610' Great Lakes Bulk Freighter

610′ Great Lakes Bulk Freighter

N Scale Ships provides accurate, detailed and well-executed ship models for model railroaders and marine enthusiasts. I specialize in ships in N and Z scale 1:160 and 1:220). Since every ship is modeled on a computer and cut with a digital cutter, I can transform the drawings to any scale, although fittings for different scales may not be readily available.
I scratchbuilt my first model at age six. With a hand saw, a length of 2 x4, some scraps of 1-inch pine, and two sizes of nails, I hacked out my version of the mighty Missouri, and ruined my older brother’s wire cutters trying to clip the heads off 2.5″ nails. The 16″ main and 5″ secondary turrets could rotate.
Over the next 59 years, I modeled just about everything—ships, of course, but also flying and stationary aircraft, automobiles and, later, buildings and long-span bridges. My two N scale railroads, Pittston & DeWitte and The Portsmouth Branch, had many structures, most scratchbuilt; truss bridges up to 600′ in span; and ships from Navy harbor tugs to 500′ freighters.
The ships on this site are production models, not one-of-a-kind efforts. I gladly accept commissions for a specific ship.

27 thoughts on “About

    • I hadn’t seen that measurement. Where was this field measurement published and is it LOA or LBP or WL? Is the beam as published? Is the main house as published? I doubt one measurement would be so far off without the other two also being different. I can quickly modify my models, but need more verification. In a way, considering other tugs and makers of the era, it makes sense. Thank you for the information! I will look into it.

    • I think you are asking if I would build a Revell or Trumpeteer (or such) kit. Ordinarily no, unless it was a very special kit or circumstance. I just do not have the time available.

    • Yes, the 125′ Active-class is available in Z as a built-up or kit. The kit has a cast resin hull, styrene superstructure, custom brass railings and ladders, Z scale rescue boats of the era, and other custom bits. The price is $125 plus $11 shipping.

      I am not sure that I will do the 210′ Reliance class in Z. It has a very difficult hull and front of the superstructure.

    • Probably late this summer for N scale; unknown for Z scale. It’s built; I just haven’t had time to build one for photos and write the instructions. The Z scale version needs a redesign, as it did not cut successfully in .015″ styrene. I just bought a new cutter, as the old ones were wearing out.

  1. Mr. Nolan, Was looking for cost and availability on an N Scale 560′ Mobil Engineer Tanker. Can’t seem to find one. No hurry on a reply. Whenever yoou get a chance. Thanks, Martin

    • A completed model with all deck piping will be $4000, plus about $100 for shipping. I’m still looking at the kit’s feasibility. It takes a lot of material and plastic and brass details, with the styrene cutting alone probably taking 8 hours. Should I proceed with the kit, it will be upwards of $625 plus shipping.

  2. Hi
    Do you make any VC2 C2 or C3 type cargo ships like the Maple Cove or American Scout etc. in Z around 24″.
    How much does it cost?

  3. Hi
    I was wondering if you have a website that i could by these ships from, and if so please put the link

  4. I love your N-scale container ship. Are you considering a larger one (e.g. 550’ protype)?

    Also, we’re looking for an N-scale auto-carrier (600’?). Have you made on of those?

    • Hello Gary,

      There is the 614′ container in Z scale that can also be cut and built in N scale. It could be readily shortened to about 550′ either as a kit or a completed model ala the hijacked Alabama. I even have the Alabama superstructure designed and prototyped–I just haven’t had time to introduce that model. Incidentally the beam (width) of a 614′ and 550′ are probably identical; the 550-footers just have one less bay.

      I haven’t looked at auto-carriers for a few years. Do you have any particular ship in mind? It seems there are quite a few varieties with differing loading/unloading schemes. These would end up as rather massive presences on most layouts–tall and bulky. I’ll look at a few in the next weeks and see if any one of them interest me.

      Peter Nolan

  5. Hi NScale.

    This is really impressive work. Well done! I read a few of your notes and do wish you well in your endeavours. It’s always nice to see modellers using the best technology has to offer.

    Best Regards,

    Rick Shousha

    • Thanks, Rick. As technolgy progresses I can do more things with each ship. I’m now 3D printing almost everything that fits into an 8-inch cube, which leaves only larger hulls for a built-up styrene method.

  6. I just stumbled onto your site and am very impressed with the number of different kits you have available. Is everything that is on this site still available as of 2/20/22?

    • Yes, most of the models are still available as kits. Some have parts that are out of stock, but I have been able to 3D print substitutes. Only the hulls of the N scale Reliance cutter and ATSF barge are not available, although I plan on remolding the barge. I am not sure about the Reliance as the mold was very large and the demand not large at all.

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