Saturday, November 14, 2009

Boat building resources

Pirate Ship Cake
Originally uploaded by springlakecake

Serdar Bilen asks:

I'm not even a beginner, just got the idea to build a model ship tonight. Prepared some sketches and than start to search the Internet for any additional inspiration. I want my ship to be a very special, elaborated, neat and a functional model.
I mean it should be able to float -without sinking of course:) -.

What I plan to make is a rowing wood pirate sail boat.

Can you suggest anything useful? Recommendations, available resources, practical techniques.. Anything is welcome!

Getting started in any hobby is difficult - there is always a steep learning curve, but once you've started, the journey can be a lot of fun. You'd hope so anyway otherwise it's not much of a hobby !

Anyway, where should you start when you fancy building a model boat ? Well, the first thing to do is get yourself down to the local largeish newsagents, probably WH Smith if you are in the UK, and buy copied of Models Boats and Marine Modelling Magazine. For under a tenner you'll get a load of adverts and some interesting articles to read. OK so they won't be exactly what you want but it's a good start. If you are really keen and you intend to aim at scratchbuilding in wood rather than just knocking our kits like the rest of us, get a subscription to Model Shipwright Magazine. It's good stuff but pretty hardcore. Try to get some back issues first or find somewhere where you can browse a bit - Aberdeen maritime museum keeps it as I recall.

Next you'll want to do some stuff on-line. The top resource and somewhere to while away weeks of your life if you let is, is Model Boat Mayhem. Read the site and join the forum - all you could ever want in the way of resources are here. You might also want to try the Model Boats Website.

Next, see if there is a model boat club near where you live. On-line help is fine but real people can be more use a lot of the time. They can actually see the problem and offer advice, hopefully based on experience rather than conjecture. They will also have access to some water to sail the model on. That's harder to find than you might expect as you need to avoid fishermen and full sized boats. You can also gain a bit of experience sailing other people's models which is a great help when you are new to the hobby. After all, how do you know what is wrong when you've never tried something right ?

Finally you'll be wanting to spend some money. Since it's a wooden boat you want to build, check out Mantua Models They retail a lot of wooden boat kits and materials. There is a very good chance you can find a kit that does what you want - you'll still need a fair bit of patience and care to assemble the model, it's not like sticking an Airfix model together. Another useful supplier is Westbourne Models who stock pretty much everything you could want.

Hopefully these will give you a starting point - it's a big hobby and any blog pot that covers it all would take a week to read. As with all hobbies though, I caution that you need to start small. While the wooden pirate boat might be the dream, something simpler might make a good first model. Perhaps a Robbe kit that could be built and on the water quickly. That way you'll understand the radio control aspects before commencing the big project. These need to be planned in early. If it really must be a sailing boat powered by the wind, try a Footie which again will have you on the water quickly and with less worry about damaging the vessel as you learn to steer.

Good luck with your new hobby.

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