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"Houston Ships Contact?" Topic

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VicCina Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 12:38 p.m. PST

So I picked up some painted Spanish-American War Houston ships. Fedex did a number on the box, despite it being marked fragile and this end up, so most of the masts are broken.
I've been looking for a contact for Houston for their late 1800s range but all I come up with is Stone Mountain and they don't carry them.
I would like to see if I can purchase new masts and see if I can replace them.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian08 Aug 2017 12:52 p.m. PST

I think it has been decades since Houston has had these molds. They used to be with Great Endeavors, but that company seems to have gone defunct. This might be your current source:

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 12:54 p.m. PST

Here is a discussion with a link, but the website seems to be done for….

TMP link

The Beast Rampant08 Aug 2017 1:45 p.m. PST

Are you talking about the 1/1200 ships, or the much larger 3 & 4 inch long predreads (1/1000?)? The lines have bounced around a bit, and I forget what originally constituted HS.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 2:53 p.m. PST

Masts are pretty easy to fabricate, and what you make out of wire and/or plastic will look better and be stronger than the cast Houston's pieces anyway. The Houston's castings were always crude, and the years of wear on the molds has made them worse.

If you still want to proceed, the current (and possibly final) owner of the post-ACW Houston's ships is Great Endeavors. Early this year the web site disappeared TMP link and when I emailed the owner about it, he replied:

We still exist but I guess the website is no more. You can work through email with no problem however. Glad to send you a paper catalog if you wish.
Feel free to email me (s m e g m a 1 7 AT i x t r a n e o u s DOT n e t) if you want the Great Endeavors email address. I have no other contact information.

Fair warning: order at your own risk. I ordered a bunch of Italian and British ships from this line and got a somewhat randomized selection of components, including one kit with the wrong hull, a kit with inappropriately tiny turrets from some completely unrelated kit, two identical kits that had different turrets and secondary guns, a few missing pieces, etc. I did get some of the problems corrected for free, but the missing hull couldn't be replaced, all the castings looked like they needed a mold refresh, and I was also told this:

I'll be glad to send you any parts that you need that I have. With the Italians there are a few molds missing so I replaced with as close as I could. These are 40 year old molds that have been through at least three owners. Once they are totally worn out or lost there will be no more. I don't do this to make money, merely to keep this line available. As the years go by this is getting to be more difficult.

- Ix

Allen5708 Aug 2017 7:33 p.m. PST

The fellow behind Great Endeavors still has the molds but he is neither quick nor organized in responding. I had his email but cannot find it at the moment. Unfortunately he has never done anything that I can tell to maintain the molds so when you get a miniature it may be in rather poor condition. Too bad really. These were some very nice ships.

VicCina Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 8:46 p.m. PST

Thank you for the responses. Yes, I am talking about the 1/1000 scale ships.

Yellow Admiral--Can you give some guidance or site to look at for building my own masts?

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2017 12:30 p.m. PST

TL;DR: Build masts from wire and superglue, use photos and pictures to guide you

The WTJ site has nice instructions with photos that could help. WTJ also sells fighting tops (crow's nests) if you want to get fancy.

You can buy wire cheaply in spools from a hardware store, but the floral wire sold at craft stores is already straight and comes in various thicknesses. Get the bare wire, not the paper-wrapped stuff.

If wire is too hard to work with, consider using styrene rods from Evergreen or Plastruct, which is really easy to "weld" together with brush-on liquid stryene solvent cement. Note: I've found the Evergreen and Plastruct plastic bits available cheaply and quickly on eBay.

If you're insane, you can also rig them. I've collected links to a few rigging tutorials on my naval gaming web site which could help. It may be a lot of work, but the Houston's models are a bit plain and benefit immensely from being dressed up with nice accessories. Even simple things like adding/replacing the cast boats with better ones from GHQ, Langton or WTJ, adding davits, adding flagpoles and flags, adding smoke to the stacks made from cotton or wire cleaners, etc. can help a great deal. But of course, it's all extra work, and ultimately makes the models more fragile.

- Ix

VicCina Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2017 8:29 a.m. PST

Thanks for the info

Brad Jenison11 Aug 2017 8:12 p.m. PST


Dale Kemper has the moulds and just cast up several French and British ships for me. His email address is Deleted by Moderator but he may be traveling to visit family in Japan right now.

The ships he just cast for me are beautiful little models.

The Beast Rampant15 Aug 2017 11:11 p.m. PST

I have the Charlemagne (or Charles Martel? I forget which). I sold off my other HS models, but kept this one because it was the only one I'd finished, and I like it. grin AND it was a lot of work- more than it probably should have been.

Yellow Admiral speaks great wisdom. If I had it to do over again, I would have never used the pewter masts, just cut away the fighting tops and drilled them out for steel and brass rod. The supplied masts are much too bendy, it's well worth the effort to replace them.

I got a lot of modelling XP out of that mini!

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