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Viking Longship by Binho - Dusek - Scale 1:72 - Model based on the 11th Century Skuldelev 2 wreck


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Hello everyone, this is my first build log and my first model of any kind in over a decade. I used to do plastic. My only experience with woodworking was shop in school, and helping build some sets for plays in University. This will be my first wooden ship build ever. I've chosen Dusek's 1:72 scale 11th Century Viking Longship kit. It seems relatively simple, with minimal planking and rigging. Hopefully it is a good starter ship!

 

I'm a big fan of these later Viking ships since seeing them at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark. It's really worth a visit if you are in Copenhagen and are looking to do a day trip. Roskilde is a nice town in general, with a beautiful Gothic cathedral.

 

In the 1960's during the construction of a sea wall near the village of Skuldelev in the Roskilde Fjord, five well preserved Viking ships from the mid to late 11th Century CE were discovered. The archaeological excavation and investigation of the site determined that the ships were probably sunk intentionally with the aim of blocking the channel, as it was the most direct navigable route to Roskilde. At the time, Roskilde was one of the most important Royal and Ecclesiastical centers in Denmark - Roskilde cathedral is still the burial site of the Danish monarchy, in fact. The ships included an ocean going trader of the 'knarr' type (Skuldelev 1, which Dusek also sells a kit of), a large ocean going warship of the 'skeid' type (Skuldelev 2), a small coastal trade ship (Skuldelev 3), a smaller coastal warship of the 'snekkja' type (Skuldelev 5), and a fishing boat (Skuldelev 6).

 

This Dusek model is based on Skuldelev 2:

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Skuldelev 2 measured approximately 30 m in length, with a breadth of 3.8 m, an estimated displacement of 26 tons fully loaded, and a shallow draught of about 1 meter. They estimate it had about 30 rowers on each side and that it could perhaps carry an additional 40 warriors, for a maximum complement of 100. This makes it one of the largest Viking warships found to date (I believe a larger one was found in Norway since then, but it's much less complete). It was built entirely of oak. Construction can be dated by tree rings from one of the oak timbers to about 1042 CE, and from analyzing the wood further they were able to tell it was built in Dublin, Ireland. Eventually it made its way to Denmark were it was sunk in the fjord around 1070 CE. These ships were clinker built, using shell first construction with relatively few frames which were inserted as the shell was built up. The overlapping planks were nailed together with iron nails, and were fixed to the frames with treenails. While we were at the Viking Ship Museum, they were working on a new replica of the coastal trader Skuldelev 3 using only traditional tools and techniques, as they've done with all their reconstructions:

 

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Skuldelev 2 is the least well preserved of the five ships. The bow and the lower midship area are the most intact, including the mast step and the stem post. The stem/stern posts of this era are very interesting and quite different from the ones on the earlier Oseberg and Gokstad ships found in Norway. As you can see above, they were one piece and carved with fake planking lines, with notches for accepting the actual strakes. Not sure exactly what the reasoning is for this development. Here is a closeup of the stem from the Skuldelev 3 wreck, and it's parallel in the Skuldelev 3 replica under construction:

 

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Both a replica and a model of Skuldelev 2 can also be seen at the Viking Ship Museum:

 

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The replica is called the Sea Stallion of Glendalough and I think she's a very sleek and attractive looking ship. She's fully sea worthy. In fact, they sailed her to Ireland and back in 2007-2008! There is even a BBC documentary about the trip, showing how dangerous open ocean voyages on these ships could be - they were initially delayed by storms in Norway, and when they eventually did set out they were caught in a different storm. One of the crew members got hypothermia, the rudder strap broke, and so did one of the shroud pins. They had to be towed by the support ship for awhile until the storm passed and they could fix everything! Looked pretty cramped (you sleep on your rowing bench), cold and miserable. Can't imagine sailing to Iceland in one of these. There's some videos on YouTube showing her in rough seas and under sail. In earlier sailing trials they were able to get her up to 11 knots, but they reckon she could do 15-20 - so she was a fast ship. The results of the rowing trials aren't available yet, but the replica of the smaller warship Skuldelev 5 managed about 3.5-5 knots, so I'd imagine it would be similar if not faster.

 

The Dusek kit does not have the complex stem/sterm post of the actual ship, but that's fine since it's a small model! Most of the parts are laser cut in plywood. Dowels are supplied for the masts, spars, oars, and shield bosses. There's some long pieces with square or rectangular sections for the benches and some internal longitudinal supports. I think it's a very good quality kit, but it's my first one so I don't have much to compare it to :) Here's when I first opened the box, showing how it was packaged:

 

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The manual is well illustrated with good instructions, and some nice full scale plans are provided too. My only small quibble with the manual is there are some grammar issues, but nothing that makes the instructions unintelligible.

 

Last weekend I had the house to myself, so I eagerly got started...but it's been rough! I got too excited and did too much without thinking things through, despite reading the warnings on this board beforehand. You live and learn, I guess!

 

 

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So I started by laying out and gluing on the stem and stern pieces (front is on the left). I noticed there was a bend in the keel, and using an iron with a steam function I was able to iron it out, mostly. I only saw the trick of soaking it and weighting it much afterwards, unfortunately.

 

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Here's where things started going really bad. Before gluing the frames to the fake deck as per the instructions, I tested out how a few of them fit in to the keel. The keel slots were too narrow however, and one of the frames got stuck and snapped. Luckily I was able to glue it back together without much trouble. I then preceded to widen the keel slots and tested the fit with a scrap piece of wood of the same thickness as the frames. I didn't test the frames again because I got too afraid of snapping another one.

 

I did not consider that the slot in the frames might need widening as well... so I glued the frames to the fake deck, and the next day after it all dried I started popping the frames in to the keel. Of course, popping means the fit is too tight. So I tried to get the frames out, but they wouldn't budge, and when some of the rear frames did come out they came out fast and partially snapped the fake deck. Gah! Since these frames are only to guide the planks and have to be cut out afterwards anyways, and since the fake deck will be covered with veneer, I decided to just glue everything down as is and get on with it...and that's when the bend in the keel came back with a vengeance!

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As you can see, it's pretty nasty! Does anyone have any advice on what I should do? Should I try disassembling it and starting over? maybe with a scalpel I can loosen the frames. I was thinking I could also the clamp the keel so it's straight and then do the planking only on one side first, to pull the bend outwards and straighten it out. Then do the planking on the other side later?

 

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I've started on the oars and shields too, since there are 60 of each of them. I'm on a budget, so I've been using a power drill, a small file, and sandpaper instead of a lathe. I had two oars snap in this first set of fice, but I was able to glue them back together. They are going to be bundled on deck like on the picture on the front of the kit, so I'm not too worried if they don't look nice - I'll put the ugly ones at the bottom. I'm more just trying to get a handle on turning wood in general. For the shields, I've had trouble with the bosses. The razor saw I have is not fine toothed enough, and the 3 mm dowel has been falling apart when I try to cut out a small piece for the boss. This weekend I'm going to search for a better saw!

 

So yeah, this is where I'm at. Not a good start at all! Haha. This is a learning experience though, so I figured I was going to make a lot of mistakes to start off with. Can only improve from here, right?

 

- Alberto

 

Edited by Binho

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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Not to worry, Alberto. There are very few things that can't be mended with a bit of work, and even the best of us have sometimes forged ahead where angels fear to tread and had to go back and start again. Stick with it; you'll get there.

 

Regarding the bent keel, there are various posts on the forum on how to fix such things (though of course unfortunately I can't remember where I saw them). If worst comes to worst, it might be necessary to make a new one. Is the keel made of ply? If so, it's not an inherent twisted grain problem as I faced when I started my dromon.

 

If you used PVA (white) glue on the frames you can dissolve it by soaking in isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol). Both that and methylated spirits (ethanol with 5% methanol otherwise known as wood alcohol) are commonly called rubbing alcohol, but isopropanol is the only one that works on PVA, as I discovered to my cost.

 

One thing is that you've learned an important modeller's lesson. Don't glue unless you know you've got it right. You'll find a lot of modellers "dry fit" things together before they add glue. It can prevent a lot of heartache.

 

And don't give up because something occasionally goes wrong. With patience and perseverance you'll get there, even if you have to retrace your steps once in awhile. Speaking for myself, and I'm sure for everybody else on the forum, there's no build that ever goes perfectly. And as your level of skill improves and your own standards for your work raise, you'll find ever new and more interesting mistakes to make!

 

Having said all that, I'd like to add that you've chosen a beautiful ship to build. I'm sure it'll turn out to be something you'll be very happy to have done.

 

Steven     

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Gidday Alberto.

I will add my comments, for what they are worth, the isopropyl alcohol is a good idea if you used P.V.A. and wish to take things apart. Personally I would start over as the warped keel needs to be straightened or remade. I understand your budget constraints as I operate on a shoestring myself. I can only reinforce Stevens comments above. I learnt the hard way in my exuberance re dry assembly before finally gluing up. 

Most problems can be overcome and by the tone of your post you have a very positive attitude which is admirable.

As I stated these are only a few of my personal thoughts. Others will undoubtedly offer other remedies or approaches. 

I wish you all the best in your build.

P.S. I found the intro fascinating.

Mark.

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I think we have all had these hiccups during a build at one time or another. As Mark and Steven have mentioned above, always dry fit until you are happy the parts fit together well.  

 

Regarding the keel, you could use the planking to straighten out the warp, but I don't know how successful it would be in the long run, as there would be more stress on one side than the other and I would be worried if the planking came undone over time. I have never had a problem with a keel and have never tried it, but I'm sure if you search 'warp keel' in the search box, you will find some solutions that have been tried and tested.. I personally would undo the frames (if possible) and start again.

 

I'm sure you will find a solution and your longship will turn out fine.

First Completed Build: San Francisco (Original Version)

Current build: Victory Models HMS Pegasus

Cross Stitch Project (Finished): Battle Of Agamemnon and Ca Ira

Cross Stitch Project : Victory & Temeraire

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Thanks for the encouragement and tips guys! I’m going to try dissassembling everything, straightening it all out, and then dry fitting before I re-glue everything.

 

I’ve been using wood glue (Elmer’s brand). Would isopropyl alcohol work on that too? Taking a quick look online it says warm water with vinegar or denatured alcohol.

 

Is PVA preferable for these types of kits?

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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I just looked up the constituents of Elmer's wood glue (we don't have it by that name in Oz ) and you can find them at https://www.ehow.com/info_8205845_elmers-wood-glue.html . So it appears that it is either entirely or mostly PVA, depending on the variety. I'd say isopropyl alcohol should work on it, but you'd need to try it out on a sample piece first. Make sure you use enough to dissolve the glue - just a wipe with the alcohol won't be enough. But the good thing is the isopropanol evaporates fast. It also doesn't smell bad (rather sweet, really).

 

Regarding which glue to use, each modeller seems to swear by his /her own favourite. Some use CA (superglue), others epoxy. I tend to use PVA mostly, but it's definitely a matter of personal choice. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. There have been several discussions on the forum about relative merits. Epoxy and CA give off nasty fumes, and CA sticks your fingers together, and apparently starts to crystallize after about 10 years and lose its integrity. That's from reports by other modellers, but others swear by it. 

 

The main disadvantages of PVA are that it takes a while to dry, it's vulnerable to water (ok under most circumstances as you're not going to leave your model out in the rain) and I've found in my case the joints can be flexible, which can be a problem if you've put together a complex assembly of fine parts which then go out of true the moment you breathe on them. I've had this happen several times, but I think the main problem there is not the glue, it's the fact that I've used butt joints instead of something that ties the piece together, so the glue is just there to keep it all together instead of doing the major work of joining. I doubt that this would be a problem in your Skuldelev model. They've thought it all out in advance - I've been designing as I go. 

 

So if you're doing well with Elmer's, all well and good. I'd agree with Vulcanbomber that you shouldn't use the planking to try to straighten the keel. Try isopropanol on the glue and either straighten or replace the keel. And good luck with it!

 

Steven 

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Thanks Steven! We just ran out of our isopropyl alcohol, so I'll need to get some more. I think I'll stick with wood glue for now. Used to use superglue when I made plastic models, and never liked how it stuck my fingers together.

 

Alberto

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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Just a quick update - haven't made a lot of progress. Today I finally got some time to work on it, as I broke a toe and just stayed home from work after going to urgent care. A few days ago I was able to take everything apart using the alcohol, though unfortunately there was another breakage of the deck piece when one of the frames suddenly popped out. Fortunately the veneer should hide the breakages.

 

I've managed to get all the glue off the pieces though, and I'm currently letting the keel soak overnight so I can try and straighten it tomorrow!

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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That means you're back to where you were before the problems arose and have a second chance at it.

 

That is good progress (though it mightn't seem like it at the moment).

 

Sorry to hear about the toe. Hope it's all getting better ok.

 

I just came across this link which might be of use to you.

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/norse_ships.htm

 

You might already have https://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/professions/education/viking-knowledge/the-longships/findings-of-longships-from-the-viking-age/skuldelev-2/ but I'm including it just in case.  I haven't chased up on it but you might find it also has links leading from it that give more info.

 

Good luck with it all.

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly
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Thanks for the links Steven! I am familiar with both of them from my previous research for my Skuldelev 5 3D model :) The Viking Ship Museum's website is really great for research, they put up a lot of info there.

 

Hopefully my second attempt goes better! I already sanded down the slots in the frames so they fit better. Tomorrow morning I'll slip the soaked keel under some heavy books to try and flatten it out.

 

My toe will take 2-4 weeks to heal, which sadly means no fieldwork for awhile and just a lot of office work. Oh well!

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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Shame about the toe. Look after yourself and I'm sure it will be better before you know it.

 

One thing I like about the Hurstwic site is it's the only place I've seen that shows you what Viking oars looked like.

 

I see the model has shields along the sides. You might be interested in this link - http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shield/shield.html  particularly the section on decoration.

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly
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Thanks Steven! That's a really useful link, haven't decided what to do with the shields yet.

 

Not much progress on the model. The books got most of the bend out, but it's still not great. I'm considering my next step now and doing more research on here if there are any other keel-straightening techniques.

 

In the meantime, here is a CG model I teased in my introduction post that I finally finished and put online:

 

(Unfortunately the embed code for Sketchfab doesn't seem to work here!)


Viking Longship by Opus Poly on Sketchfab

 

 

Edited by Binho

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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14 minutes ago, Binho said:

I'm considering my next step now and doing more research on here if there are any other keel-straightening techniques.

Use the search function at the top right of this page and put in the words "straighten" and "keel". You'll get a lot of hits (including your own build!). I remember seeing something some time ago that water doesn't do anything in straightening wood - it needs heat, which makes the fibres more supple and stretchable. A hair dryer or heat gun supplies enough heat for the job. But you should be able to find something worthwhile with a bit of a search through these posts.

18 minutes ago, Binho said:

n the meantime, here is a CG model I teased in my introduction post that I finally finished and put online:

 

Looks good! Are you doing a figurehead? (Note: NO Viking ship has been found with its figurehead, but there are a goodly number of Viking carved posts with dragon heads on them, which can be used as a basis. The one in the CG model is an invented one, certainly in a Viking style - late 11th century, actually - a style known as Urnes, after the church where it was first recorded. I did a Google image search on " archaeology viking dragon heads" and came up with a lot of pictures, including the best examples. But a caution - even with this wording quite a few images came up that as far as I know aren't based on any actual Viking finds.)

 

Keep at it - the problems you've encountered can be overcome, and perhaps it's a blessing in disguise to have gone through all this. What doesn't kill us makes us strong . . . 

 

Steven 

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Thanks Steven! No, I won’t be doing a figurehead. Was aiming to keep everything as stock as possible for my first go. The figurehead I used on the CG model was based directly on the figurehead created for the Helge Ask, the reconstruction of the Skuldelev 5 wreck by the Viking Ship Museum: http://helgeask.dk

 

Yeah, google searching Viking stuff can be difficult! They’ve been so heavily mythologized at this point, a lot of it is pure fantasy. I know they found some posts and some tent poles in the Oseberg and Gokstad ships with dragon decorations, but both of those ships are earlier than the Skuldelev ships. For the Skuldelev 2 reconstruction, the Sea Stallion, the only decoration they made was a weathervane based on the one found in Heggen, Norway, from the same period and in the Ringerike style. Apparently there is a carving from the 13th century showing those styles of vanes on the prow of ships (see the weathervane link)

 

I pulled out the keel again and after sitting away for a week it’s even worse than before! :(9A6B5436-20FF-4087-8924-C046B66B0AD7.thumb.jpeg.cd5e979be8fba83033a82d091d1a8f5c.jpeg

 

 

 

 

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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I love Ringerike style. When I was doing Anglo-Saxon re-enactment I engraved the nose-guard of my helmet with a Ringerike design (which was also common in England in the mid-late 11th century).  

 

Looks like it's probably time to make a new keel. Less work and grief than trying over and over to fix something that doesn't seem to want to be fixed. The important thing is to choose a piece of wood that has straight grain in the first place. I had the same problem with the foremast of my dromon. I found it easier to just start again than try to fix it.

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly
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Hmm, what would be the best way to go about making a new keel? I’ve found a model shop in town that sells wood for model airplanes. Would that be good enough quality? And what sort of saw should I use to cut it?

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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Hello Binho - you possible could try the manufacturer of the kit to supply you with a new keel. Could be worth a try.

 

Regards

 

Doug 

 

 

Completed: HM Brig Supply - JoKita / Caldercraft 1:64

HMS Fly - Caldercraft 1:64

HMS Sherborne - Caldercraft 1:64

HM Brig Flirt - Vanguard 1:64

                   

 

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Looks like 3-ply plywood on the keel.  If so, maybe the hobby shop can help.  If the only wood they have is  balsa, that's a no-go.  They might have the Midwest brand of some other woods though but I've heard Midwest stopped selling hardwoods.  Still worth a shot to see what they have.

 

And Doug has probably the best plan.  Contact Dusek.  Daniel Dusek, the owner, is here on MSW so try a PM to him.

Mark
"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
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                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

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CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         

         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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Thanks for the tips Doug and Mark. I contacted Daniel via e-mail, and he very kindly offered to send a replacement keel free of charge! Very much appreciated! So build is mostly on hold until then, might make some more oars and shields while I wait.

 

Alberto

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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  • 4 weeks later...

Quick update. The replacement keel arrived about two weeks ago. I also got some books: Mastini’s Ship Modeling Simplified and Wolfram zu Monfeld’s Historic Ship Models based on recommendations on other threads. So I’ve been doing some reading!

 

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Today I just glued the keel pieces together. I also bought a nice flat MDF board to make a building jig, as suggested in the books, to try and keep everything straight this time!

 

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update time! I dry fitted the frames and the deck, using clips to try and keep everything centered and aligned:

 

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I then glued the deck to the frames as per the instructions, and try fitted it again. The alignment of the rear to frames looks a little off, but that should be fixed when the deck gets glued down:

 

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it’s not perfect but it’s looking a lot straighter at least! I’ve glued some keel reinforcements on as well to further try and keep everything straight. Hopefully it works! I’ve been working on the oars as I go, 16/60 done. Made some shields too, 2/60. 

 

Also purchases a great book on the Skuldelev ships. It’s usually $80-$100 but I found a used one like new for $45 and couldn’t pass it up. Very interesting book with lots of good info (and plans for all the ships too).

 

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Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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Ok, so I’ve gone back a step and detached the deck from the frames again as I was not happy at how they were aligned.

 

I’m having problems with this step in the instructions. It calls for the deck to be glued to the frames first, and then the whole assemblage to be glued to the keel:

 

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The problem is this deck assembly is flat, while the keel is rockered. So once the deck is curved to fit the keel profile the frames are no longer vertical and need to be more or less forced in to the keel slots, which is bad. I think this is one of the reasons the keel got so warped in my previous attempt.

 

I dry fitted everything again and you can see how far out of vertical alignment the frames are being pushed by the deck. You can also see my new additions to the building jig to make sure the keel stays straight:

 

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My plan, unless anyone has a better approach, is to make the frame slots in the deck much wider so the frames fit nice and square. Then with the frames still in the keel I will glue the deck to them first, and once everything is dry will make sure everything is still aligned and finally glue it all to the keel. This step has been very frustrating so far.

 

Hopefully then I can finally move on to planking!

 

 

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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I haven't built a longboat, but looking at the picture of the book page, it looks like the end ribs are not vertical but are angled slightly? I would look at future steps in your instructions and see how it looks further on in the build. I'm sure someone will be along that can help you.

 

 

 

First Completed Build: San Francisco (Original Version)

Current build: Victory Models HMS Pegasus

Cross Stitch Project (Finished): Battle Of Agamemnon and Ca Ira

Cross Stitch Project : Victory & Temeraire

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Thanks Vulcan. The end ribs are angled, but they are not part of the deck assembly. I double checked the next steps and also the plans. They definitely show the main frames/ribs as vertical, and with vertical slots:

 

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Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally back to where I was before I had to start over: 

B078C84F-28FD-44F5-8F31-29EC506E281F.thumb.jpeg.9cff37c88114c229fb642bfc074a538c.jpeg

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Keel is pretty straight, but frame alignment still not 100% perfect. Unfortunately even with the rubber bands I was using to keep everything under pressure, the false deck lifted by about 0.5mm in the middle. This pushed the center three frames about 0.5mm out of alignment too. 

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Oh well, don’t think it’s worth taking everything apart again. The frames are ultimately just guides for the strakes so I think as long as the keel is straight everything should be ok? Any feedback would be appreciated! Will be a few days before I can work on it again.

 

Edited by Binho

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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  • 2 months later...

I’ve been slowly working away in the background, 2 strakes left to go. Not super happy with the stem and stern, will have to do some sanding and filler probably.

 

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Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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Probably one of the most difficult planking jobs there is - I had a similar one with my dromon and eventually decided just to leave it as it was and make it an object lesson for next time. Yours is even more difficult because it's clinker, not carvel, so it's harder to disguise slight errors (I've been able to sand mine smooth and I'll be painting over it so it won't be visible).

 

I see that though on the original the stem and sternposts were carved to take the ends of the strakes, they didn't do that on the model. It might have made things a bit easier.

 

The third and fourth strake from the bottom look a little strangely-shaped - the third one seems to taper outwards instead of inwards as it approaches the stem/sternpost, and the fourth has had to be altered to allow for that. There's a similar issue with the third and fourth strake from the top. I don't know if there's a way to completely fix that, however, short of taking off the offending bit and doing it again. Perhaps you could cut the dodgy bits off those strakes and replace them with short planks that are the right shape, each joined to the main strake at a frame. 

 

You might be able to fix it with stealers - the Skuldelev site ( https://www2.rgzm.de/navis/ships/ship002/Ship002Engl.htm )says "Part of the sternpost was preserved, and was found with two stealers with carved out continuations of the strakes 2, 3, 4 and 5, 6 respectively. "

 

However, what you decide to do with it is up to you, it's your build and you're the only one who has to be satisfied with it.

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly
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  • 1 month later...

Thanks as always for the comments and ideas Steven! The strakes were pre-cut, which is where those shapes come from. It did make things a lot easier in the long run though, I think. It’s just how to do the transition at the stem/stern from clinker to carvel which wasn’t immediately intuitive and took me awhile to understand.

 

The carved stem/stern in the original would have made it a lot easier! I definitely now understand, from a practical perspective, why they did things that way! The stealers mentioned in rgzm were actually carved in a similar fashion to the stems. They are beyond my capabilities at the moment! Here’s one of the two they found (from the Skuldelev book):

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In the end I just went ahead and finished the planking. I then went back and just trimmed the strakes down to size, and sanded them into rough shape. This is the rear section. Looks alright! I’ll probably add some filler and maybe do a bit of sanding to make it merge in to the post a bit better.

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I really love the overall shape of the hull. Reminds me a bit of your dromon Steven! In the discussion about this ship in the book, Crumlin-Pedersen and Olsen wonder if the norsemen serving in the byzantine empire brought back innovations. These ships with large length-to-beam ratios only started appearing in the 10th century. They may have been developed in the British Isles by the Anglo-Saxons, under Alfred the Great, during their conflicts with the Danes (according to Crumlin-Pedersen and Olsen). During the 9th century, Scandinavian ships tended to be shorter and wider with room for only about 30 rowers, like the Gokstad and Ladby ships. In fact, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 896 states that King Alfred introduced a ship design “...almost twice as long as the others, some had sixty oars, some more; they were both swifter, steadier, and with more freeboard than the others; they were built neither after the Frisian design nor after the Danish, but as it seemed to himself that they could be most serviceable.” Alfred himself did spend time in the Mediterranean in his youth, so I wonder if he was familiar with the galleys and dromons in use at the time.

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Edited by Binho
Adding some more info

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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Just remembered I’d taken pictures of my oar making process but never posted them. Have about 40/60 done. Using files, sand paper, and my drill as a lathe.

 

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Edited by Binho

Alberto - "Binho"

 

Current Build: Dusek 1:72 Scale Longship

Digital Shipyard: Viking-era ships and boats

 

3D Art: Artstation, Sketchfab

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Those strakes look much better, Binho. Yes, it does look a lot like the stern of my dromon - I wish I'd put more time into designing those stern strakes; they just didn't work properly, tapered the wrong way - got wider toward the stern instead of narrower. Still, I decided to regard it as a learning experience . . .

 

I like your oars. I carved mine all by hand, which was very laborious; I've tried making cylindrical shapes with the drill, but never had much success.

 

Interesting speculation about the Byzantine influence on Viking ships. Certainly there's no mention of it in any of the contemporary written sources. Personally I think it's unlikely - the Vikings had a design that worked very well and I believe the changes in shape were probably just normal evolution of design. Though Vikings were serving in the Byzantine army in the 10th century, it was only as javelin throwers; as far as I know there's no mention of them involved in any naval activity there at that time (though they certainly did in the following century).

 

Steven 

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