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Best Instructions (POB)


Brenticus
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Hi, all! 

 

I just recently finished my first model ship, a plastic Lindberg Jolly Roger (log is on here).  I'm moving onto wood kits.  I started working on a Sultana I got for super cheap, but I find that the solid hull just doesn't work with me.  It's not how I think, I guess.  I don't mind the sanding and the work, but POB just makes more sense to me.  So, I'd like to buy a nice POB kit and put that together (doing much more homework and work in general, I'm sure...but I'm ok with that).  Since I am new, I would like to get a POB kit with the best instructions available.

 

Which brings me to my question:
In your opinion(s), what kit (from which mfg) has the best instructions?  I glanced some of the instructions for MSW's kits which I believe are known to be pretty good, and I found some pretty considerable variances from kit to kit. 

 

The brig Syren's instructions looked really nice, and very comprehensive- more so than the Rattlesnake I had started looking at.  But is this so?  And what kit (from any mfg) would  be better/ easier to follow?

 

I've got a couple of good books on it (Ship Modeling from Stem to Stern and a couple of books on rigging).  Maybe I should just jump in and get whatever I like best?
 

Thanks in advance for any opinions/ references

 

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If the instructions are/were written by Chuck Passaro, they are excellent. Anybody else then it's a crap shoot - some are good, some vague and some downright lousey. I've had good experiences with Artesania Latina  and mixed experiences with Model Shipways (mostly don't like their instructions because most of the instruction booklets appear as if they are "cookie-cutter" developed). In all cases, the plans were pretty good. Midwest is also extremely good, especially for beginners.

 

A nice first time POB (or POF), in my opinion, is the 18th Century Longboat by Model Shipways designed by Chuck Passaro with excellent instructions written by Chuck. I just finished that model and it was a lot of fun to build. (Thanks Chuck !)

 

IMHO.

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That makes sense.  I was using Chuck's Practicum on my Sultana, and it really was excellent- the guy predicted/ outlined every issue I saw (and I saw every issue he outlined). 

 

This makes me awfully tempted to do the Syren, as I just found a big 50MB document by Chuck about that kit, and I'm a hard sell on small projects (or projects that don't involve "the great guns", as it were).

 

Although they have a Midwest boat over at Hobby Lobby, so I'll have to keep that in mind too.

 

Thanks for the input!

Edited by Brenticus
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Discussing instructions can be a bit of a quagmire, because with few exceptions, the instructions from any one manufacturer are not all up to the same standard.  The one exception I know of is Midwest; their instructions are extremely thorough, but their kits are not traditional POB kits.  Some manufacturers, like AL and OcCre, rely heavily on photo-illustrated guides.  We have mentioned many times on MSW how Caldercraft instructions evolved over time, from spartan to more detailed.  And, as mentioned, MS instructions, are sort of cookie-cutter in style - plus, they usually assume a considerable degree of prior knowledge on the part of the builder.  The exception to the MS instructions are, of course, those written by Chuck, which are very detailed.  By all means, if instructions are important, avoid the big Italian boys (Corel, Amati, Panart, etc.) like the plague - their translated instructions are usually laughable.  The exception to that rule is Amati's Victory Models line, whose instructions are written by their in-house designer, Chris Watton, a native English-speaker.

 

But, to be truthful, it is really not as essential these days to have exhaustive instructions as it might have been in days past.  The two biggest challenges to a new POB builder are 1) fairing and planking a hull and 2) rigging.  You completed the Jolly Roger, so you probably already have experience with rigging.  That leaves building the hull - and there are considerable resources for the novice here at MSW in the form of planking tutorials (available on the NRG main page) and build logs.

 

To me, a larger issue to consider when choosing a first POB kit is not necessarily the instructions, though those are nice, but rather choosing a subject that is likely to ensure success.  The KISS principle really applies here - a less complex hull, less planking, less rigging, and less guns will all make a first POB project more readily achievable.  And nothing will breed success like success.  So take a look at some of the kits of smaller vessels with relatively simple rigs, e.g. cutters, schooners, et al.  And then have fun with it!

 

EDIT:  Don't be a hard-sell on small kits!  For an extra, and rewarding challenge, try super-detailing one of the smaller kits.  Take a look at what some of our members have done with Caldercraft's Sherbourne, for example.

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Greetings Brent...

 

Based on my experience, BlueJacket Shipcrafters and Model Shipways have the best instructions. Plus, these kits are made in the USA. In my opinion, Euro Models drawings are beautifully detailed, but the instructions are in Italian and rather vague.  Accordingly, I suggest Euro Models are geared toward the experience builder. BlueJacket and Model Shipways are more user friendly.

 

wq3296

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@ccoyle: I clash sometimes between what I can easily achieve and what will keep my interest, but I take your point.  The Sherbourne is a lovely little cutter, I could definitely live with that.  It's just hard for me to do something like a lobster smack.  The Pride of Baltimore II certainly is a handsome vessel, and I could look at a few other schooners...but I am afraid if I get a kit of something that is too simple I might lose interest.  But I'll definitely try to keep it simple...which is good, since part of me wants to be like "just get the Bellona- it'll be fine!" lol

 

@ Geoff: another vote for Victory models, must be pretty good.  Thanks!

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If the 18th Century Longboat is too small for your taste, may I suggest the Model Shipways 21ft English Pinnace 1:24 Scale also designed by Chuck.  The Syren is a beautiful kit, which I plan to build some day.  I echo @ccoyle's advice.

 

Whatever you choose, enjoy and create a Build Log here so we can all follow along, and provide help when needed.

 

 

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@Jack: Hm, that recommendation surprises me.  The website says it's advanced.  It looks like a lot of tiny details.  What I really meant by size was more like size of the subject matter though, not the model itself.  I should have specified.

 

Maybe a nice Armed Va. Sloop or the Sherbourne.  I really liked that kit, actually...

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I built the Artesania Latina Armed Virginia Sloop (see Gallery pics of finished model) and enjoyed it very much. Nice kit, reasonably challenging. It's double planked as are most AL kits. Have not seen the Sherborne so I can't comment.

 

My source for AL kits is Tower Hobbies. Good prices and speedy shipping. Have no complaints.

 

PS: The Syren in my opinion is very advanced. I need more practice before I attempt to tackle that kit. But it is a beautiful kit/ship.

Edited by Jack12477
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Another instructions 'author' I have not seen mentioned is Ben Lankford.  He did the plans and instructions for Model Shipways' Niagara.  There are several sheets of drawings and details, plus the usual layout sheets of where the parts are.  If you go from sheet to sheet, THEY FIT EACH OTHER!!!  6.5.1/4 on one sheet is 6.5.1/4 on all of them.  That's very hard to do.  I'm sure he must have done other models, and probably to the same level; I can't recommend Niagara as a first planked model.

Jim Roberts' 'Planking the Built-Up Ship Model' is one of the best for that aspect.  Model Expo usually has it.

BlueJacket rates their line into about 9 different grades of difficulty.  You should be able to find something there.  Supposedly they also have staff to answer questions from purchasers of their kits.

Keep looking, you'll find what you're looking for eventually.

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Another instructions 'author' I have not seen mentioned is Ben Lankford.  He did the plans and instructions for Model Shipways' Niagara.  .... I'm sure he must have done other models

 

Ben Lankford's name is on the plans & instructions for the Armed Virginia Sloop & Pride of Baltimore II by Model Shipways, as well as the Niagara.  He also is named for revisions to the instructions on the Fair American by MS, but not the plans.

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