Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Early Christmas: Expansion of the Italian Navy

Well I just received a beautiful new ship model in the mail from master sculptor Chas Emerson. It is a model of the gunship Porto Corsini. It is a beautiful model that came prepainted! YEA!

The Porto Corsini was one of several small vessels that were part of the Italian fleet in East Africa during WWII. It began its life as a Japanese fishing vessel, the Fumi Maru. Having some 280 tons displacement, it was launched in 1912. The Italians purchased her in 1917. The Porto Corsini had a top speed of 9 knots, carried a complement of 24 and was armed with two 3-inch anti-aircraft guns (76/40) and a pair of machine guns. Initially taken on as a minelayer, by 1921 she was converted to a gunboat.

Following the Italian collapse in East Africa, the Porto Corsini was captured intact in 1941 and taken into British service as the HMS General Platt. In the post war it became a lighthouse tender.

Looking around the internet, there are plenty of ships in 1:1250 scale. The WWII Italian navy is well represented in terms of coastal vessels. Lots of MAS boats and other torpedo boats were available and some destroyers and larger ships. What I was looking for are some of the other ships that were commonly used. After working on an IABSM supplement for East Africa, I had a complete naval order of battle for the Regia Marina in East Africa. Looking through it several ships stood out as interesting vessels. The first was the Eritrea, a colonial ship. Models exist of this ship but are rather expensive. Next were the Torpedo boats Giovanni Acerbi and Vincenzo Giordano Orsini. I found these ships as well. Again they are available but expensive as well. The Porto Corsini stood out as something that I would like to have.

Searching the internet did not show anything even close. What I did find was Chas. After an email exchange, he agreed to make a model of the ship for me. Through the process he sent me pictures of the ship as he was creating it.

The picture above is what Chas sent as he was creating it. Well the final product arrived today and it looks fantastic.

Chas has a company KS models. product designer for Airfx and then moved into architectural and engineering modelmaking. I am now semi-retired in my 60s and I have started producing these 1250 scale models partly as hobby and partly income. At the time he began to create the Porto Corsini he had five ships: Skandi Falcon UT 705 (red), North Vanguard UT 705 (blue), Bourbon Liberty 200 (green).

To contact Chas, send him an e-mail at

1 comment:

  1. Agree Chas produces beautiful, well detailed models and consider myself lucky to have some of them. He has a recent release: Hawaiian Pilot, a C3 freighter. Your photograph also shows HMS Bustler a WWll Rescue tug and the steam tug Challenge in addition to the supply ships.