Model ship building still remains quite the interesting and engaging pastime for many.
Both knowledgeable modelers and newbies are guaranteed to have an amusing time, and in this article you can find the review for the most popular model ship kits available in the market, as well as the answer to any questions you might have.
Let’s get sailing!
Top 16 Best Model Ship Kits
|HMS Viktory||Wooden||1:72||54.5х20/7x37"||34 |
|Wooden||1:25||12,2x9,4x3,0"||1,455 pounds||5 |
|Bismarck||Plastic||1:350||Length 14,1339"||4.76 pounds||4,5 |
|Wooden||1:25||11x2.4x13.6"||1.41 pounds||5 |
|1:100||Length: 15.7"||4.25 pounds||5 |
|Wooden||1:65||10.2x22.1x19.1"||5 pounds||5 |
|Wooden||1:50||21,2x18,1x4,3"||1.65 pounds||4 stars|
|1:64||24x6x14"||5 pounds||4 stars|
|Wooden||1:64||19x10x3"||4 pounds||4 stars|
|Wooden||1:4||13.5x8x2.5"||0,875 pounds||4 stars|
|Wooden||1:64||13x5x25"||7 pounds||4 stars|
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#1: Caldercraft – HMS Victory – Best Intricate Model
Anyone who knows something about boats has heard of the HMS Victory. This legendary beauty became the distinguished flagship of Lord Nelson at the Battle Of Trafalgar. No wonder the Caldercraft’s model of the HMS Victory is remarkably complex and detailed,
actually regarded by many as the most intricate one available in the market.
The kit comes with a lime and walnut plank on bulkhead structure, and gunport that already comes cut into strips – one less thing to worry about.
Among some of the pieces you can expect to find are five brass cannons with distinct sizes, three profiled brass rails with different dimensions, and four ship boats in the same structure style as the hull.
The HMS Victory model comes with almost twenty pages of guidelines that include real size designs, as well as fully detailed instructions with pictures of the mock-up.
Even the most experienced modelers can expect to take well over six months to finish building it. The level of accuracy and dedication put into it are unparalleled, and while it’s quite costly, it can also be perceived as a great investment.
#2: Artesania Latina – Providence England Whale Boat – Best Pick For Beginners
Does the name Moby Dick ring any bells? The Providence is a model kit of the classic whaler boats present in famous works of fiction such as Herman Melville’s novel.
The 1:25 scale and accurately cut components make this the perfect model kit for newbies who wish to learn more advanced techniques without feeling frustrated.
The tools are not included in the kit, but you can expect to find all the pieces needed to build it, such as proper wood, mainly America Cherry, sails that already come sewned, several types of threads and different metal accessories.
#3: Revell – Germany Battleship Bismarck – Amazing Historical Ode
World War II was no picnic, and one of the most scaring events in human history. It was also a moment in history that saw warcraft taken to the next level, including ships. The Bismarck was one of the two largest warships built at the time.
This model does an incredible job of replicating the original ship, with plastic materials that include moving weapon turrets and barrels, textured decks, and elements for hand-painting purposes.
#4: Artesania Latina – HMS Endeavour’s Longboat – Perfect Small Scale Model
Much like the Providence, the HMS endeavour is a great place for newbies to start. If you want to take your building skills to the
next level without an unnecessarily complicate model, this is the pick for you!
The scale is 1:50, and all the essential parts, including sales and threads, that you need to build the model can be found in the kit –
except the tools. Over 200 pieces come with the kit, so if you’re a beginner it can take quite a few days to complete!
At a very reasonable price and an engaging, but not overly difficult, modeling process, it’s a great choice for newbies everywhere.
#5: Amati – Chinese Pirate Junk – Coolest Chinese Junk Model
Chinese Junk models are actually quite scarce, and between the two models you can choose from, this one is definitely the best.
While it isn’t exactly accurate in historical terms, Amati’s Chinese Pirate Junk is still a fun assembly.
Very advanced modelers probably won’t find it challenging enough, but beginners on a good level will most likely enjoy it. Staying truth to its pirate nature, the model includes ammunition pieces, as well as sails and all the necessary parts made from metal, wood, and also some bamboo.
#6: Artesania Latina 22411 – Santa Maria – Historical Greatness
Christopher Columbus made his way to the Americas in the original Santa Maria ship. Beginners are not advised to try their hand at this – with its considerable number of pieces and 1:65 scale, it’s the best pick for intermediate modelers.
Includes ready to attach sails and carefully cut parts for easier modeling. However, it does require a more advanced structure assembly and mast construction, and very detailed historic components. Guidelines are precise and straightforward, including pictures to help you.
#7: Revell 1:96 USS Constitution – Most Affordable Plastic Kit
The USS Constitution saw itself engaged in battle not once, but twice, with the imposing HMS Guerriere, destroying it completely the second time they met on open sea.
Ingrained with beautiful details, the USS Constitution model includes an accurate depiction of the captain’s quarters, 55 cannons, two hull halves, 6 different rigging lines, all in plastic. You’ll also find two masts with several supporting sails, and you can rigg it with or without the sails. Overall, the model is made up of over 1600 separate elements.
This is a good choice for intermediate and advanced builders, since it’s not overly complex but still requires quite a bit of of cutting, painting and shaping. Considering the level of detail provided, the price is one of the best and most affordable.
#8: Latina 22135 – Virginia American Schooner – Double Hull Building Challenge
All the elegance of the 19th century coast guard ship is present in this model of a Virginia American Schooner. The building process is slightly complex, as it asks for extra actions to enhance authenticity.
Masts should be painted over, and the hull is built by joining strakes with keel and frames.
Wood diversity is extraordinary, and includes Apple Wood, Plywood and Brass for the pieces.
Guidelines are complete and comprehensive, including photographs, for a realistic model whose building process resembles the actual development of the ships.
#9: Revell – HMS Victory – Best For Rigging Practice
At a much smaller scale of 1:225, and made of plastic instead of wood, rigging for this model is most definitely not a feat for those who lack patience, and it might be the challenge of a lifetime.
The level of detail, however, is impressive, particularly due to its small size. The beautiful engravings that were present on its real life counterpart, along the sides, bow and stern, can all be seen in this replica.
The kit also includes copper sheathing, an assortment of plastic parts that are already molded, and an intricate bowsprit.
The instructions are fairly clear, and while the level is advanced enough, intermediate modelers will have a fair shot at making it work.
#10: CAVEEN 1:130 – Best For Assembling With Children
The details aren’t extraordinaire, and the materials aren’t included – only the laser-cut pieces and the sails, along some smaller pieces for decoration, but nothing too elaborate.
You can expect to finish it in about three days.
For the very low price, you will get what you pay for. Not an intricate and complex task, but might be a
good present for your kid, and something fun for both of you to do together!
#11: Artesania Latina 22110 – Swift – Top Pick For Advanced Newbies
This model of a sailing boat includes two masts and one plank on a bulkhead structure. Sails are ready to be set, components are cut for easy assembly, and all the elements are included for a perfect build.
With its 1:50 scales, the Swift model is great for those beginners who are already achieving a higher level of expertise.
Instructions are also included, and are quite comprehensive. You will be easily guided through the process thanks to the pictures.
Give it a try if you feel like the easiest models no longer present a challenge, and you might be surprised!
#12: Artesania Latina – SERIES – VIKING – Perfect Intermediate Challenge
Laser cut elements, and other pieces are made from fine materials like brass, cloth, strings and metal.
Plus, it includes some pretty cool extra decorative components to make it look bolder and different from any other model – think dragon heads, for instance.
One of the best features of the Viking is perhaps the instruction model. It comes in DVD form, with a ton of pictures and videos that will guide you seamlessly through the process. This just might be the best way to take your modeling skills to the next level!
#13: Minicraft – RMS Titanic – The Best Testament Of The Titanic’s Beauty
This model has been around for over 40 years, and it’s still regarded as the best small-scale replica of the iconic ship, famously sunk after an unfortunate encounter with an iceberg.
The largest piece is the hull, with a beautiful black painting job, followed by the six deck elements.
Besides that, you can expect to find over 450 smaller pieces that make this a truly time-consuming task, although the assembly itself isn’t overly difficult.
The guidelines aren’t the best, which can become a problem for a small 1:300 scale model such as this one. Because of this, the RMS Titanic is probably a best pick for beginners on a very high level or intermediate modelers.
#14: Heller – HMS Victory Boat – Best Quality Plastic Model
This time on a larger scale compared to Revell’s, and lacking the outstanding level of detail present in Caldercraft’s, the HMS Victory model brought to you by Heller does quite well for a very reasonable price.
Rigging thread doesn’t come in a very good quantity, making the task a bit hard, but for a plastic model of this size, the level of detail and overall quality is quite exceptional. The finished model might just exceed your expectations, and end up as an imposing display piece somewhere around your apartment.
#15: Caldercraft – HM Schooner Pickle – Best For Perfecting Modelling
The Battle Of Trafalgar didn’t just birth the all mighty HMS Victory! It was actually the HM Schooner Pickle that took on the job of spreading the news of Lord Nelson’s victory, and this 1:64 scale model does the ship all the justice its due.
The accuracy of this model is quite impressive, including stunning details in brass, walnut, lime and tanganyika, elements with precise cut, and even fine resin for the boats.
Hemp is used in the rigging, while birch dowels make up the masts.
The instructions are simple, with the guidelines providing all the explanations needed for each step of the building process, along with colored images and detailed plans. The planking and rigging are pretty straightforward, so if you want to get into a slightly more advanced, but not too tricky modelling style, this could be the right pick for you.
#16: Amati Wooden Ship Kit – Best Plank On Bulkhead Model
The Lady Nelson model is a good choice for advanced beginners and intermediates alike, with an interesting plank on bulkhead construction, intricate rigging patterns and neat aspects, as is the case of the cannons.
The guidelines are made with the more newbie crowd in mind, so they are quite straightforward and easy to follow.
All the elements are included, metal and wooden alike, and you should have no problem following the instructions to achieve the final product of a nice looking model. However, this is indeed a more pricey option.
#17: 18th Century Longboat Wooden Kit – Best All Around Kit
If you’re thinking about taking on ship model building, or are still a beginner in a very early stage, this kit could prove to be a fantastic all around investment for you. It includes everything you need for a more broad understanding of the entire process.
Here, you won’t just get the pieces and elements that usually come with model ship kits.
You’re also guaranteed to get the necessary tools, including brushes and glue. Guidelines are also a part of the deal, and they couldn’t be better or more comprehensive.
Still, don’t think this is going to be one hundred percent easy-peasy. You’ll still need patience and time, especially if this is your first time on the job! However, you’ll probably be quite happy with the finished product, and it’s fantastic practice.
#18: Amati – Mercury Russian Brig – Best Visuals
This is probably the most beautiful and intricate ship model out there, as a true ode to its real life, full scale counterpart, who managed to sail away from the imposing Turkish fleet back in the 19th century.
Brass and copper make up the stunningly engraved double planked structure, and the rigging patterns and complexity are truly remarkable.
The details, although small, are so intricate and charming, you’ll find it hard to stop staring. Instructions run for over 30 pages, and you’ll get almost 20 sheets depicting the plans.
Because of all its unmatched characteristics, the Mercury Russian model is extremely expensive. However, if you’re willing to make the investment, this could be the most remarkable display piece you’ll ever build.
#19: Buyer’s Guide
#20: How Do I Know My Skill Level?
Much like any other hobby in the world, ship modeling requires practice, and the more you do so, the better you’ll become – it’s simple math! Start slowly, with the easiest models that provide the most comprehensive instructions, and keep building your skills from there.
#21: How Much Should I Invest?
This is 100% up to you. Some models can be incredibly pricey, and reserved for those who take the hobby very seriously. Truth is, this is your past-time and your money, and if you’re extremely into it, then invest your money in state of the art models. If not, you can still have loads of fun with more inexpensive models. There’s something for everyone!
When it comes to model ship building, there’s an incredible amount of options to choose from. Whether you’re just starting out, or have already been part of the game for a while, there’s rarely a chance to be bored. Keep practicing patience and coordination, and get a little historic knowledge to top it all of!