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Well, here we are back at it. I decided to skip doing a turn on a card model and instead roll with the wood momentum and go straight to Wütender Hund (hereafter referred to as "WH"). I won't do an unboxing here, as I did a complete review of this kit in the reviews section. It is the first wood offering from the Polish firm of Shipyard, who are well-known for their excellent line of tallship card models. Clare Hess is currently working on a very similar cog model, also from Shipyard -- although its name is different, it is more or less the card version of this kit. So, I didn't make very much progress on Day 1, getting only as far as removing the longitudinal profile former and gluing up the parts that form a false keel. I noticed after the glue had already set that one of the parts is slightly misaligned, so I may have to debond that part and reposition it. One thing to watch out for on Polish kits is that left and right parts are marked L and P, not L and R. L does in fact indicate left, same as in English; to remember that P is right, I always think of it as the Greek letter rho, then it makes perfect sense. As you can see, the box is quite large -- too big for my modeling area. And the exciting work of Day 1. The cutting mat is a little less than 12" wide, so you have an idea of how big the finished model will be. TTFN!
My current project is a cardboard model of a late 14th century Hanseatic cog (kogge). If you have followed my builds before, you will know that walking and chewing gum are not my strong suit. When I try to build a model AND document it with a build log, I usually get distracted. Here goes. Here is what is SUPPOSED to look like when completed. We'll see.
1/72nd Scale Wütender Hund - Privateer Klaus Störtebeker's Cog Shipyard **Now available as of 03/2020** (A note about this review: I am not James! Which means that I do not currently possess a slick photography setup, nor do I have photogenic hands. 😋 Judge the photos accordingly!) Polish designers have been in the vanguard of card model kit development for decades. One Polish company, Shipyard, has established a deserved reputation for high-quality card model kits of sailing subjects, usually in 1/96th scale. A few years back, they started producing what they call, thanks to the vagaries of translating Polish into English, “laser-cardboard” kits in 1/72nd scale. These kits included laser-cut parts, a set of laser-cut formers, and all of the fittings and materials—including paints and brushes—needed to finish the model (everything except glue). With the release of Wütender Hund, Shipyard have now entered into the wooden kit market as well. After all, paper is just processed wood, right? When I first read about this impending release, I was keen to find out if Shipyard’s venture into wooden kits would produce something on par with their top-notch paper kits. After a quick glance through the kit’s contents, I think that it’s safe to say that Shipyard has come up with a winner. Ready? Then let’s take a look! Wütender Hund was the vessel captained by Klaus Störtebeker, the leader of a group of North German privateers that were active at the end of the 14th century. The ship is an example of a cog, a common type of merchant vessel during the Middle Ages. The name “Wütender Hund” roughly translates as “mad dog.” When completed, Wütender Hund is 355 mm long by 316 mm high and 200 mm wide. Upon its arrival at my door after its long trip from Puszczykowo, Poland, I was pleased to find that the good folks at Shipyard had packed the shipping box very well, with plenty of cardboard to stiffen it and packaging peanuts to help it survive stops in Poznan, Arnhem, Cologne, and Liege on its way to America. Neither the kit box packed inside nor its contents were damaged in any way. The kit box itself is 500 x 350 x 50 mm in size and features bold graphics, details about the kit, and photos of the prototype model. It comes protected inside a clear plastic shell. Opening the box reveals three smaller boxes along with plans, instructions, and sheets of laser-cut parts packed in clear plastic sleeves. There was no packing material inside the box, but then again there isn’t really anything inside that could be damaged by simply sliding around. We’ll start by unpacking the mysterious inner boxes! Inside the largest of the boxes are rigging materials. Wütender Hund has a very simple rig, having only a single mast and one yard, so there isn’t a whole lot of dowels in the kit—three, to be precise (the smallest-diameter dowel is intended to be used as a glue applicator). One dowel had a slight bend at one end, but the remainder were nice and straight. (I think there's a dog hair in the photo -- I have three dogs, and one of them is a shed-o-matic!) Five diameters of rigging cordage are provided, from 0.1 to 1.0 mm. All of the rigging is left natural; tarred rigging will need to be colored. Blocks and hearts are laser-cut. Each block or heart is built up from multiple layered parts. The inner parts are smaller than the outer parts, so that the finished hearts will have a groove for stropping. (Edit: Having now built up a few of the blocks, I can say that these turn out very nicely.) Moving to the next box, we find individually bagged materials and tools. Two diameters of copper wire are provided for making various metal parts. These and the turned brass belaying pins will need to be blackened. One bag contains tiny pieces of cut plastic tubing that will be used for making gudgeons. Two paint brushes, one square-tipped and the other round, are provided. They appear to be white sable or similar. (Edit: I prefer pre-blackened annealed wire and will substitute that during construction where possible. The cut plastic tubing gets covered by the card stock during the construction process.) In the last box we find a set of four acrylic paints: black, red, white, and beige. (Edit: The paints give very good one-coat coverage.) There are a whopping 14 sheets of laser-cut parts. The laser cutting is very good, and char on the reverse sides is minimal and easily removed. Many of the parts are veneers, so their reverse sides are not even visible on the finished model. The thickest ply sheet contains hull formers. Unlike some wooden kits, these do not have fairing lines engraved on them, but since the bulkheads are thin, they will not need much work in that department. Other parts are cut from different shades of plywood (walnut is my guess), which should produce some pleasing contrasts on the model. Plank seams are laser-engraved. (Edit: After completing much of the hull, it's safe to say that the plywood quality has been very good, no matter the thickness of the sheet. There are a few blemishes here and there, which is to be expected in plywood. The plywood takes stain very well on the engraved side, but the reverse side not so well; this affects relatively few parts of the model.) The thinnest sheets contain veneers that will be applied to various parts of the model. These also have laser-engraved details, which I personally find rather remarkable when considering how thin these actually are, i.e. engraving lines nowhere cut completely through the material. The smallest sheet is brown card stock and contains parts that will need to be painted to simulate ironwork, such as rudder hardware. (Edit: I'm not sure what kind of stock is used for the iron work, but it is tough, molds to contours well, and after painting does a very passable job of looking like real iron work.) A complete suit of pre-cut and pre-printed sails (two -- whoa, nelly!) is included. The striking “mad dog” will need to be painted. As you can see, that’s a lot of parts! Happily, a complete parts list is provided, featuring labeled drawings of every parts sheet. Sixty-four pages of full-color instructions in two booklets walk the builder through the construction process. Book 1 covers hull construction, while Book 2 covers masting and rigging. (Edit: The photo instructions have been great! There have been only a few minor questions raised about what exactly to do, but so far I have been able to figure everything out. If anything, there might actually be more photos than than are necessary, but I'm not going to complain.) The instructions are almost entirely photo-based and include very little text, but the build sequence is thoroughly outlined by the high-quality and plentiful photographs. This format will feel familiar to card modelers. Two single-sided and one double-sided plan sheets are included. These include hull plan and profile views, masting and sail plan, and rigging plan. Shipyard’s extensive experience with both laser-cutting and the production of card model kits has enabled them to do a superb job of bringing to market what is essentially a card model in design that is constructed in wood rather than paper. (Edit: This extends even to having to attain proper parts thicknesses by laminating two or more parts together. Again, this is familiar to card modelers, but may be something unexpected to modelers who have only built the usual kinds of wooden models.) The quality materials, colorful instructions, and attention to detail suggest that Shipyard are sincere in their desire to bring together the best of both modeling media. Have they succeeded? I think they have, and I’ll probably find out for certain in the near future, as this kit practically begs to be started sooner rather than later. My sincere thanks go to Shipyard for providing this kit for review, and I hope that it becomes a big seller for them. For those interested in buying the kit, Ages of Sail, an MSW sponsor, is the US distributor of Shipyard products. For those wishing to stick to card models, Shipyard also offer a laser-cut cog kit in 1/72nd scale as can be seen here being built by Clare Hess and reviewed here. Cheers!