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Greetings from Tacoma. Have I taken too big a bite?

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Although I've built a couple solid hull models, I came across an unopened Model Shipways Fair American for $50 and couldn't pass it up.  However, after looking at the instruction book, I must admit to a bit of trepidation.  I've never built a plank on model before and wonder if this will be a suitable first build for me, or if I've taken too big a bite for my first time.  Any comments?  Also, I'd like to to give a shout out to any and all model ship builders in the Tacoma area.  I've read many posts on this site, and it seems like there are plenty of folks that are willing to give advice.  That's an encouragement.

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Paul, welcome to MSW. It is a great place to learn how to navigate through the maze and I expect you will get honest answers from members who know the kit in question.

Can I suggest you study build logs and see if the problems begin to look less intimidating? Especially interesting at the moment is this:

Rest assured, you will not find a problem that someone hasn't already solved.






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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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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Paul, welcome to MSW.  This project is designed in such a way that a true novice should not have much problem.  The only power tool I used was a Dremel, and even that is not necessary.  The following was stolen from Kurt's announcement in the Nautical Research Guild announcement section.


We can now take orders for the Half Hull Planking Kit

The kit is not yet listed at the NRG Store, and when it is, we will update this, but we can now take orders through the NRG Office.  Call the office directly or send an email.  See the NRG web site for the phone and email.  (Not listed here to thwart robots/spammers) 


The price is $65.00 for non-NRG members.  NRG members get the member’s 20% discount price of $52.00.  Prices are plus shipping.

US shipping is $15.00.  Canada shipping is $20.00.  Other non-US shipping is $26.00.


Expected shipping is the week of 10-22-19. 


And if you are lucky, Mary will convince you to join the Guild as well!


Chairman Nautical Research Guild

Member Nautical Research and Model Society

Member Midwest Model Shipwrights


Current Builds:     Utrecht-1742

Completed Builds: Longboat - 1:48 scale       HMS Atalanta-1775 - 1:48 scale       Half Hull Planking Project      Capstan Project     Swallow 1779 - 1:48 scale      Echo Cross Section   NRG Rigging Project 


Gallery:  Hannah - 1:36 scale.

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Gidday Paul and another warm welcome from the Land Downunder.

I heartily support Bruce in post #2 re searching the build logs.

I find the logs very informative and there are some very innovative solutions provided.

As to your question about biting off too much, you are the best judge of your abilities and skill level.

I also agree with the comments re the Half Hull as there is merit in learning planking before embarking on a kit.

You will find the members here possess a wealth of knowledge and support is freely given.

If I may I would like to proffer a couple of pieces of friendly advice,

Read and re-read the instructions.

Study the plans and study them again.

Dry fit as much as possible, leave the glue unopened until you are sure of how things go together.

Search the build logs here.

Above all - Enjoy yourself, this is not meant to be a chore.

I wish you all the best in your endeavours and I am looking forward to your progress.



Edited by pontiachedmark
Missing letter
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Welcome to MSW, Paul.  I suggest taking Toni's advice and getting the hull planking kit.  You'll learn a lot and pretty quickly since it's not a full hull.   There's a link to the project in her signature.

"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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Welcome!  I too have a fair American kit, I’m hoping you start a log 😊. Best of luck!

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Paul, welcome to MSW. For $50 what do u really have to lose apart from some of your free time.

i bit off way more than I could chew a few months ago when I started my Carrack, but I'm really enjoying the build, especially all the techniques and skills I need to learn along the way, sure I've made a few errors, but nothing I can't fix.

measure twice cut once is good , but I've learnt it's  now study 5 times, ask a few questions and do once on anything your not sure about. Take it on, and most of all, enjoy yourself.



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