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Berlin by Model Mariner - 1674 - scale 1:64 Navy Board style

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Hi all!


Like most members I don't have a backup of my (lost) logs but since I have a log in a German forum in parallel as well I can re-create it nearly as it was (without the replies from other members of course) by translating the German version, but this will take some time. But to begin with here is a picture of my model as it looks now:






Data and sources  of the model and the ship:

All (or better the little) I know about the frigate Berlin goes back to the appropriate chapter (by Hans Szymanski) in the book Buch „Risse von Schiffen des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts“, Verlag Delius Klasing (now out of print) and the plans attached the book. These plans are a re-construction done by Horst Hoeckel in the 1930s






Length:        80 ft – 22,65 m

Breadth:      22 ft – 6,23 m

Armament: 10 four-pounders, 2 three-pounders and 3 two-pounders


Horst Szymanski mentions in the book that Hoeckel came to slightly different dimensions when making his re-construction.

Unfortunately no sources are mentioned in the book.


There is a contemporary painting (1684) by the Dutch artist Lieve Pietersz Verschuir showing the fleet oft he elector of Brandenburg on which also the Berlin is shown (relatively small in the background – marked in red)




I don’t know if the original painting is large enough to show sufficient details as basis for a reliable re-construction.

I could not find any other sources or information for the original ship. All kits or plans of Berlin which I have seen seem to go back to Hoeckel’s re-construction. This again obviously is based on a contemporary plan of a Dutch pinnace in the Scheepvaartmuseum (maritime museum) in Amsterdam.




There are no original plans of Berlin and no other contemporary painting of her exists and I believe that from the painting shown above it is even not clear if Berlin was really a single decked pinnace or a small twodecker (as other Brandenburgish frigates were). So maybe Hoeckel was right in assuming that Berlin looked similar to this Pinnace, maybe not. I believe however that a full size replica built according to Hoeckel‘s plan would not have looked odd in a Dutch harbour in the second half of the 17th century.


Short history oft he ship:


The ship is a pinnace and was built 1674 in the Dutch province Zeeland on account of Benjamin Raule, the organizer of the navy of the elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg, who has then chartered the ship from Raule.

From 1676 to 1678 the ship operated in the Baltic Sea against Sweden. In 1679 six Brandenburg warships - one of them the Berlin - seized several merchant vessels of Hamburg, 1680 Berlin together with four other frigates captured the Spanish 50 gun ship „Carolus Secundus“, afterwards until 1681 the Berlin together with some other ships operated in the West Indies, were three Spanish ships were taken. In 1687 Berlin sailed as ship of the „Brandenburgish Africa Company“ to West Africa and was confiscated by the „Dutch Westindia Company“ in 1688 and this was the end of Berlin’s career as a Brandenburgish warship.

The model:

I have built the model in the particular style oft he English Navy Board models. I am aware that it is to some extent a contradiction to build a model of a Dutch ship in the way English Navy board models were built in the 17th century) but this model is a way for me to study this building method and to learn about the difficulties connected with it by building a small model (without doing a lot of research) before turning over to something bigger (what I have in mind is building a Navy board model of HMS Resolution 1667 based on my own re-construction)

length oft he model:    approx. 450 mm (17 ¾“) from figurehead to taffrail

scale:                          1: 64 resp. 3/16 inch per foot

material:                      pear

                                    maple fort he green stained klinker planking and the blue stained planking of the stern and some carvings


Framing of a Navy Board model:


Before I begin the actual build log I‘d like to explain shortly the particular style of framing of English Navy Board models:


The frames consist of floor, first and second futtocks (toptimbers), the hull is not planked below the main wales. The decks consist of deck beams, carlings and ledges and are only partially planked to allow a view to the interior. Some experts believe this method of framing is just stylized, others believe that English ships were really built like this in the early 17th century. This particular style of framing has however been retained (with some small alterations) for Navy board models until about the mid 18th century.

The following picture shows the typical arrangement of a frame of a Navy board model consising of floor, first futtock and second futtock.

On the left hand side the midship frame (in this case my own re-construction of HMS Resolution), in the center the side view and on the right hand side the individual parts, the red marks show the position of the feet of the first and second futtocks




And this shows the same in wood:




There were different variaties of Navy board framing but it is not the object of this log to describe them all. For all interested in this subject I recommend the book Navy Board Ship Models 1650 – 1750 by John Franklin.


Navy board models were not planked below the main wale. The decks were built accurately from all required parts i. e. deckbeams, carlings, ledges, knees etc. but the planking was carried out only partially.

The next part will deal with the building of the framing of the model






Edited by Model Mariner
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Making frame templates:

The line drawings show only 13 stations, for this reason I had at first to work out the shape oft the stations in between. This could of course have been done by means of drawings but I considered this to be too much work so, I choose another approach.

I have built at first a half model consisting of half frames (or rather bulkheads) made of plywood in the same thickness as the envisaged final pear wood frames.




After sawing out the 13 half frames according to the line drawing I made several others of the same size to fill the empty space in between these 13 ones. After numbering all these half frames from stern to bow I have drilled  2 holes into each one, cemented them together with rubber cement and bolted them togheter by means of two threaded rods. So I got a solid stepped half hull which I sanded then into the required shape using the first 13 half frames as a guide. After taking out the  threaded rods I could break the hull easily apart and had as result templates for all frames (for this reason  the frames were all numbered.

Unfortunately I did not take a picture oft he stepped hull (whe I made this I did not have a build log in mind) but I have assembled the frame templates once more for the following photographs later on, some of the frames were stained dark brown for sake of clarity.













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Making the frames:

Since my model is rather small I choose a method of frame making which produces quite an amount of waste wood but safes a lot of work.

At each double frame the floors and second futtocks are in the same plane and are overlapped by the first futtock and toptimber in a second plane.

I have sawn out each first plane as a whole unit (A in the pictures) and made then a short cut vertical to the outer surface at points 1 and 2 (red lines in B).
Then I glued parts as shown in C as a second layer onto the first one, these parts will later become the first futtocks and toptimbers.



When glueing the parts together care was taken not to get glue onto the hatched area (shown only at the left hand side). After cutting out the outer contour of the first futtocks and toptimbers and the inner contour of both layers the part between the cuts 1 and 2 falls out and the result we have the double frame D. All toptimbers were prolonged to a reference height. When cutting out the inner part I did not cut away the uppermost part (marked green in the following photograph), this serves as a temporary stiffener, the upper edge of these cross pieces is at the level of my reference height. On these cross pieces the centerline was marked in pencil (marked red in the following picture).




The heads and feet of the various frame components are located along the colored lines indicated in the body plan in the next picture.



It seems that for Navy Board models these lines were made just arbitrary so that the ends oft the frame components followed fair curves, maybe they were also made with the help of flexible batons. These lines did not necessarily correspond to the actual position of the timber ends of the full sized ship.





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Thanks Mark :)


When making and assembling the stem, keel and apron I left some additional material (shaded green in the following picture) at the inner side of the apron, the upper edge of which again corresponded to my reference height. This assembly was then fixed with the help of a wooden jig at a flat surface on to which the centerline as well as some square auxiliary lines were drawn. The keel was then aligned horizontally and exactly vertically over the centerline. The centerline
and the square auxiliary lines together with the keel served as a guide to align the frames properly.



A view to the finished framing from below:





Edited by Model Mariner
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The first deckbeams as well as the ladder down to the hold are built in:




the longitudinal square batten is not part of the model and serves only to align the deck beams


close up of the ladder:




The wales and a several strakes of outer planking are fitted: the plankes are treenailedtwice  at every second futtock respectively toptimber, the wales are treenailed twice at each first and second futtock.




a few more strakes and the klinker planking at the poop are added:




the outer planking is nearly finished:








Edited by Model Mariner
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Ahoy Klaus


I find much inspiration in your post, thank you taking the time to show it.


Could I request a photo highlighting the klinker planking at the poop?


If it is not too much to ask :)

There will be a lot more pictures to come as the log goes on and some of them will show also the klinker planking in more dteail




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  • 1 month later...

the majority of the deckbeams is built in and I have started to put in the carlings and ledges:







forward part of the maindeck with view to the fore mast partner, fore Knight, riding bitts (cross beam not yet installed) and the hatch for the anchor cable:







main mast partner and main hatch:









aft part of the main deck with a view to a ladder down to the hold, the keelson is visible just forward of the ladder:




All these pictures are scans of relatively small photographs (taken long before I had a digital camera), therefore the quality is not that good




Edited by Model Mariner
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Thanks folks :)



The knight at the main mast is carved:




I cheated a little bit when making the mortises for the carlings and ledges: I made the cut outs in the beams only triangular, this is much easier and the visible result after putting in the carlings and ledges is just the same:



the main deck is planked, bitts, knights, capstan and elm tree pump as well as the bulkhead below the quarter deck are built in. One of the riders is visible through the main hatch:




Most of the deck beams of the quarter deck and the first two of the forcastle deck beams are installed:










Edited by Model Mariner
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the following picture (which I should have posted earlier) shows the bulkhead below the quarterdeck and the elm tree pump:



The knight at the mainmast and the main topsail bitts:




All beams of the forecastle deck are in (two beams have to be cut out for a hatch) and the quarterdeck is planked:




the framing of the upper stern is temporarely fitted:








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Thanks for the kind words folks :)  


A view through the open stern to the bulkhead on the quarter deck:




this shows how I made the curved timber (I don't know how it is called in English) between the upper and lower stern which is typical for Dutch built ships:






The upper stern has been planked and I have started to carve the decoration:








Edited by Model Mariner
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Hi Klaus!

I like your carvings a lot. How did you dig the central area of the coat-of-arms? Which timber did you use? It seems obeche. When I made the same curtains on my Berlin, I become crazy using mansonia nut. :huh:




The central area of the coat of arms has been cut out by means of a small milling cutter set to a depth of half the thickness of the wood. For the coat of arms I have used maple, the curtains as well as the lion are carved from pear






Since you are buidling (of have built) also the Berlin, what about a build log of at least sharing some pictures of your model?





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Thanks, Klaus for your reply!

My Berlin (a modified Corel kit) is resting on a shelf, waiting for a finishing that I think never will come. The hull is almost finished and I'd have to start rigging. If I start again with that model, I promise I'll open a log on this site.


You're doing a very good model, and carvings are outsanding. I'll follow your log.




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The steering arrangement:


My intention is to make a working steering arrangement (moveable rudder and whipstaff - I hope I will succed), but in the end I will however fix the rudder in the midship position by means of a drop of super glue


The rudder is made from 3 pieces of timber bolted (and glued) together, the gooseneck (made of brass) is bolted to the tiller by means of three thin copper bolts:




The pintles and gudgeons are made from a thin strip of brass onto which I have soldered a piece of tube respectively wire to form the hinges:




This will become the whipstaff (still a little bit too thick and too long), the metal fitting with the eye is bolted twice to the wood with thin brass bolts:




The rudder is fitted temporarily to the model and the and the whipstaff (still much too long) is inserted




the next pictures show the eye of the whipstaff fitted over the gooseneck of the tiller:






The step of the mizzen mast is visible between the beams forward of the tiller:




Next step will be to make and fit the rowle into it's scuttle










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  • 1 month later...
  • 9 months later...

I just could not find the time to make an update of my log as intended, whenever I started there was something more urgent to be done and so time went by.
Whatever, I will try now to catch up and to bring the log to the current status by reposting the Pictures with only a few words.

Steering gear: I intend to make a working steeering gear (don't know yet if I will succeed)

 the making the whipstaff rowle and the rowle inserted in it's place in the hull:




PS: for whatever reason the inserting of the pictures did not work as it should, I could not place the pics at selected positions in the text. After clicking on "Add to post" no attachment code was visible at the selected positions and all pics were shown after my post





Edited by Model Mariner
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