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Mega Project?

After the recent comments re Lberators, pro and con, I have to reflect on my own mental turmoil re large scale projects.

I still have a couple of very nice biplane projects to complete, into the autumn (not WnW!). However, the ship-building bug has been working on me again for awhile, and I’m presently considering the 1/78 17th century Sovereign of the Seas, one of the most highly decorated and expensive ships ever built.

I have to consider (1) whether to commit to a two year project at the expense of everything else (recent biplane projects having given me a new enthusiasm for traditional modelling in quarter scale) and (2) can I justify £700+ for the project.

I know exactly what such a project would entail, the focus, the technical skill set, the exacting nature of the process (600+ lost-wax castings in bronze, for example)...

Answers on a postcard, please...

30 responses

  1. I couldn't be bothered...what about all the other cool stuff you'll not get to do,two years is a long time , if you were a golden retriever it'd be fourteen years.

  2. At that level it becomes pathological for me. Unreal level of skill and focus. Wow.

    I'm amazed you'd even consider it.

    • Indeed. I think it’s because I’ve done four ships and see my skills improving, but the trade-off is heavy.

      It’s something that hovers on the horizon like a mirage. You’d have to resign yourself from ‘normal’ modelling in favour of a different direction, but at 68 it’s a huge gamble.

  3. Hey Rob, I know the decision you are contemplating. I too have been feeling the "wood" blood flowing again. Knowing how long it took me to complete the Brig Niagara (3years) I'm not sure if I'm ready to put away the plastic for that long. Treat each aspect of the build as small kits within the big kit. If you do decide to head across those seas, good luck and fair winds, my friend, the journey will be worth the adventure.

  4. Sounds like a project "right up your alley"...nowhere near MY street, though. 🙁

  5. I get the pull of these ships. I have been wanting to tackle Agamemnon for a while but doubt I will shell out the cash. So your wife likes the idea of you disappearing for or rather being absorbed in a two year build. Interesting Rob. When it starts to drag you can always take a break for a few weeks and build a plastic to break up the monotony. That's what I would do. But the main thing is keeping the enjoyment in your hobby.

  6. I think ship modeling requires the greatest skill set of all the genres within our hobby. I enjoy building 1/700 kits from time to time, and am in awe of guys who spend a year or two on large ship models. There are a couple of gentlemen who each bring a spectacular, large sailing ship to our local suburban Chicago contest every year. Amazing work. We have another modeler who spends a year building 1/350 British warships. Last year it was a 1942 Warspite, the year before it was a 1941 Hood. He usually wins best in show. At 54, I don’t want to commit that kind of time to a single project. I do admire guys who have the fortitude for these large projects. I think you really want to do it! Good luck, Rob!

  7. Hey Rob, I approach projects like this in a different way, I think its the quality of model one builds and not the quantity. With my scratch building projects I take each sub assembly and make that a project, no time limit. I also don't have a big stash of un-built models tempting me to get finished as soon as possible to start the next one. I am not running a production line. So, yes , take 2 years if you must, its all about enjoyment.

    • I agree with the practicalities and the philosophy. I never build to a deadline and I haven’t had a stash for years. At present I have a biplane subject that I should, under current momentum, complete in a week or two. I have one other biplane from Copper State Models that was out of production until a fortnight ago. CSM made a handful available again worldwide and I managed to secure one, and I’m very much looking forward to the project.

      I have to balance the energy and commitment required with a massive ship project, project time notwithstanding, to the arguably lesser commitment to other projects similar to those described above.

      In practice, in time, no one is interested in a few plastic kits tucked away in a cupboard no matter how much interest they may have had for the builder. A huge wooden sailing ship however always seems to garner attention. If you ask my family what models they remember of mine, they’d say, the big sailing ships.

      That said, I’m always browsing the ‘new releases’ notices, and thinking, hmmmmm...

      I may buy a ship in a few months, or I may just trundle on with other things. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer.

  8. It would certainly be a very outstanding result.

    • Yes, at well over a metre in length and 80cm in height, it’s a stops-you-in-your-tracks sort of model. The detail is phenomenal.

      I should add though that I’m still looking into it to see if first reactions are justified.

  9. Hi Rob, I have the urge also to build a USS Constitution. Only having 3 sailing ships ever built in my lifetime, one of them the Revell Constitution, even rigged it at 12 years old. I surprised my self to even attempt that as it was quite tedious. But at 58 and my sight still at 20/20, hands not shaking or trembling when assembling small bits. I have been eyeing some of the long term projects to go along what I do now. As I do have some let say legacy or large scale kits in the stash. Just waiting there time. Among that I would love to do a 1/8 Pocher car kit. So just some inspiration as I know about long term projects as time marches on.

  10. It would be a 'magnum opus' though wouldn't it, the question I suppose is whether there would be a bit of you that might regret not giving it a go. As you say no right or wrong answer...

  11. Rob,
    I say go ahead and build the ship. There's something special about them that draws me to them like a moth to a flame. I'm one of those persons you mentioned that can look at a model for 20 minutes just admiring all of the little details.

    This will be a major investment in your time, but if you should decide against building it, I'm afraid that later on in your life you will wish you had. Like many of us here on Imodeler, one of the major regrets that most of us have is wishing we would have done something earlier in life that we didn't do.

    If you happen to hit "the wall", and need a little change of pace, then you can always build another smaller plastic kit. Just a little "something" to get you through the spell.

    Ship building, especially the wooden models, sets your work apart from the rest. You my friend are a Master at it !

    I remember building the 1/96 scale USS Constitution plastic kit, and the smaller "Cutty Sark" when I was a youngster... Fond memories indeed !

    Last night there just happened to be a documentary on how they found the Swedish ship wreck of the "Mars" in the Baltic Sea, on the Smithsonian Channel... It's a sign ... 🙂

  12. Well, it may be a sign as you say, and reading the various comments it's clear that these ships have an effect. Naturally I don't purport to be any sort of master modeller (I've seen these guys- it's unreal what they can achieve), but as a 'general modeller' I have my moments.


  13. Hi Rob. There are a couple of builds of Sovereign on a site well worth a look for anyone interested in ship modelling of all kinds. Wood plastic or card. Some superb build logs too.

    • Yes, I’m a forum member there, and a couple of others as well.

      As you know I’ve been looking closer into the Sovereign as a kit and find the detail inconsistent unfortunately, with one or two other issues which from previous experience indicates a wrestling match; I’ve had a couple of these before with Mantua kits so am now a little wary.

      However, I’ve been looking into a 104-gun Man ‘o War from Panart which on inspection is looking promising. I built the Panart Royal Caroline which was a very nice model, and so the short list is now shorter, but I’m in no hurry.

  14. Rob,

    This isn't Russian Roulette. Bottom line, make something that will make you happy. Don't seconded guess your self. I've always been told that when taking a test your first choice or gut instinct will be the right answer. A ship model can be blogged as well as plastic.

  15. Well, these kits are 30 times the cost of plastic kits and require 1000 hours of work, so I like to be circumspective. 😎

  16. It seems more like a marriage commitment vs having a fling with six kits. One is for the ages ...until death do us part vs a through away commitment seen by many. This tongue in cheek. 🙂

  17. Plank on frame wooden ship kits are in a realm that (far) transcends what we do with plastic kits. They're truly "heirloom" items and I can't imagine a plastic kit surviving several generations after you're gone. But, I could certainly see a good Caldercraft Victory sitting in the home of a great grandchild you never met.

    • What, like this...? 😉

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

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