Zen and The Art Of Model Ship Building

Zen and The Art Of Model Ship Building

HMS Tiger,a level three model, will be my first attempt constructing a model ship. Tiny cans of coloured paint will come in handy for my new hobby. In my last post, I was contemplating the timeline of change, highlighting the fact that change inevitably takes far longer than we originally think it will. This is because the insatiable appetite for instantaneous response tends to drive both our hopes and our thinking. If we don’t have a swift answer to what we need or see the results appear quick enough, then the odds are that we’ll soon abandon a current course of action in pursuit of something quicker. After all folks, “time is money” so “produce, produce, produce – because I need this yesterday!” Does this not sound familiar to us? Of course, that’s why I love gardening. It reminds me that I have to work conscientiously toward my desired goals and in the case of a natural medium like plants and flowers, these results take time. In fact, they operate on a whole new level of time which is solely in sync with none other than itself, its environment, and the natural time it requires. While I can attempt to influence its rate of growth, I would have to point out, “What is the true purpose of that other than yet another manifestation of one’s own impatience?” Although I have nursed plants that I have delicately added into container gardens or directly into the soil, what I have yet to attempt is to start a garden from a collection of seeds. Maybe that’s something that I need to give...
Carefully crafted miniature ship needs a place to dock

Carefully crafted miniature ship needs a place to dock

By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: May 08, 2014 Peter Certaine is old now, fully 86, and needs to find a new port for his beloved ship, the Amerigo Vespucci. He built it by hand, a rigorous, joyous labor that took nearly a decade. He sanded its cherry decks and raised its mahogany masts, tied the ropes and lifeboats. A new berth shouldn’t require much room – about the size of a coffee table. Because Certaine’s grand ship is a scaled miniature, three feet long, so intricate that all it needs to set course are tiny sailors. “I should have been in Hollywood, building ship models,” Certaine said. Instead, he was in Philadelphia, building a life, working as an accountant, and as a city auditor, from the 1950s until his eyesight went bad in the 1980s. “He’s someone who is very creative,” said Denise Pride, a Philadelphia public-relations agent who has helped Certaine document his work. All his life he loved models, particularly cars, which he re-created down to brakes that worked when the foot-pedal was pushed. Certaine turned out cars like a Detroit production line. But he built only a few boats, and just one ship: The namesake of an early Italian explorer who forever dwells in the shadow of a contemporary, Christopher Columbus. Amerigo Vespucci – the man – was a sixteenth-century navigator, mapmaker, and explorer who sailed in service of Spain and Portugal. He’s credited as the first to realize that North and South America were distinct continents, a discovery made on a voyage in 1501. It’s from Amerigo that North and South America get their...
Kevin Riordan: Historic Burlington County Prison Museum revives piece of storied jailhouse art

Kevin Riordan: Historic Burlington County Prison Museum revives piece of storied jailhouse art

By Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Columnist POSTED: August 09, 2011 As the story goes, a Philadelphia shipyard worker who killed a man became a shipbuilder again while serving a life term in the old Mount Holly jail. His name is lost to history, but the inmate’s handiwork – an imaginatively detailed, four-foot-long model of the majestic steamer Saint Paul – is not. This unusual piece of jailhouse art will soon be displayed at the Historic Burlington County Prison Museum, where the inmate crafted it from scraps of wood, paper, and wire more than a century ago. “There was an auction last year at the home of an antiques dealer in Burlington City, and we were the only ones who bid on it,” museum association president Janet Sozio says. The model, which stands 42 inches tall, “looked terrible” after being stored for years in a basement, Sozio recalls. “We carried it back to the office, and we thought, ‘Boy, this is really neat. But what are we going to do with it?’ ” They soon discovered that professional restoration would cost several times more than the winning $1,000 bid. Then Sozio, an Edgewater Park lawyer with a contagious enthusiasm that’s indispensable for this sort of undertaking, discovered the Philadelphia Ship Model Society online. She reached out to its vice president, Jim MacIntyre, who lives in Medford, and the 70-year-old retired salesman put together a team. Mike Weaver, a 62-year-old Philadelphia police captain who is president of the model society, and member John Oddo, 52, an engineer from Garnet Valley, made the dirty, damaged model shipshape again. The trio performed their labor of...
Ships That Sail Through the Clouds: Meet Luigi Prina, the 83-Year-Old Builder of Flying Model Ships

Ships That Sail Through the Clouds: Meet Luigi Prina, the 83-Year-Old Builder of Flying Model Ships

  When he was just 16 years old Luigi Prina entered and won a national aircraft modeling competition. When he went to collect the prize money the organizers asked the boy why his father couldn’t come and collect it himself. Nearly fifty years later the now successful architect met a painter and boat builder named Eugenio Tomiolo and while they were talking made a bet that perhaps Prina could take one of his small model ships and make it fly like an airplane. Tomolio accepted and it wasn’t long before a small flying boat was whirring in circles around his small studio that coincidentally had clouds painted on the ceiling. A new passion was born and Prina has since dedicated nearly 20 years of his later life to building flying model boats, bicycles and other unconventional aircraft. The folks over at Blinking City along with photographer Gianluca Giannone recently sat down with the model building for this beatiful photo essay and video. (thnx,...
Following his long love of building model ships

Following his long love of building model ships

By Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Columnist POSTED: April 23, 2014 Edwin B. Leaf tells seafaring tales in three dimensions. He’s built more than 150 exquisitely detailed, historically accurate model ships – to scale, by hand – and has authored a book ( Ship Modeling From Scratch) about how to do it. Not that technique is everything, mind you. “You don’t build a model because it’s a model. There has to be a story to the ship,” says the retired Army lieutenant colonel, his manner congenial yet authoritative. The stories flow effortlessly: The iterations of the Battleship New Jersey; the sheer beauty of a “revenue cutter” called the HMS Speedy; and the Mikasa, a Japanese national symbol spared by U.S. bomber pilots during World War II. “If there isn’t a story,” Leaf says, “a model is just an object.” The craft he’s pursued for nearly 70 years isn’t just a hobby, either. “To me, the word hobby means something relatively trivial that you dabble in,” Leaf says. “An avocation is something you’re dedicated to. I consider this my avocation.” The Pittsburgh-area native built his first ship model, a Baltimore clipper, at 15, in 1945. At 83, he’s still at it. “I just started framing out a little armed sloop from the time of the French and Indian War,” says the self-taught ship modeler. We’re admiring the eclectic armada of models displayed throughout the charming 19th-century Edgewater Park home he shares with Pat, his wife of 58 years. The couple met in France, one of the places across the globe (including wartime Vietnam) where he was stationed during his 33-year Army career. They have three grown...
Mayflower model ship donation signifies fresh start

Mayflower model ship donation signifies fresh start

Bobby Roy leducrep.editor@sunmedia.ca When the pilgrims boarded the Mayflower in England in the 17th century, they hoped their journey would lead them to a ‘new world’, a fresh start and an escape from the death, disease and other maladies in England. Leduc resident Ian Brett had a similar concept and idea in mind as he began the tedious and long process of building a Mayflower model ship from scratch. As a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, Brett wanted to donate something towards the grand opening of the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch that would be symbolic of a fresh start. “I felt the Mayflower ship really symbolizes what this ranch means to abused children and their families,” explained Brett, who initially resided in Leduc in 1974 and then made his way back to the city last December. According to its website, the Little Warriors “is a national charitable organization, based in Canada, focusing on the education and prevention of child sexual abuse. Little Warriors teaches adults how to help prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. In addition to prevention education, Little Warriors also provides information about the prevalence and frequency of child sexual abuse and information about healing and support resources.” As part of its vision, the organization recently opened its Be Brave Ranch – a treatment centre for sexually abused children and their families in central Alberta. It is the only such treatment centre in Canada. Brett attended the official grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 27 to donate his handmade Mayflower model ship, which took more than 5,000 hours to complete. Brett said...