Photographing Your Model on a Black Background

We recently found this great, simple video with tips for getting the best results when taking photos of your models using a black background. This video was put together by the very talented photographer and ship modeler Olha Batchvarov.

With these new tips on photographing your models, we hope you’ll try them out, then send us photos of your completed models, so we can share them here! Ω


No NRG Conference for 2021

Well, this is sad news. We were looking forward to having a presence at this year’s NRG Conference, and the Channel Islands Maritime Museum has such a beautiful collection of ship models that it’s an inspiration to us all.

This is the second conference in a row that’s been cancelled. They say that third time is a charm, but the Fall of 2022 is just so far away.

Well, hopefully, we’ll come up with some good news to share in upcoming posts!

Ship Modeler

Sad news for fans of the Nautical Research Guild’s annual conferences. The NRG secretary just announced that there will again be no annual NRG conference this year due to continued Covid concerns.


The conference was to take place in the Fall at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, the same place as originally planned for the 2020 conference, which was also cancelled.  The next conference will now be in 2022, and the intent is to hold it at the same venue location.

It’s unfortunate that the conference had to be again cancelled, but as the NRG secretary explained, many NRG members are at high risk for Covid exposure, so the board of directors made the difficult call to cancel the event.

It looks as though the annual meeting that usually takes place at the conference will be held virtually via Zoom or some similar videoconferencing service. Further details on this meeting…

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Shipyard’s Hanse Kogge von Bremen – Card Model Progress

We wanted to share some progress photos of a build of the Hanse Kogge von Bremen laser-cut card model kit. This kit comes from the Polish manufacturer called Shipyard. It is a 1/72-scale model kit of the Bremen cog, a well preserved ship from 1380 that was uncovered in Bremen, Germany in 1962.

This particular model is still under construction by ship modeler Clare Hess, and you can read about the model his build log on the NRG’s Model Ship World forum here:

The kit itself is one of Shipyard’s laser-cut models, which means that all the card stock parts are all pre-cut and just need to be cut from the provided sheets. Take a look at this progressing of photos of the model’s construction. Hopefully, we’ll be able to show you some photos of the model once it’s completed.

Shipyard now produces laser-cut cog kits in both card and wood. Both feature parts that are laser-cut, and the kits are in the same 1/72 scale. At present, the cog models are the only ones that are available in wood. The card kits require painting using techniques outlined in the kit instructions to simulate wood. The wood kits can be left natural or enhanced with stains or clear finishing products.

For other types of ships, most subjects, except for the cogs, are available in paper kit format. These kits provided all parts printed out in color on heavy paper, and require you to cut out the parts, and in most cases the parts need to built up with layers of paper or cardboard up to a require thickness. These require more work than laser-cut kits, but are less expensive, and with pre-printed paper, the parts usually need only some coloring of the paper edges.

Whether paper, laser-cut card models, or laser-cut wood models, these kits are ideal for those without a lot of tools or space. They can be built on a small desk with little mess.

Check out the cog kits at Ages of Sail here:

Check out the full range of Shipyard kits at Ages of Sail here:

Mantua Shipment Just In

We’ve been running low on our Mantua Models inventory lately, and if you’ve been eying one of their more popular kits, like the Royal Caroline or the Armed Launch, you’ve probably noticed we’ve been out of stock for a while.

Well, good news! We just received a big shipment of products from this classic maker of wooden ship model kits, and many of the best sellers are back.

Royal Caroline

Mantua/Panart’s Royal Caroline



Mantua/Panart’s Armed Launch, AKA Lancia Armata


Unfortunately, many European manufacturers are struggling to get the fittings, wood, and other items necessary to produce their kits. As a result, there’s still a large number of kits that we don’t have in stock, such as the Wasa, La Couronne, Albatros, and others. We’re keeping tabs on our suppliers’ inventories, so you can rest assured that we’re working on getting these other kits.

In the meantime, you might check out what we do have in stock now. And, if you’re looking for anything in particular, let us know!

Mantua/Sergal/Panart at Ages of Sail:



St. Gabriel Model by Alexander Bulimov

Just yesterday, we posted an article, taking a closer look at the Master Korabel kit of the ship St. Gabriel. Well, we found this wonderful build on the NRG’s Model Ship World forum, and got permission from the builder to share some photos here with you. For background on the ship and the explorer Vitus Bering, please see our earlier posting here.

This particular model of Master Korabel’s 1/72-scale kit was built by Mr. Alexander Bulimov, who is an IT engineer, living and working in Dublin, Ireland. He built this model in 2019, and it took him only 4 months to complete. What’s really amazing is that this is only the second wooden ship kit that Alexander has built, the first being a ship’s launch kit from the same manufacturer.



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An Up Close Look at Master Korabel’s St. Gabriel Kit

One of the ship model kits that we started carrying last year is from the Russian ship model kit manufacturer Master Korabel. The kit, which doesn’t seem to get much attention, is called the St. Gabriel.



For reasons I don’t understand, this ship is referred to as a “Deck Boat”. Perhaps it is a mistranslation from the original Russian description. In any case, this is actually a significant historical vessel. The Archangel Gabriel, or St. Gabriel, was one of three ships used by the Kamchatka Expedition of 1724 to 1731, and it was the main ship of the expedition’s leader, the Danish explorer and cartographer Vitus Bering, who was in the employ of the Russian Navy.

The expedition’s task was to explore the North Pacific coast of the Asian continent, and to determine whether or not it connected to the North American continent. For this task, the ship Archangel Gabriel, was built in Kamchatka in 1728 . According to a Wikipedia entry, the other ships of the expedition were used to ferry supplies from Okhotsk to Bolsheretsk, on the Kamchatka Peninsuala. For a more detailed description, the Wikipedia entry on Vitus Bering, is an interesting short read.

As for the model kit, Master Korabel’s created a lovely 1/72-scale model of the ship Archangel Gabriel. It’s a small model, owing to the manufacturer’s standardized scale, only 13.8″ long and 11.8″ tall. 

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Note the photo-eteched brass hooks attached to the blocks. Master Korable makes beautiful blocks made from pear wood. They make blocks that actually look like real blocks.

As with other Master Korabel kits, the St. Gabriel kit features a specially engineered hull framing that is designed to prevent any distortion or twists in the hull shape. The hull is then double-planked and, most impressively, the finish planking is all laser-cut for you. This means that the planks aren’t just strips of wood that you need to shape in order to make them look neat and correct – it’s all been done for you. So, as long as you’re careful, you should end up with a perfectly planked hull.

Master Korabel’s St. Gabriel kit also features a laser-engraved deck that has all the planks and nail’s already marked on it. Together with the laser-cut hull planks, the kit is ideal for beginning ship modelers, or ship modelers who want a nice, accurate looking model, without spending all the time it might take to add all these extra details.

Deck is laser-engraved with all the planking and nail details.
The finish planks for the hull, laser cut to perfect shape.

We manage to find a very simple post of progress photos on the Model Ship World forum by a builder with the screen name Valentina. This one doesn’t describe any of the build process, but it includes photos of the kit contents, instructions, and so on. It even includes a few photos showing the construction of the optional ship’s boat (sold separately from the St. Gabriel kit). Click HERE to visit this build log.

We’ve also found a few nice nice Youtube videos. Here’s one that provides an overview of what’s in the kit. The narration is in Russian, but you can see the details of the kit:

There’s also a model builder by the name of Olya Batchvarov, who created a nice video presentation of the construction progress of her award-winning St. Gabriel model here.

For those interested in more of Olya’s work, check out her website,

Note that this kit includes sail materials and the information for you to make your own sail. However, we also offer a set of pre-sewn sails, if you prefer not to do your own sewing. Also, the ship’s boat shown on the model is optional. It is Master Korabel’s MK0102 75mm ship’s boat kit.


So, if you’re interested in building your own model of Vitus Bering’s ship, check it out at Ages of Sal at:


Vanguard Models Shipment Received

After a long hold up by the shipping company, we finally received our shipment from Chris Watton’s Vanguard Models company in England!

Vanguard Models, as you may already know, is one of the newest ship model manufacturers on the market, and already they make some of the finest kits available. Their kits are popular, interesting, and challenging. But, Chris has gone out of his way to make the kits as easy to build as possible, providing clear instructions in english, and advanced engineering, using computer aided design to come up with ways to simplify construction.

HMS Speedy

HMS Speedy, shown above, is a model of a 14-gun British Royal Navy brig. We ran out of stock of these following the holidays, so we’re happy to announce that they’re back in stock, and ready to ship to you!

There are four other ship model kits available from Vanguard Models besides HMS Speedy: HMS Flirt, HMS Alert, the Royal Yacht ‘Duchess of Kingston’, the Scottish Zulu ‘Lady Isabella’ and the Scottish Fifie ‘Lady Eleanor’.

HMS Flirt

HMS Alert

Duchess of Kingston

Scottish Zulu ‘Lady Isabella’

Scottish Fifie ‘Lady Eleanor’

Detailed instructions are provided in english, with lots of photos to help you through every step of the build. Below is a sample of one page from the Duchess of Kingston kit’s 80-page instruction set.

Want to see more from the instructions? Download the whole set in pdf format here.

Check out all five of these wonderful kits from Vanguard Models, in stock now, at Ages of Sail:


A Billing Boats Roar Ege Viking Ship Model

Recently, some photos were posted in the builder’s gallery of the Nautical Research Guild’s Model Ship World forum. The model caught our attention as it was a perfectly done model built from Billing Boats’ Roar Ege Viking Ship kit.

Roar Ege model by Jens Kronvold Frederiksen

The model was built by Jens Kronvold Frederiksen, who goes by his screen name kronvold on Model Ship World. If you look closely at the photos, this is a perfect example of how it’s done, though Jens may humbly disagree.

Of course, each person adds his or her own style to a build, but this is a very clean build, and it shows off the details of the model really well.

We hope this provides some inspiration to our readers. We couldn’t help but post a lot of photos of this model, but there are more in Jens’s album on MSW. They are also higher resolution than we typically post here, so you might want to check them out:

If you have any interest in building this model yourself, it is in stock at Ages of Sail and selling for $132. Check it out here:—billing-boats-bb703.html

Ages of Sail


Building the Amati “Arrow” Gunboat

Here’s an interesting post about building Amati’s Arrow Gunboat, a popular kit here at Ages of Sail.

The kit is an attractive model that doesn’t take up too much room at about 18-1/2″ long and about 11″ high, not including the launch ways style display stand that’s included in the kit. The kit lists for $108.99, and if you’re interested in building one for yourself, you can find in on our online shop here:

Ship Modeler

Amati Model of Italy makes a wide variety of interesting ship modelings subjects. In early 2018, I finished building their Swedish Gunboat kit. Like that one, another gunboat that has been around for as long as I can remember, and was always intrigued by, is the “Arrow” an American Gunboat from the period around the War of 1812.

The Jeffersonian era was an interesting time in American naval history in the desire to use defensive gunboats in place of large expensive warships. As a result, there were numerous gunboat designs implemented. In Howard Chapelle’s book, The History of the American Sailing Navy, several of these designs can be found. Among them is a design that Chapelle describes as a “galley gunboat showing Mediterranean influence.” Clearly, this was the drawing that inspired the Arrow gunboat kit.

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War of 1812 Gunboats

On is some discussion about American gunboats and Amati’s Arrow Gunboat kit. This is a popular kit for its detail, appearance, and unusual subject matter. Plus, it has a simple rig, making it a fun and quicker build than many more complicated ship model kits.

If you want to try building this kit for yourself, you can find here:

Ship Modeler

So, this past week, I’ve been having a few conversations with Mr. Paul Reck, who’s an accomplished ship modeler that runs the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights club in San Francisco. I’ve been a member of that group for at least 10 or 11 years. Paul has been talking for some time about gunboats of the Jeffersonian navy. So, 1801 through the War of 1812. And, yes, that’s technically into the Madison presidency, but we’re talking about the gunboat navy that took shape under Jefferson.

Paul has built a model of the War of Independence gunboat Philadelphia and small galley cutter Lee. Lately, his attention turned to these Jeffersonian gunboats. This is something I’ve always had an interest in, though my knowledge doesn’t really go past a couple historical books on the War of 1812 and the Barbary Wars, and Howard Chapelle’s book History of the American Sailing Navy.


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