Mad about ships?
If you ever watched the popular television show NCIS and saw the episodes where Leroy Jethro Gibbs builds a boat in his basement, you might have started wondering if building a ship, albeit on a much smaller scale, could be a fun hobby. If you want to follow in Gibbs’ footsteps of not being able to get a ship out again, you might want to go with the ship in a bottle type of model shipbuilding. Otherwise, you have plenty of options from ancient and historical replicas to warships and everything in between. Whether you want to purchase completed model ships or build your own, the following ten websites offer articles, advice, resources and access to completed ships, kits and materials. They are listed in order of their Alexa traffic count rating.
Global Alexa Rating: 59,715
This site is for the purist amongst model ship builders as it includes ships that are 100% scratch built – no model kits and no store bought parts. The site includes some instruction, news, blogs and a forum. There are plenty of pictures for inspiration, a list of ships for sale and you can request a model be built for you as well. They also restore model ships.
Global Alexa Rating: 69,801
This is a resource for blueprints for a wide variety of ships including battleships, carriers, cruisers, destroyers, sail boats, submarines, yachts and ships from various countries. There are over 11,000 blueprints available on this site. Registered users can rate the blueprints and comment on them. The main website also includes blueprints for other things such as cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, tanks, trains, helicopters and more. There are also vector drawings. The blueprints come in many different formats when you buy the drawing, including Adobe Illustrator, PDF, AutoCAD and more. Some are offered as a free .jpg file.
Global Alexa Rating: 531,459
Model Shipmaster offers fully-assembled ship models of all types and times. The site is well organized by type of ship and includes ancient vessels, tall ships, pirate ships, riverboats, classic boats, super yachts, civil war, Spanish war, modern warship, submarines, ocean liners, cruise ships, sailboats and more. They also offer some discontinued options, scratch & dent options and those that have been previously owned. They also offer a repair service and you can custom order your ship from them. Even if you are not wanting to purchase a ready-made ship, you will enjoy the website for the information given on many ships.
Global Alexa Rating: 1,282,642
This is another source for purchasing hand constructed model ships. They also sell other things such as a half ship for displaying on the wall, various ship related furniture and display cases for protecting your ship. Many of the models offered have information about the ship they are a replica of. The ships on this site are more affordable than other sites, although the level of detail is not quite as high.
Global Alexa Rating: 1,349,028
This is an ideal forum for model ship building enthusiasts as well as nautical enthusiasts. The site includes two galleries – one for completed kit-built ship models and one for completed scratch-built models. There are interesting forum topics including nautical history and research, ship plans, discussions on specific components and materials, links to ship modelling resources and general kit discussions. You can read posts as a guest but will need to register to use all the features. They also have a Facebook page.
Global Alexa Rating: 2,196,059
Best Scale Models is an online ship model club. They offer ship models, ship model plans and currently one free drawing so that you can see the quality of their plans. They offer drawings of various ships including battleships, brigs, brigantines, clippers, corvettes, cruisers, frigates, galleons, schooners, yachts and more. If you sign up as a member, they will send you updates about new ship models, drawings and plans, as well as being entitled to free technical support.
Global Alexa Rating: 2,298,903
This site includes articles, the MSB Journal, projects, kids, resources, a book store and a forum. You will particular enjoy their journal with issues available back to 2007. The Model Builders section includes model pictures from selected model builders. These are incredible with not only a photo of the full ship but also close up shots of many sections of the ship. With the forum and other sections of the site, you will gain information, connections with other enthusiasts and inspiration.
Global Alexa Rating: 2,453,820
This forum site now celebrating its 10th year is full of forum threads, articles and shop notes. Registration to the forums is free. There are plenty of features on this site including their scuttlebutt forum, reviews of model kits, modeling tips, articles and modeling resources. The forums have 1,600+ registered users. If you go to stats you can bring up the top 10 most viewed threads, the last 10 polls and the top 10 posters as well as other statistics from the last 10 days. Be sure to check out the downloads section for a few PDF documents that could prove useful.
Global Alexa Rating: 2,585,784
One of the nice features of this site is their just released ship model kit buyers’ guide. Besides that, they offer over 600 ship model kits, over 5,000 fitting and accessories and a broad selection of specialty and professional modeling tools, books, exotic woods and finishing materials. They offer a variety of kits including children’s model kits rated for ages 6-12 and 12-17. They also have a selection of nautical gifts. You can shop off the site or send a request for their catalogue (free but shipping charge applies).
Global Alexa Rating: 3,500,923
This site offers valuable advice, tips and tricks about model boat and ship building. There is a how-to section that includes a model boats intro, building materials, make a hull and finding plans. There is also a section on radio control boats and various other boat types. In the community section you’ll find a model boats Q&A and a model ship gallery. The gallery has photos supplied by readers. The site also offers a plans store and books for sale.
Hopefully with these ten websites you will have found what you are looking for whether you are simply interested in reading about model shipbuilding, want to connect with other enthusiasts (build friendSHIPS), plan to build one from a kit or from scratch and/or wish to buy a ship already built. There are plenty of resources within these sites for expanding your knowledge about this enjoyable hobby.