While almost every ship model is different in its treatment of hull form and details, they fall into two principal types: the frame model and the block model. 

The Frame model

A clear convention is to plank only the topsides, leaving most of the hull open to show the frames. The framing is itself stylised. On full-sized ships, the frames were much closer together. Only a few 18th century models were made in this more realistic way.

Dolphin (1731) has one side completely planked and the other showing the frames. Dolphin is particularly interesting because one side shows her as a ship of 20 guns and the other as a fireship. Its style is quite distinct – it was made to show changes in shipbuilding methods.

The Block model

Where frames are not viable, the hull has usually been made from a block of wood carved into shape, often hollowed-out and sometimes planked. Royal William (1719) is an example of a hollowed block model made to separate at the waterline to show the layout of the deckbeams.

The standards set by these model-makers have inspired many modern models of 18th century ships.