MW139 – Maltese fishing boat in 1:6 scale – 32 inches overall!

Hello Everyone!


This model represents a Maltese Firilla that is stored in the Malta Maritime Museum.

Our most accurate model to date, this model was created using a number of ideas, but most came from a research paper by Stephanie Said, at the University of Southern Denmark. The paper was written as a Master’s Thesis in 2014 and is entitled “The Firilla: A Case-Study of a Maltese Traditional Boat.” The complete document is available on

The prototype in the Maritime Museum in Malta

Considering these Maltese fishing boats are built one-by-one, using materials at hand, I felt it was not necessary to duplicate any set of frames precisely but rather to get a nice impression of the iconic shape.

So, I collected a number of line drawings, dimensions, and pictures and slowly tweaked my design until I came up with the shape in the pictures attached.

I decided that the model would represent a Firilla, as the document explained, with an engine added at a later date. So, the boat needed to have a rearranged stern that looked more like a later-design, and bigger boat, called a Luzzu.

The Firilla, as I understand, is a double-ended boat, that is mostly rowed. The size range tops out at about 6 meters. The Luzzu tends to be bigger.

In the research paper, we see that one of the boats is a Firilla of about 5 meters, with an engine included. It seems the engine was added sometime between the 1930s and the 1960s, but there is no trace of the engine itself in the parts that are found in the museum.

As usual, the design of the parts incorporates a T-rail for construction but, in this case, the structure needs to be assembled on a high support. This is because there is a large prow on the boat and we wanted to allow that piece to be cut in a single section, making it a very strong part of the keel.

Note the prow stretching down below the T-rail on the left of the picture.

The planking on this model is quite different from a typical plank-on-frame model. In this case, there are large flat surfaces, that act as planks. We see more than one plank on only one or two area of the model. These should be cut from 1/32″ plywood.

Once the planking is done, the boat can be taken out of the T-rail and the supports can be removed.

Note the inclusion of the floorboard as part of the kit.

With the motor in place, the other surfaces can be installed, and the painting can begin. The keel is designed so the shaft fits accurately.

Note the little “knees” that were designed right into the futtock frames. Also, not the futtock extensions that emulate the boards holding the removable top board in place. The upper board is not actually removable on the model, but one gets that impression because of the fewer number of futtocks that are visible.



One of the most difficult parts of this project, was to make the scupper holes. Was the boat going to sink two seconds after she was put in the water?

Once the priming is done, the colour coats are added. As this is a traditional Maltese fishing boat, it was likely painted with a brush. With the scale of 1:6, this model should be painted with a paintbrush, as well. In fact, it should not even be masked. Any small discrepancies will only make the model look more realistic.

And now, it’s up to you to put here in the water and go fishing!

Please note that, at this point, we have templates available for the side planks but material for the side planks is not included. Also, note that the motor, running gear, and all the metal bits are not included, either.

One day, we may include more parts but, for now, you get only the main plywood components.

For a comprehensive build log of the model, you can have a look at the RCGroup page for the model :

Thanks for looking!

MW139 - Firilla
MW139 - Firilla
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