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PoB v. Solid Hull for first build


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I know this has been asked a thousand times in a thousand ways, but I am an utter beginner looking for my first build, and I see that a lot of people recommend the Sultana or the Phantom from MS, especially with the practicums.  I am utterly rubbish with whittling, so after looking at the practicums for the solid hulls, I'm not entirely certain whether they are the best place to start.  My Dad, not a model hobbyist, built the Amati Oseburg some years ago as his one and only build to use to understand how to build a full scale parade boat, and he asked me to do the Oseburg's sail and ropes.  But I haven't worked on any model wood pieces.  Nevertheless, it seems that a plank on bulkhead build would be easier build to try than a solid hull ship, considering that I am totally unskilled in whittling large chunks of wood.  Yet, MS lists all of them as "intermediate" and the solid hulls as "beginner".  Am I missing something?  Carving a 3D object seems much more difficult than placing planks, but I didn't actually do it on the Oseberg, just saw it as it was in progress, so perhaps I'm mistaken.  I now live 4 hours from my Dad, so he won't be much of a help if I do start a PoB build, but I looked at the PoB MS kits and they do seem a step up in complexity because there is a great deal more rigging, etc. with most of them.  With Model Expo's current sale (expiring tonight), I was thinking of just getting the Phantom, but I don't want to get frustrated because of the whittling aspect with the hull.  I'm not really enticed by plastic at all, so I think those kits are pretty well out.  Any advice?





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I started ship modeling seriously around 1966 with the solid hull Young America by Model Shipways. There really wasn't any of what I would call whittling--just moderate shaping and sanding. All in all I think the solid hull made a great starting point and gives one a lot of experience in building from the deck up before having to worry about planking.  I subsequently built the Model Shipways Essex and Newsboy before moving on to plank and bulkhead models. So, my 2 cents is: find a sold hull Model Shipways kit on eBay and get to work. The Tug Boat and the barge City of Pekin are good places to start as they do not require any masting or rigging.


Ron Gove

Edited by ragove
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Just be advised - a plank-on-bulkhead (POB) model isn't a walk in the park, either.  Each method has its own skill set and learning curve, and there's hardly any way to decide which one you would like better until you've tried both.  Don't be overly swayed by modelers who swear by one or the other.  Their experiences are not a sure indicator of your future preferences.


Before waffling on the POB vs. solid hull question, take a step back and ask yourself, what model(s) really, really appeal to you on a visceral level?  Knowing the answer to that question will narrow down the search for you.

Chris Coyle
Greer, South Carolina

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
- Tuco

Current builds: Brigantine Phoenix, Salmson 2, Speeljacht

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That's good advise. It's a lot of work and if your not in love with it, you won't finish it. I started a solid hull bounty years ago and didn't get very far ( bulky not sleek, no guns etc.). I ended up with a POB model that I love. After I put all that carving into that solid hull I didn't like it. Ended up planking it anyway. Still didn't like it and put it aside. Should have just started with a POB.

Current build: US Brig Syren (MS)


Larry Van Es

Former President


Ship Modelers Association

Fullerton California



trip 134

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks very much for the advice.  I ended up getting the Phantom just to give it a try.  I would choose the Bluenose if I could get any kit, but I think that may be a little much just yet.  Fortunately, my Dad is stopping by tonight to pick up his dog, so I'm going to see if I can woo him into helping me with the shaping.  In the meantime, I'm searching for practicums (I've seen the official one) and logs of others since this is all so new.  Thanks very much - Ginger

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