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Hello from Washington state


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Hello all


Well I suppose it is time I came out of the closet and announce my presence to what appears to be a very talented cliental of ship modelers. I have been lurking for a while and trying to decide if I wanted to continue safely lurking, or risk embarrassment by jumping into the water so to speak.


While I am not truly new to modeling, I have not really done anything for the last fifteen or twenty years or more. I started out as young kid building cars, then plastic aircraft, and eventually settling down to plastic ships. I continued with ships, primarily twentieth century warships, but also did a number of sailing ships over the years, all of them plastic kits.

I then took a break to go on an extended vacation to southeast Asia for Uncle in the late 60s-early 70s and when I came back became involved in putting my life back together with a few more jumps and starts than I care to admit, so it was a few more years before I found myself in a position to take up modeling again.


I started with plastic models again but soon migrated to RC vessels and became involved with a number of others and even started a local club, (That is still very active after more than 30 years). At this time I built for myself, for others, or in a few cases with others, a number of ships, all RC. Some were kits, others kit conversions, a few scratch from plans, and even a few modified plastic kits to make them usable for RC. Some of these ships were HMS Storm King from plans, USS Panay from Navel plans and Plans from Underhill, (I believe), a few tugs, fishing boats and other assorted vessels like ice breakers and even one submarine. In other words whatever struck my attention and could be built for RC.  I had no discipline and used whatever was available for construction. The Storm King as an example was made from plywood that had been part of an old doghouse, Styrofoam from various sources, covered in spackle, sanded to shape, fiber glassed and then used gasoline to dissolve the Styrofoam! Some more doghouse and some scrounged plastic realtor signs and even s section of drainpipe that happened to be the same diameter as the funnel in the plans and much to my surprise it started looking like the ocean going tug on the plans. Even though I built this ship for a friend I still have it as he died not long after and I kind of inherited it and the trophy that it won two years in a row as it had always been kept at my house and I would transport and maintain it for him. The same kind of thing kind of happened with the Panay. Basically a few boards with everything that did not look like a gunboat cut away and a few plastic houses stacked on top, (Made from the same realtor signs). 

Anyway you get the idea, unlike the people here who dedicate themselves to masterpieces of exotic wood and adhere to time honored construction techniques, I have for the most part been involved in unsupervised modeling for most of my life.


A few years back my life again took some unexpected turns and not only again took me away from modeling  but also made some things physically difficult or even impossible. I also started another family, (Adopted two grandsons as babies) and am just now looking at getting back to possibly building ships again. At first I thought of restoring some of the ships from the old days, but after years of storage, a couple of moves, and in one case the shelf where several of them were stored in the basement collapsed from five feet off the floor and sent all of them everywhere! Most of them survived better than you might suspect. I guess being built for the rigors’ of RC use they were tougher than I suspected, but restoration was not really what I was looking for.


So that brings me to where I am now. Third family is now getting to the point that they do not need constant supervision. I am now retarded and no longer have a viable carrier that needs daily attention, but thanks to some planning that did go OK; I do have a retirement that keeps things together enough that I don’t really mind not being gainfully employed. While a few surgeries and other issues somewhat keep me from being the person I once was, I am still capable of pursuing a slightly less demanding version of my old hobby. It is my hope to start building some of the kits of sailing vessels I have accumulated over the years. I have several vessels supposedly from the late 18th century that I have on hand that were either given to me, were a great buy at the time, or struck me as nice in a hording kind of way. My primary interest falls in the US colonial/revolutionary period. Mostly smaller vessels like Brigantines, Brigs, and Schooners that would have been used by the American Colonials against the British or even a little later in the Barbary wars. After reading around here and of course doing some research as well, it turns out that ALL of the kits I own are either not really American, not accurate representations of the vessel they claim to be, or just poor kits that have little building value from what I read here. While I am not totally against building from scratch I also have not found “THE” ship that I want to build that fits my interests. Also I am not completely certain where my skill levels lie and I want to try a “something” that is a little less challenging but still in my interest area to see if I have what it takes to become a disciplined ship modeler. Following that guideline I have already started a Constructo Brig Sentinel that I hope will turn out good enough to give to a friend for his next birthday. Why they call these “beginners” kits is beyond me, everything in them is below par and in order to make anything even a beginner could be proud of requires considerable effort. Fairly soon I also intend to start one of my Brigantine kits, at this time I am leaning toward the Mamoli Blue Shadow only because it is the most generic brigantine with a quarterdeck that I own and therefore should lend itself to bashing into something more refined and recognizable as possibly a colonial privateer.

I also have restarted my research on another vessel that I will build fairly soon. A number of years ago I read a book called “The Cruise Of The Lanikai”. This book was an offshoot of my research on the Panay and Yangtze river gunboats and captured my attention.


In the opening days of WWII a young Lieutenant was given command of an antique schooner in the Philippines and told to prepare her for war! Instead the Japanese invaded and his original mission became redundant. He was then able to get permission to set sail and do his best to avoid capture by the advancing Japanese army, navy, and air force! He and his crew managed to run at night and hide during the day and stay just ahead of capture for over 3000 miles through the South Pacific all of the way to Australia! Ever since reading this book I wanted to do a model of the Lanikai but of course there is virtually no information on this ship even though it turns out it served in the US Navy in both WWi and II, was featured in a movie in 1937. And spent the remaining part of WWII after her voyage in the Australian Navy! So, after deciding that the only way to build this ship would be to work backwards from the few photographs available and try to come up with hull lines that would work. With my limited abilities I am almost there and I think I have generated almost all I need to build the Lanikai and be able to call it scale instead of scaly. If I do indeed get there soon then this will become another build I will be doing.


So that is about all there is that is even remotely interesting about me and hopefully I will be making progress on the above stuff and with some if the input I have picked up here and hope to in the future as well, be able to produce a few credible models that will not be a total personal embarrassment in the years I may have left.


Lou Magnabosco                   

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Welcome aboard and welcome home. We are probably about the same age. I'm 67. Served in the army arty 71-74. I found the you tube has some inspiring and educational segments on ship building. If the vessel in question had a usn designation you might try the navy data base if you have the name.

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Hello Robert and David


I do not know if I am done with plastic ships yet, I still have a bunch of them in the hording stash as well! After all I have to retain at least a few vices in my old age, most of the others have been taken away and are no longer available or I have been told they are not good for me!


Thanks for the welcome home. It's kind of funny, I never even heard of that phrase until I had been home for over twenty years. But then I kind of kept it a secret that i had even been gone for most of that time. Not something you spread around to loud back in the 70s and 80s, at least not where I was living. I spent most of my time in Hueys so got more of a birds eye view most of the time and tried to never be too late for the chow line. {:^)


As for the Lanikai, even though it officially carried USN numbers on paper in two wars there is virtually no documentation useful for building in the Navy data base. All I was able to find there was a picture, class identification and hull number. Also some hull measurements from both wars that don't match! Sometimes the US Navy does not care much about some of the ships that have served the cause so well. I personally think the escape of the Lanikai and her crew should have been plastered all over the newspapers of the time as a moral booster for people at home who were not getting to much in  the way of good news.


Welcome home to you also.


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I, too, have some plastic ships to do. I found a You Tube series on the USS Arizona and other plastic models with great tips on how to get it right. I'm working on Arizona and USS Constitution. When I did a galleon for a friend I waxed the lines and seized them so they would move. I bought neutral thread to do the seizing so I wouldn't run out. I also wash the plastic parts in wasm water with dish detergent to remove any substance from the surface before painting. I also prime almost all parts.



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Welcome to MSW, Lou.    You might consider posting what you have found on the Lanikai along with your questions here:  https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/forum/13-ships-plans-and-project-research-general-research-on-specific-vessels-and-ship-types/    It almost sounds like the Navy bought a comericially built ship.

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Yes a couple of the plastic ships that I have in my horde fall into that category. Ships like the USS Oregon, (Glenco) that with the documentation I have would have to almost be completely redesigned to make it right. I would never be able to live with myself if I was to build it straight out of the box and try and call it the Oregon. Ignorance can be nice sometimes. On the other hand the old Revell Olympia with only slight embellishments and modifications could hold up OK to being representative of its namesake. Some of the others land somewhere in between the two extremes as well. With some of the newer kits and all of the photo etch options it truly is almost a new world for the plastic modeler. I do not own any of these newer ship kits but in the past I found that I reached my limit when it came to painting and weathering. I have very little artistic skill and have problems "Envisioning" how to reproduce the final desired result. I suspect that I will have the same problems when it comes to period ships and their colors.


Hello mtaylor

Thank you for the welcome

It will take me a while to gather much of my Lanikai stuff together as some of it is from here and other stuff is from there. In some cases the information I have would have to be hand copied as it is from non internet sources or protected files. (You don't happen to have a copy of Pacific Marine Review volume 13 1914 do you?) {:^) But if I can put a comprehensive understandable presentation together in some manner that can be presented in a online environment I certainly will. I am afraid that I am a bit of a fossil and do not have many of the digital means that some people here possess and use so well.


You are right The Lanikai was obtained from civilian ownership in both wars, although I do not think "buying " would be a fitting term for either time. She was originally built as the Hermes in 1914 at the W.F. Stone Shipyard in Oakland CA. for a German company. Here is a somewhat condensed history;

Patrol Yacht: YX-12


  • Built in 1914 by the W. F. Stone and Co., Oakland, CA
  • Taken over by the Navy on Executive order, (1917) and commissioned USS Hermes 1 April 1918
  • Decommissioned 16 January 1919 and turned over to the Hawaiian territorial government (Where it appears she spent some time dealing with rum runners and such).
  • Turned over to the Pacific Air Detachment
  • Struck from the Navy list 1 July 1926
  • Sold 21 October 1926 to the Lanikai Fish Co. of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii and renamed Lanikai
  • Sold in 1929 to the Hawaiian Sea Products Co.
  • Laid up in 1931
  • Sold in 1933 to Northrup Castle of Honolulu
  • Sold in 1936 to Harry W. Crosby of Seattle, WA
  • Sold in 1937 to Metro-Goldwin-Mayer for the making of the movie "Hurricane"
  • Sold in 1939 to E. M. Grimm of the Philippines for the Luzon Stevedoring Co.
  • Chartered by the Navy 5 December 1941 and commissioned USS Lanikai
  • Transferred 22 August 1942 to the Australian Navy
  • Commissioned HMAS Lanikai 9 December 1942
  • Returned to U.S. custody 22 August 1945
  • Sunk in 1947 off Nabasan wharf during typhoon at Subic Bay, Philippines.

    Hermes Specifications:


  • Displacement 340 t.
  • Length 89' 4"
  • Beam 25.4'
  • Draft 7' 6"
  • Complement 26
  • Armament: Two 3-pounders
  • Propulsion: Steam, one shaft.

    Lanikai Specifications:


  • Displacement 150 t.
  • Length 87' 3"
  • Beam 25.4'
  • Draft 9'
  • Speed 7 kts.
  • Complement 19
  • Armament: One 3-pounder and two .30 cal. machine guns
  • Propulsion: One diesel engine, one shaft. 

One of my sources lists her as wooden hauled and copper sheathed. Another says that she had stainless steel sheathing. In both cases it appears that she was painted with anti fouling paint below the waterline.



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A warm welcome to MSW.

Don't know on what side of the Cascades you are on but if you are on the west side (Seattle area) I have a club recommendation.

One of our members in here are the President for the club, which goes under the name PSSM.

Send me a PM and I am more than happy to link you with the club, this goes for Seahawk1313 (guessing you are an Washingtonian too)

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