Which Kit Should I Get?
The best advice on which ship model kit to get is - get the one that won’t overwhelm and frustrate you, that you will finish, and that you will have felt challenged by and proud of when it’s done. But how do you know, if you’re not an experienced kit builder? Here’s some guidance:
For beginners who haven’t built a ship model before, our Shipwright’s Series is the place to start. The three kits of progressive difficulty are the MS1470 Dory, the MS1471 Norwegian Pram, and the MS1472 Lobster Smack. Once you’ve built these, you’re ready for just about anything.
For intermediate builders, that is, those who know their way around a wooden model kit and are ready to try ship models, the kits come in three basic flavors, in generally progressive order of challenge to build: solid hull models, plank-on-bulkhead (PoB) models, and plank-on-frame (PoF) models. The solid hull model kits will result in a very satisfying and beautifully finished model with all the rigging, but without the complexity of building and planking a hull.
Both PoB and PoF models require planking, which is a more challenging skill to learn. Rest assured it can be done successfully if you’re willing to gain some experience on simpler models before trying the biggest ships from the age of sail. The difference between PoB and PoF basically is that planking over bulkheads results in a model with the bulkheads taking up the interior space of the hull, which won’t be visible on the finished model. Planking over frames results in a model in which the interior as well as the exterior will be largely visible, and therefore must be finished to an equivalent standard. The frames can also be a bit trickier to build.
Model ship kits generally come with instruction manuals and full-scale plan sheets, but without videos or other supplemental documentation. All our Model Shipways, Model Airways, Model Trailways, and Guns of History kits (as well as some of the imported kit lines) have instruction manuals available for download on our web site, and if you’re contemplating a large ship project you should look at the manual first to see what you’re getting into. If you think you’ll need more guidance than the manual, you may want to pick a kit for which pictorial build logs are available online (e.g., modelshipworld.com) or on Youtube. Take advantage of other builders’ experience!