of Model: Yankee Tender
Period ship sailed: Modern/current
Type of model:  Kit

Modeler’s name:  Nathaniel Fay
Scale of model:
1.5″ to 1′
Build time: 6 months

Description of build, including materials: The kit is from Wooden Boat magazine. It is designed to demonstrate how a real/full size Yankee Tender is constructed. The kit provided a “strong back” which replicates the shop floor. The model and real tender are constructed upside down. Then pulled off the strong back for installation of ribs, inwales, outwales, breast hook and thwarts. The model is finished with shellac.

Ship’s history: The plans for this tender are available from Wooden Boat store online

Modeler’s biography: Nathaniel Fay, retired from the Navy Reserve after twenty one years of service and four years of service in the Coast Guard Reserve. Having served at the Navy Operations Support Center on Buckley Air Force Base. Graduated from the University of Denver coming to DU from Marblehead, Massachusetts.

24-lb Cannon Battle Station

Name of Model: Cannon battle station
Period Used: late 17th & 18thcenturies Type of model: Kit

Modeler’s name: Nathaniel Fay
Scale of model: 1/16 scale
Build time: 2 months

Description of build, including materials: Kit sold by Model Expo out of Florida. I used the material provided in the kit with only a few additional, small items.

Ship’s history: Typical battle station of late 18th to early 19th century Man of War. A 24 pound cannon with a crew of twelve men and one boy could sustain a rate of fire of three shots fired every five minutes. This was true of the USS Constitution from an article in Sea History magazine

Modeler’s biography: Nathaniel Bowditch Fay, is a direct descendent of the author of the American Practical Navigator, Nathaniel Bowditch. He a retired Navy Reservist, serving twenty one years in the Navy Reserve after four years in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. He is a graduate of the University of Denver. Staying in Colorado after graduation. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, raised in Marblehead, MA. Essentially growing up around the ocean and boats. Previously held a US Coast Guard license for tenders for Marblehead Harbor, working as a launch operator for the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead.

Eight Paper Models

These models of paper were constructed by Jay Phillips specifically to demonstrate that children can begin their modeling in a simple and inexpensive way. He conducted a session for kids at the Lone Tree Exhibit as well as displaying the models.

Jay downloaded all eight of the models shown from the Internet. They are flat, printed sheets which must be cut out carefully and glued to assemble the models. There are many, many paper models available from suppliers through the Internet, and very few are of the kind pictured here. There are serious paper modelers, like Jay, who search out models of far more sophisticated assemblies. Jay is in the process of a 3-foot model of the German battleship, Bismarck.

Cocca Anseatica

A work in progress

Name of Model: ACE Racing Sloop
Period ship sailed:
Present day
Type of model: 

Modeler’s name: Bob Vitry
Scale of model: N/A
Build time: Two weeks

Description of build, including materials: Plank on frame. Wood with brass fittings/guns. This kit is very old and all parts have to be hand cut as opposed to the newer kits which are laser cut. The kit is designed with the bare minimums but allows for as the modeler to add as much detail as they wish.There are no instructions but four 1 to 1 sets of plans are provided (in Italian). A nice challenge of a kit.

Ship’s history: “Cocca Anseatica” was a 15th century German armed mercantile ship. It is derived from the following two words … cocca – the name given in the 12th century to a vessel with the medieval characteristic of a ship with a round hull and … anseatica coming from the german word ” hansa” that meaning “associations”. This latter term was given to the North European cities of Amburgo and Lubecca that joined in an economical alliance to protect their earthly and especially maritime trades from the attacks of the English, Dutch and Flemish “barons” and corsairs. Other cities like Tallin, Kiel, Frankfurt and Brema later joined this association. From this group grew the development of the armed mercantile ship named “Cocca Anseatica”.

The Cocca represented in this model is the one from approximately 1470 with an overall length of 34 meters, 25 meters length on the water line, a draught of 2.5 meters and a sail area of 265 square meters. It carried main, mizzen and fore mast. The net capacity had gone up to 400 ton. It carried 26 guns with a crew of 50 men.

Modeler’s biography: Retired Construction Superintendent.
3rd build.

ACE Racing Sloop

A kit of this model was the prize for a drawing held during the Lone Tree Library show

Name of Model: ACE Racing Sloop
Period ship sailed:
Present day
Type of model: 

Modeler’s name: Bob Vitry
Scale of model: N/A
Build time: Two weeks

Description of build, including materials: A free sailing model for small lakes or swimming pools. Built from die-cut mahogany with 21 inch birch mast and cloth sails. All rigging and fittings are included.
Length 17 inches
Beam – 5-1/4 inches
Mast – 21 inches
Sail Control Unit – Not designed for radio control

Ship’s history: No history

Modeler’s biography: Just an old-timer who has built models since he was a teenager. Submarine veteran – USS Bonefish (SS582), Field engineer with National Cash Register (NCR)and with Storage Technology Corporation. Ended my career as an IT person for Space Imaging

New Bedford Whaleboat

Name of Model: New Bedford Whaleboat
Period ship sailed: 1850-1870
Type of model:  scratch built

Modeler’s name: Ed Quam
Scale of model: 1/4″=1′
Build time:  400 hours

Description of build, including materials:  materials Bass wood, copper leather and fiber

Ship’s history: This model was based on plans by Eric Ronberg of New England and as with the Kate Cory were from the Cory family. The whale boats were the work horses of the whaling industry and were very sea worthy.

Modeler’s biography: Edward is a retired former Intelligence officer. Born and raised in Colorado educated at CU, DU and Harvard. While stationed in Washington D.C. he was and is a member of the Washington Ship Model Association and a Plank member of the Nautical Research Guild. He has built over 25 models and has displayed them in various venues around the country.

Black Falcon

Name of Model: Black Falcon
Period: 18th Century
Type of Model: plank on bulkhead kit

Modeler’s Name: Ralph Buckwalter Scale:  1:100
Build Time: not estimated

Build Materials: This was Ralph’s first ship model. It is made from a Mantua kit. The kit utilized a plank on bulkhead type of construction. The planks were bent when wet using a hot iron. The model kit supplied sails but they were ugly and I decided not put them on the model since the instructions were not very detailed and for a first model I did not think I could make them look good.

Ship’s Story: This is supposed to be one of the ships used by Captain Kidd the famous Pirate. It is a two masted Brigantine from the 18th century

Modeler’s Bio:  Ralph Buckwalter, a retired Mechanical Engineer has been modeling for about 14 years. He joined the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights in 2000.