I started building model ships 25 years ago, but it is a very time consuming hobby, and the pressures of family and career dictated that I put the hobby aside. I am now retired, living in northern California, and free to pursue the hobbies I enjoy.
I have always been fascinated by sailing ships, especially those of the 17th century. There were only 2 years in the whole century that were free of war amongst European countries. Princes and Kings vied for dominance and the warship became a vehicle of one-up-man-ship.
The 17th century warship was the single most powerful weapon built by man up to that time. Where and when else would such destructive power be combined with the physical beauty, and at times, excessive decorations of these ships.
My desire is to build at least one ship of each of the major European naval powers of the century.I started off with the French ship La Couronne. (Click on the ship name for build details.) Although I finished it in fairly good shape, it was a learning experience. I have done much better workmanship on my second project, the Spanish ship San Felipe. I have now completed my third build, the British ship Sovereign of the Seas, and am now starting on
my fourth build, the Swedish ship Vasa. Click here for a research PDF I have just completed prior to construction.
In the process of trying to understand the period in which these ships were built I began reading 17th century history. This led me to the golden age of Dutch Maritime Painting in the 17th century, and further on to the British school of Maritime Painting begun by King Charles
II's commision to bring the Dutch Van de Veldes,
elder and younger, to Greenwich to document the royal fleet.