When a Rookie Should NOT Build a Cruiser.


The general opinion in the hobby is that rookies should build cruisers as their first ship. In most cases this is correct and there are many reasons that this idea works. For a few rookies moving right into a battlecruiser or battleship is the correct thing to do. A rookie builder with lots of veteran battlers in the area will be able to pick up the building know how to make a big ship work right. Even without veterans to help out some guys have the building skills to take on a battleship right away. No rookie is going to have good battling skills right away; jumping right into a sidemount ship will speed up the overall learning curve. Besides battleships are just more fun, if cruisers where the most fun ship to have most of the people would have them. If you are a rookie captain here are some of the things you should think about before jumping right into a big ship.

I live in an area (MN) that has a lot of battlers. We have guys who are really good at historical, tactical, wood working, wiring, guns, air, drive systems; you name it someone within an hour of me knows how it should be done. If they donít know they know who in the country to ask. This was not the case several years ago when I started battling. The ships in MN where poorly built. We would go to regionals & NATS and get crushed. But slowly we learned, more people with new skills joined the group and improved the knowledge base. If you are a rookie in this area and are willing to listen to the vets you can move into a BB or BC for your first ship. The biggest problem rookies have with their ships is incorrect construction. In a cruiser this is not as noticeable on the water. As long as the rookieís ship can move heíll be able to outrun the BBs trying to sink him. In most cases they wonít even bother to chase him around. A poorly build BB/BC is in big trouble on the water. Each mistake in construction is magnified because the rookie canít run away and must stand and fight. Poorly built drive systems break down leaving the ship dead in the water or able to turn. Perhaps the shafts are rudders where not installed in the correct locations. While they may always work the ship will not turn or accelerate as well as it could. Poorly build guns do not scare other captains. Rookies already have a low chance of hitting with their shots. Itís even lower when the guns fire softly, slowly, spurt, are aimed incorrectly or donít fire at all. Bad guns are an open invitation to captains to chase your stern, typical a bad idea, and sink you. Having someone near by to give advice at each step prevents most of the problems you are going to have. There is nothing like being able to meet and have people look at your progress, then give you the next steps to work on before the next meeting. If you are a rookie with a couple of vets in the area make sure and ask for advice on every step. Look at their ships and take their good ideas and put them in your ship.Without a ship to look at most people will not know where to start the construction process. There are some good articles on the web to help out. I made a How to DVD to help rookies build their ship, kind of like having a vet in your computer.

Even with veterans around you still need to be able to build the ship yourself. Most vets will not build it for you. All of them will help do small parts; some will even wire a radio box or build you some guns. Getting a completely build ship out of a long time battler is not going to happen. Even buying a used ship rarely means it is ready to battle right out of the box. People donít sell top of the line ships too offend. Having good ďHandymanĒ skills is a big help to getting your ship ready quickly and correctly. Some skills with wood working are needed. More skill for a wood hull build then a fiberglass hull. You should be able to measure twice and cut once. Having a scroll saw, band saw and belt sander are helpful. Iím not a very good wood worker but I know how to wire things together. You need a good high wattage soldering iron. You have to know how to solder too. Itís not just heating the wire and putting the solder on the tip of the iron. If you donít know what pretinning is you need to find out. Poorly wired connections fall apart and when they do you will sink soon after. Color coding your wires and connectors so you donít plug things in wrong and can troubleshoot a problem is a must. Keeping your wires neat in the radio box and in the ship not only looks good but prevents shorts and accidently unpluggings. Youíll have to know how to solder copper plumbing pipes to make accumulation tanks and drive shafts. You should have some experience with RC boats, cars or planes. The understanding of how you can use a servo to activate a switch to make a motor run will not be a big leap if you have done it before. If you already have most of the skills you will have an easier time building your ship and can make it a bigger one.

There is no doubt about it having sidemounts is fun. Stern guns make lots of holes, but the holes stern guns make rarely sink a ship. Sinking ships is why we all go out to battle. After shooting ships up with his stern guns and seeing other sidemount ships sink each other a rookie will want to get into the action too. There is a large learning curve to your guns skills. Even a veteran battler changing ships needs a lot of stick time before they know where there guns hit. For your first ship you will have a low hit percentage. Having only stern guns in a cruiser, the easiest guns to learn, will shorten your learning curve and make you a better battler faster. Since you donít have to expose your sides youíll also take less damage and not sink, very much. But youíll also never sink another ship, thatís not as fun. Someone who has played a lot of video games or has done other RC hobbies will have the hand eye coordination needed to drive a ship without running into other ships or the shore. Knowing how you ship moves will help in getting your guns on target and keeping your ship out of another ships gun range. Iíve seen a lot of older guys, who never played video games; have a hard time picking up driving skills. A lot of the younger guys pick it up pretty easy because they have been into video games since about the same time they learned to walk. If you have the driving skills for a car or plane you can get right into a bigger ship.

You have the skills to build and you have the skills to battle, now you just need to pick out a ship. The more local help you have and the better your skills the bigger the ship you can start with. No one should every start out with an Iowa, Yamato or Vanguard. These ships are just too big for even the veteran captains. All of them have lots of freeboard for other ships to shoot at, they donít maneuver too well, they have lots of systems to keep running and are really heavy to lift in and out of the water. Stating with a ship other people have is also a good idea. You can easily get layout information from people that have already made mistakes. Trying to start out with a ship no one runs means youíll have to make mistakes to get everything put together right. This will increase your learning curve, keeping you off the water. Stick to the ships other people are using. Those ships are being used because they are good, save the strange ship for your 2nd or 3rd one. Odds are youíll realize that it is not the ship you thought it would be.

If you happen to be part of a father & son team youíll be better off getting one ship and building it first. You can learn on your first build and can share battling time. After the first ship is done get to work on the 2nd one and the build will go a lot faster and easier. Trying to get two ships on the water takes a long time. You keep making the same mistakes and have to fix them twice. One project at a time works out much better. The same thing applies to some sets of brothers that get into this hobby. At least with brothers there are two people to do the work.

They key is to pick something and get started. Donít hang around looking too long or youíll miss battles while youíre thinking about it. Get a hull, get some help and start putting it together.