Kits for Novice Builders

Midwest's Crabbing Skiff
The number and variety of ship model kits available on the market can make choosing one an overwhelming task to the beginning modeler. In addition, the lack of a standard rating system makes it hard to understand why some kits are considered entry-level while others, that seem very similar, are intermediate. Worse, many would-be modelers often pick a kit based on how it looks in the catalog or what they dream of displaying on the fireplace mantle, not what may be required to build it, and often wind up with something far beyond their skill level. The result is defeat before even beginning and another person lost to the hobby when that first kit goes into the closet for good, never to be completed.

I've been building for a while now, as you can see from the models on my site. I've worked with beginners and, of course, was one myself not so very long ago. I've looked at a lot of kits over the years and I think I've come to an understanding of what type kit is suitable for a beginner. On subsequent pages, I provide an overview of the major kit types and also provide some suggestions for kits that I think are suitable for the novice builder.

First, it's important to realize that wooden ship models are nothing like plastic models. A lot of would-be wooden ship modelers have built plastic models in the past (including myself) and are simply not prepared for what they find when they open the box of a wooden kit. Others think that because they are skilled at full-size woodworking or working with their hands in some other way, they will automatically be skilled at building ship models. Time and again, I've seen that it "just ain't so". There are so many diverse skills used in ship modeling, and so many new things to learn, almost nothing can adequately prepare the novice for the task ahead. But if you enjoy learning new things and have a bit of perseverance, ship modeling can provide life-long satisfaction.

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