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Join date: Jan 28, 2021


Tom Cummings

Ship Modelers CV

I’m 76 years of age, retired now for 16 years. Previously from Montreal, when we retired we bought a piece of land 1.5 acres off lake Massiwippi in southern Quebec to build our retirement home. We pay our taxes to a small village not far from us, called Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley.

Model shipbuilding has been my passion since childhood although as life would have it, one has to work and raise a family so shipbuilding was a stop and start hobby.......... until retirement! I managed to equip my workshop with the best of tools prior to retirement. I’m not missing much, such as a Bynes table saw, Taig lathe, a great number of sanders including the Boss oscillating sander and the list goes on and on. Just a piece of advice, these tools can be expensive so get them before retirement. The expense will be less evident to your partner!

The main ships I have built go back many years to the Thermopylae which was a solid hull kit by an Italian company.

Artesania Latina BlueNose II is still standing proud in our living room in a plexiglass case. This was a fairly easy kit which took me a while due to family and job commitments.

Panart H,M.S. Victory kit #738 was my first really major undertaking. (Scale 1:78 – 51.2” x 29”) Our family was a bit older and less demanding although I was still working. I “bashed” the kit to approx. 50%. I cut a lot of the wood myself from various exotic woods, such as Pau Amarillo and Mahogany amongst others. I did this because I did not want to paint it, but just leave it natural with several coats of satin varathane. This one took me a little over 4 yrs to build. It won first prize in a contest on ShipModelers forum in the modified kit category.

At this point I chose to follow a practicum by David Anscherl to “Scratch building” the “Atalanta”. This practicum is a 12 part guide to the building of the hull and fully framed British naval vessel based on the Swan class ship-rigged sloops of the 1770’s.

The objective was to build a fully framed model according to dockyard practice, at a scale of 1:48. It was built upright, piece by piece, drafting each of the components of the ship’s structure.

I purchased the recommended plans from the National Maritime Museum in London, England. I also decided to build as much as possible not only the exterior but the ship’s interior. Although, the many hours of work on the interior allowed me to practice honing my limited skills in ship modeling, nothing is visible now that I am finished as the hull is closed. A photo journal accompanies this model and allows us to admire the work, and the effort that went into it, even though it cannot be seen.

The photo journal of the complete build can be found on the following web site:

Scroll on the model tab to “Atalanta by Tom Cummings”. Part One and Two comprise of 240 pgs of photos and techniques used during the build. Enjoy

I started this project on July 20th, 2002 and after many stops and starts, completed it on August 20th, 2014.

Around 2000, prior to finishing the Atalanta, I purchased the Mantua kits for the Christopher Columbus trio, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. I bashed these kits quite extensively. I wanted them to look as identical as possible while still following the basic plans. I cut the deck planks from Cherry and the exterior planking from African mahogany. I equipped them with the requisite work boats which were not in the kit. Fittings, rails, masts and spars were all painted black. The sails have the red Spanish cross of the times. The construction of these ships overlapped the building of the Atalanta and finished last fall. I have yet to have a case made for them.

In progress is Model Shipways USS Constitution kit # MS2040 Which I have just started over the past couple of months. Along with researching it’s history I am fortunately finding a number of contacts on the various forums who are building or have built the same ship. They prove to be priceless resources. Hopefully I can finish this one within a couple of years!


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