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Poker fleet ship Jack

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  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Poker fleet ship Jack
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, December 17, 2018 10:03 AM

Awhile ago Lindberg re-issued one of their ship kits that they called a Q-ship.  When I saw the box art, I thought it looked familiar.  I looked through my references of Great Lakes ships, looking for ships of the so-called Poker fleet.  Sure enough, that kit could easily be built as one of that fleet.  Here is a picture of the Jack, one of the fleet;

 ( oh oh! I cannot seem to post that picture.  It appears in my draft, but then disappears when I actually post it.  I will see what I can do to get the picture in). Okay, let' s try something else.

Here is the box art of the Lindberg kit.

See the similarity?  Here is the story of these ships, and why the Lindberg ship might represent both a ship used in WW1 and a ship of the poker fleet.

A number of ships were built on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence river to use the Welland canal and canals along the Seaway to link Great Lakes ports with the ocean commerce.  These ships were known as canalers.  During WW1 the US (and allies) needed lots of merchant shipping, and they issued contracts for any dockyard they could find to build ships, and ships built on the Great Lakes had to fit through the canals.  Many were built to a standard plan drawn up or approved by the Administration.  They overbuilt, and many just sat in port and rusted away.  One or more of these ships may have been used as Q-ships-  I could find no reference to such, however.

They were, however, sold to shipping companies for commercial use on the lakes, however.  Probably the most famous were the ships of the Poker fleet.  The Minnesota Atlantic Transit company bought at least four of these, and named them Jack, Queen, King, and Ace.  Hence they were popularly known as the Poker Fleet.

The ships were all pretty much identical.  I intend to build the kit as either the Ace or the Jack, the two ships I have pictures of.  The kit lacks detail, and has a slight simplification of the superstructure.  The front of the superstructure of the poker fleet ships has a slight curve, while the kit super structure is flat.  I will have to modify that.  Additionally, the railings of the kit are solid, to represent canvas covering.  However, usually canvas covering shows some detail.  I will look for PE in an approriate scale and show them uncovered.



Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, December 17, 2018 10:19 AM

That's a fun model. It has classic lines at the bow and stern.

I think you are right about the genesis. My suggestion would be to scrap everything but the hulls, as it's all pretty clunky.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Monday, December 17, 2018 11:35 AM

Don, it's a fun kit to 'go to town' with.

Having tried a couple of years ago to approximate a real 'Q-ship' with it...which seems to be exactly the sort of vessel you're going for...I will point out the obvious by cautioning that the cargo deck/spaces both fore and aft are so foreshortened as to be virtually non-existent. The hull really needs to be stretched a bit to represent any type of self-respecting working vessel.

[I freely confess that I didn't do it, out of sheer impatience...but I wish I had!]

Look forward to your project!





 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Monday, December 17, 2018 12:46 PM


Thanks for posting the image.  They do look extremely similar.  I still have my version of the Q-Ship model, converted/painted to look similar to a WWI Ferris "Wooden" cargo ship, sitting partially done on my shelf of doom.  Maybe once I finish up my current "Race into Space" & "DC-3" group builds I should try and get back to it Tongue Tied

Can't wait to see what you do with your build.


1st Group Build

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 10:16 AM


I think you are right about the genesis. My suggestion would be to scrap everything but the hulls, as it's all pretty clunky.



Yes, I find I do need to scrap the deckhouses.  What I had thought was a slight rounding of the front of the superstructure was actually a lot of camber of upper decks.  So I will replace those decks.  And the deckhouses are a biti narrower than what is in the kit.  And, I like to show windows in the bridge (the kit supplies window decals).  Additionally, the little shack on the aft of the spar (?) deck in the kit is not found on the poker fleet ships.

Greg, those short decks do seem to bear out canaler origin.  Those ships are limited to 261 foot length by the locks.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • From: Jerome, Idaho, U.S.A.
Posted by crackers on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 1:45 PM

During World War I, the Royal Navy was desperate with the loss of their merchant fleet to German U-boat attacks. By April 1917, a total of 155 ships totaling 516,394 tons were sunk. The Commander in Chief of the Grand Fleet, Sir John Jellicoe, warned that Britain would have to sue for peace unless drastic measures were taken to defeat U-boat attacks. The answer was 78 innocent looking vessels as Q-ships, as a deceptive targets for German submarines. One of these weak and innocent looking ships, was the three masted topsail schooner PRIZE, commanded by Lieutenant W. E. Sanders. Late on the evening of April 30, 1917, U-93 spotted PRIZE off the southwest coast of Ireland. After sinking eleven freighters, the captain of U-93 thought sinking the Prize would be a piece of cake. After some of the crew of the of the PRIZE took their boats in mock abandament, U-93 bore in for the kill, with the captain on the conning tower supervising the execution. Much to their shock, the oncoming sub was blasted with shellfire from the schooner. The captain and two of his crew was hurled into the water from the blast and later taken prisoner. U-93 suffered eight holes in her hull while killing two crew menbers. By a stroke of good fortune, the damage was not enough to sink the sub, which managed to make a surface run back to Germany.

Source of informatuion: Time-Life Books, "The U-Boats".

Happy modeling.   Crackers     Surprise   

Anthony V. Santos

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, January 08, 2019 9:24 AM

Added beams with camber for the spar (?) deck, and laminated the deck from three pieces of 020 styrene.  Also added styrene stock to raise bulwarks up to spar deck.  Now have to fix details in the bulwark area.  Proving harder than I expected.


Also modified the bulwarks on the main deck, the curves where they meld with the upper decks.  Kit ones were parabolic curves, changed them to arcs of circle.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota


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