After dealing with some scheduling issues due to looming government shutdowns, the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights managed a nice, normal meeting on February 17, the first meeting of the year. We had 8 members attending, which is pretty good for this group. We agreed that we need to bring in more ship modelers, as only about 3 attending members have been actively ship modeling in recent months.
Still, it was one of the most productive meetings we’ve had in some time. We also managed to replace the dehumidifier tubs in the big square-rigger model’s case. Being on the bay, we need to do this periodically to help keep these display models in good condition.
One of the latest projects that the club is undertaking is a way to try to gain new members, while supporting local shops. A couple months ago, Ages of Sail, the locally based importer and distributor of ship model kits and accessories, asked a couple clubs if they could help the shop come up with recommendations for good beginner kits.
In past years, the club would probably have unanimously recommended a kit from Midwest Models. But, these kits are no longer in production, and specific kits are getting increasingly scarce. So, some members looked at a few kits and suggestions. They looked for a kit that wasn’t too expensive, had some basic rigging, had a hull that wasn’t too difficult to build, but ideally one that was planked. The kit also needed to have reasonably good instructions and plans. For the Hyde Street Pier group, it would also be nice to find an American ship or boat as a subject.
After looking at several suggestions, Corel’s Flattie kit, emerged as a nice choice for the club.
The subject was particularly attractive in that it features a flat-sided hull that is easily planked over. At 1/25 scale, the completed model would be about 13″ long and 14″ high. The $119 kit even includes a set of pre-sewn sails.
Outreach and Local Shops
It was decided that the club would purchase and build one of the kits, giving the group direct experience with the kit. Photos and notes will be taken, and will be posted here on the club’s website. Anyone who lives in the Bay Area and interested in starting this model will also have direct access through our club to experienced guidance.
Meanwhile, Kingspoke, the gift shop at the entrance to the pier (officially described as a bookstore), will be looking at the possibility of carrying the kit, so the club can send people to Ages of Sail or, hopefully, to Kingspoke to purchase their kit. Other model shops in the area will also be contacted about possibly carrying the kit as well.
Those shops will also have a selling point for the kit in that they can direct any customers interested in the kit to our website, or to our club. Hopefully, this will encourage new membership, or at least encourage people to take up ship modeling.
If this is at all successful, in the future, perhaps this can be done with other kits. For now, those interested in the kit can purchase it directly from Ages of Sail here.