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I really have no excuse for buying, let alone starting this kit as I have plenty going on I my current builds. However, everytime I wandered over to the Syren Ship Model website to buy sundery items, this kit stared back longingly at me, and sadly up to now was 'out of stock'. Fortuitously on the last visit, there was one in stock and I just couldn't resist, after all, it couldn't hurt could it? Well, the package has arrived and despite my best efforts to leave the box closed (about 5 minutes), the genie is out of the bottle. This will most definitely be a side project, and it will finally be nice to be able to follow some very good instructions and build a very nice looking model out of the box. Hopefully this will be a nice diversion to 'Jason' which seems to be anything but. I hope that I'm up to this challenge, I can certainly appreciate the reasons why this is classified as a more advanced kit. Progress will be slow. I'm not planning on this being the most extensive build log, but will likely post progress pictures and ask questions as I go...
1/2” Scale Queen Anne Style Royal Barge 1705 Syren Ship Model Company Catalogue # SKU QABK01 Available from Syren Ship Model Company for $225.00 A royal barge is a ceremonial barge that is used by a monarch for processions and transport on a body of water. Royal barges are currently used in monarchies such as the United Kingdom, Sweden and Thailand. Traditionally the use of royal barges was of high importance in southeast Asian monarchies such as Siam, Burma, Brunei, Riau and Cambodia. The River Thames in London was a regular thoroughfare for the Sovereign until the middle of the 19th century, on state occasions or between the Royal Palaces of Windsor, Westminster, Hampton Court, Greenwich and the Tower of London. In the UK, there is currently no State Barge in active service, but until 2017 the Royal Nore, owned and maintained by the Port of London Authority, was used whenever a member of the Royal Family travelled on the river Thames for an official engagement. Royal barges are typically elegant in style, and those built in the period of Queen Anne were still striking, despite their relative simplicity in relation to other vessels of the same stature. Resplendent in ornate carvings and decorative panels, these barges provided a comfortable and stylish method for the monarch to move between their residences and their courts. Edit courtesy of Wikipedia The kit This is my first experience of dealing with Syren Ship Model Company, and of course, the Royal Barge kit is designed and produced by them. My kit took around 9 days to reach UK shores from New Jersey, via USPS and Royal Mail. Of course, I got hit by the obligatory import duty, but it wasn’t too bad. After paying their ransom, I picked up the package a couple of days ago and now spent some time flicking through the contents. The kit itself is packaged into an extremely sturdy corrugated cardboard box with tabs that release so you can flip up the lid. With the lid open, the plans are the first thing seen, and these are gently curved over the components underneath, along with a contents checklist which has been manually marked to show the contents are indeed in there. A nice system that gives peace of mind to the buyer. I’ll look at the plans further down the review. With these lifted out, some very soft packing foam is included so stop the contents rattling about. Inside the box, there are two robust clear sleeves which contain all of the timber planks, three narrower sleeves with strip and dowel, a card box with resin, wood, wire and black fishing line, a length of thick black cartridge paper with laser-cut elements, a packet with friezes for the interior of the barge plus some decorations for the sweeps, and two flags. Onto the sheet timber. Syren has produced all of the main parts from a superbly milled cherry wood, and the finish is silky smooth. The quality of the wood is also amongst some of the best I’ve seen since I started in this hobby almost 20yrs ago. The colour, which I hope I’ve captured in most of my photos, is a very pale golden colour which looks quite muted. The grain, as you would expect, is very fine. Laser-cutting quality is also on a par with the best kits I’ve seen, with almost zero heat effect, and small tags that only just hold the parts in position. Edge scorching is also very minimal, and it’ll only take a few swipes with some sandpaper to remove them totally. You will of course need to do that thoroughly as this model is only partially planked, as it the style of barge models of the era Circa 1700. Cherry was also chosen because it best replicates the colour of the wood used on these models and allows the kit to be affordable too. Also among the thicker sheets of cherry wood is a two-part building jig which needs to be assembled. The zig-zag edging of this will make the job easier. Each frame slot is also numbered so there’s less chance of human error. When the model is later released from this jig, it will be modified to accept the keel for the remaining construction, using more supplied parts. This is probably the time to explain roughly how this model actually does assemble, and I’ll add a few images here to illustrate things. Each of the frames has an infill piece still attached, and this is what will slot into the building jig. When the outside planks are added, this can later be carefully cut away to reveal the interior of the barge which then needs to be fitted out. Before slotting those frames to the jig though, you will need to add the floor frames. The position for these is finely engraved onto the waste material within each frame. You can use a straight edge along this and then fit the floor frame up to this mark. This way there’s no reason to use pencil on the parts faces themselves. This technique is superbly illustrated here by Rusty, in his MSW build log: https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/17889-queen-anne-barge-by-rustyj-syren-ship-model-124/ Looking at the timber, you can see that just about every shape is either cut with laser or engraved for reference. All planks for this are supplied spiled, need bevelling from the laser-etched line. These planks are supplied in suitably thin sheets of cherry, and for extra clarity, each sheet is labelled PORT or STARBOARD. The keel is built up from scarfed sections, as the real thing would be. Very impressive. The rabbet is created my inserting thinner keel parts on the inner edge of the keel, creating a recess into which the limited planking will sit. When it comes to the thwarts, these are also laser-engraved to create the stepped edges to them. Also included with the laser-cut parts are the mounting pedestals (you just need a nice piece of polished/varnished timber to use as plinth), and also the sweep (oar) racks so those can be decoratively mounted on the plinth, adjacent to the barge. Now, this model has some ornate and intricate carvings adorning it and these are provided as laser-cut items for which you can try your hand at carving. Does that sound scary? If so, don’t worry because also available for this kit is a set of resin-cast carvings which are more or less all ready to be attached and provided as an upgrade set which you can buy either at the same time as the kit, or later if you struggle with the boxwood blanks. The resin parts are supplied in a small white box to protect them. With this sample, they were supplied directly in that small box that sits within the main package, and the extremely delicate filigree parts were packed into two zip-lock wallets. Very little clean-up is required with these, and to give them a nice natural appearance, weathering powders are suggested. You can also airbrush them and apply an enamel-based wash which would bring out the details superbly. It’s all a matter of preference. These carvings include the scrollwork for the port and starboard side, the quarter-based figurines and the Royal monograph. They really are superb to look at. Other parts were included inside this box. These include some extra boxwood parts for things like the internal panelling that the friezes will sit within. Extras are included in case you screw up. There is a length of wire and also some black 20lb fishing line that you will use to simulate the black nail heads on the planking. A length of resin-impregnated black card is also to be found in this kit, and like the timber, all parts are laser-cut. Parts here are provided for the keel banding and rudder straps etc. Three sheets of colour-printed paper are included that hold the parts for the friezes and the ornate decorations for the sweeps. These will need to be carefully cut out with a fresh blade and then attached to the model using a very dilute PVA or children’s glue stick. Two period flags are also included, printed on thin tissue paper and with good colour definition. Note the union flag, minus the diagonal red cross, which is of course accurate for 1705. I’m presuming the quadrant flag is either of the period or even related to the monarch of the period. It should be quite easy to make these drape realistically due to the thinness of the paper. Certainly easier than some of the materials some companies use for their flags. Two large plan sheets are included, clearly depicting construction in clean line drawings, and of course, the images are at full scale for any measurements you need to take. Please note that no instruction manual is included with this release as it helps to cut down on price. It also helps reduce weight for shipping. There are three manuals for this, in full colour PDF format, and these can be downloaded from the Syren Ship Model Company’s website. These are extremely comprehensive and beautifully describe the whole build process, including hints and tips for your project. Conclusion I’m not usually the sort of guy who gets enthused by barges and narrow/longboats etc. but the sheer beauty and ingenuity of this kit appealed to me instantly and I followed the kit development here on MSW. The kit is just exquisite, with beautifully milled timber and laser-cut parts, printed materials etc. The construction process has been made as easy as possible at every stage of construction with such things as the laser-shaped thwarts and planks that have been spiled ready for you to shape. An amazing kit, intelligently designed, and with the very best in materials. Syren has this model on sale for $225.00 and I think that represents excellent value for money for what will give many hours of building pleasure and a real ornate stunner for the display shelf! My sincere thanks to Syren Ship Model Company for sending this kit out for review on Model Ship World. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
This is Syren Ship Model's soon to be released kit. It is plank on frame and will be built admiralty style with frames showing. Chuck has come up with an ingenious way of constructing frames with floors and futtocks that uses laser cut parts. The kit uses cherry for most of the parts but some embellishments will be in boxwood. This is a photo of a similar model from the National Maritime Museum