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First ship

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I was originally going to try and build a pob model of the Bluenose. After pricing out the model, paints, tools, shipping, taxes etc I came out with a price of around $400Cdn. I passed it by the Admiral and got the 100 yard death stare, then she asked is there something a little less in cost to start out with first to make sure it's something you'll enjoy. So I'm looking at plastic now instead of wood for my first build. Was looking at Revell's Constitution in 1/96 scale.

Your thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



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I found the Constitution a terrific model to build. It is rated as one of the most difficult. If you decide to go ahead with this model, I strongly recommend the build posted on this site by AndyMech. It is loaded with helpful ideas and suggestions. Also, I would be most willing to respond to any questions you may have as you go forward. Have fun modeling!

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That's a big, complicated project, even if it seems cheaper. Why not build a small, open wooden boat? You can do that with a good kit for under $100 and you don't need any tools beyond really basic stuff like hobby knife, wood glue, and clamps (like clothespins). You'll learn and experience most of the essential skills to tackle a larger craft, too.


If you're ultimately interested in learning about modelling in wood, building in plastic won't get you very far, the skill set is very different. It's worthwhile project on its own terms, but it won't get you much closer to learning whether you like wood projects.

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That model was my first ship that I built. It is a great kit with well written instructions and excellent detail. Just building it out of the box will give you a beautiful model and something to be proud of. It is a BIG project though and not just in physical size, which is also considerable. For the first time out it can become over whelming quickly with all the repetitive parts and the amount of rigging.


Still, many of us have done this kit and will be glad to keep offering guidance and encouragement to see you through to the end. I wish you the best of luck and I will keep my eye out for your build log.

"A Smooth Sea NEVER made a Skilled Sailor"
- John George Hermanson 



Current Builds - Royal Louis - Mamoli

                    Royal Caroline - Panart

Completed - Wood - Le Soleil Royal - Sergal - Build Log & Gallery

                                           La Couronne - Corel - Build Log & Gallery

                                           Rattlesnake - Model Shipways, HMS Bounty - Constructo

                           Plastic - USS Constitution - Revel (twice), Cutty Sark.

Unfinished - Plastic - HMS Victory - Heller, Sea Witch.

Member : Nautical Research Guild



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  • 2 weeks later...

The 1/96 Constitution is a great kit for "learning" class.  Compared to smaller, simpler kits it is good to train with due to its size.  A larger model leaves more room to work with your fingers.  I've built 3 ships of sail over the years, one wood and 2 plastic.  Right now I have the 1/96 Sea Witch in my model shipyard.  Each piece is a lesson in figureitoutness.  With each piece and thread you will learn how to do it.  And with time you will master. 


Be willing to invest your patience into the build.  The hull and deck work will require steady hands and a selection of fine tip paint brushes to get good detail.  As for the rigging, lay out the mast and yards on a sheet of Styrofoam and build.  Have a box of pins from the house sewing kit ready.  Again, with each string, thread and yard you will figure it out.  Take your time, even the real Constitution took years to build, and more to maintain.  I can't stress enough that a good set of tweezers are worth their weight in gold.  Get a curved tip pair, this will allow you to tie knots like a pro.


One last benefit of building Old Ironsides, she still exist.  If you're stuck on a detail and want to know what it should look like for real, Google a picture.  Or better, go to Boston and walk her decks yourself.


When you're done you will have a show piece.  And, a "I'll do that better next time" learning tool.


As I was building my ships and looked closely at the detail of the rigging I developed a great respect for the men that put to sea on those ships of sail.  I hope you do too, good luck.



USN (Ret.)

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