A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

March 23, 2023

The Forest of Masts

The forest of masts that we see in  many photos of civil war ports is taking shape on my version of the USMRR Aquia Line. Today, I took delivery of a 1/48th scale, waterline model of the Harvey, a Baltimore Clipper built in 1847. 

I contracted The Model Shipyard to build the model. They are the designers and builders of the museum quality sailing ship models. They are located in South Africa as part of the Mossel Bay Maritime Museum. If you look at their webpage you can get an idea of the high quality of their work. 

I ordered the model in December. I requested a 1/48th scale, waterline model of the Baltimore Clipper Harvey with the sails furled.

They sent me in-progress photos as the model was being built. With the model nearly complete, they sent photos for my approval. At that point I asked for them to set the furled sails differently based on the photos I had seen from Civil War era ports. They made the change without any complaint. 

The model arrived in a sturdy shipping crate. It is very well done. I am very pleased with it. It looks great at Aquia Landing on my layout.

 It seems a shame that I will weather it a bit.  

The Baltimore Clipper is a beautiful type of ship, and this model reflects that.  For example, look at the detail in the boat tied on to the stern.  The complex rigging, especially with the square-rigged masts, add to the allure.

Based on my experience with the Model Shipyard, I would highly recommend them. I am now thinking about what other ships they could build to add to my layout, as I have my hands full with all the other tasks.

A note about Baltimore Clippers in the 1860s. Naval historians in the audience will realize that by the time of the Civil War, Baltimore Clippers were being phased out. Yet there were still some in service, especially for light weight, high value cargo. There are photos of top sail schooners in the civil war era ports, so a Baltimore Clipper is not completely unlikely.  At least one Baltimore Clipper survived into the 1920s.   


  1. Very, very nice, Bernie! Looking forward to seeing it up close.

  2. The harbor looks great Bernie, what are you planning on using as a material for the water?

  3. I used Magic Water 2-part resin

    1. Ah, I wasn't sure if the harbor had been completed yet or you photo shopped some in the image.

    2. The magic water gives nice reflections.

    3. This blog post describes the water pour at Aquia Landing.

  4. I must have missed that post even though I check everyday for new things. Lol