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A look into the box: GK Kammerlander wood ship kit for beginners

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  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: K-Town, Germany
A look into the box: GK Kammerlander wood ship kit for beginners
Posted by sirdrake on Friday, September 28, 2007 9:26 AM
Hi all,

In another topic we briefly talked about the kits from the german kit supplier G. K. Modellbau, a little company that sells wooden ship kits designed from it's owner, Gerhard Kammerlander. I got interested in the kits - always wanted to do a wood kit - and had a closer look at their web site at http://www.gk-modellbau.de/ . They offer a introductory kit for beginners to built a small boat, with all materials and tools included. I thought some of you might be interested to see what these kits look like.   

The kits present a particular way to build the hull: a plaster form over which the frames are bent. For bending the strips of wood, the wood is first soaked in water, and then bent with a soldering irong eqipped with a special tip (see pictures). I haven't started with the kit yet, so I don't know whether this actually works well, but it surely sounds simple and easy.

Here's the contents:



There's the plaster form...



wood...



more wood parts, fittings, etc...



some thread and sockets for the base...



sail and wood base...



soldering iron...



speacial bend-the-plank tip and plank cutter...



and a bit of glue, looks like thick superglue to me...




The quality of the parts and wood looks good to me, but as this is my first wood kit ever, I don't really know much about all that and one could probably sell me anything... For 50 Euros, it seems to be a nice little kit for beginners, and the fact that everything you need to build the kit, including tools, surely helps to get started. I will try to assemble the thing some time soon, and let you know more about how it works out.

SD

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: vernon hills illinois
Posted by sumpter250 on Friday, September 28, 2007 10:59 AM
  Looks like a decent approach to plank-on-frame modeling, and, considering the addition of tools to the kit, not a bad price. I would definitely like to hear how the plank bending goes, using the "tool". Hope this build goes well for you.

Lead me not into temptation ..................I can find it myself

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, September 28, 2007 1:40 PM

Looks promising indeed - downright ingenious, in fact.  It's always good news when a kit so obviously designed by somebody who knows what he's doing hits the market. 

Many thanks, Sir Drake, for the pictures.  The only big question they leave me with is - what about the fittings?  I don't see anything but pieces of wood.  Does this vessel have guns, for instance - and if so, what are they made of?  Steering wheel?  Pumps?  Are there metal fittings - or perhaps resin ones?

That price, which, I believe, equates to something in the neighborhood of $50 (or a bit more) in the U.S., may seem a little steep to the uninitiated, but in view of the limited numbers and distribution of the kit I suspect the manufacturer isn't making much money - if any.  Here's hoping the venture succeeds.  This guy obviously is making an effort to cater to genuine scale modelers.  Bravo!

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    March 2004
  • From: Belgium
Posted by DanCooper on Saturday, September 29, 2007 6:04 AM

Ahh, finally, the topic that I have been waiting for, since you mentioned you ordered one of those, has arrived. Smile [:)]

I have seen these nice things many years ago (I believe it was in 1992 or 93) at "Inter-Modelbau" in Dortmund, Germany, however, I've never seen them in any shop here in Belgium.

It was only recently that I found a url back to their website, and I was glad to see they are still in business.

I'm looking forward to see your review here Smile [:)]

BTW : the current rate is 1 euro equals 1.40 dollar 

On the bench : Revell's 1/125 RV Calypso

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • From: Fort Lauderdale
Posted by jayman1 on Saturday, September 29, 2007 9:49 PM

This is a most novel concept on kit construction. I would hope sirdrake would keep us posted on his build.

Not to stray from the topic of this thread but I think that Dancooper could make us feeel much better on this side of the pond. What do you pay for gas these days? I paid US$2.92 for a US Gallon today. Just wondering.

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: K-Town, Germany
Posted by sirdrake on Sunday, September 30, 2007 6:31 AM

Well, my first attempt of building the kit this weekend was cut short by a defective soldering iron... Boohoo [BH] Unfortunately the tip supplied with the kit didn'f fit into my old one, so I will have to wait until the broken one gets replaced.

Fittings: not much in the way of metal fittings with the kit, just a few brass eyebolts.

I forgot to mention the instructions that come with the kit. They are in German and English, but strangely, the English version is not a translation of the German one. Both cover the main topics and steps for building the model, but seem to have been written independently. Each of the version covers some aspects more deeply than the other - so you clearly have an advantage if you speak both languages! One very usful help is the catalog that was included, as it contains several color pictures that explain the basics of the method step by step.

 SD

 

  • Member since
    March 2004
  • From: Belgium
Posted by DanCooper on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 7:58 AM

 jayman1 wrote:
Not to stray from the topic of this thread but I think that Dancooper could make us feeel much better on this side of the pond. What do you pay for gas these days? I paid US$2.92 for a US Gallon today. Just wondering.

 

I must have missed something I believe...

Anyway, we don't use "gallons", we use litres and I believe 1 gallons equals a little over 4.5 litres, I pay 1.37 euro for a litre of unleaded 95oct, so that would more or less be 1.918 dollar for a litre, supposing that a gallon is indeed 4.5 litre, that would make 6.13 dollar a gallon.... phew your gas is cheap !!! 

On the bench : Revell's 1/125 RV Calypso

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • From: Fort Lauderdale
Posted by jayman1 on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 2:12 PM

Thanks for the update. I take it that the model is about 12.8 cm or 5 inches long. I notice from the photos that the soldering iron is 440 volts. That would have to be replaced on this side of the pond. Model Expo has their own version of a plank bender for about US$27.00.

I gather that the English instructions are at least adequate. I need all the help I can get.

Are these kits available at hobby stores in the US or are they direct order fom the manufacturer only.

And I will never complain about the price of gas again.

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: K-Town, Germany
Posted by sirdrake on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 12:39 PM
 jayman1 wrote:

And I will never complain about the price of gas again.

When I came back from the US, I was surprized the numbers at the gas stations were quite the same. Then I rembered that it was Euros per liter, not Dollars per gallon... Boohoo [BH]

 jayman1 wrote:

Thanks for the update. I take it that the model is about 12.8 cm or 5 inches long.

 13.5 centimeters

 jayman1 wrote:

I notice from the photos that the soldering iron is 440 volts. That would have to be replaced on this side of the pond. Model Expo has their own version of a plank bender for about US$27.00.

240 volts, but according to the instructions any 15-30 watts soldering iron will do.

 jayman1 wrote:

I gather that the English instructions are at least adequate. I need all the help I can get.

Oh, yes, English instructions are perfectly all right. In fact, when I just worked on the kit I had the english pages open. It doesn't matter much, I was just surprised that the English and German parts differ more than I would have expected. But there's no real difference in quality or detail.

 jayman1 wrote:

Are these kits available at hobby stores in the US or are they direct order fom the manufacturer only.

I don't know. But their website http://www.gk-modellbau.de speaks English, and you mind find that information there. If not, I'm sure they will be happy to answer questions.

So it seemed the stinky soldering iron just needed another hour to smoke out, and it works now without any problems. Enjoying a holiday today, I started with the kit. And it really is easy. First the keelson was put over the plaster form, fixed with two rubber bands, and then the notches for the frames were cut out with a small file. Each of the frames was soaked in water for about 5 minutes, then inserted into one of the pre-drilled holes you can see at the base of the plaster form, then ironed down to shape, and finally superglued into the notch. The wood bends very easily this way, one has just to be careful that the notches are aligned with the holes. (something I wasn't really good at...) and not to burn your thumb with the soldering iron (something I *was* good at).

 

This is the result after about an hour of work. So far I'm quite happy with it. Planking is next....

 SD

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: K-Town, Germany
Posted by sirdrake on Sunday, October 28, 2007 9:55 AM

Time for a followup - work is done! Below are a few picture.

 

 

Working with wood was a whole new experience which I enjoyed a lot. It is a good idea to begin with such a small boat - quickly you learn that small inaccuracies in the beginning can have quite an impact in the end...

Although the instructions that came with the kit explain the 'Kammerlander'-method of framing and planking the hull in great detail, they lack this level of detail when it comes to constructing the interior of the boat. Basically it's not much more than 'glue the parts down according to the plan'. Unfortunately the part numbers the instructions refer to (if at all) are mostly wrong - one has to take care to pick the right strip of wood at the right time. The task is doable, but  I feel it can be difficult if one builts his/her first wood ship (or boat...) model. The plans supplied (one approx. letter-sized sheet) are basically the ship viewed from the side and from above, with a few additional drawings, and could, in my opinion, be a bit more detailed when it comes to the placement of some of the interior parts. For a kit for beginners, I would have wished for (and actually expected) more detailed instructions.

But it was great fun! I'm sure this will not be my last wood kit. But first: back to plastic - there is a Constitution 1:96 waiting to be finished.

SD

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, October 28, 2007 11:37 AM

Looks to me like a beautiful model based on a fine, intelligently-designed kit.  Sir Drake - you have every reason to be not only satisfied with but proud of it.

I've been preaching for years that small vessels with simple rigs make the best subjects for breaking into the hobby (or a new phase of it - e.g., wood, for a modeler with experience in plastic kits).  Here we see a fine demonstration of why that's the case.  Exactly a month after making the first post in this thread, Sir Drake, having made a reasonable investment of time and funds, has broken into wood ship modeling with complete success - and has a nice-looking model of a significant vessel to put on his mantle.  This approach makes so much more sense than that taken by the hundreds of unfortunate people who lay down vast sums of money for HECEPOB kits, supposedly representing ships of the line, clipper ships, or frigates, which lead to nothing but frustration and disillusionment - and, in at least 75 percent of the cases, never get finished.

I hope Kammerlander succeeds.  He obviously knows precisely what he's doing, and has the potential to make a real contribution to the hobby.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    March 2004
  • From: Belgium
Posted by DanCooper on Sunday, October 28, 2007 2:07 PM

That is a beautifull little boat you've got there, nice work, especially this is a first-timer.

It was in 1989 at the Dortmunt modelling-fair (Inter Modellbau) that I first saw these little things, so they have been around for at least 18 years, the only problems is that this company doesn't make much efford marketing or advertising their intrigate models.

On the bench : Revell's 1/125 RV Calypso

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: K-Town, Germany
Posted by sirdrake on Monday, October 29, 2007 10:27 AM

Thanks for the kind words, everybody. It is very much appreciated.

I realized that contrary to my earlier announcements I didn't write anything about how the plank-bending with the plank-bending-tip did actually work. Well, it did work very nice! I put some superglue on the some of the frames (2 or 3 frames, not all of them at once), hold the soaked frame in place, and touched it softly with the tip of the soldering iron. The glue sets immediately, and the plank is securely fixed in position. Fixing the plank to the remaining frames is easy then.

The only thing that worried me a little at first was the tapering of the planks. Planks need to be tapered at both ends so that they can smoothly and evenly cover the hull. The instructions state simply that 'beginners do worry unecessarily too much about the tapering'. Although now I think that's quite right, when having to cut your first planks it doesn't help much... It probably just needs a bit of practise to develop a feeling for it. I wonder how how the instructions in other kits deal with it?

SD

  • Member since
    October 2022
Posted by Bobb on Monday, October 3, 2022 10:21 PM

Hello

Thanks for your post. I am very interested in getting a model from Kammerlander but I can't read or write German. Is there a US distributor? Can you suggest a way for me to proceed? 
Thanks for your help.

Dennis

Moderator
  • Member since
    September 2011
Posted by Tim Kidwell on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 8:33 AM

Hi Dennis,

I'm not familiar with any distributors in the US for GK Modellbau. However, your browser should be able to translate the company's website to help you read the offerings. If nothing else, you can email them through their contact portal to ask if they have anyone in the US who imports them or if they can sell directly to you.

Here's the link: https://gk-modellbau.de/kontakt/

Hope that helps!

--

Timothy Kidwell
Editor
Scale Model Brands
Kalmbach Media

 

  • Member since
    May 2022
Posted by Eugene Rowe on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 1:10 PM

That is a very interesting construction method!I wonder if it can be used for a Ship of the line?

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 10:12 PM

Not to be a Richard, but the OP was 15 years ago so we won't be hearing from him.

I couldn't find anything on Amazon or eBay, however I'm sure if you posted your question on (sorry, Tim)- Model Ship World, Ship Model Forum or Ships of Scale you'll get the info.

It looks like this company is still around but only sells in the EU (no islands however).

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 7:22 AM

Hello!

Should somebody want one of those kits really badly, maybe I could help - I would have to order to Poland and then re-ship to USA.

Have a nice day

PaweĊ‚

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 1:38 PM

Eugene Rowe
That is a very interesting construction method!I wonder if it can be used for a Ship of the line?

Possibly, but, being solid plaster, you are limited to probably no more than 15-20cm (6-8") of hull length.  Get to 30-35cm (around a foot long) and you will need a coule kilos (4-5#) of plaster for the mould.  So, the shipping costs would become absurd for a kit maker.

That, and you'd be looking at 1/200, maybe 1/150 scale which would make everything else more difficult--at 11/150, a 1mm riggging block would be a scale 150mm (6") size--knots in the rigging thread would be over-scale for much of the rig.

For a ship of the line, the other issue would be the tumblehome, where the profile slants in from the waterline, so the mould to cast the plaster in woul likely need to be at least 2 part, if not 4 part, which would be a pit of a production casting nightmare as is, and with the burden of cleaning casting lines off the casting, too.

Now, that does not mean there is not a way to frame-build larger ships.  A bunch of kit makers are using laser cutters to cut the frame parts from sheet stock, which you then assemble, inverted on a building board cut with notches to accept the extende ends of the frames.

Sadly, some of thos kits are im limited supply as the manufacturers are in Ukranie, which is having complications with its Postal System at present.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, October 5, 2022 2:08 PM

A foggy memory emerged reading this. There was a trend at one time in model railroading to make the basic shell of passenger cars, the streamliner type; out of tissue paper soaked in diluted white glue and layed up over a carved wood or plaster buck. In that case the shell itself was flexible and could be removed from the mold even if the car body had undercut.

These kinds of things can be ingenious.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    October 2022
Posted by Bobb on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 10:01 AM

Hi 

Look int books by Jean boudriot and Ftench website of ship building in 1600's. Sorry but I don't have it, but google. The quality is astounding. It is the real deal a worth the time to research. Even with a language barrier it is doable .  Yes there are many ship-of-the-Line.that Boudriot has done a book of plans for in 1/48. Che it out!

cheers

dennis

  • Member since
    October 2022
Posted by Bobb on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 10:38 AM

My experience: you can order a kit dir by emailing the site with model number found in online catalog indicating Paypal voucher. It will be sent to your PayPal account .

For truly fine wooden ship plans visit andhttps://ancre.fr/en/monograph/31-monographie-de-la-chaloupe-armee-en-guerre-1834.html#/langue-anglais

here you will find books on individual ships most in 1/48 scale.

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