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Artesania Latina


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I am just curious as to what draws people to build this manufacturer's kits?  I am working on one now and this will probably be the last.  The wood in the kit was not the best quality nor are some of the metal parts.  Recently I have been working with the "apple wood" and it is appalling to say the least, hideous color and brittle.  I have to make it look like a different wood just to use it.  The instructions are simply a loose guide to building the kit.

 

I think I was drawn to the era of the ship I am working on, the price was not super impressive, the other thing that helped me was the amount of logs for the kit on the old MSW site.  There was at least a dozen or so completed logs for the SF model.

 

I have another kit on the shelf and I am impressed with the differences in the parts and instructions.

 

If you are working on an AL kit, what got you to buy it?  Or if you are looking at them what attracts you to them, just curious.

 

-Aaron

 

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Uh...  my Constellation started as an AL kit.. two reasons:  1) only manufacturer with this model.  2) Cheap.    Having said that, you get what you pay for.  AL has undergone a lot of changes in the several years and whatever quality they had, from what I understand, is now about zilch.  Some of their stuff is getting fairly good reviews, Surprise and Victory.  Not sure about the other kits.  Most of their kits are now put together in southeast Asia and also form the basis for the owner's "museum quality, hand-crafted ships" that a lot of pre-built model sites and e-bay sell.  The other problem is that a lot of AL's models are fiction...

 

An aside is that when the owner moved, the designers and some others founded OCcre.

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Price. That and the build logs on the old MSW site. Others seem to have successfully completed the model ( Virginia 1819) and didn't seem to have too many complaints. I have not started this build yet but I purchased it to be my first attempt at a planked hull.

Pete

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first of all most models in the hobbystore closest to me is AL so that choice was made for me

 

so far i have bought 4 AL models (3 ships  1 stagecoach).

 

the virginia apart of some missing parts was a good kit for me to start. the rigging instructions though where lacking

the stage coach instructions are pretty good and all wood and parts are ok except for the 30mm wide mahavgony veneerstrips which break by only looking at them

the mississippi and the endeavour have many errors in instructions and accuracy but i dont think the wood is of a bad quality

 

overall i cant say i regret buying them

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Many years ago I purchased a kit of Blue Nose II by AL, sorry to say there were many things wrong with the kit, the worse being the hull.  It was slab sided, it didn't even look close to the actual schooner.  Needless to say it would have taken much rebuilding to make it correct!  The only good thing I can say about it was that I learned how to planke on that kit.  I would never, never buy anything AL again.

 

Cheers'

Tim

Edited by Timothy Wood
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I have only ever built four models, and three of them have been from Artesania - the San Francisco, the Viking longboat, and the HMS Bounty cut-away. The San Francisco was of OK quality, but the instructions were very difficult to follow. The Viking longboat was an OK kit, but it was single planked and not really suitable for beginners. The Bounty was actually a very nice kit. 

 

I have looked at other AL builds, e.g. the San Juan Nepumoceno. The fittings for that kit (blocks, etc) seem to be comically out of scale. To be honest I wasn't entirely thrilled with the fittings that came with my kit either, but I managed to make do. 

 

I do not know if this is the norm among kit manufacturers or not, since I have not built very many boats from other mfr's. My next kit (from Amati) is in the mail. We will see. 

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I'm building Scottish Maid right now.  Why did I buy it?  Well, I wanted to learn to build ship models.  This one didn't look too complicated and the price was right:  $40.00 from Model Expo.  (How big a mistake can a guy make on a $40.00 kit?)

 

I've been building for a long time now.  (I hate to admit how long...)  And am almost done, but I wouldn't recommend AL kits to anyone and I think this will be my last one.

 

A lot of people complain about the quality of the wood in the kits.  I didn't find that to be a problem.  I used it and it worked out okay.  There wasn't enough wood in the kit, though.  I had to buy more walnut dowels for the masts and spars.  The instructions are horrific ... and there aren't enough of them.  They come down to a series of pictures of the hull being constructed.  Essentially, "build it so it looks like this."  There are no rigging instructions.

 

The plans for the hull are okay, but the rigging plans were terrible.  Not only were they technically incorrect, they were also contradictory.  For instance, if you rigged any spar in accordance with the plan, you couldn't complete the rigging because almost all the attachment points, block types and whatnot were wrong.  I used Rigging Period Fore-and-Aft Craft by Lennarth Petersson to get me through the rigging.

 

I think another reason for the popularity of the AL Bluenose is that a lot of modeling books use it for instructional purposes.  The best of those books is Frank Mastini's Ship Modeling Simplified.  I've used that book extensively, even though I wasn't building the Bluenose.

 

When I look at the amount of time I've spent on this kit, it makes buying a quality Model Shipways kit look cheap.  Scottish Maid has turned out well, but the quality of the documentation in the kit really made the process a lot harder than it needed to be.

post-1141-0-36617400-1363963130_thumb.jpg

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Having seen instructions from some other European models (Corel, Mamoli, Mantua) they are about the same as the AL kits. AL have some decent and somewhat unique beginner kits like the Sanson tug. I hate the plywood bulwarks!

 

There are a great number of AL kits available for a good price. A lot of folks buy the kits, open then, and put them in the closet.

 

Model ships are a lot like RC plane kits, a lot of the necessary knowledge is not included with the kit. This site, Mastini's book, and Hubert's Dummies site take away a lot of the fear for the newcomer like me.

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I tried to do an AL Cutty Sark several years ago and gave up in frustration. The hull frame was warped; I could not get it straight and the wood was crap. On the plus side though I've used the pieces in all sorts of valuable craft and home improvement projects over the years. Just the other day I used a piece of what was supposed to become a spar to mix epoxy putty so I could restore an antique window frame! Thanks Artisana Latina!  :bird-vi:

Edited by channell
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For me, it was price and appearance.  I did not know if I would like building mode boats and did not know if I had the technical proficiency.  The kit was sufficient for my purposes, although it was missing wood (had to buy quite a bit) and such, but building has been a good experience.

 

I thought the boat (Mare Nostrum) was pretty and interesting as well.  The Sanson is also a interesting and - as far as this novice knows- fairly unique kit to learn on

 

I have two kits "on the shelf."  One is a Sanson and one is a 30 year old AL pilot boat kit, the "Swift."    Assuming I can produce a good boat from one of these, I will probably invest in a top line kit next time.

 

EDIT: I have now built another AL boat (the Swift) and purchased a Model Shipyards Bluenose (1:64) and started it.  In comparison, I found the MS instructions harder to understand than AL's instructions.  Additionally the units are in English, which is a pain compared to the simple metric units.  The quality of the wood, etc I'm sure varies from kit to kit, but so far I've noticed very little difference.  The plywood, for example in the Bluenose kit is thicker, but not well laminated and it frequently de-laminates when sanding or even trying to cut.  All in all the Bluenose experience is making it plain I was too hard on AL.

Edited by PopJack
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I have build La Toulonnaise from Artesania. Instructions not too bad and quality of material was good.

I completed that model six years ago. Currently I am building the Mississippi.

 

I find that they dont keep spare items in case damage is done while building.

Also they never respond to any form of correspondence.

 

I have seen items which came out of their new facility in the East, quality average.

 

However, they are well priced locally.

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I buy AL because of the price I can afford. The wood I've not had problems with the directions at times are laking but its a reason for me to learn more by research. If I wanted it easy I'd find me a paint by number kit. :) I still have some velvet paint by number pictures around here someplace.

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Are the prices really all that much better? I bought my SF2 for about 170.00 US. Most of the medium size kits at Model Shipways are around that price. What am I missing here?

 

Aaron

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I was given as a present the USS Independence Artisania Latina kit just started building it after years of building plastic model kits, so far seems ok. I have completed the deck planks and need to glue the deck to the hull then plank it

(should be fun). At present quite enjoying the build only thing is the 'General Advice' is missing can any one with Artisania Latina kit please scan and email me a copy.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Harryg

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  • 3 weeks later...

I bought the AL independence for three reasons

  1. It is a ficticious kit, so I don't feel bad about renaming it after one of my kids for a gift.
  2. It is a larger scale 1:36 for planking practise and building, plus particular kid has some vision impairment, so larger size is easier to see.
  3. Price on Ebay was hard to beat.

Ken

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I bought the AL Harvey many years ago after building 2 other kits - not AL. I started Harvey about 10 years ago but it has only been in the last year that I have returned to it. I found the 6 x B1 sheets of drawings and the instructions OK at first but after much research have abandoned the deck fittings and have drawn my own deck layout. I have now made my own fittings from scratch including the cannon carriages and I am also redrawing the rigging as much of the AL work looks incorrect. However, I did find most of the timber and the fittings to be quite good.

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My first ALkit was the Bremen, purchased as a way to relax after work. As a first attempt at a wooden model I was quite satisfied with the end result. This prompted me to try a harder model. I chose HMS Supply as it offered a challenge without the size and complexity of Victory etc. Also the price was at the limit of my budget $230.00. I started in mid 2010 full of enthusiasm, but after a few months I was so jacked off with the way the parts fitted together and the useless instructions I almost gave up. The parts in the box did not match the pictures or the parts list, wood parts were made of metal, were the wrong shape and the quality was terrible. Fortunately I stumbled upon the old MWS site and followed Dan Vadas build of the same model. Anyone who has seen Dan's work will acknowledge his skill as a modeller. I quickly realised that I did not have the skills or the equipment to match his build quality so I decided to carry on and do the best I could. At this timeI realised that I had made so many mistakes in shaping and planking the hull, mainly due to the lack of instructions and the fact that the pictures in the book supplied did not match the parts when fitted, that I did give up and packed it all away in a cupboard.

 

Earlier this year I decided to resurrect Supply and made a decision to finish it. After a few weeks of cutting, sanding and shaping I had finally finished planking the hull. This was the turning point that convinced me to get back on MWS and check out Dan's build log. It was gone :( Fortunately Dan had posted his completed gallery so I was able to use this as a guide to how to complete the ship.

I intend to start a new log on MWS shortly with regular updates.

Anyone starting a new build for the first time I would offer the following advice. Read the instructions, look at the pictures and work out how it all fits together, not just a couple of parts but as a whole assembly. I would also fill the spaces at the bow and the stern completely to make shaping and planking easier. Also don't throw out the offcuts as they come in very useful for making new parts when you stuff up.

Are AL kits any worse than the others? Judging from the comments on MWS I think the answer has to be yes, and it could be so easily fixed by better quality control and better instructions.

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HMS Surprise is my first kit so I can't compare to other companies. However I can say the following:

1. Directions are not very good and tend to be very general ("Next, plank the hull.") Without MSW I would have been stalled from nearly the get-go

2. Historical accuracy is not great. If you look at the original plans or the mods taken from the books, the AL kit is not correct in particular the stern shape.

3. Cost is pretty high as the list is >$750. I was able to find the kit on eBay for a lot less tho ($400).

4. Material quality is variable. The pins they supply are iron based so apparently they will discolor over time as they oxidise. MSW members suggested using brass. I have been trying to use trenails as much as I can and avoiding nails of any kind.

On the other hand the wood seems to be ok if you sand it and are careful with it. I find I visit the local Hobby store to get things I need to augment tho.

 

I also like the Brass detailing they have and the cutouts for the parts are pretty nice too.

^_^

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As you know Aaron I'm doing the same kit as you, the San Fran II from AL but I'm not as disatisfied. The wood was beautiful, from the mahogany hull to the walnut... I did not get applewood although they keep telling me I did and if it is then I am a fan... but I think it's walnut and pretty nice walnut at that.

As for the metal parts... that's why I bashed the heck out of it.

The directions tho... you got me there... they give a vague direction and numerous pictures that are all different or at the wrong stage. Not the best for sure but in all honesty eons better than the first kit I bought and returned within hours, the Amati Adventure. What I've just written was almost as long as ALL the english in the whole thing so,,,, :(

 

The reason I bought it was price but also I liked the ship. The next one will be bigger and more expensive but that won't be the goal, it'll be because I like that new ship. I still like this SF... and it could be better but I give a huge thumbs up for a first build... :)

 

Will I buy again from AL? I think I would if the ship I really really want looks good and is only offered by them. Plus, from all I've read on all these threads... there are trade-offs on almost all kits and companies. :unsure:

Edited by lamarvalley
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I have the following AL kits: Bluenose 2, Swift, King of the Missippi and SF2. I have also built a Corel kit.

The instructions are lacking in many details for bothe the AL kits and the Corel kit, however, the instructions for the SF2 kit are about the most detailed I have seen. The Bluenose instructions were very difficult to understand and read. For a beginner's kit, I would have expected the Swift instructions to be more detailed.

 

I would say that prices for all kits from the various manufactureres are about the same and that there are definintely deals to be found on the internet.

 

I would like to see either Model Expo or Bluecrafter make kits of tall ships like the Lynx and the Clearwater.

 

Finally, this site is great for reviewing other peoples' builds and ideas at making this hobby fun and enjoyable. I make a habit of checking this site at least once a day.

 

 

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