My small paper fleet

Mar 20, 2020

Well, thank you all for your kind words. I hope I won't disappoint you with my simple paper products.
Since a few years I build my models in paper, just because it is fast, cheap and easy and it makes much less debris, which keeps the admiral happy.
As a test I tried my hand on the pinas, described by Nicolaes Witsen (1641-1717). You may know that I wrote a book on that ship, as mentioned above. I made several models in wood of this ship and it was pleasant to find out that, though a 1/50 model in wood took me three years to build in the 80's, I finished this one in three months.
After that a lot of small crafts followed. I planned building them a long time ago, but could never find the time.
Here are models of a kaag, a 'wijdschip' and a 'smalschip', just to show a few. They are all genuine old ship types and they were fun to do.
Things became even more fun when my son suggested to make photoshop-paintings from the models. That resulted in things like these:

1. Pinas_en_fluit kopie.jpg

3. Fluit in storm kopie.jpg

5. Galjoot kopie.jpg

7. Pinas in de mist_HR kopie.jpg

15. Buizen keeren huiswaarts kopie.jpg

18. Hoeker en Kaag kopie.jpg

Then I am afraid I lost my good intentions to only make smal and simple ships, because we wanted to make sea battle 'paintings' too. So we did.

14. zeeslag kopie.jpg

16. Slag op de Sont_3c kopie.jpg

19. Slag_x kopie.jpg

Especially the last one forced me to go outside my comfort zone and create foreign ships, which is a little bit against my silly principles. In the mean time some pictures were sold to serve as a book sleeve, some we're used as screen-savers and of course posters were made. Anyone interested can have a file he can print for his private use.
For another book sleeve we recently got a commission, which forced me to build a Mediterranean pirate. I don't have good pictures yet, but at least you can see what I mean. It is a tartan, for which I found a plan in Chapman's Architectura Navalis Mercatoria (1775).

My latest project is another experiment. I try to reconstruct a Dutch galley after a contract specification of 1600. Don't know if that will deliver anything useful...
As you can see there are other models I am working on at the same time. Actually there are 6 or 7. I like to only do things I want to do at any moment. I am rigging man-of-war, which takes a long time, so I want other jobs to do if I want to. Don't know where it will bring me.
Oh yes, before I forget: all my models are on a 1/77 scale. I like that scale, not too big and not too small for my clumsy old fingers...
Hope you like it.
Last edited:


Staff member
Dec 25, 2017

Vienna, Austria
Just one word.....amazing .... maybe a second one -> I am speechless !
Great work - and many thanks for sharing with us - So I am looking forward to see an actual project in a building log - or "painting log" - or ......
Mar 20, 2020

First of all: Thank you for your enthusiasm. Mostly undeserved, because this is just simple paper and I make the models only to allow my son to make his pictures. He makes the shots of the models and adds skies, seas, foam, smoke, birds, mills and anything he can score at the internet and 'builds' his 'paintings', they sometimes exist of 30 layers or more. We have a lot of fun together making them.

It is very well visible that I have no sophisticated tools to make such objects. Only an electric hand-drill and some tools I made myself.
I also have the help of a Belgian friend who is very good in making 3D images with a free downloadable ships design program, Delfship. I personally don't work with it, but Rene Hendrickx does. I owe him a lot.

Here is some more pictorial material, A few small boats and a few big ones.

First a buss, a fishing vessel for herring, after an original 18th century draught.

A private yacht, 18th century after Chapman.

A waler's fluit. 17th century after data from Witsen's book.

A small fluit, after footage from a sub on a depth of 120 meters in the Baltic.

A small galliot

An English Man-of-war, Lennox, after Richard Enson book The Restoration warship.

A Dutch two-decker, Alkmaar.

A fish hooker from Chapman

A statenjacht.

A 'waterschip' after an original draught.

And some more photoshop work:
Waling at Spitsbergen
2a. walvisvaart Verbeterd kopie.jpg

A kaag, landing at the coast.
4. ijsselmeer_weer_4 kopie.jpg

A hooker at sundown off Veere.
6. Hoeker_de_zeilen_drogende kopie.jpg

A statenjacht off Dordrecht
9. Statenjacht_Dordrecht_kopie.jpg

Waterschepen at Pampus
11. Waterschepen_kopie.jpg

Ships in a calm.
17. Ships in a calm kopie.jpg

Next time I will show you the man-of-war I am working on at the moment.


Systems Administrator IV
Staff member
Systems Administrator IV
Aug 21, 2011

Madison, MS
This is truly amazing. I want to say how lucky both of you find some common ground. Your son is also lucky to have a father like you. My father (as I have mentioned here before on very rare occasions) had no interest in things like this. I was on my own. I would love to add these to the CG (contrib. Gallery) paintings and all.
Mar 20, 2020

Don, you are making me really proud. This is just paper scratch without any pretensions and as far as the small models are concerned, they don't take more than a few weeks to make. Compared to the models I see in this Gallery it does not look quite fair to compare my stuff with what you show there. Most of those models must have taken years to build. Comparing apples and pears?

But this way of thinking might cause a discussion about when a model (or a fleet) is worthy to be added to your Gallery. The days I only built models to enlarge my understanding and knowledge of ships and shipbuilding are behind me, I recorded them in my books and I consider what I am doing now as purely for relaxing purposes. Can't hold my hands still....
But you can do what you think is right. Please under both my son's and my name. His name is Emiel and he is a professional graphic designer. He grew up seeing me building models all his life and being a grandson of a painter, he combines technical skills with artistic qualities. I am proud of him and we have a lot of fun creating scenarios for our next 'painting'.

I am not the only one building models in paper. If you really want to see brilliant models, look for a lady called Doris. What she makes with paper is beyond my imagination, but I don't have the skill nor the ambition to make such beautiful clean models. For me the beauty of a ship model is not a clean, gilded, shiny object. In my view ships are tools, only made to make money or even war. They were dirty, they were smelling, they were nasty places to be on, people died on them from exposure, hunger, thirst, cruel discipline and sicknesses. In short, I want my models to look like they have been used, battered and bruised. One of the plans I have is building a wreck once to serve as a subject for another painting. Believe me when I say that making a wreck takes more effort than the average model.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to deny anyone the right to make a shiny gilded model. Everybody must do what he wants to do. There is no wrong reason for building ship models. I understand 'rivet counters', because I was once one of them, inserting deck-beam knees in a hull where nobody would ever have the chance to see them. But getting older I realize my time is limited and there are still so many fields to explore, so many plans to realize.

I am always amazed when people like my humble products and I want to thank them for that. I am only doing what I like....
May 26, 2019

This is the first time that I have looked at any other forums then Scratch built models which I prefer to do as I think it allows for more mistakes! Also I can build to my own designs and capabilities.
Your work is brilliant and I cannot understand how it is done. Where did the paintings come from as it would be wonderful to have some on my wall.
Mar 20, 2020

Hello Paulmodel,
Thank you for your kind words.
If you want to know how I make these models, look at my simple tutorial here:
or at a (sort of) report of a build here:
If you want a 'painting' for at your wall, send me a PM with your e-mail address and the picture of your choice and I will send you the file, which can be printed at a printshop on paper, canvas or perspex.