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Greetings from Annapolis, MD!


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Thought I'd drop a note and introduce myself.  My name is Matt and I am a long time plastic modeler but have always had an interest in the Age of Sail.  I am a sailor in real-life and have sailed for years on the Chesapeake Bay.


That said, I am coming back to this hobby after a long hiatus.  My problem is I have dreams and I am a kit hoarder.  I've lovingly kept several wood ship kits in storage and I've decided to bring them back out and start working them down.  My ultimate dream is to complete four specific kits to near-museum quality over time.  These four are: Artesania Bluenose II, Mamoli Hunter Armed Cutter, Mamoli Blue Shadow Big and HMS Vanguard (Amati or Model Shipways).  I don't own Vanguard yet but I do own the others.


My biggest challenge is where to start!  


I hate solid hull kits and I have enough prior modeling experience that I'm comfortable with plank-on-bulkhead kits.  I tried an Artesania Swift as a teenager but didn't know how to bend planks properly.  So that got tossed years ago.  But I do have an unbuilt Swift in the pile.


Looking for guidance on which would be my most likely first success.  I have a Model Shipways Katy of Norfolk (the older PoB kit, not the current solid hull kit) that is framed up but not planked that I've had in storage and leaning on starting back there.  Downside is a lot of the bulkhead timberheads are broken off.  Manual shows an alternate bulkhead that I can build up from the deck so all is not lost.  If nothing else it would be a good hull to potential practice skills on.


Or should I start somewhere else?  Here's what I have in the pile...


Artesania Swift 1805 Pilot Boat

Artesania Bluenose II

Corel Scotland Cutter

Mamoli Black Prince Privateer 1775

Mamoli Blue Shadow Brig

Mamoli USS Constitution

Mamoli Hunter Armed Cutter

Mantua Le Superbe

Model Shipways Katy of Norfolk Pilot Boat

Model Shipways Syren Brig

Model Shipways 1:24 Armed Longboat


I'm not foolish enough to break out the USS Constitution or Le Superbe (which I plan to build as HMS Implacable) yet.  I plan to acquire one of the HMS Vanguard kits so I am looking for recommendations on which one to get.  


I'm sure there are many kits that have pluses and minus.  Been reading a lot of build logs and getting a feel for troublesome kits.  Which is why I opted not to obtain a Constructo Enterprise even though I do like it because it seems very...quirky.


I consider the 74 third rate to be one of the most beautiful ships to ever grace the sea.  So that would be my pinnacle attempt.  My Everest, as it were.  My Blue Shadow kit is special to me because it is one of the last remaining memories of a good friend and I want to complete it in his honor and memory.  I've carried it with me for over 30 years but I do not want to mess that kit up.  So others are meant as the learning tools.


I will be happy to post a build log of my efforts.  I'm looking forward to getting back into it finally.



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Welcome to MSW!


That's quite a stash! Ok, out of those, I think you should tackle Artesania's Swift 1805. That looks more than doable for a modeller who has at least experience in another medium (plastic). It's a simple model and the rig is straightforward. 


You're a way off Vanguard yet. You really do need to get a few simpler but progressive projects under your belt first, but when you do opt for Vanguard, I highly recommend the Amati. We have a review here:



Please crack open that Artesania kit and let our members help you through it.


What tools do you have?


A good start is at least a sanding block, Amati plank nipper, fine saw, nail pusher etc. 


We have a superb topic for you to read here:



Here's another very useful topic:


The moot point here is that we are here to help. MSW is the largest model ship forum in the world and the experience we have here is amazing, with members that will guide you along the way. Never feel that any question is stupid. We all start somewhere and what we want is for you to get to that holy grail you seek and accumulate the experience to get there, plus the enjoyment in doing so.





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IMHO start with one of the simpler kits, BUT THE ONE YOU LIKE. Follow the kit's instructions, otherwise, modify and kitbash what you think you can tackle, with your skills and/or your workshop. Don't rush and enjoy the building process! You are going to have hard time however, to end up with one of your kits as a museum quality model. Not the same quality of materials and details in those kits...


Edited by Dziadeczek
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I built the Katy of Norfolk kit as my first PoB model 20 years ago. I recall that there were a number of potential pitfalls in the instructions,the biggest being that the description of the planking was for a single-planked hull, but the kit supplies materials for double planking. I made it through with the help of some experienced modelers in a local club. If you are aware of the potential problems going in, then it is a doable model, very similar to Swift. Model Shipways kits generally include fewer pre-cut parts than their European counterparts.

Chris Coyle
Greer, South Carolina

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

Current builds: Brigantine Phoenix

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Gidday Matt and a warm welcome from the Land Downunder.

Firstly I must say I admire your ambitions,

2 hours ago, Middyman said:

My ultimate dream is to complete four specific kits to near-museum quality over time.

The quality of the kit materials are a long way off museum quality. The choice of model is based a lot on your confidence and skill level. Personally I would opt for a kit with basic rigging and double plank on bulkhead. I also look for something that pleases my eye. Above all else you must enjoy what you are doing. This is not meant to be a chore.

You will find a lot of support and encouragement here. The members possess an incredible wealth of knowledge and most freely share. These are my thoughts only and I am not trying to dissuade you in your ambition. 

I wish you all the best in your endeavours.


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5 hours ago, Middyman said:

Mamoli Hunter Armed Cutter, Mamoli Blue Shadow

Just my $.02 ..


I have both of these kits, and while I think they both make nice decorator pieces, they have serious technical issues..


I won't elaborate unless you would  like for me to..

Edited by Gregory

Luck is just another word for good preparation.


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

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

On the building slip: 1:72 French Ironclad Magenta (original shipyard plans)


On hold: 1:98 Mantua HMS Victory (kit bash), 1:96 Shipyard HMS Mercury


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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Welcome to MSW, Matt.  


I agree with what's been said.  Start simple with a model you want to build.

"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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Welcome!  I too am a kit hoarder lol...I’ve just started and I think I bought every kit model expo has put on sale over the last 6 months under 150$, so literally 15 plus kits (from solid hulls like the phantom, to Charles P. Morgan).   I truly believe POF and POB are completely different animals then solid hull kits...I am still fresh to the wood boat world and also think plastic models are completely different many ways as well (better instructions, pieces designed to fit into each other, etc).  I speak from little experience (I’ve only finished a Dory and a Bounty Jolly), but honestly if you build every kit in your set and don’t finish any of them, atleast you hopefully had fun and learned something.   Museum quality is a wonderful goal, but I know I couldn’t do that in my first kits, if not ever.  It’s a hobby...have fun!

Edited by Duanelaker
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Since you are so close to the Eastern Shore, you might be interested in attending a one-day model show in Oxford, MD that will be on Saturday, Nov. 9th.


There will be many very competent modelers there and you would probably enjoy talking with them. The show is free too!


Cheers -


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Thanks everyone for the advice.  Tools I have a fair number of.  Standard modeling tools on my bench from years of modeling: X-Acto knives, needle files, hard and soft sanding blocks of various grits, sanding sticks, pin vise and hand drills, mitre box and razor saw, Dremel tool, bench vise, clamps, pins, paint and paintbrushes (acrylic and enamel), planking vise, Fair-a-Frame,  electric plank benders, head lens, bench "extra hands" with magnifying glass.  Only really lacking a small hobby drill press, saw and similar power tools.  Definitely have all of the basic tools as recommended in "Ship Modeling Simplified" (among other books, have a stack of those too).


Based on the votes I am breaking out the Swift kit and will read the build logs for other's experiences.  I am going to work on the Katy in parallel since it is already started and I'll just run it at a slower pace.  I just got Model Shipway's Syren brig on sale and I am resisting the urge to touch that.  What a beautiful looking ship!  


I am definitely going to check out the Oxford model show since it is across the bridge.  Many thanks John for that!


I will start a build log of my efforts as I get them going.  Right now I am making the tools to make the model.  Assembling a bunch of planking clamps.  There ought to be build logs for the tools too as these like the Fair-A-Frame are pretty involved in their assembly too.


Thanks everyone for the warm welcome.  I am lining up my Fall/Winter project.




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Regards, Patrick


Finished :  Soleil Royal Heller 1/100   Wasa Billing Boats   Bounty Revell 1/110 plastic (semi scratch)   Pelican / Golden Hind  1/45 scratch

Current build :  Mary Rose 1/50 scratch

Gallery Revell Bounty  Pelican/Golden hind 1/45 scratch

To do Prins Willem Corel, Le Tonnant Corel, Yacht d'Oro Corel, Thermopylae Sergal 


Shore leave,  non ship models build logs :  

ADGZ M35 funkwagen 1/72    Einhets Pkw. Kfz.2 and 4 1/72   Autoblinda AB40 1/72   122mm A-19 & 152mm ML-20 & 12.8cm Pak.44 {K8 1/2} 1/72   10.5cm Howitzer 16 on Mark. VI(e)  Centurion Mk.1 conversion   M29 Weasel 1/72     SAM6 1/72    T26 Finland  T26 TN 1/72  Autoprotetto S37 1/72     Opel Blitz buses 1/72  Boxer and MAN trucks 1/72   Hetzer38(t) Starr 1/72    

Modern Russian vehicles 1/72


Si vis pacem, para bellum

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