Welcome to the World of Ship Models
What exactly is the Practicum Method?
In a nutshell, a practicum is a systematic approach to accomplishing a task, which in this case, is the construction of a ship. For the majority of ship modelers, one begins with a purchased kit. This kit provides all the wood, the plans and instructions, the fittings and metal castings. Generally speaking, manufacturers of these kits use generic parts, readily available and common wood stock, while not necessarily sticking to the proper scale of the various parts. For most kits, the ship subject is somewhat a good rendition as regards authenticity. On the positive side, there are so many varied subjects to choose from according to the taste of the modeler. The practicum approach, however, is limited to a particular ship subject, and one that was chosen by the author in order to accomplish certain aims of the practicum in addition to gradually increasing the skill level of the builder. For example, the Royal Yacht Fubbs teaches the modeler the choice of hull construction either by the method used by Portia Takakjian or the upside down method of Harold Hahn. In addition, the Fubbs practicum teaches the modeler the skills necessary to carve all the delicate and intricate figures and decorations as well as learning to paint a beautiful hull frieze. Finally, the Fubbs practicum walks the builder through some delicate and intricate wood working detail. The HMS Warrior practicum, on the other hand, introduces the builder to the construction of the most famous class of war ship, the seventy-four gun ship of the line. This practicum uses the Harold Hahn method for hull construction, and introduces the builder to constructing and using various jigs to accomplish a task. Wood working techniques are presented in such abundance as well as the proper use of tools. The detailing of such a large ship, and at a scale making it possible to construct all the necessary fittings, etc., has the ship builder focusing on approximately 32,000 detailed items, all taken one step at a time. The key is to focus on the particular presented detail, and having the modeler achieve a 100% success. Each and every detail is presented as if it were the only subject of the practicum. Taking it one step at a time, one photo at a time, one illustration at a time does require that the builder stick strictly to the lesson, and with enough of a dedicated approach of mind to chieve success every time (or you simply have to try it again). Kits are more geared towards the craftmanship approach. Romero's approach is more of presenting the construction of the ship in the highest degree of craftsmanship but with an artistic approach. So, when all is said and done, the end result is that you have not just another model, but a real ship in miniature, and presented in an artistic manner so as to bring out the quality of the subject.
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