Model Railway Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
430 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many of us include some sort of harbour, the attractions are obvious, particularly freight traffic and even boat trains. But where are the ships and boats in the principle model railway scales? I suspect nuclear powered US fleet aircraft carriers are a non starter (perhaps we could build the layout on the flight deck!) but there are literally hundreds of coasters, smaller passenger ferries, tankers - all kinds of vessels under 300 feet long (say 2' long in "N", around 4' in "OO"), just the thing for our harbours and quaysides. Ship building is a popular hobby in its own right so both hobbies will benefit. At the moment we have a couple of hard to find ships in "N" and only a few World War Two gunboats and a Corvette in "OO". Airfix's new RNLI lifeboat is perfect for a modern layout but if, like me, it's 1970 (or before, such as the steam age railway) we are virtually shipless.
Is it just me, or is there a vast, untapped market for ship models in the popular railway scales? Meanwhile our docks and quaysides lie empty.
Greg Heathcliffe
 

·
DT
Joined
·
4,794 Posts
You're right Greg, a subject that is not often modelled. Plenty of railway tracks on the quayside. You could even use the side of a HO/OO ship and a back-scene for a small HO/OO layout


I was thinking of building a military diorama that involved a port. Artmaster (available from Ontracks.co.uk - see marine range here) have a great range of moulded maritime models. See some of the photos that I took at the last Toy Fair in Nürnberg here.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE (Greg H @ 10 Nov 2008, 09:33) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Many of us include some sort of harbour, the attractions are obvious, particularly freight traffic and even boat trains. But where are the ships and boats in the principle model railway scales? I suspect nuclear powered US fleet aircraft carriers are a non starter (perhaps we could build the layout on the flight deck!) but there are literally hundreds of coasters, smaller passenger ferries, tankers - all kinds of vessels under 300 feet long (say 2' long in "N", around 4' in "OO"), just the thing for our harbours and quaysides. Ship building is a popular hobby in its own right so both hobbies will benefit. At the moment we have a couple of hard to find ships in "N" and only a few World War Two gunboats and a Corvette in "OO". Airfix's new RNLI lifeboat is perfect for a modern layout but if, like me, it's 1970 (or before, such as the steam age railway) we are virtually shipless.
Is it just me, or is there a vast, untapped market for ship models in the popular railway scales? Meanwhile our docks and quaysides lie empty.
Greg Heathcliffe

Anchor models run by Charles Crossan did a nice range of British fishing boats for a while. They are not available currently however he may do them again at some future point I have heard.

Here is one of his trawlers.

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
430 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
QUOTE (SRman @ 10 Nov 2008, 07:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I'm sure Harburn Hobbies have/had a couple of trawlers in their scenic range.

Thanks, and they do, small fishing smacks. I am talking real ships, ferries, tankers, cargo boats, the kind of ships we see in every port, the kind that brings traffic to our railways. The dock gives the excuse to run any kind of wagon we want, even on single track branch lines where such things would never otherwise go. It also enables us to run a 10 coach boat train behind a large, powerful loco when normally a tank and two, or maybe a two car DMU would be the limit.
But we need the ships, otherwise it just looks silly! A couple of fishing smacks just doesn't do it. I feel that manufacturers like Airfix and, maybe Dapol, are really missing out on a vast, untapped market, and our layouts a much needed senic accessory, if I can put it that way.
Greg H.
 

·
Chief mouser
Joined
·
11,775 Posts
And don't forget Artitec as well

Regards
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
Loads of ships available, but you have to look "across the water" for them - last time I attended the Nurnberg Toy Fair there were ships in aboundance, including some very nice HO train ferries from Hobbytrade.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
Ok now I understand what you are after. Billings boats are your best bet. There are many other model ship manufacturers such as Mamoli and Mantua Sergal but they mainly do wooden sailing ships.

Billings do modern ships which can also be motorised. Your biggest problem is scale.

This one is close at 1/90



This one is bang on at 1/75 for OO scale. It's 90 cm long and 50 wide. I would tell you straight off that this is regarded as an expert model so it wont be easy however Billings kits are easier than the others and there is no rigging so it's probably not that hard if you've built a few ships before.



Your options are limited by how precise the scale you want. Have a flick through this site and see if you find something siutable.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
430 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
QUOTE (BRITHO @ 10 Nov 2008, 17:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>And don't forget Artitec as well

Regards

Thankyou all, but these are NOT the kinds of ships I am thinking of, and most of these are well known to me via my local model shop, I am talking of coastal tankers and cargo boats, cross channel ferries, train ferries, even the 1950/60's North Sea ferries of around 3,500tons, proper working ships built to 1.148 and 1.76 scales (not around these scales), effectively a whole new area of modelling fully compatible with our railways. What you're suggesting is not this. Even a 3,500 ton passenger ship could be no more than 4-5 feet long in OO, long, yes, but you would only need one of them, and no longer than a four coach train and loco (BR Mk1 coaches).
I am trying to ask if there is sufficient demand for manufacturers like Airfix and Dapol to consider making such models, given the popularity of ship building in its own right as well. After all, many of us have harbours or docks, but almost nothing to put them.
Greg H.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,342 Posts
Hi All

Ship building as a hobby is quite expensive by itself , as for use with Railway modeling we would only need a "from the waterline up" model.

I can see the idea of using a Ship in a Harbour as a back ground , not in a forground model . Making something that fits against the backwall of a layout , built part in relief , building it slightly underscale to increase perception of depth.
There are lots of accessories for ships available in different scales so it would not be hard to scratch build a basic cargo vessel and add some of these difficult to make items.

Regards Zmil
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
430 Posts
Expensive? What, around £100, perhaps? Have you seen the cost of model locos? And don't forget that we need several locos, at least two or three, and maybe 20 or more for most of us. We would need, at mosty, two ships. You are right about from the waterline up, however.
Greg H.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
QUOTE (Greg H @ 10 Nov 2008, 10:33) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Many of us include some sort of harbour, the attractions are obvious, particularly freight traffic and even boat trains. But where are the ships and boats in the principle model railway scales? I suspect nuclear powered US fleet aircraft carriers are a non starter (perhaps we could build the layout on the flight deck!) but there are literally hundreds of coasters, smaller passenger ferries, tankers - all kinds of vessels under 300 feet long (say 2' long in "N", around 4' in "OO"), just the thing for our harbours and quaysides. Ship building is a popular hobby in its own right so both hobbies will benefit. At the moment we have a couple of hard to find ships in "N" and only a few World War Two gunboats and a Corvette in "OO". Airfix's new RNLI lifeboat is perfect for a modern layout but if, like me, it's 1970 (or before, such as the steam age railway) we are virtually shipless.
Is it just me, or is there a vast, untapped market for ship models in the popular railway scales? Meanwhile our docks and quaysides lie empty.
Greg Heathcliffe
What I did was to get plans, there are a number of web sites where these are available, then I worked out the magnification/change in scale I wanted to get to 4mm to the foot, then went along to a local photocopying shop and asked for the plans to be copied at the magnification I wanted.
From this I had a couple of copies of OO scale plans for a steam trawler and scratch built a water line model out of balsa, styrene and bits and pieces. It worked out well and I intend to build another one sometime.
I have also earmarked that there are plans available for a steam collier which I plan to build the same way to sit tied up to my coal staithes.

There are a number of ship modelling shops selling plans for just about every type of ship ever built so I would suggest you just get to it and build one

Tony Tritschler
Bungendore, NSW
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Is it just me, or is there a vast, untapped market for ship models in the popular railway scales? Meanwhile our docks and quaysides lie empty.
Greg Heathcliffe
[/quote]

Good call Greg. I'm especially keen to have 'boats' on my layout, and that might include a canal scene, or a quayside. The last layout I built had a small harbour and I never got round to sorting out the boats before I moved house and the project was abandoned.

I also tried building a canal lock and bought some lock gates and bits from (I think) Langley Models.

But then we got Skaledale, and their canal lock was much better than my effort, but the motor boat and butty weren't very impressive.

I've seen kits for trawlers/fishing boats (Langley again I think) and small ocean going vessels in 'OO', but nothing any bigger. I'm sure there would be a market for boats in all shapes and sizes. Maybe there are some made by overseas manufacturers. Anyone know?

Black 5 Man
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,628 Posts
One minor point to consider(and I'm not taking any sides in this): larger ships/boats could tend to dominate or even take over a layout. They could be modelled underscale to fit in with our general tendency to compress and keep things in visual proportion (as opposed to strict accuracy). I'm thinking back to a conversation with some fellow modellers recently where we observed that model trees tend to be vastly undersized but that if we modelled the larger trees to true scale they would dominate and look "wrong".

Having said that, I like the idea of having a large scale model of a ship in a rail-served harbour.

Some time back one of the model railway magazines (was it Model Rail?) featured a layout plan that used a partially visible train ferry as the off-stage storage area. I though t this was a rather clever idea, ripe for further development and some imaginative thinking.
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
7,673 Posts
RM featured a very extensive N gauge system 'Wardleworth Lines' by the Rev Alan Shone back in the early seventies. This included a full size waterline model of a train ferry operating across the North Sea (to the well known port of Hellandam, on the coastal island of Wotulijk somewhere in The Netherlands) with both Wagon Lits and freight services. The original intention had been to use a pair of ships effectively as cassettes so that services could depart and return, but free rolling N gauge stock inside a ship proved a little tricky; permanently powered DCC tracks holding a brake off would offer a simple solution now, the brake engaging the moment power to the ship was cut off.

To say this was an attractive idea is the very least of it, and definitely not overlarge for a garage size N gauge set up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
Hello

As a professional mariner I find this thread very interesting, having an interest in railways and obviously ships. I remember the Wardlworth Lines Committee layout very well, but even in that article the major problem was identified as size, ships are large objects! A model of the Bismarck would need 56 inches in N gauge! More modern warships are indeed smaller; a type 23 (Duke Class) frigate would be 32 inches and the older type 42 (Sheffield class, the one sunk in the Falklands) destroyer would be 30 inches. A small oil tanker would be 37 inches and a WW2 Liberty ship would come in at 32 inches, still quite large pieces to have on a model railway. I believe there would be more of a market for Airfix etc, to produce plastic kits for warships (rather than cargo vessels), but at 2.5 feet and upwards, I suspect the market would be fairly limited, how many people have got room to display a model of that size in their living room? (or a layout that big to avoid the ship dwarfing the railway?) The biggest current scale for plastic kits, that I have seen is 1:350.

At present I model in HO, and as much as I would like to have a model ship on my layout, their size precludes this. However for N gauge modellers could I suggest a model from one of my own speciality (submarines). The most compact nuclear powered submarine in the French "RUBIS" class which in N gauge would be 16 inches long, a more feasible size. Before anybody asks neither they, nor we, use freon gas to put out fires onboard!

Regards

Clive
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Revell do a 1/72 HMS Snowberry flower class corvette which was about £50 in one of local model shops a couple of years ago. I did think about trying to make it into a 'civilian, vessel but thought it wouldn't convert well.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE (clive hayward @ 13 Nov 2008, 04:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hello

As a professional mariner I find this thread very interesting, having an interest in railways and obviously ships. I remember the Wardlworth Lines Committee layout very well, but even in that article the major problem was identified as size, ships are large objects! A model of the Bismarck would need 56 inches in N gauge! More modern warships are indeed smaller; a type 23 (Duke Class) frigate would be 32 inches and the older type 42 (Sheffield class, the one sunk in the Falklands) destroyer would be 30 inches. A small oil tanker would be 37 inches and a WW2 Liberty ship would come in at 32 inches, still quite large pieces to have on a model railway. I believe there would be more of a market for Airfix etc, to produce plastic kits for warships (rather than cargo vessels), but at 2.5 feet and upwards, I suspect the market would be fairly limited, how many people have got room to display a model of that size in their living room? (or a layout that big to avoid the ship dwarfing the railway?) The biggest current scale for plastic kits, that I have seen is 1:350.

At present I model in HO, and as much as I would like to have a model ship on my layout, their size precludes this. However for N gauge modellers could I suggest a model from one of my own speciality (submarines). The most compact nuclear powered submarine in the French "RUBIS" class which in N gauge would be 16 inches long, a more feasible size. Before anybody asks neither they, nor we, use freon gas to put out fires onboard!

Regards

Clive
Yes you're right about the size Clive. I have three large ships in my living room and they dominate the room. There are some wooden ships in closer sclaes but they are out period wise. My 1/350 Bismarck is over two feet. A 1/87 would make an awesome basis for a layout.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top