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Bilbil Lalong from Astrolabe Bay, P.N.G.

Bilbil Lalong from Astrolabe Bay, P.N.G.
Harvey Golden
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Harvey Golden
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Modeled at 1/2"=1', this is a 9.5m Lalong from Madang, Papua New Guinea. Sources for this model were Mary Mennis' two outstanding documentations of the reconstruction of the first Lalong built at Madang in over a generation: "The First Lalong Canoe Built for 40 Years, Bilbil Village, Madang Province" (1980), and "Mariners of Madang and Austronesian Canoes of Astrolabe Bay" (2011).  The upper lee platform is the 'captain's quarters,' while the weather side was the crew's.  The lower slatted platform was used for carrying cargo-- typically clay pots, which were traded along the coast. At the top of the mast is a wooden cuckoo-- totem of a local clan.


10 hours ago, DelF said:

Stunning. How did you reproduce the sea?

Thank you!  The photo was taken on the river here. I can't build a model without floating it at least once. 

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It is a pity, that the model was not discussed in the general forum section (or did I miss it ?) - I became aware of it only by accident. Very nicely done !

I have a long-standing interest in Pacific craft, though I am more interested in Micro- and Polynesia, than in Melanesia. I gather it was triggered by a visit to the Ethnographical Museum in Berlin in 1974, where they have a significant collection of boats from the region (Germany had protectorates in Melanesia and Micronesia up WWI). The museum moved now to a new location right in the centre of Berlin, but before the move, that involved the part dismantling of the boats, I took a series of pictures: http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/dahlem/dahlem.html.

There is also a large boat from Papua, but I did not take any detailed pictures of that.

As I know the museum director, I was invited to help them with the dismantling and rebuilding of the boats, but due to the geographical distance, I could not take them up on this interesting opportunity.

Some years ago I built two small-scale models of boats from the collection: http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/ellice/ellicecanoe.html

and http://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/maritime/models/gilbert/gilbertcanoe.html.

Are you planning to build more such models ?


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Dear Wefalck,

I hadn't thought to post it in the general forum section-- am new here and still finding my way around.  Thank you for the comments. I've long known about your web-page featuring photographs of the outrigger canoes in Berlin, so it is good to meet you.  I have built perhaps 15 other Pacific Island canoes, mostly from Haddon & Hornell, but also from other sources (Neyret, Gladwin, Doran, Cook, Dodd, etc.) I'll have a look at your models-- thank you!  I'm happy to meet another interested in these craft.  


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Harvey, the one the distinctive crab-claw sail in the image above is another one on my list, the museum in Berlin has an original one.


Would like to see more of your models ...



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On 1/22/2021 at 11:15 AM, wefalck said:

Harvey, the one the distinctive crab-claw sail in the image above is another one on my list, the museum in Berlin has an original one.

Dear Eberhard,  Yes, and thank you:  Your photographs of the Berlin Vaka helped me make the model!  Best, H-       P.S. These sail yet again: https://www.vaka.org/gallery

Edited by Harvey Golden
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  • Image Comments

    • No worries Bob....always learning, the best part about all of this....
    • Beautiful model! I have the POB on the shelf for a future build down the road. Thanks for explaining your paint and stain scheme.
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