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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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Thanks for the likes everyone, and thanks for the comment Steven! This hobby seems to be a constant learning experience :) I 'learned' by breaking quite a few oars to get them looking the way I wanted.

 

18 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

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).

 

 

Interesting, I didn't know that. That puts the passage from the book in a little more context, actually. After talking about the possible British influences on the design of the ship, the authors go on to say (pg. 326):

 

Quote

To these features may be added innovations brought back by Scandinavian warriors, such as Harald Hardrada. He served as admiral in the Byzantine navy before returning to Norway to be crowned in 1047 and starting his attempts to reunite and control the 'North Sea Empire'.

I'm guessing that's what you were referring to? It is of course speculation on their part. I'm learning a lot about this period while building this ship. The whole chapter this passage is from is actually quite interesting. The authors go on to speculate that this may have been one of the ships of Harold Godwinson's fleet during the time of the Norman invasion of the British Isles, perhaps even one of the ships that took his sons and Grandmother to Denmark to plead for Danish aid in 1068. It's an interesting explanation for how a ship built in Dublin ended up sunk in Denmark around the 1070's.

 

Back to the model, I've been thinking about my next steps. After giving it more thought, I decided to do a bit of customization and perhaps even a figurehead. The model kit is missing quite a few details, likely to not over complicate it. There are no biti knees (1), thwart knees (2), or stanchions (3). There are no bitts either (4). I couldn't think of a way to do the biti knees. They would be too small and fiddly for the tools I have. However, I think I should be able to do other three.

Annotated_Skuldelev2_01.thumb.jpg.619a7212b270e0445cdf8cd11505a2b4.jpg

The kit is also missing the fore and aft breast-hooks present in the reconstruction (5), which I think should be pretty straightforward to add. I might also add the little raised deck for the helmsman (6).

Annotated_Skuldelev2_02.thumb.jpg.33140759e4c944210310757dca7a359d.jpg

Lastly, I want to add the stands for supporting the yard (7). These weren't found with the remains of the ship, but seem to be a pretty common feature of Scandinavian ships. I'm also going to make some changes to the rigging. The kit plans call for drilling holes in the sheerstrake for the stays, but I would like to pass them under the thwarts like in the reconstruction (8). Drilling holes in the sheerstrake is also their solution for mounting the shields, but I don't really like it. Skuldelev 5 had an external shield rack with a slot for each shield, but for all the shields to fit they would need to overlap so that would not work.

Annotated_Skuldelev2_03.thumb.jpg.fc762f3730b65ab249f74b37babd1e0e.jpg

For my figurehead, I was thinking of something in the Ringerike style. I really like the Viking tombstone found in St. Paul's Cathedral in London. I based my design on that, and also drafted out a color scheme. I'm going with a black, yellow, and red scheme. The Gokstad ship had traces of black and yellow paint, so I thought those would be two safe period accurate colors. The tombstone was originally painted red, black and white. Red, black and yellow schemes are also present on the ships on the Bayeux tapestry. I've added some white dots, inspired by the tombstone, on the posts and figurehead for extra visual interest. I've never carved anything before, so it'll be another learning experience!

Figurehead_Colored.jpg.57f8e4b2c40016b9adf3fdfb9a173aea.jpg

In terms of the wood, I haven't quite decided how dark or light I'll go with the staining yet. I bought two Minwax stains to try out, Gunstock and Espresso:

gunstock-231.jpgespresso-273.jpg

The unpainted wooden areas of the actual ships would have been coated in pine tar, which also helps protect the wood. Fresh pine tar has that more orange hue like the Gunstock stain. But as the tar ages, and more gets layered on, it gets darker and darker becoming essentially black (even darker than the Espresso stain). I don't think I want to go with a super dark stain, as I want the black painted strakes to stand out, but I'll test these two stains out on a piece of scrap wood and see which I like best. I'll have to do the painting and staining now before I add in the deck veneer, which I think I might leave its natural color as suggested in the kit instructions.

 

I ordered some figurines too, but I'll save those for later!

 

 

 

Edited by Binho

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Really interesting project with some good research to back it up.

 

Vaguely OT, I think this is where modelling boats has a severe drawback - lack of range of eras to select from. There are Daniel Dusek's pentekontor and trieres, the Mora from Aeronaut, Amati's wonderful "Sahure Dynasty" nile boat and the Viking stuff (leaving out Amati's lolokontor for obvious reasons). The ever helpful Mr Dusek offers the super-expensive "La Real" galley --- and that's it for kits if you're not bothered about the big shooty warships in the later age of sail. I'd be happy if anyone could suggest any other ancient/medieval wooden kits except anything from AL (who went bust?).

 

So nice choice! My Dusek pentekontor also had a knotted warped keel; luckily a hot iron sorted it eventually... but ... I feel your frustration. And agreed, Daniel is a great lad to deal with, very true.

 

 

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I'm very impressed with what you're doing and what you have in mind. Good to see someone doing all that research and tweaking a kit to get it closer to the way the ship really was.

 

I'm also a big fan of the Ringerike style. There's quite a bit of it around. The only suggestion I'd make is to add a few more "fiddly bits" (like those red tendril thingies) if you can fit them in somehow. Ringerike was a very complex style, full of decorative extras, and your figurehead just looks a little too sleek at the moment.

 

I'd be a bit careful about relying on those authors; they seem have a few of their facts wrong. Harald Hardrada/Sigurdsson wasn't an admiral - that position was reserved for Byzantines. He was probably the leader of the (Viking) Varangian Guards during his time in Constantinople, though as far as I know there's no actual mention that he held the position of akolouthos, which would have been his title if so.  He came home with a gold-hilted sword, which privilege was supposedly reserved for the rank of protospartharios (I think - relying on memory here), and he appears to have been the leader of the Varangian contingent in the Byzantine army that invaded Sicily. His sea-going experience would probably have stood him in good stead with the Byzantines, but they were very wary about giving foreign mercenaries positions of power or high rank. He or his followers may have brought back some ideas on ship design when they returned home, but I can't think of anything in Viking ships that is evidence of that. However, I'm no expert on such things - maybe they're right.

 

Similarly, the suggestion that the Skuldelev ship was somehow connected to Harold Godwinson seems to me to be pure speculation, unless they have some facts to back it up. 

 

I like the darker stain - I think it's probably the color the ship would have been after a few years of service. Coming along nicely.

 

Steven

 

PS: Nikiforos, I agree about the lack of worthwhile model kits from earlier periods. But you can always come over the the Dark Side and scratch build your own . . . 

Edited by Louie da fly

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Thanks for the comments Nikiforos! I definitely agree there is a lack of good kits of ancient ships. Especially considering how much archaeology there is out there. You'd think most manufactures would at least have kits of the Kyrenia wreck, or some Roman merchantmen or something. Not to mention galleys and polyremes!

 

On 9/30/2019 at 4:39 PM, Louie da fly said:

I'm very impressed with what you're doing and what you have in mind. Good to see someone doing all that research and tweaking a kit to get it closer to the way the ship really was.

 

I'm also a big fan of the Ringerike style. There's quite a bit of it around. The only suggestion I'd make is to add a few more "fiddly bits" (like those red tendril thingies) if you can fit them in somehow. Ringerike was a very complex style, full of decorative extras, and your figurehead just looks a little too sleek at the moment.

 

I'd be a bit careful about relying on those authors; they seem have a few of their facts wrong. Harald Hardrada/Sigurdsson wasn't an admiral - that position was reserved for Byzantines. He was probably the leader of the (Viking) Varangian Guards during his time in Constantinople, though as far as I know there's no actual mention that he held the position of akolouthos, which would have been his title if so.  He came home with a gold-hilted sword, which privilege was supposedly reserved for the rank of protospartharios (I think - relying on memory here), and he appears to have been the leader of the Varangian contingent in the Byzantine army that invaded Sicily. His sea-going experience would probably have stood him in good stead with the Byzantines, but they were very wary about giving foreign mercenaries positions of power or high rank. He or his followers may have brought back some ideas on ship design when they returned home, but I can't think of anything in Viking ships that is evidence of that. However, I'm no expert on such things - maybe they're right.

 

Similarly, the suggestion that the Skuldelev ship was somehow connected to Harold Godwinson seems to me to be pure speculation, unless they have some facts to back it up. 

 

I like the darker stain - I think it's probably the color the ship would have been after a few years of service. Coming along nicely.

 

Steven

 

PS: Nikiforos, I agree about the lack of worthwhile model kits from earlier periods. But you can always come over the the Dark Side and scratch build your own . . . 

 

Thanks Steven! I'll definitely think about adding more fiddly bits, I was trying to keep it a little simple because it's my first attempt at carving. Might as well give it a shot though :)

 

It sounds like the authors are perhaps better naval archaeologists than they are historians! But I think I've been doing a poor job of representing their work on here. Their Byzantine remark was just a passing comment, they don't give it much serious discussion.

 

It struck a chord with me because when I visited the Viking Ship Museum and saw the Skuldelev 2 reconstruction I had been reading up a lot on Greek and Roman polyremes and medieval galleys. Previously, the only Viking ships I was familiar with were the earlier Oseberg and Gokstad burial ships, which are significantly wider and with a much more pronounced flat bottom. The Skuldelev 2 to my eyes had the proportions and hull lines of a Mediterranean-style galley, albeit with some Scandinavian flourishes. As I knew about the Varangian Guards and the Norman adventures in Sicily, I personally wondered if there had been some Mediterranean influence on Viking ship-building. I found it interesting to see a small nod in that direction in the archaeological report about the Skuldelev ships.

 

One of the significant aspects of Skuldelev 2 is how different it is to Viking ships from the 9th century, such as the Oseberg, Tune, and Gokstad ships.  Those older ships are arguably not even actual longships, having length to breadth ratios of only 4.2-4.7, as opposed to 10-11th century warships like Skuldelev 2 which have L/B ratios of between 7.3-13.1. The current theory is that before the 10th century, Scandinavian ships were multi-purpose. The 10th century saw a differentiation of ship types based on function. This is where my previous quote about Alfred the Great comes in, with that being the first historical reference to a ship in the North Sea region with the same parameters as Skuldelev 2. This suggests that there may have been some design exchange between British and Scandinavian ship builders at the time and that the 'true' longship may have British origins. In fact, the only known use of the word 'longship' from this time period is in that passage I quoted above from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, specifically describing Alfred's new type of ship as a langscip. In official use the specific name for this type of ship in the British Isles appears to be scegd, and the Scandinavian skaldic poems of the 10th and 11th centuries call the most prestigious type of warship a skeid. Some English sources even refer to a Viking as a scegdman.

 

The change in hull shape is actually quite significant. At the top are the reconstructed hull lines for Skuldelev 2, and in the middle is the Gokstad ship. The plans aren't to scale relative to each other, Skuldelev 2 being 30 m long and the Gokstad ship only 24 m, but note how straight the middle of Skuldelev 2 is and how much rounder it is in section than the Gokstad ship. You can clearly see the stylistic evolution from one to the other in profile, but in terms of the actual hull geometry to me personally Skuldelev 2 bears some noticeable similarity to Mediterranean galleys. Again, I don't have any concrete evidence for that, the similarities could just as easily be down to convergent evolution. In terms of section and plan, to me the Gokstad ship looks a lot more like the 14 m Skuldelev 3 cargo ship than it does the Skuldelev 2 war ship.

 

Torso_Skuldelev_2_lille_lille.jpg

gokstadschematic.jpg

skuldalev3linedrawing.jpg

 

 

 

In regards to Harold Godwinson, it appears I skimmed the chapter too fast and confused Harold Godwinson with his son Godwin(e). Oops! From the archaeology and dendrochronological analysis we know that Skuldelev 2 was built around 1042 in Dublin and underwent fairly extensive repairs in Dublin in the 1060's, before ending up in the Skuldelev barrier some time in the 1070's. This places its period of use right in the middle of the events going on in the British Isles at the time. Considering its size, Skuldelev 2 would have had to have been built and owned by somebody very powerful in or around Dublin, if not the king himself. In 1068, Harold's sons Godwin, Edmund, and Magnus, and grandmother Gytha, traveled to Dublin and got military aid from Leinster king Diarmait who sent both men and ships to help them retake southern England from the Normans. In 1069 Godwin again attempted to retake England with aid from Dublin, this time with a force of over 60 ships. Both attempts failed, as did the the attempts by Danish King Sven Estridsson (Harold's Cousin) in 1069 and 1070 at the behest of exiled English earls. Historian Ian W. Walker believes that after their final defeat in 1069, Harolds' sons and grandmother left for Denmark to live at the court of King Sven. It's even possible that Godwin sent his younger brothers and grandmother on a diplomatic mission to Denmark from Dublin in 1068 to ask for Sven's help, prompting Sven's attempted 1069 invasion at the same time as Godwin invaded from the west. Skuldelev 2 may have been one of the ships used either for the diplomatic mission to Denmark, or the final exile. It may even have taken part in the failed invasions of 1068 and 1069. Again though this is speculation, there is no solid evidence that Skuldelev 2 was involved in any of these events. However what we do know from the archaeological evidence, and considering what was happening at the time, makes it at least a plausible theory and gives a possible reason why a fairly expensive Irish longship ended up near the royal stead of Roskilde in Denmark.

 

Also, thanks to everyone else for the likes :)

 

Edited by Binho
Fixed some typos.

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Fascinating research, Binho. I knew almost none of it. I knew about the attempts of Harold's sons to re-take England from the Normans, but not in the detail you've presented here. The differences between the above ships are quite marked, and perhaps the speculation about Byzantine influence is correct. The timing's about right, and just because it didn't make it into anyone's chronicle or saga doesn't mean it didn't happen. After all, nobody's likely to have written down that a Viking shipbuilder went to Miklagard ( = The Great City - i.e. Constantinople), was impressed with the ship designs there and came home inspired to try out some new ideas in his next ships.

 

At the battle of Svolder in 999 or 1000 AD King Olaf had several long ships, including the Ormen Lange (long serpent). To quote Wikipedia (yes, I know it shouldn't be relied on too much ;))

 

" Though the sagas agree that Olaf Tryggvason had only 11 ships in the battle, some of them quote a verse by Halldórr the Unchristian saying that Olaf had 71 ships when he sailed from the south. The sagas explain the discrepancy by saying that some of the 71 ships belonged to Jarl Sigvaldi, who deserted Olaf, and that others sailed past the trap at Svolder before it was sprung.

The sagas describe three of the ships in Olaf Tryggvason's fleet. According to Heimskringla, the Crane was a large swift-sailing warship with thirty rowers' benches [i.e. 30 oarsmen], high in stem and stern.[33] It was commissioned by King Olaf and used as his flagship for some time.

Olaf confiscated the second of his great ships from a pagan he had tortured to death for refusing to convert to Christianity. King Olaf "steered it himself, because it was a much larger and finer ship than the Crane. Its stem had a dragon's head on it, and on its stern, a crook shaped like a tail; and both sides of the neck and all the stern were gilded. That ship the king called the Serpent, because when the sail was hoisted it was to look like the wing of a dragon. That was the finest ship in all Norway."[34

 

Olaf's third flagship, the Long Serpent, was a legendary vessel mentioned in several anecdotes in the sagas.

It was constructed as a dragon ship, on the model of the Serpent which the king had taken along from Hálogaland; only it was much larger and more carefully wrought in all respects. He called it the Long Serpent and the other one, the Short Serpent. The Long Serpent had thirty-four compartments [i.e. 68 oarsmen]. The head and the tail were all gilt. And the gunwales were as high as those on a seagoing ship. This was the best ship ever built in Norway, and the most costly.

So very long ships (compare thirty-four sets of oarbenches in the Ormen Lange - though historians argue about whether or not this is an exaggeration; it would make the ship almost 40 metres long - with the 25 in a dromon - 25 oarsmen each side of the ship in each of two banks of oars, to make a total of 100) were being used by the end of the 10th century. However, since the Vikings were certainly trading down the rivers of Russia to Constantinople in the early 10th century, this would still support the contention that Byzantine design may have had an influence on Viking shipbuilding.

 

I'm loving the research element of this build. It opens a fascinating window on the history and development of these vessels. And to me, the research and speculation is half the fun, like a good detective novel.

 

Steven  

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Yup, the research is definitely half the fun :) It's great to learn new stuff and speculate! Part of the fun of being an archaeologist is the speculating, haha.

 

2 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

So very long ships (compare thirty-four sets of oarbenches in the Ormen Lange - though historians argue about whether or not this is an exaggeration; it would make the ship almost 40 metres long - with the 25 in a dromon - 25 oarsmen each side of the ship in each of two banks of oars, to make a total of 100) were being used by the end of the 10th century.

 

Actually, ships this long are archaeologically attested from around this period! Funnily enough, in 1996 when digging foundations to extend the Viking Ship Museum that contains the Skuldelev ships they encountered multiple other Viking ships. The most impressive is the Roskilde 6 which is still not fully published, as far as I'm aware. It was displayed in the British museum in 2012 after conservation was finally finished. Dendrochronology put its build date in 1025 CE. The three-piece keel is fully intact and on its own measures an impressive 32 m, so the complete ship would probably be around 36 m. As the distance between the ribs are about 80 cm, they estimate there would have been about 39 rowing benches, for an oar crew of 78! Interestingly at 3.7 m wide it's also slightly narrower than the 3.76 m wide Skuldelev 2.

 

Another interesting long ship find is the Haithabu/Hedeby 1, dated to 985 CE, so around the time of King Olaf. It is the narrowest long ship found to date, at only 2.7 m wide, but is estimated to be about 30.9 m long giving it a L/B ratio of about 11:1. It's also the most elaborately decorated and carefully built longship found so far, with decorative mouldings and intricate scarph-joints. Here's a reconstruction drawing of it:

Hedeby_1_rekonstruktionstegning.jpg

Edited by Binho

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That's incredibly narrow! The dromon's calculated length is only about 30 metres for a breadth of about 4.5 (= 6.6:1). Amazing it didn't break its back. Does it have any strengthening longitudinal stringers/wales/whatever?

 

Steven

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10 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

That's incredibly narrow! The dromon's calculated length is only about 30 metres for a breadth of about 4.5 (= 6.6:1). Amazing it didn't break its back. Does it have any strengthening longitudinal stringers/wales/whatever?

 

Steven

Oh wow, I actually thought the Dromon had a greater L/B ratio. I guess that's not too surprising though since it would need to fit oar crew on two decks. Interesting how much narrower the Viking longships are then. I hadn't really considered about the possibility of breaking its back, but now that I think about it it is pretty amazing. Especially since the hull planks were no more than 2.4 cm thick, and the keel was so heavily worn it was only 6 cm tall by the time the ship sank. The planks on the ship were also very wide and very long, between 25-37 cm wide and over 10 meters long. They estimate there were probably only 7 strakes. By comparison, Skuldelev 2 had about 12-13 strakes, with planks 2.5-2.8 cm thick, 20-26 cm wide, and max 6.5 meters long, and a keel that was originally 16-17 cm tall but was worn down to 14 cm when found. The keel wear is likely from beaching the ships.

 

In terms of stringers, the reconstruction cross section for Haithabu 1 shows two thick internal stringers, but it's unclear from the sources if these are hypothetical or if they actually found traces of them:

 

 

Hedeby1.jpg

 

Internal stringers were found in all the Skuldelev ships, so it's likely Haithabu 1 had them as well. I don't think wales are known from any Scandinavian ships, only internal stringers. The Skuldelev 2 wreck has parts of the lower stringer intact, and the reconstruction has three (you can see them in my photos in one of the previous posts). The model kit has two stringers. These ships would have also had a hefty keelson with a bulbous mast step, the one in Skuldelev 2 being 14 m long and almost entirely preserved (you can see it in the hull line drawing a few posts back, along with the stringer remnants).

 

My sources for Haithabu 1 are the NAVIS Database ( https://www2.rgzm.de/navis/ships/ship008/Ship008Engl.htm ) and the Viking Ship Museum website ( https://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/professions/education/viking-knowledge/the-longships/findings-of-longships-from-the-viking-age/the-longship-from-haithabu-harbour/ ). The latter has sections for other longship finds, as well as sections for all the other Skuldelev ships.

 

EDIT: Oh yeah, another interesting factoid about Haithabu 1 is how it met it's end. It appears to have been floated out to the middle of Haithabu harbor and set on fire sometime between 990-1010! The current theory is it was used as a fire ship while defending the harbor from a raid. There is obvious charring on the top of the 4th strake, so the ship probably burned down to the waterline before sinking.

 

Edited by Binho

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Binho, just looked at a kit of the famous Mora by Aeronaut again. A nudge off-topic perhaps but do you have experience of this one? If so, what are the differences historically -maybe an evolution of one and another?  Or  are they to all intents and purposes the same boat, broadly speaking?

 

Best wishes,

 

 

325401.jpg.6aa82f2f3d35e0377d371e63df8310d9.jpg

Edited by Nikiforos

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On 10/10/2019 at 8:27 PM, Nikiforos said:

Binho, just looked at a kit of the famous Mora by Aeronaut again. A nudge off-topic perhaps but do you have experience of this one? If so, what are the differences historically -maybe an evolution of one and another?  Or  are they to all intents and purposes the same boat, broadly speaking?

 

Best wishes,

 

 

325401.jpg.6aa82f2f3d35e0377d371e63df8310d9.jpg

 

Hey Nikiforos, unfortunately that kit does not seem to be period accurate for a ship from the Norman conquest. The design seems to be inspired by the earlier Gokstad (~890 CE), Tune (~900 CE), and Oseberg (~820 CE) burial ships from Norway. In 1066 a longship like the Mora would probably look a lot like Skuldelev 2 and the other longships I was discussing above.

 

Specifically, other images of this kit I found online show a flatter bottom to the hull, like on the earlier ships, and not the more rounded profile of Skuldelev 2. The biggest giveaway though is the lack of thwarts/rowing benches and the exposed mast step. These are design elements taken straight from the Oseberg and Gokstad ships.

 

The lack of rowing benches on those earlier ships is always something I've found strange. A popular theory I've seen is that on 9th century ships the rowers sat on sea chests. That doesn't seem to be like a particularly good way to row to me - I could easily imagine the chests moving with the motion of the ship and the movements of the rowers. I'm not sure what the source for the sea chest theory is (does anyone know? I'm assuming it's from a Skaldic poem). Since it's only the burial ships that lack fixed rowing benches, I've always wondered if this was just because they were purpose built for burials. It wouldn't be easy to fit all those grave goods on a ship with rowing benches. However, it appears there are some traces of use wear on the burial ships. Norwegian archaeologist Knut Paasche wrote his PhD thesis on the Tune ship arguing that it was not just ceremonial, but the thesis isn't available for download. This is the only english summary of Paasche's thesis I could find: https://www.newsinenglish.no/2011/05/09/viking-ship-not-just-ceremonial/

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Thank you for your comprehensive reply. 

 

I have an image allegedly of the Mora, below, complete with tent / war quarters assembled midriff of the vessel - this might involve ripping out of some thwarts if used (semi)-regularly? A leap in the dark as these beautiful ships are alien to me, sadly, but surely you couldn't go tripping over a thwart when planning an offensive or a regroup or what have you inside your HQ. The image is named  'Drakar' btw.

 

Apologies for my ignorance on these matters, honestly.

 

Nika

 

 

Drakar-1.jpg

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Nika, no need to apologize! There is a lot of bad info out there on Viking ships. That image is another reconstruction of the c. 890 CE Gokstad burial ship, so whoever is calling it the Mora is mistaken. The Gokstad ship has essentially become the standard "Viking Ship" for the whole Viking period in the popular imagination - perhaps because of its exceptional preservation. It was only the second Viking ship found and has been reconstructed numerous times since the late 1800's. Carved dragon heads like the ones depicted in the image were found in the ship, but were not on the stem and stern. They were for tent posts and bed posts. That tent design is hypothetical as well, I'm not aware of any evidence of a tent being used like that on a ship. As a good rule, any resource that uses the word 'Drakar' to describe a Viking ship is immediately suspect. Dreki, meaning 'Drake', is used a few times in Skaldic poetry to talk about warships but is probably a kenning (a figurative descriptive phrase) and not the name for a ship type (source). I suspect 'Darkar' caught on because it has a romantic, mythical, ring to it. The best online source for solid, detailed, Viking ship information that I have found is the website for the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. The NAVIS I database also has some good information on Scandinavian ship archaeology.

 

Dusek does a good replica kit of the Gokstad ship in both 1:35 and 1:72 scale. Jack Aubrey did a build log of the 1:35 kit here on MSW that has been very inspirational to me. The original 1882 excavation report of the Gokstad burial is available to read and download here if you are interested. It has great illustrations of the more interesting objects found on board. The ship itself is very interesting on it's own! It was found with 32 overlapping shields painted in black and yellow arrayed along the sheerstrakes, but there was no evidence of how they had originally been attached.

Edited by Binho

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Thanks again! The poor old Mora seems to have surrounded herself with misrepresentation. And agreed, Daniel Dusek makes a real effort in his kits. His 'bireme' is a veritable prototype for a variety of (single and double banked) craft; my Thracian pentekontor is based upon it. Friendly fellow to deal with too, which is always a bonus.

 

Nudging you a little off-topic, I have to ask... do you yourself work as a profession in research and publishing in this particular field of naval archaeology?

 

Regards,

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No problem! Apparently she has been! Probably the best starting point for recreating the Mora would be this kit really. You can bash in the figureheads, and get some kite shields to replace the round shields. Mr. Dusek is really great and helpful, he's probably going to be my go-to for kits. I've been eyeing up his 'bireme' kit too.

 

I wish! I work in commercial archaeology in California. Most of my published reports are for pre-construction archaeological surveys or reports about sites/artifacts found during construction jobs. A lot of local Native American and late 19th/early 20th century historic archaeology. It's mainly compliance stuff to meet California's environmental regulations. My MA was in Roman Archaeology, and my thesis on Hadrian's Wall was published a few years ago in Archaeologia Aeliana (I'm pretty proud of that, haha). Researching naval archaeology is more of a hobby :)

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The detail of the Mora model is based on the representation of her in the Bayeux Tapestry. 

csm_Bayeux_MORA_516c683696.jpg

Given the complete lack of other information available at the time, not a bad effort. Certainly if you wanted to kit-bash a Mora, I'd recommend you duplicate at least the figurehead, tail decoration and lantern at the top of the mast (which if I recall correctly is described in contemporary accounts).

 

On the other hand, the caveats at https://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/professions/education/viking-knowledge/the-longships/picture-sources/the-bayeux-tapestry/ should be taken into account (though the explanation of the "triangular" sails is surely just a matter of square sails seen from a particular angle).

 

The progressive simplification of the images in the Tapestry mentioned in the page above also applies elsewhere. Have a look at the first three armoured  figures in the narrative (frame 16 at https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Bayeux_Tapestry_tituli ) and then at later ones - the rings of the mail become much larger and sometimes degenerate into criss-cross patterns, which would have been quicker to sew and much more economical in thread (which was hand-spun, hand dyed and hand-sewn). This has led to all sorts of theories about large-ringed "Russian tractor armour", and various alternative types of armour (which have never been found in archaeology) based purely on these representations, when it seems to me they are all conventionalised representations of normal mail (popularly known as "chain" mail, though it was never called that at the time).

 

Which leads us away from the reconstruction of Mora. And in  that, I'm afraid you just have to go with a lot of educated guesswork based on the best information currently available. It will almost certainly be wrong in many details, but will nonetheless probably be a pretty good representation of the ship as it was.

 

Steven

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Binho,

 

Lot's of interest in your build much learning!! - My next project will be the Amati Drakkar - needless to say I'm also gaining much insight following.

I have been putting lots of info together to help for the next project; here are a couple of sources.

 

You may know these links already in case you don't -these might be of help as well

 

https://www.norsemyth.org/2013/10/viking-ship-field-trip.html

 

AND Modelships.de   ---- have amazing builders on their site 

 

https://www.modelships.de/Gokstad-ship/Gokstad-Schiff.htm

 

PS: Here is another one ((modelships.de tripple click on photos to get super detailed HQ views)

 

https://www.modelships.de/Skuldelev-5/Skuldelev-5_eng.htm

 

Regards

Edited by md1400cs

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your learning curve is impressive. I learnt from books such as you showed, and later on from these forums and building blogs. My main problem is lack of patience, but wood is forgiving, most things can be repaired or replaced until you are satisfied with the final result. Recently I have tried glues other than PVA, such as CA and epoxy, but I find that it was mostly a mistake. I do use occasional spot of CA alongside or mixed with PVA for grab or reinforcement. This is the best of hobbies, research, planning, learning and making-using brain and hands-give huge return in satisfaction and something concrete (or wooden) to show for the effort. Electric tools,while good, save time, but the "greats" who developed the art and wrote the books, managed without them.KEEP AT IT.

 

 

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Thanks for the likes, comments, and words of encouragement everyone!

 

Steven great bit of background info on the Mora, thanks! For an older kit it is pretty good, you can see how they tried to adapt the info they had. 

 

md1400cs the Amati kit is a very nice model of the Oseberg ship! I’ve seen a couple of them on the forums. Thanks for the links, that Gokstad ship model is amazing!

 

stuglo thanks, I feel like I’ve learned a lot already! The PVA is working pretty well, but I still get nervous about gluing stuff down. It’s true that it least it can be changed and fixed. I am enjoying the hobby a lot so far!

 

Update on progress: Putting in the stringers.  Made a bending jig for the top stringers. Glued in top stringers tonight. Also, a preview of some of the 1/72 Viking crew figurines I got from Munich kits and some Vikings from Hecker Goros!

 

1426C462-9487-44DB-9148-FED72A231C6A.thumb.jpeg.6b9d94253a4b5087a15ca7f2e710482d.jpeg569DC7FB-1695-465C-9683-0F91D1D8D3ED.thumb.jpeg.fdf4cb8022e22412af42621541fd3559.jpeg12CF041D-01F5-49C0-AFBC-32E13C43D04E.thumb.jpeg.716e7b67ca66d701cd91c2224c45d735.jpegF2B3275A-4EAF-4580-B176-69347F5690D1.thumb.jpeg.20505817eec696cef569cb9db2992e37.jpeg

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On 10/13/2019 at 9:32 PM, Binho said:

No problem! Apparently she has been! Probably the best starting point for recreating the Mora would be this kit really. You can bash in the figureheads, and get some kite shields to replace the round shields. Mr. Dusek is really great and helpful, he's probably going to be my go-to for kits. I've been eyeing up his 'bireme' kit too.

If you succumb (and you ought!) be aware that DD now uses walnut for his pentekontor. Previously, he offered alder. This means an inherently darker wood in an entirety, so that typically nice orange stain that looks about perfect for alder (search for Robin Lous' build) is now no longer possible unless jiggerypokery. Also ditch the 2 mm hull planking, use 1.5mm at best; that's an evil stern curve she has. Oh and epoxy for the plywood, it's as porous as venetian glass.

 

I'll hush now : ) Looking forward to see how this progresses.

 

Edited by Nikiforos

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Hey everyone, mainly pictures here! Filled in some gaps between the stringers and rear bulkheads cause by an incorrect measurement. Then used some filler to smooth the transition between the front bulkhead and the extensions forming the bitts. Following that I cut, carved bent, and filed out fore and aft breasthooks using scraps from the plywood sheet the planks and shields were in. Plus, some of the figures for scale!

 

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Just found your build log on the way to looking for something else. I’m currently cobbling together the Gokstad Ship kit and can appreciate some of the challenges you’ve faced. Will be following your further work ... which is great. 
 

Also, big thanks to Louie-da-fly ( and others, as well) for the links he provided on the construction of these viking craft. Great stuff. 

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Just a quick message to say this isn't dead! Just on hold for awhile as I've been really busy these past few months, and will probably only be able to pick back up in February or so! Happy New Year to everyone!

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