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Egyptian "Byblos-Ship" trader by Nikiforos - Amati - 1/50th - bash

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Thanks, Binho, my friend. Very useful indeed!


Although not specifically attracted to Old Kingdom or indeed Egyptian sea-going ships (Sasanian ship info is almost non-existent in the West), the Egyptians' ancient tech, when most of the world were scudding about in dug-out logs, was simply remarkable, as is backed up by sometimes millimetrically correct mastaba and/or pyramid's structural engineering. Some New Kingdom Royal ships must have been 'out of this world' to have witnessed much like the Roman 'sixes' and larger, millenia later.


The Landstrom book is gold, by the way. And expensive. But excellently expensive.




Anyway, after nearly seven years of fighting ths good fight and having lost one whole kidney, two renal glands, one spleen, a bit of lung and a bit of the pancreas' tail, my latest six month scan for Stage 4 Renal Cell Carcinoma came good. I'm one of the tiny percentage who dodged enough bullets to be here, still typing away today.

Stage 4 RCC. Soooo lucky. Building model ships has helped in the past year; it's become a real assist in clawing back my life. Not just the sawdust but the incredible and inspiring research others have prepared for us. Y'know?


One thing: Don't be complacent, ladies and gentlemen. Get checked out. Phone your doc's receptionists for an appointment. My 2kg tumour snook up on me in 2013 -never even suspected it was there -don't let these evil things do the same to you! Get yourself checked out!


Sermon over : }

Edited by Nikiforos

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Hectic weekend but back on topic for a tiny update.


The internals of Byblos has plenty of 0.25mm rope re-inforcement, here being set with 50/50 aliphatic/water before some flat varnish goes on. The top yard assembled with 0.75mm rope and similarly set. 

The 0.25 is your actual golden hemp, courtesy of Mr Dusek's pentekontor. It looks really good though you can't really see it here to effect.

All the locating holes for the hogging trusses are in. Exciting isn't it? Taking one's time always pays dividends, but not terribly rivetting to read.

Naturally, all visible traces of plywood erased as you can see on the pebble section of the hull framing. It is the only way.



More shortly.



My friends, meet some Vallorbe files. I simply cannot fail with these trusty minions to hand. That's the script anyway.


Just an addendum -- Landstrom's 'unknown' deck objects look obvious enough in this depiction. Note the religious gear at the prow, the weighty hogging truss(es)  and some very curious hieroglyphs on the hull. 😟


Egyptians in de nial. Hm..


Note the oar lashes on this one. Some really easy-to-miss detail.

Edited by Nikiforos

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La Really? Or (instead)


Hull Lotta Love!


It doesn't specifically mention it (it's drawn in the oar drilling plan) but (of course) bevel the bulkheads to the flow of the deck so the layers of hull planking adhere as best as they possibly can to maximum surface area. If you skimp this the planking will run too short on either side. Very important obviously.


Now the boring bit which you'll note that I have deliberately ignored until now. 

I loathe planking hulls, it makes making photo-etch belt buckles an example of utter, unabandonedly delerious, eternal epiphanies by comparison. 


The question here is either to pre-shape some cedar exactly the same sizes as the supplied tilia and join both at the same time. Or. Make the hull as normal and afterwards add the cedar strips roughly corespondent. In no way should the kit's supersoft lime strip be left as final. By the way, veneer can be surprisingly brittle so either way, extreme care is required.


Here a section of the bottom of the somewhat boxy hull is wrapped around an orange lid to give the correct curves on which the remaining planks will sit, after soaking for 1 hour. A hairdrier will set it all.


The inner bulkheads all roped up and please note the stanchions. Landstrom has them rounded off like crutches, so these will need shaping.


Finally, the stem post (ankh post) was carved from beechwood to replace the walnut kit part. It looks more tonally correct. Also I'm wondering whether to carve a new heron, make him a bit more ferocious. Or a dog's head. Don't know yet.


Fun Factoid.

During the Middle Kingdom and onwards, carved hedgehog heads were used as stem decorations. Your guess is as good as mine.


Below, is its donor model, my Thracian pentekontor half-built. It was replaced with a standard Argo-like sternpost. 


More later this week, La Real fans. : (








Just noticed how the thick grapevine support is merged with the hypozomata. I stared long enough at this image and didn't notice until today.



Edited by Nikiforos

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Nothing to show, until the beginning of next week but was thinking;


"What on earth will I do with all that cedar, once Byblos is complete? I seem to have run out of 'ancient' ship kits too".


It's true. Dusek's trieres I think is too boxy or square and the deck support stanchions lack the distinctive curvature of Olympias (yea, Olympias needn't be Gospel).

Mantua's 'Caesar' and Amati's lolokontor are not worth the money one being a balsa and putty nightmare ...thing and the other a half-hearted copy of the out of scale Heller/Academy/Zvezda plastic .. thing. Nothing else out there to enjoy in the ancient boat genre. Viking vessels are really a bit too modern for me. Seems a shame.


Well, taking Stephen's advice, something simple over at the Dark Side... 🤨




Thanks to all you stalwarts who offer advice, likes and the time spent reading this chaos...

Edited by Nikiforos

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Hi, if you do go over to the Dark Side what are you thinking of building? Would have to be an actual vessel or something from  greek mythology, perhaps the Argo or Odysseus's Penelope. Whatever you choose to do I'd be interested in watching 👍

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I really must start using my NetBSD (yea, UNIX is wonderful still) desktop to post to fora. Twice now this stupid tablet being so skittish in physical design erased my long reply because an ant moved 2mm 1 mile away. Android O with split view is a monster pain in the rear and compounds the pain.


Allow me to reply using my desktop, later. Thank you, gentlemen.



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Curiously, this is the ship I was reading about when you posted. It's not terribly different structurally to the Byblos ship, i.e. it is keel-less or flat bottomed and was paddled. Being a river vessel there's no intricate mast and related mechanisms but otherwise you yourself could build this using Landstrom's book and some perfectly flat pieces of wood (and tons of string). The original built of cedar (except the plank pegs, of sycamore) could be a good idea! Looks like a really worthwhile addition to extant kits (at £150). Thank you for the link.


GrandpaPhil and Edward, my previous post shows my next build. The little 'canoe' image therein and below is pre-Dynastic, pre-Thinite and looks to be perfect for an initial foray to the Dark Side. 
It is literally 5 or 7 straight sections of cedar with a solidly lashed thwart (framed) section to prize these sections outward forming the canoe shape, as per the original. The rest is making paddles and a deckhouses made from sections of sculpting material. And a mini palm tree. Scale? 48th, maybe. Not too big, not too small.

We're talking roughly 5,000 years ago (hard to be sure like all things of this long-ago age) this vessel was thought to be seen on the Nile. Perfectly simple for someone who is routinely defeated by Lego brick models.


(Composed with vim 8.0 under NetBSD) : P






Haifa grass is thought to have been used alongside flax for general planking and papyrus binding work. It's still being used today where synthetic fibre will not suffice.

Edited by Nikiforos

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I look forward to seeing your build!  It’s going to be neat!


I like the ancient vessels (ancients are one of my frequent painting subjects), so it’s neat to see builds of them.


 I don’t know enough about them to build one.

Edited by GrandpaPhil

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Phil -- your advanced skill level could enable you to crank out these charming boats easily enough. I think Landstrom's amazing work would give you 100% of everything you'd need; it's an outstanding tome, either for painting or for modelling. Do you have a link to your paintings?


Ron -- thank you for that. I'm scanning amazons .de, .fr, .co.uk regularly as I can't borrow this copy forever. .Com might be a little steep in postage from our US friends.


Some small update.

This is the cutout section with roughly how a tripodal mast will operate within.


The kit correctly advises placing 0.25mm halfa grass (lol - not really) around each longitudinal half-round, on all four inner sections. It's also correct to add the roping in between as illustrated. Might as well make them whilst we're working in this section.


The darker working pic is a genuine photo of the procedure as it was in Unas' day. It has aged well : )


Fun Factoid


Unas (our tripod Pharaoh) may have received popular veneration as a local god of Saqqara until as late as the Late Period (664–332 BC), nearly 2000 years after his death. --wikipedia.




All cedar interior. Posh!






Image for discussion purposes only. Note the kataphrakta style walkway. 


Edited by Nikiforos

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Looking forward to seeing them, Phil. You can sneak 'em in here if you'd like.


Also, does anyone know whether this model is mass market ... somewhere, or a one-off museum made-to-measure? It's Late Kingdom (unsure), I think Queen Hatshepsut's Punt ships despite the blurb behind it. Thanks!


Note the hogging truss essentially the same deal as if 1000 years before although this beautiful ship has a proper keel. The decoration at the stern is a painted lotus flower of cedarwood.

As for paint, it is thought medium green painted hulls were widely seen on the Nile and on the seas. Time to grab some very thinned green wood dye and do some tests, then. It might look smart on Byblos-ship.



Marie Celeste, Hatshepsut style.

Edited by Nikiforos

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Down with pancreatitis, which has meant a short hiatus.


But two pics. The first is VERY interesting. Any ideas as to why?


And a terrible joke. I make no apologies for it. More when there's something concrete to show, at present a lot of cedar is going on as second planking but sloooow lyyy.






How to demarcate between irregular shaped hull planking? Why, my secret weapon...



714RepQa-sL._SL1500_.jpgExpensive pencils each costing more than they should. I use light and darker wood tones, ivory and verdegris as base. Black is too harsh at 1:50 scale.

Keep them sharp with sandpaper at all times.


More soon.

Edited by Nikiforos

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Quick update


Now, about something that I pointed to earlier that sort of stood out from Sahure's ship imagery after staring at them for an age of man. 

In the second image below, if you look closely, the multiple 'eyes of wadjet' oculi posts overlap from front to back, very clearly. Its obvious in the first image. 


I believe them to represent either a parallel-ordered or v-shaped 'forecastle'. In the images of Unas' tripods, we are not looking at one single stem/sternpost but two planks -in a v-shaped construct. The kit and every other representation out there has a single plank for stem/sternpost.


 This how I'm going to bash my Byblos-ship  -- three masts and v-shaped sternposts, the stem slot already taken by the heron. The centre mast leg sits behind the bottom most mast support whereas the other two sit in front -a real tripod structure. No major modification needed to the kit here -perhaps larger stones is all that is required along with a brace that conjoins at the bottom of the mast structure.


More soon,

Hercules Poirot, discoverer of ancient things.


Eh bien.


Note the incense burner? and oil-jug? at the prow. In the kit some of these structures are belaying ties, if that's the right word. 



Amati's interpretation, from their website. Extrapolating all this detail from side profiles in Sahure's tomb is bound to be full of errors, as mine will be. We are talking 4,500 years ago since this thing pottered down the red sea in excruciating heat to collect ebony from Ethiopia.

Edited by Nikiforos

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