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Newby with grand plans


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My name is Keith Woolf, I am 70 years old, no longer do huge DIY projects so need something else to keep me busy and away from the TV.


Several members have already contacted me on Facebook but I rarely visit Facebook so this is not a great medium for me.


I am completely new to model ship building but have planned well ahead. This year I have built a four metre by four metre log cabin in the garden, this has lights, power, limited heating, a three metre bench and some insulation. I already have a lot of tools and have sorted out all those that I feel relevant to the task. After lots of research I would like to build HMS Mars but realise it would be a huge project requiring me to learn lots of skills and commit a lot of time but being retired time is not the problem. However now I have found this site I am confused, initially I thought it would be a huge help but after reading some of the posts I am doubting my choice. I plan to visit Mantua Models in Windsor after Christmas to buy my first kit and get a lot of advice. I am still looking forward to starting in the new year in the mean time I will be spending a lot of time on this fantastic site reading and researching as much ask can.

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Hello Keith, and welcome to the forum!...you'll find lots of folks here ready to help answer any questions.

I found this thread very useful when I joined the model shipbuilding community earlier this year...helped guide me with my personal path to getting started in the hobby:



Cliff Ward

Cary, North Carolina


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That article does contain good advice. The key question for a new modeller (to me at least) is whether you have relevant skills in similar hobbies/work. If you have i.e you were a carpenter at work or spend all your time making furniture then a more advanced model will probably be well within your grasp. If not and you were perhaps an accountant who played tennis as a hobby then try something smaller and simpler.


I started with no practical carpentry/metal work skills and started with Caldercrafts 'Snake' which I completed and enjoyed in a year (time limited so that's probably a lot more than actually needed). I am currently on their Bounty which is a nice simple kit though I would also recommend Chucks Longboat as something that is simple and nice to look at when completed without being too difficult.


Basically if you fancy Mars or a ship of the line or big frigate but have no relevant skill set then do a smaller kit and treat it as an quick introduction (plus you can make all your mistakes on 'that'). Then you can move up to your dream model...


Since you say you built your shed and bench you may already have that skill set so...


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Derek C


A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder --Thomas Carlyle



Current Build


18th Century Whaling Vessel "Lagoda"



Finished Builds

Triton Cross Section by Derek C 1/48 

18th century longboat by Slideways - FINISHED - Model Shipways

18th century longboat by sideways from MS plans

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Hello Keith,


it it is quite hard to recommend a good place to start with model ship building as the choice is very much dictated by the temperament and skills of the builder. Fortunately skills can be acquired and old dogs can learn new tricks. As for temperament, well that’s a different story as by our age it’s pretty well locked in. So if you are the sort of person who likes quick results, gets bored with hours spent trying to shape components which you struggle to see, or derives no satisfaction from a days effort producing something smaller than a five pence piece then start with something simple and small. If you don’t get bored or frustrated easily and see failure as an opportunity to make it again (and better) then go for something spectacular. Remember however that large complex models can take many years to build and before you start ask yourself if you have the will and stamina to see it through.  That said many of us find model making a fascinating and rewarding passtime and a source of great pleasure and pride.


Good look with your first build, I look forward to seeing your build log.







Current Build:-

Cangarda (Steam Yacht) - Scale 1:24


Previous Builds:-


Schooner Germania (Nova) - Scale 1:36


Schooner Altair by KeithAug - Scale 1:32 - 1931


J Class Endeavour by KeithAug - Amati - Scale 1:35 - 1989 after restoration.



Other Topics

Nautical Adventures




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We have some things in common. I am 67. I use only an antennae for television but watch more videos. I am working on the D'Agostini Victory cross section primarily because of the online video on assembly. Take your time. Here in Minnesota we have winter which is great for a guy like me to build.

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jump in with both feet K and dont worry about relevant work or hobby skill, you have 70 years of relevant skills under your belt, after 40 yrs as a nuclear inspector and no "relevant" skills this was my first scratch built model, you'll go from frustration to elation and back many times, but thats what keeps our blood pressure up,,,good luck



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Keith, and welcome to MSW. I am 72 and still enjoying building wooden ship models. The only difficulty that I have is that In Cape Town we don't have any winter therefore building during the 7 months of summer is very challenging. More then often i have to stop working on the model as it is too hot.

Cape Town is running out of water.   


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