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early medieval nef by PhilB - scale 1:50 (about)


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Here are some more pics. The first one is from Monday, when the ribs on one side had just been glued and clamped in place.

 

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The larger pieces of balsa at bow and stern were necessary to solidify the gluing bond with the hull flanks, and they will be covered by upper decking, so no worries there.

 

The second pic is today, after shaping the mast foot (modeled on a plastic drakkar kit) and the first lateral beam meant to hold the mast in place. After painting, it will get iron straps (cardstock) on both sides of the mast, ostensibly to hold the beams around the mast.

 

covid-ships08.jpg.12ec71983b2d61cf4997303b3dba74e1.jpg

 

I have already realized that when scribing the plank ends and the nail heads in the lower deck, I should have lined them up to correspond to the underlying beams they were nailed to - another mistake/learning moment. I also don't really know if this sort of ship should have a mast foot like on a longship, but it seems plausible to the neophyte like me.

 

Next step will be to add in additional lateral beams, add in a few missing ribs at the bow and stern, the decking (probably just fore and aft decking sections, with the central section left open) then add the fore and aft sections of the keel. This ship (cog 2) will feature a side rudder, and (probably) a raised stern and bow castle.

 

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Construction continues. I gave Cog2 an initial coat of paint, fairly dark, but it will get a lighter gray-brown drybrushing once everything is in place.

 

covid-ships09.jpg.ddde8205ef849e73e9d8444513065c0d.jpg

 

I made a cardboard template for the fore and aft keel segments, and the fore segment is already glued in place. I made it extra long, but once I figure out exactly where the fore and aft castles go, that will get trimmed down. I also made a cardboard template for the forward deck before cutting it out of balsa and scribing planking details. Once the aft keel segment is in place, I'll need to do the same thing for the aft deck, since despite my best efforts the placement of the ribs is ever so slightly irregular.

 

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The aft section of the upper deck is done, as are a few additional braces. This first pic shows the new ship (cog 2) next to the first one (cog 1), with my initial test boat in the foreground. Also with a few pirate figures for scale.

 

covid-ships10.thumb.jpg.6213afbea701410d2566b0bb50d3f269.jpg

 

One thing I've realized after looking at these photos is that the fore and aft keel sections are far too thick - monstrously so, even for a "fantasy ship". Fortunately, balsa is a very forgiving material, so I should be able to trim those down without completely wrecking them. Here is another photo of cog 2. From this angle, the bow section of the keel is really apparent. I'll need to trim it down both front and back, probably on both sides as well.

 

covid-ships11.jpg.94417d5aee0488a43f118b53e99090f2.jpg

 

Next step is to put a railing along the tops of both sides of the hull, as well as a plank on the inner side of the ribs, slightly below that railing. I expect I'll need to paint all the pieces you see here before that, and after long consideration, I think the fore and aft sections of the upper deck are going to be glued in place rather than made removable. There just isn't enough headroom under there to use it as "playable space" in our games.

 

2 years ago I managed to visit the martime museum in Sydney, and was struck by how little headroom there was on the lower decks of a sailing ship. I was crouched down like a dwarf, I'd guess there was barely 4  to 4 and a half feet of ceiling height there. so the low headroom of the deck doesn't really bother me as much as it could.

 

The big question now is whether I should add fore and aft castles to this ship or not. I planned all along to trim the bow and stern segments of the keel to a more reasonable height once I got round to the castles... I think I may need to make a cardboard mock-up of the castles to see if I like the ship better with or without.

 

One last question: my gut feeling is that the mast is too thick. I already thinned it a bit by putting it in a drill chuck and sanding it down, but I suspect I may be better served by repeating the process. Any comments or suggestions will be much appreciated.

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7 hours ago, PhilB said:

the fore and aft keel sections are far too thick - monstrously so, even for a "fantasy ship".

That was the first thing I thought when I saw the photos (though I was calling them the stempost and sternpost). Yes, as it's balsa you shouldn't have too much trouble trimming them down. You might be best not trying to make them much thinner - too much hassle, though you could make them get gradually thinner and thinner as they rise from the planking and that would probably look good - in fact I think that's what Viking ships did. And I agree, the mast looks too thick. You're committed to the thickness at the base because of the hole the mast sits in, but you could "step" the mast inward at the top of the crossbeam supporting it, and make it thinner from there up, tapering it toward the top.

 

The headroom on a sailing ship varied  but yes, it was always a compromise between headroom on one hand and on the other hand economics (cost of materials) and stability of the ship (too high a ship becomes more likely to capsize) - the smaller the ship the less headroom. The Royal Navy traditionally allows the loyal toast (Gentlemen, the King/Queen, God bless him/her) to be drunk sitting down because of the danger of bashing heads on the deck beams above. 

 

I think having castles would add to the look of the ship, bearing in mind that as this is a fantasy game, historical considerations don't really matter too much and castles look cool - and anyway, there is a style of ship which I call a nef (because it doesn't really have a proper official name and nef meant ship in Mediaeval French), which was effectively a Viking ship with a castle at each end. The earlier type had the castles as pretty much completely separate structures just sort of bunged on, and sitting within the length of the hull - and had a steering oar.

 

1546656073_Nefwithcrossbows.jpg.f7080a0061b196e01c0f528460071e20.jpg    1879748932_SealofthecityofWinchelsea(1274).thumb.jpg.8c755b22985a09361b5bf67daa497b51.jpg 

 

     Unknown manuscript illustration of sea battle - source unknown.                                                     Seal of the city of  Wichelsea, 1274 AD

 

The later ones had the castles incorporated more into the hull (and sticking out at each end), and some (but not all) had a stern rudder. 

 

296553895_BLEgertonMS3028f.118Charlemagnesailinghome1338-1340.JPG.aa2dacdff47618d7aad2f53ba5cd0b19.JPG  1445003423_SealofDover1305.thumb.jpg.1c80a63a03d76d5521d006915187a837.jpg

 

         British Library Egerton MS 3028 f. 118  1338-1340                                                                                       Seal of Dover 1305

 

In this case cardboard is your friend - I have used cereal box cardboard to work things out for my own build with great success, and  I have several rice bubbles boxes flattened out waiting to be used for future models.

 

If you add castles, I'd recommend you extend the deck to cover the midships section (unless you're unreasonably attached to that mast step you did so much work on) - which would also allow you to hide the place where the thickness of the mast changes - and have the castles high enough off the deck to give headroom for people to stand under them - which would probably mean the earlier style of nef which seemed to have higher castles.

 

It's all coming together nicely. Keep up the good work.

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I found some very interesting pictures for how the shrouds were attached to the hull before the advent of deadeyes: 

 

1236597939_MS.Bodley764Bestiary1225-1250.jpg.037e1a90198a296e32f02b44c52cff1f.jpg       1712592084_Ms172f.5-TractatusdesperaVigievoyantmieuxquunautremarinlessignauxdunpharecausedelarotondi-annesdeSacroBosco11..-1256bibliothequemunicipaledeLyonMS172.jpg.7db064f5c7d1a3c1219d263da5cf4dc8.jpg      

   

                                        1225-1250 MS. Bodley 764 Bestiary                                                                               1256 bibliotheque municipale de Lyon, MS 172               

 

 

 

274816434_BodleianLibraryMS_Bodl_764f.74v1226-1250shrouddetail.JPG.b92fe3de8cc9fbd6aa829fb816254ffc.JPG

 

 

                                                                           Bodleian Library MS. Bodl. 764 f.74v 1226-1250

 

I also find it interesting that at least some of the castles are coloured.

 

But the great majority of ships of this period don't show shrouds fixed to the outside of the hull - they seem to be fixed to the inside of the planking - so you can't see what the fixings actually are. But perhaps they were done the way the model below has them (though I don't agree with the castles coming to a point at bow and stern - there's enough evidence to show that though they may have tapered inward, they didn't come to a point - it's a pretty model, though).

 

1693291626_YarmouthSaintNicholasTownSealLate13thCentury2.thumb.jpg.96aac82e637dd6cb59dd16cbc7b0ecbc.jpg     2104432761_Nefmodelmodelships_de.jpg.49ffb338192f2a44361eccd80ba74e89.jpg

 

                                              Yarmouth Saint Nicholas Town Seal Late 13th Century

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Thanks for the multiple suggestions and pics - a great help.

I've had to spend most of the last couple days putting stain on the wood beams of our new carport, but I'm looking hard at how to do the castles. I agree, the triangular ones (on that otherwise excellent model) don't look right, and I also want enough playable space to be able to put several figures with a 25mm round base there.

 

So I'm looking at making the aft castle slightly trapezoidal, 10cm long with an 8cm wide fore and 6cm wide aft end. 8cm is about the width of the hull at that point, but the rest will seriously hang over. The forecastle will by much smaller and be placed further beyond the stempost (thanks for the terminology lesson) but still have a trapezoidal shape.

 

More or less like this pic you posted, Louie:

Seal of Dover 1305.jpg

 

I'm thinking of putting in a central section on the upper deck, but have it be removable. I'm also serious considering removing the cluttered lower transverse beams and mast foot (is the proper word "mastfish"?) which were inspired by a longship model I saw, but probably irrelevant for this sort of cog / nef) They are not yet glued in place, so I can still decide to remove them without mucking up the lower deck.

 

I'm also trying to work up my courage to try proper planking on a future model - even though that means using harder wood, acquiring a table saw and other woodworking tools, and doing a *lot* more advance planning so that I can assemble a jig for the ribs before bending on the planks. Don't hold your breath, though. Baby steps.

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PhilB

The Giant step is wanting to!

Until that is taken there is not the desire to get new things done

And yes, approach new things step by step, and each thing you do will be a little better (sometimes a lot)

1 hour ago, PhilB said:

 

More or less like this pic you posted, Louie:

Seal of Dover 1305.jpg

 

I'm thinking of putting in a central section on the upper deck, but have it be removable. I'm also serious considering removing the cluttered lower transverse beams and mast foot (is the proper word "mastfish"?) which were inspired by a longship model I saw, but probably irrelevant for this sort of cog / nef) They are not yet glued in place, so I can still decide to remove them without mucking up the lower deck.

Fascinating seal!  I could believe that both castles were rectangular in plan view.  The supports holding up the inboard of both castles I have not noticed before.  The ship is flying the three lions - not sure of the significance of that (? King on board?) .  And the sterncastle has a couple of jolly trumpeters.  I have not made much sense of the inscription - "Seal of Commuiic ------- ouvo RiH" 

Louie will know what it portends - probably wants to carve the shroud-shinner to go with the halliardeers.

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I did some initial planning for the fore and aft castles. Many of the models and paintings I've been looking at have a larger aft castle, so that's the plan. The forecastle looks slightly oversized, but it will allow placing four figures there, when occasions arise, say with archers.

 

covid-ships12.jpg.7298abf3e531cff789ce4b41f0e27966.jpg

 

If it's really too big for the ship it's on, I could trim it down some... have to give that a good think.

 

covid-ships13.thumb.jpg.49f0ac59d5f7e9738fb49bc5ab119fb1.jpg

 

I tried scooting the aft castle back a bit, but it didn't look right hanging even further over the stern. I think its current position is a happy compromise. So what about that fore castle? Too big? Going to make the ship capsize?

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Hi Phil. Could you give a side view? That would help visualise better the way the castles fit with the hull.

 

I think there should probably be a bit more inward taper on the castles, and maybe the forecastle (that's still its name, even today!) should be narrower to give it more balance, both visually and mechanically. Not sure about the sterncastle - there's a contemporary Danish picture of a ship with a similarly long castle at the stern, but it's lower than yours and fits into the hull better.  It also goes all the way to the mast.

 

1545257964_Danishcog.jpg.3997f35e95d8c2ffe6a888358a25ff54.jpg

 

By the way, you probably don't need the stempost and sternpost to stick right up above the castles - they seem to get cut off at the castle in most pics I've seen. And overhanging castles would normally be supported by brackets from the hull.

 

I'm not sure of the right name for that mast fish thing - they seem to have only been used on Viking ships. The thing that usually carries out that function is called a mast step, and most of them aren't as pretty as the Viking ones - just rectangular.

On 9/8/2020 at 10:32 PM, liteflight said:

have not made much sense of the inscription - "Seal of Commuiic ------- ouvo RiH" 

I make it Sigillum (seal of) Communo .  . ronus de Dovoric[um](?). The flag is that of the Cinque Ports -  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinque_Ports - of which Dover was one.

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Louie, thanks so much for following my project and offering so many helpful suggestions.

I shaved down the bow post and the stern post to something a little over half their previous width, and that looks much better. I also slimmed down the mast by about 30%. I jettisoned the funky bracing around the lower part of the mast, and made the upper deck to cover the entirety of the ship, except for a largish hatch, through which one can still glimpse the lower deck, which got some greyish drybrushing prior to gluing on the upper deck. I'm just waiting for the glue to dry before putting on some more dark brown paint and doing some grey drybrushing over the whole thing.

 

covid-ships14.thumb.jpg.2265b74d403305775d2a6f0266847935.jpg

 

Of course, it was not without mishaps. While trimming down the sternpost, I broke it right off, you can still see the break where I hastily reglued it in place. Both the bow and stern posts got trimmed back considerably in length, and once the castles are in place they'll get trimmed back further, so they just barely peek out.

 

covid-ships15.jpg.d90093037c7fd897333d6b22c284dff8.jpg

 

I think you're right about the forecastle - it needs to be shorter and narrower, with more of a narrowing trapezoidal form.

 

covid-ships16.thumb.jpg.5523eadd6c1c55b6d48899f9ce55947c.jpg

 

More soon!

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That certainly looks better.

 

I would go so far as to cut the stem and stern posts off just below the decks of the castles. It seems to me that firstly there's no structural reason to extend them past that, and secondly they'd get in the way of the people on the deck.

 

What you might also like to do is have a forecastle which is rectangular but with a sharp end as in the pics below - this seems to have been a fairly common feature, and would give more room on the deck without interfering too much with the balance of the ship. Note also the supporting brackets below the castles and that the stem and sternposts don't protrude above deck level.

 

Paris Bibl Mazarine ms 2028 f. 002   Expedition to Canary Islands. British Library, Egerton MS 2709, fol. 2  (Paris)

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On 9/7/2020 at 7:03 PM, Louie da fly said:

But perhaps they were done the way the model below has them (though I don't agree with the castles coming to a point at bow and stern - there's enough evidence to show that though they may have tapered inward, they didn't come to a point - it's a pretty model, though).

Is this model a cog (post 35) or pre-cog?  Hulk maybe?  I see the side mounted rudder.  I thought even early cogs had stern mounted rudders.

 

I am trying to get a handle on the shrouds.  It appears the lower part is a hull mounted post.  Could the upper part be a heart or similar?

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Chuck, the model I put up in post # 35 (with all those pictures of seals and manuscript illustrations) is of what I call  a nef - there's really no accepted name for them - from the late 13th-early 14th century.  (Nobody really knows what exactly a hulc/hulk was, and to be honest I think the currently accepted idea of its nature is based on such thin evidence that it should never have been entertained in the first place.)

 

I wouldn't  take too much notice of the configuration of the model's shrouds - it's a modern interpretation, after all. I'd be relying on the contemporary representations, though it has to be admitted they give very little detail. I've had a look at archaeological finds but as far as I can see no blocks etc have survived. Naturally enough these are usually the first things to disappear as the upper works get eroded away, unless they fall off and are buried under silt and are thus preserved. However, my understanding is that hearts go back a very long way - certainly prior to deadeyes, which don't seem to have come in until at least the middle of the 15th century.

 

At the risk of derailing the thread (though I think this information is actually relevant not only to your question but to this and other threads for 13th-15th century ships) the above illustrations and the ones I've added below are all the evidence I've been able to find for rigging items for ships of this period. Note the last one is very clear (it's from the Luttrell Psalter of 1325-40) and perhaps this is the best option for shroud fixings. My reading of the picture is that the shroud passes through a hole in the planking and is wrapped around a toggle. The red seal might be done the same way, and the two seals nearest the end (which I believe to be different impressions of the same seal) seem to have a similar system, but all the toggles are attached to the same horizontal bar.

 

The one with the two-headed eagle banner seems to have the shrouds ending in eye-splices passing through metal brackets, on the far right of the second line it looks like the shroud passes through a hole in the bulwark and then is spliced back onto itself. Some shrouds end in unidentified "blobs" on the outside of the hull.

 

The first three in post #35 above and perhaps even the seal of Dover in post #34 seem to have them terminate in ringbolts or eyebolts, as does the third one in the third line below (though that one has them sticking up from the bulwark whereas in all the others the ringbolts are on the sides of the ship).

    image.png.6c7e994be12cb81f504b03f03281aeea.png    image.png.0d91a19b91cebe642f7fb6e447f62afc.png        image.png.2905766de1aef4c7e0eb6293d813660d.png  

                                        BNF Francais 64 f. 271r                                                                          Harley MS 1319  f. 18 (1401-2)                                               Harley MS 1319  f. 14v (1401-2)

 

image.png.d17384c4a3d36536963aa68b7dbc7d71.png       image.png.2071ab6d6044c69ab9cd4c35a66f0952.png      image.png.15bd64459ef1ee7cfa2a76e7407776a6.png   

 

                          Rylands MS English 1, fol. 9v. (1401-1420)                                                                    BM 1978,U.2028 Richard II's campaign in Ireland                                 BNF Valère Maxime, Dits et faits mémorables f. 59v  (1450-75)

 

image.png.0f3376eaf1263fe47d3a4ccc1722dc50.png      image.png.87ef0b52c17d393e2d82d1e670ead1d5.png   image.png.8b66fb5faf5ec3c255066707a1636a24.png   image.png.a9a758de9d1d7aa674ebc2797f4a63ca.png   les SCEAUX DES VILLES de l'Europe du nord  

 

                          Early 15th century Seal of Southampton                           unknown, early 15th century              BNF Français 64 Folio 333r (1401-1500)                                        Seal of Elbing, Germany

 

image.png.584c23caa49569029f09237fa367363c.png

 

                             Luttrell Psalter BL Add MS 42130 f. 161v. of 1325-40

 

These are all the contemporary representations I've been able to find that show the fixing of the shrouds, but it has to be kept in mind that many representations just show the shrouds vanishing behind the bulwarks, and thus presumably fixed somehow to the inside of the ship.

 

I hope this is of help to you and to anyone else interested in this kind of thing (including, of course, you, PhilB).

 

 

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6 hours ago, Chuck Seiler said:

Is this model a cog (post 35) or pre-cog?  Hulk maybe?  I see the side mounted rudder.  I thought even early cogs had stern mounted rudders.

I was under the (perhaps mistaken) impression that early cogs had the side rudder, and only later moved definitively to the stern rudder. Some of the period illustrations show cog-like ships with fore and aft castles and the side rudder, like the seal above (1305 Dover seal), or the left side ship in this pic from the Maritime Museum in Hamburg, which doesn't appear to have a stern rudder, and so must have a side-rudder on the side away from the camera..

 

Hamburg-Hanseatic-cog-ships.jpg

 

What do you call a "pre-cog"? Is that different from a hulk / holk? Where is the transition from a knarr to a cog situated?

 

I also found this seal of Sandwich (also part of the "cinq ports") dated around the 13th century, with the side rudder and heavy bow and stern posts.

 

Sandwichz1.jpg

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I think all ships with the classic cog shape (straight sternpost and usually - but not always - straight stempost, fairly integral sterncastle) have stern rudders. An interesting detail on the one below is the lashing around the stempost under the forecastle (which again is a polygon, not a rectangle).

 

439226387_BodleianMarcoPolobig.JPG.a8dc1e6581c49142273cfaad72ef3701.JPG

 

The ships on the Sandwich seal and in the photo I'd call  nefs, for lack of a better name - I wouldn't call them cogs; they're more like Viking knarrs with castles.

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Just to answer to Louie da fly's post on the shrouds.
I think that the Cogs of the Middle Ages were built with a great influence of the Mediterranean boats and their oriental rigging.
The crusades and other Viking voyages brought the technique of these boats to the West.
The shrouds were probably attached identically to a chébec (xebec). It is an extremely effective and simple means that has lasted for centuries.

 

P3300043.jpg

P3300037.jpg

P3300021.jpg

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7 hours ago, PhilB said:

What do you call a "pre-cog"? Is that different from a hulk / holk? Where is the transition from a knarr to a cog situated?

    I have done some research but not alot, so my knowledge is sketchy. 

 

    Due to Viking travel to the Med, new building techniques were incorporated into norther European shipbuilding.  As distance and cargo increased, the knarr evolved.  There were many different designs and due to regional terminology it is hard to say "this is a nef, that is a holk"...at least as I understand it.  Much like several hundred years later we see similar looking ships being referred to as carrack, nao and caravel, even though there was also a DIFFERENT type ship being called caravel.  The I have seen the infamous "White Ship" of 1120 referred to as a holk/hulk. 

 

    IIRC, all these ships had a curved bow and stern on common.  They were build along the same lines as a longship or knarr.  It was my understanding that the advent of a straight sternpost and stern mounted rudder marked the beginning of the cog.

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2 hours ago, Chuck Seiler said:

IIRC, all these ships had a curved bow and stern on common.  They were build along the same lines as a longship or knarr.  It was my understanding that the advent of a straight sternpost and stern mounted rudder marked the beginning of the cog.

Thanks for this, Chuck. My ship design certainly is much closer to the lines of a longship or knarr, and has curved bow and stern posts, and a more acute bow angle than the straight bow and stern post, stern ruddered cogs, the models of which all have a much more rounded, buff shape to the bow and stern. So, taking your advice, I've renamed the entire thread.

 

I'll have to try and build a proper cog once I've got nef 2 and nef 3 under my belt.

 

It was interesting reading about the White Ship of 1120 in wikipedia, especially since the father of the captain of this ill-fated vessel sailed the ships we see on the Bayeux Tapestry, notably William's flagship, the Mora. The depiction of the White Ship shows diminutive fore and aft castles and very high bow and stern posts rising above those castles. Not much stock can be placed in the details of the artist's rendering, I'm sure, but it leaves free reign to the imagination of model builders wanting to emulate this early period.

 

WhiteShipSinking.jpg

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20 hours ago, Ekis said:

I think that the Cogs of the Middle Ages were built with a great influence of the Mediterranean boats and their oriental rigging.
The crusades and other Viking voyages brought the technique of these boats to the West.
The shrouds were probably attached identically to a chébec (xebec). It is an extremely effective and simple means that has lasted for centuries.

That's possible, but we need to remember that the northern Europeans had sailing ships well before the crusades (at least as early as the first Viking raid of 793 AD and probably earlier) and so would already have evolved their own means of belaying shrouds. Though it's quite possible that Mediterranean ships influenced those of northern/western Europe, the influence also worked the other way around, with single-masted square-rigged vessels similar to cogs suddenly appearing in the Mediterranean after centuries of multi-masted lateeners.

 

As far as shroud fixings go, we're probably best relying on the existing evidence - which unfortunately seems to consist only of pictures produced by people who may or may not have been familiar with ships - but that's all we have.

 

Regarding the nature of a hulk - the current theory amongst academics is that unlike "nefs" (still not an official term, but it serves for the time being) which have a stem and sternpost and have conventional clinker planking

 

1142973930_Nefwithcrossbows.jpg.68b5b0a3bb3af3caacfea87c63374dd1.jpg

 

a hulc/holk/hulk is characterised by two design features - "reverse"clinker planking (with the overlap upwards rather than downwards) and a lack of stem and sternposts, with the planking doing all the structural work and somehow curving around the bow and stern. Apparently some small river craft have been found built this way.

 

What set this all off was the 1295 AD seal of the town of New Shoreham, (previously known as Hulkesmouthe) which has an inscription referring to the ship on the seal as a "hulc". Here are two photos of the seal:

 

2057674367_SealofthecityofNewShoreham(1295).thumb.jpg.bcb5cb61c4010e5145de6b5d02584e1d.jpg    222552013_hulkesmouthshorehamsealbig.thumb.jpg.291650f63aa02c7ac4e1014ffec398a3.jpg

 

And a 19th century (I think) engraving of it which gives clearer detail, but may incorporate copying errors.

 

image.png.bab6095a000e01d6646d8b139b270905.png

 

Ok, there are no stem or sternposts shown,but there's no sign of reverse clinker (in fact the lines between the planks are raised, not recessed and the planks all seem to be in the same flat plane). For reverse clinker you need to go to the pictures below.

 

 

490393423_Sluys2.jpg.5468726ef9cb37d6d844b0d6fdf4e1ea.jpg       800px-Philippe_Auguste_attendant_sa_flotte.jpg.b16d22ac8eba959c3f4e6f415cb7e7e9.jpg

 

BNF Psalter of Jean de Berry Gallica f.127r                                                                    Philippe_Augustus awaits his fleet

 

So the shading certainly seems to suggest that the lower planks overlap the upper ones. But is that enough to base such a complex, unwieldy, top-heavy theory on? Perhaps it's just artistic error on the part of someone who'd never looked closely at a ship? Ok they've found some small river vessels built that way but would a large ship of that construction even be seaworthy? And (Occam's razor) why would anybody build it that way when standard construction is so much easier?

 

And that the New Shoreham seal calls the ship a hulc is a pretty thin bit of evidence that the word describes that specific type of ship. Maybe, like "nao", it just means "ship", or perhaps "cargo ship", or "warship" or . . . 

 

It seems to me this theory is like a house of cards - one touch and it'll all come crashing down. Or maybe the Emperor's New Clothes would be a better comparison.

 

Sorry about the rant, but this has become the "standard" idea of what a hulk was, repeated in any number of academic papers and I believe it's one of the worst examples of academics quoting each other as proof of a theory with almost no reliable basis in fact. Of course if some archaeologist does find one, it'll blow my objections out of the water. But I'll wait till then to change my opinions.                                               
 

 

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Louie, I was also skeptical about "reverse clinker" construction, even if there are some examples of this in SE Asia. So I'm going to stick with the "Nef" designation, and assume this ship is more or less contemporary with the White Ship.

 

I have put two rows of narrow planks along the inside of the ribs (not sure what those are called) as well as corner braces along the deck on both sides. I also did a speculative build of the forecastle, and I think it looks good enough to keep. The aft castle is going to take longer, since I've got to put a capstain in there, and without a lathe, that's going to take a bit of work.

 

covid-ships17.jpg.c1c04cd435f7e72ecefd7f71f7d1c2ac.jpg

 

The front part of the forecastle isn't glued in place yet, since the forecastle is just dry fit in place. Of course there will be low walls and crenelations, as well as some lateral braces from the bow post.

 

covid-ships18.thumb.jpg.6b83177badae7889d58ca57e13aa8483.jpg

 

I'm quite pleased with the lateral braces at the back end of the forecastle, I'll probably do something similar on the stern castle. In the second picture, to the right of the ship, are the missing pieces for the underside of the forecastle.

 

My main material (except for the hull itself) is balsa, and when I'm doing small detailed work, it becomes very fragile. Several of the L-shaped braces along the deck broke as I was shaping them, but superglue saved me. I'm really going to have to graduate to a sturdier, more resiliant wood for future projects, even if that means shelling out for some proper tools, like a table saw and a lathe.

 

At some point soon I'll need to go over the deck and hull with a grey drybrush. This dark brown is far too dark for the weathered look I'm shooting for.

More soon.

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Phil, that's looking amazingly good. I'm impressed. you've even put the "bowsprit" in, which I wasn't expecting. (it's function is debatable - it probably didn't work the same way as the bowsprits of centuries later, and it vanished quite soon, but it does appear fairly often in contemporary representations).

 

Probably the best name for those internal planks is "stringers", whose function is the strengthen the structure. If the inside of the hull was covered with them they'd probably have a different name (such as "internal planking"). They'll work well to provide you with belaying points for the rigging ropes.

 

I'm amazed you've been able to achieve with balsa - it's really rubbish wood, and you've stretched it way past its normal capabilities.

 

Making a capstan without a lathe isn't as hard as you may think. You can carve it to shape without too much trouble. Start with a square section piece of wood, then take off the corners to make it octagonal, then smooth it down further and further. That's how they made masts. Finally, you can use a "poor man's lathe" (electric drill) to finish it off. But don't use balsa! Even pine would be better, but I'm sure you can find some decent wood without too much trouble. 

 

Or, perhaps better still, you could shorten the process by starting with a piece of dowel and carve it down to the shape you want. Maybe even "turn" it to shape, using an electric drill as a lathe and a rough file as your "lathe tool".

 

The Bremen cog had a capstan to raise the main yard, but it also had a windlass. See https://nautarch.tamu.edu/class/316/cog/

 

By the way, regarding the fixing of shrouds and rigging artefacts, have a look at https://www.academia.edu/22591645/Medieval_Shipwrecks_from_North_Norway_and_their_Contribution_to_Understanding_Maritime_Interaction_and_Trade?email_work_card=view-paper - they found some blocks and what might be fragments of deadeyes.

 

 

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I didn't have much modelling time today, but I decided I had to take a shot at the windlass. Lacking a lathe, I chucked a section of dowel into my drill and stepped towards my workbench. Previously, I'd tried to hold the drill in a static position, and apply a file, or sandpaper, to the wood as it turned on the drill. But this time I thought, what if I clamped the file into a fixed position, and maneuvered the dowel over it to get the desired results? It worked much better than before. I marked off the ends of the windlass and shaved down the dowel a bit on each end. Then I switched the file around and put a groove in the middle, deep enough to hold some very small squares of wood to make the central "cog" section of the windlass. I cut a very short square off the end of a basswood beam, then cut that square into thirds, each way, making nine (mostly) square bits to superglue into the groove in the dowel.

 

I was skeptical at first, but it turned out better than I'd expected.

 

 

 

covid-ships19.jpg.9aaf9fa10f011c22c0f489f8f410961f.jpg

 

Now the really tricky part will be making square holes (!) at both ends of the capstain for the spars that are used to turn it. My best guess is that I should drill shallow holes and then try to square them off with a very sharp xacto blade.

 

More soon.

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50 minutes ago, PhilB said:

Now the really tricky part will be making square holes (!) at both ends of the capstain for the spars that are used to turn it. My best guess is that I should drill shallow holes and then try to square them off with a very sharp xacto blade.

I used a small square file.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The aftcastle is proving to be a difficult project. Tentatively, I'm basing it on verticle beams rising from the edge of the hull, with a plan to have curved arches supporting the overhang (progressively larger towards the stern). As you can see from this first photo, the windlass is built integral with the leading edge of the forecastle, which seems as good a place as any for it. Everything is dry fit for now, so some of the supporting posts have a bit of lean to them, but once glued in place, they'll be as vertical as I can make them.

 

aftcastle01.jpg.42cf5c76a034550c1102c8782ed9cf88.jpg

 

Now, I toyed with the idea of enclosing the lower section of the aft castle completely, then remembered that I have to leave space for the side rudder on the right side. Rather than have a sort of "window" for the rudder (which feels odd) I'm thinking about having a partial "skirt" under the aft castle, and have made a cardboard template to test the idea (actually my third such template, after rejecting the first two).

 

aftcastle02.jpg.dfcfb363a2cc1422799288963e75c6f5.jpgaftcastle03.jpg.8b8c494e4438dd19b0805bd0f115a4bc.jpg

 

This will leave space for the right side rudder, without having dissimetrical sides. Now, none of the period artwork has such a skirt, although some of them do have fully enclosed aft castles that overhang the hull. But this skirt does seem to tie things together nicely, on a purely imaginary visual level.

 

So I'm asking for advice: does the skirt look appropriate? Or should I leave the underlying beams exposed, and just tart up the (as yet unsculpted) arched supports spreading out to take the weight of the aftcastle deck?

 

Second question: should I use a horizontal planking pattern on the lower part of the skirt, and then a veritcal planking pattern on the crenelated upper part? Or can I get away with running vertical planks over the entire surface?

 

I still haven't figured out if I can successfully make the deck of the aftcastle removable so as to place figures underneath. I would certainly be a *lot* easier (and sturdier) to simply glue it in place, but all things are still possible at this point.

 

Thanks for all the help.

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7 hours ago, PhilB said:

does the skirt look appropriate? Or should I leave the underlying beams exposed, and just tart up the (as yet unsculpted) arched supports spreading out to take the weight of the aftcastle deck?

Ok, you did ask, so; to my eye the skirt doesn't look right. As you say, none of the period artwork has one. It depends how historically accurate you want this model to be. I can understand the tension between "I want this to be accurate" and "Hey, it's for gaming; it doesn't matter that much."

 

If it were me I'd leave the skirt off and

 

7 hours ago, PhilB said:

leave the underlying beams exposed, and just tart up the (as yet unsculpted) arched supports spreading out to take the weight of the aftcastle deck

 

But it's not me. It's your model and your decision, and you should do what you think is best for you.

 

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5 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

Ok, you did ask, so; to my eye the skirt doesn't look right. As you say, none of the period artwork has one. It depends how historically accurate you want this model to be. I can understand the tension between "I want this to be accurate" and "Hey, it's for gaming; it doesn't matter that much."

Well, you've got me pegged! I am a gamer at heart.

But if I stop and think about the other gamers, it's not going to matter one way or the other. They'll look at it with goggle eyes and say "it's cool, but how long did you take for that thing?"

 

Given that I decided from the outset I wanted to make an early ship, a "pre-cog" as it were, with a side rudder, I'm going to stick with that, and dump the skirt idea. I'll add more curved supports like on the forecastle.

 

forecastle01.jpg.e17c0993f752038b7a97565acb0d13bb.jpg

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Almost ready to cut wood for the aft castle. I decided the crenelations needed to be slightly more widely spaced, turns out that 17mm was just right. Also raised the level slightly, so that the tops of the crenelations would be just above head height for the figures. They're supposed to be a protective measure, after all!

So the curved braces are in place under there, and once the four sides of the aft castle and the five sides of the forecastle are in place, I'll have two ladders to build, and the side rudder to craft, and be one step closer to completion.

 

aftcastle04.jpg.55a9afac646bca5e26022765ca673abf.jpg

 

aftcastle05.jpg.078f64780cfae09ceb23e93ffa20964e.jpg

 

I'm thinking of putting a bit more detail into the hull. exposed beam ends seem to be a theme on all period vessels, perhaps 5 or six on each side of the ship. And then there are those lateral braces alongside and just aft of the mast, along the outside of the hull, which can serve to anchor the rigging running up to the top of the mast. I realize now that I made things difficult for myself, since I'll want to wrap some rope around that windlass, and it would've been easier before installation. But I don't have any rope yet, and couldn't wait. I'll just have to make do.

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Great job with the rudder.  When something bothers you, removing the problem is often the correct approach.  You're more satisfied and others will appreciate the improvement too.  Your cog is probably put together just like one was constructed in medieval times...loosely planned and adjusted on the fly.  As long as building it is fun, keep at it.

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