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For Beginners -- A Cautionary Tale


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#81
mtaylor

mtaylor

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My $0.02 (US).... Syren isn't a bad choice.  There's lots of builds here.  The guy who designed the kit is an admin (Chuck) and there's a very good and very detailed practicum (instructions) for it.  Down side... reports have it that the castings for cannon stink.  Aftermarket is the way to go on them. 


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Mark

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me


Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)


Member of the Nautical Research Guild


#82
probablynot

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I'm beginning to think we ought not to be presenting 'cautionary tales' to beginners.
I was a beginner less than five years ago. I just bought a kit, and had a go. If there had been cautionary tales in my way, to make me stop and wonder if I was approaching it the right way, to make me think I ought to have bought a different kit, to cause me to stop and THINK, I probably wouldn't have had the heart to go ahead with the zeal and enthusiasm I enjoyed throughout that build.
Maybe caution isn't the most desirable attribute when starting out in model ship building?
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Brian

Current project: - Constructo "Silhouet" 1893 (Dutch barge) http://modelshipworl...constructo-160/

Some previous builds - HMS Bounty Launch [Model Shipways kit] http://modelshipworl...s-116-smallish/

Corel's Half Moon (lightly 'bashed')  http://modelshipworl...scale-150-wood/

A 1:12 scratch-build of 'Anastasia', my old sailing kayak from back in the 1940s. http://modelshipworl...by-probablynot-a-18-re-build-of-my-1949-kayak/

Next project: - I'm thinking.   Might be Victory Models' HMS Fly.  A pretty ship - miles of rigging ...


#83
mtaylor

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There's a lot to be said for that, Brian.   I went the same way.  Bought the model and realized I was in way over my head and bought a "beginner kit".. then I attacked the Billings Wasa.  

 

A cautionary tale might have made me think first.. or not.  But it might have helped me over the shock of "this Wasa kit is just a pile of wood... what the ???"


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Mark

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me


Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)


Member of the Nautical Research Guild


#84
EJ_L

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I highly encourage people to start small and work up and fully support messages like this cautionary tale however I say that as a "do what I say not as I do" message. The only beginner ship I built was Constructo's 1:150 scale Bounty and it was my seventh build. It was more of a filler ship build that I had picked up while waiting on La Couronne to arrive. I've always been one to dive into the the deep end from the start and while I will never say that all those experiences turned out good, it is just the way I am. I have a few bad models as a result of doing things this way that while I am proud of myself for pushing through them, they could have turned out many times better had I started slow. Burnout, frustration and a lack of knowledge and skills limited what I was able to do and as a result I would unknowingly skip critical steps or just settle for what it is as I had no way of knowing any different. Those models are now on the rebuild wish list.

 

Still, I do not discourage a person from tackling that larger, more difficult build from the start if they have their mind set on it. Being passionate about a project is just as important as that drive can help carry you through those tough times when it is easy to quit. Also, with great communities like this one where helpful knowledge and a friendly conversation with people who know your struggle it is much easier to attempt those harder builds early on. We are no longer isolated to build by ourselves and having to figure things out on our own. More than likely that question you have has been asked and is answered on here and probably in multiple threads. I can testify to how well this community works. My current build is my first one on here and just what I have learned from MSW has made this build a hundred times better than the last and myself a much better modeler than what I was a year ago.

 

Know yourself when choosing your model. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be honest about them. Build where you feel comfortable, don't be afraid to ask for help and above all be sure to enjoy it. If you can manage that then you can build any ship you want.  :D 


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"Anchors Aweigh"

-E.J.

 

Current Builds - La Couronne - Corel &  Le Soleil Royal - Sergal

Completed - Wood - Rattlesnake - Model Shipways, HMS Bounty - Constructo

                      Plastic - USS Constitution - Revel (twice), Cutty Sark.

Unfinished - Plastic - HMS Victory - Heller, Sea Witch.

Member : Nautical Research Guild

 

 


#85
Mike40

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I suppose many do try to build models and then give up when they find it is beyond their skill level, but I don't believe that one rule fits all. Yes, some get discouraged easily while others rise to the challenge and learn what they need to know as they progress. It all depends on what someone new to modeling brings with them in terms of relevant experience/skills/expectations. I expect many newcomers with no skills see a model they love and want to building it, and anything less would not inspire them, while others might see they are in over their heads and put it aside and try a simpler model in order to develop skills. Their are always lots of people trying new things that they abandon when they find out it is not as easy as they thought it would be. 


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Mike,

an American living in Norway

 

 

Current build:  Galley Washington - 1:48 - Scratch POF - NRG plans

 


#86
S.Coleman

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It took me 6 completed ships to reach the 1:75 80 Gun ship Friesland. Now I'm glad I gained experience. Trust me first time model shipwrights, it helps out a lot. I hope you have read through these comments and settled in for a build to gain knowledge and success to help you achieive your desired expectations without giving up on the hobby. Best of luck.
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Regards, Scott

Current build: 1:75 Friesland, Mamoli

Completed builds:
1:64 Rattlesnake, Mamoli
1:64 HMS Bounty, Mamoli
1:54 Adventure, Amati
1:80 King of the Mississippi, AL
1:64 Blue Shadow, Mamoli
1:64 Leida Dutch pleasure boat, Corel
1:60 HMS President Mantra, Sergal

Awaiting construction:
1:89 Hermione La Fayette AL
1:48 Perserverance, Modelers shipyard

#87
ccoyle

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I feel sort of obliged to point out that I never said don't attempt a difficult model (I actually said that such models do occasionally get completed); I merely encouraged readers to seriously think about what they might be getting themselves into, i.e. make an informed decision. And don't take this as an insult (cuz no offense is meant), but the comments that run something like, "Well, I attempted a difficult model on my first go-around, and I succeeded" are well taken, but don't actually add anything significant to what I already plainly acknowledged. Those that make such comments are part of the 25% of beginning builders who finished their first models. Who we don't hear from are the 75% of beginners who didn't finish their models -- because they're no longer here to add their comments!  :)  And it's those 75% whom I was addressing in the original post, not the other 25%.

 

Carry on!


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Chris Coyle
Greenville, South Carolina

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
- Tuco


#88
popeye the sailor

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I thought the same thing Mike.......I'd see these kits on a shelf,  and walk away thinking that I could never do something like that.   that mentality stayed with me until I got a Nordkap kit put in front of me.   the kit wasn't even laser cut.....it had been in an attic for around 30 years.  I knew the gent,  an older co worker.......and he gave it to me.......everything!   for fun,  I looked up the kit and the cost of it.......I was astounded!

     I had zero experience......I was working on a Revell Cutty 1:96 {what got me into this predicament in the first place}.  here is what I started with:

 

frame.jpg

 

I found the link for Billing USA......that's when I met Tom Richardson.   this gentleman felt bad and kinda tried to talk me out of it,  for fear that I would get discouraged and shy away from the hobby.  but I assured him that it wasn't going to happen.....I was build'in this bad boy!   it all boils down to....the desire.   I wasn't worried about mistakes......I made a lot of 'em!  I did a build log on blogger........if anyone wants the link...just ask  ;)   in the log,  I wrote about everything.....even the mistakes.  in the end,  I knew it would be worth it........any newbie reading it can {and could} relate any of my mistakes to any kit there is out there.  Tom helped me out a lot......I wrote the log for him.   when I found this site....well,  that's when all hell broke loose......I'm a certified wood nut now!   this site.......YOU PEOPLE.......are awesome....I learned so much,  and I continue to do so today.  I'm no expert.....but I know how to glue two sticks together  :D  :D  :D

 

today........I have build logs on Blogger and word press {wenzels wharf,  popeyesquadron,  and popeyesgarage}   I continue to write these logs......any model that crosses my table is fair game.   to me......I don't care what kit it is....it will seem impossible to a person just getting into the hobby.   build it.......don't hesitate.   no matter what happens.....no matter how it looks.....build it.  the experience you glean from it,  will enhance your second build ten fold!  we all have our learning curve.......the desire.....and a good 'can do' attitude.....you'll rise above it....you'll git 'er done!

 

Nordkap.JPG

 

I even did some bash and scratch stuff to her

 


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I yam wot I yam!


finished builds:
Billings Nordkap 476 / Billings Cux 87 / Billings Mary Ann / Billings AmericA - reissue
Billings Regina - bashed into the Susan A / Andrea Gail 1:20 - semi scratch w/ Billing instructions
M&M Fun Ship - semi scratch build / Gundalow - scratch build
Phylly C & Denny-Zen - the Lobsie twins - bashed / semi scratch dual build

 

on the table:
Billing's Gothenborg 1:100 / Billing's Boulogne Etaples 1:20
Billing's Half Moon 1:40 - some scratch required
Revell U.S.S. United States 1:96 - plastic/ wood modified / Academy Titanic 1:400
Trawler Syborn - semi scratch / Holiday Harbor dual build - semi scratch


#89
John Allen

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Popeye,

 

 What a Beauty! Everyone needs to copy and paste your post above the one their working on. I was in the same predicament, on the HMS Victory, made tons of mistakes, breaking masts, redid all ratlines twice, caved in 3 inches of the side when a nail hit a frame, and more, I was going to finish it come hell or high water. Excellent advice.


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John Allen

 

 

Current build Mamoli HMS Victory

Armed Launch-Panart

Diligence English Revenue Cutter-Marine  Model Co. 

On deck Maori (Waca) war canoe

and Double hull Polynesian canoe (Holakea)


#90
Mike40

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Chris, I don't think any of us are disagreeing with you. Your original post was thoughtful, and excellent advice. I think the discussion since then has been more about the exceptions that abound due to human nature and not a debate about how right or wrong you were. Maybe we are just enjoying ourselves exploring the subject.


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Mike,

an American living in Norway

 

 

Current build:  Galley Washington - 1:48 - Scratch POF - NRG plans

 


#91
williamDB

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I havent posted on here for over a year but my build is still going, it is my first scratch build, a 1/72 HMS Victory. My problem lies in the lack of challenge, It all started with a monthly subscription of the AL HMS Victory 6 years ago, it was well advertised in Britain. Started the kit along with many others at the time on a slowly but surly monthly build, time went by and I started to feel a lack of challenge that I was expecting from the kit, so I bought McKay`s book and jumped into a scratch build.

I decided to make it at 1/72 simply because I could buy 3rd party cannons anchors and all the stuff I couldn`t make, as I merrily carried on with my build not hitting any problems. So I decided to have a go at making the cannons, turned them out of ebony and found yep I can do that.

So thinking a little deeper I split the cannons in two so I could build the entire cannons on every deck then remove the bit of the barrel that sticks out any replace it when the build is finished. Then my old mate the LACK OF CHALLENGE was again tapping on my shoulder so OK going to have a go at carving the stern decorations and again did that, next carved the figure head, built a the barge with anchor and oars and again no challenge, so as the challenges fall so does my enthusiasm.

 

So advice for a beginner… dont think one day, right gonna build a wooden model ship, no keep the idea in your head and let your enthusiasm grow, and when your really keen and ready thats the time to jump in, as for the rules there is none. Pick as big a scale as you can this makes the detail much easier but keep in mind the space you need to build it, another point is the time it will take to finish the build, the longer it takes the more your mind will go through different phases, so I think a 3 to 6 month build would be ideal, one last point and I use this one, is if you find you need a break, cover you build up with a towel, this stops you catching sight of your model on a regular basis, then when your ready to start again, you will find removing the cover will give the model a fresh look..

 

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#92
Sam Ladley

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I'm a total novice at this. Right now bashing a plastic Revell Constitution into a brandywine frigate using basswoodand scratch pieces. My advice to a newbie would be, plan to paint your first model. Being able to use putty and filler or wood patches that you can then fare off and paint saves much frustration. Once you develop some skills then you can show your work.
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#93
Blackreed

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As a beginner to boat building, I am finding several things here, the first is that finding a website like this may be the most important thing after making the leap into this hobby. I personally rate every model I build into two categories, difficulty based on the kit and difficulty based on the instructions.

I am currently working on 2 boats, the first made by Latina, I have experience with them I knew that my first boat would be easiest based on the quality of wood and the instructions are top notch, the titanic life boat is planked with bass wood, this threw me back, I became determined to accomplish this this way.

The second boat is made by Occre, the kit is easy enough, say level 2, the instructions are level 4, it's just pictures.

Now the biggest problem I've found in modeling is the terms, these terms make asking questions very difficult, in stagecoaches, water wheels, train cars the terms have been reused so many times over the years that it is very difficult to get advice or answers to the simplest things.

I know I am preaching to the quire here, no one could possibly be prepared for what it's like to watch glue and paint dry, there is no instant gratification in this.
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#94
Mike40

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I can relate to your story William. I have been into many different branches of woodworking from turning,furniture,marquetry, carving, etc. and I have enjoyed them all and I always finish my projects, but I cannot keep my enthusiasm up long enough to master any one area. This has been somewhat frustrating, but after 20 years of this I finally decided that I will never master any one part of the craft because at heart I am more interested in exploring new disciplines to keep my motivation up and also to learn about the history and culture related to those subjects. Of course I have managed to keep this within the general woodworking area, especially since I am tooled up for that and have many transferable skills. My point is that I think it helps to understand the dynamic of your motivation in order to keep your work satisfying.


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Mike,

an American living in Norway

 

 

Current build:  Galley Washington - 1:48 - Scratch POF - NRG plans

 


#95
AntonyUK

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Hi.
Quite a different story for me..
I started at the age of 6 or 8. Never had any money or kits around at that time.
Only plastic kits of aircraft were the rage with kids.
A local fisherman who made models from wood he found washed up on the beach was his local supplier.
This guy had a wicked eye for ships lines and shapes. He would carve the models from the drift wood that had been drying over several years with very little tools and drawings.
Nothing is a failure in his eyes as it is art in his style.

The first thing I made out of wood was a raft. Very basic with bamboo canes as the timber.
The next one was a rowing boat made from a plug that my tutor had made a few years earlier.
This one was made using candle wax to release the glue. Two straps of planks a day...
After that I started making my own designs. What was pleasing to my eyes was the shape and style.

I take breaks from my ship modeling... last time I did any was some 5 months ago. Now summer is over will finish my Korean ship.

Many people fail to compleate there model due to very poor instructions. And to poor quality of the kit contents.
There are some excellent posts and help on beginners choice of kit here on this forum.

What I am trying to say is.. Don't care what other people think of your ship or boat. We all have got to learn to use our hands and head together.
For begginers... post it and you Will get the help.
Don't compare your work with other people's. ... It's your ship/boat.
Ask before you proceed if you don't understand what the instruction are trying to say.

Enough of my ranting and trying to put the world to right.

Regards Antony.
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Best advice ever given to me."If you don't know ..Just ask"


Working on scratch built Korean Turtle ship 1/32
Starting shortly. Bounty Occre 1/45

Completed H.M.S. Victory X section by Coral.
Compleated The Black Pearl fun build
Compleated A large scale Victory cross section 1/36

#96
JosephHuntley

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hey I resemble all those remarks abt in over my head etc and still doing it lol. to be honest I have been designing and building planes for over 35 yrs and have built all 3 sister ships of revell's the President United States and Constitution even a few radio control hydros.

 

But I feel I have the modeling experience to overcome the obsticles. as many have noticed I started cad drawing a few projects here then stopped them. it isn't that I cant do them but I started them before I took the time to actually read instead of looking at pictures the various build threads and to ask a ton of dumb questions. now I finally ordered the Admiralty swan class as my first POF and I think I am raring to go with it. a lot of the stuff  i was having problems with on reading plans like the bevels etc just a couple days ago popped the light bulb in my head and I actually understand them now. I attribute that to years of plane modeling and drafting that once i asked the questions and let it soak in while looking at build threads and then seeing what i was being explained helped.

 

So what I am saying here is that anyone with some experience can start a project but don't make my mistakes and not read builds. read them not just look at pictures then ask questions then go back to build logs and read them until you actually see what the answer was telling you. all before you  make your first piece of sawdust. and don't forget to check out all the tools tips and jigs you might want to make while waiting on the right plan for you.

 

Joe


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