Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights member Tom Shea brought in his completed New Bedford Whaleboat model at our meeting last month. Tom completed the model last year, but realized he hadn’t brought it in to a meeting in its completed form.
There were some 60,000 of these boats built by for the American whaling industry. They were sturdy boats, but put to very hard use and had life spans of not much more than three years. Today, maybe two dozen survive in maritime museums.
Tom’s is a 1/16 scale model based on a kit from Model Shipways. The kit is an excellent one, featuring plans and instruction book developed by Erik A. R. Ronnberg, Jr. Tom constructed a special stand that the boat sits upon and displays the all the boats oars, which are each sized differently depending on the rower’s position in the boat.
One of the most difficult parts of this kit, according to Tom, was all the small details of all the hardware carried by these boats, including harpoons, lances, compass, rope tubs, and more. In the last photo shown below, there’s even a knife in its sheath sitting on the stern platform.
Tom chose to give his model a dark, weathered finish, which really gives a feel of an old well used whaleboat – a beautifully done model. We’re all hoping it will end up on display in our ship model display cabinet outside our workshop on the Eureka. Ω