The 4 Best Wooden Model Ship Kits: How to Choose & Where to Buy

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When you are a big fan of building your own ship, it is likely you are on the hunt for the best wooden model ship kit to start with. Not only is this a great hobby to do with kids, but it is also a great way to entertain yourself and keep busy while working on putting all the small pieces of a building kit together. Being busy in a coordinative way is one, as it can take up many hours to finish a scale model, but enjoying the final result is another! 

There are many different variants available. Some model kits are simpler as they contain pre-cut parts and just need to be put together. Other ones, for the more experienced model builder, consist out of parts that you need to cut yourself and need careful and precise assembly. 

To help you choose and guide you along the way, we have reviewed the best four wooden model ship kits for you to choose from. Next to that, we have provided you with a brief buying guide on wooden model ship kits with things to consider before you buy. Hopefully, you will find your perfect choice, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned model builder and hobbyist! Read on below to find out our top selections for you.

Top Rated: The Best Model Boat Kits in Wood of 2021

We have reviewed the four below-listed wooden ship model kits on several criteria and features – such as pricing, level, and completeness – to ensure you make the right choice in the available options to purchase right now. There we go.  

#1: Best Overall Choice: Model Shipways MS1460 18th Century Armed Longboat Kit

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Materials: Laser cut wood parts, brass, cast metal cannon, and ship’s fittings

Scale: 1:24

Size when assembled: Length 24”, Height 19”

Building time: approximately 24-32 hours

Skill level: beginner, intermediate

This 18th-century style longboat model kit brings you back in time. This type of boat used to be the most massive boat in the 18th century and was carvel-built with the planks meeting flush at the seams rather than overlapping. The Captain’s Longboat usually carried a small cannon that is mounted on the bow of the ship and with swivel guns along the bulwarks. We have selected this model ship kit as our best choice because it is the perfect mid-way for beginner and extremely advanced hobbyist builders.

All the parts included are of high quality and take precision to be put together. The model kit includes an extensive instructions manual that is easy to follow and guides you along with color images. Not only is this a great kit that keeps you busy for a while; the result of it can perfectly serve as a stylish and appealing decoration in your office or workroom, or anywhere in the house. 


  • Includes a detailed and clear description that guides you through the entire building process
  • Suitable for beginners as well as intermediate hobbyist builders
  • The kit includes high-quality parts 


  • Some kits might miss some pieces 
  • Relatively more expensive than other model kits suitable for beginners

#2: Best Budget Choice: AKDSteel Ship Model Kit, Wooden Sailboat 


Materials: Wood and cloth

Scale: n/a

Size when assembled: 15” long, 5” wide, 11” high

Building time: approximately 5-10 hours

Skill level: beginners and kids

This decorative wooden ship kit is a perfect option when you are looking to gift your (grand)children a model boat kit, or simply looking to spice up your interior a little bit! With a short building time and high-quality parts, this kit has a great balance between value and price. As AKDSteel only picked environmentally friendly materials for the model boat, it is a safe choice for children. 

A detailed instruction manual is included to assist you and your kids during the building process. The finished product looks accurate and realistic and makes the perfect decoration for any room in the house. Perfect to start with, as a beginner or a hobbyist that loves to teach their kids how to build! 


  • Made of high-quality, environmentally friendly materials 
  • Suitable for kids alone, but also suitable for beginners in building model ships
  • Very budget-friendly  


  • Some parts may not have the right size which can slow down the building process
  • The color of the actual boat may vary slightly from the pictures shown

#3: Best Choice for The Experienced Model Boat Builder: Model Shipways MS2260 Syren Wooden Ship Model Kit

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Materials: Basswood, metal, brass

Scale: 1:64

Size when assembled: Length: 33″ Height: 27″

Building time: approximately 15-20 hours

Skill level: intermediate, experienced

This wooden ship model kit by Model Shipways is a wonderful option for experienced people in ship building. As Model Shipways is a famous name in model kits, this boat kit is also of high, dependable quality. The model kit comes with an extensive, detailed instructions guide of no less than 130 pages. This scale model has been designed by the famous modeler Chuck Passaro and thus authentic and accurate down to the last detail.

Model Shipways included a brief history of the MS2260, a tale that tells the story of this model ship in the 1800s which allows you to emphasize and get completely absorbed in building this ship! Given the fact that this model takes some time to assemble and previous experience in boat and ship models, it is less suitable for beginner modelers.


  • The instruction manual is very clear and easy to follow
  • The kit includes 8 complete, full-size plans and all the tools needed for the assembly of the ship
  • Good value for money balance


  • Less suitable for the beginning hobby model boat builders

#4: Best Choice on Most Appealing Design Model Ship: Artesania Latina LAT22135, Virginia American Schooner Model Ship Kit

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Materials: Applewood, Ramin, Plywood, Mahogany, Brass

Scale: 1:41

Size when assembled: Length: 21 1/4″, Height: 19 11/16″

Building time: approximately 100 hours

Skill level: intermediate

We love a good design ship. As much as the assembling of model kits is a great hobby, the reward for all the hours spent putting every part of the boats together is of course the ship itself when it is completely done. This historic boat kit by Artesania comes together with a number of different woods for an extra realistic result. The kit includes all the tools and products you need to have this beautiful boat made. Although the time to assemble is quite long, it is all worth it.

Artesania is a well-known brand in boat and ship kits and in comparison with the other model boats on the list, each mast of the ship needs to be painted or stained which adds an extra dimension to the ship.

This is one of the boat kits less suitable for those with no or almost no experience, and due to many small parts it is highly recommended to take enough time for assembling this ship.


  • The instruction manual is very clear and easy to follow for intermediate modelers
  • All the parts of the ship are of high-quality wood and brass
  • Good value for money due to the extremely detailed model ship


  • The included flag doesn’t look very realistic compared to the other items on the ship kit
  • Some elements on the pictures are not mentioned in the instructions manual

Our Verdict: What is the Best Wooden Model Ship Kit?

We have carefully selected the Model Shipways MS1460 18th Century Armed Longboat Kit as our number one choice. By taking skill-level, quality, assembly time, and price into consideration, we can conclude that this kit is the perfect midway in between all the kits reviewed.

It is a suitable choice for beginners and intermediate builders, however, it is a great choice as well for the entire family. More experienced hobbyists will probably finish building the longboat somewhat faster, but still, with the building time around 25+ hours, it will not be boring at all! 

The Buyers’ Guide & Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for a bit more information before you choose the model ship kit that meets your needs (and maybe, you and your children)? In our comprehensive buyers’ guide, we have collected all the matters to consider before you purchase, and many other facts and tips that will be of good help when you are looking for a model boat kit like this.

Things to consider before buying your wooden model ship kit

  • Skill level: determine what skill level you are on. This is extremely important when purchasing a model ship kit because it will save you a lot of frustration when the building process is too hard, or too easy! 
  • Scale and size: size is, of course, important to determine for the building process as well as the space you need to display your finished product. As for scale, there is a rule of thumb that is as follows: the larger it is – the more details. However, the scale of a model ship is not related to the level of difficulty of building the model. It just comes down to the longer time required for detail work while assembling your model boat.
  • Quality: in wood, there are already huge differences in types and quality. Determine what is the right quality for you in combination with the price. The most commonly used wood type in model ship kits is balsa, however, many modelers prefer wood in the range of oak wood, cherry, or mahogany.
  • Building time and instructions: as this also has to do with skill level, it is key to determine how much time you will need for assembly. Most kits will provide an estimated assembling time, however, some don’t. Other than that, make sure to check if the kit includes a clear instruction manual. They are in most cases included in the kit, with examples of how to build in pictures or illustrations. 

Who makes the best wooden model ship kit?

This, of course, depends on your personal belief. However, there are many famous brands available that are known for their delivery of high-quality model boat ship kits. Some of them include:

  • Amati
  • Model Shipways
  • Artesania
  • Nordic Class Boats
  • Panart
  • Kolderstok
  • Disar

Which wood is best for ship modeling?

The most commonly used type of wood in the model boat and ship building, especially for beginners, is Balsa. This type of wood is known to be bendable and easy to carve. It is also an inexpensive choice; a great combination of facts for a beginner builder of model boats.

Next to balsa wood, cherry wood or mahogany wood is used for more experienced wooden model ship kits.

What are the best model kits?

When it comes down to ship kits, we would suggest you go with our most excellent overall choice by Model Shipways. It is an accessible kit with all the traits you need when you are a beginner or intermediate hobbyist. It is also a great choice for creating models with kids together.

Who makes the best plastic model ship kits?

A very common brand in plastic ship kits is Revell. Other brands that manufacture plastic model kits are as follows:

  • Airfax
  • Trumpeter
  • Modelcraft
  • Hasegawa

Although, often plastic is used for industrial ships and container ships. There are a few historic “pirate” ships made of plastic, however, the largest part of them is HMS boat and ship.

The Takeaway

Building and assembling your own wooden model boat is such a fun activity, to do with your kids or alone! The high-quality wood that is used for this kind of building kits, assures you of a smooth assembling process, but also of a great result that can serve as a good decoration in any room of the house. There are many types of boats available in different themes. 

To find the one that is best for you, it is of course vital to gather enough information, but also to look closely at the images of the completed model on the kit box or online. This will usually assist you in forming your first impression. It will be a good guide of whether or not you are interested in the result of the model ship kit once you have assembled it completely.

Although it takes some time to find the wooden model ship kit that is right for you, your kids, or the gift receiver, hopefully, our reviews list above has helped you with a big step in the right direction. Are into model tugboat kits or model battleship kits instead