great question. I am happy to answer. I don't want to be too wordy, so here it goes. When I got married in 2002, my wife (from the Philippines) started to work at a local Hobby lobby I think about 2005. Naturally, I would visit the store when she first started, and as I was in the Model section talking to her, I told her that as a kid, I used to put those plastic models together. Mostly Cars. So, she said, why don't you do that again? So, with that, I picked out the Lindberg 'Jolly Roger'. Ha - the last time I put one together was a 'cutty sark' back about 1977 (?) Didn't know anything about ships, the part names or anything. Fast forward to the Jolly Roger. I still did not know anything about ships other than I had a love for the ships. I put it together (and as an adult) I decided to put a little extra effort into it by making the sails out of light brown tissue paper. I finished it and then decided to build the Lindberg 'Captain Kidd'. At that point, I was totally intimidated by wood.
Then I decided to buy Model Expo's Sultana Colonial Schooner.
Now, it was at this point that I already had previous knowledge of how to create a website. Humm - so I decided to create a web site for ships. I would say about 2007 approximately. This was the time that I NAMED and created www.shipsofscale.com
I made the first home page and uploaded some of my content - well, how boring. I realized very shortly, that I did not want to have a web page just to show my stuff. So, then I decided, you know, I need to have a Gallery page that I can get people to submit to me images of their ships along with a short write up and I would create a page of their model. At that time I also (back around 2005-2007, I was a member of Fine Scale Modeler) and was posting my ships there. So, I was starting to manage my own site while posting on forums such as Fine Scale Modeler. Sometime during that time range, I also discovered Model Ship World and started posting there as well.
This next part becomes a little vague. Back around 2008-2009, if I remember the dates, it was unfortunate that Model Ship World forum somehow crashed and ALL the content was gone for good. Right before their site crashed, I was positing work of my Sultana Colonial Schooner.
After the crash, it was then that I did some research on how to create my own forum. It was using phpBB3 free forum. It was then approximately, 2009 that I launched SOS for the first time, and obviously me being the only member. At that time, I had made some online friends through other forums. I also forgot to mention that Dry Dock Models was actually my favorite forum and I also posted there my Sultana. So it was then that I started to invite some of my own online modeling friends to come-over and asked them to join my forum. So, 2 grew to 5, then to 10 and for a long time many years, it stayed about 50 to 100 members.
Now fast forward to today nearly 10 to 11 years later and we have this fantastic forum...and no, I am not taking credit for it. Why did I start SOS? Since I had such a difficult time with wooden ship modeling, I wanted a platform to help beginners like me that were struggling. I wanted a forum that was friendly, open and especially not critical of others skills and abilities. My drive has always been its more about the people. There are real people behind the models with lives, families, problems of which I have always encouraged people to be open about so SOS can be an encouragement to others navigating through life.
I will add that I am a man of Christian faith. After some thought, I decided to create a sub forum named "The Ship Builders Life". It is just what the title represents. Again, this subforum is about just what it says, the people behind the models. It was this subforum that I decided to write small devotionals. I am always open and here to listen and hear about anyone's concerns and to offer my thoughts to prayers to anyone that needs them, even if you think they are too small. Life has a lot of challenges as you can read about my ongoing prostate problems and other life's ups and downs. I am just like you all - I suffer the same sad and happy moments. I get frustrated, upset and mad too. Its not about me after all.
Thank you for your question, I hope this answers it - and it seems after all, I still got too wordy !!!!
adding my 2 cents I joined the forum on a suggestion of a fellow modeler. It wasn't long before I felt comfortable here the forum and Donnie had this good vibration a welcoming sort of thing. As Donnie said it was a holistic thing everyone was respected and everyone counts. I liked it so I stayed.
Lo and behold more and more joined and it is on the way to becoming the number one international forum on model ship building and most of all the people in the hobby.
I have never met Donnie personally but I consider him a friend
I want to really put the credit to @zoly99sask , @Uwek , @Jimsky and @Mike41 as these are the best good-hearted people as they really love what they do and love to help others. So many others such as @Dave Stevens (Lumberyard) as well. I am sure that I probably left someone out, and don't mean to.
Interesting story Donnie,thankyou for explaining the facts.I remember Dry Dock models and enjoyed browsing through the content(never got around to joining).I do remember a particularly nice scratch built Royal Louis and wonder how the builder was getting on with it.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you Donnie and all the staff for as Kurt put it "the friendliest forum on the internet"
Yes Donnie DDM you invite me at the time I remember but was so comfortable with DDM and when the site die (and in the same time for reason very similar the French forum where I was contributing) well I was so P….. That I stop contributing to any forum for many year, it was Arthur that incite me to start again and here I am. Again with a good bunch of people.
Can say much more than all the other praise. Definetly an " if you build it, they will come" moment.
What a great bunch of fellow modellers from every where on the planet with an incredible diversity of kits, scratch etc.
Its great to see so many different builds from different suppliers & locations.
Best of all we all share the same passion for the modelling world with out a single bit smugness or self pretense.
Its awesome how no matter how good tor bad your level of capability or experience, every one lends a hand without a second thought.
Thanks Donnie for the nice presentation of how the friendliest (ship model builder forum on the globe) came into being.
It is a very impressive job you have done to make this forum as good as it is now.
I am not religious but I have great faith in this site and its future.
Finally, a big thank you to all the other supporters here at SOS.