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Shipyard H.M.S. Alert, 1777, 1:96-scale Paper Model kit


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Well, I broke down and ordered this paper model kit from Shipyard last month. I've been helping Ages of Sail with various things for the past several months and ran across their stock of Shipyard paper model kits and was intrigued by them. I have a very vague memory of paper models as a kid. I think my older sister or an older person I knew must have had a paper model kit or something, because there seems to be something oddly familiar about them.


In any case, I ordered the kit from Poland, and it only took about 10 days to arrive. I immediately had to open it up to check it out.


HMS Alert is a 12-gun cutter and there's a great volume of the Anatomy of the Ship series on it.




The model itself is the smaller of the two versions made by Shipyard. The larger one is part of what they call their Laser Cardboard Kit series. That's simply their term for a complete boxed kit that includes laser cut frames, but also all the paints, dowels, paint brush, wood blocks and deadeyes, and turned brass cannons, etc. Some of the kits in the series are also available as part of their Paper Model kit series, but the Laser Cardboard Kit versions are often a larger scale.


My kit is just one of their standard Paper Model kits. It's 1:96-scale, whereas the Laser Cardboard Kit version is 1:72 scale, which would have been nice, but a lot more expensive both for the kit and for shipping. Mine cost me about $37 including shipping. You'll pay more for it from U.S. stores since distributors can't sell enough of them to get better pricing, but at least you don't have to convert currency or deal with overseas customer service. Not that any of this has been an issue with my first order.












My only experience with Shipyard kits was the HMB Endeavour kit, which is packaged like my Alert kit, but the Endeavour had no laser cut frames. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Alert had a full set of frames, all pre-cut. Of course, I had to try out the kit right away and next thing I knew, I had the hull framing done and I was off to add the hull sheets!














This is something of a side project for me, and I'll probably work on it the way I worked on the 18th Century English Longboat kit, which was just something I pull out when I need a break from wood ship modeling. So, I didn't plan on doing a build log on it. At least not for now. But, at the moment, I seem to need a lot of breaks, so I'd spend an hour on the Alert pretty regularly.


I've been experimenting with glues a little and settled on the contact cement I have for most of the work. It's Pliobond and the stuff reeks, but I've gotten used to it, and it seems to work very well.


I'm surprised at how well everything has gone together so far. Of course, I haven't dealt with any of the fine details. Not sure how I'm going to do with all those things. And, I'm a little cautious about rolling my own cannons. But, I'd like to keep from turning it into another wood ship model kit where I just use all the same fittings, buy after market cannons and all. So, we'll see. I'm also a little nervous about how well I can rig a paper model, since I can't use the same "touch" as with a wooden model where my rigging can be fairly tight.


So, far, I've managed not to accidentally crush parts, which are amazingly delicate until supporting pieces are glued in place.


If I get ambitious, I'll start an actual build log, but I've got enough build logs in progress to keep track of for now.


Just wanted to share about the new kit.








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Thanks Andy.


Paper modeling seems like a great hobby in itself. Doris' work blows me away. But, the basic kits are inexpensive and you just seem to need glue, X-Acto or razor blades and a cutting mat. Occasionally, I've made use of a sharp pair of scissors, but you don't need any power tools and you don't need a whole lot of space. So, that's really nice.


Working at 1:96-scale may prove to be a little overly challenging for me when I get to the details. I know what it's like with wood models and, thankfully, they're pretty sturdy. For a bit more expense, the 1:72-scale boxed kits of Le Coureur, Berbice and HMS Alert might be better to work with. I just went the cheap route to try it out. But in the long run, the boxed sets might be a better deal, plus the bigger scale, included fittings, paints, etc.


Ages of Sail has a big order in with them for more items which are apparently stuck in customs somewhere, but I know they (we) at least have the Berbice and Coureur "Laser Cardboard Kits" in stock. If I crash-and-burn on this build, I may give one of those a try. But, here's to hoping all turns out well!



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Hi Dave, great to see you here! I have the Victory posted over on shipsofscale.com, but it's out of date. At some point, I might create a build log here, but I have higher priorities right now.


This paper model is kind of a break. Plus it's about seeing what it's like. I blog about a variety of ship modeling news, so I needed to know more about these paper models, which are quite fascinating. 


Anyway, PM me or I'll PM you and we can catch up.




Druxey, Edwin, thanks for the kind words. Do I know what I'm doing? I just talk like I do. But, hey, it's a ship model right? We can do this if we can build in wood! I think... 


I went to one of the local ship clubs' meetings on Friday and someone brought in a mostly finished card model U-Boat. He brought some of the kits he has. They aren't Shipyard kits, and I have to say that the Shipyard kits seem like the Cadillac of paper models. Of course, I say that, but I haven't seen a lot of the other kit publishers. There seem to be a lot. Still, these are very fine kits and much slicker in comparison with others I've seen.


Edwin, I think you should go for it. Anyway, their inexpensive and you don't have to have many tools to build one.



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Hi Clare,


Thanks for sharing this build...


the lines of the "Alert" look great, and the kit`s lasered Card parts seem to fit perfect, I`m curious on the outcome..., it Looks very encouraging and your work is nice and clean.

The scale is a bit small (1:96) , was just imagining this magnified to 1:50 and in wood, would be a marvelous Framework. The "Alert is a candidate for clinker planking



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Thank you Nils. This is an interesting kit. I agree it's on the small side, but I don't know that this is really a bad thing. I'm actually tinkering with building something in a scale that's often referred to a sub-miniature 1:192. Small scales take less room and you can often get away with simplifications that you can't at larger scales. But, yes, paper details at 1/96 look pretty challenging.


It would be interesting to try out the larger 1/72-scale version of this ship. Same company, but it's only available in a boxed edition that's 3 times more money. Anyway, I wanted to try out this basic kit.


Yes, I've been wanting to build a cutter in wood at a larger scale. I have the Ancre book on the cutter Le Cerf too. Cutters are really nice looking ships and that's why I went with the Alert. And actually, this kit does have you plank the hull in clinker fashion. Interesting that wood kits don't do that.



By the way, I put in another order with Shipyard for the mast and yard accessory set and the sail kit. The order was sitting on hold for about 2 weeks and I was thinking that there was some kind of problem. I email Shipyard about it. I didn't get a response back, but a few days later I got an automated message that my order shipped, so I should have it in another 10 days or so.



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Thanks for the kind words, Nils. 


In fact, my latest order from Shipyard arrived today. I was a little worried because according to their tracking system, my order had been sitting for more than a week, not shipping. After about 10 days like that I emailed them, but got no response. I figure it may be the English/Polish language barrier. But, some days later I did receive an automated notice that my order had shipped. Didn't take long for it to arrive.


I'd gotten the 1:96 scale HMS Alert sails and Masting sets. You shouldn't need these at all since the items are drawn out well in the kit, but I wanted to check them out and they aren't expensive.








While I was at it, I thought I'd try out their paints. There was a minimum shipping charge anyway, so I just added enough to fill out my order without raising the shipping charge. The paints are often referred to as watercolors, but I think that's a translation error. They look like basic artist's acrylics to me, but I don't know that much about the difference between the two. Anyway, I ordered them to try out, and they were very inexpensive. These are the same paints that are included in the boxed "Laser Cardboard Kits." They are simply Renesans brand artists acrylics, made in Poland.




I'm assuming that the color printing in Shipyard kits basically matches the colors of the Renesans acrylics, but I don't know for sure. That's just a guess. Then again, as I think Chris (ccoyle) points out in his fine intro, all that may be necessary from the paints is to give the edges of the paper a little color, so it may be that color matching shouldn't really be an issue.


I'm not intended this to be a build log, but I will post some pics later on to show how the kit looks mid-way through the build. It may be a while because this is supposed to be one of those side projects.





P.S. I should note that I believe all this stuff, not just the paints, are included in the larger scale (1:72 – mine is 1:96) Laser Cardboard Kit boxed sets.

Edited by catopower
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Anthony,


The sails do seem to be very nice and the lines appear pretty well to scale. I finally open up the package today to check them out. They're pre-printed, but only on one side. I don't know if you're expected to sew them or not, though I seem to recall having seen instructions somewhere that call for the bolt rope to be glued on. But, that's what I normally do with sails anyway. 


By the way, this isn't formally a build log yet, more a review of the kit, which is why it's still in this forum. While I am playing around with the build, I'm mostly doing it to check out what these kits are like. It's been kind of fun though and I am getting into it.


The build log you pointed out should be very interesting. It's actually a different kit, the 1/72 scale "Laser Cardboard Kit", while mine is the 1/96 scale "Paper Model Kit". 


We'll see how much I get sucked into this card stock world – I also have the Santa Leocadia Super Modellar Plans, which includes all the hull parts. AND, I just ordered a detail kit for it from GPM as well as some of their CA glue based on a recommendation here on MSW. It's so much cheaper to work on card models, even though I'm ordering stuff from Poland.



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Hi all.


       In respect Alert card kit it comes very well presented in a stout carboard box and in opening it everything is in the box

       including all paints and two brushes. Well i feel i want to start right now but it will be a side line to be worked on when

       the boss moans that he does not see me for hours.I will be doing the kit in the lounge so i will be able watch all of the

       rubbish on tv at the same time,of course if i make a complete mess of it then you will not be see it i shall set fire to it

      and send it to where all horrible kits i make wil go.


                     regards to all Janet

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Thanks for the supportive comments, Chris. 


I've run into some of my first limitations, either skill-wise or model scale-wise. 


On these kits, the hull planking is pre-shaped, which is really nice. But, all of us here know the complexities of wooden ship hull planking. The hull of this kit, and probably of most Shipyard kits I expect, are laid in 3 layers. The first layer was shown in the last images of the model I posted, and is made up of filler sheets that span the space between individual bulkheads. These are thin paper, no build-up, and pretty easy to add. The next layer consists of printed strakes, 2 to 3 planks wide. The printing serves as a guide for laying the final layer, which is made up of the individual planks.


So, anyway, the second layer, made up of several strakes, is a bit tough to add so that it's nice and smooth. I've found that in order to fit them correctly, I get a little bit of buckling along one edge and a wavy edge is formed, consisting of bumps and valleys. I've compensated for this by taking the bumps and tacking them down firmly with instant CA. There are still the valleys, which of course get tacked down as well since the CA wicks into them. But, I take the point of the Xacto and cut them loose from the hull, causing them to rise up ever so slightly, somewhat evening out the strake.


Is this the best way to approach this issue. Is it a common issue with Shipyard kits? Or is it a sign that perhaps I started off wrong when I attached the bulwarks section. It wasn't very clear how to add that piece, whether to glue it so it sits on top of the deck or so that it's fixed along the hull, right at deck level.


First Layer of the hull



Second Layer of the hull




Looking back, I guess there are ways to figure this out, say, by test fitting other parts to see what allows them to fit most easily. But, I did as best I could and ended up gluing the bulwarks piece to the hull right at deck level and I THINK this is correct. But, like I said, the hull planking isn't laying PERFECTLY. Maybe this is just how it's supposed to go?


I know this is starting to look more like a build log, but I'm really reluctant to treat it like one. I really like posting here in the card model section. I find it much easier to find things here and it also makes it easier to find other card modelers. Some card models in the build log section are not marked as such. 


That said, I thought I'd post a couple more pics of what I've been doing on this 1/96 scale Alert...


Second Layer completed



The Pre-Printed Decks are pretty cool







All is well and this kit is very nice, especially for the price. But, I'm starting to appreciate more and more the value of NOT having parts pre-colored for you. I've ended up with a few glue blemishes, shades of the days of building my first plastic models as a kid (so many gluey finder prints on those early models). I've used the paints I bought from Shipyard to even out the coloring of the pre-printed bulwarks. It's better, but not great.


And now having seem some EXREMELY AWESOME pics of a build of Shipyard's 1/72 scale HMS Alert kit posted on another forum and also posted on Picasa, I'm drooling over the bigger kit. Also, I haven't checked it out closely, but I believe the parts are not pre-colored, so I think that makes it easier for those of us who are comfortable with painting anyway.


Okay, now to TRY to get back to my regular projects...



Edited by catopower
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the sage advice David. I don't believe that's the issue in this particular case, but it's certainly a point well taken. 


I'm curious if anyone has ever tried to use the pre-printed planks to aid in the building of wooden models? As far as I can tell, most of these kits don't include individual planks, but the Shipyard Alert kit does, and so does their Le Coureur kit. For the wood ship modeler, these kits seem to be excellent at illustrating the proper shape of hull planking as well as the joggling of deck planks into the margin strakes.


Anyway, I'm discovering that card models are not easy, but they are fun. Here are some pics of the model just before I added the keel and glued the bulwarks into place.









I'm learning that paint really does cover a multitude of sins and works very well on this model!



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Thanks, David.


A contact number for Poland? There should be something on the back of the kit cover...


Here's what's I found:

URL: www.model-shipyard.com

email: vessel@model-vessel.com

tel. (0-61) 88 34 275

tel. kom +48 508 539 646


I don't know what the different "tel." numbers are, but that's what's on the cover.



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Hi Clare,


looking very clean and crisp, looking forward to more.



Hi David,


I have used GPM in Poland several times and a search of 'Shipyard' brings up several pages of products including ship models, sails, blocks, fiddles blocks etc.





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Hi Clare


I began my build after the new year last January. I soon found out that some of the cardboard formers were very fragile.

You can see my poor efforts in my signature.

I put the ship away because my daughter gave me a new grandson and my working table became a nursery. But things have steadied down now and I am getting the 'itch' again.


Nice to see your build coming along. Looking good.

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Hi Slog,


Thanks for the kind words. I agree that GPM is a good provider of Shipyard and other items. I did notice though that they don't carry a large number of Shipyard kits. But, they seem to carry what look to be older Shipyard kits that aren't available direct from Shipyard anymore like La Belle Poule, HMS Cleopatra and a few others too. 


But, what I really like is that they make laser cut frame and detail sets for several Shipyard models that don't already come with them. I wasn't sure how accurately these would fit the Shipyard kits until I noticed the GPM markings on some laser cut stuff I bought from Shipyard, and the GPM ads in the Shipyard kits.


I ended up getting a super detail set from GPM for the Shipyard 1/72 scale Santa Leocadia model – actually for the Super Modellar Plan set which includes laser cut frames.


Anyway, I agree, GPM has great stuff.




Hi Mitchel,


"Scratch that itch!"  I'm looking forward to seeing more posts from you on your model. Card models are really fun, but they certainly aren't easy, are they? My models small size might make it easier to handle without damage than a larger model. I've been careful with it, but also very lucky.



Edited by catopower
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  • 2 weeks later...

I did it. I started a build log on this model. It's just too cool to put aside and I spent the past couple nights adding gunport linings, hatch coamings and event starting shaping the mast.


So, here's the build log: Naval Cutter HMS Alert, 1777 – 1/96 scale ShipYard Card Model - Kit Build Logs in Progress - Model Ship World




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  • 2 weeks later...

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