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French Longboat 18th Century by tkay11 - 1:48 - CARD - REVIEW & PARTIAL BUILD

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I bought this kit after seeing completed builds on this and other sites. It is a model designed by Daniel Dayn Vishnevsky-Karlskhagen and I was intrigued to see how a longboat with its small frames could be built from card. It uses the same principle as the wood kits for longboats: frames supported by an internal plate which is removed after the external planking has been applied to the frames.


The kit is low cost (I spent about €25 which included postage from Russia to the UK) and has excellent instructions. The only problem is that the instructions and guide are all in Russian (albeit with very good and useful illustrations), so I had to work hard using a variety of sources to translate it all into English. See my post on Russian translation and the resources used at 

 and previously in my Chaloupe Armée build.

For those who buy the kit I will be very willing to send them the translations of the instructions with the parts list. I have done the translations as a table with the original Russian in the left column and English in the right-hand column. I also have made a table or dictionary of Russian nautical terms used in the guide which goes with the parts list.


I think you can only buy the kit from the author, whose email address is bureau.k68@gmail.com.


You can see his full build of the original on the Russian forum at http://only-paper.ru/forum/85-12867-1, and you can see his discussion about it (in English) on the papermodelers forum at http://www.papermodelers.com/forum/ships-watercraft/27125-french-longboat-xviii-cen-most-large-pinnace-tree-masts-sails.html?highlight=planking .


Because my interest was mainly in the method of construction, but also because I was prevented from continuing with my build of the Chaloupe by recuperation from surgery, I only built this model as far as completion of the basic boat without any masts or additions such as anchors and cleats.


My main purpose in providing this Review/Log is to bring the attention of a really interesting kit to others on this forum who are proficient in card modelling or who just wish to probe it (as I did). I would rate it as fairly tricky but very rewarding.


What’s in the kit?


In addition to the guide and parts list, the parts themselves are printed on standard A4 photocopy paper. There are several sheets of 0.3mm card which can be multiplied to provide various thicknesses. The list of parts also details how thick each part should be. An interesting aspect of this kit is that the card comes in three colours: white, yellow ochre and red ochre. This is to allow you to make the model with a minimum of painting.


A really nice feature of the kit is that plans are also provided for you to make all the masts, yards and fittings as well as accoutrements such as barrels, buckets, cleats, hooks, belaying pins and oars.


A full rigging and sail plan is included, with directions for the varying rope thicknesses.


Finally, the author has a practicum with colour photos which he will send you (in Russian).


The base


The first thing to make was the base. This is really sturdy, and, as with all the pieces, requires accurate cutting out so that the frames, when inserted, fit exactly.


You’ll note in the photo the Swann Morton scalpel with a no 26 blade I use which I keep sharp by stropping after every few cuts.



You can get the idea of the frame assembly with the following diagram:



It is clear that you have to be very careful with where you place the glue if you want to remove the shell from the assembly later. But you can see that it does replicate very neatly the framing structure of the boat with floors and futtocks.


You can see the assembly sequence in the photos below.







The guide points to the fact that all but three of the 40 frames have the same height, so it is important to have a method of making sure that the height is correct. I built a small jig to build most of the frames, but later on just used a slide rule to check the heights.




Despite all this my measurements were frequently incorrect and I had to adjust several frames by filing or gluing on various thicknesses of 0.1mm paper.




Because the frames were made from grey/brown card, the instruction was to paint them with red ochre. This I did, but regretted because (a) I painted it on too thickly and (b) later on it interfered with the gluing. You can also see how the paint covered the holding frame – which I then had to separate from the floor with a scalpel in order to ensure I could remove the frames from the mould.


Actually, after finishing the entire 40 frames, I was so dissatisfied that I made the model again, base and all, to this stage again, but being more careful with glue and paint. I don’t have photos of the second frame and mould, so you’ll have to make do with the photos of the first attempt!



Stem, keel and stern timbers were then cut from 3mm card, glued and the assembly held in place with rubber bands.










I then laid the planks. I could have used the coloured card supplied in the kit, but I elected to use my own card which I then painted with yellow ochre. The spiled planks were beautifully accurate as printed, so I did not have to make any further adjustments when cutting from  the plans.


As you see, the big problem for me was laying the planks so that they would be completely flat. Mine turned out in a rather wavy fashion!




Once the planking is complete, the shell with its frames can be cut from the mould. First there’s the rough cut using curved scissors to cut around the edges at the level of the rubbing strake and then to cut the areas attached to the base floor.



The frame supports can now be cut away.




Because I had used my own card, I had to paint the interior with red ochre.



Finishing the hull


The keelson, stemson and sternson are then put in place.




The counter and timbers for the cuddy can now be added.






With the cuddy finished, the main floorboards can be inserted.




The thwart stringers are placed.


The thwarts were made from 3mm card, and the supports made from 2mm cocktail sticks.



The mainmast step was made from wood, using the plan in the guide.




Now the thwart knees.




The davit timbers and their roller are now constructed and assembled.




The front davit with its roller were made in an identical way. The main remaining piece of the hull was the roller beam at the front.





Swivel Guns


Having done the main hull (without the swivel gun mounts, cleats, mast straps, belaying pins etc.) I thought that even though I wouldn’t arm the boat I would still see how cannon were made with paper alone.


The instructions in this regard are excellent. I started with a simple roll of paper, marked with the positions for the subsequent layers of paper.









Final result


So, at its current stage, the model looks like this:





In comparison with my ongoing 1:36 build of the Chaloupe Armée:



I won’t be going any further with this build as from now on I will concentrate on finishing my build of the Chaloupe Armée. It is just possible that at some future date I will continue, but don’t hold your breath! The purpose of this review/log was mainly to bring the potential of this very nice model to the forum, and especially those who wish to explore card modelling – which, as you can see, offers up its own delights, techniques, thought processes and problems.




Edited by tkay11
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Thanks, Jörgen. Yes, it's the admiralty water based red ochre. Still a left over from my Sherbourne!



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Thanks, ragove. If you search for 'CARD' in the scratch building forum, you can see what can be done using card for ship models. Try Doris' posts, as well as GrandpaPhil, Ab Hoving, Chris Coyle, and several others. Then there's lots who do wonderful kits from card in the kit building forum. They're all way ahead of myself and their builds stimulated me to try a card model just to see how it is done. I might well come back to it once I've improved my skills on wood. I don't want to reach ahead of myself!



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I'm very glad to see your excelent work here. I hope you continue your work after "vacation". Wish you big joy with this longboat model.

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Thanks, Dane. Your work needs much more promotion in English-speaking sites, and I hope that other modellers with more experience than mine will take up the challenge of your intriguing and lovely kit.



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