Boats 1200 Frequently Asked Questions

I don't know you, can I trust you?
Yes.  I've been supplying top quality models, photography, art prints, posters, and apparel to the scuba diving/shipwreck community for over a decade via my company Milwaukee Dive Apparel.  I take my name and reputation seriously, and I want you to be thrilled with your purchase, what ever it may be.

What are the shipping costs?  Why so high?
USA 48 states is $25.  Canada is $47.  The model is carefully twist tied to a piece of chipboard which is carefully cut to size then folded into thirds. The entire assembly is then slid into a box to protect the model, which has shipping tape and labeling on it for unboxing.  Then THAT assembly is placed into a bigger box, padded with kraft paper, taped up, labeled for shipment, and taken to the post office.  I seriously want your model to arrive unbroken.  I will email you when it ships so you can look for it on your porch.

How long will it take to get my model after I place my order?
I cannot give you an exact amount of time as the order load is constantly fluctuating.  It will more than likely be 2-6 weeks before it ships.  What I can tell you is that I DO NOT have a bunch of these models built and sitting on a shelf waiting to be shipped out.  Why not?  Because initially anyway, I have no way of knowing what will be popular, and what won't.  Resin is an expensive product to buy, and I can't have a bunch of models wasting away on a shelf that I spent a great many hours building, that nobody wants.  Your model will be built for you after you place your order, that is why you get to choose options on how it is built, such as color of the wood stain for the base, or if you want a base at all.  Which version you want, and so on.  Patience is a virtue Grasshoppers...

I know you personally, can I pick up from your home and save shipping?
No, sorry, not feasible with my schedule.  You will want the shipping boxes anyway so you can transport the model should the need ever arise.

I want to buy more than one, will there be a shipping discount?
No.  I still use the same amount of time and materials to box each model.  Mass packaging doesn't suit these little gems.

I want to buy more than one, is there a price break on the models?
No.  Whether you buy one or ten, it makes no difference in how much resin, paint wood, stain, plaques, poly, and time is consumed. 

Do I really need to watch the un-boxing video?
I made the video for a reason.  The model is in a box, inside a box.  It is not hard to break your model before it ever gets put into it's place of worship.  I very much want to help you not do that.  But you are a grown up, so it's really up to you in the end.   Watch here.

Do you know the benefits of 1/1200 scale models?
Yes, they are small, but there are many benefits to this scale, like price for starters!  A typical 30" museum quality ship model can easily cost $2000 or more.  Secondly, do you have an entire room in your house to devote to displaying your boat models?  I don't, and I'm betting you don't either.  At this size, you can fit an entire fleet into a glass cabinet, curio, on a shelf, or even on your desktop.  Easy to move if you find yourself relocating too.

What are the models made of?
Your model is made of polyurethane resin, a kind of plastic.  It starts out as two separate liquids, that when mixed together begin to harden by way of a chemical reaction.  All the pieces except for the wood base and metal nameplate are made of this pour-able resin.  The pieces are then assembled and painted.

Are the models really "hand built"?
Yes, they are hand built by one person, me!  I make them in my home workshop.  They are essentially tiny boat models that have to be painted and assembled.  Due to the incredibly small size, and ultra high detail, The painting process is painstaking and lengthy.  All thirteen waterslide decals are applied by hand too.  Even the wood bases, are made right here in my workshop.  Cut, routed, sanded, stained and clear coated for years of wear.  The only thing I don't make is the metal nameplate, I have to draw the line somewhere.  These are pieces of art, and each one is signed and dated by me, the artist, on the bottom.

Can I custom order certain changes?
No, unfortunately there is no way to make changes to the model you order.  Aside from the choices in base color, base or no base, smoke or no smoke, the models are not customizable.  The models will look very much like the pictures on the website, with slight variations in paint because they are each hand painted.

Will my model look like the pictures?
Yes, the parts are all the same, and all assembled the same way.  The only variations could possibly be in the paint, as each model is painted by hand, not a machine.  Colors used are always the same, but the brush stroke is always a bit different.  That's part of why these are so collectible.

How are the pieces for the models made?
In the beginning, I created a singular model from detailed blueprints.   This is called the "master" model.  It was created from wood, plastic, clay, wire, pretty much anything that suited my purpose.  I built the master knowing that the entire model could not be molded and cast as a finished piece, so it was built in sections, or modules that would be assembled later, as resin pieces.  Each module, or piece, was then molded.  Molding is the process of pouring a liquid silicone rubber around the part, encapsulating it.  Once the mold rubber is cured, the part is removed, and liquid resin can be poured into the mold.  When the resin is cured, it can be removed from the mold, 'cleaned up', painted and assembled.  This is the VERY abridged explanation of how the models individual parts are created.

Why did you choose the Edmund Fitzgerald first?
Simple, I wanted to build it again (I made a one off model 30" long, for a client 25 years ago).  I also wanted to choose a vessel with the widest possible target audience, but something that was Great Lakes specific, The great Lakes and all things having to do with boats (especially Lakers) are very dear to me, so that's why I didn't choose the Titanic.

Is it fragile?
HELL YES.  I cannot stress enough that these tiny details on these models are F-R-A-G-I-L-E.  If you brush against it, bump it, drop it, or God know what else, it will most likely break somewhere.  Unless you have been building models for decades, and know your way around tweezers and super glue, you will not be able to make it look like it did before.  BE CAREFUL. 

What is the best way to handle the model?
Don't.  But if you must, pick it up by the wood base only.  Never touch the model.  What, you didn't get the wood base option?  Jeeze.  Okay...this is how I would handle it...wear a disposable latex or vinyl glove to keep the oil and dirt from your skin from getting on the model.  Grab it somewhere in the middle, the boring part of the ship, pinch it between your thumb and index finger.  Don't drop it.  Don't walk into a wall.  Don't laugh, it's happened.  if you are transporting it I suggest you use the original box and packaging it came with. Do you really need to wear a glove?  No, but repeated handling will leave oil, dirt, smudges, and ultimately effect the look of the model in those areas.  They are not easy things to clean.

Is this a good gift for children?
Absolutely not.  If you have money to burn, then maybe.  NO.  Still no.  These are not toys.  These are hand crafted pieces of art, that would feel right at home in any museum in the world.

Are the models clear coated or protected in any way?
Yes, the model itself has been sprayed with a clear dull coat lacquer to help seal in the decals, and protect the paint.  Most of the paint is enamel, not acrylic, so it will also wear better.  The water bases have been coated with clear gloss lacquer, or in the case of the "Bone to be Chewed" version, an acrylic gloss medium varnish. 

Can I dust my model, and if so, how?
You will more than likely need to dust your model someday, even if you keep it in a curio cabinet.  If it is just sitting on the shelf, not behind glass, that day will come sooner rather than later.  This is how I do it:  Use a small brush, one that is also very soft.  You can buy one at any crafting store, you'll find them in the artist's paint area.  You can also use a women's makeup brush, the big fluffy ones they use for blush.  Gently and lightly sweep the brush across the dusty area, taking special caution around the aft mast (in front of the smoke stack), the bosun's cranes (either side of the aft cabins structure, and the steering pole (the white pole at the very front or bow of the vessel).  If your model has a flag at the stern, it is the most fragile part of the model and I do not suggest touching it in any way for any reason.  Steer clear of it. These areas that I've pointed out are the most sensitive and most likely to break given careless handling. 

Why did you make something so damn fragile?
Simple, if you want something without delicate little parts to break off, you will have a toy.  I make the most detailed 1/1200th scale boat models available for mass purchase, in the world. 

It's so small, why does it cost so much?
Great question.  Trust me, I wrestled with where to set the price point on these gorgeous little gems for many months.  Each model takes hours to build, and paint.  There are some costs associated with the materials, such as resin, and the mold rubber used to cast the parts.  There is the wood base, the paint, the decal paper, the pressure pot the parts are cured in, the degassing chamber and vacuum pump used to get the air bubbles out of the mold rubber.  There's the boxes and packing material to be able to ship it to you. The biggest expense though, is my time.  These are labor intensive, time consuming products.  I want each one to be worthy of my name... worthy of my curio cabinet in my office.  That means a lot to me.  It also is a full time job.  I forgot to mention the 400 hours that went into making the master models and molds all before the first model was ever made.

What's the next model going to be?
Another great question.  Most likely another Great Lakes freighter.

Why is there no red paint below the waterline on the full hull version?
Over her 17 year career, the Fitz sported various looks.  Her paint had to be periodically freshened up.  I've seen color photos of her deadheading (no cargo) clearly showing no red anti-fouling paint.  Some museum models have her wearing it, some don't.  I've chosen not to dress her in anti-fouling paint to keep the costs down.  It's that simple.

The model seems to have very little weathering, why?
As the artist, I made a conscious choice to display the vessel with a minimum of weathering.  There is some weathering at the top aft portion of the smoke stack, and her anchors are rusty.  There is a bit of rusting from water dripping out of her anchor pockets, and some from the warping sheaves.  The rest is a well maintained vessel.  That's just the way it is.

What's with the weird titles of the waterline versions?
I'd be lying if I told you that Gordon Lightfoot's hit song "The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald" didn't play off my IPod more than once while I was locked away in my workshop making this model.  On the outside chance you've never heard it, you should.  If this song doesn't move you, check yourself for a pulse.  I respect him greatly for how respectfully he told the story, just months after the tradgedy back in '75.  He sings about the lakes that the Fitz plied, "Superior sings in the rooms of her ice water mansion", and "Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams, her islands and bays are for sportsmen".  My "Final Moments" model version is taken from the line "...the good ship and true was a bone to be chewed, when the gales of November came early".

Why is shipping so much?
In case you didn't read the Q+A that addresses this at the top of this page...
Due to the extremely fragile nature of your model, it has to be packaged carefully in side a box, and then placed inside another box with more packing material.  I want to ensure it arrives at your door in one piece, and it takes time and money to get it ready to take to the post office.  Then the USPS takes their share...

If my model breaks, will you fix it?
If you break your model and would like to send it back to me for repairs, you must email me with photos of the current state of the model before mailing it back.  If I deem it repairable, I will provide you with further instructions at that point.  You will need to pay shipping both ways, and there may possibly be a repair fee as well.  If there is a fee for repairs, I will let you know prior to you sending it.  There will be no hidden surprise charges.

Is there a warranty?
No and yes.  I insure the model/models for their purchase value when I ship it to you.  If the shipper damages it, I will repair/replace it at my discretion, no charge to you.  If you break it while un-boxing it or at any other time, you are responsible and any possible repairs and return shipping will be solely at your expense.

My model arrived broken from shipping, what now?
Email me images of the disaster immediately so I can make a claim with the shipper and wait for further instructions from me.  Don't worry, it will all be okay, I'll make sure you are happy in the end.