Ranger – Revenue Cutter

Name of Model: Ranger
Period: Pre Civil War
Type of Model: Modified kit

Name of Modeler: Martin Jelsema
Scale: 1/4″ = 1′
Build Time: 300 hrs

Build materials: wood, metal fittings, cord and cloth.

Ship’s Story: This was not a model of a real ship. Rather, it depicts a “typical” revenue cutter from the early to mid 1800’s. This type of ship was manned by the U.S. Revenue Service, a predecessor to the U.S. Coast Guard. Its main purpose was to stop smugglers and others who violated U.S. customs taxes. For their size, they carried a lot of sail. They were built for speed and armed with a single pivot gun.

Modeler’s bio: This was Martin Jelsema’s first build since “retiring” as a marketing consultant some 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. He’s been a member of Rocky Mountain Shipwrights for 10 years

Ships in Bottles

Models: 11 Ships In Bottles

Modeler’s Name: Dan Siemens

Description: The photo shows a variety of ships in bottles built and inserted by Dan Siemens. He is continually challenging himself by using various sized and shaped bottles and ship types. Most recently, he has been going smaller and smaller. All his projects are scratch built (except for blowing the bottles themselves).

The model in the foreground is a skiff being prepared for insertion into a bottle, while two hulls are being readied for masting.

Modeler’s Bio: I do accounting as my day job but love bottling ships when I can find time. I started five years ago after watching the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

USS Constitution

Name of Model: USS Constitution
Period ship sailed: 1797-1850
Type of model: Kit, solid hull

Modeler’s name: John Lamb
Scale of model: 1/8″ = 1′ (1:96)
Build time: Several years

Description of build, including materials: Most materials used in building the ship were in the kit except the rigging materials. I used plans and guides from several modeling companies for ideas for the most realistic and historical appearance of ship as she was modified during her history, especially after experiencing battle damage. The USS Constitution Museum in Boston was most helpful as were the members of the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights club.

Ship’s history: Commissioned in 1797, she remains an active US Navy vessel in museum status. Her most famous expeditions were in the battles of Tripoli Harbor in 1804-5 and during the War of 1812 when she defeated the British ships HMS Guerriere, Levant and Java. She was undefeated throughout her history and helped establish a young United States as a formidable world Naval power.

Modeler’s biography: The modeler is a retired USAF pilot and commercial pilot with 10,000+ hours of flight time and 1000 hours combat experience.

This was my first wooden ship build which shows an inexperienced builder can complete a complex and challenging task.

Red Dragon

Name of Model: Red Dragon
Period: last 300 year
Type of model: Modified Kit

Modeler’s Name: Erik Collett
Scale: 1:60
Build Time: 150 hours

Build Materials: Boxwood, Sapelli, Walnut, Brass fittings

Ship’s Story: The Red Dragon was a Chinese junk. These ships have sailed the Far East oceans as far as Africa for over 3000 years. They navigated with the help of the sun and over 2500 greater stars. Navigation became a lot easier when they invented the compass in the 11th Century. The junks were always built with watertight bulkheads which the Chinese learned from studying the structure of the bamboo plant. Junks are still built today, the same way as they were built centuries ago.

Bio: Erik has been a member of the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights since he was bitten by the modeling bug after visiting the RMS show in 2003. He completed his first model in 2004. Erik hails from Norway, where he was around boats during most of his youth. He attended the Norwegian Naval Academy and sailed on a merchant ship for a year. He came to the USA in 1962, and earned his BSCE and MBA degrees from the University of Denver. He is currently semi-retired as a transportation engineering consultant.

Venetian Galleass

Name of Model: Venetian Galleass
Period: 1530-1600
Scale: 1:150

Modeler’s Name: Mark Persichetti
Type of Model: plastic kit highly modified
Build Time: not estimated

Build Materials: This model is built from a kit produced by the Imai Company of Japan about 40 years ago.  That kit, while depicting a unique old sail- and oar-driven wooden warship, is made up of molded-plastic parts. All the smooth-plastic surfaces were sanded with coarse-grit paper, to give them a wood-grain appearance. Sails are vacuum-formed thin plastic, sanded in two directions to give them a woven-fabric appearance.

Ship’s Story: The Galleass type was an expansion of the typical Mediterranean rowed galley, which were long and narrow, propelled by oars in poor wind conditions, and by triangular-shaped ‘lateen’ sails in good winds.

Galleys typically featured battering-ram extensions at their bow, just above the waterline. At the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571, the combined Christian fleets under command of Don Juan of Austria fought against the Turkish fleet commanded by Muezzenade Ali Pasha.  The loss of men on both sides was almost equal, but Turkish ship losses were close to 17-to-1 compared to the Christian fleets.  Modeler’s Bio: Mark has been making models since the 1950s.  His first sailing-ship model was a smaller-scale Old Ironsides kit by Revell.  Ships have been his favorite modeling subject since then. He has been a member of Rocky Mountain Shipwrights for over ten years.

Obelisk Barge of Queen Hatshepsuit

Name of Model:  Obelisk Barge of Queen Hatshepsuit
Period: Ancient Egypt 

Modeler’s Name:  John McGann
Type of Model: Scratch built
Scale:  1/8”=1’

Build Materials:  John produced the drawings from Bjorn Liandstrom’s book, Ships of the Pharaohs. The obelisks are pink granite from the quarry in Aswan from which the original obelisks were fashioned. The model  is constructed of sycamore just as the original barge was.

Ship’s Story: The barge was used to transport two 98-feet long granite obelisks from Aswan to Karnak. The ship is depicted on the wall of Hatshepsuit’s funerary temple, Deir El Bahri.

Modeler’s Bio: Retired construction superintendent. John’s been modeling for 75 years


Name of Model: REPUBLIC
Period ship sailed
: 1903 – 1909
Type of model; Scratch waterline

Modeler’s name: Bob Fivehouse
Scale of model: 1″ = 32′
Build time: About 8 months

Description of build, including materials: The model has a solid basswood hull and basswood deck houses with paper overlays for the cut-out windows. The decks are holly and the funnel is brass. The masts are wood turned to a taper. The boats are carved wood and the rigging is copper wire. The rails and stairs are photoetched brass. The model was built from plans drawn by Mr. Fivehouse based on the original rigging plan supplied by the builders.

Ship’s history: The REPUBLIC was built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1903 as the COLUMBUS for the Dominion Line service to Boston. Her main particulars were: Length = 570’ Breadth = 67.8’.

After only three voyages she was switched to the White Star Line and renamed REPUBLIC for the service from Boston and New York to the Mediterranean (usually Genoa, Italy). She was on such a voyage in 1909 when, on January 23, after leaving New York, she was rammed in the port side amidships by the Italian line FLORIDA in heavy fog just off the Nantucket lightship. Her wireless operator made the first known call for help using a radio and a number of ocean liners leaving New York An attempt was made to tow her to shore but the next day she sank. She was the largest ship in the world to sink prior to the TITANIC.

Her wreckage has been located in about 270’ of water. She was purported to have had gold on board worth 1.6 billion dollars by today’s value. This has not yet been recovered but more about the REPUBLIC can be found at http://www.rms-republic.com.

Modeler’s biography: Bob Fivehouse is a retired teacher who has been building ship models most of his life. He built the ship models for the dioramas at Ellis Island in New York City and for the Montauk Point Lighthouse on Long Island as well as models for Columbia University and many private collections

Schooner Virginia

Schooner Virginia

Name of Model: Virginia
Period ship sailed: 1819
Type of model: Modified Kit

Modeler’s name: Gary Duncan
Scale of model: 1:41

Description of build, including materials: Plank on frame, brass, die cast and fabric. Many pieces were replaced using walnut.

Ship’s history: The Virginia was designed in 1819 and launched that same year. Also known as “schooners”, these boats offered great maneuverability and elegance. Equipped with a central swivel mounted carronade and lightly armed plus high speed the Virginia was used for pursuit and intercepting tasks as a coast guard boat.

Modeler’s biography: Retired construction superintendent. This was my first build. Thanks to all my friends at Rocky Mountain Shipwrights for their help and inspiration.

America – racing yacht

Model of the racing yacht, America by Ed Quam

Name of Model: yacht America
Period ship sailed: 1851
Type of model: modified kit

Modeler’s name: Ed Quam
Scale of model: 1/4″=1′
Build time: 2 years

Description of build, including materials: Bass wood, brass, fibber

Ship’s history: The yacht made history by beating all competitors in what is now call the America Cup race. She was radically different in design than the other ships highly praised. She met a sad end in the marine dock at the Naval Academy when a noreaster set her down.

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.

Matthew Turner

Name of Model: Matthew Turner
Period ship sailed:  2018
Scale of model: 3/16″ per foot

Name of Modeler: Ralph Buckwalter
Type of model: Scratch Built
Build time : Not estimated

Ship’s history:  Matthew Turner is being built by a nonprofit organization Educational tall ship in Sausalito California. The ship is still under construction and is by volunteers and financed through donations of money and material. It is named for one of the most famous ship builders on the west coast in the late 1800’s, Matthew Turner. This ship is based on Matthew Turner’s brigantine Galilee which still holds the record for wood hulled sailing vessels between Tahiti and San Francisco. This will be the first wooden ship of this size built in the San Francisco bay area for over a century. 

The new ship is being built for Douglas fir the same material as the Galilee but instead of large planks the ship is made from laminated planks. The estimated life of this ship is about 100 years because of laminated beam

The Matthew Turner is 100ft along the deck, has a 25 ft. beam and draws 10 ft. of water. She will carry 7,100 ft. of sail.  The vessel has 39 births for the students on longer training voyages. The ship will be used for educational training.Modeler’s biography: Ralph Buckwalter, a retired Mechanical Engineer has been modeling for about 14 years. He joined the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights in 2000.

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

Die Kogge von Bremen

Name of Ship: Die Kogge von Bremen
Period:  1380
Scale: 1=40 19/64″=1′

Name of Modeler: John R. McGann
Type of model:  scratch built

Brief History of Original Ship: The Cog or Kogge was a type of vessel used by the Hanseatic League for 500 years. The original ship was built of Baltic Oak in 1380 and swept from the builder’s yard by a flash flood of the Wesser River. Recovered during the dredging of the river in 1962. Now displayed in a museum at Bremerhaven, Germany.

Description of Model: Scratch built of Apple Wood from the plans of the ship developed during its recovery and re-construction. The mast and rigging had not been installed, only a small portion of the decking is shown as the original decking was not recovered. Note: that the deck is athwart the vessel rather than fore and aft.

Modeler’s Bio: Retired commercial construction, general superintendent. First ship model completed 1944.

S.M.S. Seeadler

SMS Seeadler

Name of Model: S.M.S. Seeadler
Period ship sailed: 1888 to 1917

Modeler’s name: Giuseppe (Joe) Presta
Type of model: Scratch

Description of build, including materials: Build from scratch using as reference a Revell plastic model of the same ship. Materials: Commercial pine strips ( 2″x1″) , red wood scraps, some balsa, pine dowels , etc.

Ship’s history: Built in Scotland in 1888 as PASS of BALMAHA, purchased later by an American cotton broker, in 1914 during WWI was captured by German submarine, taken to Germany and renamed S.M.S Seeadler. Under the Command of Felix Count Luckner, it sailed all the oceans sinking enemy ships. The ship was wrecked on the island of Mopelia on August 12, 1917.

Modeler’s biography: Retired engineer from Lockheed Martin Company. As youngster, he was interested in building model airplanes from scratch. Later in life, his hobby was building HO train layouts. This is his third model ship. The other two were one from plastic kit and the other from a wood kit (Great Republic).

Blue Moon

Blue Goose - a fishing schooner

Name of Model: Yacht Blue Moon
Period ship sailed: Early 20th Century
Type of model: restored kit

Modeler’s name: Nathaniel Fay
Scale of model: 1/8 inch
Build time: 2 months

Description of build, including materials: This is a Constructo kit from Spain. I got it from another Shipwrights estate partially completed, but missing many parts. I re-painted it, finished and rigged it. I built the case for it as well.

Ship’s history: I don’t know much about it. The directions stated that she sailed out of North America. She is a Marconi rigged schooner, this is a fairly modern rig. I would place the Blue Goose as being designed and built in the 1930’s in America, as a pleasure yacht.

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.

New Bedford Whaleboat

New Bedford whale boat

Name of Model: New Bedford Whaleboat Period ship sailed: 1700’s until 1900’s Type of model: Kit with improvisations

Modeler’s name: John Lamb
Scale of model: 1:16
Build time: 80 hours

Description of build, including materials: Plank on frame process using basswood, mahogany, balsa wood, metal fittings, multiple threads.

Ship’s history: Whaleboats were a key part of the whaling industry. They were built to to inexpensive and expendable. Approximately 3000 a year were lost to weather, destroyed by whales, or just worn out from use. They helped make the cities of New Bedford and Nantucket, MA wealthy. The development of kerosene, oil and natural gas largely ended the whaling industry in the United States.

Modeler’s biography: Novice model ship builder. Retired military and commercial pilot.

Charles W. Morgan

Modeler’s Name: Martin Jelsema…………. Name of Ship: Charles W. Morgan

Brief History of Original Ship: Whaler built in 1843. It was active, mostly in the Pacific with many hunts of more than two years. The Morgan still exists! It is berthed at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, and was recently restored for the second time.

Description of Model: This began as a vintage Scientific Models kit, but aside from the hull and deck furnishings, the model was fashioned from the plans of the Model Shipways version of the Morgan. That meant modeling a 1:120 model using plans for a 1:60 scale model – meaning all the masting and rigging had to be scaled at half-size.

Approximate number hours spent building the model: didn’t keep track

Model Size: 17″ long, 13″ high………………………. Scale: 1:120

Modeler bio: Aside from building a wooden hulled Blue Nose schooner as a teen, Martin did not take up ship modeling until 2009. Martin has spent a career in marketing communications, working for ad agencies, IBM, Information Handling Services and Coors Ceramics. He founded his own marketing communications and branding company, Signature Strategies, in 1985, and retired 2010. He and his wife, “Gus”, celebrated 53 years of married life.