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Brand new to wood ship modeling and could use some advice.

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First I just want to say how excited I am to have found such a cool and impressive level of modeling. I am a fine finish carpenter with high skill levels in cabinet making, furniture, and a multitude of other fine finish skills. I work with zero tolerance for imperfection on very expensive wood and projects were one cut off even 1/128th can cost the project more than one of my paychecks. I have been researching for weeks and can't decide what level to start at. I am not naive and think I can start on a high level hms Victory or one like it. If someone is willing I could use some advice on what level to begen with and maybe some kits that might be appropriate for me. Also I can read plans from any level when pertaining to construction but am wondering if I should buy a practicum or not. Thanks in advance and more than appreciate the level of skill required to accomplish these pieces of what I consider to be fine art. It's very impressive and humbling.



Edit: I have been looking at the hms badger, the Bluejacket plank on frame America and the phantom. Problem with the phantom is its a solid hall. Not knocking it. I just am interested in the construction detail and application more than the shaping of wood. If any one knows a maker of a pof or pob phantom I would be very interested because I do like the ship a lot and also am wondering if a pof is a stretch considering its my first. Ultimately plank on frame from scratch is the goal but obviously the build up of skills, knowledge and even tools is necessary before such a project.


Also I want to be clear that stating my skill set in carpentry was not to brag but to find out if people thought they may apply to the model ship building world.

Edited by Enderwiggin
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Welcome to MSW.   If you'll go here: http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-model-plans-and-research.php which is in the Article area, you'll find several excellent articles on kit selection and what to expect.  Also you can browse around the buildlog area and get an idea of what's involved.  The one thing to keep in mind is to select a project that you really want to build.  You'll be more likely to get through the frustrating parts.

"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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Hi Enderwiggin

Welcome to MSW

I am sure we will all be interested to watch your builds given the skill set you have

I would suggest you start with a kit relatively small  and simple. The skills you learn

will scale up to more ambitious projects.

Also choose a kit with plenty of finished builds and builds underway.

The experiences you share with fellow builders is a most valuable resource

Good luck with whatever you choose to do




Under construction  US Brig Niagara


Completed  HMB Endeavour - Caldercraft

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Appreciate the advice Ken. Building something a lot of other people are doing was originally a turnoff but is see the wisdom in it and will defiantly take it into consideration when choosing. I am pretty sure I'll decide this week and was also wondering if a warship might be out of reach for me at this beginning stage. The appeal is great but I havnt found to many that weren't just amazing and defiantly out of my league.

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Hi and welcome to MSW.

I have just got back into model ship building and the choices are huge.

I opted for building the Triton cross section.

This option gives me the choice of timber and the amount of detail to put into the build.

Also cost is low as MSW provide all the plans.

There are several builds in progress at the moment and it might be of interest to you


Best of luck Antony.

Best advice ever given to me."If you don't know ..Just ask.

Completed Mayflower

Completed Fun build Tail boat Tailboat

Completed Build Chinese Junk Chinese Pirate Junk

Completed scratch built Korean Turtle ship 1/32 Turtle ship

Completed Santa Lucia Sicilian Cargo Boat 1/30 scale Santa Lucia

On hold. Bounty Occre 1/45

Completed HMS Victory by DeAgostini modelspace. DeAgostini Victory Cross Section

Completed H.M.S. Victory X section by Coral. HMS Victory cross section

Completed The Black Pearl fun build Black Queen

Completed A large scale Victory cross section 1/36 Victory Cross Section

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Welcome! I'm sure with your skills there's bound to be something out there to put you to the test. Check out what's going on in the build logs and in the completed section of MSW. Lots of modelers out there willing to help out. Good luck

Regards, Scott


Current build: 1:75 Friesland, Mamoli


Completed builds:

1:64 Rattlesnake, Mamoli  -  1:64 HMS Bounty, Mamoli  -  1:54 Adventure, Amati  -  1:80 King of the Mississippi, AL

1:64 Blue Shadow, Mamoli  -  1:64 Leida Dutch pleasure boat, Corel  -  1:60 HMS President Mantra, Sergal


Awaiting construction:

1:89 Hermione La Fayette AL  -  1:48 Perserverance, Modelers shipyard

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Welcome Enderwiggen!!


I have only been doing this for about  a year now, one ship under my belt, 3 on the table and 1 set aside like a bad memory.   I come from a background of plastic/resin kits, which I did for many many years on several levels.


As it turns out I have been thinking about this very topic lately, even debated opening up a thread for discussion on it.  Here are my 2 cents.


When you are in the plastic world, skill level means a lot!  Snap Tites are easier than preformed glue togethers easier than built up glue togethers easier than casting and molding parts and scratch building.  However, it is odd, but I don't see that correlation in the wooden ship world, at least not that granular.


From what I can see kits are easier than scratchbuilding from plans, and that is about as far as it goes.  Within the kits there are mentions of skill levels etc but from what I can see they seem to be more in relation to how much has to be done and not with what has to be done.


Each kit I have looked at or seen built here have the same tasks. Cutting, shaping, measuring, finishing of wood.   Solid hulls (which I was told was entry level) require shaping and sanding of the hull, finishing, measuring etc.   I started a planked ship and actually found planking to be easier than solid however more time consuming.  I guess what I am going on about (and I can be longwinded sometimes I apologize) is that I am starting to feel it is more that wooden ships are advanced modeling - period.   They are totally unlike plastic, there is always some level of scratch building involved and you are working the model more than assembling.    I think what seperates kit from kit is the amount of work involved. Some will take longer than others due to more parts, more lines etc but they are all "advanced" as far as the skills you will need/learn and the time.


So with that,  I think it is more about the subject matter and less about the kit itself. (Granted some kits are better when it comes to instructions and quality of materials).


This is a simpification of what to me is an larger and quite interesting topic, and I could be completely off base, but this is just how it "feels" I guess to me.


Regardless of what you take on, make sure the subject is interesting to you and enjoy it!!!





Current Builds

Santa Maria - Artesania Latina (1:65) POB

MayFlower - Model Shipways (5/32"=1') POB
Blue Shadow - Mamoli Revolutionary War Brigantine. (Fict) (1:64) POB (Recommissioned as the Kara June)


On The Shelf Waiting so Patiently

USRC Ranger - Corel (1:50) POB

18th Century Longboat - Model Shipways (1:4) POF

La Nina - Artesania Latina (1:65) POB

U.S Brig Syren - Model Shipways (1:64) POB


Completed Builds

Phantom NY Pilot Boat - Model Shipways (1:96) Solid Hull


Decommissioned Builds
(Time and conditions were not good to these. They have been cancelled =( )

Willie L Bennett - Model Shipways (1:32) POF
USRC Harriet Lane - Model Shipways (1:128) Solid Hull


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Hi Enderwiggin

I would recommend Caldercraft/Jotikas HMS Badger. It's a kit not too big (it's a brig) excellent manual but still you get to do all the stuff that one does on larger models, just a little less of it... She's got 12 cannons so you get a feel of rigging cannons without getting overwhelmed by having to repeat it 74 times. Two masts so you have some rigging to do but don't have to spend 24 weeks tying ratlines.

All the goodies but in less quantity.

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Just want to thank all for the welcome and advice. As I said befor I'm ecstatic about discovering this form of craft and am also thrilled to have access to a sight such as this. After spending time looking at all the forums, galleries of builds and from what I can tell overall willingness to help out newbies. I can honestly say I feel comfortable taking on any project and not fearing wasting money and time getting stuck without any were turn thanks to this site.

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Jump in feet first. Get a kit that interests you that you WANT to build. Try to pick something that has decent instructions, like model shipways kits.

Anything Chuck has had a hand in, instruction wise would be a good bet. Something simple like the 18th century longboat, or something more advanced like a syren depending on your tastes.


I have always been one to get a really complicated kit that was way above my skill level because i liked it, which has forced me to figure things out as I go along, which I feel like has pushed me to become a better modeler. 


Trust me several hundred build hours down the road you want to be working on something you are happy with.


Good luck and I will be waiting for that first build log!



"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

"A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder."


Current Builds:

U.S. Brig Syren - Model Shipways

18th Century Longboat  - Model Shipways


Future Builds: 

Armed Virginia Sloop - Model Shipways

Hannah, Ship in a Bottle - Amati

Taurus Steam Towboat - Model Shipways

Mayflower - Model Shipways

18th Century Sea Mortar - Model Shipways


Completed Builds:

HMS Victory Cross Section - Corel

Sir Winston Churchill Sailing Ship - Billings Boats

Naval Smoothbore Deck Cannon - Model Shipways

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I'm almost done with the Caldercraft Badger (link below).  It's a good kit in my opinion, and a good intro to model ship building.  The only knock I have on the kit is that the supplied walnut is not that great - it's prone to splitting, etc.  Let us know what you decide!



Current Wooden builds:  Amati/Victory Pegasus  MS Charles W. Morgan  Euromodel La Renommèe  


Plastic builds:    SB2U-1 Vindicator 1/48  Five Star Yaeyama 1/700  Pit Road Asashio and Akashi 1/700 diorama  Walrus 1/48 and Albatross 1/700  Special Hobby Buffalo 1/32


Completed builds :  Caldercraft Brig Badger   Amati Hannah - Ship in Bottle  Pit Road Hatsuzakura 1/700   Hasegawa Shimakaze 1:350

F4B-4 and P-6E 1/72  Accurate Miniatures F3F-1/F3F-2 1/48  Tamiya F4F-4 Wildcat built as FM-1 1/48  Special Hobby Buffalo 1/48

Citroen 2CV 1/24 - Airfix and Tamiya  Entex Morgan 3-wheeler 1/16


Terminated build:  HMS Lyme (based on Corel Unicorn)  


On the shelf:  Euromodel Friedrich Wilhelm zu Pferde; Caldercraft Victory; too many plastic ship, plane and car kits


Future potential scratch builds:  HMS Lyme (from NMM plans); Le Gros Ventre (from Ancre monographs), Dutch ship from Ab Hoving book, HMS Sussex from McCardle book, Philadelphia gunboat (Smithsonian plans)

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