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Sailor made model of the immigrant ship BARODA

Date: c 1891
Overall: 575 x 900 x 535 mm
Medium: Wood, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Smith and McBride families of South Morang, VIC.
Object Name: Model
Object No: 00045940

User Terms

    Ship models are built for a number of reasons including research, advertising, for leisure, pleasure and as religious or votive pieces. Seaman David Kruger built this model of the three masted sailing ship BARODA (1891) possibly as a memento of his time at sea or more likely as a commemorative piece - marking his arrival in Australia on board the ship in the late 1890s.
    HistoryThe practice of building scale models of ships and other maritime objects can be traced back at least three thousand years to the votive offerings manufactured by Ancient Egyptians. However it was not until the latter half of the 16th century that reasonably accurate scale models of vessels were being constructed and used as three dimensional plans by shipwrights.

    Marine model making has continued on to the present day with models being made for a variety of reasons including - ceremonial, presentation, advertising, ship design, decoration, archaeological reconstruction, leisure and educational.

    People are fascinated by things on a miniature scale. Model makers use a high degree of skill to shrink large complex objects, making them accessible at a glance. Planes, trains and automobiles, bridges and buildings have all been miniaturised, but when we think of models, we usually think of ships. They range from perfect, precision-made working models to the simplicity of toys where the child's imagination brings them to life.

    How are they made?

    Marine models are built of many materials including timber, metal, plastic, bone, ceramics, paper and cardboard. The most traditional material is wood. Since the 17th century model makers have developed many different techniques. These include, 'Carved from the solid' where models are shaped from a single block of wood; the oldest and simplest method to make a model. 'Bread and butter' where models are made up of layers or sandwiches of building material. 'Skeleton', which shows the hull shape made out of frames (ribs), without the planks. 'Plank on frame models' which are planked above the waterline, with frames (ribs) revealed below. 'Plank on solid models', where planks are fitted onto a solid carved hull. 'Paper and wood models' a common combination which allows very small models to be built. 'Precious metal models’ which are made as presentation or commemorative pieces. 'Sheet metal models' which are often used to replicate the plating of iron and steel ships. 'Fibreglass models' which are used for producing intensive details on some modern models, and as the main material in mass produced moulded hulls. 'Bone models' often used when other materials were unavailable, notably by convicts on board the hulks and by prisoners of war; and 'Ceramics Models' used by the earliest model makers as well as modern artists

    Why they were made

    Models were made for a number of very diverse reasons, including spiritual. Clay miniatures of ships have been found, with other objects needed for the afterlife, in ancient Egyptian and Chinese graves. In Europe there is a long tradition of displaying marine models in churches and during religious festivals, while models made for ceremonial and spiritual reasons have been found in communities all around the world.

    As trophies, tributes and gifts: models are often made to commemorate maritime events such as the naming of a vessel, the retirement of a mariner, or the rescue of a sailor. Models have been presented as symbols of friendship or appreciation by groups and individuals. Governments have also given models as official gifts or items of trade.

    As aids to invention: Three-dimensional models are easier to understand and look more impressive than a drawing or a plan. Models have long been used to advertise maritime services such as ship building, design, passenger and cargo facilities as well as being used to plan ship construction and to show off new designs to potential customers. The most famous are the British Admiralty's superb models dating from the 1650s, known by various names including Admiralty, Dockyard or Navy Board models. But it was the far simpler wooden block models developed in the 1700s that were the first real builders' models. Over time builders' models became more glamorous with fittings made from brass and silver and hulls made out of close-grained timbers of yew, peach or apple-wood. They were normally built to a scale of 1:48. Consequently as the size of ships increased so did the models along with their elaborate showcases.

    As artistic items and objects: Many models have been produced for no other reason than as decoration, as an art form or as a souvenir. Some incorporate functional elements such as clocks and lamps, but many are of a purely whimsical nature. It's probably this category that best evokes the delight which models can inspire.

    As aids to scientific research: Models have been used to reconstruct vessels of the past, for example by archaeologists who have recovered parts of a ship and need to understand how they fitted together. Information from other sources, including historical pictures and written records, can be used to create a more complete reconstruction. Using a model and special effects has often been a cost effective way of creating scenes in historical films like "The BOUNTY", "A Night to Remember" (TITANIC) and "Tora Tore Tora" (WWII attack on Pearl Harbour)

    Models are also made for leisure and pleasure: Models made by amateurs range from simple and crude to the finest, exhibition quality. They have been made to pass away the hours or for the pleasure gained from this demanding work. Traditionally sailors, lighthouse keepers and in some cases prisoners of war made models to pass away their time. Their models tended to be simple and frequently not to scale. However those areas of a ship most familiar to a sailor such as the ship's rigging and the layout of the deck are often very accurate.

    Models are also made for show and tell: Models made specifically for museums - exhibition models - are commissioned to illustrate a particular vessel or story because they are more realistic and easier to understand than a plan or a picture. Some are used to demonstrate deck layouts, interiors and living conditions - or other aspects of the ship - in three dimensions.

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