Photo of the Week — Model Boats On Steroids

Medium sized model boat

I remember getting my first ever model kit as a kid. I was excited because all the kewl kids seemed to be “into” putting together model planes and cars. And by kewl kids, I mean nerds.

(Confession time. It’s a bit hazy, but I think I hung out with the nerd crowd a lot back then. And by a lot, I mean, like all the time. Unfashionable clothes, multiple Trapper Keepers, Members Only jackets borrowed from our dads after they had gone out of style,  bags weighed down with algebra books while our peers were still struggling with “new math”. I don’t even think I knew how to say INXS when I saw it scratched on desktops and Rush was simply what I did in the morning before the bus came.)

"Inks? Wha?"

So I clearly remember my disappointment when I opened up the model airplane box.

All those tiny little pieces that you had to twist off and set aside with instructions that made way too much use of arrows. I took one look and quietly put the top back on.

Plastic model airplane kit

*cough* NERD! *cough*

(Confession time. I think I took the included stickers and put them on my Trapper Keeper. That made it even MORE cool, if that’s at all possible.)

Trapper keeper


Despite having an IQ of 142, I’ve always maintained that I’m spatially challenged.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate people who have the infinite patience to put together tiny bits of plastic to make a plane or a car or even to finish 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzles.

jigsaw puzzles

*cough* NERDS! *cough*

So I was intrigued when I walked by a model boat store today on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Except this was Boats on Steroid. Sailboats, cigarette boats, cruisers, they were all there.

Model boat store

Whatever floats your boat

Starting from VND 200,ooo-300,000 (~USD 10-15) for the smallest ones…

Small model boat

up to VND 20,000,000-30,000,000 (~USD 1,000-1,500) for the ginormous colonial warships…

Didn't I see this in a bad Russell Crowe movie?

You could even bring a photo in of your boat and get a custom replica made.

model Cigarette boats

The craftsmanship and attention to detail were simply amazing.

Store full of model boats

So boys and girls, I think the lesson we should all take away from this is that: In the end, the nerds always win.

What about you? What kind of kid were you in school?

Where to find it:

Hai Yen
9 Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +848 3822 0280 / +84 9031 81600
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10 thoughts on “Photo of the Week — Model Boats On Steroids

  1. gwen healy

    Loved this article Jimmy, never had a high eye que, but did have an eye for the unusual as a kid. My brother built model anything,planes, cars,boat and all I can remember is the smell of balsa wood and glue. Myself, well I hit the road, literally, always looking down at the road , grass, or whatever that might hide something interesting that might peak my curious state of mind. Even back then it would show up on some piece of artwork that had been started but needed something to make it stand out from the ordinary. Anyhow this article brought back many good memories of my childhood and opened my mind to the handiwork and skill of the people in your neighborhood. Who knows, I might just see something here that would make a painting something extraordinary! Thanks, Gwen

  2. Helen

    I love those boats . . . we tried to think of a way to pack one to bring home, but it didn’t work out . . .

    1. James Post author

      Pretty cool, huh? They said they can pack the small to medium ones. The larger ones get shipped… A unique souvenir and I’m sure a fraction of what it would cost back home, if you’re into boats!

    1. James Post author

      From one Trapper Keeper owner to (obviously) another, I’m with you. When I was googling Trapper Keeper photos for this post, I had a MAJOR flashback. Bittersweet memories. Bittersweet… Way more folders / dividers than any grade schooler could EVER use and it weighed a ton! Why was I so “into” school supplies back then? Now I’m lucky if I can find uncrinkled paper for my printer. Sigh.


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