I made the right decision starting with this beginner's model. It was something I was a bit skeptical about, but turns out this is actually pretty complicated. Who knew?! /s
So I've decided to lower my expectations. Rather than finishing a beautiful boat, I just want to finish it, period. I want to finish with as little leftover pieces as possible, with a boat that looks like it would float if you tossed it into water.
So the boat will be a prototype. Iron out the kinks, just learn what's possible, impossible, and how to deal with it in the future. Perhaps on another boat. The Santa Maria or something.
The model is starting to look like an actual ship. But I'm running into a few construction problems that I'll have to work around the next time.
First, there's the glue. Jesus Christ the glue. I'm using white basic wood glue that dries fast. I figured that was a good thing. It doesn't really dry quite fast enough for my taste but I guess that's normal. What it does do is leave glue marks all over the ship. That doesn't really look good, though the glue becomes transparant when it dries.
This has partly to do with the bottle I use, which doesn't allow for the precision glueing these tiny wood pieces require. Solution for next time: get a more precise glue bottle/something with a needle.
My main problem lies with bending the wood, and especially glueing it after bending it. The bulwarks gave me a real headache because I had to glue the planks to the hull after bending and it was impossible to keep it in place long enough for the glue to dry.
What worked in this case was applying the glue, waiting for it to dry, then put in more glue, basically putting so much glue between the hull and the planks that the planks would just sort of give up and succumb to the insane amounts of glue I was willing to apply. It was almost an endurance race, a battle with the loser being the one that would give up first: me with the glue, or the plank trying to resist the glue.
In the end, I won. But at what cost?
Between the hull and the plank is a disgusting blob of dried glue a few millimeters thick that looks like a miniature sailor got sick and barfed on the ship. It's ugly and I'm debating whether to remove it somehow and start anew, but I don't know how to remove it. So, again, I just want to finish the project and learn from this mistake for a next time.
The instructions are terrible. They keep using the sizes of the wood pieces to identify which wood to use, which is confusing, so I coded the wood pieces in the legend and wrote those codes in the instructions. It didn't become much more legible, but it helped a little.
Also, I think I'm missing a rather important piece of wood which I need for the bow and rudder. I have every other piece accounted for except for that so this ship doesn't get a rudder - unless I finish it with some wood left over. Oh well, I didn't really plan on taking it to sea anyway.
The problem is some parts of the instructions are very unclear and have a bad translation. Sometimes, the instructions don't correspond with the actual boat. Take a look at this instruction.
Looks straightforward: planks 10 and 14 are the same piece of wood, according to the instructions, with #10 going over the length of the ship toward the bulwark and #14 being just the side of the poopdeck.
Now here's the reality:
I mean, how the fuck would that same plank that's on there now (#10) fit above it as well? It's by its very nature impossible so I have no idea how to handle that. I guess I'll just leave it like this or maybe paint it later and see where that goes.