Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Science Museum Ship Models Part 2

More views from the Science Museum Model Ship collection now, with a firm bias toward the interesting group of early Torpedo Boat Destroyers that are on display.

As I said in the previous post, these models cover a whole range of subjects, but are united in the attention to detail and quality of materials that have been used to build them. I suspect that some of them may have been made as engineering models or apprentice pieces at a time contemporary with the original vessels, so here and there, and with the best will in the world, there is the odd piece of sagging rigging, or pile of dust that has invaded the display cases. To me though this just adds to their charm, whilst the unusual subjects, particularly those pictured in this post, are really interesting.

I find especially with torpedo craft of the pre WWI era, it is sometimes difficult to get your head around exactly how and where various torpedo tubes and launchers were positioned, as well as the secondary armament of quick firing guns - this is often of importance in various rule sets - so these models are a real boon!

To whit: HMS Daring of 1893

HM Torpedo Boat No 17 of 1907:

The amazing looking HMS Lightning - just look at the rails for loading the torpedos - now that's got to be another good candidate model for a VSF scratch-build!

and even more obscure, a Rumanian Vedette Boat, built in Britain for service on the river Danube in 1906 - equipped with a movable arm spar torpedo/ explosive charge dropper at the bow, and torpedo dropping gear at the sides - would have loved to see this in action!

Next, the super-fast Russian Sokol, again built in Britain:

and finally, just for variety, the Vasco de Gama, a Portuguese Box Battery ironclad, reminiscent of the vessels used in the War of the Pacific, 1879:

Now that's enough photos - go and enjoy them yourself next time you're in the vicinity!


  1. Hi SoS,

    I have always liked those 'bandstand' gun positions on the early TBs. Some great pictures - particularly as the models are under glass.

    All the best,


  2. I like the Rumanian vedette boat. It looks the epitome of Victorian naval architecture. Another inspiration for the Colonial gaming collection.

  3. I have to say, your pictures, particularly the closeups, really capture the imagination of what it must have been like on board some of these ships. Can imagine being the commander or even the helmsman standing on that open bridge on HM TB #17? Or manning one of those open guns? Plus, what I'd give to even have 1/10th the talent of whomever made those models!

  4. Hi Guys, glad you like the photos, as David intimated, it can be difficult to get good shots through glass, especially where various noses over the years have been rubbing up against the display cases, and shall we say, fogging the view! The fact is I took a lot more shots, including of other subjects, but to be honest, these were the best of the bunch...

    Have to agree about the Rumanian Vedette Boat - it's just a hop, skip and a jump from being a Ruritanian Vedette Boat, redolent of a Europe of Romance, intrigue and various plucky characters making their way to the Castle of Zenda.....

    Seeing such detailed and large scale models does give a better feel for what they must have been like for real, certainly a bit more so than our favourite miniature versions - it's really amazing how exposed to the elements and enemy fire those crews would have been - made of sterner stuff in those days, don't you know.....!