Help with a new hobby

| January 11, 2013

OK, so here it is….I’ve decided to pick up a new hobby. Something to (hopefully) give me a little patience, something to while away the time while also watching TV. I want to get away from the computer a little more. And I want to do something with my hands, etc.

So, I am taking up making wooden ship models. I think I want to do something like the USS Constitution, and preferably about 3-5 feet in length. I don’t want anything too small, where every screw up will be obvious.

The problem is I know exactly jack and shit about modeling. So, if anyone has any experience with building wooden models, I could use any advice you have. I do not want to make it entirely from scratch, or anything like that. Intermediate difficulty, but without the necessity of 87 thousand wood tools I don’t already own.

Any advice?

Note, I was thinking of this one.

Category: Politics

Comments (18)

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  1. Scott says:

    The Armed Virginia Sloop. I do this and am in the process of an Olympia build. It’s 32″ and weighs all the wood worth 30lbs. Go to Model Expo. Here’s a site where people talk about such things: Look at the build logs.

    Depending how ambitious you are there’s the Syren or the Fair American. Go to this guy to learn how: The AVS is on the front page.

    So happy to share a little knowledge…

  2. Mike Kozlowski says:

    TSO, let me suggest starting with plastic and working your way up to wooden kits if you don’t have a lot of experience with woodworking – even kits can be pretty challenging. There is a very nice 1/96th plastic kit of Constitution from Revell – it’s been around for more than fifty years but even the Smithsonian says that it’s probably the best Old Ironsides kit around:

    Been building plastic kits since I was 6, but my retirement project will be a 1/196 USS Ranger (CV-4), in glorious pine and balsa. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you’ve got any questions!

    Best regards,

  3. Scott says:

    Oh yeah, since you mentioned tools. One required:,9547.html

  4. GruntSgt says:

    Ambitious start. Does the description give a list of recommended tools? (I’m on my phone so didn’t read the fine print). I build furniture as my Zen escape. Need any guidance feel free to email. I love working wood ( no not that wood you bunch of reprobates).

  5. Gravel says:

    1. Purchase Kit
    2. Follow Directions
    3. ???
    4. Profit

    Actually good luck with that. I tried a wooden kit, about tore my hair out (what’s left of it anyway) in frustration.

    Solving unsolvable Millennium Prize Problems is oh so much more fun. [/sarcasm off]

  6. Casey says:

    Agree with Mike K. above. The 1/96 Revell kit would be a nice starter, and if you end up hating it, you would have invested a lot fewer $$$. 🙂

  7. Mr Wolf, non-Esq. says:

    Dude it says adult supervision required…

  8. streetsweeper says:

    @ #7- You win! lol!

  9. HMA says:

    Wow enjoy your new hobby. I’ve only built tank models (highly detailed WWII) and aircraft. A few ships. Really got into it for awhile. Never tried a wooden ship. A serious art form in itself. My advic is to do what number 2 said.
    Good luck!

  10. Robert says:

    There are levels of difficulty involved in making wooden ship models. Most new modelers will start with the easiest level, as you might expect; fishing boats, rowboats, etc., and work their way up to projects such as the one you are contemplating. Along the way you learn which tools to acquire and the tricks of the trade, so when you get to the more difficult full-rigged ships you’ll be pleased with the result, rather than disgusted.

  11. Mud says:

    That kit will blow your mind when you get it. Just imagine putting the finished ship in a box and kicking it down an escalator. That’s where your going to start from. Suggest you follow #10’s advice and get a cheaper, simpler kit to start from.

    Might even consider a match-stick model… For $50 you can figure out if you will enjoy it.

  12. Sig says:

    Away-from-the-computer hobbies are a huge help to me. I started doing leather work in August (during our annual training, as an alternative to stabbing someone in frustration) and it’s been a great way to spend time away from the screen and build something useful. Lately, I seem to be specializing in tooled leather covers for the hideous green “leader books” that we’re all carrying around, but also phone pouches and other miscellany; eventually I’ll get around to the revolver holster that I intended to make when I started out.

    Anyway, good luck, and I would echo the general advice to not start TOO ambitious.

  13. AW1 Tim says:

    Concur with all the above. MicroMark is a great place for tools and supplies. Good prices and a nice friendly support staff.

    For wooden models, I’ve built a few but prefer plastic as I find it MUCH easier to work with, especially considering many of the photo-etched brass after market detail sets that can really bring a model to life.

    If I were just starting out, I’d consider getting my feet wet, as it were, with a simpler kit, like the CSS Virginia or USS Monitor. That will get you used to working with some basic wooden shapes as well as cast metal detail sets. Easy to build and really look nive when you’re done.

    I built the 1/96 USS Constitution many years ago. It’s really a VERY nice kit and rather large. It goes together well, has much detail and you can practice working on all the running & flying rigging before tackling a wooden model.

    For plastic kits, consider Trumpeter. They make VERY nicely detailed plastic ship kits (and planes).

    But yeah, feel free to give me a holler too. I’d be happy to assist in any way you think.

  14. UpNorth says:

    I’d go with what Mike K said, try the plastic version of the ship, see if you can handle that one. If you go with the plastic kit, use the liquid cement for styrene, not the tube. And a fine brush to apply it.

  15. TrapperFrank says:

    I have never done wooden ships, but have done armour, artillery, and aircraft. I have also built dioramas involving those elements. My advice would be to start on an easier kit in plastic and to see if you like it. Build your skill set and move on from there. Good luck.

  16. Ex-PH2 says:

    Things you can do with your hands while watching TV:

    Jigsaw puzzles



    Grooming the cat


    Play board games like chess, checkers, mah jongg

    Cut grocery coupons

    Write your memoirs with a pen or pencil

    Crossword puzzles

  17. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    DRINK HEAVILY before beginning the model. Things may not come out exactly right but you’ll have a ‘boat load of fun’ doing it!?! I got hooked on WW II aircraft a few years ago and after trying to do the first couple stone, cold, sober…I started sipping a Jack chilled, or many five, and everything went great! Okay…so the propeller for my F-4U wound up on the tail I still had a ball!:)

  18. VTWoody says:

    Hahahahaha. What’s next, knitting or crochet?