SCALE MODEL SHIP BUILDING
The world's oldest and most
fascinating hobby of all!
First of all, I would like to thank you for
your interest in my craft work, woodcarving and especially my scale
My name is Frank Ryczek, Jr. and I am originally
from New Jersey. I started building ship models 40 years ago. I have
clients and private collectors seeking out my finished art,
woodcarvings and ship models from upstate New York and down the eastern
seaboard to here in Florida.I am now a permanent resident of
Jacksonville, Florida and I would like to share my work and my talent
The seas of the world and the ships and men who have
sailed them have helped to write the history of the world at large.
It is not strange that a tall ship under full sail
stirs our imagination when we see it, or that the salty tang of sea air
makes us look over the waters, towards the full horizon. Even the sight
of a ships wheel, a painting of a stormy sea or a finely detailed ship
model can help us to think back to a time when ships, the sea and a
fresh wind carried brave seamen around the world, and a voyage across
the Atlantic took as much as 40 days.
This is the feeling I try to capture in my craft
work. But please, do not call my models "TOYS"! They are more than
that! For these ship models that I produce are exact scale models of
the actual ships that sailed the Seven Seas and charted those waters
for future generations. Be it an old period Spanish galleon, a tall
masted and rigged out clipper ship, a steel hulled wind jammer plowing
the Roaring 40's or modern Navy ships that today carry our different
branches of servicemen to ports of call or defense of our country,
these can be crafted as a maritime or military treasures.
It is a known fact, that large, scale wooden ship
models have been found within the pyramids and tombs in Egypt. Legend
says that these detailed ship models were to carry the kings and royal
Egyptian rulers along their journey to the afterlife thousands of years
ago even before the birth of our Lord.
In this day and age, the period ships,
clippers and windjammers bring back the lusty, romantic days of yore.
And the nice thing is, they fit in perfectly with any decor. A ship
model is a thing of beauty, but beauty with a deep and rich meaning.
It's more than just a ship model- it's a piece of sea going maritime
Each and every ship model that I build is faithfully
researched before I even begin the construction! Be it a kit, scratch
built or from plans there is nothing overlooked. All of the smallest
details are hand painted. The sails on my clippers and wind jammers are
"weathered" to give the ship an aged look. Some ship models be
completed in a weekend while others, like dioramas, or very complex
models can take weeks, months, and yes, even years to complete.
In some cases the ship model's hull is cut off at
the waterline and placed into a polymer resin "ocean". The resin is
then painted with artist oils and the ship's hull and the resin are now
one. The polymer obtains the look of the ship "sailing" on water, and
the overall effect is most realistic and breathtaking.
Sometimes I will use an antique map print to mount
the model 3-D fashion against the map. I then frame out the map with
rough sawn western red cedar and rope it out in sailor's knot work as a
If you have an ship model that is in need of repair,
be it antique or resent, rest assured, I will repair it like new! There
are very few ship modeler's that would think twice about tackling the
repairs of an antique ship model. Years ago a client called my from
South Florida whose home was ravaged by a hurricane. He wanted to know
if I could repair his highly detailed model of the DANMARK a cadet
Danish training ship. I told him that I would take a look at the model.
The gentleman arrived a few days later with a grocery bag and proceeded
to dump the contents on my kitchen counter. He said, " Can you fix her
up?" I said, "I'll see what I could do!" Three months later the model
was completed and presented to my client. He couldn't believe it was
the same model, intact without a single rigging line out of place. To
sum things up, I made his day!
I am also a wood carver- with a twist! I do not
carve with a knofe, chisel or mallet. What I do use is a highly powered
hand held mini motor tool called a Dremel Tool. Using inter-changable
carving bits, I can carve in a matter of hours a design that would take
days or weeks the mallet and chisel route. My carvings vary from
nautical pub decor to home and everything in between. but I will work
from your design or business logo. No design or logo-no problem! Let me
custom design one for you to suit your needs, be it private, business
Each and every completed plaque, ship model, and
wall hanging is an original piece of artwork. There are no two pieces
that are exactly alike!
Here in Jacksonville, my maritime artwork and
display model pieces are sought out by gift shops and private
collectors. My ship models are currently on display at the Jacksonville
Maritime Museum at the Jacksonville Landing complex. I have helped
decorate well known establishments as Cedar River Seafood, The Blue
Anchor Pub, Boathouse Subs, St. John's Seafood and Steaks, and Ship 2
Shore Seafood and Steaks in Georgia, to name a few.
Lastly, I am a member of the International Plastic
Modeler's Society, which is dedicated to the preservation of plastic
model building and to further instruct the general public that-
"SCALE MODELS ARE MUCH MORE THAN JUST "TOYS"!!!
Feel free to contact
Check out some
of my restoration work! Shrimp boat restoration
more Tulagi diorama pictures
Multi-award winning diorama of a
World War II South Pacific PT Boat base of Tulagi. This diorama is an
experience of what it was like on an actual PT Boat Base. By utilizing
the actual black and white photographs that were taken by veterans who
fought, served and perished on the islands, I was able to create this
one of a kind masterpiece. This elaborate display is modeled 1/32nd
scale . This diorama has taken 20 years to hand model and is still
being added to. The display with all the documentation takes up 7 full
size banquet tables or roughly 8 x 21 feet.
There are eight separate sections that come together like a giant jig
saw puzzle to make up the diorama. There is a landing beach section,
SeaBee's heavy equipment barge, the base hospital, fuel barge, main
backdrop with base HQ's shacks, main pier with torpedo loading and
quonset hut, floating dry dock, and PT Boat models.
There are currently 3 PT Boat models depicting 80 foot Elco's on the
diorama. The three PT's are the PT-169 "ZEBRA SNAFU", PT- 196
"ELCOPUSS", and the PT-176 "MINUTEMAN". These PT boat models are all
radio controlled and can be run from the safety of the shore.
I built this diorama with the purpose of having it "FLOAT"!!! All
sections are built from construction foam and the entire diorama can
then be lashed together and placed into a calm lake, pond or pool.
This display has been seen by thousands in and around Jacksonville,
Florida and surrounding areas. It has been on display at the Sea and
Sky Show presented by the US Navy, military shows, veterans gatherings
at Naval Air Station Jacksonville and yearly for the Battle of Midway
Memorial Banquet sponsored by the Navy League.
At the passing of my dear friend and neighbor Henry "Bruce" Hainsbury
who was the shot in the arm for this diorama as he served as torpedo
man aboard the PT-169, I have dedicated this display to his memory and
all of those who have served in the South Pacific during World War II!
God bless them all!
Please stay tuned for more pictures! Thanks
for stopping by...
-Melissa & Marshall Davis