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Liburnian Novilara by donrobinson -FINISHED - MarisStella

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The following is my build log for MarisStella's Liburnian Novilara. MarisStella has recently re-designed this kit somewhat and has added new instructions and step by step drawings to help guide you through the build, it also still comes complete with detailed plans.

 I do not have pictures of the box opening as it did not arrive in a box as such but I can assure all material is of top quality and up to the usual high standard MarisStella has set for itself.

 I would rate this kit as a junior plus or possibly even an intermediate .

The hull is single planked as is the deck (no plywood), planks are all walnut. Keel and bulkheads are laser cut from plywood and posed no problems fitting together. One of the many features of this kit is the partial carving of the figurehead. MarisStella does supply the pieces for you to get the basic shape but the final shaping is done by hand which proved to be lots of fun.

 Rigging is fairly basic, however quite different from the ships of later years. For instance rather than shrouds there are three back stays on either side, no rat lines to tie!! There is also a sewn sail included which adds to the rigging but is not that difficult to install.

 Overall this was a real enjoyable build and I would recommend it to anyone, especially for those who are looking for something a little different from the normal battleship and want a completion in a relatively short time.

 I hope you enjoy the build even though I am lacking detailed pictures as I was not planning on doing a build log. If you have any questions please feel free to ask, and all comments are always welcome.



Here the two piece keel has been put together, bulkheads installed and the rabbit cut. The spacer blocks are included and can be left in or taken out after fairing and planking have been completed. There really is no reason to remove them as  they will not be seen after deck planking is done. Notice the extra bulkheads at the bow and stern, this is one of the improvements on this kit.



Just a close shot of the bow and my not so good rabbit😁IMG_3133.thumb.jpg.9477c0d04626267367f906e2e6de91d2.jpg

And the stern area



Planking has begun using 1.5 x 5 mm walnut planks. the top planks at the bow are left till a little later in the build. Planking is relatively easy with not too much twisting and bending involved. Each plank after the first two top ones require tapering.



As I mentioned most planks require tapering and I later corrected the rise at the stern



Planking finished, not yet sanded. Here is where I am lacking pictures, the bow is now completed and I wish I could have shown you the process



Waterline masked off and ready for painting



Showing the waterline painted with a few coats of wipe on poly



Making of the oars



Each of the 30  oars consists of five pieces, although not shown here there is one more piece that goes into the end. It is hard to see but after gluing the blades on filler is used to fill the gap where joined to the dowel.



Oars sanded to shape and given a paint job. This is far as my artistic abilities go!!



Bulwarks painted and oars completed.


Thanks for checking things out, see you soon

Edited by donrobinson
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A liburnian! Wonderful!


Nice to see someone making one of these. I find ancient and mediaeval (oh, and renaissance!) ships more interesting than any others. Watching this with great interest.



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Thanks Steven, I am also getting to have a real like for these style of ships

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Oh, nice Don! Another MarisStella kit! Looks like a very fun and exciting project! That's well thought through that they space the bulkheads so that you don't necessarily need filler blocks.



Current build(s):

Continental Gunboat Philadelphia by Model Shipways



Completed build(s):

Model Shipways Phantom



Member of:

The Nautical Research Guild

N.R.M.S.S. (Nautical Research and Model Ship Society)

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Thanks Elijah, it is a well thought out kit, as you say, no filler blocks were used

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This is a lot earlier than I'd thought. I googled "liburnian" and found this, which includes a photo of the 6th/5th century BC Novilara tablet, bearing a likeness of the original from which the Maris Stella model must have come.




Even more interesting than I'd originally supposed. Maris Stella come up with some fascinating and original model kits. A really enjoyable build to follow.



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You are correct Steven 



This taken from the MarisStella site. They did use this as a reference. There was some argument as to whether there was a rudder or steering oars, but as you can see there is a rudder


Edited by donrobinson
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Hi Don.

A impressive kit from Marisstella.

I like the shape of this ship.

Nice job of the planking.


Regards Antony.

Best advice ever given to me."If you don't know ..Just ask.

Completed Mayflower

Completed Fun build Tail boat Tailboat

Completed Build Chinese Junk Chinese Pirate Junk

Completed scratch built Korean Turtle ship 1/32 Turtle ship

Completed Santa Lucia Sicilian Cargo Boat 1/30 scale Santa Lucia

On hold. Bounty Occre 1/45

Completed HMS Victory by DeAgostini modelspace. DeAgostini Victory Cross Section

Completed H.M.S. Victory X section by Coral. HMS Victory cross section

Completed The Black Pearl fun build Black Queen

Completed A large scale Victory cross section 1/36 Victory Cross Section

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Thanks Antony, I just found your gondola build. That will be an interesting build to watch, looking forward to seeing more on that one.

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Deck planking has started using 1.5 x 5 mm walnut planks





Deck planking completed



Stanchions and hatches installed


IMG_3348.thumb.jpg.59bb282629d0fad3cbb1410563cddf65.jpgOar ports cut out and rail installed



To size and place the oar ports properly I carved a piece of dowel to shape and size. Then I would put a light coat of paint to the end of the dowel then mark the side of the hull. Ports were first rough cut with a dremel then finished with a file and sandpaper







Assembling the thirty benches required




 That's it for now.


Thanks to all for stopping by, leaving likes and comments I truly appreciate it


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Last picture is a little out of sequence 😁

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone,Thanks for dropping, for the likes and comments. All very much appreciated. This post will be the finish of the Liburnian Novilara from MarisStella. This was a relatively quick and fun build, nothing too mind bending but still taught me a few more things about this hobby. I definitely would recommend this for any skill level.


Thanks Again



Showing the next step which is masking the figure head





Carved painted and installed



Rigging has started, a little different from the normal battle ship. With so much room to work with it proved to be very relaxing and fun.





Rigging completed and sail installed. A few minor touch ups and a little tidying up and I will call this completed.

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And here are the final pictures:



Thanks so Much, and Have A Good One!!

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Thanks Bob, a little out of the ordinary but it was a nice change of pace

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Thanks Mark, I had a blast building it

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On 8/19/2018 at 1:19 AM, donrobinson said:

This taken from the MarisStella site. They did use this as a reference. There was some argument as to whether there was a rudder or steering oars, but as you can see there is a rudder


That's pretty amazing. The stern rudder must have been invented by the Liburnae and lost again, because it doesn't reappear for about another 1500 years!


They survived as a major naval power from at least the time of the carving (5th/6th century BC) to the second half of the 1st century BC. According to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, at some point they evolved from monoremes to biremes and made such an impression on the Romans that they copied the liburna and even adopted its name for their own light fast ships. The name persisted for centuries, long after the Liburnae themselves were forgotten as a race.


How long they kept these stern rudders is anybody's guess; they may have dropped them in favour of side rudders themselves, in imitation of their neighbours, or they may have kept them until they themselves vanished as a seagoing power. But why wouldn't the cultural flow go the other way as well? Why don't we see others copying the stern rudder? Are side rudders more effective in galleys than stern rudders? There appears to be evidence in favour of that - according to Lawrence Mott's 1991 TAMU thesis The Development of the Rudder, A.D. 100-1600 - A Technological Tale, side rudders are more efficient and give better control than do stern rudders. As I understand it, this is because the keel doesn't interfere with the water flow.


Very interesting.



Edited by Louie da fly
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Thanks for sharing that Stephen, extremely informative!! That was a lot of research.

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Don, somehow I missed this really unique, beautiful build. Very nice. I really love the quality of walnut included in the MarisStella kits. Your deck work, really everything looks flawless. Keep up the great work.




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Thanks Ian, I am kind of pondering the dragon's eye. The more I look at it something does not seem right, Too big?? Not sure but I may have to change it

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I think it looks cool. Perhaps they are more commonly snake-like, a slit pupil rather that a round one but the round one looks a bit friendlier, in a cruel sort of way.🐉

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Different artistic conventions. I believe the "big" eye was the way things were done (look at the eyes on Greek galleys) though our own sensibilities seem to demand something a little more subtle.



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  • 9 months later...

Well done!

Building: 1:64 HMS Revenge (Victory Models plans)

1:64 Cat Esther (17th Century Dutch Merchant Ships)

On the building slip: 1:72 French Ironclad Magenta (original shipyard plans)


On hold: 1:98 Mantua HMS Victory (kit bash), 1:96 Shipyard HMS Mercury


Favorite finished builds:  1:60 Sampang Good Fortune (Amati plans), 1:200 Orel Ironclad Solferino, 1:72 Schooner Hannah (Hahn plans), 1:72 Privateer Prince de Neufchatel (Chapelle plans), Model Shipways Sultana, Heller La Reale, Encore USS Olympia


Goal: Become better than I was yesterday


"The hardest part is deciding to try." - me

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