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My Opa Left me a Wasa model by billings to finish need help


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Hello everyone,


I am new to model ship building. My Opa or as some would say Grandpa left me his Wasa ship model kit by Billings.The hull and top deck are complete except for wood grids and some of the minor details like fittings. the mast has not been installed and not with the kit parts. I will add pictures of the ship and the parts that he had with it. my ultimate goal is to complete it or just add the sails and fittings and skip painting it. I would love all the advice and help I can get. I want to finish it to show him on face time what it looks like since he is now in a retirement home and doesn't have the eye site to be able to finish it.

pictures will be added soon.


Thank you everyone, 

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Welcome, Scott.


Completing a model like the Wasa, even if it is only the rigging left to do, will be a challenge for a beginner.  To begin with, there is quite a bit of archaic language to get a handle on, followed by acquiring a new skill set specific to rigging period ship models.  I suggest starting off with reading up on the subject.  A good book aimed at beginners is Ship Modeling Simplified by Frank Mastini.  It won't tell you how to rig a Wasa, but it will give you an idea of what you are getting into.  Also, check out some of the Wasa build logs here at MSW.  They won't all be Billing Boats kits, but the rigging will be similar.  You might also want to think about building your own, simpler model to start off with - something you can cut your teeth on without making your beginner mistakes on your opa's model.  Lots to think about.



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People on this site can help you and sort out your problems and confusion you may have with this build. BUT the best advice you can receive is to have patience!, Take your time. Don't rush, I'm sure you will do a great job your Opa will be proud of. You never know... After finishing this then you could be hooked!! P.S There is no such thing as a stupid question either, don't be shy.

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Hello again.

You may want to visit this site: http://warshipvasa.freeforums.net/


Dr. Fred Hocker, Director of the Vasa Museum and author of the Vasa Book(s) is a very helpful person. He did answer some email questions personally to me when I was building my Vasa.


Best regards



Edited by Ulises Victoria
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If this is a legacy piece that will be a family memento of your Opa, and you can commit to finishing it off that is great! But ship model building and especially a complicated subject like the Vasa can be very daunting. We have discussed often the number of kits that are started with good intentions and then are left unfinished.


Completing a legacy model is kind of like restoring a damaged one, and the philosophy there is to use as much of the original parts and techniques as possible, and for the completion or restoration to appear as if the model were made by the original builder, start to finish.


Start by making the masts and see how the process goes. Evaluate how much you like spending time at it, and what chance you give yourself to see it through to completion. If you are still excited about it when it comes time to start rigging or permanently glueing your new stuff to the model then carry on! Keeping it within the family is of course the best way to go. The suggestion to start with a small model to build some skills is a very good one.


Building and rigging a ship model is actually quite easy and doable for someone moderately skilled with their hands, it's just that those easy tasks have to be done hundreds of time before you are done! Perseverance is more important than raw skill. You have a long-term project, and more of a marathon than a sprint so understand that it may take a year or more.


If  you don't enjoy the process, or you lose steam or interest then consider having someone else complete the model before permanently altering the existing work. Perhaps there is another family member that could do it, or you could hire a professional to do the job.


I have done several restorations and completed one legacy model (Constitution, from the masts-up) and I am sure others on this list could complete the job as well, if you decide to go that way. Just something to consider.

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