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Not sure what kit company would be good for a first time naval ship builder?

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  • Member since
    November 2016
Not sure what kit company would be good for a first time naval ship builder?
Posted by calmo2 on Saturday, February 13, 2021 8:20 PM

Hello: I have started building model car kits again since I retired 5 years ago. I am now thinking about building a war ship for the first time. I am not familiar with the kit companies that manufacture these kits other than Revell and Tamiya. Would any of you have a kit company that you thought would not be too complicated for a first time model warship builder. I know this is a pretty generic question with probably lots of opinions. I have built quite a few auto models so I am not real new to building and painting with an airbrush on plastic car kits. I thought maybe some of you out there would have a few ideas on which company out there have kits that are not real complicated or highly detailed for a new ship builder. I am thinking of building a model of the USS Arizona as I am pretty sure I had a great uncle that was killed on that ship on December 7th 1941. Any idea would be greatly appreciated. Thanks George.

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Saturday, February 13, 2021 9:39 PM

While I won't presume to suggest any kit or maker, I've built the Revell Arizona, and have the Hobby Boss 1/350 version.  The HB and Banner kits are larger versions of the Revell kit, molded the same way.  They will build fairly easy, but require a lot of work to make a decent representation.  Can't speak to any other kits of her.

Several here have suggested in the past the 1/350 USS England for a first ship.  I'll toss in to the Tamiya USS Fletcher in the same scale.  There are Photo Etch sets for them to add railings and radars, but that's starting down a deep rabbit hole there might be no escape from.

Any of the above kits can be had for around $30 or so, not too big an investment to test the waters.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, February 13, 2021 11:32 PM

Pipe this man aboard!

Warships, castles of steel.

There's a couple of questions that you need to ask your staff.

 

1. Size of ship.

2. Navy.

3. Era.

4. Media.

 

So assuming that Arizona BB-39 is a point of interst, we can assume-

 

USN

20th century.

 

 

The first suggests a smaller scale. Ship models take years if large to finish.

1/700 scale is a good size for capital ships like battleships and aircraft carriers.

That in turn steers you towards the asian companies. Aoshima, Pit Road, Dragon, a very few Tamiya.

 

The second makes kits in the smaller scales hard to find, and limited in the larger scales; for french, italian, chinese, spanish or other smaller navies difficult to find.

 

The third basically differentiates steel from sail. That is entirely up to you. Plastic steel navy ships, resin for that matter (see next entry), are easy to find, depending on scale and navy as touched on above.

Fourth, media. Plastic kits are limited in selection as there is a need to sell several thousand kits of any ship to make them profitable. Resin kits cut that number significantly.

 

Suggest a subject and I would be happy to let you focus a little.

 

Bill

 

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, February 13, 2021 11:42 PM

I wanted to keep the specific response separate here.

George, I salute your relative, it would be simple to find his service record and grave if you were to be interested. If so, a PM "conversation " with his first, middl, last to me would be confidential and would be a peasure for me to research.

If I were to model a Pearl Harbor BB-39 Arizona, I would use the Trumpeter, Dragon  1/700 kit. Lots of details, a reasonable size, and accurate.

 

Any thing larger should be chosen in more thought.

The Revell kit is a toy, the Banner/ Trumpeter kit in 1/350 is one of those that turn into a project to correct and add to.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, February 14, 2021 10:17 AM

Hmmm;

         First ship? Well I would think about this carefully. All the comments about the ARIZONA in the smaller scales is correct. My Version of her is on her second year and I haven't gotten past the main deck yet! She is the Trumpeter 1/200 kit. So in closing I would go with anything in 1/350 or Pick and choose among what sets your interest and self confidence. A ship really isn't that hard.

        If you can find one, either a Fletcher, Gearing/Sumner( Gearings and Sumners look like triplets anyway to the untrained eye.) or The U.S.S. England in 1/350 aren't that difficult built out of the Box. Adding P.E. is where it can challenge your skills. After one or two then dive into P.E.

      I, by choice, stay away from anything smaller than 1/350. Although there is more out there in the Capitol Ships( Battlewagons/Carriers). If you indeed find a relative served on the AZ. that day, then I thank your family for his service, and sacrifice!

 

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Sunday, February 14, 2021 12:28 PM

The Revell 1:720 scale Arizona from the early 70's, with its ill-fitting 3-piece hull, is probably single-handedly responsible for turning generations of potential ship modelers away from the hobby.

The Revell 1:426 Arizona is a product of pure 1950's technology.  Vertically split bulkheads,  split rail fences for railings.   Before any real modeling can be done on this kit there is a large amount of deconstruction which must be done.   Yes a well done model using this kit is impressive, but it is not for a novice.  And back in 2001, when the Banner kit first hit the States  this kit was compared with it.   There are only so many ways shapes can be designed.   It was determined that there was no direct progenesis of the Revell and Banner.   Banner (as in Red Banner) became Trumpeter and Hobby Boss.

Tanker's recommendation of a Dragon Gearing gives me some problems.   Dragon has a reputation of being over engineered.   Why do something in 5 parts when 20 will do.  Dragon's instructions also leave much to be desired.   They are wonderful kits, dont get me wrong.  Not for a ship noob.    Dragon also made a Benson/Livermore class, which preceeded the Fletcher.  Similar problems.   No Sumner kit.  Gearings developed from Sumners by adding a 19 foot plug.  Increased fuel, increased range.

Tanker's recommendation of the USS England in 1:350 scale by Trumpeter is a good one.   Smaller than a battleship/carrier it will get you introduced to ship modeling for about 30 bucks American.   Being a smaller project you will be able to see progress toward completion.   You will not spend many days repetitively building secondary armament and stacking deckhouses like wedding cakes.  

My personnal recommendation for a novice ship kit is the Tamiya 1:350 Fletcher (round-bridge).   The reasons above.  In 1:350 scale it is an ideal size to teach your 15 dancing thumbs how to manipulate the parts.   Once you have competed,as a learner kit, you may want to move to a smaller scale (smaller parts - more difficult or less fine detail) or larger scale (more cost and more detail may be needed).   Fletchers were the workhorse of the Navy through the mid-to-late war and were painted in numerous camouflage measures.

What I have trouble recommending is the Trumpeter 350 scale square-bridge Fletcher, the USS The Sullivans.  Trumpeter had their varsity A-team working on the England but the 2nd string JV team on this kit.   Structures sort of clunky,  40mm guns are sticks on boxes, 20mm guns over 10 feet tall, decks have raised concrete sidewalks.   Not a ship noob kit -- you need to replace a lot.

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Central Oregon
Posted by HooYah Deep Sea on Sunday, February 14, 2021 2:25 PM

Despite the votes to the contrary, I would recommend the 1/429 Revell ARIZONA. The kit is fairly simple / straightforward and should be built straight out of the box. Save the historical corrections for another time. In my opinion, your first ship should not include PE as it is an added complication. Stick with the basics and learn ship terminology along with the build. That way, down the road you can discuss the future builds with knowledge and confidence (there is a big difference between a door and a hatch, for example). A lot of, if not all of what you already know about modeling techniques is directly transferable, so that is one part you don't have to worry about. The ship knowledge is a whole different thing. Imagine trying to build a car without a clue about what the suspension is or what parts on the real thing are plastic and which are metal. 

"Why do I do this? Because the money's good, the scenery changes and they let me use explosives, okay?"

  • Member since
    April 2005
Posted by ddp59 on Sunday, February 14, 2021 6:44 PM

George, i supposedly have a couple of relatives on that ship on my dead step-father side of the family. i still have that Revell 1/429 scale USS Arizona that i built almost 50yrs ago & i'm building it again at that scale but with corrections to the stern & torpedo bulges. also correcting that hull for HooYah Deep Sea for his what if project plus using at least 17 kits of the 1/429 scale Arizona for my OBB kitbash. http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=165105

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Sunday, February 14, 2021 6:54 PM

One of the issues here is simpler is better to get a hang of the craft.

It helps to see how things go together per the kit instructions and understand how that repersents what was there.  This is what will "hone" the desire to get into the aftermarket details and reall represent the ship in minature.

When your are fussing with incredibly thin brass rolling it to make be round instead of flat, you need to be able to remember that you are doing that so as to not have 6" thick sheet metal like the kit parts.

To that end, some of the ±1/150 Lindberg kits like the Minesweeper were quite good starter kits.  The shapes, if squnited at from 2-3 feet away were right. you just did not want to get in and look at anything in detail.

Tamiya's Fletcher builts a treat right out of the box.  But, you really won't appreciate the aftermarket detail until you build it again.

Arizona is a complicated subject.  Historians are not in agreement on the real-life version, which creates any end of controversy about the model kits.  Simple questions like "How to paint Arizona" start debates which can get sore acrimonius.

It's entirely possible to build the 1/700, 1/47, 1/350 or 1/200 kits straight out of the box and call them done.  Just be aware that you will likely have Chevy parts on a Dodge, forklift tires on a racecar, and the like.  (Did I mention acrimonius debate? Smile)

To give an example of just how deep the water is for Arizona, here is the Scalemates listing (these are in mutiple scales) https://www.scalemates.com/search.php?fkSECTION%5B%5D=All&q=USS+Arizona*

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, February 15, 2021 12:40 PM

I have found the Revell ship kits (Revell of Germany as well as older Revell US) kits go together well, with good fit and detail.  They have made some real beauties, and a variety of subjects, both naval and civil.  A friend of mine, an airplane and car builder, got his start on the Revell small tugboat.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 9:17 AM

Revell recently reissued the Viking Ship. I really enjoyed building it and would recommend the model. 
Adding your own sail made of paper turns it in to something special.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 9:49 AM

Hi;

     It's me agin; I can heartily concur with Ed on the Fletcher. It is 1/350 But goes together clean. Plus, it looks great when done. Don't worry about color callouts. When I build my first ship it was the Old Revell U.S.S. The Sullivans.( yes, The Sullivans is correct)' It was named in honor of the five brothers who gave their all when we lost a Cruiser early in the war. And I painted it all Testors square bottle light Grey. Well, How did I know, it was my first Navy Model!

     If I don't catch flak here I have another suggestion. Have you seen any LINDBERG ship models? If you have and can find the "U.S.C.G Coastal Patrol Boat" do that one. NOT the Tug! Why? Well, It was told to me by a Coastie Chief that the Cutter is the most accurate for the immediate Post War config, and is basically correct. Sand away most of the weld lines and you'll have a nice first trip down model lane, Bumps and all. Plus all the parts are not so small you won't have trouble figuring them out.

  • Member since
    August 2019
  • From: Central Oregon
Posted by HooYah Deep Sea on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 1:24 PM

Also adding to my previous post, I concur with TB and his Lindberg suggestion, but adding the minesweeper to the list. The Lindberg line are older kits but still available and go together fairly well. Additionally, they are upgradeable with 3D parts, and also very kit-bashable, if you are in to that.

"Why do I do this? Because the money's good, the scenery changes and they let me use explosives, okay?"

  • Member since
    December 2020
Posted by Thuntboss on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 12:20 PM
That "lost cruiser" was the light cruiser U.S.S. Juneau

"Do it as well as your experience and skill allow. Practice and persistence increase skill"

 

  • Member since
    April 2005
Posted by ddp59 on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 2:21 PM

Tanker-Builder, don't you mean "USCG Coastal Patrol Boat" http://www.modelerjoe.net/shipmodellist.html#LindUSCG as Lindberg does not make the "Coast Guard Cutter" as only Hawk http://www.modelerjoe.net/shipmodellist.html#HawkCutter & Revell http://www.modelerjoe.net/shipmodellist.html#RevellCampbell & http://www.modelerjoe.net/shipmodellist.html#RevellTaney did back in the day?

 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 6:46 PM

Thank You Sir! That is what I meant. I corrected it.

  • Member since
    April 2005
Posted by ddp59 on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 7:32 PM

no problem.

  • Member since
    January 2021
Posted by PFJN2 on Friday, February 19, 2021 7:42 PM

Hi,

I bought a copy of the Academy LPH Dokdo a few months ago, and it is an interesting model.  It is molded in four colors and looks like it could almost be assembled as a snap fit kit, though you probably really should glue the small parts.

The molding is also very smartly done so that you could theoretically put it together without painting it and use the stick on transfers provided, if you wished.

However, it also comes with waterslide decals and there is a set of photo-etch for it that you can buy separately.

As such, the same kit seems like it could potentially appeal to both beginners (and younger builders) as well as more expereinced builders.  And its really not too expensive (depending on what you may have to pay in postage if you order it on line.)

Pat

ROK Navy Dokdo (LPH 6111), Academy 14216 (2015) (scalemates.com)

Image

  • Member since
    January 2021
Posted by JoeSMG on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 4:35 PM

HooYah Deep Sea

Despite the votes to the contrary, I would recommend the 1/429 Revell ARIZONA. The kit is fairly simple / straightforward and should be built straight out of the box. Save the historical corrections for another time. In my opinion, your first ship should not include PE as it is an added complication. Stick with the basics and learn ship terminology along with the build. That way, down the road you can discuss the future builds with knowledge and confidence (there is a big difference between a door and a hatch, for example). A lot of, if not all of what you already know about modeling techniques is directly transferable, so that is one part you don't have to worry about. The ship knowledge is a whole different thing. Imagine trying to build a car without a clue about what the suspension is or what parts on the real thing are plastic and which are metal. 

 

I was basically going to post the above and agree almost 100%. I differ on the Modeling Technique comment - with model cars your chrome shines, your paint is cherry and perfect, factory fresh! On an old battlewagon like Arizona I'd forget all that. Flat paints on surfaces that look weathered, hard used and even rusty often look more desirable.

And Revell's 1/428 scale Arizona is a cheap canvas to learn on. She's got some issues for sure but as soon as I read the title of your post my mind blurted Revell Arizona! Another plus is the relative simplicity of the kit and its largish size - easy on older eyes and fingers.

I also get where the "it's a toy" opinion comes from but if you really want a challenge, that can be fixed. Personally I just built a cool toy - took less than a week :)

Here's a couple pictures of my Revell Arizona:

Revell USS ArizonaRevell USS Arizona

- Joe the SMG

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