Model ship builders restore family heirlooms!

Is there an old model ship in your attic? Perhaps a treasured family heirloom? Is it falling to pieces or in a terrible tangle? Would you like to restore it?

Today, during a visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, I learned of a group of dedicated model ship builders who are busy repairing and restoring old model ships!

The members of the San Diego Ship Modelers Guild love their hobby and hold regular meetings aboard the Maritime Museum ship Berkeley. I happened to be walking around the museum today before one of their evening meetings. I struck up a conversation with Guild Master James Pitt and was fascinated as he told me about various aspects of model ship building.

The San Diego Ship Modelers Guild, which was formed in 1971, has dozens of members hailing from all around Southern California and even Arizona. They have partnered with the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and guild members can often be seen working in the museum’s specially equipped Model Makers Workshop.

What interested me most was how the modeler’s guild has been repairing and restoring an increasing number of model ships of late. Many are family heirlooms passed down from previous generations, and are treasured for the memories and special meaning they embody.

If you have any sort of model ship that needs expert repair, check out the San Diego Ship Modelers Guild website by clicking here! Send them an email! I met a couple of the members and all were really nice guys!

I took some photos of a display for today’s meeting. You can see examples of model ships that have undergone restoration.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A nautical Christmas in the Model Shop!

Step inside the Steam Ferry Berkeley of the Maritime Museum of San Diego and you’ll see nautical Christmas decorations in the Model Shop!

A bright Christmas tree is ornamented with ships, boats, signal flags and lighthouses. It even appears that Santa Claus has been repairing and cleaning one model ship in the small workshop. I guess his elf helpers are busy making toys up at the North Pole!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of RC boats racing for San Diego Cup!

Today I headed over to Mission Bay’s large model yacht pond, located near the center of Vacation Isle Park, to watch gasoline-powered high speed RC boats race for the San Diego Cup!

The exciting annual event is hosted by the San Diego Argonauts, who sail and race a variety of model boats on the saltwater pond. I blogged about the San Diego Argonauts and hobbyists maneuvering remote control sailboats out on the pond here.

San Diego Cup weekend features over 160 RC powerboats in dozens of classes, brought in by groups from all over Southern California and Arizona. The local group is called SD Gassers.

I spoke to a few people and watched several races. I learned that the model speedboats are built from kits, and that the different classes are determined by the size of the boat. I observed that after contestants are told to start their engines (which at times is problematic) there is a countdown to the beginning of the race. After tossing their boats into the water, it appeared that getting in optimal position for the start was an important aspect of the strategy.

These amazing little powerboats can go over 60 miles per hour! Boats are readied and repaired on the shore and good times are had by all contestants.

It definitely appears to be a fun hobby!

The racing continues through Sunday and anybody can watch from the grassy shore. If you’re in San Diego, head over to the model yacht pond in Mission Bay and check it out!

I took some photos of the action…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A fine exhibit and publication about model ship building!

An amazing ship model by artist Joe Frangiosa, Jr. One of many fantastic examples in a big, special exhibit at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
An amazing ship model by artist Joe Frangiosa, Jr. One of many fantastic examples in an extensive, special exhibition at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego currently has an exhibit that’s a lot of fun. It concerns collecting model ships and model ship building! Anyone interested in the hobby or nautical history in general should check it out!

I took a few photos to provide just a taste of what you’ll see. Bring your kids! They’ll love it!

Detailed model of a 74 gun two-decker British Ship of the Line, circa 1800. By artist Joe Frangiosa, Jr.
Detailed model of a 74 gun two-decker British Ship of the Line, circa 1800. By artist Joe Frangiosa, Jr.
Half a dozen ship models in different scales of the San Salvador, historic galleon of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay for Spain in 1542.
Half a dozen ship models in different scales of the San Salvador, historic galleon of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay for Spain in 1542.
Tiny models of classic cruise ships, including the famous Titanic.
Tiny models of classic cruise ships, including the famous Titanic.
A Native American ancient ship model. This pecked stone boat effigy was found in 2012 on San Clemente Island. It's at least 1000 years old.
A Native American ancient ship model. This pecked stone boat effigy was found in 2012 on San Clemente Island. It’s at least 1000 years old.
Just a few of the many ships in bottles on display now at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Just a few of the many ships in bottles on display now at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Tiny model ships recreate the Battle of Trafalgar between the British Royal Navy and the Spanish fleet in 1805. Admiral Nelson sailed two columns directly into the opposing line of ships.
Tiny model ships recreate the Battle of Trafalgar between the British Royal Navy and the Spanish fleet in 1805. Outnumbered, British Admiral Nelson sailed two columns directly into the opposing line of ships.
The Cutter Bear, by famous ship modeler Dr. William Brown, a local artist. His amazing work appears in prestigious museums around the world, including Mystic Seaport and the Smithsonian Institution.
The Cutter Bear, by famous ship modeler Dr. William Brown, a local artist. His amazing work appears in prestigious museums around the world, including Mystic Seaport and the Smithsonian Institution.
A Model-Maker and His Art. The collected works of Dr. William Brown. Any serious model ship maker, collector or hobbyist must have this fine publication.
A Model-Maker and His Art. The collected works of Dr. William Brown. Any serious model ship maker, collector or hobbyist must have this fine publication.

As a member of the Maritime Museum I recently received the latest publication of Mains’l Haul, titled A Model-Maker and His Art. It features the collected works of one of the world’s most famous model ship builders: Dr. William Brown. It’s really amazing! Any serious model ship hobbyist must have a copy of this fine publication in their library. The many photos are extremely detailed–much better than my few, which were taken in dim light through glass!

Hopefully you’ll soon be able to buy A Model-Maker and His Art online here. Or look for it at the museum’s gift shop!

Dr. William Brown produced models of ordinary working boats and ships, as well as historically important vessels. This is L.A. Fire Boat No. 2 which was launched in 1925.
Dr. William Brown produced models of ordinary working boats and ships, as well as historically important vessels. This is L.A. Fire Boat No. 2 which was launched in 1925.
Close look at Orizaba, a merchant vessel instrumental in San Diego's early history. Dr. William Brown has produced dozens of models specifically for the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Close look at Orizaba, a merchant vessel instrumental in San Diego’s early history. Dr. William Brown has produced dozens of models specifically for the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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