Jump to content
SkerryAmp

What is "entry level" in the world of Wooden Ship Building? - moved by moderator

Recommended Posts

My first boat was the Mare Nostrum.  It was an interesting build, quick and simple- yet I had to learn a LOT!

So was mine.   That delightful little build taught me SO much, and I got such wonderful support from so many of the MSW members.  Including you of course, Popjack!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for comments.

I don't have a model yet. But I'm thinking of the Caldercraft Cutter Sherbourne

 

I want to work in 1:64 scale.

My interest is in British maritime exploration; I'd love to do the Beagle and Endeavour. But interesting ships from around that time include the HMS Pickle - a bit later, built in 1799; but it had an interesting history. I'm also keen to find a kit of the RRS Discovery, the last traditional wooden three-masted ship to be built in Britain.

 

But, I'd like to try a simpler boat from that time as a beginner. The Sherbourne was launched in 1763, one year before the Endeavour, and had a 20 year history; so it's an interesting ship. She was designed by Sir Thomas Slade, the designer of the Victory.

With this kit, there are 3rd party guides, online instructions and paint collections.

This boat looks interesting and I feel (sort of) confident.

 

Just as long as no-one thinks I am making a major mistake.

Edited by rdowsett

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several seeds and a plant pot, plus a pen knife. And a lot of time learning how to use the wood that will eventually grow from the seeds...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd also like to add (if it hasn't been added already) that while an "entry level" kit may be all around easier than a complex model like Victory or Sovereign, a lot of it is relative to the amount of work you put into it.  Someone with 20-30 years of experience could build an entry level kit and probably spend significantly more time in detailing or possibly building the whole thing plank on frame from scratch and probably get through it a lot faster due to their accumulated knowhow.  Therefore I agree that entry level is a very relative term though obviously I wouldn't recommend building the Victory on the first go. ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

As a newbie ish the best advice regarding terms and knowledge for anyone. Is to quote a knife maker.

 

"Don't worry about using the wrong terms, as that will come with time. After all you don't get on an airplane to go on holiday and have to know how to fly. That's the pilots job."

 

 

And the same with any new subject. If you use the wrong terms or names. Someone will soon correct you and over time you will learn it. So my quote is

 

"Buckle up and enjoy the flight."

 

Because knowledge or not you'll still get there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

i am a (to quote Gibbs) a 'probie' and wish that I had found the site before buying the PHANTOM. I was under the 'reverse' idea that a solid hull would be better (read that as easier) entry into 'the art of wooden ship building', that plus no room to work on it, all adds up to wanting to get rid of one and a half PHANTOMS. EBAY struck, price was reasonable, bid and won. Turned out that she had been started and rejected. The second one is complete, in the box, has the musty smell of being locked up for many years. No room to work on them and the lady of the house does not like the idea of it, so being a 'gentleman', I am looking for a way to divest myself of these (do to my non expertise) two albatrosses. Any 'honorable suggestions'?

As this is my first entry, I hope not to get 'bumped'. I do have a 'simple' plank model that I can work on and see how it comes out. All of my experience has been with plastics, so, I guess that I am 'frustrated.

scott

Edited by barchen36

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree with Probablynot about the varying degrees of ability and knowledge. I have never worked with tools but I have an interest in learning to build ships. My need for explicit instruction is far greater than someone who works with tools and now wants to build a model. My need is greater now than it will be after I complete one or two. There probably should be more practicums for even the most basic models. If I want you to develop an interest in my hobby, I'm going to work hard at helping you to succeed at your first few attempts. 

 

 I'm doing a very basic model and in the first 11 steps I've found poorly worded directions, technical terms but no glossary and plans that assume the builder has some basic knowledge or has someone helping who has basic knowledge. 

I don't know how many people are in this hobby or the average age of the shipbuilders but I'd assume that it's an older group. How do you get younger people interested especially when there are so many other options that they can choose? Maybe hobby shops could offer workshops for new builders.  Local clubs could offer mentoring for new builders to get them off to a good start. In short, the manufacturers, the retailers and those who want to see the hobby grow have to get more proactive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ive built many plastic models in my day, and they are very straight forward. they are also as complicated as you want them to be. the "entry" level ship my girlfriend bought for me is a whole different ball game. i had to reshape the hull, and deal with major dimensional differences from the plans to the carved hull. i also have a thought that "entry" level is a way of a company to make something half-assed and still have it acceptable. many of my easy model kits have turned out to be harder to build than my advanced ones. with my first model ship i have to really work at it, though i have a sneaking thought in the back of my head that ill have an easier time with POB build when i get to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Jazzchip and all other members who contributed excellent comments and well considered thoughts.   I would like to add and strengthen a couple points but first, please allow me to go back a few years (like 50) to my teenage period to set the stage.

 

My 'shop' at that time consisted of a few basic hand tools, a few micro drill bits, an old electric hand drill, a gig saw (called a scroll saw now) from Sears, a used 8" table saw and some maple, pine and white cedar woods.  Having built 3 or 4 plastic ships, a few airplanes and a couple of basic wooden ships from kits (they were crude and thrown away), I decide to scratch build my next ship.  I liked and still like English galleons so I built Drake's Golden Hinde (x Pelican).  It is out of scale, rigged, no sails. but is attractive.  My parents proudly displayed it for 30 years, and it is back with me. 

 

Point 1: you do NOT need a boat load of tools to scratch build.  You do need perseverance (non builders call this patience).

Point 2: you have to like, and be emotionally involved, in the subject.

Point 3: you have to think, to use your creativity, to get the results you want with the tools you do have .  

 

Then there was little model making due to college, chasing women, settling down, earning a living, raising kids.   Some found moments to make toys and models.  Kids grown, having their own kids, retired now so much more time for building.  My shop is large, lots of tools both hand and power, lots of wood on hand, plus brass, bronze, steel and aluminum on the shelf, and many skills learned (by doing, reading and talking with others who had the skills).  My ships are admired and some are sold to others.  

 

Point 4: the large shop allows me to build faster and more accurately.  

Point 5: I still enjoy and take great pride in my creations, and my wife and fellow modelers enjoy them too.  

 

You might say, wow, this guy must have loads of skills.  Well, yes and no.  Wood speaks to me so that is my favorite medium.  I also learned to machine various metals, and to handle acrylics and ABS plastics.  But, I am a newby at sculpting in wood, at frieze painting, at making mortise and tenons in transom pieces, at drawing free hand, at handling textiles (read sails) and at jewelry work (the metal work, not gems).  My formal education is not in the fine arts, so I learned by doing and lots of reading.

 

Point 6: do not fear going beyond you comfort zone; push yourself so that you can grow.

Point 7: take inspiration, be inspired, by others from the masters of every century and every country.  And not just those who build model ships.....

Point 8: talk with others: be a mentor (or a mentee) .  Teaching pays it forward, and keeps this fantastic activity alive.

 

I might be able to approach the exquisite level of the masters, but I will never know unless I try.  You decide how far to go.  I have much to learn, to make.

 

Keep building , and above all, have fun~!  

 

Duff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently read the instruction manual for BlueJacket's Yankee Hero. It is a beginner model and one that I think I'm going to do. Instructions were clear, specific and they walked you through the task at hand. As a beginner, I need a lot more direction than those of you with experience. For me, an entry level has more to do with the quality and quantity of direction than anything else. A year from now I'll need less help, I hope, but for now I need steps for each task. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been building plastic ship models since my ninth birthday, 20 July 1966 – 53 years – when my father had an old wooden school teacher’s desk and a Revell model kit of the Mayflower sitting on that desk awaiting my arrival home from school. Honestly, I was both thrilled and terrified at the prospect of building such a thing as I had never before built any sort of model. But my dad was an eccentric fine artist with very high expectations of his first-born son (me), and procrastinating or even backing away from that table and refusing to build the model was never an option. Not only would that have disappointed my father, but I would have likely earned a beating. To say that he was strict would have been an understatement!  

I have never built a wooden ship model, though I have aspired to for nearly all of the 53 years I have been involved in plastic modeling. Frankly, I never started because I am intimidated, and because I do not know if I possess the skills necessary to successfully complete such a model. One things has remained quite clear to me and evident to all my family and friends all these years is my love of the sea, and all things ships, particularly ships of sail! Over the years, family have purchased wooden ship model kits in anticipation of my turning out wonderful works of art, but every time I opened a model kit box to look at the contents, I have been utterly overwhelmed by all the strips of wood and the complex plans and directions; so much so that I close those boxes up, and slip them back into a larger carton, praying that one day I’d muster up the courage to actually get to work on one.

I don’t quite understand what’s wrong with me. I have worked off and on as a fine custom cabinet and furniture maker over the past 40 years, and according to most people, it seems that everything I touch turns out a work of art, or so people say. And my lack of confidence remains beyond my comprehension. I’m wondering if perhaps I am fearful of failing should I try to build one of those many wood ship model kits stowed away as I talk myself out of getting busy with things like I’m too old, or my memory and dexterity are not what they used to me, etc. Honestly, I just do not know. Yet, I continue to peruse the hundreds of model ship kits online, particularly those of Model Shipways and Caldercraft, wondering and asking myself which one might be a first, entry-level kit for me considering my past experiences and demonstrated skills. So, I suppose I am down to writing you folks and asking your opinion as to where to start.

I’ve attached pics of two plastic models; one of the Cutty Sark I completed in 1971 at the age thirteen, and the USS Constitution, which I am rebuilding. I actually completed this Constitution in May of 1976, just before my dad’s death, but over the years, through many relocations, kids, and whatever else went flying through a household full of rambunctious children, the model was so badly damaged that it was near unrecognizable. Instead of tossing it, I determined to rebuild the old girl. I started by determining what was salvageable and what I need to find in the way of parts. I then found a 1974 version of Revell’s USS Constitution on eBay, and scooped it up. I removed all the rigging and masts off the model, and as you can see in the pics, I am re-rigging the deck cannon at this point in the rebuild. I have also done some research on the paint scheme, and have tried to historically match the real ship at a period in her history.

As to Cutty Sark, my dad the artist did the antiquing of the completed model with an airbrush and some oil stain mixed with paint thinner.

Anyway, I would truly covet your honest opinion, based upon the attached pics, if I need to begin wooden ship model building with something very remedial such as Midwest Products’ Skiff (apprentice Kit Skill Level 1), or do you believe I may be able to dig right in and build something like Caldercraft's Schooner Pickle or the Snake, or Model Shipway's Charles W. Morgan (as that is one kit that was given me years ago)? In being honest with myself and everyone here, I have ZERO confidence in my skills, and I'm not sure why. I am at a loss for direction, and your advice is critical!

001.jpg

002.jpg

003.jpg

004.jpg

005.jpg

001.jpg

002.jpg

003.jpg

004.jpg

005.jpg

006.jpg

Midwest Models Dinghy.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Teddy,

It's not an uncommon fear and many us probably didn't recognize it.    But I'll offer the same advice that many of us offer to those just starting out on wooden models.   Start small.  Maybe a rowboat or similar and no more than one mast.  Definitely start a build log.  The folks here have all been there and are very supportive.   After you complete that one, go to one with two masts and keep it fairly simple, maybe a couple of cannon.  Then go for three masts.   

 

Your skiff would be a good one to start with.  But depending on the age of the kit, the wood might too brittle (dried out) to work with.  The most important thing is: "have fun".   Don't sweat mistakes, everyone makes them even the advanced scratch builders.  But from your years in woodworking, I'm sure you know that "it's wood, it can be fixed".  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ted - are you kidding me ??? Your modelling history is almost EXACTLY the same as mine, just in a slightly different order (the Revell Constitution was my first ship model at the age of 13, which I bought from my pocket money). That was followed by several others including Mayflower and Cutty Sark - I still have the Cutty but it needs restoration which I'm not going to bother with. My first Wooden ship was Charles W. Morgan which I built at age 25. Weird eh :D :D .

 

From looking at your previous models and your woodworking experience in my opinion the only thing you may need to learn is Planking. There's plenty of advice on this Forum on doing that, so that's covered. Also plenty of Build Logs to show you the step-by-step way of building a wood ship.

 

So dive in - choose one of your collection, open a Build Log for it to get any advice you may need (and to show us how good you REALLY are at wood ship building ;) :D ) and get cracking.

 

Mark has a good point about the possibility of the brittleness of your kit timber, so check it out. The planking timber may need to be replaced, but extra timber is available from various sources.

 

Danny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gidday Teddy and a warm welcome from the Land Downunder.

I must agree with the comments posted above. Your "Conny" looks good and your experience in cabinetry should hold you in good stead. I can empathise with self doubt and questioning your abilities and yes kits can appear daunting. I believe we will never know our limitations if we don't "have a go", forgive my Aussie vernacular.  I would dig out one of your stash and search the build logs for the kit. Solutions for pitfalls and problems are included and solutions provided. Start a build log and get a like minded group of people involved in your build, I must apologise here for not having any logs of my own. I sincerely look forward to your Build Log and progress.                                                                                                                                             I wish you all  the best in your endeavours.                                                                                                                                        Mark.  

Quote

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Teddy, I'm but a young one (32), I'm struggling with the same fear as you are describing - fear of failing - for me it permeates through everything I do, which is quite depressing at times (driving in new places / in the city, talking to new people, trying new things (except food)).
However what I have found through experience is that the fear goes away after I muster the courage to actually try - and lo and behold I'm quite good at some of the things I try!

I'm learning to fail, through trying - and it's great and failing is not easy.

 

Please just pick up any of the kits you have and give it a shot (maybe not Morgan though) - you will not regret it! Looking at your earlier models, you have the skill and patience to make a beautiful model ship!

 

As for beginning models - I picked up this hobby last January (2018) with no previous experience, no woodworking skills or other related skills (I'm a software developer), and have built 5 models to date, 2 more under construction (Amati HMS Fly and a very old VHT/Billing kit of Mercantic).

 

I think i picked decent models to start with, and in my opinion a first model should be double planked (if any wood will be showing) or single planked on frame/bulkhead if the whole hull is painted. And not a model where the second layer is 0.3 mm veneer (like my first; AL Endeavour's Longboat - it really does not give much confidence or room for mistakes, plus AL's suggested way of planking in the instructions just look awful).

I would think long and hard about starting on a solid hull model as the first model - my only guess as to why these are often marketed/sold as beginner models must be that 'look - half of it is done already'!

 

AL's Swift (new version) is nice and easy starter, simple deck, simple rig, simple hull shape, single planked and all painted so you can hide all the mistakes it's just like a plastic model - you get what's on the tin. Same goes for AL's Mare Nostrum (newer version).

 

Model Shipways 18 Century Longboat was a quick and relaxing build but a bit more involved, however it turns into a very very pretty little boat and I'd suggest it for someone with previous experience modelling/handcrafting anything (single planked though so care must be taken during fairing and planking). If i figure out how to share a picture I might show what Chucks compendium can do to help beginners along!

 

I do hope you try Teddy, sitting here in Norway rooting for you - good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are some words of (hopefully) wisdom for fearful beginners.

 

1. As others have said, start small, as in small project -- not small scale. One of the greatest weapons in overcoming the fear of boogering larger projects is having success with smaller projects.

2. Beginners whose first projects are "works of art" are relatively uncommon. However, just about everyone who has ever completed a first wooden ship model is proud of their finished product, no matter what it looks like.

3. Your second project will look better than your first project.

4. I have said this elsewhere, but one of the nice things about wood is that it is a visually forgiving medium. Even a run-of-the-mill wooden ship model still looks pretty good and often sits in a place of honor somewhere in its maker's home. 

5. Books are good and videos are better, but nothing tops having one-on-one face time with an experienced builder for overcoming first-timer heebie-jeebies. If you live anywhere within reasonable driving distance of a modeling club, get to their meetings!

6. Have fun! If it's not fun, why bother??

 

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the single biggest mistake newcomers make is getting in over their heads. You do NOT have to start with a big rigged ship. Building one or two small craft (rowboats, launches, fishing vessels, etc.) will let you test almost all the skill sets, methods, and materials you'll need for your dream build, and they're a cheaper and faster way to go about it. The time you "waste" doing that first will almost certainly be saved in the long run when your dream build goes faster and smoother once you know what you're doing.

 

The second biggest mistake is being cheap and looking for deals rather than focusing on quality. Lots of people get frustrated when they buy a random kit that looks pretty but is poorly made with terrible instructions, because they didn't bother doing some basic research on which manufacturers are actually worth buying from.

 

Also, there's a risk to working on older kits, because materials can age poorly and kit quality has improved. It may feel good to dust off that 20-year-old kit you always wanted to build, but there's a very good chance a kit made last year will be a lot more pleasant to work on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What would be useful is if each person posting on this topic posts a picture of their first kit and:

 

experience of wood working, other forms of modelling / crafts

experience of first wooden build

opinion of the kit

tools and resources already acquired before build

whether they would recommend as a first kit.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given the pictures that you have posted, I don’t think that you will have any difficulty rigging your model.  Given your wood working experience, I don’t think you will have problems with anything that you will see in any kit.

 

 I have never had a Caldercraft kit, but I’ve heard really good things about them.  A schooner is a great place to start.  

 

My first real ship model was the schooner Sultana by Model Shipways.

 

 I am currently building my first scratch build and I chose a schooner because they are relatively simple (compared to a square rigged ship) and make a beautiful model.

 

I had no wood working experience when I started building ship models.  I learned as I went.

 

From my experience since then, I have discovered that the hardest part is getting started with the intent to finish.  Once you pass that point, the hard part’s done.  After that it’s just a matter of actually building the model.

 

Take your time.  Have fun.  Don’t worry about making mistakes (my models are full of them).  Learn from those mistakes and move forward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Sultana with the Chuck Passaro practicum would be an excellent start..

 

 

P.S.

Nostalgia

Anyone remember ( or take advantage of )  when you could get the Sultana with some basic tools, and get a total refund

if you completed the kit?  Alas, I did not get my refund..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Fear? I live in dread of every new step. I look at the plans. I look at previous builds. I read the books. But believing I can do it is a whole other matter. OK. I make a stab at it. I make a mistake. I start again. I make another mistake. I go on until I reckon I can live with the mistake. Then the next step. Several steps down the line I find I've done something which makes the next step very difficult. Think .... and this is the exciting bit ... how to get around the mistake and carry on. Ha! I've found a way out. I can then continue. And so on.

 

I really like modelling not only for the satisfaction of completing a build and the beauty of wood, but even more for the satisfaction of thinking. Thinking how to interpret plans. Thinking how to approach a problem. Thinking of how to overcome mistakes. Thinking about the skills of those who made the ships and sailed in them.

 

I am sure that in your life of working with wood you've experienced something similar. So to my mind fear, anxiety and apprehension are an intrinsic part of the process. Getting over it is part of the satisfaction.

 

Tony

Edited by tkay11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you folks who so thoughtfully encouraged me. Truly, many thanks! I apologize for not getting back to you all sooner. When I posted my plea for guidance, I guess I expected I'd be notified by email that I had messages to attend to in this forum. It was only last evening that I though I'd take a look here to see if anyone bothered to answered me, and boy was I pleasantly surprised! You ALL have been a HUGE encouragement toward getting me going. As I've stated in some of my replies to individual members, I remain committed to completing my Revell USS Constitution restoration before moving forward with anything else, so it'll be a few months before I can begin a wooden ship model; that and only if I don't return to work driving truck, which is my current occupation. I went on medical leave early last year from driving log truck when I sustained five injuries, and needed three surgeries. It's taken me this long to recover from all that, and even now, I'm still not there. I may not even be able to get back into driving truck because some injuries are permanent, meaning I might have far more time on my hands to put toward modeling.

 

Teddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Teddy,

If you want to check email for responses, on any topic at the upper right hand side, next to the title, you'll see a little box with the word "follow" in it.  If you have your profile set up to send you email notifications, you'll get them.   When done and you decide not to have emails from a given topic go back up hit the box and click on the "unfollow" button.

 

Sorry to hear about the injuries and hope you can have a full recovery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember, it’s just a ship model!  You are not trying to plumb up a new toilet on a Saturday night with the water shut off and your wife expecting company on Sunday.  Now that’s stressful!  If you have to rebuild something several times to meet your standards that’s ok.  Back in the good old days model kits were furnished with rough carved solid hulls.  These can be built into beautiful models and with your woodworking skills might a good choice.  Check Model Shipways and Bluejacket.  And remember, Bondo and Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty are important model shipbuilding materials.

 

Jump in, make some sawdust and have fun.

 

Roger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
×
×
  • Create New...