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Book on scratch building

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  • Member since
    February 2010
  • From: Berkeley CA/St. Paul MN
Book on scratch building
Posted by EBergerud on Friday, December 3, 2010 3:05 PM

I don't see myself building a 175 scale USS Enterprise (CV6 of course) with a razor saw and super glue. However, I don't know anything about scratch building and I see good modelers in every genre making good use of it. Is there a title out there that would introduce rank beginners to craft of scratch building in styrene?



A model boat is much cheaper than a real one and won't sink with you in it.

  • Member since
    September 2015
  • From: The Redwood Empire
Posted by Aaronw on Friday, December 3, 2010 3:12 PM

Evergreen (the same people that make the plastic) has a good general beginners book. It covers basic techniques and walks you through a couple of very different projects (aircraft, armor, building for a railroad layout). I found it very useful when I started out building my own stuff, and it isn't that expensive.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, December 4, 2010 9:35 AM

I build all genre of models, so have contact with each community.  Model shipbuilders are the most likely to scratchbuild of all the genre (except for model railroaders who scratch a lot of their buildings and scenery).

Most ship scratchbuilders of ships build in wood, however, rather than styrene.  A common technique for hulls is the "bread and butter" style, where one cuts several planks of half inch or so thickness to the planform of that hull at that elevation (these planforms are included in scale drawing sets of ships).  Because there are so many scratch model shipbuilders, there are more scale drawing sets (plans) available for ships than any other genre.  Now, these are scale views of the prototype, not step by step instructions.

There are places that sell a lot of "fittings" for scratch builders, plus there are lots of PE sets available.

The classic book on scratch shipmodeling is "The Built-up Ship Model" by C. G. Davis, but it is aimed primarily at sailing ships. 

I suggest picking up a copy of "Ships in Scale" or some other ship modeling mag at the hobby shop, and also look at the Model Expo and Bluejacket web sites.  They both carry books on ship modeling, plus the fittings and things.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2010
  • From: Berkeley CA/St. Paul MN
Posted by EBergerud on Saturday, December 4, 2010 4:44 PM

I bought the Evergreen booklet suggested and a bag of plastic "odds and ends" - can't lose there. So thanks much for the tip. Also found a book called Advanced Aircraft Modelling by John McIllmurray that has a lot of scratch building. Guess I'm fixed.

I'm among the (I'd guess large) number of modelers who'd like a crack at a wooden ship. I even have a couple of books on the subject. I also ran into a show by the Marin County ship builders displaying a blizzard of museum quality scratch built wooden ships of extraordinary beauty. (This summer when I was in St. Paul I saw a newspaper article about some fanatics in Edina that build very large and very impressive boats with RC that they go out and sail around on calm days. Spectacular stuff. As I recall they even have a kind of model Coast Guard to rescue or salvage kits in peril on the sea.) I expect that many of the techniques in the plastic world would transfer to wooden kit building. Wooden scratch building might be another matter altogether. One thing, however, seems pretty clear. If you're going to build in wood - even at the kit level - it will require real effort and a serious investment of time. I'd really intend to give it a try in future. But before I do so I want to think that I'm building good plastic kits. Right now I don't, although results are improving.

BTW: it does look as though the Twin Cities has a pretty active modeling scene. Think I'll try to hook up with a group there. I'm sure duffers would learn a lot watching their betters at work. No book can match face to face learning at a certain level. And I suppose it would as good a place as any to learn what happened to the Vikings.


A model boat is much cheaper than a real one and won't sink with you in it.

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Norway
Posted by Finn on Saturday, December 4, 2010 5:27 PM

I have a copy of "The Master Scratch Builders: Their Aircraft Models & Techniques". If you cannot find inspiration here you should find another hobby!

The book is not the strongest on techniques, but shows off some pretty fantastic models. I just wish I was any near this leaque!!!

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: Neenah, WI
Posted by HawkeyeHobbies on Saturday, December 4, 2010 5:33 PM

Search Amazon, you should find the books there...I think there were two  Masters of Scratchbuilding in the series.

Gerald "Hawkeye" Voigt



"Its not the workbench that makes the model, it is the modeler at the workbench."

  • Member since
    March 2008
  • From: The Bluegrass State
Posted by EasyMike on Thursday, December 9, 2010 1:06 PM

You don't need a book.  Scratchbuilding is nothing more than creating your own model.  Tips and techniques from others can be helpful at times, but the gist of it is you make your own parts.


  • Member since
    May 2019
Posted by joekel4 on Sunday, May 12, 2019 9:06 AM

When I clicked on this link I got a 404 page not found error message. Here is an updated link to the book:



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