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Welcome to the World of Ship Models

The Practicum Method A Guide Approach to ship model building

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. 

Listing Site Updates

Under one of these subheadings, it's a good idea to list recent updates to my site so that visitors, especially return visitors, can check out the new stuff first. For example, I could list the date and a brief description of the update.

I could also list updated news about my site's topic. For example, if my site were about a particular sport, I could discuss the outcome of a recent competition.

Notifying Visitors of Site Enhancements

Another idea for my home page's text is notifying visitors about the enhancements I put on my site. For example, I want visitors to sign my guestbook or fill out my survey Form E-mailer to answer questions about my site, my business, or my site's topic.

Need some extra help building your site? Here are some topics that may be helpful.

Customizing and Personalizing My Site

I might not want a large amount of text on my home page if I want to guide visitors toward my other pages. Instead of text, I can add photos or interesting links. One of the first things I would want to do is choose a template that reflects what my site is all about. Colors and themes are a great way to reinforce the message and purpose of my site.

Behind the Scenes of My Home Page

Even if I don't put much text on my home page, it's a good idea to include hidden tools that will help me promote my site, so people other than my friends and family actually see it. For example, I could add meta tags, which are hidden codes that allow search engines to find my site. I could also install stats and a counter so I know how many people are visiting. If not many are visiting, submitting my site to search engines will guide more traffic to my site.