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Louie da fly

10th-11th century Byzantine dromon by Louie da fly - 1:50

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Steven your figures are great! It seems to me you forget the size of your scale! It doesnt go beyond that. I think for this scale, you have accomplished the limit. Excellent work!

Christos

 

Ps. Awesome picture 😁. You got style.Maybe you take part in the new Robin Hood movie!

Edited by MESSIS

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I would say that is a pretty good effort Steven, I think the overall effect is there - it is distinctive and infers mail cladding. I look forward to seeing your small 'army' complete :)

 

cheers

 

Pat

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I've been working on the forecastle and have started thinking about the Greek Fire projector or siphon which will be mounted on it. There's been a lot of work done on theoretical reconstructions of the siphon, particularly by John Haldon who is probably the world authority on the subject, having worked on it for 25 years. Here's a Youtube video of a reconstruction in action to John Haldon's plans, even using the light grade crude oil from central Turkey that was available to the Byzantines.

 

 

 

Funny thing is, an independent guy called Richard Windley (?) made a reconstruction in 2008

 

 

which has considerable advantages, particularly in that it can be operated by a single person. In Byzantine times only a single crew member, one of the lead oarsmen  - was the siphonator, with the duty of operating the projector.

 

However, this reconstruction doesn't have a brazier heating the oil, he uses a modern fuel and the directing mechanism seems a bit frail. And unless I've missed something, though his reconstruction is obviously based on Haldon's design he doesn't seem to give Haldon credit.

 

Very worthwhile information in both, and I'll be ensuring the shielding against heat and fire is of a similar level to these. My own model will combine aspects of both these designs. But it won't be made workable - I'm not completely nuts.

 

Steven

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21 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

I'm in the back row, fifth from the left, with my hand resting on the axe-head

Very impressive ;)

And nice work on the carvings.

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Thanks everyone who added a "like".

 

Grandpa Phil, Goetzi and Patrick, thanks for the comments.

 

Druxey, what can I say? The two-handed axe is the Queen of the battlefield. Before the battle began a bunch of axemen stood in front of the English line swinging their axes around their heads. I thought it looked a bit Hollywood/Disneyland, but apparently the guys on the Norman side were horrified . . .

 

Christos, thank you very much. I'm not totally certain I've reached the limit, but I suppose unless I make another figure and try even finer detail, I won't know. I'm still thinking about that one.

 

Pat; thanks regarding the mail, but I won't be doing any more armoured figures - I did one earlier in the log and this is the only extra I'll be making. The Emperor is usually shown with just two guards and a bunch of courtiers. On the other hand, I still have to make 50 oarsmen, but I'm intending to cast them. Carving's too much work.

 

I'm going to have to do a fair bit of design work for the siphon. Might take awhile.

 

Steven

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Mark, I've already made one guardsman in lamellar armour (that's like upside down scale) - see my post of - ye gods! Is it that long ago? - May 14, 2017. I'd like to have the other one wearing mail because they're so different (and were both common in the Empire).

 

After a bit of study I've roughed out a preliminary bodge-up for the siphon, based mostly on Richard Windley's design. I still think it was rather poor form, however, that though his design is simply an improvement on the Haldon siphon that was successfully tested 6 years previously the History Channel programme apparently gave Haldon no acknowledgment at all.  

 

239326625_fullsiphon.JPG.f8e4c36a6d5b783424cda7115b5687ab.JPG

My bodge-up is just bits of balsa and bamboo skewers, to get the spatial relationships worked out for it to fit on the forecastle, and also amend the forecastle itself to make sure it will fit. Note that I've made the pump handle single-sided, because there's so little room on the forecastle and there's no need for a double-sided handle.

 

20190202_131536.thumb.jpg.defb6980f28cab1ece4c6e8452cf931e.jpg

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Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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I finally decided I wouldn't be able to live with the coarsely detailed "Russian tractor armour" the Varangian guard was wearing, so I carved a new one with finer mail, this time with a two-handed battle-axe - as described by Princess Anna Komnena in "The Alexiad" her biography of her father Emperor Alexios I, 

 

"The Varangians too, who carried axes on their shoulders, regarded their loyalty to the Emperors and their protection of the imperial persons as a pledge and ancestral tradition, handed down from father to son, which they keep inviolate, and will certainly not listen to even the slightest word about treachery."

 

I timed how long it took to make from go to whoa - about 8 hours to carve the figure, and another 8 to do the mail. Never again!

 

I also photographed the full sequence. First a drawing of the figure in spirit pen, which I photocopied (in case of Murphy's Law) and stuck the copy onto a piece of pear wood. Then cut around the outline with a coping saw. I left a decent amount of wood below the figure so I had something to hold onto while I was working on it.

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Next, cutting around the head - firstly this is one of the parts that are closest to the surface of the piece of wood and second I like to do the face early because if I get that wrong I might as well throw the figure away and start again. Cutting around the head first, trying to retain as much of the picture as possible for as long as possible. I use a scalpel with a No. 11 blade for all this work. It's very important to use a very sharp one.

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Cutting the main features of the head

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Now moving down to the arms and shoulders, cutting progressively further and further back. The right arm sticks out forward, as he'll be holding an axe in it.

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Now moving onto the shield, which is also fairly far forward. Again I cut around the outline first

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and then cut away a bit to form the hand that's holding the shield.

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Here is the figure with the front elevation roughed out.

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Next draw an outline to guide the coping saw in cutting off the waste at the back of the figure.

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After cutting. Still leaving a good grip to hold the figure while it's being worked on.

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More to come,

 

Steven

 

 

 

Edited by Louie da fly

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Roughing out the back of the figure - again, cutting away around the bits closest to the surface.

20190203_140822.thumb.jpg.061774866bf80e86a0c6285ec5c31bd9.jpg

Giving it a bit of shape:

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and refining it still further.

20190203_172515.thumb.jpg.fcf5b7c8b7404029d0923c7fdc1b9662.jpg 20190203_172527.thumb.jpg.ae4ce656b4bec3d40246c48f1d4849f7.jpg 20190203_172538.thumb.jpg.f81b21b552ffcac9452117d0529e0ec7.jpg

Now drilling holes to separate the legs. Have to be very careful with this - if the hole intrudes into the wood you want to keep (such as a leg), there's no way of recovering it.

20190203_180418.thumb.jpg.491bdd8de38c8bc3e4a07d5210a0f111.jpg 20190203_180430.thumb.jpg.903feeb81ad6133560d09a6742ca213e.jpg 

Roughing out the shape of the legs and cutting away behind the shield.

20190203_225336.thumb.jpg.275ddf656f26cd3cc647471855097076.jpg 20190203_225324.thumb.jpg.b53fb2e0c6be26388aa171aa894739ff.jpg

More to come,

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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Moving onto the axe:

20190204_131229.thumb.jpg.884b46300ce8e38b09dc7d142da38952.jpg 20190204_132340.thumb.jpg.d4a088338e47ed71d8aae4bb36425be4.jpg 20190204_181216.thumb.jpg.0e76c14ddfb287b90002a5f4e30529de.jpg 

Drilling a hole in the figure's hand to take the axe-shaft:

20190203_232430.thumb.jpg.7efa9cf081d9d1c9964e90187f1650ba.jpg 20190204_143146.thumb.jpg.8ab6f496f51ea70d9956b0fc50030252.jpg

20190204_143153.thumb.jpg.aad43df1d94c95cb9c8bb0a65c6aa6c0.jpg

And starting on  the mail

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I discovered that this is about the limit I can manage with the tools I have; I think it looks much more like the real thing than the previous version. But it's very labour-intensive and fiddly and I ended up wondering why I'd started. Merciful oblivion covers the next 8 hours or so:

 

And here's the figure with the mail all complete.

 

20190205_183201.thumb.jpg.7df58b64abb9708b1d37476271890566.jpg 20190205_183207.thumb.jpg.f2bbf985cff6d0ea4a968dc0a71ad396.jpg

Next - painting!

 

Steven

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Thanks, Mark.

 

To cut the grooves I used the No. 11 scalpel. To make the "rings" I pushed the point of a cobbler's awl into the raised "lands" between the grooves to make shallow circular depressions as close together as I could make them.

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Unfortunately this would sometimes cause the whole "land" to lift for a couple of millimetres  (wood has a grain and will do that kind of thing if you ask too much of it) and so it wasn't perfect. But the faults were pretty small and hardly visible with the naked eye.

 

Then onto painting. First a coat of black to form a dark "shadow" background to the silver of the mail rings.

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Then several thin coats of silver to build up the colour of the rings. Unfortunately once the paint was on I discovered that in many places the "lands" were more obvious than the rings, so I had to re-do the depressions with the awl. Once done, however, it ends up looking very much like real mail.  

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Unfortunately at this point I took my eye off the ball for just a moment. I was sawing off the base so I could finish off the legs and I cut too close and took off half his right foot. It can be remedied - I've glued another piece of pear wood on and will cut it to shape once the glue is properly dry. But very annoying!

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I've started painting the escutcheon ("coat of arms") on the shield, based on an 11th century Byzantine ikon (see the right-hand soldier at the bottom of the scene. Very fiddly to do, but rather satisfying to discover I can do fine work and have it look good. 

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Steven

 

 

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Thanks everybody for all the likes. I have to say I'm pretty happy with the way these figures are starting to turn out. Practice, practice, practice. It really seems to work!

 

Now I'm moving on to the Greek Fire siphon. I decided that it was probably built as a self-contained unit so it could be hoisted onto the ship or off again as needed. So first I made a platform to take the unit. Here it is set against my bodgy rough version to get the spacing right.

20190207_103449.thumb.jpg.2e5e319769d2c918fafe4fc3d06497d3.jpg Here it is with the planking attached. Overlapping planks at the edges will be trimmed in line with the substructure.20190208_093921.thumb.jpg.a8ce20d2700e6102fea8448656a26e55.jpg

Then I got onto making the cylinders for the pump (from pear wood, which has a nice tight grain and is very suitable for carving). I first cut a long piece with a square section, then cut off the edges to make it octagonal, then circular, smoothing off with my "poor man's lathe"

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Cutting two cylinders to length, allowing for a tenon to fix them into the platform.

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Hollowing them out at the top to look like they have pistons in them) and making the connecting rods for the pump handle.

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Here is the support for the pump handle, with a cut-out for the handle and a tenon to fit into the platform.

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Here's the oil reservoir, with legs to sit above the brazier which heats the oil.

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And here they all are together, ready for dry fitting.

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Steven

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Here's the pump dry fitted

20190208_120843.thumb.jpg.d14411d1eff76572d7661e6cce7517c0.jpg 20190208_120911.thumb.jpg.b7c413e5f193f5d3f85657aea9176dc2.jpg 20190208_120936.thumb.jpg.e34842aff2486d0615cc6f2b4f362e84.jpg

And the brazier under way. Again it was to have legs, this time to keep the hot metal away from the deck. I decided to go a little more ornate this time, in line with (though considerably simpler) a brazier that appears in a contemporary Byzantine illustration with curved and tapered legs. Cutting the main body  and drilling holes to start making the openings for the legs.

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Though not of this process, a little carelessness with the scalpel and - oops!

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A (fairly shallow) slice into the end of the thumb. My own fault, of course. As the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail said "T'is but a flesh wound - I've 'ad worse." 

 

And getting back to work with a band-aid on the end of the thumb getting in the way. Naturally I've made the brazier empty; It would only be filled and lit when the siphon was to be used:

20190208_172206.thumb.jpg.8e31ee99a4e9a9e5c1983697b6f05fca.jpg 20190208_172225.thumb.jpg.0cdbf291bbd2897118bd82038091859d.jpg 

Cutting off the "handle" bit I was using to hold the piece with:

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And finalising the shape:

20190208_174119.thumb.jpg.b43ee3c2b3f63a26dbe26afd964b3ee2.jpg

Steven

 

Edited by Louie da fly

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And here is the pump handle marked out, ready for carving.

20190208_175854.thumb.jpg.c781d39991a2129f3d61509afecedbb8.jpg

All the above pieces painted and glued into place. I've put in a temporary pivot for the pump handle made from a bit of wire, and though I've drilled holes in the handle to take them, I have yet to figure out what kind of connectors I'll use between the con rods and the handle. Note the giant matchstick for comparison.

20190208_195037.thumb.jpg.0a64b5078bb033a2dafd7c4ef9cc0d62.jpg 20190208_195050.thumb.jpg.d256d827a35b08af41d523d917a9ed95.jpg 20190208_195104.thumb.jpg.ce97052292c0d07b2c83764c7c8f1934.jpg

The next thing is to make the assembly for the nozzle itself, then to add the pipes to carry the oil (fortunately the wire I'm using for the pivot is exactly the right diameter to replicate these).

 

Steven 

Edited by Louie da fly

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I know that match, IgorSky has the same blow up one he uses in his SIB build logs. About a meter in length!

 

Very lovely detail at that size Steven!!

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That is some very nice detail no matter what scale, but impressive at your working scale.  And...  you have a permanent memento of your work soaked into one of the parts -  no arguing about who made the model as a simple DNA test will resolve that :)  Surprising how much a small think like a bandaid in an awkward place can interfere.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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32 minutes ago, BANYAN said:

And...  you have a permanent memento of your work soaked into one of the parts -  no arguing about who made the model as a simple DNA test will resolve that :) 

Whenever I slash myself for the first time working on any project, I'll put some blood in an out of the way place that I remember, just for that reason :) Like all of my chip carvings have little blood stamps on the back.

 

And Louie, the pumps look great.

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Thanks for all the likes and for the supportive comments.

 

In an earlier life I did mediaeval re-enactment and I used to be on a forum for people who make armour. My signature on the forum was "It's not really armour unless you've bled on it" 😀

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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Working on the forecastle, the siphon assembly and the "business end" (iron head) for the spur.

 

The forecastle with a slot in the front of the parapet for the nozzle of the siphon. The idea is that the nozzle should be able to rotate from side to side, and to a certain extent up and down as well.

20190209_143622.thumb.jpg.665331e66b6c82682ea55fd6c4f82382.jpg

 

Here is the pear wood lion's head which is the housing for the siphon nozzle, painted to look like weathered bronze. I've hollowed out the back so the nozzle can stick through his mouth.

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The head for the spur - I'm no good with sheet metal, and neither wood nor cardboard did the trick so after a lot of pondering I decided to make it out of what we in Oz call "car bog" - bodywork filler. I wrapped the spur in cling wrap, held in place with sticky tape, so the bog wouldn't stick to the spur before I was ready.

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Bogged

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The bog filed roughly to shape

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and taken off the spur. The cling wrap worked a treat.

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Filed down to its final outside dimensions and stuck on to the spur with Araldite (don't know the generic term, but I believe it's a two-part epoxy)

20190209_143144.thumb.jpg.a04df1543295cd0bf5f6a2028185bc2e.jpg 20190209_143154.thumb.jpg.29316015a590eba300e7a4a099dbb79b.jpg

There's still some tidy-up work to be done on both the forecastle parapet and the head of the spur, but it's coming along well.

 

Steven 

 

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Looking forward to seeing all that great detail come together at the business end Steven; looking good.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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