Model kits have been a fascination with toys, art, and travel enthusiasts alike for many years. Collectors will spend hours or even days and weeks piecing together something they have seen on a trip or are fascinated with.
As this interest has grown, the model building has become a popular hobby for adults, but most of them do not know where to begin if they are new.
Previously being dominated by older children, models seem like a thing for a younger audience, but there are still some good models for adults to get a hold of and work on.
Taking you back to your pirate fascination and dreams of sailing the seas, here are ten model ships that can keep you busy and feeling accomplished:
Best Wooden Model Ship Kits Review 2021
1) HMS Victory Kit by Constructo Construction
The HMS Victory, one of Britain’s most famous vessels which is now completely restored and residing in a living museum at Portsmouth harbor, is brought to life in this 1:94 scale model of the ship.
The beautiful craftsmanship of the time can now be appreciated and recrafted by anyone with the patience and willingness.
The final product of the model will be seen at forty-three inches (43 in.) long, thirty-one (31 in.) tall, and twelve and a half pounds (12.5 lbs.) making it a great mantle or table piece if you have space.
Not made with beginners really in mind, the model contains many intricate and small pieces and then smaller pieces for the small pieces.
When finished, though, the ship is a beauty and something that can be passed on to relatives and become a staple of your home and something you will remember.
Patience is definitely key as the three and a half foot (3.5 ft.) ship will need a lot of space to work on and put together and a lot of time to do correctly.
2) HMS Bounty Atlantis by Constructo Construction
Captained by William Bligh, the HMS Bounty is another one of Britain’s famous vessels. With a bold and unforgiving history, mutiny aboard the bounty led to Captain Bligh and many of his loyal crewmen were cast from the ship.
Despite a sad story for the Captain, the ship is still a sight to behold. The model is a 1:50 scale of the original, making it another good size for a table piece at thirty inches (30 in.) long and twenty-four inches (24 in.) tall.
Weighing almost seven pounds (7 lbs.) as a finished product, the ship is made of all wood, brass, and metal parts. The wood, being harder to manipulate and piece together, makes the ship less of a beginner’s work, but it can still be done with patience and some extra help or knowledge from an experienced model builder.
Again, having many small pieces and smaller pieces for the small pieces, the Bounty needs plenty of room to have its parts spread out for the builder to be able to effectively deal with the model.
While it may take up space for a while on the part of the kitchen table nobody sits at, when finished, the shipped product will be all worth the trouble and time spent on it.
3) Modern San Felipe by Old Modern Handicrafts
Recognized as one of the most beautiful Spanish galleons from the 17th Century, the lead ship of the Spanish Armada is ready to be adored by model fans as well. The San Felipe, originally launching in 1690, is making its comeback.
The original ship was a beast that displaced more than 1000 tons of water and was armed with 96 cannons. Made of rosewood, teak, and mahogany with chrome and brass fittings, the model is of high quality.
Only weighing four and a half pounds (4.5 lbs), being twenty-eight inches (28 in.) long and twenty-six inches (26 in.) tall, this ship is easier to place than the two preceding it on this list.
Differing from the others so far, however, the San Felipe is a collectible model, coming already made to the buyer. Worked on by expert craftsmanship, though, the ship is still nothing to bat an eye at.
Any home decorator, office decorator, or boat and water enthusiast would love to have this beauty on a shelf to keep them thinking about days on the water.
4) La Niña by Artesanía Latina
For American history lovers, nothing is more exciting than the discovery of the Americas on Columbus’ boats in 1492. Now, these same enthusiasts can have a deeper admiration of the discovery, and the vessels used to carry it out by owning this model of the La Niña.
One of history’s most famous caravels is available to anyone with time, patience, and a willingness to work. The ship comes in a 1:65 scale, giving the builder just an idea of how large the ship actually was and how each detail would have looked compared to the entire project when standing next to it.
Having colored and photographed instructions, the model is very easy to follow, but still not a beginner’s project.
Experience is highly recommended for anyone to take on this project. Made of high-quality wood, metals, and handstitched fabric for the sails, the ship is made for high-quality craftsmanship and to be taken care of and preserved.
Weighing only two pounds (2 lbs.), this is one of the best decorative pieces so far. Being so light and so small (compared to others), the La Niña can easily fit on a shelf, dresser, bookshelf, desk, end table, or coffee table.
5) Charles W. Morgan by Model Expo
This 1:64 scale model of the most famous whaling boat in history is a fantastic piece for sea lovers and model builders alike. The Charles Morgan set out on thirty-seven (37) voyages in eighty (80) years while being said to have processed more whales than any other boat in history.
Currently a boxed restored monument, model builders can have their own version standing at a proud twenty-five inches (25 in.) tall and thirty inches (30 in.) long.
Unfortunately, the full three hundred fifty-one-ton (51 T) ship cannot be modeled, so the one you would get is around six pounds (6 lbs.).
Still, the ship is a good size to place anywhere and admire its beauty. Having a double bark topsail that was altered on the original shipment after the Civil War, the model comes fully ship-rigged just as the original Morgan was when it left the Hillman Brothers Shipyard for the first time in Massachusetts.
Without super clear instructions, this model was not made with beginners in mind, so experience and knowledge are recommended to be able to do the model to the extent it was made for.
6) Trimaran Merihobus Sailboat by Ugears
The Merihobus sailboat is more of a skeleton model by design. The model includes 237 pieces for assembly with an approximate assembly time of fifteen hours (15 hrs.).
The model is made entirely of wood (excluding the sails) and is advertised as an easy, fit together, no glue required assembly model.
The boat is only two pounds (2 lbs.) and boasts to be a great STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activity, using many skills from the field and helping to learn about some of the ins and outs of sailboat design.
The model, because of its simple, fit together design, is a good start for beginners, and not to mention its price. Because the model is so cheap, it can easily be realized that model building is not for everyone and the buyer can be glad they did not go with the three hundred-dollar ($300) options on this list.
The model even makes it great for younger builders by having a creative aspect within the flag. Builders can create their own flag design with various templates provided with the model and then hoist up their design above the sails. Overall, this model is great for those not taking anything too seriously with their model building career.
7) Armed Longboat by Model Shipways
This Armed Longboat model is a 1:24 scale with a length of twenty-four inches (24 in.) and a height of nineteen inches (19 in.).
With the plank over frame design, it holds very close to the original build of the real ship. Longships were special when first used because they used boards that met flush rather than overlapping.
Stern lines, a full bow, and high sides made the boat hard to tip in strong waves and winds that were encountered in the rough waters.
Accompanied by a small, bow-mounted cannon and other cannons lining the ramparts, the longboat was an emergency vessel, being prepared for anything.
The model is not an overnight build and is best with a little experience, but being a professional is not required. Expecting to put in thirty or more hours (30+ hrs.) into the forty-eight-page (48 pg.) instruction book, the project is one that will pay off in the end.
The instruction book includes one hundred and thirty color photos, making it easy to follow directions for any builder.
With laser-cut basswood, the model is designed to have precise fittings and durable materials, making it look nice and last long.
8) 3D Puzzle Research Ship by Ugears
The 3D Puzzle Research Ship is not false advertising; it quite literally a puzzle with its five hundred and seventy-five (575) pieces. Each piece is designed to sit flush with the others so that no glue or extra tools are required other than what is provided in the box with the kit.
This ship is like no other on this list so far because it has mechanical parts within the model. Being powered by rubber bands, the support room, and engine move as if it were a real ship, making the model not only good looking but educational as well.
Along with a working engine and support room, the frame of the ship also has a working opening hatch, drop-down ramp, bather for deep-sea travels, small motorboat, and a lifeboat, just like a real research ship.
Estimated to take around ten hours (10 hrs.) of assembly, it is no project to be taken lightly, but it is still a fun project for any age capable of processing the task.
Not only is the model educational and fun, but it’s also eco-friendly. Being made from laser-cut plywood, the precise fittings are environmentally friendly.
This working puzzle is a great decoration and storytime for anyone who asks about the intricate craftsmanship of the model.
9) RMS Nautical Titanic by Vietnamcreations
The famous RMS Titanic is making its appearance with a collectible. One of the most known ships from history’s tales, the RMS Titanic suffered a horrible fate in 1912 that most know of.
While the iceberg did end the original ship’s career, it still lives on in the hearts and minds of those who adored the ship and the romanticized tale later produced.
This fifty-inch (50 in.) by seventeen-inch (17 in.) replica is a great model to have around the house or the office. Even though it is not a kit, it can still look extremely nice in the right theme of a room and serve as a great conversation starter.
Those into boats also know the great feats that the ship pulled off just by setting sail, regardless of its icy defeat, making it a wonder to behold and a great addition to anyone’s collection.
The model is handmade in Vietnam from high quality natural wood and gives great detail within the high-quality craftsmanship. This model is a definite shelf piece for anyone who enjoys the seas.
10) San Francisco II Galleon Wooden Model by Artesanía Latina
This twenty-seven inch (27 in.) tall and twenty inches (20 in.) long model of an important ship of the invincible Spanish Armada sits at a great 1:90 scale of the original and with great detail.
Using laser-cut wood, the fittings are precise and the quality high. Cotton sails precut and sewn are ready for placement and each piece comes with photoetched decoration to make it look that much more realistic.
With step by step instructions and an available 1,000 step picture instruction and twenty video tutorials available for download, this ship is able to reach many skill levels as long as they have the time. The kit also includes a free bonus of metal figures. The five figures are ready to be painted by the buyer and added onto the ship for their personal touch.
Q. How is the scale of a model measured?
A. The scale of a model is measured based on whatever measurement the original is measured by. If the model is a 1:2 scale, then the original is going to be twice the model’s size (10 inches:20 inches). If the model is a 1:10 scale, then the original is going to be ten times the model’s size (10 inches:100 inches).
Q. Why are models scaled?
A. Models are scaled to give an accurate representation of the size and detail of the original. Collectors and hobbyists enjoy being able to picture their hard work on a larger scale and the final product is nice to look at. Scaling also ensures that each detail and size is accurate to the original by having a true size to base the model off.
Q. What else do I need to do the model kits?
A. Most kits will tell you if other things are needed. The vast majority will say no extra tools are necessary, but certain ones like pliers, scissors, and tweezers can never hurt to have handy just in case.
Q. Does the model building have skill levels?
A. All models can technically be built by any skill level as it is just assembling parts, but experience and knowledge will help in some models. Being made of small, delicate parts, an inexperienced model builder may break these if they are not familiar with techniques of placement and fitting.
All models on this list are fine ones to be bought and enjoyed by any builder. There is one available for virtually any budget, skill level, and taste.
Ranging from collectibles to sliding fit-in pieces, to puzzles with working rubber band engine rooms, there are many to choose from to put your time into.
If intricate, impressive detail is your thing, try the first few on the list. If a nice conversation piece with no assembly required is for you, the RMS Titanic is a good choice.
The main thing about any model is that it fits the person it is for, so do not stress too much over the types of wood and if they are laser cut or not (unless you are a professional, of course, then these things might be important), but focus on what ship catches your eye or if you are familiar with the names of some.
Knowing the history and having a connection to what you are building always makes for a good experience by having a tie to what you are doing and understanding it more than before.