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Where do you Ship-Modelers get your P.E. ?

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Where do you Ship-Modelers get your P.E. ?
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 6:35 PM

I have often wondered this.

     Why ? Well, some time back I ordered 1/200 scale from" Tom's Modelworks." Then some from "Gold Medal Models" Also from good old Trumpeter. Now this is what I cannot figure out. There are other players around, especially in the three major Ship Scales. Okay, this has been good and bad.

     There is a plethora of sets ranging to some rails and six or eight Inclined ladders with or without handrails and one or two lines of vertical ladders.The prices are all over the place too. They start at eleven bucks plus postage to over forty or more, for a full detail set.

     Now, I understand the processes aren't cheap anywhere, Really! Different countries have different safety, health, and wage laws, that's a given. Question, Why can't the Generic sets have more that a few numbers of Inclined ladders and have them  in different widths too ?

 There are ships out there that can benefit from a mixture of rail and ladder sizes of course. But, everyone seems to think Liners and Freighters all have narrow " Military" inclined ladders.They obviously haven't looked at the many types of Card models of freighters and liners in 1/250 and 1/200 lately!

       I have one set for the Revell "Olympia". Guess what? the accomodation ladder which should be a scale 48" wide minimum, works out to 34" scale inches. Oh My! Gawd forbid Admiral Dewey rubbed his uniform on the rails! The last statement was inserted for the ("Rivet Counters" among us.) Yes! Sometimes that includes me, by choice of the proffession I find myself back into!

      Can anyone else shed light on other companies feeding this need? For ships only .P.S. No A/C or Armor need apply, plus, this Does Not include "Wooden Deck" overlays either!

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 6:18 PM

You name checked Toms Modelworks.   Toms also produces some of the older White Ensign Models PE line.    Richard Harden of Toms bought the rights & masters when WEM declared bankruptcy. 

Related to WEM is Peter Hall's Atlantic Models from the UK (not to be confused with the desktop airliner people in Miami).   Peter was the PE designer & patternmaker for WEM.  He has new PE and some of the old kits back on the market.  His 1:1200 scale ratlines are amazing

Gold Medal Models -- Loren Perry has been around forever.  Some of his railroad stuff has ship model uses

Eduard out of the Czech Republic some nicely detailed items

Flagship Models from Oklahoma.    Started with PE but has moved on somewhat to CDs and other stuff

Starling Models in the UK.   Nice kits and PE.

L'Arsenal from France,   some (limited) ship PE    Their Fletcher upgrade is nice

While talking France, check Black Cat Models.   They do 3D printing which is (IMO) superior to photoetch

There are several companies out of China;  Flyhawk, Pontos, Big Blue Boy.  


  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 6:51 PM

I find GMM pretty reliably accurate and very usable.

One nice thing about PE ans 3D modeling is that you can reall fudge the scale for a lot of things like ladders.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, April 21, 2022 8:29 AM

Hi Bill !

     You are so correct. Fudgeing is always possible with Ship scales. One thing I have found is an odd match with the smaller ships. For solid Stairs, Those with solid risers and treads( Like Liners and Some Civiian working ships) is as close as your Hardware store!

       I checked out ZipTies on a whim. The little bars that cause them to lock are like stair treads and risers. That's on 90 percent of them. The other ten Percent look like Vertical Ladders with a dust or slip guard!

       The only thing is this, you have to find your own railings for them! GMM is very Good. Now that said,Notice! A lot of companies do Not have P.E. for 1/250 or some others. Then it is definitely fudge time! Oh, this works not only for ladders, but Radars too!




  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: West Virginia, USA
Posted by mfsob on Friday, April 22, 2022 9:28 AM

It IS a great time to be a ship modeler, but along with the benefits of a plethora of PE I have discovered the disadvantage ... sometimes forgetting what I already have, and ordering more instead of using the "old" stuff! Bang Head

That said, I've never been led wrong by Gold Medal Models. Loren's stuff Always fits, and his directions are second to none. I like that it's generally a little thicker, so my club fingers don't mangle it as readily.

The White Ensign Model sets are also good, and their directions are generally more than you need. They also tend to include more "little bits" that those of us with aging eyes pretend we can't see, so we won't feel guilty about not using them.

Tom's Model Works has a lot of sets that others don't, and the quality is generally good, with sturdy brass and not overly-fussy folds required. That said, I have had some fit issues with various bits in different sets, and his instructions are generally vague, at best, leaving you to puzzle out what some of the tinier bits on a fret are for (at 1/700, that can be VERY tiny).

I have a set of Atlantic Models ratlines in 1/350 that are amazing, Peter does great work, and they will get used ... at some point.


  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 7:03 PM

Sometimes with Eduard the instructions ca be a bit vague.  Things can get real interesting when you end up combining the small set included with a kit and then having to add P.E. from two other companies.  With teh last ship I did there were a couple times that a conflict happened between the sets and at one point a set gave me an extra gun platform that the kit didn't.  Then you might have to decide which set looks better with a certain part.  It can get confusing.

Anyone remember what it was like having to make the parts you need before resin or P.E.?

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 11:45 PM

Yes. I have a big collection of ship modeling books. In a sense it was so hard to be very fine detailed that a model we now find nice and clean would be the center piece of a maritime museum.

People like Donald McNarry did it well and everyone else just wept.

I'm on year ten of my Heller Victory, mostly out of the box.

It is so time consuming.



 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.


  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Friday, May 6, 2022 5:03 PM

Hey GM I have around 10 years on my Heller Victory and it isn't even out of the box yet (smile). 

I've been working in 1/350 for my last several builds. I really do not have good knowledge in the 1/700 or 1/200 catagories. In my experience with the various brands of PE in 1/350, I tend to go with Eduard for the consistent size and thickness of the parts. I do agree though that the instructions for Eduard when using multi page PE and instruction can de difficult. I have found more than one error on the part numbers, or even the placement arrows. 

Another brand I have used and enjoy is Lions Roar made in Shanghai.I am not sure if they are still in business or if Pontos had bought them out as the box sets look identical. If they are both still making PE parts, then I would say they are very similar. They make anything from single sheets to a complete super detail set. My current build of the IJN Yamato was built using a Lions Roar super detail set. It had the brass barrels, brass prop screws, anchor chain, and 14 sheets of PE. The PE is well made but the instructions also sometimes suffer, especially when there are options to choose from for the same area (early or late variant, etc.). 

I personally find Tom's Modelworks PE to be very well detailed but much softer thus much easier to damage before, during, or after assembly than those previously mentioned. The instructions I used form them are straight forward. If you carefully plan your build in stages or sequences to avoid damage, Tom's can really bring a ship to life. 

There are a slew being produced in China. One named Very Fire I found to be not always accurate or easy to use. It is also extremely thin and prone to damage easily. 

La/Arsenal has some very nice stuff in PE and resin, and a decent web page. The quality of PE and instructions are done very well too. 

Last is my endorsement for Black Cat models. They specialize in resin / 3D details that are second to none. They are based out of France and offer anything from complete kits to any part you can think of. They are not the cheapest but you get what you pay for. They have good communications and pack your orders well. One thing of note is they do not have anything in 1/200 or 1/700, all 1/350 only.

That is my input and opinions will vary. If anyone is like me, I find a brand or product I really like and tend to stick with them unless they are not available for the kit I'm building. The only way I know if I like the product is to try it out. One good thing is there are normally several options for any build. Good luck on your future build and I hope you find what your looking for.

Ben / DRUMS01

"Everyones the normal until you get to know them" (Unknown)


1/25 MPC 4-4-0 Steam Locomotive (WIP)

1/16 Andy's Sherman M4A3E8 - DONE

1/32 Revell Arado Ar 196-B Seaplane - DONE - (GB)

1/350 Tamiya Yamato - DONE - (GB)

1/20 Revival Auto Union - DONE - (GB)

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Saturday, May 7, 2022 8:34 AM

I'm partial to Toms Model Works for kits, and for general things like railings and ladders.

However, being a sometimes scratch builder, I long for an easier way to do specialized stuff for my scratch projects.  I tried the MicroMark diy kit- way too labor intensive.  I tried toner transfer etching, and it worked for larger parts but I was unable to get good resolution.  I have been reading up on it, and the electronics folks are getting good resolution on their toner transfer etched circuit boards, and am going to be practicing to get finer detail.


  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, May 7, 2022 5:06 PM

My New Supplier:

          I have recently discovered a new(Well, to me Anyway) P.E. Provider. I have to wait a little, But where scale fidelity and fine rendering is concerned they, So far have delivered top notch parts. Remember the complaint I had about the number of  Inclined Ladders/W/Handrails and Vertical ladders? This kit, which is obviously a different set than I had originally ordered, fills the Bill.

      The company is obviously Chinese. From both the writing and the Name Chuanyu Model Ship. Their LOGO is a Shark( cartoony, swimming near a sinking ship with a big toothy grin and Red framed Sunglasses, In a grey circle with thin Black trim.)  The product number seems to be CYE 020. Now this is Not yer uncles P.E. ! The Inclined ladders are a scale 48' wide. the Vertical ladders are the typical28" typt . Both have a length that is very useable .The inclined for two short (If you Must) and the Vertical definitely has the length to get two ladders out of every unit.

       Now all that said, The quality is above the usual and at least they do 1/200! What was I complaining in another post.At least they delivered.I got all three sets( Supposed to be delivered between April 10th and May 1st.) Today.

 I believe I will be ordering more from them and I am sure going to try their 1/700 and 1/350 merchandise. Oh, the 1/700? I have been keeping a secret. I have a kit that scale, Almost finished of the Akagi. I have been able to build it in Modules.So I can still put on the P.E.


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