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Torrens

Wooden kit accuracy...

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Regardless of whether sail or power, I'd be interested to know which wooden kit members believe is the most accurate, particularly of an historic subject?

 

So many kit manufacturers take short-cuts, some of which are clearly because of manufacturing processes and to keep costs reasonable. However, numerous manufacturers seem not to be too bothered by the accuracy of their interpretation of the original. 

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From what I've seen here at MSW, anything by Chuck (Syren Model Company) or Chris Walton (he's done a number of kits for various companies such as Amati and Caldercraft). 

Also Model Shipways and Bluejacket.  Dusek is redoing kits from (brain fade) the company they bought that burned and from what I understand are improving them.

 

There's probably more...

 

 

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17 hours ago, Torrens said:

So many kit manufacturers take short-cuts, some of which are clearly because of manufacturing processes and to keep costs reasonable. However, numerous manufacturers seem not to be too bothered by the accuracy of their interpretation of the original. 

 

Do you have any specific examples?

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If you are a purist and strictly want an accurate representation of what ever you want to build then why not build it that way? You will not get a historically accurate model from a kit alone, unless you modify it and do tons of research to get that historical accuracy. Take for example: most kits use bulkheads rather than timber framing for the skeletal structure of the ship and use a lot less bulkheads than tibering. They do this to make the kit affordable, quicker and easier to build. Lets face it, it takes a lot of dedication to spend two years building a ship model and if you add in complete historical accuracy, look more at 5-10 years. But to answer your question, Model Shipways or Bluejacket would be my top two pics that I have built and come the closest to what your asking about.

 

A kit of any kind is only a starting point, it is up to the builder to make it what it will be or what the builder wants it to be. 

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Even POF kits rarely construct the individual frames as originally built (chocks etc.), and the disposition of frames is rarely accurate.  This is done for ease of construction.  That said, Bob Hunt’s Lauck Street Shipyard  POF models were superb.  His “Kingfisher” is the greatest kit ever produced, IMHO.  Too bad they are no longer.

Edited by DocBlake

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4 hours ago, James H said:

 

Do you have any specific examples?

Where to start! I could mention specific kits or manufacturers but that's not my question! However, to highlight just a few examples of details, most kits have over-scale belaying pins; most kits of vessels carrying boats show the boats with over-scale scantlings, etc, etc.  What I'm really interested to know is what other members consider are the most accurate, particularly externally (far better to be positive than to be negative by slating one particular kit - I leave that to the reviewers!). I posted the question because a friend asked for a recommendation, but wanted a kit that matched the original as close as possible.

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2 hours ago, DocBlake said:

Even POF kits rarely construct the individual frames as originally built (chocks etc.), and the disposition of frames is rarely accurate.  This is done for ease of construction.  That said, Bob Hunt’s Lauck Street Shipyard  POF models were superb.  His “Kingfisher” is the greatest kit ever produced, IMHO.  Too bad they are no longer.

From my experience, serious ship model kits from the US tend to be far more accurate than comparable models manufactured in Europe. That said, I do understand the 'problems' in making a kit where the frames follow full-size practice. The nearest example that I can think of is the kit of a Great Lakes brig by The a wood supplier, in Ohio.

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2 hours ago, mtdoramike said:

If you are a purist and strictly want an accurate representation of what ever you want to build then why not build it that way? You will not get a historically accurate model from a kit alone, unless you modify it and do tons of research to get that historical accuracy. Take for example: most kits use bulkheads rather than timber framing for the skeletal structure of the ship and use a lot less bulkheads than tibering. They do this to make the kit affordable, quicker and easier to build. Lets face it, it takes a lot of dedication to spend two years building a ship model and if you add in complete historical accuracy, look more at 5-10 years. But to answer your question, Model Shipways or Bluejacket would be my top two pics that I have built and come the closest to what your asking about.

 

A kit of any kind is only a starting point, it is up to the builder to make it what it will be or what the builder wants it to be. 

Even though I was referring specifically to the external appearance of a ship, I understand the point you're making; if you want maximum accuracy you have to scratch-build (awful term!). However, that's not within everyone's grasp and, for many, kits are their only option. It's on this basis that I posed my question. I also agree with you about Model Shipways or Bluejacket kits - far more accurate than comparable kits made in Europe. But maybe I'm wrong; maybe there are kits by European manufacturers that are as accurate?

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I think that some of the newer kits coming from lesser-known European manufacturers are setting the bar pretty high, e.g. MarisStella, Vanguard Models, and Master Korabel. Of course, as has been pointed out, any kit involves some element of compromise -- the makers do have to make at least some profit. Still, there are any number of kits that will build into decent replicas, going even as far back as Chris Watton's early Caldercraft designs, although I'm sure that even he would admit that his current methods yield superior results compared to those early kits.

 

It's worth a mention that even though Model Shipways kits are well-regarded, they don't have a stable of in-house designers, and apart from the relatively small number of MS kits that are rebranded Syren designs, most of the MS lineup is getting somewhat long in the tooth when compared to the newest stuff coming into the market. They still make very nice models, but they're no longer cutting edge designs.

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In the quest for accuracy, I suggest that readers go back and read articles by two writers.  First, Howard Chapelle’s articles readily available from the Nautical Research Guild regarding Models That Should Not Be Built.  Second, L. Francis Herreshoff’s thoughts on Model building in his book The Writings of L. Francis Herreshoff. The gist of the articles written by both of these authors is that the basis of a good model is its ability to replicate the hull lines of the real thing.  Imposing rows of cannon and beautifully done rigging is no substitute for a misshapen hull.

 

The old solid hull Model Shipways/ A.J. Fisher Kits generally reflect this philosophy as hull lines were based on solid information and some of these have been revised to include instructions that include historic information by noted authorities.  Information available indicates that the new kits by Syren and Chris Walton are also based on accurate information.

 

Otherwise, it is next to impossible to tell which of the plank on bulkhead kits will produce an accurate hull or whether the lines are based on any archival information.  An example is the Model Shipways Civil War Steam Picket Boat. Information available indicates that these boats were built with a square stern.  The kit model features a round stern.  The shape of the stern is a major defining feature of this craft.  Why invest time and treasure building this model without knowing that it depicts the real thing?

 

Roger

 

 

Edited by Roger Pellett

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2 hours ago, Torrens said:

Even though I was referring specifically to the external appearance of a ship, I understand the point you're making; if you want maximum accuracy you have to scratch-build (awful term!). However, that's not within everyone's grasp and, for many, kits are their only option. It's on this basis that I posed my question. I also agree with you about Model Shipways or Bluejacket kits - far more accurate than comparable kits made in Europe. But maybe I'm wrong; maybe there are kits by European manufacturers that are as accurate?

I wasn't referring to scratch building per-say, I was more referring to kit bashing, where you get the benefit of the majority of the kit being pre-made or manufactured and you just fix the things that you have found to be inaccurate as an example Roger's views on the Model shipways Civil War Steam Picket with the rounded stern, if it'd found to be historically inaccurate, then square it off by modifying the stern.   

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47 minutes ago, Roger Pellett said:

In the quest for accuracy, I suggest that readers go back and read articles by two writers.  First, Howard Chapelle’s articles readily available from the Nautical Research Guild regarding Models That Should Not Be Built.  Second, L. Francis Herreshoff’s thoughts on Model building in his book The Writings of L. Francis Herreshoff. The gist of the articles written by both of these authors is that the basis of a good model is its ability to replicate the hull lines of the real thing.  Imposing rows of cannon and beautifully done rigging is no substitute for a misshapen hull.

 

The old solid hull Model Shipways/ A.J. Fisher Kits generally reflect this philosophy as hull lines were based on solid information and some of these have been revised to include instructions that include historic information by noted authorities.  Information available indicates that the new kits by Syren and Chris Walton are also based on accurate information.

 

Otherwise, it is next to impossible to tell which of the plank on bulkhead kits will produce an accurate hull or whether the lines are based on any archival information.  An example is the Model Shipways Civil War Steam Picket Boat. Information available indicates that these boats were built with a square stern.  The kit model features a round stern.  The shape of the stern is a major defining feature of this craft.  Why invest time and treasure building this model without knowing that it depicts the real thing?

 

Roger

 

 

I agree with you to an extent, and yes, if you are going to spend years and thousands of hours building a model, most would like it to be as historically accurate as possible. Unfortunately I'm not one of them. I try to make as accurate a reproduction as I can with any model that I build, but I don't concern myself with historical accuracy nor due I proport any of the models that I have built and intent to build to be anything more than display pieces. Now, if there is a glaring inaccuracy such as a rounded stern versus a square stern then I either stir clear of that kit or I bash it to make it the way it should be. But I don't sweat the small stuff. I do however spend hours researching a particular model that I'm building or intend to build and try and represent that when finished. I have found that model folks especially buyers are less concerned about historically accuracy as they are about that Beautiful rigging and fist and finish of the model. Most realize that if you want a historically accurate model then you will have to pay a lot more for that model.         

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8 hours ago, James H said:
On 11/24/2019 at 12:13 PM, Torrens said:

So many kit manufacturers take short-cuts, some of which are clearly because of manufacturing processes and to keep costs reasonable. However, numerous manufacturers seem not to be too bothered by the accuracy of their interpretation of the original. 

 

Do you have any specific examples?

I'd say many European kits of American riverboats are classic examples, such as AL's King of the Mississippi, which is toylike in its utter disregard for realism; it's the steamboat equivalent of a Playmobile pirate ship. You don't have to be a purist or an expert to see this, five minutes with Google Images should convince anyone that this kit is trash. Can you imagine the howls if an American manufacturer came out with an expensive Victory kit that was equivalently ridiculous?

 

Another is the Corel Ranger, which seems cobbled together from many different actual known examples of topschool schooner revenue cutters but doesn't match any known design. It wouldn't have been much harder for them to just base the model on an actual design rather than inventing their own. You'd still have an attractive model for those who don't care but a much higher-value product for those who do.

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Michael,

One solution is not to expect everything to be perfect in the box.  Find one that's close to what you want and the bash it.  I did that with my Constellation and have been well pleased the effort in research and re-work to get it right or as right as I could get it.  I doubt that any model will ever be perfect miniature of the real ship but to get close is a worthwhile challenge.

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If a kit manufacturer produced a visually accurate model to every detail then it would cost so much that the query would be 'why spend four thousand pounds on that when you can get close enough with Manufacturer B and pay a tenth of the cost'

 

Some of it is scale and some of it components and some of it is simplifying to make the process of building easier. As a practical example correctly sized belaying pins are not easy (for me) to belay so I will probably make them even more out of scale in future just to make it easier to tie rigging. 

 

 I personally dislike kits with obvious large inaccuracies but these are easily avoidable. Small inaccuracies you can kit-bash yourself if there is a specific problem/problems you dislike and if you dont know of the problem well there is nothing further to do.

 

 

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A great way to get exactly what you want if your expectations are so high, is to buy timber, plans/monograph, and embark on a masterpiece, right down to the last frame and nail. There is no such thing as a perfect kit, be it accuracy or engineering, and that goes for any genre such as plastic, resin, wood etc. 

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My apologies! I should have made myself clearer! I posted my original question not for myself, but to see what other members considered was the most accurate wooden kit currently available - and more as a discussion topic than anything else, although it's always interesting to hear from the manufacturers themselves, including the designers. My question is not as subjective as it might seem, for there are numerous examples of where kit manufacturers short-cuts show a divergence from historical and technical accuracy for cost or other reasons (and for 'other reasons' I believe it's because of inadequate initial research).

 

I fully understand and recognise that if you want as close to technical and historical accuracy as possible, it will always be necessary to either significantly improve on an existing kit, or build from 'scratch' (but this wasn't the point of my question). That this is more the case with wooden kits than injection moulded plastic kits is obvious (plus there are, for many plastic kits, numerous third party up-grade sets).

 

Within these caveats, what wooden kits do members believe, in their experience, are the most accurate?

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Syren ( semi kits..)

Model Shipways

Caldercraft

Amati/victory

Vanguard

Master Korebel

Dusek

BlueJacket

 

Not necessarily in that order..

 

P.S.

 

Since many kits are of fictitious ships, who is to say if they are accurate or not?  :D

Edited by Gregory

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I think what you are asking for is very difficult to answer unless you have owned or, even better, built the kit. I could generalise by what manufacturers I have brought from and from this I would say to avoid any of the Italian kits over than Euromodel but even them only go for the Mordaunt or William as the others are completely fictional.

 

My experience is below:

 

Sergal's racehorse - avoid!!! absolute joke.

Panart's Royal Caroline, hull inaccurate just a fare representation

Caldercrafts Chatham - yes, matches the plans in GMM

Caldercrafts Cruiser, matches plans I have of a sister ship other than simplified head rails.

Corel's Resolution - no such vessel but very close to the Ferrett

Corel's Unicorn - No, too much work to make accurate so I sold it.

Caldercraft's Pickle - Unsure as no accurate drawings exit.

Caldercrafts Supply - I think so other than a mistake with one bulk head, spacing of gun ports and debate over stern galleries.

Caldercrafts Diana- not built yet but looks fare to me. Old design of kit.

Caldercrafts Granado - yes

Caldercrafts William - yes

Caldercrafts Mary Rose - only as good as present knowledge of ship

Caldercrafts Victory - as Mary Rose.

Constructo's Halifax - a representation

Mamoli's Mary - A representation concerning mouldings but hull not bad

Rhoda Mary - A representation

Revell's Rattlesnake - Actually seems to match the model shipways lines accurately but not sure if these are accurate.

Caldercrafts Bounty - seems fairly accurate

Caldercrafts Endeavour - jury is still out until I build it.

Lauck Street shipyard - fair American You would think so but gun ports have been moved to make easier. (not built yet)

Model Shipwrights Speedy - yes but difficult to come by and old design.

Victory models Lady Nelson - made up, no such ship.

Billings Mayflower - no one really knows for sure.

Billings Gothenburg - keep away from this one.

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