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Welcome to my build log of the Stefano. When I saw the 2 current logs for the Stefano I was captivated by the beautiful lines of the ship and decided about a year ago that I would like to try to build it. Now is the time to start. I'll dispense with the kit contents photos. They can be seen both in Don Robinson's log and in Zoran's log. The contents of the kit seem to be of top quality. As noted in the other logs the plans are extensive and excellent. There is lots to be learned from building this kit. A side note for some of the Syren builders out there who are just dealing with the coppering of their hulls - the Stefano kit comes with photo-etched copper plates with toenail patterns (port and starboard) embossed. I'm not going to miss pounding copper foil when I copper this hull! In addition to the plans and instructions with the kit I also have every reason to believe that there is very good person-to-person support here on MSW from both Don and Zoran. Don's already helped out a couple of times.
1:72 Ragusian Galley 18thCentury MarisStella Available from MarisStella for €147 plus shipping The Republic of Ragusa was a maritime republic centred on the city of Dubrovnik (Ragusa in Italian, German and Latin; Raguse in French) in Dalmatia (today in southernmost Croatia) that carried that name from 1358 until 1808. It reached its commercial peak in the 15th and the 16th centuries, before being conquered by Napoleon's French Empire and formally annexed by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy in 1808. It had a population of about 30,000 people, out of whom 5,000 lived within the city walls. Its Latin motto was "Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro", which means "Liberty is not well sold for all the gold". The Dubrovnik galley was an integral part of Dubrovnik's war fleet, which in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, had only a few small warships (at most ten), operated solely because of frequent harassment and looting by pirates and cargo ships at that time. The Galleys were stationed in Dubrovnik and Mali Ston. Other Croatian coastal centres had this type of ship, along the eastern Adriatic coast: Kotor, Omis, Senj, and others. The Dubrovnik galley was driven by both wind and rowers (Galiot), who were both sailors and soldiers, as was appropriate, but there were also condemned criminals that rowed the State ships. Their main feature was their speed, and they were used for military, police and customs purposes, courier services, and for the transport of diplomats and senior civil servants. They were also used for the transportation of goods at the expense of the State. The kit MarisStella’s kit range is currently undergoing an upgrade, and most certainly in terms of their boxing. This one comes to me in its original incarnation, with a deep midnight blue thin card lid with all printing and imagery in gold ink. This does look quite stark but very attractive. I’m told that the new appearance will have finished model imagery on the box. MarisStella have said they will send over examples of the upgraded kits for us to look at on MSW, so we’ll get to see those changes first-hand in the next months. This release comes in a fairly weighty box, and lifting the lid off, we are first presented with a product leaflet, sheet of printed flags and a thick 122-page manual which is spiral-bound. All of these items sit on a cardboard tray which when lifted out, reveals the kit materials below. A large cardboard cover first needs to be lifted out to access the kit itself. Inside, several bundles of timber and dowel sit on top of two laser-cut sheets of plywood for the main bulkhead and keel construction, two sheets of laser-cut walnut, several fittings packets, another very thin sheet of laser-cut ply, one fret of photo-etch brass parts, pre-sewn sails, and a packet of rigging cord. Apart from the main sheets of ply and the timber bundles, all other elements within this kit are packed into clear sleeves that are either stapled closed or heat-sealed. My sample arrived with everything in good order. This POB model is designed very traditionally and is constructed around a 3-part false keel and a set of 15 bulkheads. The ply used for this is 4mm thick, and like all other parts on the main two constructional ply sheets, everything is very cleanly laser-cut, with an absolute minimum of scorching. One thing I noticed on all of the ply sheets is the laser-engraving and marking of where other components will fit to. I quite like this approach as it helps to ensure correct and precise construction throughout. That engraving has also been put to good use on the display stand elements that can be seen on these two sheets. These are also supplied in English, Italian and Croatian text, and contain a little engraved scroll work. You may opt for something a little glitzier with your build, but then again you may be perfectly happy with the parts that MarisStella provide here. In between the various bulkheads, some 8mm² lengths of lime have been included that can be cut to length and wedged in to keep everything straight. I believe some of the other kits have lengths of dowel which slot continuously through the bulkheads. I would’ve liked to have seen similar here, but at least the timber is included. It is also suggested that this material be cut up and used to create the bow and stern filler blocks, although you might like to use balsa for this purpose. Two sheets of walnut are supplied, one of which (the narrower and thicker sheet) contains the keel components. Although you will need to cut the rabbet into these, the positions for this are engraved onto the parts and the manual clearly shows how this is done. The other walnut sheet is lighter in colour and thinner than the previous, containing parts for the gun carriages, rail cap strips, cabin bulkhead, and transom, channels etc. Again, and where appropriate, more engraving is present for constructional accuracy. All walnut sheet timber is of high quality with good grain that shouldn’t split etc. A very thin sheet of birch ply is included for the head rails, transom and cabin door detail etc. All strip stock in this kit is also of the same standard, with numerous bundles of timbers of different sizes and types, including European Walnut for the hull planking. There is some natural variation in the colour of the walnut planks, so I would look at possibly grouping them, so wood of the same tone is used the same for both sides. This model also has a single-planked hull, unlike the double-planked that we so commonly see these days. However, the deck is double-planked, and the planks sit directly atop of the bulkheads, with no thin ply deck to lay first. The second layer of deck planking is supplied as beech strips. Various lengths and diameters of dowel are included, and all supplied in walnut. These are tightly grained and have excellent natural colour. This is one model that really would benefit from having sails fitted, just to highlight the elegance of the shape. A feature of MarisStella kits is that the sail material is pre-sewn. By this, I mean that the shapes are lightly printed to a piece of pre-aged sheet and the inner stitched lines are present. All you need to do is to cut out the sails and sew the outer edges. Sail colour is akin to natural linen and looks good to use without any further ageing trickery. Two anchor packs are included. These contain a metal anchor that is painted black, a separate walnut stock, and some brass bandings that would look nice if they were also blackened. Another pack contains 3-eye rigging blocks, single blocks, eyelets, belaying pins, and parrel beads. There is some colour variation in the block colour and all look to be made from walnut. One length of 1mm brass wire is included in one fittings pack, as are two 4mm cannon for the bow. These are finished with an antique patina and may benefit from being blackened in some way. I would use Gunze Dark Iron paint which is then burnished to an iron finish. A reasonably thick sheet of photo-etch parts is also included, containing head rail decoration, transom decoration, rudder straps etc. Quality is again excellent, with reasonably thin tags to remove the parts from their positions. Tag positions are the only clean-up that will be required with these parts. A single packet is included that contains four spools of natural finish rigging cord in 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 and 1mm diameters. One length of 1.25mm is included separately, as is a 1mm length of black rope. Every vessel of course needs a flag and both this and a pennant are supplied here, laser-printed in colour onto paper. You’ll need to furl these realistically and they could’ve done with been thinner, possibly from tissue paper, but will still look very attractive when flown. Instructions This 121-page spiral-bound A4 manual also has a clear plastic cover to protect it. Each of the constructional stages are illustrated by generally uncluttered CAD line drawings that are annotated in English, Italian and Croatian. Some drawing details are a little small, such as the eyelet positions, footplates etc. so maybe magnify those a little. A very comprehensive section on making the sails is also included. Illustrated construction takes place over 83 pages, and this is then followed by the building instruction text and list of parts. Plan A large single sheet plan is included that contains pretty much every dimension/measurement you'll need and the line drawing quality is excellent. To prevent any piracy, I have only included a portion of that plan here, with no bulkhead shapes. Conclusion A very nice kit of a very unusual subject. I’ve seen so many model ships of antiquity, but this is one that seems to bridge the gap by being of a generally ancient style, whilst being an 18thCentury vessel. MarisStella’s design is nice and easy to follow and is coupled with high quality materials and drawings. In all, an excellent package that will provide many hours of pleasure for a very reasonable price. As this is single-planked, I would recommend this to intermediate modellers. My sincere thanks to MarisStella for sending this kit out for review on Model Ship World. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of the page, or head over to your local MarisStella stockist.