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Roter Lowe by Stevinne - Mamoli - 1:55 - Dutch-built Galleon

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It's with a little trepidation that I start my first build log on MSW. The Roter Lowe is my third plank-on-bulkhead build, the first being Constructo's Enterprise, followed up by AL's Renard. It's by far the most complex build I've undertaken, and my first with multiple gun decks and decorative woodwork. In this kit, the decorations are a mix of inlaid wood and printed cardboard. Not sure how I feel about the cardboard, yet. The materials look nice and the instructions come on five dual-sided sheets of plans.

I'm a bit concerned because the guns on the enclosed gun deck are to be mounted on carriages - I worry about them coming loose during the build and rattling around in the hull. I have to figure out some way to address that.

I picked up the kit a couple of years ago when Model Expo was having a moving sale. 

I'm a very slow builder, with lots of starts and stops, so be warned.

All that being said, let's post some pictures.








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I think I will pull up a chair and follow along. This is a new ship to me which always peaks my interest. Don't worry aboutthis being your first build log. I'm on my first as well and I can promise you that they don't grade us on them. In fact, most of the these guys show up with popcorn and sometimes even music. :P


Also there is no time requirements. You have alreay built a couple so you know that they take time to build. Take whatever time you need to build. We willall be here ready to see what you have built when you update no matter how long it takes.


Good luck and I look forward to watching you build her.

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So the build begins. This is the first time I've had to deal with a multi-part main frame. A little glue and some weights should do the trick.

Had some help from my second mate tonight. A thunder storm was rumbling through, and she felt it important to be as close as possible to guard my feet.





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I love Mamoli kits. For some reason? You have taken to a great start bud. If your stressing about a cannon coming loose wait until the end of the build and insert the cannon through the gun port at the end. Or if it's the carriage coming loose you worried about then drill a small hole in the bottom of the carriage and insert a piece of wire to hold in securly on the gun deck. Best of luck.

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Moving on with the build. I sanded the slots in the frames that will hold planking for the gundeck. I figured I'd do this before I had the upper deck on to make things easier. Then I had to form some crossbeams for upper deck supports, which was accomplished using my mitre box and then some sanding to get a curve in the top of each beam to give the deck the bowed appearance. I put those in place, but then realized I had to remove the beams for the poop and quarter deck, as the sequence of installing the decks dictates when the beams can be put in place.

Put in the decking at the very bow of the ship, which caused me to come up with my first question for you folks out there.

The instructions don't say anything, but I don't  think I should sand frame No. 1 that is extending past the deck to follow the curve of the deck, While this will assure there is no gap when I start to plank, it would also require I sand frame No.2 I will likely just sand the edges, to allow for a nice bend, and then plank the deck to follow the lay of the hull planking, if that makes sense.

Anyone disagree?

Thanks in advance for any input.





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The most common way of making sure your planks are going to lay right on your frames is to "fair" the hull. This is done by laying a temporary strip of wood across all the frames. If the strip lays flush with the frame then no sanding is needed. If there are gaps then sanding must be done on that frame. On most ships almost all the frames at the bow will need to be sanded to some degree. The stern can vary depending upon how much curve there is. The mid section typically does not need much sanding. Again this varies per ship. I highly recommend taking the time to do a proper fairing of the hull. It will help immensely when you go to plank her. Skipping this step usually only leads to headaches later. 


Also, if you are planning to plank the inside bulkheads then fairing needs to be done on the inside of the frames as well. I know this is a lot of tedious work but we all do it and I think you will see if you read the beginning of almost any P.o.F. or P.o.B. log that this is a vital step. 


Otherwise, your framing is looking great. You are well on your way.

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  • 7 months later...

So, with Spring, hopefully around the corner my thoughts turn back to the water and ships.

Today I worked on fairing the frame, sanding the bulkheads and making sure, hopefully, that everything will lie nicely once I start planking.

The bulkheads have a slot to put in planking that will be the gun deck, though the slot is awfully narrow, so spent a lot of time opening that up, too. Next step will be installing the gun deck.Roter2.jpg.db6ffeb30ccc63b0594a4aa0cbb43f65.jpg


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Installed the planking on the gun deck. Not sure I'm all that keen on the Mamoli instructions, which don't seem to have a master parts list, are written in really poor English and aren't particularly clear. The instructions do call for planking and installing the cabin fronts on deck first, but I'm thinking I will wait on that because I don't want to damage anything while I'm turning the hull around and working.0407172129b_resized.jpg.ab90aeac367ba12d4c292b8551dad914.jpg

I do think I should have fitted the deck before gluing the frames and false deck, since the deck planks appear a little wavy.

Once everything has a chance to dry, the next step will be shaping the outer deck plank to ensure it follows the contour of the hull planking.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Moving along slowly. Back from a vacation in Charleston, S.C., with a visit to the Stede Bonnet monument at the Battery and Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island - a much more interesting and enjoyable place to tour than nearby Fort Sumter in my humble opinion.

Tonight I sanded the gun deck to ensure it followed the line of the frames, so there won't be any surprises when I start planking and then painted the metal gunport frames so they will match the wood that will surround them. Next comes the process of gluing the frames in place and trying to ensure they all lineup correctly with the hull planking.


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Welcome back! Good to hear you had a nice trip and I agree that typically the lesser know places are better to visit than the main tourist attractions. I will have to add those two places to my list. :)


Smart thinking ahead on the sanding. Looking good!

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  • 2 months later...

Had taken a little break to work on another project - a 7'6'' bamboo fly rod. I found that much more tedious than ship building, but it's done. Now all I have to do is wait a few months for the varnish and epoxy to set (that's what the books I read recommend) and then I can try it out. Lucy, however, can't wait.


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Tonight's project was mounting the cannon on the gun deck. Because I'm worried about the barrels getting knocked loose during construction, I drilled holes into the pre-carved wooden carriages and inserted brass wire, which I then bent. A test or two showed the cannon tompions snap into place and are held there by the wire. I figure once I have the ship built, I will add a touch of glue to the tompions and then slide them in through the gunports and into place. Here's hoping it works.

I measured the space between bulkheads and found and marked the center and then glued in the gun carriages with a healthy dollop of wood glue. Once everything dries I will glue on the gun port frames. I was worried that the gun carriages and brass rod would be visible from above once the model is complete, but a quick check showed I was wrong. 


vieww cannon.jpg

view marked.jpg

view fitting port block.jpg

view vasa.jpg

vieww from top.jpg

view from top 2.jpg

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Started the planking today. The instructions call for the first planks to be on top of and beneath the gunport frames. I think that is going to mean that some of the planks in between will have to be narrowed, since I can't imagine this will be perfect. Oh well, we will see. Luckily, it's double planked and I can figure things out as I go along.


First plank.jpg

first plank 2.jpg

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Gave it a little thought over dinner and decided to add some framing pieces on either side of the gunport frame. I think this will make attaching the planks easier and more secure. It should also provide a little extra anchor for the frames. My apologies for the quality of the photos. Not sure if it is low light or I'm trying to take the photos too close.


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I've got to say that I don't like the white metal gunport frames. After dealing with them last night and thinking about it today, I think I would have preferred to fabricate my own from wood. I think that would have allowed me to some wiggle room to ensure the ports look good and the frames are oriented correctly in relation to the planking. I'm going to live with them on this build, but if I ever encounter them again, I am going to scratch build.

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Nice and unusual choice of model.  This ship surely looks quite detailed and will be impressive. About the cannons, I had the same problem when I built the plastic Soleil Royal, and I had to close a few gunlids because their cannon had gone adrift.  In this case I would certainly wrap a thin blackened metal thread around the gun, pass the ends through the bottom of the carriage, through the deck and fix it underneath.  Could easily be made invisible.  Otherwise, you could put the guns on their carriage only when rigging is completed.


Oh, just a little detail: the name Roter Löwe is German, so I suppose the ship is from one of the German states, and not Dutch (from the Netherlands)


I look forward to your progress: happy modelling.



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Did some more planking, which went kind of smoothly. This is a double-planked kit, so there will be a good deal of sanding, maybe some filling to get things looking good. 

Found that my sprue cutter came in handy again. It made very precise plank cuts, so I was able to get the planking good and tight up against the gunport frames. Got it at the local craft store with a 40 percent off coupon and I have to say it is a very handy little tool.

gunport framing 1.jpg

sprue cutter.jpg

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