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Long time modeler but new to ships


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Hello, everyone!  I've been a hobby modeler for many years now, though my focus has been building and painting scale figures.  I love the look of a well done wooden ship and have always wanted to try building them.  A little over 20 years ago, back when I was in high school, I purchased the Model Shipways kit, the Fair American.  I had high hopes, but could see I was in way over my head and never started it.  I still have the kit and want to build that ship one day, but I know I need to work up to it.  I think it's past time I found a good beginner kit and started working my way up to more complex ones.  I've had a look at some of the suggestions on this site and I think I'm going to start with the Grand Banks Dory from Blue Jacket.  I also had my eye on the Revenue Cutter from Blue Jacket and the new 18th Century Armed Longboat from Model Shipways.  But, I think the Dory is probably a better choice for the first project and perhaps I'll take on one of those others afterward.


What do you all think?  Is the Grand Banks Dory a good beginner kit or would you recommend something else?  I saw Midwest Products mentioned in some posts.  It looks like they're no longer in business but I still their kits sold here and there.  I'll start a build log once I get the kit, so I can hopefully get some feedback and advice as I go.  Also, I'm located in San Jose, CA.  I tried to see if there were any ship modeling groups nearby.  I found some up in San Francisco, but would love to find a group a little closer to home.  If you know of anything active in the area, I'd love to hear about it.


Oh, and in case anyone is curious, here are a couple of my recent figures projects (1, 2, 3, 4), all 1/35 scale.  I'm a novice when it comes to ships, but I've got a bit of experience with figures. 😉

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Wonderful work on the figures.  You have an eye for the details.

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans                             Triton Cross-Section   

                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

                                                                                Wasa (Gallery)

                                                                                                                        HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               


Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         



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The South Bay Model Shipwrights is the closest club to you that I know of. Some MSW members are regulars there. As for the dory kit, you really can't go very wrong with this simplified type of kit. They're great for an introduction to working with wood and won't set you back much in either $$ or time. Jump in!

Chris Coyle
Greer, South Carolina

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

Current builds: Brigantine Phoenix

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Great painting on the figures! The armed longboat would be a good choice given the scale and Shapeways has naval figures the same scale. It would be a good choice and I did design the kit with beginners in mind. All the plans are full scale as well so no conversions needed. Welcome aboard!


Here is are pictures of the figures available. Here is one painted and the others as they came from Shapeways. I had to break a couple of legs to get them to fit properly.



Here are the raw figures; the guy at the rudder had his legs broken to set on the deck.






I am sure you could do a much better job at painting these guys than I did. That would be a great painting tutorial for you to post at some time.

Edited by xken
To add picture.


Current build: Maersk Detroit"
Future builds:  Mamoli HMS Victory 1:90
Completed builds: US Brig Niagara, Dirty Dozen, USS Constitution, 18th Century Armed Longboat


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Reading your introduction you didn't just paint those figures, you made them as well. They are absolutely great.

In my humble opinion, if you are capable of that, don't worry about a beginners kit. Jump straight into a more complex one to your liking.

Just make sure you get one with decent instructions to help you out understand the different processes.

Just my 2 cents.

Cheers, Peter



Current Build:     USF Confederacy 1778 - Model Shipways - 1:64


Completed:         US Brig Syren - Model Shipways - 1:64

                        San Francisco Cross Section - Artesania Latina - 1:50

Future build:        HM Granado - Caldercraft - 1:64

                        LeRenard - Artesania Latina - 1:50

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Thank you, everyone!


Ccoyle, that’s incredibly helpful! Looks like the club has a meeting this week. Hopefully I can swing by and check it out. 


Xken, it’s a great looking kit and excellent to know there are figures available as well. It’s be great to combine both hobbies when I can. 


Well, you all have me tempted to start with something a bit more ambitious. I plan to order a kit in the next few weeks... so I’ll have to mull my choice over a bit more. 🙂



Edited by dpowell
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