I know this may be late , but here goes . I usually , if the ship is 1/48 , 1/35 , 1/32 , or other scales of the larger sizes I use Evergreen and Plas-Struct sheet , rod and other shaped styrene . This can mean having a good set of steel rulers and Sandpaper , and some good squares , " T " Square too .
Now along with this you have Basswood . A great wood for carving and shaping .I used it for the basic hulls and decks on a line of model antique speedboats I sold as a group in Ship Chandelries years ago .
The Basswood vessels ran the gamut from a ski boat to a Barrelback classic runabout overlaid with hand skived mahogany and teak planks .
To tell the truth .You Must choose what you are most comfortable with . Believe it or not , heavy smooth paper works good too . Plus with the paper you don't need the smelly glues . Just a fresh bottle of Aleen's Tacky Glue ( like a heavier Elmers ).
Good craft scissors and a metal straight-edge along with a good supply of X-Acto number 11 blades ! A good light and the ability to clean up if you don't have a dedicated area to work in . T.B.