Chuck

To help kit developers and kit builders alike-What would you like to see developed for the hobby.

108 posts in this topic

I'd like to suggest a more obscure type of vessel - this is a Merchant Brig circa 1795 bought in to the Royal Navy to test Centerboards / Drop Keels  on larger vessels. This design was developed and investigated by John Schank.

 

http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/66542.html

 

The National Maritime Museum says:

 

"Schank entered the navy at a young age, and was known for his skill in ship construction and mechanical design. While he was a lieutenant in 1776 he was in charge of assembling ships to battle the American Revolutionaries on Lake Champlain. He constructed HMS 'Inflexible', which he also commanded as part of a fleet that defeated General Benedict Arnold's fleet in October 1776. He was made a captain in 1783, and bought his design for ships with sliding keels before the Admiralty, which was incorporated by the Admiralty into ships. In 1821 Schank attained the rank of admiral of the blue".

 

 

Scale: 1/64th to 1/32nd

Size: Max. 800mm

Period: 1750-1900's.

Nationality: Don't care

Building method: POB or POF: POF preferred if laser cut (consider POF method used for Longboat and Pinnace as 'easier' introduction to POF building??).

Materials: Basswood / Lime - not Walnut (unless it has a very fine/even grain)

Cost: sub $500 inc. shipping to mainland UK/Europe.
 

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I think I would also like to see a POF model of e.g. a British or French 6th Rate in a reasonable scale (1/64 or 1/48) available to buy in 3 "Modules": Bow, Midships and Stern. I'd suggest each section be similar in size and each module could be bought for sub $200, so that the work could be phased and planned to suit building a model of reasonable size. That way one could build a 28 gun Frigate without the masses of space required (for example a dedicated room/garage/hobby shop) and tools to build a a full POF model.

 

This would also allow each model to be sold by the manufacturer individually or as a bundle with a slight reduction in price, for example $200 each or $550 for "Modules A, B, & C".

 

Just a thought.... 

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Interesting topic.

Perhaps a bit theoretical but here's my request : 

 

How come there's so little of Jean Boudriot's work available in the kit market ?

Is this a legal or a copyright issue ?

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but I have only knowledge of "Le Chebec" released by Heller, a plastic kit , a few decades ago, I guess...

I'd love a 1/64 version of wonderful vessels such as La Vénus, La Renommée,...

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I´d love to see some french frigates, too. La Forte or maybe La Virginie.

 

Or a danish one, they built beautiful vessels like Hohlenberg´s 24-pounder frigate Perlen of 1805:

 

post-395-0-54824500-1464962458_thumb.jpg

 

Another beauty, Schifter´s Galathea:

 

post-395-0-31673200-1464962471_thumb.jpg

 

Launched 1833 and made the first danish circumnavigation of the globe in the years 1846/47.

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One more set of ideas.

 

Perhaps the following ideas could be of use.

 

To draw new builders into the hobby create a small series of ships that increase in difficulty.

 

The first model could be something like a 'row boat' or something similar.  Teaches how to setup false hull, simple planking, sand and paint.  What I really think would help is the inclusion of a DVD instructing what has to be done.

 

Second model a sail boat. Reinforces the first model, simple rigging, etc.  Include DVD

 

Third model something with a deck.  Include DVD

 

Final model, something similar to the 'Ranger' (cannot remember the maker).  Complex planking, deck, deck furniture, cannon (with rigging), rigging the ship and installation of sails.  Include DVD

 

I am not at all familiar with marketing, but if possible sell the first two models at places like Hobby Lobby, and other such chain stores.

 

Chuck A.

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Great topic.  As I visit the many websites of kit manufacturers and distributors I see an abundance of model of ships with sails.  I would like to see more kits of ships built after the golden age of sails.  The early steam ship era represents a large population of ships that would be interesting as models.  The first monitors, tugs, trawlers, riverboats, etc., would all be very interesting kits to build.

 

I am not a ship historian, but I think that the early steam era would provide some great models.

 

I second this opinion. :)  I would love to build a static model of one of those plumb bow yachts from the 1930s like the Bluebird of Chelsea; big, beautiful and in-your-face full of detail. I know there are scratch plans for her, but as a scratch builder, I make a good piano player (and I can't play the piano).

http://csmee.org.nz/featuremodel---bluebird.php

 

Skip

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One thing I would like to see (and Chuck you already do it) is detailed pictures of what is being offered. When I am looking for cleats I see a list of 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, etc... or something similar. If there are no detailed photos or just a crude drawing or description I have no idea how good they really look or if I will be able to use them until they are delivered. Often I order anchors, belaying pins, carronades and cleats for a kit upgrade or a scratchbuild and end up with some grossly mis-shaped or out of scale.

 

Detailed pictures make the sale easy!

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What I would also like to see is a kit in a common universal scale, like 1/64th, or 3/16" = 1 foot.

 

Often, ship model kits are made in some truly frustrating scales. What the companies do, is to first figure out, through marketing, what is the most popular size of a completed ship model, taking into account the average display table size, or fireplace mantel dimensions. Once they come up with that figure, they alter their ship size to fit that space, and as a result, come up with some pretty unhelpful scales to manufacture their kit in. Try finding accurate replacement 12-pounder cannon barrels in 1/76.2-th scale. (Model Shipway's Essex, I'm looking at you. :)

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Oh, one more thing that I would like to see (from Syren specifically) is an option for bulk-orders of blocks. If you could offer a package of blocks to replace all of the kit blocks in the MS Rattlesnake (for example) builders could order that for the MS kit or any similar ship.

 

It is impossible to offer such a package for every kit, but a few generic 20 gun, 50 gun, 100 gun packages at 2 or 3 different scales could be doable...

 

It's amazing how easy something is to suggest when SOMEONE ELSE has to do the actual work ;-)

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Personally I would love to try a fully framed model, but lack the tools and skills to build completely from scratch. My main interest lies towards period ships (18th century-ish), which is well represented in the kit market as far as POB models go. Every person has their own particular favourite era, and saying we need more of this era, or that era might not be the best if that particular era is not of the greatest interest to the largest number of potential kit buyers. Sorry to upset all the foamers (the ones who foam at the mouth over their particular favourite subject, and yes that includes myself).

Seems to be for larger-ish ships 1:48 is the ideal scale for POF work, but other scales are not unheard of. As for price, I would expect something around the $500 to $800 mark, at the very least, for something along the lines of a small sloop.

 

So yes, I would love to see a 1:48 POF kit of the HM Snow Ontario, but I would still be interested for virtually any available POF kit of a ship in that same era.

 

Andy

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Like most of us, I have a list of 'dream kits' that includes ships that are probably not all that popular. But I do think that two of the suggestions already put forth have merit.

 

First, I completely agree with the sail-to-steam transition period being both under-represented in the hobby and offering a wealth of attractive potential subjects.

 

Second, I wouldn't mind seeing something like the current Caldercraft Nelson's Navy line, but featuring American sailing men-of-war. Wasp and Peacock have already been mentioned; cobble one of those two together to go along with Syren, add in a gunboat, a schooner, and a frigate not named Constitution, and you'd be off to the races. For the frigate, I'd suggest Chesapeake. Bluejacket currently has a limited run of Kearsarge and Alabama -- how about offering up a twin bill of Chesapeake and HMS Shannon? I think those would be good sellers.

 

No matter what you decide on, Chuck, I know it will be a first-class production.

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And could the american producers please, please have a european agent?

Getting kits around/through custums without damage (sometimes they

open rattling packages with metal in them..) and at reasonable cost can be difficult and time-consuming.

 

Jan

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Not that I am getting involved with the topic of kit subject matter but I do feel compelled to respond to this as it was a direct request of sorts...so please excuse the interruption.

 

HSM wrote

 

Oh, one more thing that I would like to see (from Syren specifically) is an option for bulk-orders of blocks. If you could offer a package of blocks to replace all of the kit blocks in the MS Rattlesnake (for example) builders could order that for the MS kit or any similar ship.

 

It is impossible to offer such a package for every kit, but a few generic 20 gun, 50 gun, 100 gun packages at 2 or 3 different scales could be doable...

 

It's amazing how easy something is to suggest when SOMEONE ELSE has to do the actual work ;-)

 

Sadly,  this will never happen but please allow me to explain why.   The answer is three fold.  Just so everyone knows.

 

- First...I would need to double if not triple my output of block/rope production so I could stock enough of these packages for individual kits or ship types.

 

- Second...the amount of time needed to just package up these blocks and rope now is enormous.   So to package by hand different amounts of different sizes included labeled packages and then sort them would take hiring another person to do that almost full time.  And when they were done....they could sit on the shelf for months or even years before someone might be willing to buy such an upgrade package so specific.

 

-Third...It would take weeks...months or even years to research so many specific ships....research that really should be done by the builder.   Especially if I have never built the ship before.  This is a question I get all the time....I got this one just a few days ago.  I think some folks just want the work all done and spoon fed like it was a fast food restaurant.

 

"I am building the Vasa and would like to replace all of the blocks and rope in the kit with yours.   Can you tell me how many blocks and what sizes I would need?   I also need to know how much rope to buy.   The kit isn't very good in this regard so sizes and quantities are unknown to me.  Is there some hard and fast rules that would tell me what sizes to use in the different areas of the rig?  Any help would be appreciated.  I have just finished the hull and I am anxious to get started on the rigging as quickly as possible.  Do have expedited shipping?"

 

I could spend several months writing what would amount to be a treatise on this subject for this customer.....while gathering the quantities and lengths....but seriously...who is building this model.  There are usually many books readily available to help the model builder figure all of this stuff out....as much as I want to be everyone's shortcut and help them out....it is an impossible task.  So please dont get mad if I respond in the usual manner if you should ask this question...

 

​I never built it...but there are several books on the subject.  Please refer to the parts list in your kit as a starting point.  Everything is in stock and ready when you gather up all the information.   You may consider signing up on Model Ship World to ask those questions.   I am sure you will find many people who have built that kit.   :(   

 

Many ask for this because they also believe as a bulk package it will be cheaper.  But in reality because of the work involved as mentioned....I would have to charge a whole lot more.  Its cheaper if you guys do the math up front.  A lot less work for me too!!!

 

 

Oh and if I can slip this in....Wasp is on my short list already.  ;) 

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If kitmakers would provide enough rope and decent blocks, there is no need for bulk-pakages ......

The problem is that many provide kind of lousy rope, and blocks that fot their rope....

 

Jan

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Great idea Chuck, and thank you!

 

I was/am a complete beginner with no modeling, woodworking, metalworking experience. Working on first build Model Shipways Niagara.

 

 

The MS plans and instructions are decent - probably more than enough for an experienced modeler.  However at times, in my position, I have been frustrated by what seems to be an assumption on the designer/author part that the reader IS experienced.

 

I think a lot of potential builders out there have this perceived notion that what we do is far too complicated. They never even try because of that.

 

So one suggestion is that some of the quality kit manufacturers produce a few very simple builds and advertise them as such.

 

Included should be detailed instructions on every piece that is to be assembled - similar to the old plastic car/plane kits. A practicum should almost be required or at least offered for an additional fee. Maybe not everyone is in my position, but I would have gladly paid an additional $50-$100 for a complete Niagara praticum.

 

A good example is the Niagara rigging phase. The instructions do say standing before running, shrouds before stays but that's about it. The plans implicitly tell me "OK make it look like this". There's a lot missing in between. Sure I can petition this forum or maybe Goggle something up but that is the extra work that frustrates me. If the instructions can't spell out every detail they should at least point me to a solid source that can

 

Assembly steps should include a bit of all the things we do - planking, rigging, bending some brass, shaping some wood, painting  but not months worth of any of those.

 

I realize there are "beginner" kits out there. However from what I have seen it appears the designers do not always approach the build AS a beginner.

 

I don't like to point fingers online but I will this one time. My 10 year loves helping with my build and it's not just doing something with Daddy. She really gets it. I wanted to find a kit for her to build. As I said earlier, with a little bit of everything but not too much of anything. Some offerings looked a little cheesy, others a bit too much. We decided on and ordered a Mini Mamoli. The kit contents were very reasonable and the materials were better than average. HOWEVER we would not have gotten past the first step of the instructions if I had not had some build experience. And the kit is rated as a beginners kit.

 

I don't know if all this is helping but I guess overall I am saying if we want more new people (beginners) to try our hobby, I think it needs to be more attractive to them and easier for them.

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Would love to see some options for wood type. Entry level = basswood. Premium level = boxwood or walnut or other exotics. Or maybe you could call it Painted level vs Stained level.

 

I have no problem with paying extra for premium wood. At the moment I am having Jason replacing the basswood included in my kit's "on the shelf"

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So here's a question for the kit designers reading this. How do you judge what will sell or be popular? All of us can advocate for our little niches (riverboats, transitional craft, merchant ships, etc) but you professionals have to actually assess and decide what will be a good product. What does that R&D process look like? How much is guided by your own hunches and interests versus outside research into trends, etc.?

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I think thats a discussion for another topic because it would literally take over this topic....my guess its a little of this and a little of that....remember we are just model builders too.  So we build what we like.   But I would suggest that you start a new topic on that if you are interested in having all of us kit developers chime in.   Plus, yes, its just a hunch based on info from topics like this one and whatever feedback is out there.   Which is why I thought we would start this topic.  I would hate to muddy up this important data with another subject.

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Fair enough. I thought it might inform peoples' ideas about what kinds of models were practical or not to develop. But you're likely right that it takes your initial question off-course.

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What will be good, they are kits with of afforest that of the sapelli, that it have no anachronisms in the construction, mouldings or sculpture there in resin rather than metal badly molded and more detailed plans...

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The topic is getting too general.....remember what is of most help to us developers/publishers/magazine editors trying to decide what you guys want as a subject to build or learn about.  As a group we are interested in subject matter choices.  I think we all know you would like better instructions and better wood and better everything.  No need to repeat that stuff.  Its been a given for decades.  Specifics if possible or types and periods....I am not trying to intervene....just moderate a little.   The generalities are not very helpful to be honest.  You guys say that other stuff all over this forum.

 

Think of it in terms of subject matter.    So far the most often mentioned subject is sail to steam.....larger scales and  detailed ........around 200 to 300 dollars.   With that info and knowing more than just a few want one...you actually stand a chance of getting it.   Maybe more articles on that period in the Research Journal too....all because we had a lot of folks tell us they are interested in it.  Just mentioning you want better pictures isnt going to get you that model or article or new Seawatch book.   Again just playing the moderator here.  If we had 20 guys say they were interested in a certain ship or period that hasnt been done before, you better believe that all of the above companies would want to sell you something about it.

 

- Name of ship .....or type

- Country of origin - date

- Material choices and what style...POB or POF or Solid hull ETC

- Price range you would expect to pay...whether realistic or not

-How long do you prefer a build to last from a kit.  Will you want to spend 6 months for a small kit or 6 years for that 100 gun French frigate from 1820?

-Advanced or beginner......something in-between? 

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Another interesting question is how to judge responses. Does a post with X likes show the same level of interest as X different people saying the same thing? I know I agree with several other suggestions here and have "liked" them, without wanting to clutter up the thread by saying so out loud (so to speak). If the thread is read in a linear fashion, lots of similar posts will feel like they have more weight as opposed to an older post that piles up likes that aren't noticed unless one goes back and looks.

 

For example, I love the idea of more exploration ships (especially Beagle and Endurance) but felt that liking the initial suggestion was sufficient. Is that how it's read by those who want the input?

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I will echo what Amateur said in post #7,but in a larger scale such as 1/64 or 1/72.

 

I would love to see a historically accurate kit at a reasonable scale (1:96 or 1:192) of a Dutch two or threedecker, like the Gouden Leeuw.

I would like: advanced, building time: long, price around 400 euro, (but higher is open for discussion)
I would like a POF, but with the option to build the interior from th lower gundeck upwards.

I would prefer serious wood, not the usual kit-stuff
i would prefer historicall accurate 
i would prefer non-guilded, resin (?) 'carving'
I would prefer fullguns, and not those silly half-guns. (At 1:192 resin casting is OK with me)
I am not a large fan of an 'assembly kit' in which all parts are lasercut, and only need to put together. (Although the resulting model greatly benefits from those lasercutassembly parts)

Second type of kit iI would be seriously be tempted: navyboard style English first or second rate. 
(Again 1:192, serious wood, historically accurate, and all other remarks i made above) 

Jan

 

Mark

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Being from the left coast and interested in work boats my vote would be for something like the C.H. Thayer or Wawona, lumber schooners that have alot of documentation. The steam schooner Wapama would be a good subject as well, as their is allready a good set of plans available.

POB or solid hull for cost reasons (thinking POF kits would cost more)

Scale should keep the finished kit some what small ( 10-30" ) in length.

Price in the 200-500 dollar range.

Build time does not matter(To me ) it is not a race.

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As a relative newbie (working on my first model for 2.5 years now) I am putting out there suggestions that would hopefully bring more novices into the hobby and more importantly, keep them engaged in it.  This hobby is not fun as it is set up today.  I hate to say that, but it requires so many attributes (not skills) like patience, perseverance, and the ability to overcome obstacles, that young and old alike just do not have.  I've found that when the build process is clear, I have fun doing it.  When I know where I'm going next; why one step should proceed, not follow another, and I have the right tool available for the job, then the fun begins.  But I would guess that I spend 3/4 of my time poring over plans, internet pictures, tutorials etc. to get me to where I'm comfortable taking the next step.  Admittedly I started out with an advanced kit (A.L.'s Bounty), but I've read about lots of other novice to mid level builders who experience the same with far simpler kits.  So, with that in mind, I will repeat what JerseyCityFrankie and Chuck A wrote a few pages earlier:

 

There needs to be a logical 'curriculum' for entry level builders which will allow them to become familiar with terminology, basic ship structure, tools and materials.  Each step in the way should increase the complexity of the build but each step should allow the builder to produce (with not alot of angst) a model he or she can be proud of.  

 

Included in this "course" must be far more explicit closeup photos of build as it progresses.  A picture tells a thousand words but it takes forever to find the right picture on the internet.  And instructions need to be accurate and (if a translation from Spanish is needed, it needs to be proofread or checked with someone who speaks English). 

 

Both of these suggestions would have allowed me to complete my Bounty at least a year ago and I would have gone on to spend more $$ in the industry.  Instead I am still trying to figure out where the mizzen stay actually terminates, and have decided in advance that running rigging is far too complex for me.  So it will be some time still before I look for my next model.  I actually suggested to my friend and fellow Bounty builder (thomaslambo) that if I continue to build model ships, even after doing a pretty decent job of Bounty, that I intended to revert to a simple canoe and pretend it was my first model.  Then I would proceed as ChuckA has suggested with increasingly more detailed models.  So it would be a great help if some experienced hands (and mfrs) could offer such a planned approach.

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My 2 centimes. The vessel should have a story; some fame or provenance that would make her interesting and exciting for a general model maker. There’s lots of very good offerings in previous posts. But I feel that Euro ships are under, or, un-represented in the world of kits. Western folks have little opportunity to explore the history and detail of a Euro vessel, as it differs from the typical British or American model.

 

So, I would like to see something Spanish, but not the usual huge and ornate 1st rate. Perhaps a frigate from the treasure fleet of Cabo de Santa Maria (Oct. 1804)

Fama, or perhaps Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes

 

Spain: 1790-1805

 

PoF or PoB (could be a plan option). Decent wood (but one is able to substitute). Scale is indeterminate due to Euro metrics, but something consistent with 1:48. Consistent scaling is all important, such that Chuck doesn’t have go broke with stocking charges for a gazillion different scales. Consistent scaling is also extremely important for modelers looking to do matched-pair builds (Fama/Lively, Chesapeake/Shannon, Mercedes/Amphion, etc..).

 

At 1:48, I would expect to pay $600-$800 (680-900 Eu) for a good quality PoF kit with suitable wood and full-boggie plans (suitable for kit-basher builders). PoB should be less by roughly $115 (100 Eu). The kit could be scaled down to 1:72 and done PoB for $350-$450 (300-400 Eu).

 

At 1:48 PoF, it’s kinda advanced going to full-boggie advanced if one delves deeply into the treasures of the plans. With PoB, it’s intermediate (+) going towards advanced.

Best case, 9-mos to 1-year. Full-boggie is however long you can convince the Admiral you admire the flow of those lines as much as, if not more, than your vessel.

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Chuck,

 

If there was sufficient interest there, I would like to see a series of quality mid 1800's American merchant sail.  This is an interesting period of marine history and it played an inportant role in developing the United States economy.  Additionally, the brigs, brigantines, packards, and clipper ships were beautiful ships.

 

Key attributes for these kits would include: quality plans, quality instructions, quality fittings, and prime wood.  Hull construction could be POB or POS.  Fabrication of deck furniture, masts, spars could be left to the modeler.

 

Regards,

Pete

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