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Nicholas Hill
Nicholas Hill

Shipcraft: A History of Warship Design and Construction from Ancient Times to Modern Day

Shipcraft: A Guide for Modelers and Enthusiasts

If you are fascinated by ships and naval history, you might have considered building a ship model as a hobby. Ship modeling is a rewarding and enjoyable activity that can challenge your creativity, patience, and attention to detail. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is always something new to learn and discover in the world of ship modeling.



In this article, we will introduce you to Shipcraft, a series of books that provide in-depth information about building and modifying model kits of famous warship types. We will also give you some tips and advice on how to get started with ship modeling, how to improve your skills, and how to make the most of your hobby.

What is Shipcraft?

Shipcraft is a series of books published by Seaforth Publishing and Classic Warships Publishing that cover various aspects of ship modeling. Each book focuses on a specific warship type, such as battleships, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, carriers, etc. The books include a brief history of the subject class, highlighting the differences between sister-ships and changes in their appearance over their careers. They also feature an extensive photographic survey of either a high-quality model or a surviving example of the ship, showing the details and features that can be replicated in a model. Additionally, the books provide reviews of available kits and accessories, as well as guidance on how to build, paint, weather, and display your model.

The Shipcraft series is aimed at both novice and experienced modelers who want to learn more about their chosen subject and improve their modeling skills. The books are lavishly illustrated with color photos, drawings, plans, profiles, and diagrams that show the intricacies and variations of each ship type. The books are also written by experts and enthusiasts who share their knowledge and passion for ship modeling.

The origin and history of ship modeling

Ship modeling is one of the oldest forms of art and craft in human history. The earliest evidence of ship models dates back to ancient Egypt, where wooden models of boats were placed in tombs as offerings to the gods. Ship models were also used by other ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Indians, etc., for religious, ceremonial, or educational purposes.

In the Middle Ages, ship models became more realistic and detailed, reflecting the advances in naval architecture and engineering. Ship models were used by shipbuilders as design tools, by navigators as training aids, by admirals as tactical devices, and by monarchs as symbols of power and prestige. Ship models were also collected by wealthy patrons as decorative items or curiosities.

shipcraft model kits

shipcraft books

shipcraft io game

shipcraft series

shipcraft pen and sword

shipcraft classic warships

shipcraft modeller's guide

shipcraft queen elizabeth class battleships

shipcraft german pocket battleships

shipcraft british destroyers

shipcraft yamato class battleships

shipcraft fletcher class destroyers

shipcraft bismarck and tirpitz

shipcraft allied torpedo boats

shipcraft scharnhorst and gneisenau

shipcraft king george v class battleships

shipcraft essex class carriers

shipcraft admiral hipper class cruisers

shipcraft type vii u-boats

shipcraft flower class corvettes

shipcraft richelieu and jean bart

shipcraft graf spee and deutschland class cruisers

shipcraft hms belfast

shipcraft hms hood

shipcraft hms warspite

shipcraft uss arizona and pennsylvania class battleships

shipcraft uss enterprise cv 6

shipcraft uss new york class battleships

shipcraft ijn akizuki class destroyers

shipcraft ijn yukikaze destroyer 1940 1970

shipcraft ijn nagato class battleships

shipcraft ijn takao class cruisers

shipcraft ijn kongo class battlecruisers

shipcraft ijn myoko class cruisers

shipcraft ijn mogami class cruisers

shipcraft ijn shokaku class carriers

shipcraft ijn fuso class battleships

shipcraft ijn zuiho class carriers

shipcraft ijn amagi class battlecruisers

shipcraft ijn yamashiro and ise class battleships

shipcraft royal navy monitors 1914 1945

shipcraft royal navy coastal forces 1939 1945

shipcraft royal navy submarines 1901 2006

shipcraft royal navy cruisers 1939 1945 part one town and county classes

shipcraft royal navy cruisers 1939 1945 part two fiji and dido classes

shipcraft royal navy battleships 1914 1918 part one the early dreadnoughts

shipcraft royal navy battleships 1914 1918 part two the super dreadnoughts

shipcraft royal navy aircraft carriers of the interwar era

shipcraft royal navy frigates of the cold war era

In the modern era, ship modeling became more popular as a hobby among enthusiasts who admired the beauty and history of ships. Ship modeling also evolved as an art form, with modelers creating accurate replicas or imaginative interpretations of ships from various periods and regions. Ship modeling also became more accessible and affordable with the introduction of mass-produced kits and materials.

The benefits and challenges of ship modeling

Ship modeling is a hobby that can offer many benefits to its practitioners. Some of these benefits are:

  • It can stimulate your creativity and imagination.

  • It can enhance your manual skills and hand-eye coordination.

  • It can improve your concentration and problem-solving abilities.

  • It can increase your knowledge and appreciation of ships and naval history.

  • It can provide you with a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

  • It can relax you and reduce your stress levels.

  • It can connect you with other like-minded people who share your interest.

However, ship modeling also has its challenges and difficulties. Some of these challenges are:

  • It can be time-consuming and require a lot of patience and perseverance.

  • It can be expensive and require a lot of space and equipment.

  • It can be frustrating and result in mistakes and failures.

  • It can be overwhelming and confusing with the variety and complexity of kits and accessories.

  • It can be isolating and boring if done alone or without feedback.

Therefore, ship modeling is not a hobby for everyone. It requires a certain level of interest, commitment, and skill to enjoy and succeed in it. However, if you are willing to overcome the challenges and embrace the benefits, ship modeling can be a very rewarding and fulfilling hobby that can enrich your life.

The types and categories of ship models

There are many types and categories of ship models that you can choose from depending on your preference, budget, and skill level. Some of the main types and categories are:





A model that does not move or have any working parts.

Plastic, resin, wood, metal, paper, etc.


A model that can move or have working parts such as lights, sounds, motors, etc.

Radio-controlled, steam-powered, electric-powered, etc.


A model that is proportionally smaller or larger than the real ship.

1/700, 1/350, 1/144, 1/72, etc.


A model that is made from scratch using raw materials and tools.

Balsa wood, styrene sheet, brass rod, etc.


A model that is made from a kit that contains pre-made parts and instructions.

Tamiya, Revell, Trumpeter, etc.

OoB (Out of the Box)

A model that is built exactly as the kit provides without any modifications or additions.

A simple and straightforward way to build a model.


A model that is made from parts of different kits or accessories to create a unique or customized version.

A creative and challenging way to build a model.


A model that represents a real ship that existed in history.

HMS Victory, USS Arizona, Bismarck, etc.


A model that represents a fictional ship that does not exist in reality.

Starship Enterprise, Millennium Falcon, Nautilus, etc.


A model that shows only the part of the ship that is above the waterline.

A realistic and space-saving way to display a model.


A model that shows the entire hull of the ship, including the part that is below the waterline.

A detailed and impressive way to display a model.

As you can see, there are many options and possibilities for ship modeling. You can choose the type and category that suits your taste, budget, and skill level. You can also mix and match different types and categories to create your own unique and original ship models.

How to get started with Shipcraft?

If you are interested in ship modeling and want to try it out, you might be wondering how to get started with Shipcraft. Here are some steps and tips that can help you begin your ship modeling journey:

Choosing a scale and a subject

The first step is to choose a scale and a subject for your ship model. The scale is the ratio between the size of the model and the size of the real ship. For example, a 1/350 scale model means that one inch on the model equals 350 inches on the real ship. The subject is the specific ship or class of ships that you want to model. For example, you might want to model the Titanic, the Yamato, or the Iowa class battleships.

The choice of scale and subject depends on several factors, such as your personal preference, availability of kits and accessories, level of detail and accuracy, space and budget constraints, etc. Generally speaking, smaller scales are cheaper, easier to build and store, but less detailed and accurate. Larger scales are more expensive, harder to build and store, but more detailed and accurate. You should also choose a subject that interests you and inspires you to learn more about it.

One way to help you choose a scale and a subject is to browse through the Shipcraft series books. You can find a list of all the books on their website. You can also read reviews and previews of the books online . The books can give you an overview of the history, features, variations, and kits of each ship type. They can also show you examples of finished models and how they look in different scales. You can use the books as a reference and a guide for your ship modeling project.

Finding and buying a kit

The next step is to find and buy a kit for your chosen scale and subject. A kit is a package that contains all or most of the parts and instructions that you need to build your ship model. There are many manufacturers and brands of ship model kits, such as Tamiya, Revell, Trumpeter, Hasegawa, etc. Each manufacturer has its own strengths and weaknesses in terms of quality, accuracy, detail, price, etc. You should do some research and comparison before buying a kit to make sure that it meets your expectations and requirements.

One way to find and buy a kit is to visit your local hobby shop or online store. You can browse through their selection of kits and see what they have in stock. You can also ask for advice or recommendations from the staff or other customers. Another way to find and buy a kit is to use online resources such as websites , forums , blogs , etc. You can read reviews and ratings of different kits and see what other modelers think of them. You can also ask for opinions or suggestions from other modelers who have built the same or similar kits. You can also find and buy kits from online auctions or classifieds, where you might find some rare or discontinued kits at a bargain price.

When buying a kit, you should pay attention to the following factors:

  • The scale and the subject of the kit. Make sure that they match your choice and preference.

  • The quality and the accuracy of the kit. Check the molding, the fit, the detail, the decals, etc. of the kit and see if they are satisfactory.

  • The completeness and the complexity of the kit. See how many parts, steps, options, etc. are included in the kit and if they are suitable for your skill level.

  • The price and the availability of the kit. Compare the prices of different sellers and sources and see if they are reasonable and affordable. Also check the availability and the delivery time of the kit and if they are convenient for you.

Gathering the tools and materials

The third step is to gather the tools and materials that you need to build your ship model. The tools and materials are the items that you use to cut, glue, paint, weather, etc. your ship model parts. There are many types and brands of tools and materials that you can choose from depending on your preference, budget, and skill level. Some of the basic tools and materials that you need are:




Cutting tools

Tools that you use to cut or trim your ship model parts.

Hobby knife, scissors, sprue cutter, razor saw, etc.

Gluing tools

Tools that you use to glue or join your ship model parts.

Glue, cement, epoxy, putty, etc.

Sanding tools

Tools that you use to sand or smooth your ship model parts.

Sandpaper, file, emery board, etc.

Painting tools

Tools that you use to paint or color your ship model parts.

Paint, brush, airbrush, spray can, etc.

Weathering tools

Tools that you use to weather or age your ship model parts.

Wash, drybrush, pigment, chipping, etc.

Measuring tools

Tools that you use to measure or align your ship model parts.

Ruler, caliper, compass, square, etc.

Holding tools

Tools that you use to hold or secure your ship model parts.

Tweezers, clamp, vise, pin, etc.

Cleaning tools

Tools that you use to clean or polish your ship model parts.

Cloth, cotton swab, toothpick, etc.

You can find and buy these tools and materials from your local hobby shop or online store. You can also use some household items or improvised tools and materials as alternatives. You should always follow the safety precautions and instructions when using these tools and materials. You should also keep them organized and stored properly when not in use.

Following the instructions and tips

The fourth step is to follow the instructions and tips that come with your kit and the Shipcraft book. The instructions are the steps and diagrams that show you how to assemble your ship model parts. The tips are the suggestions and advice that show you how to improve your ship model appearance and performance. You should read and understand the instructions and tips carefully before starting your ship modeling project. You should also follow them as closely as possible to avoid mistakes and problems.

However, you do not have to follow the instructions and tips blindly or rigidly. You can also use your own judgment and creativity to modify or customize your ship model. You can add or remove some parts, change some colors, apply some effects, etc. to make your ship model more unique and personal. You can also consult other sources of information and inspiration, such as books , magazines , websites , etc. to enhance your ship modeling knowledge and skills.

How to improve your Shipcraft skills?

If you have completed your first ship modeling project and want to improve your Shipcraft skills, you might be wondering how to do so. Here are some steps and tips that can help you advance your ship modeling hobby:

Learning from books and online resources

The first step is to learn from books and online resources that can teach you more about ship modeling techniques and tricks. There are many books and online resources that can help you improve your ship modeling skills, such as:

  • The Shipcraft series books . These books can provide you with detailed information about building and modifying model kits of famous warship types. They can also show you examples of high-quality models and how they were made.

  • Other ship modeling books . These books can cover various topics and aspects of ship modeling, such as history, design, construction, painting, weathering, etc. They can also feature different types and categories of ship models, such as static, dynamic, scale, scratch-built, kit-built, etc.Online ship modeling resources . These resources can include websites , forums , blogs , videos , podcasts , etc. that can offer you tips, tutorials, reviews, news, etc. about ship modeling. They can also connect you with other ship modelers who can share their experiences and feedback.

You can find and access these books and online resources from your local library, bookstore, hobby shop, or online store. You can also use search engines or directories to find them online. You should read and watch these books and online resources regularly and attentively to learn new things and improve your existing skills.

Joining a club or a community

The second step is to join a club or a community that can support you and motivate you in your ship modeling hobby. A club or a community is a group of people who share a common interest and passion for ship modeling. They can offer you many benefits, such as:

  • They can provide you with advice and guidance on how to build and improve your ship models.

  • They can give you feedback and criticism on your ship models and help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

  • They can inspire you and challenge you to try new things and expand your horizons.

  • They can encourage you and celebrate your achievements and successes.

  • They can socialize with you and make your hobby more fun and enjoyable.

There are many ways to join a club or a community, such as:

  • Local clubs . These are clubs that meet regularly in person in your local area. They usually have meetings, workshops, exhibitions, etc. where you can interact with other members face-to-face. You can find local clubs by asking your local hobby shop, library, or community center. You can also use online directories or databases to find them.

  • Online communities . These are communities that communicate mainly online through the internet. They usually have websites, forums, chat rooms, etc. where you can interact with other members virtually. You can find online communities by using search engines or social media platforms. You can also use online directories or databases to find them.

You can join one or more clubs or communities depending on your preference, availability, and compatibility. You should participate actively and positively in the club or community activities and events. You should also respect and appreciate the other members and their opinions and contributions.

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