Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

HO Scale boats and ships

10189 views
14 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February, 2009
  • From: Erie, Pa
  • 32 posts
HO Scale boats and ships
Posted by wingman on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 1:04 PM

I have been trying unsucessfully to find HO scale conatiner ships, ore boats, or other types of cargo boats/ships that won't run me $250 to add to my harbor scene.  There is an IMEX cargo ship kit that is reasonably priced, but it is 1:550 scale, which I have to believe is far out of whack for a 1:87 scale ho train layout.  Or is it? 

Has anybody found a place where you can find cargo ships for under $100 that would look fairly decent with an HO scale layout?   I just hate to be robbbed for a cargo boat or ship to go with my train.  Thanks for your advice!     

  • Member since
    November, 2002
  • From: Colorado
  • 3,882 posts
Posted by fwright on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 2:07 PM

There are only a very few commercial models available because the extent of compression is going to vary so much from one modeler to the next.  A 400ft ore carrier scales out over 4.5 feet long.  Very few of us are going to build that full HO scale.

Since you have to plan in advance how big your model ship is going to be (so it can fit at your dock or in your harbor), it's not all that difficult to scratchbuild from there.

My railroad services a dog hole lumber port - but general cargo also passes through the port to head inland.  I have chosen to make a 12" long West Coast logging schooner.  That's 87ft long in HO, which was a little on the small side for the tail end of working sail in 1900, but not unreasonably so.  The harbor track, harbor, and pier are all oriented around a ship that size.  The pier and pier track is set in enough from the layout edge that the full 17ft beam of the ship will fit.  The height of the pier is set so that at reasonable higher tides the ship can be easily loaded, yet storm waves do not usually wash over the pier.

my thoughts, your choices

Fred W

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
  • 5,440 posts
Posted by markpierce on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 3:13 PM

A suitably enlarged photo of a ship mounted on a backdrop could be your solution.  Besides being less costly in time, skill, and money, it is an excellent way to save layout space.

Mark

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Southwest US
  • 11,708 posts
Posted by tomikawaTT on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 3:37 PM

Unless you are building a layout in a space the size of a supermarket, ship models in 1:87.1 or even 1:96 scale will overwhelm everything else.  A good starting point for scratchbuilding a post-Panamax containership would be a 12 or 14 foot square-stern canoe.  Even a 'small' oceangoing cargo ship is huge - over 400 feet long.  'Lakers' run 600+, and are peculiar to the Great Lakes because they won't fit through the Illinois River waterway or the Welland Canal.

IMHO, the best place for most seaport and lakeport scenery is the backdrop (photo murals,) or virtual in the operating aisle.

One club I belonged to, on an Air Force base now long gone, detailed the aisleway edge to simulate the edge of a quay (vertical dowel 'pilings,' horizontal timbers, painted on barnacles...)  The 'ships' were boxes of waybills denoting cargo to be unloaded, or cargo delivered and loaded from the tracks on the quay.  I got away with naming one virtual ship, SS Ronald McDonald.

Chuck (Modeling Cental Japan in September, 1964 - with watercourses navigable by kayakers living out their death wishes)

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
  • 5,440 posts
Posted by markpierce on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 3:48 PM

Here is a quintessential dockside scene, pre-container period.  There is a warehouse with more doors than wall and a train track between warehouse and dock edge.  There are a lot of "civilians" here because the ship carried cargo and passengers.  This was pre 9/11/02, so visitors could approach the ship.  Based on the razzle-dazzle paint scheme and the peoples' attire, I'd say this photo was taken during WW1.  Location was Richmond, CA.

 

 

Mark

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
  • 5,440 posts
Posted by markpierce on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 3:58 PM

tomikawaTT

Unless you are building a layout in a space the size of a supermarket, ship models in 1:87.1 or even 1:96 scale will overwhelm everything else.  A good starting point for scratchbuilding a post-Panamax containership would be a 12 or 14 foot square-stern canoe.  Even a 'small' oceangoing cargo ship is huge - over 400 feet long.  'Lakers' run 600+, and are peculiar to the Great Lakes because they won't fit through the Illinois River waterway or the Welland Canal.

Sea-going barges are another alternative, being much smaller than ships.  I've seen them "everywhere" and they carry most any cargo.  Had an "intimate" experience with a barge.  Our cruise ship struck the barge carrying containers and SUVs, and knocked them overboard so they sank to the bottom of the channel.

Mark

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 3,560 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 7:37 PM

 Mark. The photos you post never cease to bring me enjoyment. Do me a favour and don't ever start the "Mark Pierce online photo archives" or I'll never get my nose away from this screen.Laugh

 

                                                               Brent

Brent


It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
  • 5,440 posts
Posted by markpierce on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 7:50 PM

Brent, I promise to be "good."

Mark

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Martinez, CA
  • 5,440 posts
Posted by markpierce on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 8:08 PM

But not too good.

 

 

Maneuvering to dock at San Francisco's passenger terminal pier at sunrise.

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Trois-Rivieres Quebec Canada
  • 943 posts
Posted by jalajoie on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 8:26 PM

A convincing container ship can be scratch built, and made to occupy only 6 square feet of space (1x6 feet).

This was discussed in this thread  http://cs.trains.com/trccs/forums/p/170616/1872928.aspx#1872928

 

Jack W.

  • Member since
    December, 2009
  • From: New Bern, NC
  • 128 posts
Posted by tugboat95 on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 11:10 PM

 Ships, especially international container ships are massive.  In excess of 1000 feet. I have looked off and on for years and haven't been able to find anybody that makes these things in HO scale.  Maritime companies sometimes do have models made of their vessels.   (My employer has its own museum of its vessels).  However these are custom made and are nowhere near affordable to most of us.  There are ocean going barges as well as smaller barges that carry containers.  McAllister Towing operates one from Norfolk Va to Baltimore Md. There is also another one from Norfolk up to Richmond, and NYC has done some experimenting.  I'm sure there are numerous operations on the Mississippi and inland rivers.  These types of operations are called Short Sea Shipping and are being experimented with all over the country.  A simple deck barge can be scratchbuilt with either styrene or a block of wood properly painted and cut down.  Barges are generally square pieces of metal shoved thru the water.  Go here for a good report and some pictures of inland operations.  Tug models are available all over the place.  And they are not necessary on a layout as they don't usually hang around during loading and offloading.

http://www.pioneerspirit.us/pub/Container_on_Barge_Concept_Paper2.pdf

  Crowley runs the largest barge in the world from Philadelphia to San Juan, Puerto  Rico.  Its three decks and is around 500 feet.  It can carry hundreds of containers and makes regular trips  with an occasional school bus or load of tractors on it.  Check out this link for a video of the barge when it ran aground in Virgina Beach a few months ago. 

http://themaritimeblog.com/1358/crowley-barge-adrift-along-virginia-beach-video

If nothing else, it will give a good view of just how big these things are and what they look like.

Now we're tugboatin!
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Chamberlain, ME
  • 2,859 posts
Posted by G Paine on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 11:15 AM

Sylvan Scale makes an ore boat (called freighter on their website). One part makes the ship, the other adds more to the center section

http://www.walthers.com/exec/search?category=&scale=&manu=sylvan&item=&keywords=&words=restrict&instock=Q&split=30&Submit=Search

They also make a number of tugboats and barges

http://www.isp.ca/Sylvan/homarinecontents.htm

Frenchmans River Model Works makes a number of smaller ships including coastal freighter, fishing boats, tugs, barges including a rail float, and pleasure craft.

http://www.frenchmanriver.com/frenchmanriver/HO%20Boat%20Kits.htm

Revell/ Monogram makes a WWII fleet submarine in 1/72 scale

http://valleymodeltrains.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21_514

 

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch

  • Member since
    November, 2007
  • From: Traverse City, MI
  • 258 posts
Posted by camaro on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 11:49 AM

G Paine

Sylvan Scale makes an ore boat (called freighter on their website). One part makes the ship, the other adds more to the center section

http://www.walthers.com/exec/search?category=&scale=&manu=sylvan&item=&keywords=&words=restrict&instock=Q&split=30&Submit=Search

They also make a number of tugboats and barges

http://www.isp.ca/Sylvan/homarinecontents.htm

Frenchmans River Model Works makes a number of smaller ships including coastal freighter, fishing boats, tugs, barges including a rail float, and pleasure craft.

http://www.frenchmanriver.com/frenchmanriver/HO%20Boat%20Kits.htm

Revell/ Monogram makes a WWII fleet submarine in 1/72 scale

http://valleymodeltrains.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21_514

 

 Sylvan was slated to come out with 300'  HO scale container ship this year, however after email conversations with Clare Gilbert, the owner of Sylvan, this project has been backed up a couple of years due to manufacturing problems.  According to Clare, the problems have been corrected, however another project ship has been put in line ahead of the container vessel.  The prototypical container vessel was named the "Manchester Mercurio" and is shown in the link below during a trip through the Welland Canal.

Bearco Marine near Toledo, OH is another company that will do one off custom model ship building upon request.  They specialize in great lakes freighters, however have done container ships.

 

  http://www.wellandcanal.ca/salties/m/manchestermercurio/mercurio.htm

www.bearcomarine.com

 

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: Bellingham, WA
  • 160 posts
Posted by Swayin on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 12:47 PM

barges and car floats would seem to be a good compromise?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves
  • Member since
    March, 2007
  • 2,751 posts
Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 4:57 PM

I just hate to be robbbed for a cargo boat or ship to go with my train

 

Is a model of a ship or cargo vessel any different then a model of a building or a bridge for your layout? If you choose to do a harbor scene thats something you should have considered before building  If you want to spend less then $100 it looks like it's time to test your kit bashing skills. Actually $250 for a ship model of that size seems kinda cheap. I have seen some of them range into the thousands. I had a friend who used to build them professionally as he was an engineer for a ship building firm and that was one of his jobs.He was always amazed at the level of detail that went into model railroading. What the heck have some fun with it. Try building some thing out of foam core board or maybe wood perhaps?

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook

Loading...