..... from the boatyard of Peter M. Hanton


Alabama Amsterdam

 To begin with, the year was 1999. I was stationed at Keesler AFB, Mississippi and bought as a package deal from Model Expo for the Artesania Latina Amsterdam kit with radio gear, speed controller, battery and charger for the kingly sum of $119! Couldn't pass up that kind of deal!

Well, I started out like gangbusters on the project and soon realized that this kit was not for a beginner as advertised and I'll explain. One, a beginner could build it but, it would not be justified, as so much skill is required to get that nice finish on wood that requires varnishing, repeated sanding, priming and final painting, but I digress. I spent better much of a year getting the hull, main super structure, stacks, platforms, and lifeboats glued up and doing the above stated finishing work. Well, in that year time I retired from the USAF and moved to Alabama.

I suppose burnout occurred and I put the Amsterdam off to the side. Must have been psychological as well, change of job change model! I started on Robbe's S-130 of which I sent you two photos and my source of fortitude to get through that "hell spawn" kit!

After finishing up the S-130 another change of career and model building fell to the way side. 5 years, and an occasional stick a bit here and a bit there on the Amsterdam. My model building had become the dreaded mariners doldrums.

Then perchance I visited Model Boat Mayhem saw the S-130 build with my photos and credit by you Martin and all the other builds got me off my collective dead ass and the modelling bug had bit me again! So, the Amsterdam came out of "mothballs", the dust blown off and the box broken open and inventoried for all necessary parts.

All parts that were required to be painted orange had been done back in 99', superstructure was primed also at that time. So, the superstructure was masked and painted with epoxy white. Winches and anchors had been done here and there in the ensuing years to the present. Then I started the dreaded railing project, anyone who has dealt with this kit knows that the stanchions are brittle and very fragile. And, you can't lace the brass wire as illustrated in the instructions, it's just not feasible, if accomplished (by some miracle) the bends are just not to scale. I cut and glued every section of railing, yes, time consuming but well worth it! And, yes in my photos you'll see that the main deck has no railing, I ran out as during filing of the kits stanchions I must have broken a bazillion of the damn things, I did say they were brittle! I plan to order some stanchions from Harbour Models to finish the railings and also get some descent life rings. The portholes I did but using a handheld hole punch in some evergreen sheet plastic, which fit beautifully then glued them with some clear glue to the brass portholes. Oh, did I mention that measuring twice (using the blueprints) then making the final cut/glue is critical!

In the initial build, I chucked the kit supplied motor and put in a Robbe navy geared motor. On the water she is not very manageable, rudder throw is abysmal (need to work on that)! Weight to thrust ratio leaves a lot to be desired, ballasted according to Latina is about 18 lbs of ballast and with that being said, you better have some room to manoeuvre! My swimming pool, though large is not manageable for the Amsterdam.

I still have to do the waterline markings and finish up the main deck railing. Overall, though it took just about seven years to complete, I must say I really do love this "labour of love"! As I stated before if you really want to do "a diamond in the rough" this kit is it! Tagged as a beginner kit, was selling it very short of it's true potential. My personal opinion, is that Artesania was banking on a buyers market of ship modellers wanting this kit and was saddled with excessive inventory and found a distributor to liquidate the inventory to the public as a beginners kit. Please, don't lambaste me Artesania or Model Expo just my personal observation/opinion!

I include four pictures for now but, will send more as I finally get into the 21st Century and purchase a digital camera. To all the fellow builders around the globe that flock to Model Boat Mayhem, keep those boatyards busy. It seems that the do-it-yourself spirit is becoming a thing of the past in the U.S.. The market is flooded with almost ready-to-run or ready-to-run kits. Aah, the days have gone by when satisfaction was derived from do-it-yourself craftsmanship. Built balsa wood airplanes 60's, 70's, 80's and a Dumas hydroplane with Cox .049 engine in the 70's. And, also have a Sterling models USS Missouri, a vintage kit that will be a major undertaking in the near future. But, those are a stories for another day!

That about sums it up from the boatyard of Peter M. Hanton.