Firs Fleet Reproductions

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To answer this question, we would like to take you on a brief journey through the history of model ship construction...

No record exists of when the very first model ship was built. The oldest surviving examples of model ships originate from between 5000 and 4000 B.C. and come from Egypt. In those days, a completely realistic reproduction of the original ship was not considered so important. Model ships were only rarely made of wood but were usually made of clay or even precious metals such as gold or silver. Thus we can guess that the models had a cultural and mythological significance. In the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, for example, some 15 model ships were found among the funeral objects.

The first model ships in today's sense were built around 2000 B.C.. The models had a purely decorative purpose or were collectors' items and they were much more finely crafted and realistic than had previously been the case.

Model ship construction became particularly important during the 16th century. It was then the established mode of practice in ship building tenders to first build a model of the proposed ship. Suddenly the accuracy and the scale of the models became very important.

However the cultural elements of seafaring were not lost over the centuries. One of the reasons was that seafaring has always shown man’s powerlessness against forces of nature. This is shown via the numerous symbols and decorative elements and, of course, the ship’s figurehead (the patron saint of the ship's crew), as is the ancient ritual of christening a ship before her maiden voyage.

Today, historical ship models make us realise that ships were much more than a simple means of transport. Ships were used to travel the oceans, to discover new lands, to carry goods to the other end of the world or to turn the sea into a theatre of war. Model ships tell the story of dashing adventurers, who dared to venture beyond accepted limits and to sail in the face of danger. Model ships embody the allure of seafaring and at the same time are an expression of outstanding craftsmanship and artistic ability.

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