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This probably isn't the right place for this question, but I didn't know where to put it. I have seen how experienced all of the members are on this forum, especially in wooden modeling. I am looking into breaking away from the plastic kits and starting my first wooden model. I wasn't sure where to start though. Is there any requirements, tools, and skills I need to build a wooden ship? I don't want to buy one of the really expensive kits just to have it go to waste in a forgotten closet. 

 

Thanks and happy modeling

-Zach

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Hi, I am relatively new to wood models having spent most of my life working with plastic models so here's what I have found.  Even though there are a lot of specialized tools that experienced modellers in wood use a good model can be built using the basic tools most modeller have at their disposal, especially if you have built plastic ship models.  In my opinion it is probably best that you pick a solid hull kit to start with. I chose the Model Shipways New York pilot boat Phantom to start with. Chuck Passaro has written an excellent practicum for this kit and it has helped me tremendously with my build. I think another good kit would be the Colonial schooner Sultana also by MS. Both kits are relatively inexpensive and there are several build logs you can reference for both.

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I'll second Bob on the tools.  However, I'll argue about the 'solid hull' as some can be quite complex.   Do a search here on MSW for "beginner kit" or "beginner kits" and maybe "first build" (use the quotes to narrow the searches).  There's quite a few good beginner kits out there and (humor alert) Victory is not one of them.  I'd start with something simple like one of the cross-section kits or just a small craft to get a feel for them.  Probably the small craft (rowboat or even one of Chuck's small ship's boat models as he has excellent instructions).  

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Is it a kit you want to do?

 

If not you could do worse than have a go at the Triton Cross section on this web site.

 

I doubt there would not be a question asked that has not been answered there and plenty of photos to help you along the way.

 

There would be no cost to you other than materials

 

Noel

 

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number 1 rule for me is, build a vessel you are interested in. first build for me was amati santa maria. it was rated as an intermediate level kit but I finished her just fine mainly because I was in love with the vessel and the whole columbus story and legend. also if I would recommend 1 tool for the wooden model maker, it would be a dremel. these things are gold!

 

chris

 

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Thanks for all of the tips. I was eyeing the fair American or maybe the syren. I probably will have to start with a small build though or a cross section like what was suggested.

Thanks again

-Zach

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Zach

Stick with your last post. Before I found this site I had a Victory, I all ready had experience with most large plastic models on the market, and several wood kits solid and planked that turned out great. So i had all the experience I needed then up jumped the devil. This site saved my bacon as well as the good folks that answered all my questions no matter how stupid some of them were. The problem was not the rigging but instructions, planking, construction of the masts etc. Started in 2013 and finally on the last page of rigging. The web messes with your head bigger is better and all the beautiful pics. Its called model brainwashing.

 

You will enjoy your building experience more starting with your last post.

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I built about 1/3 of the Triton cross section a year or so ago. I put it on the bench for a later date. IMO, this is not beginner project as it is a scratch build from plans. I'd suggest something not too complicated like...Caldercraft's Sherborne or Pickle, od the Shenandoah, or any of the already suggested Midwest ship models (Sharpir Schooner).

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Great question. There are a wide variety of experience levels here. I'd never built a wooden model before a few years ago, but I started small and worked my way up. I strongly recommend choosing something small with very good instructions. You will have plenty of opportunity to dive into a more complex model once you've gotten your feet wet. Choose a basic open boat or a simple schooner, something that won't overwhelm you.

 

As for tools, I've built all the models in my signature entirely with basic hand tools (nothing powered or expensive), just a set of knives, files, sandpaper, squares, clamps, etc. Don't go buying lots of supplies until you're sure you want or need them.

 

Good luck and have fun!

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My first foray into model ship building was going the kit route.  As long as the directions are easy to understand and the kit is complete, I can't see why any specialty tools would be needed.  But I say that with the assumption the newbie has the basic tools for working wood. 

 

Even if you have no tools, I don't think one would have to break the bank buying the basic tools needed for wood ship modeling.  And when it comes to getting help, there is no better place to be than right here.  Most of the members here have forgotten more than I'll ever know about modeling and they are extremely generous and amazingly helpful.  All you have to do is ask.

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I would not recommend the Syren as a first wood model. Too complicated,and some shoddy materials to deal with. My first wood model was the Billings Lilla Dan built when I was 20, I'm now 73 and still have that model. I recommend it because its a fairly large scale, the parts are fairly big aand the planks are wide making it a more simple ship to build but stall has all the features a more complicated model might have,just less parts count.

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Posted (edited)

You can start building boats with only a few very basic hand tools. This is how I scratch built my first model, in the living room table out of some old simple plans I found on the internet. Then again you can have a vast workshop and still miss some specialised tools. 

As you start building, the project will tell you what you need to get and gradually you will see what works for you. Additional tools though, especially power tools, are expensive, need space, are noisy, produce dust, etc and you need to consider these as well. It depends a lot I think whether you scratch build or go for kits and maybe the scale you ll work at. 

For me power tools make model building much more enjoyable and I have a very long list of things I want/need. I am still coping though with what I have!

Start simple I would say, as there is a lot to learn, sanding, gluing, painting, drilling, choosing wood etc. Maybe scratch build a small simple boat and take it from there. 

Regards

 

 

Edited by vaddoc

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