I am doing the questline Balancing the Books, and I was given a Kestrel Frigate for a reward. I went to it in my inventory but could not use it because it needed to be built, which I have no idea how to do. Obviously I am a new player and it looks like I need to obtain various types of metals/ores in sufficient amounts to build the base ship. Then I can add thinks like guns or propulsion after it is built. Is that correct? If not please explain to me how I build my new ship. I am anxious to use it. Also, I now see there is a time limit on the rewards these missions give rewards for. I guess I will need to buy them from the market as time has run out on me twice because I needed to leave the game before collecting the reward. But main question is I need help from someone on how to build my new Kestrel ship. Thank you for your time and help.
This is correct. The required mineral and material amounts are listed in the Blueprint Copy (BPC) that you received. You need to bring these materials and the BPC to a station or player structure with an Industry service. There you can build the ship, which takes a little while.
You can either mine ores yourself with a mining ship (I think you should have a Venture by now) and reprocess the ores in a station/player structure with an active Reprocessing service, or you go to a market place (like Jita), buy the minerals there and transport them to the industry facility.
If you go to a market place like Jita, you can also buy the modules you want to use on the ship right away. Once the ship has been built, you can equip the modules and then use it. I suggest you check out the Community Fittings for the Kestrel to see which modules you should buy.
To access the community fittings, open the Fitting Window (Alt + F or click on the Fitting Window icon) > click on the Wrench icon to expand the Fittings and Hardware panel > Click on Hulls & Fits > There you should see several icons below the Search bar. Click on the one that looks like a downfacing chevron/arrow. > Now you can look for the Kestrel.
That shouldn’t be much of an issue. You should always receive the base reward of the mission, only the bonus rewards have a time limit.
You build the Kestrel by right clicking on the blueprint and selecting “use blueprint”, an industry window will then open up. Select the “manufacture” tab (yellow factory icon), and the window will tell you what minerals are required to build it.
You can get the minerals by mining asteroid ores and reprocessing them in stations, or by buying them from the market.
For some of the rarer minerals, it might be quicker and safer to just buy from the market if you have enough funds. This E-UNI article goes into detail about what minerals are processed from what ores and where you can find them.
For fittings, look at the “traits” tab of the kestrel (right click on ship, “show info”), every ship in EVE has certain bonuses to it that encourages fitting certain modules.
The kestrel in particular has bonuses towards rockets and light missiles, so you’d want to fit these types of weaponry onto it. Caldari ships are overwhelmingly shield tanked, which means you want to fit shield modules that go into mid-power slots. Frigates almost always need a propulsion module (afterburner or microwarpdrive), a stasis webifier to slow other frigates down, and a propulsion jamming module (warp disruptor or warp scrambler) to prevent them from escaping. Many ships fit a damage control module to mitigate some damage, and a weapon upgrade module to increase weapon damage (in the case of the kestrel, a ballistic control system module).
A guide to fitting ships goes into more detail and the common fitting mistakes.
The previous answer showed how to get community fittings, this one attempts to explain why ships are fitted the way they are.
If you were given a ship rather than a blueprint, you don’t need to build it. To use this ship, right click on it and select “Assemble Ship”. Then to board the ship, right click and select “Make Active”.
From there you can add modules to your ship using the fitting window (Alt + F)