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luke79

Kits to start with and avoid?

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I'm sure this is being asked quite frequently, but I can't seem to find a proper answer.  I'm looking for a kit that's essentially for somebody who is starting out, although I've built models before out of paper.  I'd like to know which kit manufacturer is the best when it comes to historical accuracy and retains proper measurements to scale. I was thinking of starting out with Endevour's longboat.  You can find the link here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001M22WAQ/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A10FZ5LCUZUO1U

 

My issue is that I'm hearing mixed voices about Artesenia Latina when it comes to their kit quality.

 

Thanks

Luke

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Hi Luke,

 

Welcome to MSW.  You might have a look here in the database:  http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-model-plans-and-research.php   Third article down is one on kit selection.  There's also a good one on what to expect in a kit. 

 

AL... very uneven as far as instructions and quality of materials.  But... for a starter kit or a serious bash, they have their place.  It all depends on what the goal is.  My first kit was the Scottish Maid.  Not a bad kit, but if I did again, it would be heavily bashed as there some things just not right.  My last kit, the Constellation is basically a fiction so I bashed it.  :)

 

Anyway, no matter what you choose, start a build log.  It's the best and fastest way to get help and encouragement. 

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I like to steer beginners to Midwest models for several reasons: they are inexpensive, have very clear instructions, require a minimum of tools, don't take very long to build, and are very good looking models when finished. There is quite a learning curve when it comes to building wooden ship models and you can't learn everything at once. If you start with too complex a project, you greatly diminish your chances of ever finishing. Even with a simple project, you might find that you don't enjoy wooden ship modeling and if you have only made a small investment in a kit and minimal tools, you won't feel that you've lost much. But if you complete a simple model well, you will have learned a lot about the hobby, you'll have a great sense of accomplishment, and even simple models are something you can be proud of.  Here is a link to the Midwest site - http://midwestproducts.com/collections/boats I'm particularly fond of the Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack and the Sakonnet Day Sailer as good starter kits.

 

I do not recommend AL kits for a couple of reasons: they tend to be historically inaccurate and the instructions are minimal at best. I'm also not a fan of double planking, but that's a personal choice. You mentioned historical accuracy and double planking with thin veneer strips is anything but. Of course, there's plenty of help available on the forum for when you get into difficulties so if you find yourself drawn to an AL model, you can probably get it built despite the lack of instructions. Sometimes your passion for a particular boat can overcome a lot of problems with a kit.

 

Cheers -

John

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Luke,

I started a ship that I thought I could handle (it was my first), and I soon realized I was in too deep!

I put things on hold and then found some TRUE beginner ships.  As John (above) noted, Midwest

Products is excellent.  They specify skill level 1,2,3.  Level 1 includes a kayak model which is cool

and very appropriate.  I've done several level 2 ships now and am well into a level 3 which is far

more involved yet appropriate.  I bought mine online through hobbylinc.com; if you search for

Midwest products, then click on wooden boats.  I progressed from kayak to dinghy to peterborough

canoe, and am now doing the Skipjack. 

 

Good luck & cheers!

 

Andy

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Hi Luke,

 

I have to agree with others that the Midwest kits generally have the advantage of good scale kits with great instructions. But don't get used to good instructions as you will find that very few ship model kits have them – You will definitely have to learn to read and build from plans.

 

As for Artesania Latina kits, 3 of the first 4 ship model kits I built were AL kits. I think they make great starter models and something like the Endeavour's Longboat is probably a good choice, though I don't know the details of that kit in particular. The ones I built had a sheet or two of plans and 4 or 5 pages of instruction. I think a lot of them now have a picture book included that shows you step-by-step how to build the kit.

 

The fittings aren't necessarily the most "to scale" fittings, and if you build more than one AL kit, you're going to start kit bashing really quickly. But, for me, "upgrading" the kits to my satisfaction was half the fun.

 

Clare

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My first few kits were Artesania kits as well. Prior to this I had years of experience with plastic models, but even that was not enough to prepare me for the difficulty of making model ships out of wood. 

 

As others have said, the problems with Artesania are: 

 

- the ships are either fictitious, or not historically accurate, 

- fittings are recycled between kits, meaning that what you receive may be too big or too small. For example, oversized blocks or belaying pins. 

 

What Artesania is excellent at:

 

- the wood is of excellent quality, and tastefully chosen. Having said that with nearly all their kits it is ramin, walnut, mahogany, and basswood. 

- extensive use of modern techniques - laser cut, photo etch, and cast metal parts. NO PLASTIC at all (i'm looking at you, Billings!) 

- the laser cut parts are usually very good - they fit together tightly without having to shim the frames. Usually they go together so well that you don't need a square to check that they are square. 

 

What Artesania is so-so at: 

 

- instructions can be a bit hit and miss. With most kits you get a colour booklet with photographs of the construction process. This usually stops immediately prior to rigging. Instructions in English are provided, but the translation is so awful that it is hard to read. Rigging instructions are usually so vague as to be close to useless - for a more complex ship, you will need to do your own research. 

 

Truth be told, there is a steep learning curve no matter which manufacturer you decide to go with. I think Artesania is not such a bad choice for a beginner. 

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My first ship was AL's Scottish Maid.  Actually worked out quite well as it had good instructions, a great guide on planking, and good plans.  However, I'm not sure that they still include all this anymore.   It makes a nice model and as some have done, they've bashed it into something most excellent. 

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My first ship was also an AL - Morgan's Whale boat. Since then I have built 4 more and I have 2 more waiting to be built. All in all I have had no problems. As Keith said above the wood is very good, the laser cuts parts are accurate, and the finished model looks great. The first 2 models I did the English instructions were good, but I think in some of their more recent kits they have outsourced the Spanish to English translation to someone who is not that proficient in English because some of the wording makes no sense.

 

As to historical accuracy or whether the model is fictitious, well that all depends on what you expect from the kit. If you want to build a really nice looking model of an "old" sailing ship, and want the challenge of planking and rigging them, and is somewhat accurate to the period,then they make some really nice models. But on the other hand, if you are a stickler for historical accuracy, accurately rigged and/or configured, or want a ship that actually existed, then maybe some of AL's kits aren't for you.

 

Personally I've had more trouble with Model Shipways kits and cursed them (kits) the whole time I was building  - notably the Sultana, Phantom, Morgan and Niagara, than I ever had with AL or Amati. I like AL and Amati kits, but that's my personal taste. The one exception to Model Shipways kits are the ones designed by Chuck (Passaro) with instructions written by him, those I've enjoyed building.

 

I think both Keith and Mark summed it up quite succinctly

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I'm nearing completion of my first wooden kit, having scratchbuilt a few relatively simple craft before that. I've found the MS Bounty Launch to be an excellent intro kit. In general the instructions are clear, the kit is well-made, and there are only minor pitfalls and quirks that reading a few of the abundant build logs here will alert you to. 

 

It's simple enough to not be overwhelming, but as an open boat has some unique challenges that seem like they'll prepare you for many future projects. As long as you do some homework first about principles of constructing wooden boat/ship kits, I can't imagine you'd have much difficulty with the Bounty Launch. Just my experience as a first-timer.

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I'm nearing completion in my build of Corel's Shenandoah kit, a 19th-century cutter. I chose it because the hull was very sharp at the ends and didn't look too hard to plank. That turned out to be true. The thing I noticed, though, was that Corel has beautiful, detailed, clearly drawn plans with minimal, almost non-existent written instructions. If you are a visual learner, you'll do well with them. If you are a verbal learner, you'd be better off with something else. For clarity of instructions, I'd give Model Shipway's Glad Tidings high marks. I haven't built the kit yet, but I've read through the instructions and they are a joy to follow. Good luck in your search, Luke.

 

Steve

Edited by SGraham

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I'll give another thumbs up for Midwest kits to start your boat building on Luke. They make nice little models out of the box but if you feel you want to add a bit more to personalise or enhance the model you can usually do so. 

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My advice to someone just starting out in wooden ship model building is to start with a solid hull intended as an introductory level model.A solid hull has the advantage of showing just what the various line defining the shape of the under water body actually represent. After all ,a solid half hull was what Webb and McKay used as a basis for developing their creations,so you ll be in good company. As an example,look at Model Shipways Phantom or Sultana.Study some of the completed examples in that forum here. Just because it is a beginning level kit does nt mean it cant be turned into an exceptional example of the ship modelers art. Blue Jacket also has a number of fine introductory level projects. Avoid the European kits until you dont need instructions so much. Some of theirs would be clearer if they wrote them in pig~latin.

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I agree, Model Shipways or Blue Jacket for beginners for sure. You will also have the advantage of quick support from these companies versus other manufactures. My recent Artesania Latina kit was missing several parts, but was eventually replaced by Latina which took well over a month to finally receive. But I have bought other Latina kits in the past without any issues at all.

 

Mike

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Thanks all for great suggestions.  I think I'll go with something very simple as I have limited amount of time to do this anyway.  It will be just on some weekends anyway.  

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Not sure if this is the right place for this.'but'.

I have just acquired this ship, I am told its a fictitious one.

DSCF5422_zpsqhgsatpb.jpg

Can this be converted or used for a ship that was in use.

This will be my first wood ship.
Have put the basic shape together, but not glued yet.
DSCF5418_zpst95qgpgc.jpg

frank :piratebo5:

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No idea if the kit is a good representative of the ship, but the HMS President certainly did exist - several times actually, but the year on the kit box (1760) wouldn't cover any of them.

 

Edited by GuntherMT

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Thanks for that Brian.

 

Will have to do some research and see what I can sort.

 

Being the first wood ship, it maybe used for spare parts for others, I seem to have got the wood bug for making ships.

 

Frank :piratebo5:

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This picture of the kit ~President~ is illustrative of why I would not recommend such to anyone just starting out. I know this is one of those double planked designs,but imo it has far too few bulkheads to facilitate laying a good foundation for the second layer. But even if you get something useable,it would seem far more workable,and less work at that,to have a solid hull to begin with. That would be a fine way to get the hang of planking. If one is of the opinion that their first effort is to be plank on bulkhead, I firmly believe that a kit designed from the outset as single layer POB would prove far more conducive to success and satisfaction. Ithink that anyone willing to take their time and study carefully the enclosed treatise on planking would find the MS Fair American to be a reasonable selection ,for a POB as a first effort.

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Hi GM02.

 

Thanks for the insight, as its my first and got very cheaply I will try the double planking, on what I have just to cut me teeth so to speak, nothing lost, nothing gained.

 

But your idea of a solid hull sounds a very good one for us first timers with wood ships.

 

Have still some way to go on starting this ship, so all the information is a great help, thankyou.

 

Frank :piratebo5:

Edited by foxy

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Hello Foxy, I would just like be clear that I am not the least part of an expert at any part of this,especially planking. Ican state,however , that Iam at least one of the world s foremost experts on failed attempts to learn how to correctly plank a ship model. My first attempt was when around 1972 I got hold of a hull kit for the Norske Love. Definitely a poor choice for a first shot at planking . I had successfully completed the MS solid hull Vlante and Essex so I had some experience . Anyway, it came out looking like the dog s breakfast. It was nt until many years later that I enlarged a set of MS Dapper Tom plans to 1~48 and built is as POB that I finally succeeded at planking. That was because I had the MS1987 publication on planking built up ship models that they include in their Fair American kit. Iwould suggest getting a copy as Ifound it to be as clear and concise an explanation as I had ever seen. There are also some good practicums presented here as well.~~~~Gary

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Thanks fellas for your imput.

 

Will take on board once I have finished another project or two.

 

Cheers Frank :piratebo5:

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My first kit, the racehorse, was from this same range as the president, and was awful. It was as inaccurate as you can get for that ship but some research showed very simular vessels from a much earlier period. I modelled it as the 1740's vessel Thunder. I did find a strenuous connection . Nelson was not on the racehorse but was on the Carcuss. This was of the bomb vessel class Blast. When I checked the lines for Blast it was an earlier version that the model more closely represented. Timber was poor as were the fittings. However, it taught me a lot about planning and I did enjoy it.

I would say go with it but don't let it put you off.

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Two notes:

HMS President of (you say) 1829 was supposedly an exact copy of the USS President they captured at the end of hostilities in 1815, which may be why the earlier ship had a name change in that year.

The USN had HMS Macedonian which they paraded about as a trophy, and the 1829 President was used the same way, being assigned at one point to the North Atlantic (Halifax) station in a time of tension between the two countries.

 

Being in the UK as you are, you  might look into the Caldercraft line of models as they are more local to you.  Local shops might carry them, and be able to give you specific help if you get stuck.  I'm sure there is a range of difficulty levels in their kits, and they have an excellent reputation for quality and accuracy.

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Being in the UK as you are, you  might look into the Caldercraft line of models as they are more local to you.  Local shops might carry them, and be able to give you specific help if you get stuck.  I'm sure there is a range of difficulty levels in their kits, and they have an excellent reputation for quality and accuracy.

 

As Joel said, check out Caldercraft/Jotika: http://www.jotika-ltd.com/

 

They are certainly worth considering, and have found that the kit I am working on, Sherbourne, builds up into a nice model. It is also good for a beginner, or a more advanced modeller who wishes to add more detail – although the instructions might need a little explanation. There is however MSW!  :)

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Greetings,

 

Full disclosure: I have not built any AL kits. However, it is my understanding that they are good value for money and good platforms from which to build a decent model. As with everything else, you get what you pay for. Don't expect the best woods, fittings, drawings, instructions, etc. unless you are prepared to pay higher prices than for a typical AL model. Personally, I like MS and Bluejacket models for all experience levels. Plus, made in USA.

 

wq3296

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You want to learn how to plank correctly? Get the Model Shipways Bounty launch. The planks pre-spiled so you get to see how the planks should look before they are applied to the frames. The model is accurate and is a decent scale so that your not fiddling with tiny parts. The model will teach you a lot.

 

Richard.

Edited by SaturnV

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I can't speak from a lot of experience, but I'm just starting out and I'm going with the Chesapeake Bay Crabbing Skiff by Midwest Products for my first build and am enjoying it immensely.   The instructions are excellent and the materials adequate.  My only comment there would  be Midwest's choice to use plastic fittings but those are easily replaced.  I liked them enough to purchase several more of their kits and I will build at least 3 or 4 of these smaller boat kits and a solid hull kit or 2 before taking on a full size plank on bulkhead tall ship model.  

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I just purchased the vintage MS -USF Essex.Although not a POB boat I think it will help me get my feet wet

with masts ,rigging,deck planking,and some scratch building.Once my work shop has been moved up here to Georgia

I'll be in business.

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