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The first waterline models were produced over a century ago by Fred T. Jane to accompany his naval war game. These models lacked fine detail but represent real ships and were to the same scale.
During the great war waterline ships were used to train naval personnel in ship recignition. The most notable company to make these 1:1200 scale ships for the royal navy were Bassett-Lowke who contiued to produce commercial models after the war.
Overseas, Germany has seen a great many companies produce waterline models. Wicking began making models of warships and merchantmen in the 1920's to a new metric scale of 1:1250 but the second world war put this and many companies out of business.
During WWII a number of companies formed in the United States producing ship recognition models for the war effort but most of these had ceased trading by the 1960's.
The 1950's and 60's saw the rebirth of the hobby in Europe with Hansa of Gemany and Triang of England producing metal models but it was in the 1980's when there was a big expansion with new makers emerging such as Albatros and Rhenania producing countless models of most ships. Germany has the largest number of producers.

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