How to Build a Model Ship – Part 1

By Staff Writer 7 Min Read

Model Ship Building

Whether you’re new to Model Ship Building or have been doing it for years, there are several things you need to know before you start. Part one of this guide will give you a basic understanding of how to build a model ship. It will show you how to build a basic deck, hull, and keel.

Scratch building

If you’re new to scratch building, you should consider starting with a simple MODEL. More complex ships may be beyond your skill level. So, it’s best to choose a model ship that falls within your level and then progress to a more challenging ship. Before starting, it’s important to assess your strengths and weaknesses.

There are many different methods for building scratch-built models. One of the most common methods is the plank-on-bulkhead method, which involves installing bulkheads on the hull and then installing planking onto those edges. The advantage of this method is that it is lightweight and strong, and is easily cut and glued with CA glue. It is also waterproof, so it won’t warp.

Plank on Bulkhead

To add a plank on the bulkhead of your model ship, simply cut a six-inch piece of wood and adhere it to the bulkhead frame. Work from the bow aft, tucking the end into the rabbet joint. You can add a second plank to the bulkhead where you want the quarterdeck to be.

First, measure the space where the sternpost should go. Mark this with a pencil. If you want the plank to fit flush with the sternpost, cut a piece of deadwood slightly wider than the bulkhead frame. You can also use the same strip of wood as a spacer to keep the timber in place.


When you are ready to learn how to build a model ship, one of the best places to start is with a solid hull build. This method will get you started quickly and provide an even, straight hull. The solid hull will also include the keel and bulwarks. Bulwarks are the short walls above the deck. You will have no trouble seeing them if you know what you’re doing.

Another benefit of 3D models is that they can be created incrementally, so you can add details and refinements as needed. This approach can be used to create training materials, marketing materials, and even retrofitting a ship.

Plank of Frame

Before building the keel, you must first prepare the plank of frame. First, you will need to cut the timber to a length of six inches. You should start from the bow and work your way aft. Then, you will add the planks by tucking them into the rabbet joints.

For model ship builders, a plank on frame model allows them to show the intricate framing of the hull. It is also used for some historical models, including the Admiralty Models on display in museums. These models show the framework for building the actual ship and were presented to the Admiralty Board for approval.

Paper model ships

Paper model ships are an excellent option for those who aren’t interested in building a real wooden ship. These kits come with the patterns and parts you’ll need to build the hull and sails. They also include the necessary line drawings. Some models will require additional materials, such as cardstock.

These kits are available from most model ship manufacturers. Some of them produce model ships in different scales. The kits can be purchased in retail outlets or downloaded from the internet and printed out at home. They’re a great choice for both novice and experienced model builders, and are often available in a range of price ranges.

Injection-molded polystyrene plastic model ships

While it’s possible to find an injection-molded polystyrene model ship kit for your hobbyist model railroading needs, a resin kit is likely to be more difficult to assemble. Because resin shrinks when it sets, it’s prone to excess flash and warping. However, it also can produce parts with much better detail than injection-molded plastic kits. Resin is especially popular for figures, where it is perfect for reproducing folds in clothing and the undercut behind an ear. It’s also popular among aircraft modellers.

The process behind injection-molded plastic models is relatively simple. After constructing a steel mold, a model kit manufacturer presses two tools together to inject a large amount of liquid styrene plastic into the mold. The parts are then forced out of the mold by an ejector pin. At first, the parts are soft, but after a few minutes, they harden and become rigid.

Manned models

Manned models are an excellent tool to train maritime personnel. They help to improve manoeuvring skills, as they simulate the speed and restricted water environment of a real ship. Many maritime pilots regard manned models as the next best thing to a full-scale prototype. These models complement computer simulations, as they better replicate the forces a ship experiences during manoeuvring in real life.

To build a manned model, the ship must be scaled appropriately based on the size, weight, and speed of real ships. The Froude’s Similitude Law is used as a guide for scale. This law says that the scale of a ship must be at least one-quarter its real-world counterpart, to reflect the fact that gravity acts as the preponderant force on a ship’s hull.

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