King of the Mississippi
Award Winning Model Boat
By Ronald Simmons

King of the Mississippi Facts

- Started model on Jan.1, 1999.
- Completed model end of Jan. 2000.
- Used small hand tools, Exacto knifes, files, etc., no power tools used, all pieces hand cut, applied.
- 8 kinds of wood used, plywood, Basswood, Sapelli, African walnut, bamboo, pine, Boxwood, and Ramin.
- Plank-on-bulkhead construction.
- All radius pieces are of one piece of wood, (i.e., soak, bend, dry, repeat if necessary)
- During construction of the second deck hand rail, I ran out of Sapelli. I called the place where I purchased the kit, they couldn't help me. I went to several "wood" stores and they couldn't help me. I finally wrote the manufacturer in Spain, told them of my problem, and low and behold I received a dozen pieces in a tube in the mail.
- Display case is constructed of Red Oak base w/ Red Oak frame w/ Sapelli trim and plate glass. Base is milled so glass insets into felt lined channel, keeping model dust free.
- The nameplate(s) are of solid brass, w/ milled letters and numbers.
- Paddle wheels and Drive Arms move. Flags, gangway, and gangway halyards all move if untied.

A couple of years ago, a friend asked me to go with him to a I.P.M.S. model contest. This is the International Plastic Modelers Society. I decided to take my riverboat, $10 to enter. I ended up taking 1st place in my division, (boats, powered, civilian), and "The Best in Show" award. I then took the boat to several other contests around the Great Lakes area, taking 1st place and 2nd place, (for another ship, the J.S. Elcano), everytime except for one, where it took 4th place. This was a contest where there were only military categories. The last contest was at the 6 state regionals in Toledo where it took 1st place. The J.S. Elcano took second.

I could not enter it in the Nationals in Atlanta as it is not made of plastic. In all the boat has 6 different awards to its name. After the first contest, the local newspaper got wind of it, and the boat and I made the front page. This was picked up by the AP news, and it was in several Michigan papers around the state. Then... the local news channel in Grand Rapids called and I and the boat got to be on TV!! Then...a local car club did a "poker run," where they went to all the places that were in the papers on Tuesdays "People Around Town" segments. I had over 100 different old cars show up here. One was an old Stanley Steamer were he had to use my hose to refill his radiator.

- Ronald Simmons

Editor's Note: Email Ronald Simmons if you are interested in purchasing this boat.