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Best Beginner Wooden Ship Model Kits for 2024

beginner wooden ship model kits

Building a wooden ship from model kits is a fantastic hobby and a wonderful way to pass some time, but it could be also quite challenging at first for beginners and inexperienced users. The ship model building hobby is extremely rewarding as the ships are no less than an exquisite piece of art and a collector’s item when completed.

Remember that these are wooden  ship model kits and not ready-made or pre built models of ships (though you can actually buy one if you wish) we are talking about. Usually a model means a design or concept of a ship that was never made in reality. However, a model kit is a miniature, scaled-down version of a real ship that existed in naval history.

Though, some people don’t like the idea of purchasing a ready made model. They prefer creating scaled down replicas of famous ships for the sheer satisfaction it provides to model such beautiful pieces of history. And I can relate to that as really love building wooden ship models my self.

Building your own ships and boat models can be very satisfying, even if you are doing it for the first time. So, let’s take a look at few of the best and easy ship models for beginners to try before moving onto more complicated models to put on display.

We will also guide you along the way on how to choose the best beginner wooden ship model kits.


5 of the Best Wooden Ship Model Kits For Beginners You can Buy


1.   HMS Bounty First Step – Model Ship Kit by Amati

HMS bounty - wooden ship model kits for beginners

The HMS Bounty was a merchant vessel built and commissioned in 1787. It belonged to the Royal Navy for historic voyages. Bounty became famous for its mutiny by the crew against the captain, William Bligh.

The scaled-down model kit of this 230-ton ship is the best one, to begin with. Amati is well known for its range of ship model kits for all levels of hobbyists. This is the first kit we picked up for beginners to start their journey.

The HMS Bounty kit contains all the items you need to create a perfect museum piece. It contains tools and well-written instructions with plenty of reference images to follow.

You can further embellish your ship’s deck with accessories from Amati or ones you made on your own.

What We Liked:

  • Perfect for kids and beginners.
  • Detailed instructions in English.
  • Reference images provided.
  • Contains all necessary tools.

2.   OcCre 12500 Albatros

find best beginner wooden model ship kits

The OccreAlbatros was a schooner used for coastguard work as well as a warship. They were popular in the 18th and 19th century, and quite advantageous in a chase. Schooners were also cost-effective, requiring fewer sailors.

The Albatros, a typical American schooner, contains double planking on a plywood frame. The combo kit contains all necessary detailing such as doors, cannons, blocks, deck pumps, sails, flags, and rigging lines.

The premium quality model ship kit is made from the finest wooden material and is rare to find in the USA.

What we liked:

  • Best quality parts and materials.
  • Contains all necessary items in the tool kit.
  • Fantastic appearance.
  • Good for beginners.


3.   Amati Bluenose Wooden Fishing Yacht Ship Model Kit

Amati Bluenose Wooden Fishing Yacht Ship Model Kit

We would suggest you to try another gem from Amati. The Bluenose Wooden Fishing Yacht Ship Model Kit is a beautiful historic model and is perfect for beginners.

The Bluenose ship was a 285-ton schooner and a winner of the International Fisherman’s Trophy in 1921. The yacht won every race it participated in.

This model kit features a miniature version, scaled to 1:1000. The kit contains all the pre-cut wooden parts you need. You can find double planking on bulkhead construction and all the tools and fittings needed to put everything together. The detailed kit has ropes and sailcloth included to care for the details. It also has a detailed instructional manual in English to help you.

What We Liked:

  • Premium quality.
  • Detailed toolkit and parts provided.
  • Instruction manual in English.


4.      Amati Hunter – Model Ship Kit

Amati Hunter - Model Ship Kit

Try this premium model ship kit known as the Amati Hunter. It is modeled on the schooner, built in the early 20th century to be used as a collier.

The Hunter was a part of the British Merchant Navy, before being taken over by the Royal Navy. It then turned into a Q-ship for its sailing prowess in the North Seas and was used in wars. The deck contained false structures to conceal the weapons and use them when needed against enemies.

The excellent kit by Amati contains all the detailed parts and tools to build this historical Hunter Q-Ship. Invest your time and patience, following the detailed instructions provided to create this wonderful model.

What We Liked:

  • Beautiful construction.
  • Premium quality.
  • Instruction manual provided.
  • All parts and tools provided in the kit.


5.      Santa Maria First Step – Model Ship Kit by Amati

amati santa maria - beginner wooden ship model kits

If you need the best model ship kit for your kids to try and build, the Santa Maria First Step shall be a great choice. It is quite well-suited for beginners and even your kids.

The Santa Maria is the flagship of Christopher Columbus, and is one of the most well-known ships in history. This beautiful ship that originated in Spain was a part of Columbus’ expedition to discover the new world.

The best part of this model kit featuring the scaled-down version of the historical ship is that you do not need any experience. You do not need to invest in added tools as the kit comes with everything you need to build the ship.

The detailed English instructions provided in the manual inside the kit will help you out at each step. Use your imagination to embellish the Santa Maria with accessories from Amati. You can also create your decorations to adorn the decks and bulwarks.

What We Liked:

  • No previous model making experience required.
  • Easy enough for kids.
  • No special tools required.
  • The kit contains all tools and parts.


How to build a wooden ship model

Building a wooden ship model can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby, but it requires patience, precision, and attention to detail. Here’s a general guide to help you get started on building your own wooden ship model:

Materials and Tools:

  1. Wooden Ship Model Kit:
    • Choose a model kit appropriate for your skill level. Beginners may prefer simpler designs, while more experienced modelers can opt for intricate historical replicas.
  2. Basic Tools:
    • X-Acto knife or hobby knife
    • Sandpaper in various grits
    • Tweezers
    • Ruler or calipers
    • Small clamps
    • Paintbrushes
    • Wood glue
    • Pin vise for making small holes
  3. Finishing Materials:
    • Wood stain or paint
    • Varnish or clear sealant
    • Cotton swabs for detailing

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Prepare Your Workspace:

  • Set up a well-lit and organized workspace with enough room to lay out and assemble your model. Use a stable work surface to prevent accidental damage to your project.

2. Study the Instructions:

  • Carefully read the instructions provided with your model kit. Familiarize yourself with the parts, the assembly sequence, and any special techniques recommended by the manufacturer.

3. Identify and Organize Components:

  • Lay out all the wooden pieces, fittings, and hardware. Organize them according to the assembly steps to make the process smoother.

4. Dry-Fit Components:

  • Before applying any glue, dry-fit the parts to ensure they align correctly. This step helps you understand the construction sequence and makes it easier to troubleshoot any issues.

5. Assemble the Hull:

  • Start with the hull, following the instructions carefully. Attach the bulkheads, keel, and other structural components using wood glue. Use clamps to hold pieces in place until the glue dries.

6. Deck and Superstructure:

  • Attach the deck and any superstructure components. Pay attention to alignment and make any necessary adjustments during the assembly process.

7. Finishing Touches:

  • Sand any rough edges, seams, or imperfections. Stain or paint the model as desired, allowing for adequate drying time between coats. Apply a clear sealant or varnish to protect the finish.

8. Rigging and Details:

  • If your model includes rigging, follow the instructions to attach the lines. Add any additional details, such as cannons, anchors, or lifeboats, as specified in the kit.

9. Quality Check:

  • Inspect your completed model for any loose parts, misalignments, or imperfections. Make any necessary adjustments or touch-ups.

10. Display and Enjoy:

  • Once satisfied with the final product, find an appropriate display case or stand to showcase your wooden ship model. Admire your handiwork and consider starting a new project to further hone your skills.

Remember, patience is key when building wooden ship models. Take your time, enjoy the process, and embrace the learning experience. If you encounter challenges, consult online forums, community groups, or instructional videos for additional guidance from experienced modelers.

Which wood is best for ship modelling?

Choosing the right wood for ship modeling is crucial to achieving a balance of workability, stability, and authenticity. Several types of wood are commonly used in ship modeling due to their desirable properties. Here are some popular choices:

  1. Basswood:
    • Advantages: Basswood is lightweight, easy to carve, and has a fine, even grain. It’s an excellent choice for beginners and is often used for hulls and structural components.
    • Considerations: While basswood is easy to work with, it may not have the same level of detail as denser hardwoods.
  2. Balsa Wood:
    • Advantages: Extremely lightweight and easy to shape, balsa wood is often used for building the framework of ship models. It’s especially suitable for larger models.
    • Considerations: Balsa is not as strong as other woods, so it’s often used in combination with other materials for added structural integrity.
  3. Cherry:
    • Advantages: Cherry wood is known for its rich color and fine grain. It’s often chosen for detailing work, trim, and decorative elements in ship models.
    • Considerations: Cherry can be more challenging to work with due to its density, but the results can be stunning.
  4. Maple:
    • Advantages: Maple is a hard, durable wood with a light color and a tight grain pattern. It’s commonly used for fine detailing and parts that require strength.
    • Considerations: Like cherry, maple may require more effort to shape, but it provides a beautiful finish.
  5. Mahogany:
    • Advantages: Mahogany is prized for its rich color, straight grain, and workability. It’s often chosen for hull planking, decking, and other visible components.
    • Considerations: Mahogany is relatively expensive compared to some other options, but it offers a high-quality finish.
  6. Walnut:
    • Advantages: Walnut is known for its dark color and beautiful grain. It’s often used for decorative elements, trim, and intricate detailing.
    • Considerations: Walnut can be dense, making it suitable for certain parts but less ideal for larger structural components.
  7. Plywood:
    • Advantages: Plywood made from various woods, such as birch or poplar, can be used for bulkheads, decks, and larger structural components. It provides stability and strength.
    • Considerations: Plywood lacks the visual appeal of solid wood for visible areas but is indispensable for structural support.

When selecting wood for ship modeling, consider the scale and complexity of your project, your skill level, and the specific characteristics required for each component. It’s common to use a combination of woods for different parts of the model to take advantage of their respective strengths and appearances. Always choose wood that suits your project’s specific needs and your own comfort level with different types of wood.

How To Choose Among the Best Beginner Wooden Ship Model Kits?

Beginner’s model ship kits act as a stepping stone to lead you towards complex ship designs. But the problem is that though there are plenty of model kits in the market, most of them belong to the advanced level category.

So, where do beginners start?

Here is what we think that beginner wooden ship model kits must have to help you proceed smoothly. Look for these points when you choose your first model kit:

Ease of technique

A beginner’s kit should be simple enough with the techniques of creating the model ship. The person working on it should not face difficulty as a beginner to complete it. Too many details and fine intricacies will make the job difficult at this level.


A ship model kit must have all the tools and instruments you need to complete the work. The pack must contain glue, paints, fittings, sails, pedestals, etc. needed to put together the final product.


The starter kit should have a well-written instruction manual and a detailed guide to help people. Always see whether the kit contains a proper manual to help you complete the ship step-by-step. Also, do not forget to check the language of the instruction manual.

Reference Photographs

A beginner’s kit must also have a lot of reference photographs to follow. The person working on the kit should have a clear idea of how to proceed at each step, followed by photographs.

Who makes the best wooden model ship kits?

Determining the “best” wooden model ship kits can depend on various factors such as skill level, budget, and personal preferences. However, several reputable manufacturers are known for producing high-quality wooden model ship kits that are popular among hobbyists and enthusiasts:

  1. Model Shipways: Model Shipways is renowned for its historically accurate wooden model ship kits, featuring intricate details and quality materials. Their kits cater to both novice and experienced modelers, with a range of difficulty levels available.
  2. Amati Model: Amati offers an extensive selection of wooden model ship kits, ranging from beginner-friendly models to advanced replicas of famous historical vessels. Their kits are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail.
  3. Billing Boats: Billing Boats specializes in producing wooden model ship kits that appeal to modelers of all skill levels. Their kits often feature innovative design techniques and comprehensive instructions for a rewarding building experience.
  4. Artesania Latina: Artesania Latina offers a diverse range of wooden model ship kits inspired by iconic vessels from various eras and cultures. Their kits are known for their high-quality materials and attention to historical accuracy.
  5. Caldercraft: Caldercraft produces wooden model ship kits that are prized for their authenticity and attention to detail. Their kits often include laser-cut wooden parts and premium fittings, making them popular choices among experienced modelers.
  6. Mamoli: Mamoli is known for its wide selection of wooden model ship kits, including replicas of famous historical ships and unique vessels from around the world. Their kits cater to modelers of all skill levels, with options for beginners and advanced builders alike.

Ultimately, the best wooden model ship kit for you will depend on your individual preferences, level of expertise, and the specific model you’re interested in building. It’s advisable to research different manufacturers, read reviews from fellow modelers, and consider your own skill level and budget before making a purchase. Additionally, joining online forums and communities dedicated to model ship building can provide valuable insights and recommendations from experienced hobbyists.


Creative hobbies should always push you forward to make you an expert from a beginner. It is important to start well so that the journey becomes interesting.

We tried to give you the right push with your interest in these beginners wooden ship model kits that would help you make a great start.

If you are into warships you may want to also build a ww2 battleship model kit too.

Follow the guide above which would help you find the best wooden model ship kit to boost your interest in hobby craft making. So, start building your first ship and have fun. It won’t take you long to build an exquisite ship from scratch and make yourself proud.

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