Ship Modeling Simplified Book Review

This is a book review of Ship Modeling Simplified by Frank Mastini, one of the foundational model ship building books for people who are beginning the hobby. It provides a summary of key components of the book, provide feedback from other people and discusses whether the author is successful in achieving the book’s purpose. It’s 164 pages, in English and was published in 1990.

Ship Modeling Simplified

Overview of Ship Modeling Simplified

Master model builder Frank Mastini puts to paper the methods he has developed over 30 years at the workbench to help beginners take their first steps in this hobby. Ship Modeling Simplified goes through choosing a kit and setting up a workshop through reading and understanding instructions and on to painting, decorating, and displaying finished ship models.  This book does have some shortcuts that help you to plank a hull ‘egg-shell tight’, build and rig complicated mast assemblies, and create sails that look like sails.

What’s in Ship Modeling Simplified?

Ship Modeling Simplified is divided into 4 parts:

Part 1 – Setting up Shop
Part 2 – Building the Hull
Part 3 – Masting and Rigging
Part 4 – Finishing Her up.

There is an Italian English dictionary at the end which is very useful and quite detailed.

There is also a useful terms section, including very clear and concise drawings of the masts and spars, standing rigging and running rigging. This detailed information is a must for beginner modelers.

This book is an excellent one for beginner modelers building a period model ship kit. It provides an excellent introduction to a full range of tips and techniques in model building. Talks about the assembling of bulk heads to the completion of the rigging as well as giving explanations of the various parts of a ship and its fittings. The glossary of nautical terms is comprehensive. The inclusion of the Italian English dictionary is a very useful resource for beginners and experienced modelers.

Modelers who purchased the book have said it’s ‘easy to understand by an author eager to pass his skills on to others’. They wrote ‘‘you can’t fault this book as it points out how to avoid mistakes and point to its usefulness for planning and explanations.” The diagrams are very clear, comprehensive, easy to follow and provide excellent explanations.

Ship Modeling Simplified Book Review 2

What people say about this book

According to Amazon reviews over 90% of people who purchased this book ranked it 4 or 5 stars. These comments are from people who purchased the book and ranked it 5/5. 

John from the United States:

Talked me out of it! Excellent book for the novice model ship builder. I got to page 11 before determining that model ship building was not only complicated but very expensive. The recommended basic tool set is costly and it only progresses from there. Thanks to this book I did not invest in an expensive model kit!

Another modeler was very pleased with the book:

A good starting place for newcomers and has tips that may be new to experienced builders, also details parts of the ship

I’ve been making wood furniture as a hobby for almost 30 years and decided since I had the tools to try a wood ship kit. It occurred to me the parts would be small so I looked around for a well rated book on the subject and found this. It’s a useful read, especially for a newcomer, because it describes what could be involved, how to fit things in different ways, tools, sources of information, and what the parts of the ship are (lots of them, many more than expected). For someone with experience you may learn some new ways to fit or make parts, some of his techniques are clever and inexpensive.

This modeler felt the writing was great and entertaining.

Better than I thought. Having come back to the hobby after 20+ years, I wanted something to help refresh my former skills, and thought a book devoted to kit models might help (even though I was well past the kit-model stage when I left). It’s a very good book, beginner to advanced. And what a great, entertaining writer! Very informative, clearly written – and funny! A side benefit: Mastini’s Italian-English dictionary at the end of the book also helped me refresh my Italian as well. Two lessons for the price of one: can’t beat it.

Another 5 star review:

A great book for beginners in the realm of model shipbuilding. I’m only about one quarter through, and have learned more than in years of plastic shipbuilding and model rocketry. Especially good with terminology used for all parts of tall ships, from bow to stern, deck to keel, shrouds and sails, and anchors, cannon and ordinance, detailing, varnish and paint to finish your master craftwork. There’s even an English/Italian glossary at the end to describe every part on a working sailing ship. Loaded with detailed descriptions and drawings to illustrate just about every part of woodworking and shipbuilding, with numerous helpful hints and how to descriptions for beginners and experienced modelers. Shows techniques for bending wooden planking for the hull, laying down decking and bulkheads, gluing, sanding and finishing your work.

Key Takeaways


In summary Ship Modeling Simplified is a great book for the beginning modeler. It will be a key book in your reference library for your hobby. Ship Modeling Simplified is a good investment and comes highly recommended by many experienced modelers as comprehensive book to get you started.

Ship Modeling Simplified

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