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Is there an easy wooden tall ship out there to build?


thegrindre
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Hi all,

Newbie here wanting to know if there is a simpler wooden tall ship to build out there than the ones I've seen here in the build logs? Sheesh, those look so complex. I want to try something I might be able to finish in my lifetime. (I'm 72 now) :D I don't mind spending a few days or even a few weeks building but I've seen some who have been at the same ship for years. :wacko:

Thanks, guys,

Rick

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A few weeks might be tough for a tall ship (at least as far as I know). A lot depends on how much extra detail you add and how much time you can spend on the build. Ships with a single mast would Probably be on the complex side. I’m biased because I am building it, but I think the Vanguard HM Alert is a great starter kit. Of course there have been some great builds of the Caldercraft Sherbourne which might be in the same level.

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When you say wooden do you mean the original ship is wood, or that you want to make a wooden model? If the former, you might consider plastic kits, which all the parts are already made and you don't have to assemble frames or bulkheads, plank the hull etc etc, with a great saving in time or effort.

 

But if you want to make the model itself out of wood, I'd suggest a solid model, carved from a single piece of wood, or else built up of "chunks"of wood that are then shaped to the curves of the hull.

 

image.jpeg.98a45f09d1b14277315468efcb19acb2.jpeg

 

This used to be a very popular way of making models, and can  result in a very fine ship indeed. Particularly if you ar portraying a later (i.e. 19th century or later) ship where the hull is completely painted, there's no need to show the planking at all. I don't know if you can get kits that are done this way, or if you have to scratch-build.

 

If you want more than one mast, and square rigged (which I think is often what people mean when they think of a tall ship), can I suggest no more than two masts - a brig, perhaps,

 

image.jpeg.1cbbb7c935675b2f48c14fabeb8c1899.jpeg

 

or even a topsail schooner?

 

image.jpeg.05512fdcc02f9cf7089fdc7c1c9243d9.jpeg

 

It reduces the work in rigging, making masts, yards, sails etc, but still makes for a very beautiful model, and definitely a "tall" ship.

 

Steven

 

 

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1 hour ago, thegrindre said:

Sheesh, those look so complex.

Any wood ship model  kit is going to be complex..

But the way to keep it as simple as possible, is to reduce the armament, and reduce the rigging..

Just to get a feel for the wood kit building process, you might start with something like one of these kits from Model Expo:

LOWELL GRAND BANKS DORY WITH TOOLS 1:24 SCALE  It's currently bundled with a nice little tool set.  Only $49

MODEL SHIPWAYS MS1457 18TH CENTURY LONGBOAT

 

You would get a feel for how fast the building process is, then come back for ideas about a bigger, more complex project.

 

There should be a build log or two for the kits mentioned, and you can see how others did.

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After much studying of this subject and of these models I've decided to try my hand at Columbus' three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Marie, in that order.

The Nina and the Pinta look to be a level 2 build and I think I can handle that. Matter of fact they look to be the 'same' ship type. I know nothing about ships BTW.

 

Thanks guys.

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10 minutes ago, thegrindre said:

Historic Ships or Tower Hobby is what I've been looking at so far. Being retired on a limited income I need the cheapest models I can find.

Those would be the website name or store name, not the brand. If you look at the historic ships site, their menu bar along the top starts with a "Brands" section on the left. These sites sell different brands of model ships. Have you found particular brand of the 3 ships you have chosen? 

 

There is another good site here in the U.S. https://www.agesofsail.com/ I have ordered from them a few times.

 

**EDIT** Although looking closer at historic ships, it does appear they may sell their own models. It's hard to say, there are the Mini Nina and Mini Pinta that don't specify a model brand, so perhaps their own.

 

**EDIT 2** Found those same Mini Nina and Pinta on the Ages of Sail site and they are by Mamoli.

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You realize, of course, that we have no historically accurate idea of what Columbus' ships actually looked like? :D 

 

If cost is an object, and ship model kits can be amazingly expensive sometimes, I'd suggest you might consider "card" models made of paper.  These are much less expensive and many are even free. You download the "parts" and print them on cardstock on your printer. The parts are then cut out of the cardstock and glued together into a model. There is a separate section on the forum discussing the techniques for building with card. These aren't cheesy models, either. The cardstock is painted and sealed and quite permanent. The result is indistinguishable from full wooden models. The big advantage of working in cardstock is that you don't have to invest in tools and the downloadable kits are relatively inexpensive.

 

Check out the build log below to see the potential of cardstock modeling. It can produce models of museum quality no different than any other material. Parts sheets for downloading for lots of different vessels with varying degrees of modeling difficulty are available. As everybody new gets told, don't get over-ambitious. It takes years, even a lifetime, to get to the point of some of the masters on this forum. The rest of us stand in awe of them. Start slow with something you like. Take your time. See if you like it. If you run into problems, you can always ask for help here.   https://modelshipworld.com/forum/28-card-and-paper-models/

 

 

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I don't see how you could go wrong with ModelExpo (one of MSW (sponsors). If you mess up a part it is easy to get a replacement. I know from experience. 

I used some material that was suppose to be used for something else and they sent me some more and didn't even charge me for the shipping. 👍

I think you would be happy with there "MODEL SHIPWAYS WILLIE BENNETT SKIPJACK1:32 SCALE" for a 1st time.

https://modelexpo-online.com/Model-Shipways-WILLIE-BENNETT-SKIPJACK132-SCALE_p_1015.html

 

Or one of there many other fine model kits.

RussR

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'Don't fry bacon in the nude'

 

    NOW you tell me.

 

    I would NOT recommend either the Model Expo 18th Century Longboat or a card model-particularly the paper ones.  I have built both (all 3?).  The longboat is a great model.  Looks simple but really is not, considering planking needs to be PERFECT since you see both sides of it (inside and out).  There are many great card models out there as well except I find the smaller parts deform when removing from the sheet.  Alos I find it harder to work with than wood.  Stay away from paper at this point.  If you have a level of dexterity above me, you might want to try the SHIPYARD model of the ALERT.

 

    Nina and Pinta are good choices in that they are relatively simple.  You also have an option with Nina in that you can build it as it was before Columbus got to the Canary Islands or after...he had the rig changed to better handle the expected wind conditions...but that may be a project too far.  As Bob Cleek said, we really don't know exactly what they looked like, only close approximation.  At this point in your model building career, that is probably not an issue.

 

    Monetary cost is only one measure of cost.  Some models are very poor quality and some have really poor instructions.  A slightly more expensive kit may be a better choice if it enhances your building experience.  Poor instructions can be overcome by the many fine build logs here.  Poor material can only be remedied by scratch building/bashing.

 

    Expect to make mistakes.  Most people do first time around.  I still am 20 years later.  Get a bottle of alcohol (2, actually...1 bottle of rubbing alcohol and 1 of scotch).  Use the rubbing to de-glue your gluing errors.  Fix the problems...don't try and paper over them  The just compound.

 

    Enjoy the experience!

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12 minutes ago, Chuck Seiler said:

I would NOT recommend either the Model Expo 18th Century

I second that. 

This was my very 1st. Although I finished it. It was so small and fragile. And I didn't do a very good job.

I didn't have the skills to do it properly.

I have gotten a little better since (I hope).

 

What ever you do dont't "bit off more than you can chew". A year or two is a long time to be saddled to one project. If you are like me, you will get bored and give up.

RussR

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15 minutes ago, thegrindre said:

Are they going out of business?

I don't think so.

This Covid 19 is playing havoc on everything. 

They manufacture most of there stuff. They are a USA company. The Chaperon was on back order and I got it right away when it was on sale.

(My Chaperon is finished now except for the mounting and case).

 

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13 minutes ago, thegrindre said:

Actually, I've noticed Model Expo has no models for sale. Everything is on back order. Are they going out of business?

I'd say Model Expo's going out of business is unlikely. They are the biggest outfit in the game. Many US companies have inventory clearance sales before March when they are taxed on the inventory they have on hand. The less inventory, the less they pay in inventory taxes. They stock up thereafter.  I expect that fact, plus the big surge in demand for modeling kits and materials since the pandemic "lockdown" probably explains the shortage at present. Chuck Passaro of Syren Ship Models, who is one of the forum sponsors, and makes great rigging line, scale blocks, and other goodies, has been lamenting that he can't keep products in stock with the present demand. Another factor is that the supply chains have been disrupted due to the pandemic. Jim Byrnes has had to stop taking orders for his modeling power tools because he can't get enough motors shipped to his factory. The kit companies are probably experiencing shortages of raw materials, as well. 

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On 6/18/2020 at 6:41 PM, thegrindre said:

I don't mind spending a few days or even a few weeks building but I've seen some who have been at the same ship for years. :wacko:

Thanks, guys,

Rick

 

Most of the wooden ship kits built on here will take you months or years.  Even if you spent 40 hours a week building, I doubt you could do most of these ships in less than a month.  Midwest has some very simple kits that are more weekend-type kits that might fit your timing requirements.  I'm working on this Annapolis Wherry kit that could probably be done in a week or so:

 

https://www.clcboats.com/shop/boats/scale-model-kits/annapolis-wherry-scale-model.html

 

You could also do a plastic model of a wooden ship?  Those would be less expensive and much quicker to build.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, thegrindre said:

Actually, I've noticed Model Expo has no models for sale. Everything is on back order. Are they going out of business?

Model Expo went thru a rough patch a few years ago (as I recall) but they are a thriving business.  I regularly get emails from them regarding sales and specials.  Their customer service is normally top notch and John Garcia responds quickly to emails.  I believe he frequents this forum.  As mentioned before, if you have problems with parts from their kits (Model Expo kits), they happily replace the parts.

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23 hours ago, thegrindre said:

Thanks, Matt.

Amati looks to be the cheapest in all three ships and their scale 1:50 vs the others at 1:65 is nice too.

I’m pretty much a newbie as well, although I’ve been building plastic kits for decades.

 

If you’re looking for an easy, traditional wood model of a traditional ship and don’t mind a Lugger, try Vanguard Models Scottish Fifie Lady Eleanor.  Or, if you want a rakish stern, the Scottish Zulu Lady Isabella.

 

They are both traditional plank on bulkhead, have two masts with big lugsails, and are expressly designed for the beginning ship modeler. The instructions are second to none, the plans are awesome, everything is beautifully precut, everything slots together precisely, and can be built with or without sails. The sails look pink in the pics, but that’s just color shift, they come as white cloth and you dye them your favorite shade of brown or burgundy.

 

When it comes to amazing instruction manuals, there are none better than Vanguard.  And Vanguard is known for only supplying the very best wood available, and plenty of it as well.

 

I have BOTH of these kits, and they’re positively amazing models. Absolutely nothing else other than paint, varnish, glue, and tools are needed. 

 

I HIGHLY recommend either of these for a relatively quick build using the traditional methods. 

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6CFCEE1F-E5BF-49A8-8C8E-BBB7369C8B25.png

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Thanks everyone but I believe I'll build the Nina, Pinta and then the Santa Marie, in that order. I won't do paper fore it won't hold up, been there, done that, and I can't justify paying $10 or more for any paper/cardstock model.

Then, I want to try the Mayflower and if I'm still alive, the USS Constitution. I'll shop around but as it stands it looks like Amati is the most reasonable price wise.

Meanwhile, Billing Boats, African Queen, is on its way... 🙂

BTW, has anybody read a brief history about Mr. Billing and his boats?

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That sounds like a very good sequence. Ascending level of difficulty, absorbing and rewarding, will keep you off the streets, probably for the rest of your life . . .

 

I'm looking forward to your African Queen. A fussy littel river steamer - wonderful! And wonderful memories of the movie.

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One note of caution,  please be aware of and stay clear of Chinese knock-offs.  As a new builder, especially one conscious of the cost of these kits can be easily lured i to buying a kit that has been pirated by unethical MFGs.  
 

My advice is to stay away from EBAY or Amazon as they are a haven for such kits. In addition,  building them here on MSW is prohibited because of the damage it does to the hard working legit mfgs who are our friends and colleagues. 
 

In addition,  please stay clear of unscrupulous forums that work with these illegal operators to promote the theft of intellectual property and copyrights. The worst offender that tramples on intellectual property rights and promotes this crap is the Ships of Scale forum (SOS).  Stay as far away as possible.

 

Here is a topic written all about pirated kits and we created it to educate new folks in the hobby.

 

 

 

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