Some years ago, the latest remake of King Kong fired my imagination. I fell hopelessly in love with the tramp steamer Venture (home port: Surabaya). That ship - so emotive, disreputable, efficient, seedy, capable, cluttered and free - exudes panache while remaining 100% function, 0% style.
I had long wanted a tramp steamer for my Call of Cthulhu and Pulp games, but none of the commercially produced kits really hit all my buttons.
Then a light bulb came on above my head, just like in the cartoons. I bought a King Kong DVD, purchased frame-capture software, grabbed high-definition stills of every film-shot of the Venture, printed them out in color, and sent them to Richard Houston (through TVAG) to see if he might create a gamer's version of the Venture for me as a custom project. My timing was good - Richard had just begun work on the first of his own line of (smaller) tramp steamers. To my delight, he agreed to create my Venture!
Instructions were simple. Using Richard's 'standard wargamer' simplifications, make the model 28" long and 6" wide, and capture the feel of the photos. When sketch plans were ready, Richard mailed them to me for approval and modification.
I am thrilled with the result. Houston's Venture is the model tramp steamer of my dreams!
A model this large can't really maneuver on the tabletop, but it is big and detailed enough that the ship itself becomes the stage for all the skirmish action you could want!
Here's a link to 30 photos on two pages of my Photobucket album. The later photos show the amazing internal detail and multiple, accessible decks.