Model makers: Commissioning replica yacht models
Last updated: 20/10/2016
Typically commissioned by yacht designers, naval architects and/or shipyards during the build or refit stages of any superyacht project, or by superyacht owners themselves, replica superyacht models are extremely popular in the luxury yachting market.
Yachting Pages presents tips for choosing a superyacht model maker, and for working together harmoniously for the perfect replica.
Yacht models to translate and replicate
A scaled model or a series of models are often made during the design process of any major superyacht. Shipyards will commission models in order to provide owners with a true visual representation of the options available for their dream vessel, or have complete models produced to showcase new superyachts on the market at boat shows and trade events.Brian Klassen from Brian Klassan Models points out that, “A model is more effective than computer renderings as they allow the viewer to ‘walk around’ and get a better feel as if they are viewing a real yacht."
A replica yacht model may also by commissioned by a yacht owner who is hoping to make a scale model of his/her personal superyacht, often requesting one for home and one for the office. Captain Brad Poulos from SD Model Makers rightly stated, “The boat may come or go, but the model will be kept forever.”
Tips for choosing your superyacht model maker
When choosing a superyacht model maker, there are a few things to look out for to ensure a cohesive working relationship and outstanding result. Prior to commissioning a model marker, always remember to:
- Ask for detailed photos of recently completed models of a similar vessel
- Ask if they work with any boat builders, and if the builders are willing to provide a reference
- Investigate model makers local to you. Models will often form an integral part of a superyacht build, so clients will need to consider the logistics of transporting the model upon completion, also taking into account the fact that they will often want to see their model many times during the build process.
- Marco Matulli from Modellismo in Scala explained that a great model maker should always be able and happy to work in any material, from wood and metal to plastics and composites
How to work with your model maker to achieve a perfect model yacht
- If a yacht owner is thinking of selling his/her yacht in the near future, wishing to have a model made for a keepsake or display model, the plans are best made prior to the sale. If the designer has access to the yacht itself, with plans and photographs, then the finished product will be 100% accurate. If this is not possible, it is usually possible to guarantee 90% accuracy.
- Think about size: If the model will be a centerpiece, or on display at an international boat show then three to four feet is a good size. If the model will be kept on a bookshelf, or is part of a collection then an 18 to 24 inch model may be more suitable.
- Consider a dust cover or display case for the finished model: It will be a magnet for dust and sticky-fingered children. Claas Fischer of Modellbau Heidenreich also suggested that the lighting of the model is very important. A great model maker will help with this.
Note: Most model makers like to work with CAD files or renderings once the boat design is finalised. Excellent images are essential to portray the final finish.
How are yacht models designed and manufactured?
3D-printing and CAD design in model making
Recent developments in 3D printing is allowing for superyacht models and their duplicate parts to be easily made and accurately reproduced.
Many shipyards use 3D CAD design, and a good model maker will be able to engineer some parts directly from that information. AllOnScale are one such company. René le Grand, CEO, said, “3D CAD has made the [model making] process quicker, and some parts can be machined effectively from the drawings. Some ship and simple structures can also be 3D printed directly from 3D CAD, but the detail, quality and finish does not compete with metal or wooden handcrafted models.”
As with most business transactions, good communication is essential with any model maker. To get the most, ensure to keep in regular contact with your supplier, give them access to as much information and architectural drawings as possible. Ensure to update them regularly of any changes to the specification. In return the model maker should send you regular photographs, design specifications and information on how far through the process they are. If at all possible meet up in person and assess the model together to ensure both parties are working towards the same goal.