5. What are the major model materials?
Official Navy models are mostly "scratch-built" from wood and metal. Big portions of the model, like the hull and superstructure, are usually made from large pieces of pine, mahogany, or basswood. Smaller parts are made from aircraft plywood, brass, and copper. Plastic is rarely used. Parts are silver-soldered or attached together using screws, metal pins, and epoxy, white, or hide glues. Materials that last a long time and resist decay and corrosion are preferred. More information is available about model-building materials.
6. What are model builders?
Today, Navy models are made under contract by professional model building firms. The Navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair made all of its models in-house until about 1910. From about 1910 until 1980 exhibition models were made for the Navy in naval and commercial ship yard model shops. With the general disappearance of ship yard model shops, almost all Navy models are now made by contract model builders. Our staff is able to make exhibition models under special circumstances.
7. Where are models of old ships made?
We occasionally make models of ships pre-dating 1883 for research, to fill in gaps in the collection, or to experiment with model conservation techniques. Navy museums sometimes independently commission models of older ships in order to enhance a particular exhibit. For a related answer, see also "Range of the Collection".
8. What models are made by the Gibbs and Cox Company?
The Gibbs & Cox Company, a ship design firm, maintained an extensive model workshop adjacent to their offices in New York City. Between about 1939 and 1962 their model shop made a limited number of models, primarily of ships. The U.S. Navy commissioned about 20 major models of its latest warships. Most of the models were ordered during World War II, but were not completed until after the war.
Some model builders and curators believe that Gibbs & Cox models are, arguably, the very finest examples of the steel ship modelers art ever to be seen. The United States Navy is very proud to own most of the exhibition ship models made by Gibbs & Cox.
This alphabetical listing includes only the first-class Gibbs & Cox models in the Navy collection. The collection also has many Gibbs & Cox half-hull plating models, machinery space models, demonstration models, and drawing room models.
Drawing room models usually depicted the ship from the waterline upward and represented only major elements on the exterior of the ship. Drawing room models were used as tools during the ship design process. They were usually not painted in colors and were subject to alterations as the design progressed.
Display locations are subject to change.
U.S. Navy Ship Models built by Gibbs & Cox Company
9. How do you buy, sell, donate and dispose of a model?
Buying models: Our office commissions models to be built of modern U.S. Navy ships. These models must be built to our specifications. Price quotes and schedules are asked of several qualified model building firms and our purchasing department usually awards the purchase order to qualified vendor offering the lowest price and the best delivery schedule. If you are a professional model builder and wish to be contacted regarding Navy ship model building commissions, please contact our office.
Selling models: As a component of the federal government, the U.S. Navy does not sell or repair models for the public. Official models are never sold, auctioned, or given away.
Donating models: Occasionally our office accepts models donated by the public to the collection from the public. The model must fill a need within the collection, conform to the general scope of the collection, and be of reasonable quality and durability. Donations must be without restriction. Therefore, the Curator may chose to display the donation, place the item in storage, trade the item, or dispose of the donation at any time. The Office of the Curator of Ship Models does not provide monetary appraisals of ship models and cannot advise anyone regarding the tax implications of charitable donations. Monetary appraisals of ships models is referenced elsewhere in our web site. If you are interested in donating a model to the collection, please contact us.