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


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Thanks for the vote of confidence. I am truly making it up a I go along. Just one thing: the rudder is on my to-do list. The things I have completed are the curved braces under the aftcastle, the windlass under its leading edge, and now the planks for the walls of the stern castle. I realized as I was scribing the planks that when you scribe both sides of a 1mm sheet of balsa in the same place, it becomes very thin indeed! The bracing on the inside of the castle walls should hold everything together nicely, though.

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Thanks for the kind words, Mark. But it's hard for me to use the word "jealous" except in refering to my own awe when looking at the models made by real ship modelers on this site. It almost feels like my balsa and basswood monstrosities are a blasphemy to serious shipbuilding.

 

Almost. I'm actually pretty pleased at how this my 3rd ship effort is progressing. The next one though will need to pay more serious attention to the hull shape, instead of continuing to be fixated on the acute bow and stern angles of longships.

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Construction continues! I've finished the aftcastle walls, and although they aren't actually glued in place yet, I took some photos because I was too impatient. <g>

There were a lot of fiddly bits to put in place with the interior bracing of the aftcastle walls, but with patience it all came together.

 

aftcastle06.jpg.36806a1053a3154a20654e29cdc6e20b.jpg

 

The worst was the upper logitudinal brace, which had to be notched for each vertical brace. But now it's done, and I can move on to the forecastle, and then the side rudder, and the ladders, and... all the other details which really make a model shine.

 

aftcastle07.jpg.5703dcb46a49b7591c58ef3a26d06daa.jpg

 

I thought about doing a two-tone paint scheme on the aft castle, but the burnt umber color appealed to me more. I'll try to duplicate the mix for the forecastle, knowing full well that I should have painted them both at the same time, to get a match in the shades used.

 

Note that there is no space for a stair/ladder on the front of the aft castle, since there is an open hatch inside that will get a ladder.

 

Now I'm wondering if the mast shouldn't have been slightly forward of center, rather than in the true center of the ship, as I built it. Of course it is far too late to change that. Other details yet to add will be rope wrapped around the mast at suitable intervals and those funky lateral braces on the outside of the hull that seem to be all the rage for attaching the stays that run up to the mast head. Unless I adopt a more conservative method for anchoring the stays, like on this reconstruction of a longship's rigging.

 

I'm determined to rig this one (and probably go back to rig the previous test ship) so now I need to figure out what weight of cord to use on a 1/50 model. I see Amati sells rigging rope in 0.25mm, 0.5mm, 0.75mm, 1mm and 1.3mm weights, and am fairly flummoxed as to what to use. Maybe I'll order some of each, and see what works.

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The pirates are celebrating the completion of the forecastle!

 

forecastle02.jpg.ac52e62b1daea0088c26d9ccb061706c.jpg

 

A little blurry, gotta work on my photography. I also see I forgot to paint two of the supports under the forecastle. Little by little!

Next is the ladders (I *hate* scratchbuilding ladders) and then the side rudder and a few hull details. And tomorrow or the next day I should receive the Amati cords I ordered, and I can start tarting up the mast and a few other things, before moving on to rigging.

 

More soon.

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It's just the figures that were at hand. I'll post pics later on with more Norman-looking fellahs.

One of my goals with this project was to model a pre-gunpowder era ship. So it would kind of defeat the purpose if I used 18th-century pirates armed with flintlocks.

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The side rudder is finished, and the glue is drying. I also finished two ladders, but one of them is too uneven and has to be discarded - gotta make another, for the sterncastle. I also gave the hull some painting love: dark caulking, and hundreds of dots for the trenails. A little drybrushing over the top, and it looks much better than before.

 

hull02.jpg.c54f128294c1cd52848d18871473499a.jpg

hull03.jpg.98516e3e2b46e93207f82b09190b9156.jpg

 

Also, I received the Amati rope I ordered, looks great, but I can see I'll need some larger sizes. I ordered 0.25mm, 0.5mm and 1mm, but I think some 1.3mm or ever 2mm are in order.

 

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I'm attempting to carve some cleats to set on each side of the mast - it's hard going! But I'll get there.

Two questions:

1) I've seen some models with a beam just aft of the mast, and forward of the windlass. Is this beam used primarily for attaching rigging, or as a belaying point for hoisting the mainsail yard?

 

2) What do you call this double cleat thingy, that looks like a very important part of the longship rigging plan I'm thinking of trying to emulate?

 

whatisit.png.d16e0e199b5cceb57857820206ac0074.png

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That's a difficult bit of carving. It'll need a lot of care to avoid it breaking - they're quite thin. How many do you have to do? Ah, just checked the diagrams - looks like you'll need four.

 

I can't answer your first question but for the second, the piece carries out the same function as a deadeye, so in the absence of an official name that's probably as good as anything else. I suppose you could put quotes around it and call it a "deadeye" to indicate that it really isn't one.

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I suppose I could call it a "butterfly cleat" or a "dragonfly cleat" or something like that.

I think I'll need another one on the forestay, at the very least. Or I could chicken out and use heartblocks. My first attempts at carving this double cleat all resulted in the basswood splitting down the middle. I may need to run a pin through the center to strengthen each piece before cutting the deep "V" in between the two cleats.

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"Butterfly cleat" sounds good. But they've only been found on Viking ships and yours is several hundred years later. I'd be going with hearts myself, as attested by this one from about 1390-1400.

 

According to the report "A number of loose rigging items were found, including six complete or partial blocks and two possible deadeye fragments . . .The largest block has seven holes but the others have only one or two" It appears the report doesn't distinguish between hearts and conventional blocks with sheaves, but the one below at least is definitely a heart, and possibly the others are too. Looks like one end has been cut off?

 

image.png.fc3075b03e7702f41e4ef83277d0524d.png

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Well, as a test, I tried to make one "butterfly cleat".

 

hull04.jpg.f6ca3ec5569a577989007d0240444285.jpg

 

The key to getting the right shape without splitting the wood was to shape it first with a small Xacto saw. Still, it looks a little on the over-large and clunky side. Probably best to go with heart blocks - easier to shape, and less clunky-looking.

 

So I'm thinking I should try something like this, though slightly smaller:

 

724Forestay.jpg

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1 hour ago, silverman834 said:

Nice to see how the build comes along!

 

And nice picture of the forestay with the hearts! That's an idea I think I'll steal to my ship.

I should hasten to add that the forestay picture is not mine, I grabbed it off google to illustrate the idea of replacing the "butterfly cleats" with heart blocks. I hope that mine looks almost as good when it's done.

 

Edit: on a related note, should I add some shoulder pieces near the top of the mast where the stays are attached? It's the forestay attachment on the borrowed heart block picture that made me think of it.

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Just a note with the hearts - make the hole before you cut the block out. That way you can avoid the problem of splitting the block when you drill the hole (don't ask me how I know!)

 

The shoulder pieces would be a good idea for keeping everything in place, but given the purpose of your model it's not vitally necessary. It's down to how good a model you want to make. I can see the lure of the Dark Side has gotten to you . . . :P

 

By the way, I do like the toggle through the side of the ship that you've used to terminate the lower end of the shroud.

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