Amati “Arrow” American Gunboat kit

Looking for a nice ship model that’s not too big, not too difficult, but gives you a taste of planking, cannons, rigging and sails? Consider this model of a War of 1812 galley gunboat. Amati’s offering is historically significant, technically accurate, and includes nice quality wood and fittings.

A drawing of this design appears in the book History of the American Sailing Navy, by naval architect and historian Howard I Chapelle. This model appears to be true to these drawings, down to it’s forward mounted cannon and stern mounted carronade, so this appears to be a very accurate representation of a galley gunboat whose design shows a mediterranean influence.

The frames and other wooden parts in this kit are laser cut. There is no balsa, basswood or limewood in this kit. All strips for planking the hull and deck are of nice quality walnut and beech. The hull is double-planked, allowing the builder to get the hull shape just right before applying the second layer.

Amati Arrow American Gunboat Kit Contents

All visible wood parts are solid, not plywood. So, unlike with some other kits, you don’t have to cover up any ugly plywood edges. Nice quality sail cloth comes pre-printed with cloth panels, reef bands and tablings. And, of course, Amati kits come with nice quality rigging line and fittings of brass, copper, walnut and some of cast white metal, such as cleats. This kit also includes a nice launch ways style display stand, though, you might think twice about why you’d display a model under full sail on a launch ways as shown on the box art.

Amati Arrow American Gunboat Parts

Instructions are in the form of one double-side plans sheet, roughly 20″ x 28″, and a well-illustrated 16-page instruction booklet with 3 black-and-white photos and lots of line drawings. Step-by-step instructions are written in Italian, but a separate 4-page insert provides all the instructional text translated into English (Good English too). The english text section includes a list of materials in English.

Arrow Instructions

Arrow English Language Insert

One of the nicest features of this kit are the beautifully turned brass cannon and carronade barrels. The kit’s cover shows barrels that appear to be bronzed, but the included parts are brass. These will look nice left bright, but can also be painted or chemically blackened if desired.

I wouldn’t call this a beginners kit, though the design and features seem pretty simple. The hull framing is somewhat unique among ship model kits and a newcomer might find it a bit tricky for a first build. But someone looking for a challenge could certainly handle it and much of the work past the hull appears uncomplicated and pretty straight forward.


Basic framework of short bulkheads. Before the hull is planked, deck sheets are laid into place and short frame pieces, timberheads that continue the framing, are glued into place.


AM1422 Amati Arrow Gunboat

Scale: 1/55

Length: 18.5″ (47cm)

List Price: $169

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