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From the time the Practicum concept was first demonstrated in a series of articles for Seaways Ships In Scale publication pertaining to the construction of the American frigate Confederacy (36), the definition has always been a systematic and orderly set of instructions, taking the modeler from point A to point Z. In other words, the practicum method does the necessary research for you as well as give a step-by-step construction sequence which closely follows the methods of the 17th and 18th centuries shipwright. The Practicum concept is really vibrant and very much "alive" as demonstrated by various authors and preparers of ship model kits. This is all very good for the hobby. However, while the basic concept for a systematic approach in construction texts, photos, and illustrated drawings is preserved, there are various differences of purpose or underlining theme envisioned by the authors of these various Practicums.
It has always been my philosophy to never presume the skill level of a ship builder, and so I aim my own Practicums toward beginners and intermediates, while still being able to offer much review and techniques for the experienced builder. A lot depends on the model builder and his level of experience, discipline and dedication to the art of ship building, his honest attitude and evaluation of his skill level, and his willingness or openness for adapting to changes of construction technique. The trick for a successful match-making between a particular Practicum and the ship builder is for him to take stock of himself and his capabilities, and more importantly, to have the correct frame of mind required by the Practicum and for the subject matter it addresses. Also the ship builder needs to ask himself how far he is willing to travel down the ship-building road. In other words, is he simply wanting to construct ships from kits (including Practicum kits) which provide all the parts for assembly or is he wanting to take the experience all the way forward to becoming a full-fledge scratch-building shipwright by constructing all the parts himself.
Offered to the ship builder are two beautiful subjects for scratch-building, the Royal Yacht Fubbs and the seventy-four gun ship-of-the-line HMS Warrior.