What is involved in the commissioning process?
For Naval Warships and U.S. Coast Guard vessels, we have an extensive plan library to work from. We ask that you give us the service years of interest to replicate the exact vessel configuration at the time of service. Just let us know the size of the model the service era configuration desired, and any other desired options (display cases, ship's seals). A 50% deposit starts the model build.
For private vessels (power boats, sail boats, yachts, commercial vessels) the commissioning process is straight forward - If you can take a photograph, you can have a model made of your boat. It is that simple! Ideally we like to work with photographs and any available boat plans. Typically the owner, or an owner’s representative, will take a series of photos and send them to us. Any physical photographs or other support items you send us will be returned with your model. As necessary, we will work with the boat builder to get the plans and drawings we need. You’ll need to provide us with various colors, the vessel name, hailing port and other details. A 50% deposit starts the process.
What is included with the model order?
Each model includes a wooden display base (Satin finished Mahogany) and pedestals to support the hull, as well as a nameplate with the vessel name and information. The normal pedestal and nameplate is in Chrome, Brass is available upon request - at no additional charge. Worldwide shipping and insurance is also included. Note that for models shipping outside the USA, the customer is responsible for any applicable taxes or duties. Many countries classify these models as duty-free works of art.
What options are available?
Our standard display mount is on Chrome pedestals with a Chrome nameplate. (Brass pedestals and nameplates are availble upon request) We offer a keel block mount option at no additional charge. Nameplates can be customized at no additional charge. For naval warships we offer ship's seals, award ribbons and service seals for $50 each. Click here to see option examples. For private vessels deck toys such as tenders, jet skis, kayaks, etc are an additional $100 each. Deck furniture (tables and chairs) are an additional $100 per set. Display cases are an option worth considering to keep dust and fingers off your model forever. Visit our Display Case page for examples. "Weathering" paint schemes can be added to your model. We also can produce waterline dioramas.
Can I get a display case for my model?
We offer custom display cases, fitted to the specific model. Each case is framed in polished mahogany with crystal clear Plexiglas sides. Glass panels may be cut to order when the model arrives using the Plexiglas as a template. Due to the risk of breakage, we do not ship glass plates. Depending on the model size, we can also offer other custom display case options, in pure Acrylic and Glass. See our Display Case page for sizes and pricing.
How long does it take to build a model?
The model build time is generally 16-18 weeks from receipt of the necessary photographs, support documents and the deposit. Occasionally with complicated models or during various busy times, the model build can go to 20-24 weeks.
Is shipping included?
Worldwide shipping and insurance is included for all models. Note that for models shipping outside the USA, the customer is responsible for any applicable taxes or duties. Many countries classify these models as duty-free works of art. Australian customers are charged a $65 fee for an Australian Customs required fumigation fee.
Can I see the model before it's shipped?
Absolutely! Note that prior to shipping, we take a series of photos of the model and send them to you for final approval – so you know exactly what your model will look like and allow for any necessary modifications. Once you have approved your model, we will collect the final balance and she will be shipped in a robust shipping crate and insured for your protection.
What scale do you use?
It depends on the vessel and the customer request. For our naval warship and other models, we offer several popular sizes and scales. However, custom orders are our specialty so if you would like a model size or scale other than listed on our product pages, contact us to request a quote. Recreational powerboat and sailboat models and Half hulls can be made in a variety of scales including 1/4 inch = 1 foot, 3/8 inch = 1 foot, 1/2 inch = 1 foot, 3/4 inch = 1 foot, to 1 inch = 1 foot. For example, a 1/2 inch scale model of a 30 foot boat would be 15 inches long. However, many owners prefer to order their model simply based on the size of the model that fits in their desired display area.
What are the models made of?
The hull is a kiln-dried solid mahogany. We use various metals, woods, putty and resins to replicate various components as necessary.
How do I know what photos to take of my boat?
We have a basic guide on our Photo How-To Guide page:
For a full model, we’ll need approximately 40-60 photos. These don’t need to be taken by a professional with a fancy camera. Using a simple digital camera, with low resolution settings will do. However someone will need to be on the boat, willing to walk around all areas and levels of the exterior. Be sure to take the photos as you want the model to appear – remove all canvass coverings, instrument covers, and assorted “boat stuff” (keys, cords, binoculars, cups/glasses, towels, etc.). Dock lines and power cords can be left on board during the photo session. The more photos - the better! Feel free to call us to discuss the photos needed.
Photos should include:
• A complete walk around exterior set showing the profile of the boat, water lines, sheer lines, boot strips, any and all graphics. Include shots of roof top items such as antennas, radar and communications, assorted electronics, lights, bells, horns, etc) at least 8-10 photos.
• Cockpit, helm station and steering areas, a minimum of 8-10 photos from different angels showing the helm and navigation instrumentation. Take photos from the helmsman seat and from the sides and above (don't forget to remove the instrument covers)
• Same for the fly bridge
• All port lights, hatches and vents
• The main companionway from 4 different angles
• Deck hardware: any winches, cleats, chocks, etc.
• Bow pulpit, windlass, and anchor or furling systems
• For Sailboats - various sheet handling systems, masthead, shrouds and stays, mainsheet and vang, mast boot and mast assembly items
• Transom: at least 3 photos showing shape
• Vessel name and home port, showing placement on vessel and font
• If you want your yacht club burgee on the model, please photograph, indicate placement and send a pdf example file
If you have any photos of your boat out of the water, we would like those as well.
More photos are better! Send your photos to us by mail on a disk or flash drive, or preferably, send them electronically via a web-based photo sharing service such as Picasa, SmugMug, ShutterFly or DropBox. Please do not send your photo set by e-mail, as it tends to clog up our servers.
How do you match my hull colors?
Our experience is that it is not easy to paint a boat only from the photos that you provide us ( A black hull from a navy blue hull? A light gray deck or cream deck on a photo taken in poor light conditions?) To help us accurately paint your model, we need paint references used for the deck, mast , top side of hull, waterlines and bottom paint. You can also send us sample of paint on paper or occasionally we can work with your boat builder for the color scheme used on your boat. If known, you can provide us with the AwlGrip/AwlCraft colors used on your vessel. (Click HERE for an AwlGrip color card reference) Without correct information we will not be able to guarantee an accurate paint replication.
How do I get plans or drawings of my boat?
Assuming they are still in business, we will contact the boat builder for you. If you have any drawings from owners' manuals, sales brochures, etc, that is helpful to have. You can scan and send them electronically, or if you send them to us, we will return your items (upon requst) with your model.
My boat is out of production, and I don’t have any boat plans?
We have an extensive library of plans to reference. Our team of researchers are usually able to pull together the necessary support items. Of course any photos or documents you can provide will be helpful in our efforts.
My boat is so new, it’s still being built.
For a yet-to-be built vessel, we can easily work with CAD, Rhino files, 3-D renderings, line drawings and other files obtained directly from the boat builder.
Do you sell or build model kits?
We can provide a quote to build your model kit (static or R/C) but we do not sell model kits or components. Please contact us to review the type of vessel and details of the kit build. We will prepare a quote and timeline for the model build. We ask that you purchase the kit and have it sent to us.
Do you do model repairs or restorations?
We do have the ability to repair or restore ship models. These projects are often delicate and tend to be expensive. To evaluate to evaluate the project, we will need the model measurements, any known history of the model, a description of the required work and photos. After evaluating the project we will provide a quote for the repair work and materials, packaging and return shipping. The customer will be responsible for safe packaging and shipping the model to us.
What If There Is Shipping Damage?
All models are fully insured for shipment damage. Each model is custom packed and crated for maximum protection. Shipping damages are rare but do occasionally happen. In the event of damage, due to shipping, we will work with the carrier to process the claim. Any shipping claim notification to us must be made within 24 hours of delivery. The procedure is:
• If the model packaging has obvious damage upon receipt, insist that the delivery person make a note of it before signing for receipt of the package. Notify us immediately.
• If the model packaging and box appear in good condition but there is damage to the model upon unpacking, notify us immediately. We will need detailed photos and descriptions of the damage.
• We will need photos to file the insurance claim. Take photos of the exterior of the box, especially focus on any areas of obvious mishandling (hole in box, smashed corner, tears in packaging, etc.). Take detailed photos of the damage to the model. Only partially unpack the model as necessary to assess and photograph the damage. Please describe the damage to the model and packaging in your report to us.
• Keep all packing materials and the model in a safe place to avoid further damage.
• We will use your photos and damage description to file a claim with the carrier for you. It is entirely up to the carrier to decide if a repair or replacement will be done. The carrier may also opt to inspect the model and package, as part of the claim process.
If the damage is minor and the customer is agreeable to do the repair themselves, we will provide the necessary materials and instructions.
How do I clean my display case?
This instruction applies to pure Acrylic or Mahogany framed Plexiglas (aka Perspex) display cases. First, blow the dust or dirt off with a reverse flow vacuum or can of non-flammable aerosol duster, or use water and a soft cloth to float the dirt off. Then use a soft cloth with soap and warm water or a mild solution of dish detergent and warm water to carefully wipe the Acrylic then dry using a soft, lint-free cloth. The number one cause for scratches in Acrylic is the use of incorrect cleaners and/or paper towels. Never use cleaners containing ammonia! Cleaners such as Windex or 409 will harm the Acrylic material. Never use a dry cloth or your hand to clean remove dust, this can rub the dirt and dust into the ACRYLIC and create scratches on the surface.
How do I clean my model?
Dust accumulation on your model can be completely avoided by placing your model in an enclosed display case. However, if your model is without a case and you want to keep your model as fresh and clean as the day it was delivered here's a few tips. The first issue is cleaning frequency. Ideally you should try to clean your model every two -three weeks. The primary cleaning tool is a can of non-flammable aerosol duster. The secondary tool is a wide and fluffy cosmetic application brush. First use the aerosol duster to remove the loose and obvious dust. Next use the cosmetic brush to carefully get into those hard to reach areas, or areas that were not cleaned by the aerosol duster. Use the aerosol duster once again to remove loosened debris. Do not allow the model to get "frozen" by the use of the aerosol duster - gentle short bursts are best. Removing dust from the display base can be accomplished by either the use of the cosmetic brush or a soft cloth. When using a cloth be careful not to accidently bump the propellers or prop shafts.