Model Shipways Nonsuch 30

1:24 scale; overall length 16”, height 30”

I’m a sailor. While I appreciate the love of warships from the grand age of sail, I really wanted to build a model of a modern yacht something like what I have actually been to sea on. The Nonsuch 30 kit is what I was waiting for: a scale model of a contemporary fiberglass sailing yacht with a modern rig. Its catboat style with wishbone rig and smooth lines make a very pleasing display. 

If you’re not familiar with the Nonsuch line, they were manufactured in Ontario, Canada in various sizes and were in production until the mid-90s. The simple unstayed rig, single sail and high-quality construction made them quite popular and many are still sailing.   In a typical sailing ship kit, the box contains of bundles of stripwood and dowels of various sizes, which must be sorted out to see what goes where. 

The Nonsuch 30 kit is different – almost everything is laser cut. Planks, spars, deck, topsides, and trim are all precut with labels and clear directions. The single piece of stripwood in the kit is used to make sail battens and some trim pieces. This is far from a weekend project, however. The kit still requires careful fitting, construction and attention to detail, and is an appropriate challenge for builders who have gained experience and skill with simpler wooden models in the Model Expo Shipwright Series.    

The hull is constructed in two halves with half-bulkheads attached to central spines, making it convenient to finish the planking on each half before joining them. Once the hull halves were joined, I used carpenters wood filler to create the look of a smooth fiberglass hull. This involved filling, sanding, applying primer, and more sanding and filling iteratively until the hull was perfect. Having the mast laser cut allows it to be curved as on the real world yacht, which would be almost impossible using a simple dowel mast as in many other kits.   

A large assortment of cast metal yacht-style hardware is provided. This includes numerous cast metal blocks, another unusual feature, as most sailing vessel kits provide wooden blocks that may require some shaping to look authentic. The Nonsuch 30 kit’s metal blocks are very realistic. The blocks need to be drilled, but the instructions explain how to make this easy. There are many other construction details in this kit that when executed with care and precision, result in an outstanding model.

The pictorial instructions and plan sheets are excellent, showing in photographs and diagrams how everything goes together. The instructions also amount to a tutorial in building techniques from the master kit designer and builder David Antscherl. The finished product is quite authentic; I understand that Mark Ellis, who designed the Nonsuch line of yachts supported David Antscherl to make sure the model is a faithful scale representation of the Nonsuch 30 yacht.    

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