There is a long history behind the making of model ships. In the olden days, seafarers made them as thank-you gifts for churches. Nowadays, shipyards commission model ships for themselves and for shipping companies, and as gifts for business partners. At the moment, Nurmisto is busy making models of the Megastar. Altogether 28 of these will be made, at three different scales: 1:150, 1:200 and 1:600.
“A large part of this work consists of creating the designs on a computer. From the Meyer Turku shipyard, I get the ship’s blueprints and the 3D model drawings, and I will design the details for the model ships based on those. Details are made of plastic, fibreglass, brass, copper and bronze, for example. Some of the details I make by myself, and for some, I will get a subcontractor.
About 60% of the making of model ships is design work on computers, and the rest is assembling the details by hand, painting, and other finishing touches,”
Nurmisto gave a simplified overview of the work processes related to making miniatures.
Not to play with
Even the smallest models cost thousands of Euros, while larger ones cost tens of thousands. Nurmisto’s meticulous creations consisting of hundreds of tiny parts are not meant for playing, only for admiring.
Toy ships and RC ships are completely different products, but these things are not meant to be played with. Unless your wallet can handle it,” Jari chuckled.
Slightly distorted truth
The starting point of every model ship is a copy of the original ship that is as precise as possible. However, it is not always possible to have an exact replica. The hull of the Megastar represents the latest environmentally friendly design and also top-secret shaping. In other words, the shape of the model ships’ bottoms is not completely identical with the Megastar’s bottom.
“It’s sometimes necessary to change the scale, e.g. for the deck railings. If the railings were made to scale, they wouldn’t be visible to the naked eye,”
Jari shed some the light on the intricacies of his profession.
Sometimes, last-minute changes are made to a ship, such as extra antennae or a different paint cover. In this case, the model ships completed earlier do not fully correspond to the finished ship at the shipyard.
Making model ships has become a lot easier compared to the early days of Jari’s career, as he can now use the 3D computer model blueprints made by the shipyard as the starting point for the design. Jari is inspired by challenging objects to work on.
“To put it simply: the larger the ship, the more interesting it is to make. Designing and making the details is what this work is all about,” Nurmisto stated.
Becoming familiar with the ship
Jari visits Meyer’s shipyard about three times with his camera, to look at the ship being built, and to compare it to the blueprints he has seen.
“For example, the Megastar’s new kind of bottom has caught my eye. I can tell the difference between that and the blueprints given to me by the shipyard. But that’s Meyer’s business secret, so I’ll be making a ship that corresponds to the blueprints they sent, I won’t be changing anything based on what I can see at the shipyard.”
Plenty of passion
Although Jari has been making model ships for a long time, he’s still passionate about it. Beaming, he shows pictures of his earlier works, and finished parts. Although the miniatures he makes are spectacular, he receives very little feedback about them.
It’s not often that I’m near the models when people are looking at them. The little feedback that has reached me has been very positive.
Judging by the large amount of crafting, I can imagine that there would be differences between the ships?
There are. Although the differences are unnoticeable to anyone not familiar with the models.
The craftsman is currently working on the Megastar models’ hulls. We’ll be checking back later in August when the models are ready. We’ll also be able to enjoy Jari’s excitement about his work.