- NRG’s Model Ship World – The gold standard in model ship building communities. Very active, with tons of fantastic information. Careful, you’ll lose days/weeks/months as you browse through build logs and discussions on tools and techniques. If you only click one link on this page, click this one.
- Model Ship Builder – Another good forum. Not as active, but still tons of great information.
Model Kits and Fittings
- Model Shipways (Model Expo) – So far, the only kit manufacturer I’ve had experience with. They are based in the U.S., and sell direct. I’ve found their kits to be well designed and detailed. They’ve got great customer service – I’ve heard they will help you out if you make a mistake and break something critical. Tip: Get on their mailing list and keep an eye out for promotions. You can frequently save a ton.
- Syren Ship Model Company – Produces all kinds of high quality fittings and supplies for ship building. Rigging blocks, deadeyes, rigging line, and more. I purchased the blocks, deadeyes, and rigging line for my Bluenose build from Syren. Chuck Passaro, who runs Syren, wrote the practicum I followed for my Phantom build, and is one of the ‘gods’ of model ship building.
- Model Motorcars – The name implies car modeling, and that is a lot of what they offer. However, they have an amazing selection of very small scale nuts, bolts, washers, etc. I’ve been purchasing tiny hex bolts from them in brass to give my rigging a little extra polish.
- Other Kit Manufacturers – While I’ve only built Model Shipways kits, there are a LOT of other manufacturers. I recently analyzed over 1700 build logs to determine the most popular manufacturers, and here’s the top places to check (in order of usage, from most to least).
* Mamoli is reported to stopped production in 2014, but the line has been acquired by another company and is in the process of being relaunched.
** I’ve been able to find references to Midwest kits, but they no longer appear to list ship models on their company site. I’m not sure if their ship kits are still in production.
Tools and Supplies
- Micro-Mark – Specializes in small tools. You can find almost anything here, from specialty power tools to glues, knives and clamps. A great place to find specialty items that aren’t available in hobby stores.
- Amazon – Obviously. It is surprising how many of the tools we need can be found here. Glues, clamps, reference books, they’ve got it. Fast shipping helps when you’re in a rush.
- Domanoff Workshop – Specialty tools for model ship builders, including a rope walk (make your own rope) and a serving machine (wrap or ‘serve’ rope). I recently got their serving machine, and it is excellent.
- Byrnes Model Machines – Power tools engineered specifically for modelers. They make very highly regarded table saws, disc sanders, thickness sanders and more. Many serious ship builders swear by these. I have their table saw, and it is light years better than other small table saws I’ve tried.
- Proxxon – Makers of a wide line of power tools designed for small work. These tools are affordable and decent quality. I’ve got their pen sander, lathe, scroll saw, drill press, milling machine, and disc sander.
- Sherline – High quality mills and lathes for bench-top use.
- The Nautical Research Guild – A non-profit educational organization that links model ship building to nautical history and research. They publish the Nautical Research Journal, some books like Ship Modeler’s Shop Notes, and they run the Model Ship World forum/community.
- Lauck Street Shipyard – Offers a variety of courses on building specific ship models. The courses are very detailed, and walk you through the entire build. Lauck Street Shipyards Bluenose course is what was referenced during the Bluenose build on this site.
- Wooden Ship Modeling for Dummies – A collection of tutorials, tips, etc. The information is very comprehensive, and there are tons of photos and videos. This is a subscription site (one time charge). Be sure to read the available sample content to see if the writing style works for you.
- Shipwright’s FAQ – Like the name suggests, frequently asked questions about model ship building. There is some great info in there if you dig around a bit.