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glbarlow

Basic but Good kit recommendations for granddaughter and I

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My 6 year old granddaughter wants to build a ship with me. I’m trying to find a very basic ship we can do, but she does most the work. And that we can start and finish over the summer. 
 

Problem kits that basic seem mostly like junk. I’d like it to be something she’ll be proud of years from now and a fond memory of time with us together. It won’t be that if it’s junk or I have to do the work. 
 

Any recommendations appreciated...

 

 

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24 minutes ago, glbarlow said:

I’d like it to be something she’ll be proud of years from now and a fond memory of time with us together.

I think that whatever you choose she’ll have a fond memory of the time; I also think that completing any model at 6 is a very proud accomplishment. It may be a lot to find a model that you’re able to build at 6 that you’re still “proud” of in a modeling sense much later. I’d love to see what people suggest though as I may try to get my 7 year old or eventually 3 year old interested in the hobby.


Maybe something like the Optimist Dinghy from MarisStella? http://www.marisstella.hr/gotovi_modeli_galery.php?id=32&tip=2&optimist-dinghy39cm-1-6

 

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I would recommend something in plastic, like a car or truck, in 1:24 or 1:48 scale.  Or for wood, a Midwest brand kit if you can find any. They stopped making kits but I have seen some in hobby stores or maybe ebay but if ebay watch out for price gouging, these kits are old.  The key is more teaching them how to follow instructions and visualized the piece. 

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How about one of the Mini Mamoli line? They are solid hulls that she could paint, minimal parts and something like their Britannia, America or Bluenose would look pretty good.

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How about Vanguard's two to be released models

The (80 foot) Zulu is named Lady Isabella and the (70 foot) Fifie is called Lady Eleanor.

https://vanguardmodels.co.uk/coming-very-soon

They are supposed to be geared toward beginner with quality parts.

From a post here by Chris Watton:

 

"The (80 foot) Zulu is named Lady Isabella and the (70 foot) Fifie is called Lady Eleanor. They are both late 19th/early 20th Century Scottish fishing vessels, built for the rough northern seas. The Zulu has around a third more parts than the Fifie, but both follow the standard designs, but with more helpful stuff added for beginners. Both have a laser etched deck, laser cut skeleton in MDF (tried poplar ply, too weak and birch ply, too thick, well over 3mm), and the rest of the wooden parts are all pear wood laser cut, with the decks being in 1mm limewood. Each has a brass PE sheet, first planking in 1x5mm limewood and second in 1x4mm pear wood, and masts, spars and a couple of other things in walnut.

 

I am just waiting for my sample pre-stitched sails to arrive, two separate sails for the Fifie and three for the Zulu. I figured that just because it's aimed more at beginners, that doesn't have to mean it should be just a box of cheap crap, but hopefully, a project most can enjoy without much bother."

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Thanks for the recommendations. I’ll look through these and any others that reply. 
 

id love to do the Vanguard model, but at 6 I’d end up doing most of the work. If it’s too simple, or to small it will be forgotten. The challenge is the balance. 
 

I appreciate all the specific model links. I’ll find something with all your help. I’ll also let you know what worked. 

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The suggestion of going with a Midwest kit is a good one.  The Skiff is a level 1 model that goes together easily and looks good when done.  A little more complicated is the Dingy.  The Crabbing Skiff would also be a good one to start with.  Makes a very handsome model that is fairly simple to build.  Although Midwest no longer makes the kits they show up on eBay regularly at reasonable prices.

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I found the Midwest Dingy on eBay for $24. It says it’s brand new. I like the size and all wood parts.  For that price why not give it a try.  I’ll let you all know.  Thanks again for the great recommendations.  
 

 

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3 hours ago, glbarlow said:

I found the Midwest Dingy on eBay for $24. It says it’s brand new. I like the size and all wood parts.  For that price why not give it a try.  I’ll let you all know.  Thanks again for the great recommendations.  
 

 

I did one not to long ago and I think it’s a great choice for a first timer!  Best of luck!

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You can also go a step further if you like.   Mike Y lets his daughter help him with bits and pieces.   He had her help a lot on this one:  https://modelshipworld.com/topic/14615-schooner-polotsk-1777-by-mike-y-master-korabel-172/   As I recall, basically supervised and did thinks requiring power tools.  

 

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8 minutes ago, mtaylor said:

ets his daughter help him with bits and pieces

I think that's great, not sure the perfectionist in me would let me. I appreciate the thought, but the goal is for her to have something to take home once it's done. 

 

I also bid and won another Midwest model on eBay, the Sakonnet Day Sailer - because it has sails.  These two should give us a good start.  They look like good kits and were the most recommended in this thread.  Again my thanks the forum. I'd never known or found Midwest Models without your collective input.

 

Still keeping the other suggestions provided handy - if the first one is a big hit who knows, maybe my 3 year old grandson is next. 

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4 hours ago, mtaylor said:

You can also go a step further if you like.   Mike Y lets his daughter help him with bits and pieces.   He had her help a lot on this one:  https://modelshipworld.com/topic/14615-schooner-polotsk-1777-by-mike-y-master-korabel-172/   As I recall, basically supervised and did thinks requiring power tools.  

Wow... I can't believe she was 6 years old when started. Her way of using sander and power tools is very skilled. Probably I have too underestimated children's ability. It is time to change from gifting plastic kits to wooden model kit!

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I believe he worked with her (his hands on hers) until she had a feel for what she was doing.  She popped in at least one other of his logs and "helped".   I'd say go for a wood model with them.  If they break a piece, Granddad can make a new one. 

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It's so nice to realise that we inspired some to start building with their kids :)  Hopefully there would be more!

Will try to share all my observations, maybe it would be useful. Of course, everything is different, and I only have one child to compare.

The modelling sessions were around 20-30 min at the age of 6. There was no expectation of a quick result, but more of "I want to do the same thing my dad is doing", plus a natural interest in doing something crafty. Each finished phase was treated as a semi-finished thing you can play with. I remember same when I was a kid - finished model was as exciting as an unfinished one, so do not stress too much about it. It is unlikely to be finished unless you can do it many times per week.

Expect some deviations from the plan, this is normal and increases the interest. For example, my daughter likes to build things from small scrap pieces left over from my build, by gluing them together and to a piece of paper.

The starting skills are non-existing, every technique needs to be explained with some practice and help.  How to hold a file? Sanding? Gluing? Cutting? Every single operation is new, account for that when planning a build. Prepare every session, so you have parts at hand, tools ready, etc.  

Each method and skill is introduced the following way: show it first, explain how it works. Let the kid practice on some scrap, first holding hand, then letting go and allow to make some mistakes. Do not start with safety precautions, introduce them gently where necessary. Dremel is quite kid friendly,  by the way (if you do not use cutoff wheels and such).

One of the hardest skills is keeping a consistent angle / plane when using a tool, as well as consistent pressure. Steady hand when using a file, for example. Still struggle with that a little bit, so do not have a very high demands on filing quality.

Sanding is tedious, plus a pressure level is different. Split the time evenly, so kid feels that the contributions is fair. But just because of skill and pressure, your sanding would do 70% of the job. The other person holds a vacuum hose, which also counts as help.

Let the child help, find some "busywork" in a delicate situations. For example, some of the planks in our kit are a very thin and delicate veneer, which breaks easily. I was doing any edge shaping, but she was helping to fit, hold the light, etc etc.

Safety-wise - perfect time to introduce dust protection and safety glasses, no problem with that if you both use it. Dust protection is mostly decorative, all the masks and respirators are way too big for a child face, but it's still a good habit. I used a vacuum to really catch small particles when sanding.

 

Plastic or wood? Plastic models involve CA glue or cement, both are harder and more risky to use by a child. Also parts are smaller. Wood - larger parts, safer tools (file, sandpaper, PVA glue). Some machine tools are also fine - with some help and introduction, she learned how to use Dremel (nylon brush to clean the glue squeeze-out, sanding drump, drill), disk sander (low power, so it would stop even if you stick finger into it) and even a bandsaw (of course, all supervised). At the same time, I would not dare introducing table saw or a mill, that one is too risky. 

 

Planking is actually doable by a kid if planks are pre-shaped (laser cut). Assembling the hull (bulkheads and so on) - doable as well. The rest is up to you, probably a lot of details needs to be skipped.

But even if you will end up with just a planked hull - it is already something that is nearly finished. Add a mast and few sails - imagination runs wild!

Do not forget that it's all for the process - positive reinforcement, highfives and a good mood is the most important technique in the whole exercise. It helps to be a big goofy, make stupid mistakes and let a child correct you and help you - it makes them very very proud :) 

Hope you will have many enjoyable sessions with your granddaughter, that she will remember for a long time afterwards. Does not matter if she will end up with a finished model. 

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Totally agree with Mike on this. All great pints. No CA glue for a 6 year old. Larger scale wooden kit and short modeling sessions. They will want to play with it after. My daughter is 6. No ship modeling yet, but any LEGO she constructs she wants to play with. 
Steve 

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I have two Midwest kits on hand and my own plan for working with her. We’ve built lots of magnet block works, STEM Towers and all kinds of art projects. My post was looking for kits, I have found those, so thanks and appreciation for those kit suggestions. 

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