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Hello. I am brand new to model ship building and am wondering what is a good way to learn. Can a person learn this hobby from books? If so what are some good ones? I have not yet  attempted a ship yet but I have ordered the Viking ship from Amati. I’ve read that it’s a good starter kit? I hope it will not be to  difficult .


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Gidday irishrover and a warm welcome from the Land Downunder.

Re your question on learning from books, personally I try to gain an understanding from the written word then I learn the technique from practical application.

Re books, I have learnt and enjoyed  Mastini's Ship Modelling Simplified. Riche's Ship Models from Kits. 

Dressel's Planking Techniques for Model Ship Builders.

Some may say these books are getting a bit old but I have found them a good resource at a good price.

I encourage you to start a build log when practical.

There is a wealth of knowledge here and members give advice freely.

Feel free to ask questions.

Wishing you all the best with your build.


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You'll learn something useful from every book you buy, or at least that is my experience, and it's why most modelers have a whole slew of books. Look on Amazon for ship modeling in books, anything with good reviews will be worth buying. This includes books specifically about rigging, which is a subject in and of itself.


The easiest kits I'm aware of to build are the Master Korabel kits from Russia (you could even start with a small rowboat), every single part is laser cut so really it's mostly just assembling wooden parts. A normal ship kit will have a recognizable keel and bulkhead formers, but is otherwise a pile of sticks and you get to make most of the parts. Most modelers like that challenge but it can be an intimidating place to start.

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Welcome to MSW, Irishrover.


There's lots of ways to skin the cat, so to speak.   There's the wealth of knowledge here at MSW.  There's also a database with lots of good info here:  http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-model-framing-and-planking-articles.php


Scroll down on the front page and there's forums for just about any topic you'd ever want.  In the kit build logs, you'll find some logs of that model that others have done and will give you a very good idea of what to expect.   Also, starting a log of your own is a great way to get help and meet other builders.


Books are good for get familiar with the hobby and there will be recommendations from lots of people.   My first 3 books were:

How to Build First-Rate Ship Models From Kits by Beb Lankford

A Modeller's Guide to Hull Construction by A. Richard Mansir

and a general reference book that has it's flaws but is still excellent for an overview:   Historic Ship Models by Wolfram zu Mondfeld



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

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

 NRG Hallf Hull Planking Kit                                                                            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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Hey mate 

Gday snowy here from dawin i believe all of the above is true .

I highly recommended frank mastini s book ship models simplified.

I personally got the amati adventure as my first kit but i didn't start it for about 2 months after i bought it.first i bought books and looked at other builds .

But i think most importantly i looked at my plans for the build for over a month to understand everything .i tried understand all and dry fit and glue once 

Good luck and enjoy



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I’m on my third copy of Historic Ship Models by Wolfram Zu Monfeld.  I use it so much that I just discovered over this past weekend that the spine is starting to disintegrate (like my other two copies did).

Building: 1:64 HMS Revenge (Victory Models plans)

1:64 Cat Esther (17th Century Dutch Merchant Ships)


Favorite finished builds:  1:60 Sampang Good Fortune (Amati plans), 1:200 Orel Ironclad Solferino, 1:72 Schooner Hannah (Hahn plans), 1:72 Privateer Prince de Neufchatel (Chapelle plans), Model Shipways Sultana, Heller La Reale, Encore USS Olympia


Goal: Become better than I was yesterday


"The hardest part is deciding to try." - me

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I always encourage folks to try their local library. You might be surprised by what they have available on the subject -- even some of the books that have already been mentioned.

Chris Coyle
Greer, South Carolina

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

Current builds: Brigantine Phoenix, Speeljacht

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just completed the planking on the viking ship.....very difficult to figure out how to fit the planks evenly ...i couldn't....but i don't think i gave it enough pre-measuring time..hope you can do better....lots and lots of measuring before gluing....get lots of tiny clamps like the miniature ones in the stationery store....and make sure you temporarily reinforce the first v shaped bulkhead at the stern....it will break very easily.......good luck

Edited by yancovitch
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I believe the topic was book recommendations? ....... the Neophyte  Shipmodelers Jackstay by GF Campbell is my recommendation. This slim volume is a good place to start if you want to invent the wheel for yourself and begin learning ship model building from the very beginning. The reason it’s perfect for the beginner is that it has some of the best clear uncomplicated illustrations you will ever see. Plus it doesn’t go down the rabbit hole in any one issue, it stays simple and covers the basics in a straightforward and efficient style. It covers all the necessary topics yet remains uncomplicated. Finally it’s inexpensive and easily obtainable in the secondhand market.







 Niagara USS Constitution 


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1 hour ago, JerseyCity Frankie said:

I believe the topic was book recommendations? .......

Hello irishrover1970,

As a newbie I also wondered what books/guides were good and what was 'less than' good. I found the  Neophyte  Shipmodelers Jackstay great, as you will have read in post #14 by   JerseyCityFrankie but my education on the subject took a great leap forward when I got 'The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships' by C. Nepean Longridge. This great work explains what the parts of a wooden ship are and how they work together: it finally made sense of many of the other instructions and guidelines by enabling me to understand what the devil they were talking about. 

I have not reconciled the names of parts of a Viking ship with the names in use by an English shipyard from the age of Nelson, but the book's illustrations are very good at showing what goes where and it can only help.

I am making a set of drawings for my modelling subject and it is a LOT easier now that I have that book.

Good luck with your model, there is a lot of good advice available here.







A model shipwright and an amateur historian are heads & tails of the same coin

current builds:

HMS Berwick 1775, 1/192 scratchbuild; a Slade 74 in the Navy Board style

Mediator sloop, 1/48 - an 18th century transport scratchbuild 

French longboat - CAF - 1/48, on hold

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I will 2nd mtaylor and GrandpaPhil's suggestion of Historic Ship Models by Wolfram zu Mondfeld

Edited by Gregory

“Indecision may or may not be my problem.”
― Jimmy Buffett

Current builds:    Rattlesnake (Scratch From MS Plans 

On Hold:  HMS Resolution ( AKA Ferrett )

In the Gallery: Yacht Mary,  Gretel, French Cannon

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