The Instruments of War: In Miniature

On 17 September 2011, the Alberta Military Modellers Show (AMMS) took place at The Military Museums in Calgary. Within the hall of the Naval wing, a series of tables were set up where modellers from Calgary and nearby cities/towns could show off their scale models. Subjects varied, but kept to a military theme; as is usual at these things, AFVs (armoured fighting vehicles) and airplanes comprised the majority of the entries, while ships and figures made up the rest. Unlike most other modelling shows, where a competitive grading scheme of First, Second, and Third is in place, AMMS uses an absolute grading scale marked out of 20 when assessing entries. Thus, a category can well have multiple golds if they all fall within the required scoring range. Because AMMS is a fairly new show (I think it’s only their second year) and thus has relatively few entries (roughly 200), this works well, as categories that have only one or two entries will have meaningful results instead of winning First or Second by default due to a lack of competition.

For my contribution, I entered a 1/700 scale model of the Brasil Maru, a 12,000-ton Japanese cargo-liner built in 1939 that was requisitioned for troop transportation once war broke out and later designated for conversion to an aircraft carrier. Before that could be accomplished, however, she was sunk by the US submarine Greenling in August 1942. There is not much information on the web regarding the Brasil Maru, sadly.

I chose to model her in her civilian guise with the more handsome buff-black-white colour scheme. If you wish to read more about the kit itself and the modifications I made to it, feel free to check out this gallery:  http://www.modelshipgallery.com/gallery/service/cargo/brasilmaru-700-tc/tc-index.html

Sadly, she was the only entry in the category (Ships: 1/501 [scale] & smaller). Nonetheless, she ended up with a score of 18/20, and thus a gold ranking. It was a pleasant surprise, as I had expected a few of the more glaring construction flaws would bump it way down.

I brought the model back to Vancouver with me in early October as there was another model show hosted by Vancouver’s modeling club on the weekend of my undergrad convocation ceremony. The show there is significantly more established (around 500 entries) and is marked on a relative competitive scale. Facing a vast armada of competition, my little Maru stood no chance. Nonetheless, it was good to attend and see some friends again (did you know one of Vancouver’s city councillors is also an avid ship modeller?).

Right now, I’m working on a 1/350 scale resin kit of a Flower class corvette as a commission by Dr. David Bercuson. It will be of HMCS Chambly during her attack on U-501 as part of convoy S.C. 42, notable for being the first RCN sinking of a U-boat. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convoy_SC_42) I hope to get it done by the end of the semester, but one never knows with these things.

Thanks for reading!

Tim Choi (1st year MSS)

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