Jump to content
ccoyle

For Beginners -- A Cautionary Tale

Recommended Posts

17 hours ago, Peter Cane said:

I was swallowed by the deep.

Pete.

Thanks for your good advice.

I will not abandon ship but shelf it until I know better what I am doing and have built a few more simpler sailing yachts with RC and winches.

If I can think of a way of lightening it, I will feel better about it.

The rudder will have to be redesigned so that it isn't angled but straight.

It will have to be a lot larger than the scale version.

How large the keel and rudder must be will be found out literally by trial and error in a swimming pool with me in it!!

I need to hit upon some kind of electric tool that will grind/ saw/ hack away the vast majority of the bulkhead and keel after the hull is planned.

Pete

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good plan.  Maybe make the first model without the RC?  It would be one less thing to stress out over.   

 

As for grinding, sawing,   i guess it depends on how much you have to remove.  The do make very small hand held jig/scroll saws that might do the trick.  And many are under $20 US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read the first post from Chris, and felt he was looking over my shoulder.  I've built a couple solid hull ships, only completed two of the many I've started.  That was in my younger days when work and family intervened and time was precious.  Now I'm retired, and actually do have some time on my hands.  Day before yesterday I saw a Model Shipways Fair American on "Offer Up" for $50 and the old visions of building a great model came flooding back.  I met the party at a parking lot, paid my money and raced home with my new "project".  Now, two days later, I'm still looking at the model instruction book and wondering what on earth I was thinking.  I truly want to build a ship model, and display it on our mantle, but good grief, I know down deep in my heart that I've bitten off more than I can chew.

 

I've read many of the posts on this thread, and I'm thinking that if I'm really serious about learning this craft, even at my age, I need to put this one on the shelf and start with something a bit more simple.  I appreciate the candor with which everyone speaks, so if someone has a suggestion as to which model would  be a decent one to learn planking on, I'm all ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Model Shipways has a great starting kit, the 18th Century Longboat (designed by our own Mr. Chuck Passaro). I got skunked by a larger kit years ago, then came back to something smaller and easier like that kit. It contains some wonderful instructions on how to plank, and makes the process far less arcane.

 

And forgive yourself your mistakes when you make them. Each one of them represents a learning experience, and nobody is going to judge you for learning here.

Edited by Tector

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another nice model to start with is the Colonial Schooner Sultana by Model Shipways.  It is an inexpensive kit when on sale by Model Expo and builds into a very nice model.

 

Chuck Passaro has written a detailed set of instructions on how to build this model.  It can be found in the MSW Database of articles by following this link: http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-model-build-and-practicums.php  .  It is the last article listed on the page and has eight chapters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone,

 

I would like to give my testimony about what Ccoyle have written up here, I think it’s very relevant.

But before to begin, please, note that English is not my first language, so my excuses in advance for the mistakes that could be done.  I’m trying to improve my English every day but as we say in French : you don’t grow a flower up while pulling it.  And by the way, I am very keen to learn, so don’t hesitate to correct me if there are big mistakes.  I used to be a teacher (History) and I aware that we can learn by advices of others.  And if someone needs to understand something in French (for the ship modeling leads undoubtedly towards France -- let's just think about Frolich, Delacroix, the Plans of Admiral Pâris, etc.) I can translate everything you could need.  So don't hesitate to ask me, if I can help, I'd be glad.  That being said, let’s go to our point.

 

Three years ago, I began to translate the Minutes of the Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry on the Loss of the TITANIC from English to French (and I am having the idea of publishing it in ebook when it will be finished) and since then I’m making a lot of researches upon the history of this big ship and a passion was born.  

So I decided to build this ship with matchsticks. 

However, I didn’t know where to start : no plans, no experience, no glue and no clue ! lol! 

I soon realized that it was unrealistic job ! 🤪

So I decided to cast off upon the Titanic’s lifeboat (the ones that made 30 feet and are of wood), and after some trials, I abandoned ship…  Euh…  No, the matchsticks, I mean ! lol! 😂 and choose to do it in plywood.  But still have no plan and not a ghost of an idea on how to do it.

 

Therefore, I went on many web sites and forums and I have found one from France where some people told me about a way to build that lifeboat : the Bread-and-Butter’s method to make the hull.  They have explained it to me, but without taking into account that I was knowing nothing about shipbuilding and how to read a plan which were only a kind of “spaghetti” of lines ! 😳.  Nevertheless, in spite of it all, I began my solid hull, but very soon I realized that I have sanded too much and lost my semmetry, which was very important.

My biggest problem, even if I didn’t get it at the time, was that I still didn’t know how to read plans (Half Breadth Plan, Body plan and Sheer Plan) in spite of the fact that I went on the internet et read a lot of pages, in English and French, but it still puzzled me.

I’ve rebuilt another solid hull and sand it, but still another waste of time and wood.  I get discouraged, and let down the idea of the Lifeboat.  Futhermore, I have no idea of how it works once the solid hull done : the deadrise, the keelson, the ribs and how they could fit together puzzled me.  Reading about it without having some pictures didn’t help me at all.

It was too much for my knowledge.

 

Few times after having abandon the lifeboat’s idea, I have found a Gabare in the ship plans of Admiral Pâris, tome 3 (“ Gabare du Nord-Ouest”) and have told myself that maybe I could manage it much more easily.  I’ve built my board (the plywood upon which you work your boat hull upside down) as well as my bread-and-butter solid hull.  However, nobody have told me how the lines in the wood worked along with the buttock lines of the Body Plan to have it symmetrical.  So guess what ??  Yes, you get it : another waste of time and wood !😥

I told myself that I was very stupid ; anyone else could have make it properly, etc. etc.  I threw away my tools in the deepest drawer that I have found and hope to forget it.

 

But I must admit that I’m stubborn, and I really wanted to have my model boat !  So I rolled up my sleeves and I bought a monography from Gérard Delacroix, a French master in the ship modelling (he sell his boat something like 25 000$ !) which the title is “Armed Longboat 1834” ou “La Chaloupe armée en guerre 1834” and read it.  That made me understand how works the building of the deadrise, keelson, ribs, etc.  Furhtermore, Delacroix himself guided me and I finally understand plans, and buttock lines vs the plywood lines.  However, I drilled the holes in the Bread-and-butter solid hull with an hand drill instead of a table drill, much more steady and it was then impossible to get symmetry.  Another solid hull lost.  

That was last Spring (June).

 

I then decided to forget about the bread-and-butter solid hull’s method and tried to build a boat starting with ribs upon a board, keel upside down.  I choose another project, that is to say a Sloop named “KATHLEEN” actually build in 1904-1905 which I have found the plans on the Library of Congress’ web site, a project much more easier.

And the good news is that the building is going well.

 

But it took 3 years of reading ; studying plans and concepts ; getting familiar with modeling words, and above all, not getting discouraged too much or I might say not for too long !

I believe in my project a lot and I think this is THE reason why I am still making a ship today.  My starting projects (TITANIC and her lifeboat) were too big for what I was able to do, and I had a serious lack of knowledge, at a point I didn’t even suspect !

 

So here is my testimony, and I hope it will help someone out not to do the same mistakes than me, and above all, I hope it will leads people to ask themselves if they believe in their projects enough to be able to persevere in doing that or to turn it into something much more easier for them.  :-) 

 

Kareen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is great. It’s nice to know you’re not alone. That’s why I was browsing for an expo I could attend during my winter travels. This site caught my attention and here I am. I have been on my first boat for 18 years...Flying Fish, way over my head for sure. I find myself stepping away when I fear the next step. I’m rigging now and the daunting 1/8=1’ scale getting smaller as I move up the mast is quite challenging...but I think I’m beginning to like it. The instructions are all but used up and I work off the plans alone. Wish I knew if I was anywhere close to where I’m supposed to be. Kind of quiet and lonely out here. Would be nice to have friends who understand what I am doing, for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To ccoyle’s original intent (as I understand it); I came across a quote from Ira Glass (NPR radio):

 

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me.

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it's like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you're making stuff, what you're making isn't so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you're making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.

Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste and they could tell that what they were making wasn't as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that.

And if you are just starting out or if you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you're going to finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you're going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you're making will be as good as your ambitions.

I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It takes awhile. It’s gonna take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that.

—Ira Glass

He is speaking of writers, but the same applies across many disciplines and, certainly, here, I believe. More detail can be found here: https://jamesclear.com/ira-glass-failure

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgive my "pennyworth" but I think that though there is much truth in what has been written, I would emphasize certain things. the most important is the need for a mentor or at least a web site that can explain how to do and illustrate what others have done (learning from others). I like books and have several dozen on ships and model shipbuilding. Patience is essential, and,as in sports etc, the mental (research and "working it out in you head") often takes much longer than the actual building. Basic hand tools are good enough-  excepting the mini electric drill , power tools save time( but also can rapidly cause mistakes). Be prepared to devote YEARS to a build, but when choosing, find something that is relatively simple but an interesting subject. The quality of the kit, particularly the plans in a language you understand, is important. I would suggest a larger scale few or no guns and simple! rigging. Double planking allows for a learning process or curve and allows a botched effort to be hidden with the more satisfying second planking. I would personally avoid painting my first model as I think it is difficult to get a good result without the satisfaction and confidence that a successful first build brings. My first built was the Mare Nostrum. I would recommend it.  I chose for my second (because I thought it would be my last) the Corel Victory. I was lucky that I had 2 friends that chaperoned me, as well as good books, both specific and general. I am now on my 18th build, still feeling challenged but varying types and difficulties: aspiring to the great efforts seen on this and other sites. If as a newbie or old salt you hit a "rock", go rest, relax and the return refreshed and have fun. At the very least you will have something to show for your endeavor.

 

Edited by stuglo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with everyone here. I have seen it with guitars. So many people go and buy a new one and immediately want to be able to play Stairway to heaven and obviously can't, then put it down and never touch it again. They should be starting with a simple bass line or melody etc. I found that most people I asked thought it would be boring to learn. And then when I teach then the basics properly they actually found it fun and sometimes resparked their interest in guitars.

 

I also noticed that people would get frustrated with the higher level stuff because "it looked so easy to do" and when they couldn't it just totally demoralized them. 

 

So what I would like to add is that "easy" and "begginer" doesn't mean you won't have as much fun as something more advanced. 

 

Nathan

Edited by NateB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, NateB said:

 

I also noticed that people would get frustrated with the higher level stuff because "it looked so easy to do" and when they couldn't it just totally demoralized them. 

This is, in my opinion, an issue that crops up far more now in the digital age. Seeing examples of the work of the best builders was, until about twenty years ago, something that was only possible if you visited Naviga or Model Engineer exhibitions but now it is a few taps away on any phone. The result is artificially high standards and expectations with no immediate insight into the dedication required. 

Again, in my humble opinion, MSW is one of very few sources of the unvarnished version of the rest of the story as it relates to model ships. 

Good here, in'it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I first started building I compared my work to my tutor/mentor, and didn't feel so bad. Over the years ,due to seeing sometimes such beautiful work as on this site, it could be discouraged from continuing my poor efforts. Nevertheless, not all are perfect and the learning "curve" is is more a stairway form. Seeing these less than perfect builds, is also encouraging. The feeling of satisfaction in aiming  and achieving  a higher or more difficult task is tangible. In any case the building is essentially for ourselves, our non-building friends and relatives usually are amazed by our efforts and don't see the mistakes. Also, the older museum models are usually inferior even to the newbie efforts of today. As junior docs we were told "See one, Do one, Teach one". You're only newbies once- soon you will  be teaching us!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is just another point that might be considered. Kits are always simplified to give even unexperienced builder the chance to complete it, to get a successful experience, to motivate them to buy another kit in the future and to keep production cost as low as possible. So even kits of bigger and more known ships like Victory, Sovereign or Constellation are simplified in some way share issues like gun barrels not to scale, overdimensioned rope, low-quality planking material or even miss some deck items that would be to expensive to make them just for one single kit. But a novice builder - maybe because of lack of information - mostly don’t have a choice but to keep faith into the provided plans and material, believing that everything supplied is just right and well designed to reproduce a miniature of the original. As the builder gets more experienced, he will likely upgrade kits with aftermarket fittings or alternative planking wood or even start scratchbuilding them because the supplied fittings or items simply aren‘t correct, simplified or out of scale. 
 

Considered hundreds of hours put into a frigate or ship of the line, it would be a pity for the builder to regret using supplied items or simply followed the plan / instructions after the model is build and experience and knowledge has grown afterwards - especially when a scale model was intended to build (what is likely to be promised by the kit manufacturer). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
×
×
  • Create New...