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Many of you have or read books that may be of interest to others.
I am, of course, referring to books (or articles) that have to do with model ship building.


Titles and/or authors would help.

English preferred, but other languages . . . go for it.


Is this the right place to share????


BTW this could be too long and I ask your suggestions about how to abbreviate.

Edited by Modeler12
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My personal favourite is Navy Board Ship Models by John Franklin,had it 15 years and can still pick it up and read for hours :D

2,Restoration Warship-Richard Ensor

3,The art of shipmodelling -Frolich

That is the top three out of about 100 books I possess on ships/shipmodeling.


Kind Regards



Edited by NMBROOK
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I second the Art Of Ship Modeling by Frolich.  I am very partial to The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships by C Nepean Longridge as well as Ships of the American Revolution and their Models by Harold Hahn.  There really is too many to count though. So many great books available.  Classics like the Plank on Frame Models vol I and vol II by Underhill are a great start.

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Good references for modeling resources can be / are relative to what one is seeking information about; for instance, if I'm seeking info. on cannons, I'd turn to Caruana, Tucker, and perhaps Muller. For general rigging, Petersson; for more specific information Lever, Steel, Marquardt, and Lees all come to mind.


With that said, I highly recommend Gary's list of references! He very kindly has provided an outstanding, comprehensive resource for all of us, and I regularly return to his list if I'm seeking info. for which I don't have a reference for or etc: http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/21-nautical-and-model-building-resources/?hl=%2Bship+%2Bmodeling+%2Bbooks




Edited by JMaitri
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I still have a great fondness for the works of Basil Lubbock: The Last of the Windjammers, The Colonial Clippers, The Tea Clippers, The Downeasters, The Western Ocean Packets, The Nitrate Clippers.


Harold Underhill: Deepwater Sail,, Sail Training Ships, Masting & Rigging the Ocean Carrier.


H I Chapelle, D R McGregor, Basil Greenhill, David Lyon, Brian Lavery, Rif Winfield, Robert Gardiner


But far and away I still remember a day over 40 years ago. It was about midnight on a Tuesday and the the library was almost deserted. I was looking for a book on Revolutionary War Naval History for a college course and I came across a crumbling copy of the illustrated catalog for the Henry H Rodgers collection of models at Annapolis. I didn't know models like this existed.  I sat on the floor of the aisle deep in the stacks of the Howard Tilton Librabry of Tulane University slowly going from one model to the next. In 15 minutes I developed a fixation that continues to this very day.


I own a copy now and take it off the shelf when the work is not going the way I know that it should. I tell myself that one day I will learn to do work like that.

Edited by michaelpsutton2
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The most influential book I have read was Longridge's The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships.  I was in high school working on Scientific's Bounty and went to the local library lookng for information on the ship.  That was my introduction to ANS.  I have my own copy now and used it extensively when I was building the 1:96 Victory by Mantua.  Someday I will even finish the rigging!

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All the books listed so far are great.  To add to the list I like all the books by Howard I. Cappelle but especially "American Sailing Craft", "American Small Sailing Craft" and "The Search for Speed Under Sail".  In addition the books by William A. Baker, "Sloops and Shallops" and "Colonial Vessels" are good reads and references.

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Thank you all for all those suggestions. I will try to find all or most of them through my library.


When I posted this thread I was thinking of where I was a couple years ago when I started this model ship building. I had sailing experience, did some minor model building but was totally ignorant of all the terminology and the in-and-outs of old sailing ships. Since then many of you helped me with good references (such as Petersson's book on rigging).

So, what I had in mind were some books for beginners in this hobby. Something that could be used in addition to the plans and explanations provided in kits.


I found one book that serves that purpose (at least in my opinion). It is 'The Visual Encyclopedia of Nautical Terms Under Sail'. The tittle continues with 'An illustrated guide to the language of the great sailing ships and the men aboard them'.

The book is full of great drawings, photographs, explanations of the various parts of sailing ships, etc. etc. Although not related to modeling, it even has a wonderful section about navigation, its history, tools and the mathematics involved. Below is one page picked at random.


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may I throw my hat into the ring and suggest 2 books by Keith Julier? "Period Ship Kit Builders Manual" & "The New Period Ship Handbook" published by "Special Interest Model Books"  As a relative beginner I find them both invaluable.   Geoff  PS I nearly forgot! "Rigging Period Ship Models by Lennarth Peterson.No text but lots of fantastic rigging drawings

Edited by geoff
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Got to agree Geoff,I have all of Keith's books and they were invaluable when I was fairly new to this and an absolute godsend in days before the 'net',I suppose you could say he was my inspiration to get stuck in and persevere.I have Donald Dressel's book as well Brian,this is a fairly recent addition,but it always nice to see another 'take' on planking.Particularly nice shots of some of Ed Marples' builds.


Kind Regards



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the only thing I cant get my head round is Re Keiths use of Cyano glue for 2nd planking I go for a walk to the shops every morning & I don't like the idea of walking round with HMS Supply hanging off my hands :D! Other than that the books are great ! Geoff

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  • 1 month later...
  • 6 months later...

Interesting topic...!


Books that made a significant and lasting impression on me when I was a teenager up to the age of about 20 include the following (in no particular order);


Sail: the Romance of the Clipper Ships. Three volumes. Basil Lubbock and Jack Spurling

The Tall Ships Pass. W L A Derby

Deep-Water Sail. Harold A Underhill

Plank-on-Frame Models. Two volumes. Harold A Underhill

The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships. C Nepean Longridge

Shipbuilding in Miniature. Donald McNarry

The complete works of Basil Lubbock

The Tea Clippers. David R MacGregor

The Merchant Schooner. Two volumes. Basil Greenhill

Mother Sea. Ellis Karlson

British Battleships. Oscar Parkes

The Great Age of Sail. Edited by Basil Bathe

The Way of a Ship. Alan J Villiers

Sailing Ships of the Romantic Era. Edita Lausanne

The Last Grain Race. Eric Newby

The Ship. Bjorn Landstrom

Unter Selegn Rund Kap Horn. Gunther T Schulz

A Handbook of Sailing Barges. F S Cooper and John Chancellor

Sails Through the Centuries. Sam Svensson and Gordon Macfie


Many of the above I came across either through my local library or through the reference library at Tower Hamlets in east London. I now have them all in my own collection. I refer to all of the above frequently, if only because of the pleasure they first gave and still give! Interesting to note that most are now out-of-print.


Since 1970, the above list could be added to, including the works by Edgar J March, Howard I Chapelle, etc, etc, but the list would become far too long!


Edit: whilst I've interpreted this topic loosely, to list my favourite or impressionable ship modelling books would also be too long for here! However, some have been included above!

Edited by Torrens
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BTW, speaking of inspiration, Torrens/Michael, I really like your work! (aviation as well as maritime)


Howard I. Chappelle was definitely a big one for me.

His "The History of American Sailing Ships" is a great intro book, with a nice section at the front that shows plans of the British sloop Ferret and gives clear explanations for the various construction and projections (waterlines, stations, buttocks, diagonals, etc.) that comprise a set of ship's plans, along with definitions for different parts and pieces.


"The American Fishing Schooners" is a very densely-packed book, with awesome plans and details.

For someone like me, who literally  didn't know a gammon from a gudgeon starting out, It was quite frankly like trying to read a foreign language without first reading his "History of American Sailing ships" book.  For anyone into schooners, this book is fantastic.


I wouldn't have been able to build a decent hull shape on my lobster smack without "American small sailing craft"  Enough interesting plans for several lifetimes of scratchbuilding.



For ships that aren't built of wood, I recently picked up John T. Alden's "The American Steel Navy: A Photographic History of the U.S. Navy from the Introduction of the Steel Hull in 1883 to the Cruise of the Great White Fleet, 1907-1909"

A ton of great photographs, profile views, some nice historical tidbits in the text.  If one is interested in the category, highly recommended.

Edited by hexnut
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  • 1 month later...

A book not yet mentioned and one that I find especially useful is "Seamanship in the Age of Sail" by John Harland.  It has helped me to understand more of the "whys" and "hows" than most others.  It is well written and illustrated.  Here is a link to portions of it on Google Books:




If you scroll down you can look at several good chapters.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree.  his book is invaluable for me.  Anytime I find a term I can't understand I go to "The Visual Encyclopedia..." and invariably it's there.  I supplement it with Anatomy of Nelson's Ships by Longridge.  I use Antscherl's "The Fully Framed Model, Rigging a Sixth Rate Sloop of 1767-1780" and Petersson's "Rigging Period Ship Models" when rigging.  Couldn't do without them.  Dirk De Bakker and Greg Booker's "Simple Hull Planking Techniques for Beginners," which was published in 2006 on Model ship World forum was a god-send for me when planking.  I must add that while I've been building tall ship models for about 15 years, I've only complete three kits: Amati's Roger B. Taney and Caldercraft's Bounty and Diana.  So, I'm still a novice.  But, I couldn't have built these models, especially, the last two without those books.

Edited by Jndepew
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Here is a short list of the books I go to regularly:


Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine, 1815

Darcy Lever, The Young Sea Officers Sheet Anchor, 1819

R. C. Anderson, The Rigging of Ships in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast 1600-1720, 1927

David Steel, The Art of Rigging, updated by Capt. George Biddlecomb, 1848

John Harland, Seamanship in the Age of Sail, 1984

James Lees, The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War 1625-1860, 1979


and for rope work

Hervey Garrett smith, The Arts of the Sailor, 1953

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Nearly all of the foregoing are great/


For me. back in the 1960's, when I was a teenager and had already built the Revel Cutty Sark, Thermopoly and USF Constitution, I stumbled across a book in our local library - 'Ship Model Building' by E. Armitage McCann.  I keep a copy in my library (of 120 maritime books) because he grabbed my attention and moved me into scratch building.


Although his work is crude by today's standards, he captured my inspiration and kept me involved in model ship building.


So my point is to read widely, and fine what moves you.



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