Building a model wooden ship (part I) Recently, I've wanted to build a model ship. One of those wooden ones you often see in museums, except perhaps a bit smaller. So I've decided to just go for it, and document my progress here a bit.

The model

I tried to do research into a good starter model for a kit, but as it turns out it's really difficult to get consensus on what a good starter kit is. All I knew that I wanted was a ship made of wood, but most advice on forums was about whether you'd choose to build your own hull or get a pre-built one. I didn't really have a preference, though I figured starting with out simple and cheap would be the best way - just in case I royally fucked it up.

This guide from was a pretty good start though, and I saw it recommended the Pinta by Mamoli. It wasn't too expensive either, and this is one of the few ships I actually knew so I bought it (from here).


I didn't really know what to expect or how much work the ship would be. When the box came in I was a little surprised at its contents; the body of the ship was pre-built, and it seemed to only need a few strips of wood, cloth and wire to get together. There didn't seem too many parts, and the box had a little kid on it, so I figured this couldn't be too difficult to build - maybe even a bit easy.

Shit was that wrong.

First things first is I needed supplies, because I had literally nothing in house - not even a pencil. I've no idea what I'm gonna need and there's no way I'm buying everything on the recommended list that was in the instructions without knowing for certain I'll need it (where am I gonna buy a 'small drill'?), but thankfully there's a hobbyshop a literal stone's throw away so I just bought some glue and a bit of paint and got started.

Reading the f*cking manual

I don't usually read manuals or instructions until it's too late but I reckoned I should do it here. Jesus Christ are these unreadable... I tried studying them as best as I could but it might become difficult. Well, no reason to keep reading, I just wanted to get started!

First off, it's really confusing to use the measurements of the wood strips as an indication, so I labeled them first. It's confusing as well that there's apparently a difference between the 1 x 1,5 mm and the 1,5 x 1,5 mm strips.

It appears I'm missing a strip of wood as well, the one usedfor the rudder and the keel of the ship. No idea what to do about that, I'll cross that bridge when I'll get to it.

Building the ship

"Step 1: glue the 0,5 x 3 mm strips to the deck of the ship." Well I can do that!

It took me a while to do this but it was obviously easy - not that I foresaw a lot of problems with this, but still, it felt good starting off easy.

"Step 2: draw the rest of the fucking owl." Ok now it's getting serious.

I have to attach the 'bulwarks' to the ship so my first step is to look up just what in the hell a bulwark actually is. Which is challenging because apparently there's an actual fucking ship named the HMS Bulwark.

But there's another problem that makes this step really difficult: I have to bend the 2 mm thick wood strip across the length of the ship which puts tremendous strain on the wood. That glue I bought that was perfect for 0,5 mm thick strip, but it's never going to hold thicker strips so..... Now what?

This is the first real challenge so it needs some research. A quick search reveals that 'plank bending' is an entire scientific branch among model ship builders so I'll stop here and update when I attached the bulwarks. Let's try if this works...