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Introducing myself and already seeking advice


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Hi all,


My name is Keith, and I've decided to get into model ship building. My grandfather was a modeler, and I grew up fascinated with his models (particularly a beautiful little xebex); I've also long been a fan of the Aubrey/Maturin novels. I'm a graduate student in the midst of a dissertation, so a hobby that lets me work with my hands and get off the computer/away from my research for a bit is a needed distraction.


To ease myself into model building, I started with a couple of plastic models. I completed the Revell PT-109 in a weekend and am currently working on Revell of Germany's North Sea fishing trawler. These have been useful to convince me that it is a pastime I enjoy and have time for (on occasion, at least). I am, however, chomping at the bit to work with wood.


I see that many people use the Model Shipways Phantom as an entry point, and for a couple of weeks I was planning to do the same. But after reading through a few build logs, it looks like the Phantom always requires lots of sanding and often requires a dremel. I'd rather avoid both of these for now. I live in an apartment that doesn't have space for a dedicated workshop area, so I don't have a good set up for producing lots of wood dust. Likewise, I'm trying to keep my initial investment somewhat reasonable, so I'd rather not purchase a dremel yet.


So, I've been considering the Model Shipways 18th Century Longboat (http://www.modelexpo-online.com/product.asp?ITEMNO=MS1457), which is a plank-on-frame. It seems like it would be a good intro to planking (which is what I aspire to) and rigging, and it's pretty cheap. Before committing, though, I wanted to see what you all think. Would the longboat be a terrible beginning model? Am I going about this wrong? Or is it a reasonable intro build?


Thanks for any thoughts. I look forward to being a part of the MSW community.

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I did the Longboat a while back. It's a very good kit, bit challenging at times, but not overly challenging for a beginner. In addition the kit contains a Practicum written by Chuck Passaro (admin here on MSW) which is an excellent manual on how to build it. There are also an number of build logs here on MSW to use as reference. So I would say YES, go for it.  Start a build log here and ask questions. There are plenty of people who can help you.


Welcome aboard.

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Greetings Keith!


I watched another 1st time builder over the pat couple of months.  He built the Batelina by MariStella.  There are a couple of build logs  (Pierre Tessier and Don Robinson) for two.  Batelina is a possible 1st build for you - It is a beautiful kit,  can be build in a month or two elapsed time, has support (build logs) on this site, pretty inexpensive kit ($75) and don't appear to require much in the way of special tools.   It will introduce you to planking but in a friendlier hull design.  No rigging though (which would be an advantage for me right now!!!)


Whatever you choose I'm betting you'll enjoy it!



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Welcome aboard Keith,


It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or an advanced builder, this a great place to learn and share tips and techniques.

When you have made your choice and when you're ready, feel free to start a buildlog.

If needed, you'll find plenty of advise, help and encouragement from everyone.


I wish you smooth sailing and happy modelling.




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Welcome to MSW Keith! Good to have you with us. I know you are looking at keeping both sand dust and costs down so you can always hand sand things. Working with wood will mean that you will have sanding and sawdust unfortunately. I would recommend getting a small vacuum to help keep the dust under control. If you get one with a long enough hose you can always rig it, (use tape to hold it to the table) so that it acts as a dust collector when sanding.


If you think this may be something you really want to get into, I would recommend spending the money on a Dremmel. No need to buy the expensive sets with hundreds of bits, just get the basic drill with a couple of sanding drums to start off.


If money is tight even for that, there is nothing wrong with hand sanding. The paper is cheap and you can easily make sanding blocks out of scrap wood or buy cheap ones if you prefer that. Honestly, even with al the power tools I have, the majority of my sanding on a model ship is still done by hand either with a block or free form.


Both of the models you are looking at are great starters. There are many logs for both and they will give you a good fundamental of the basics.


Good luck to you on your maiden voyage into this great hobby! I look forward to seeing what you decide to start with and sharing this adventure with you!

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Thanks, everyone, for the responses. The Batelina is an attractive boat, Doug. I'll keep my eye on it, even if I go with the longboat for my first model. Chris, I had no idea paper models could be so spectacular. Clare Hess's HMS Alert is a beautiful build.


I'm still thinking I'll go with the longboat for my first build--the combination of price, practicum/build logs, and that no one responding saying to avoid it, make it an attractive choice.

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Hi Keith and welcome!


I was a total beginner also last fall and decided to start learning with something small and simple so I purchased the longboat. It took me 2 months to complete and I learned a lot! The small size presented a challenge but you get a good introduction to a lot of the basic techniques in wooden ship modeling. You don't need a Dremmel for this model and there is minimal sanding required. I only wish I had found this site before completing it. I used only the instructions that come with the model and would have benefited from the build logs here. Just take your time, read way ahead in the instructions and get a good understanding of how everything comes together before doing any glueing. You will enjoy the build! Good luck.

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