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Louie da fly

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

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3 hours ago, cog said:

You could have lowered it a couple of mm's ... (and the others as well) if we have to go by what Dick wrote: the spurs are to long

Carl, Dick was talking about the length of the spur, which is the thing sticking out from the bow that took the place of the ancient ram. He and I agree to disagree about how long it should be. Contemporary pictures show it shorter than I've made mine - sometimes it is shown ridiculously short and could never perform the function it was intended for - but in a contemporary specification for spurs intended for Angevin galleys (late 13th century) the required length is given. As a dromon was about 3/4 the length of an Angevin galley, Prof Pryor theorised that its spur would be 3/4 the length of that, and that's the length I've used. Could be wrong, but we'll never know.

 

Steven 

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Please accept my appologies for my misunderstanding, and base my conslusion on  that

 

9 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

Could be wrong, but we'll never know

So Dick could be right ... (just to rub it in), but we shall never know. Just like his remark on the bread basket

 

Then considering the other matter, you could have lowered the "horns" in which the masts, and yards are laid to rest for were those really that high ... or were they just high enough to help the masts drop on those supports ...

 

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Posted (edited)

No worries, Carl. Understandable.

 

Dick could certainly be right. I've already disregarded the Angevin galley's measurements for the mast and the yards because they just didn't seem right to me (the relationship between masts and yards meant that to avoid the forward end of the yard hitting the deck, either the yard had to be on a very low angle or it had to be fixed to the mast very close to its forward end. Neither of those looked right and I ended up going with my gut feeling).

 

So if those dimensions are suspect, why not the length of the spur? The specification Prof Pryor quotes is "sperones duos galee de robore bonos pulcros et sannos, longos gode XIIII pro quolibet et largos palmum unum ..." which I think means "two spurs provided of good strength, beautiful and (healthy?), each 14 long and one palm thick". So how long is a "palm"? In other fields I've seen - such as http://www.levantia.com.au/pdf/Dawson_Fit_for_the_Task.pdf -  the values of dimensional units have been found to vary over time and between regions - just as the Dutch "foot" in the 17th century wasn't 12 inches.  However I've made my decision and glued the spur in place, so I'm sticking with it.

 

And yes, it used to look like a bread basket. But I think I can flatter myself that it looks like a ship now - and in my humble opinion, a rather beautiful one.

 

Dick's using the word "horns" to describe what I've previously called "wings" - the upward extensions at the stern of many galleys of the period - see post #807).

 

The crutches (let's call them that for clarity), have to be that high so the crew can get underneath the masts and yards. Check out the first picture from Age of the Dromon in my post #802 - you can see the masts/yards as a horizontal bar quite a distance above the deck. And a ship on the Column of Trajan has a similar feature. Even then they could perhaps interfere with the foot of the sail when the ship is under way - it's all a compromise between conflicting requirements (as usual when designing something complex).

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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Just been trying out a bit of painting - for the awning at the poop and the Imperial flag. These are just test pieces which I did to see if the technique worked, without checking against the original sources, so the details aren't correct.

 

The awning is based on this:

1655742410_Byzantinesilkeagle.jpg.4fdb6005d9810c4a9dfe5e087548cbe3.jpg

And the flag is based on these:

1772917550_SkylitzesEmperorsshipf_68.JPG.8b34da4dc08536ae1bd81da95e17079a.JPG 1507494627_Skylitzesf.31rdetailbanner.jpg.8099e7e53f97e728730192a3bb84e0fc.jpg

I'd already painted the fabric purple, so we start with the roughed-out eagle. The foil is from the wrapping of an Easter egg - I got the idea from someone's build on this forum, and I think it should reproduce the flapping of a flag nicely. First coat of paint:

 

20190601_100709.thumb.jpg.c5af506c5fb5ea27da6ea2ad7ebbc20d.jpg

and second:

20190601_102018.thumb.jpg.bae0d26a37765841594bef855bbb9ba9.jpg

 

The awning worked fine, but the acrylic paint just doesn't work on the foil, so I'll need to get some enamel paint for that.

 

Steven

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The awning for the poop, with the Imperial eagles as a pattern in the fabric. First I cut a piece from an old pillow case (the finest weave fabric I've been able to get hold of easily). The idea was to have the awning long enough to form side walls, but have the walls rolled up. I used a toothpick to roll the fabric around.

20190601_164916.thumb.jpg.14538ce7234c24f121a7f8f5f7277b84.jpg 20190601_175322.thumb.jpg.2aebf4dd2ab1a0771ac4c3f74a4d3a8b.jpgThen paint the base colour of imperial purple:

20190601_180358.thumb.jpg.25ea07bfe57e27cd4a43bb200eaf757c.jpg

I used the acrylic paint full strength. Unfortunately, it made the fabric stiff. Also I got a bit of PVA glue on the fabric and it made the paint blotchy. 

20190601_220110.thumb.jpg.57afd733760d7de0128720c099436903.jpg

So on to version 2.

Using several thin washes of acrylic I got the colour right and the fabric was somewhat more flexible. A layer of cling wrap between the awning and the structure to keep the paint from bleeding though onto the wood. But the fabric had a fold in it that wouldn't come out:

20190602_140542.thumb.jpg.e1043f68a9c5dd907e44009eadb2963f.jpg

So onto version 3.

First I painted it purple (again), then I made a stencil by reducing the photo of the original fabric on the photocopier, rubbing it with olive oil to resist the water-based paint - made it quite card-like - then cutting it out with a scalpel.

20190606_130010.thumb.jpg.6524e0c7fe3a08720b6564df22a85fec.jpg 20190606_132100.thumb.jpg.d731581a2689bc8c58ea097f137b8b3c.jpg

Next, checking it for fit against the awning structure.

20190607_095019.thumb.jpg.27da283c1ffa6454bbd25f9af6550c12.jpg

And filling in the detail with a fine water-colour paint brush - the longest and most labour-intensive part.

20190608_142421.thumb.jpg.5c5e23948cd423ec2383f69b16ccae18.jpg  20190611_115921.thumb.jpg.a048a467e164d3e21b38dc0c5199f8c4.jpg

And painting the reverse side so the pattern would show on the rolled up part.

20190612_132410.thumb.jpg.69e98f15f2f2fb53426a63395207898a.jpg

And the finished item.

20190612_192235.thumb.jpg.26b83fb137fed5166f5cfe9838ee61ab.jpg 20190612_192252.thumb.jpg.77365451b3ec1ed7107498f8523d70a4.jpg

I think I need to tighten the roll a bit, and perhaps put ties around it to complete the picture.

 

Steven

 

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Posted (edited)

You are an artist! I told you that before... but this is far over and beyond ship model building. This is pure art. Congrats dear friend astonishing!

 

Christos

Edited by MESSIS

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23 minutes ago, MESSIS said:

You are an artist! I told you that before... but this is far over and beyond ship model building. This is pure art. Congrats dear friend astonishing!

 

Christos

Seconded.

 

Running out of superlatives to describe this masterwork. If you see a limo, Steven, registered at Athens and a fellow with a large briefcase on your doorstep, don't sell.

His briefcase isn't large enough.

 

Nika.

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(Blush). Gee, you guys!😁 The comments are greatly appreciated and very welcome.

 

But without (too much) false modesty I think the result justifies all the extra work I put into it to get it the way I wanted it.

 

I have to say, though, that when I was more than 3/4 of the way through, the devil came to me and said "Maybe it would look better if you throw that one away and start all over again, this time with the eagles vertical on each side of the awning . . .".

 

But that way lies madness . . .

 

Druxey, thanks for the suggestion. I'm currently using enamel paint on the foil; it's drying at the moment, so I'll see how it turns out. I'm hoping it doesn't all just flake off when I start to put the "flutter" in the banner.

 

Steven

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3 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

Druxey, thanks for the suggestion. I'm currently using enamel paint on the foil; it's drying at the moment, so I'll see how it turns out. I'm hoping it doesn't all just flake off when I start to put the "flutter" in the banner.

Well done Steven. The scale doesn't make it any easier either

 

You might want to try to "flutter" banner before your paint is completely cured

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Posted (edited)

The more you look at each image, the more you superlativise (new word). Incredible. Now if anyone can re-imagine Constantine's Imperial barge of say, 340 330 AD... close your eyes... the exotic mystique of Konstantinoupolis compels you....

 

You can open them now.

 

You recall I like my flags: have a Fausta, St. Helena and the Imperator himself. Just in case you need a motivation for the future. :)

 

 

h5_2_flag.jpg

Edited by Nikiforos
Oops

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Posted (edited)

Thanks again for the comments and likes. Nikiphoros, that's the labarum, isn't it? Maybe one day I'll do a fourth century ship and use it, but I've got too many on my wish list already . . .  

 

I've finished the banner. The first thing I did (after flattening the foil out and removing all the crinkles) was score the surface of the foil with the pattern I proposed to paint.

20190602_153709.thumb.jpg.b21b26836c842369b6f2df0e3a5a4ee9.jpg

 

Then I put the paint on with a fine watercolour paintbrush, one colour at a time with drying time between colours. I wasn't too careful about staying within the borders of the "tails" because I was going to cut them out later.

20190613_100507.thumb.jpg.9a4a32ae24fbe1f8f76361a1ede6a297.jpg

I realised I'd forgotten to allow enough "fabric" at the hoist so I could add the halyard, so I had to ad some more foil with CA. Unfortunately, wherever this touched the paint it messed it up and I had to re-do it in several places. 

20190613_174222.thumb.jpg.6fe29097ea6dee7f2e1c28a028bf6e5a.jpg

And here's the finished Imperial banner. I'm pretty happy with it; the enamel paint sticks to the foil very well, and the foil is so light it supports itself while looking like the tails are moving in the wind.

20190614_144558.thumb.jpg.c7730e3b2f1846e9b6f105d079d2a0b2.jpg

Another thing I've been playing with - getting a bit ahead of myself, but I tend to do that - is making a three-sheaved block based on one from the Serce Limani wreck of c. 1025 AD. Here's the block as found, plus a reconstruction drawing, from the 1983 thesis of Sheila Diane Mathews for a Master of Arts with Texas A&M University. I've differed slightly with her interpretation - I think for symmetry of forces there should be three holes at the base, not two.

1422741978_SerceLimanithreesheaveblockasfound.JPG.e629eb9a01bd3b6d0a1201290cbade50.JPG 331153269_SerceLimanithreesheaveblockreconstruction.JPG.a320de16d801f263b27d3cd5c6bfb5d6.JPG

I've no idea if I'll be able to use this on the dromon model - I'm not all that good at visualising how blocks and tackle work together, and I'm going to have to do a lot of figuring out of just what fits where - but it was just fun to do, even if I never use it.

 

There's also a single sheaved block from Serce Limani, and I think I'll be much more likely to find a use for this one. However, I haven't made it yet.

552313062_SerceLimanisinglesheaveblockasfound.JPG.d1726553dcae7c48362bdbb70e650a4f.JPG

Here's the "blank" I made it from. I think it's plum wood, but I've got a bit disorganised with my wood pile. This was version 1.

20190613_190415.thumb.jpg.5028addd6c71f9997681a9369a09f1cc.jpg

I discovered that the drill I had (0.6mm) was too big, so I had to go down to what I think is 0.2mm.

20190613_192428.thumb.jpg.1a36996aa23c032ad1a76b7916dc5b04.jpg

That worked a treat, though very exacting doing such tiny work (and without a drill press - I really must get myself one sometime soon).

20190614_144844.thumb.jpg.91613099345d5d190e35cde362773f3c.jpg

So there it is. My next projects will be making the chain pump and trying out my design for the upper oarbenches. I've already made (gasp!) the first upper oarsman roughly in plasticiene (modelling clay) and got his approximate shape. Now I'll have to do it more exactly in wax to see how he fits with the bench and the oar.

 

Steven 

Edited by Louie da fly

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I really appreciate how you are taking archaeological finds from early century ships and incorporating them into your build. We all as model builders strive to do just that with our representations. Who knows when the last time a actual 1025 AD three-sheaved block and single sheaved block were actually used, but now threw your effort they will be used in historical context for many years to come threw your modeling expertise. I do applaud you sir and all the others whom produce these finds into reality once again. Personally ship modeling needs to be incorporated into all of our schools classes as the wealth of learning just from simple builds would be a wonderful teaching tool in many different discipline's.

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The praise is much appreciated, Jonathan. I believe there are many among the fraternity who put in that extra bit of effort into researching for their models - I can probably think of a dozen off the top of my head whose detailed research, even with much more modern vessels, is awestriking. The difference with mediaeval vessels is that there's a lot more guesswork in the major bits because the information is so sparse in comparison with later ones.

 

At the moment I'm still trying to work out what those three holes at the bottom of the block are for. The rest of it, no problem - all makes sense, but I can't for the life of me figure out what those three holes are supposed to do. Anybody have any ideas? They just seem superfluous to me.

 

Steven 

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Hi Steven

 

speaking as a practical sailor & not a marine archaeologist, I'd say that the reason for the three hole is clear - but I tend to leap to conclusions... One side of that block has 5 or 6 ropes, & say the capacity is 100kg each, the other side of the block needs to be able to take the total load of 500 or 600kg. The point of the block is leverage, 5 or 6 to 1 in this case, but the effect is to increase load. The other side of the block must be able to equalise the load, so it's the standing rigging multiplied to be able to withstand the load of the block - I reckon it's a rope wound around several times to take the load. If my idea is correct, it would be instead of the lateral hole & rope you put in.

 

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Thanks, Mark. That makes sense - except the lateral hole is there in the original, as well as the two/three smaller holes. As I see it, the ship would use either one or the other, but not both. I was thinking to take all that load as you say, the lateral hole would have a fairly hefty rope through it.

 

Still trying to figure it out . . .

 

In the meantime, here's some pics of the crew of the Olympias trireme in action.

246065056_oarsmenOlympias1.jpg.fdc0caf3004c1c6148e748b1a9519925.jpg 1253097821_oarsmenOlympias5.jpg.00f92b28909839990f280b41d22c83d6.jpg 1835831846_oarsmenOlympias8.jpg.ea56915d86a3c45390ed743402bd2c25.jpg 140748895_oarsmenOlympias9.jpg.593930d1c1797eb3e647c6717cab725a.jpg

Most modern oarspeople (gender equality nowadays) sit as close to the surface of the water as possible, to maximise the efficiency of their oars. The higher above the water, the more wasted effort. However, this is not possible with a multi-banked galley. As the three banks in a trireme are offset by half a person's height, the guys at the very top (the thranites) are sitting above the heads of the lowest guys (the thalamians). This would probably be as far above the water as the upper oarsmen of a dromon, so they would be holding their oars at pretty much the same angle, all other things being equal. These are experienced oarsmen (apart from the Greek navy people) and I was particularly interested in how they would hold their oars this high above the water. Note that there are various ways of holding the oar handles, and also the angle of the thranite oars seems to differ from one photo to another  - perhaps Olympias was riding higher in the water at different times? Note also that their legs are almost straight, with their feet pushing against the back of the bench in front. I decided to model the oarsmen at the end of their stroke, mostly because it would be easier to model and cast with the arms close in to the body.

 

And here's the plasticiene oarsman based on these. I've tried to base his arms as closely as possible on those of the Olympias thranites.
 

20190615_191038.thumb.jpg.187552f44d164d874dcd27ea2b385644.jpg 20190615_191043.thumb.jpg.544b935fa2619c0e0b63422105adb15e.jpg 20190615_191048.thumb.jpg.d46ee275c4e5df14107f131faf7ab6bf.jpg

He's obviously a newbie and feeling very out of his depth.

 

The oarbench is a little higher in practice than in my original drawings - I was planning to have the tenon on the end of the bench slot into the top wale, but it hasn't turned out that way and I need to do some thinking about what to do about it. More in due course.

 

Steven 

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Posted (edited)

Hmm,  I might have the answer regarding the holes in the block.

 

BlockAndTackle.gif.c023db34f8ec5c94ae7bc274ad44a621.gif

Look at the top block in the gun tackle, the twofold purchase and the threefold purchase - or the bottom block in the single luff and gyn tackles - each is attached at both top and bottom, either to the other block or to the load. So both the transverse hole and the three smaller holes could have a function. I'm afraid my brain overheats when I look at these diagrams, but I think the Serce Limani block must work rather like the threefold purchase. Perhaps to raise the yard?

 

As my own model has only two sheaves at the top of the mast, I don't think I'd be using that particular block. Need to do some more thinking . . .

 

Wait till you see the other Byzantine block I'm looking at - with sheaves at right angles to each other . . . hope my brain doesn't explode.

 

Steven

 

 

Edited by Louie da fly

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Sheaves at right angles? Sounds like a shoe block. These were in common use in the 18th century, as Steel illustrates this type of block. He describes these as "...used for legs and falls of buntlines, but are seldom used." Rigging and Seamanship, Volume I, page 156.

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Hi Steven, 

Continental sheet blocks had an upper sheave at a right angle from the lower sheave. They were somewhat pear shaped. This was used for the Topsail sheet and lower yard lifts. Of course your Dromon was Lateen rigged so it will be interesting to see what purpose a block with sheaves at right angles was used for there.

The amount of research you are having to do for this build is extraordinary considering there is so little info from this period. Great stuff,I really enjoy following your build.

 

Dave :dancetl6:

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Posted (edited)

I've got two pics of this block. I'll have to scan the pictures in and post them. They are from the Yenikapi finds.

 

In the meantime, here's the current progress on the pattern for the oarsmen to be cast from, based on the Olympias photos above. It's carved from casting wax which is very good for this purpose. I'm planning to make silicone moulds and cast the figures in resin. But half of them are on the starboard side, half on the port, so their arms will be mirror images of each other. I've held back from carving the arms except in broad outline that allows for both configurations. What I intend to do is cast two wax models from the silicone then trim the arms to shape - one port and one starboard.

 

Here the guy is drawn on a bit of wax.

20190615_221847.thumb.jpg.d9279732ea10f39d59d8c6a2894da388.jpg

Part way through - pretty rough at the moment

20190618_105539.thumb.jpg.d2195dc9bcfce829abb8eec60e55d610.jpg 20190618_105545.thumb.jpg.15b831fc954aeb80b75d0d02e8d03955.jpg

Finer

20190618_125607.thumb.jpg.c21ae799d40642559593e7e5df4e1fd4.jpg 20190618_125611.thumb.jpg.46f998da9e4924419da63678a4beea24.jpg

And pretty much finished.

20190618_134241.thumb.jpg.d515bd0c37deaf82f253406627d645d9.jpg

I've given the fellow long hair and a beard because I'm also thinking of making several pattern originals for each side, with different hair styles, bearded or clean shaven etc. 

 

I've never tried silicone and resin moulding before, so I'm not sure how this will work out. But there's a very good tutorial on Youtube - I think it's produced by the people who make the product, but it's very instructive. 

 

I still have to find out where I can get silicone and resin and preferably some knowledgeable advice, in Ballarat - wish me luck! 


 

Steven

 

Edited by Louie da fly

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Just thought I'd update the record for the full vessel: Here it is with just about everything on board that I've done to date, though quite a few of them are only temporarily in place for the photos. A lot of things "on hold" till other things get done. The big one is being ready to put the lower oars in place. Once that's done, a lot of other things can be finalised and many things already made can be put in place permanently.

20190623_174006.thumb.jpg.bc48f33312c9c1b0651d53bda99be361.jpg 20190623_174015.thumb.jpg.b019b4125efc155006310dd2efb57177.jpg 20190623_174143.thumb.jpg.74a43fc2ab2737c67e549a4b9b117006.jpg

Steven

 

PS: That's only half the oars - the others are made but they have the inboard end "bodged" so I can fit them on the ship without having to make lower deck oarsmen. 

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