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Waterline Dioramas: A Modelbuilder's Artform by Justin Camarata

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Waterline Dioramas: A Modelbuilder's Artform by Justin Camarata, published 2009 by SeaWatch Books. ISBN 978-0-9820579-2-6

This book isn't going to teach you how to build a model ship. However, if you're familiar with ship modeling, and want to build something more than just another static model, this book can show you how to make your model come to life by modeling your ship in its elements: the wind and the sea. While most books on modeling focus on how a ship was built, this one focuses on how it was sailed.

There is a chapter on building waterline hulls, and how to properly position them on the base, as well as a chapter on rigging with wire-- necessary if one wants to show a ship in very dynamic conditions. These chapters both present information on building methods that may be new to many ship modelers. Where the book truly shines, however is in the chapters on modeling sails and waves. Much information is provided on how sails work and how they look in action, and what materials and methods the modeler might use to make realistic, dynamic sails for his or her model. Wave formation by wind and by the hull moving through the water is examined in some detail, as are materials and methods the modeler might employ to create a realistic looking sea with wave action appropriate to the situation the modeler is attempting to depict, whether a sailing ship or a powered vessel.

Since a ship is operated by a crew, there is a chapter devoted to creating realistic scale figures to man one's ship. Also included is a chapter on displaying and photographing the finished model. And finally, for inspiration, there is a wonderful color gallery of waterline dioramas by such noted modelers as Donald McNarry, Erik Ronnberg, Jr., Philip Reed, and Lloyd McCaffery, which includes both sail and power models.

This large format, well put together volume may not be for everyone, but for the modeler who is looking to expand his or her modeling skills and challenges, it is certainly worth a look.

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I received this book from my wonderful wife today on my 77th birthday. What a beautiful piece of work. Justin Camarata is

a long time member of our club, The Connecticut Marine Model Society. I've seen some of his preliminary work leading up to

the final results pictured in this book. The tutorials on making water are of particular interest to me.


John Elwood

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I started reading it, and am about a third of the way through.  It's a very interesting book, I'd highly recommend it.  It goes into a lot of aspects of ship dioramas, including sail construction and shape, making realistic looking sea, etc.  Not sure that I'll ever do a diorama, but it's given me some things to think about when it comes to building my models.

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