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asking input on first build.....


CPDDET
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The advice I've received on this forum is to choose something I really like for my first build. With that in mind I have picked 2 different models and would like to hear from more experienced builders if one of these would be better for a first time build. I believe, because of the model numbers, these are Model Shipways Kits. Both are plank on bulkhead.

 

 

Model Expo No. MS2109 Benjamin Latham Length 33" / Height 27" / Scale 1/4" = 1 ft. (1:48)

https://modelexpo-online.com/model-shipways-benjamin-latham-1-48-scal

 

Model Expo No. MS2130 Bluenose Canadian Schooner Length 32" / Height 26-1/2" / Scale 3/16" = 1 ft (1:64)

https://modelexpo-online.com/model-shipways-bluenose-canadian-schooner-1-64-scl

 

Any comments are welcome!

Dave

 

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You're right, these are both MS kits. They both build into very nice models. MS kits tend to have fewer pre-cut parts than others and require more fabrication from sheet wood and strips -- that may or may not be your thing. You never know until you try. The two vessels are nearly identical in hull form. The main difference is the scale -- 1/48 will be slightly easier to work with. These both build into rather large (but spectacular, especially with sails) models. This makes a model harder to handle during construction and requires more room to display . Consider display case dimensions -- add roughly 6" to the length, 4" to the width, and 3-4" to the height (interior dimensions). But in terms of kit quality, you can't really go wrong with either one.

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They are indeed both Model Shipways kits which have been in production long enough to have "gotten the bugs out" of them. I've not built either of them, but  I'm familiar with MS kits and they are of excellent quality.  I'd offer a few off the top of my head observations.

 

1) The websites you posted have links to comments on the models which should give you more of an idea of what they are.

 

2) The MSW "kit builds" build log index I am sure has several build logs for each and these will get you tons of information on what building them is actually like.

 

3) If you want to do a really good job on either model, expect to replace the kit-provided blocks and deadeyes, the rigging line, and sailcloth with higher end after-market ones. (Syren Ship Models is your friend here. They won't break the bank.)

 

4) The Latham is by Eric Ronnberg and Bluenose is by Lankford, both highly respected and very well known modelers whose written instructions that come with the kits are excellent. You shouldn't have any problems following the instructions and the more than adequate MS plans.

 

5)  The Lattham is scaled at 1/4" = 1', while the Bluenose is scaled at 3/16" = 1'. This may not seem to be much of a difference, but the larger 1/4" scale Latham will be easier to build and likely have more detail which will result in a more interesting model to build and to view. Apparently, Latham is depicted in her working condition (and includes a seine boat, as well, a cool feature.) The Latham provides the opportunity to "tell a story" of what that fishery was like. While not to run it down unreasonably, Bluenose is apparently depicted in her "racing trim" and not as a working Banks dory fisherman, so it may be a less interesting model, although that is just my own opinion.

 

5) There's not a lot of difference in the size of the finished models, but you should probably give some thought to the size of one versus the other and determine for yourself if "size matters." Take some sticks and build "storey poles" to give an idea of how much space each would take up when cased (and any good model should be cased if it is to last for any length of time and not just turn into a "dust catcher.") How much space to give a model in its case is something of an artistic determination, but for models of these sizes, I'd expect to have to allow a minimum of somewhere between 2" and 3" more that the extreme dimensions of the finished model, top and bottom and side to side all around. (Often, the fore and aft dimension of the case should allow for greater space so that when the model is viewed from at least a 45 degree angle, the view of the entire model is not obscured by the corner post.) That often becomes a surprisingly big "box." It always surprises me how much space the cases take up after spending the time with my nose glued to the work building such tiny details!) and it's going to dominate most any room in a house, or at least be the visual focal point. I hate to admit it, but all the models I've made or restored in that size range are in my office or on display in the yacht club. The only ones I've been able to find a place for at home without spousal objection are smaller models half or less the size of the ones you're contemplating. :D 

Edited by Bob Cleek
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If you decide on Latham, you might want to consider getting a copy of American Fishing Schooners by Howard Chapelle. It's a tremendous resource for these boats. https://www.amazon.com/American-Fishing-Schooners-1825-1935/dp/039303755X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537706149&sr=8-1&keywords=american+fishing+schooner

It's an expensive book, but well worth it in my opinion.

 

Another model to consider is Bluejacket's Smuggler. Similar boat and same scale as Latham but solid-hull construction instead of plank-on-bulkhead.

http://www.bluejacketinc.com/kits/smuggler.htm

 

Cheers -

John

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I think for your first build you will be happier with Smuggler's solid hull, you will be avoiding a whole world of pitfalls not having to plank a pob kit for your first build.  Smuggler makes a gorgeous model.

If you do choose one of the ME kits though I would go with the larger scale Benj. Latham.

 

good luck with which ever you choose, be sure and start a build log so we can follow along.

 

 

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I will politely semi-disagree with John. Smuggler is a great kit and makes a beautiful model, but having taken a crack at two solid hulls myself, I would hesitate to call them "easier". Rather, I'd just say that solid hulls are different. Solid hulls and plank-on-bulkhead kits each have their own learning curve, and you may find that you like one and not the other. No way to tell for sure until you try. Just don't be put off by the notion that one style is easier or harder than the other.

 

Cheers!

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As I read the links, both of these seem to be a single plank builds. Please ignore this if I am wrong. You might be better off with a double plank kit where your first planking is just to get the shape and will be covered with the second planking. This allows you to get the technique down and you can make mistakes (gaps) which you can fill in. I have never done a solid hull but sooner or later you are going to do planking anyway and I would not be put off by it. It is also , to me, part of the challenge and fun of a project to figure out how to shape and bend the planking.

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I could get Bluenose in a double plank kit made by ARTESANIA LATINA. But after viewing the results of the ongoing poll on this site I feel better about the MS kit, even though its single plank. I would like to give myself every advantage for my first build and getting a quality kit will help to that end.

 

I have received, and read through Franks Mastini's book, Ship Modeling Simplified. Hardly seems like anything is simple about this craft but Mastini's instructions give me hope and a sense of confidence. After reading the book my head was spinning but when I thought about taking one step at a time (just think about building the hull) and not getting ahead of myself, I felt much better.

 

It's a tough choice for me between these two kits as they are both beautiful ships and while the Latham is a slightly larger scale, the Bluenose cost less; money that could be put toward tools. But I have to get my feet wet sooner or later so I will be ordering the Bluenose.

 

Dave

Edited by CPDDET
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