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Spanish Galleon by Jeff T - Revell - 1:96 - PLASTIC - with modifications


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This is my first build log here in Model Ship World, but it is about a plastic ship model that I have already been working on for about three and a half years.  I may have have many years to go on the project, because I am only working on it here and there and I am doing some modifications as well, which add time. 

 

First, some background information.  As a child and teenager, I built a number of plastic models.  Some of my favorites were plastic sailing ships, and I still have a couple of them that I built over 30 years ago:

 

IMG_6780.thumb.JPG.3b5fc9944e9883aba64ecc21a1c03265.JPGI also tried to build the Monogram 1:120 USS United States at the time, but never completed it.  My interests changed, and I left the hobby until December 2016.

 

Then, I began to build the Revell of Germany 1:96 Spanish Galleon (which, I understand from my research on the internet, is more like a 1:64 or 1:65 scale).  It's not a model that depicts an actual ship that once sailed, but more like a general idea of a type of ship from a bygone era (Armada era in the late 1500s).  We have a replica ship of a Spanish Galleon here in San Diego at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.  I saw it being built, and completed, and I have been on it under sail, and am excited about building a Spanish Galleon of my own.  This model has some features in its shape that some may say are not very accurate for a Spanish Galleon from that period.  Well, in my modifications, mainly with masts and spars, I hope to change some of that, but I would like to think of this more as a "fantasy" version of a Spanish Galleon -- embodying some of the "romance" of the ship type.

 

Here's what the box looks like:

 

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And what was inside it, minus the sails:

 

 

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I originally was thinking of building it out of the box, but decided to do modifications when I realized that I wasn't going to use the plastic sails, because one of them was wrinkled, so it wouldn't convincingly "billow":

 

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I am not following the  instructions step-by-step.  I have done mostly preparation of parts and painting, and have worked on modifications, but the order of what you see here is not much like the order in the instruction booklet. 

 

The sterncastle is depicted as having some gilding on the box art and prototype photos.  I am expanding that gilding to make something ornate-looking a la Sovereign of the Seas (without the intricacy).  But there will be a lot of gold. 

 

The parts have windows that you have to paint on, and I didn't think I could make that look good:

 

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So I cut out the windows and used black aluminum craft mesh from Blick.com to make new muntins for them (this photo shows the inside of the cabin):

 

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I want to be able to look into the windows and see what's going on inside the cabins (which I intend to furnish with tables, chairs, beds, chests, maps, figures).  Here's a first attempt at adding a clear plastic to the back of the windows (styrene):

 

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The styrene cracked easily, so I replaced it all with lexan (polycarbonate), which is a little more flexible.

 

Eventually, after a lot of time and effort, we get completed sterncastle parts:

 

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At some point, as you can see above, I decided to add an enamel wash over the gold paint (which was a bright gold acrylic paint varnished with Humbrol satin enamel), in order to create a "dirt" weathering effect.

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Back in early 2017, shortly after I started working on the model, I glued the two halves of the hull together after trimming off the tabs from the keel that were meant to attach it to the plastic stand supplied with the kit.  I eventually want to use a wood stand with brass pedestals.  Two holes were created in the keel, through which, after the hull was glued together, I introduced two screws that would screw into long nuts on the other side (inside the hull):

 

 

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Within the hull, I used epoxy putty (grey), and then poured 30 minute epoxy into it, in order to surround the nuts and hold them tight and upright so that I can eventually screw the pedestals to the keel:

 

 

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Here are some photos of the main deck and stern bulkhead placement:

 

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I used a wood color enamel paint for the deck and a brown enamel "wash" over it to add some weathering to the "wood":

 

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Eventually it will have a matte sheen when I coat it with a matte acrylic varnish spray.

 

I wanted to make the stern lanterns look more like lanterns, since the way they were supplied meant that you had to paint the glass panes some color (which color?):

 

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So I decided to remove the tops and bottoms of the lanterns and replace the middle portion, which I call the "glass housing", with transparent material, in the center of which would be a glowing candle "flame".

 

I made latex rubber molds:

 

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Poured ArtResin clear epoxy into the molds:

 

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I made spares in case that some didn't turn out.

 

And here are the cast pieces:

 

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The lantern "glass housings" have central "cores" into which I painted a glow in the dark orange acrylic paint (and white acrylic paint behind it) so that they glow in the dark after being charged with a strong LED light.  Here is a "test piece" in the dark after being charged:

 

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I needed to make the diameters of the tops and bottoms of the stern lanterns larger in order to fit the new housings, so I glued polyester buttons to them and painted them up (including dirty "weathering" with a wash):

 

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Eventually, they will be glued together with the "glass housings". 

 

Here are some other progress pictures on the hull:

 

Dry fitting the sterncastle pieces (they are not glued on yet and it will be a while before I can get to that point):

 

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The wales were masked and ready to paint.IMG_6477.thumb.JPG.86743426ed147a9333a52a32d4c5f823.JPG

 

I have since painted the hulls and "weathered" them.  I masked the gunport hinges (above) and later painted them black, with some "rust" highlights.

 

 Here I am marking the waterline with a homemade "jig":

 

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Masking the waterline (below):

 

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I still have yet to paint below the waterline.  I will use an off-white spray can.

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A challenging piece to paint was the beakhead.  After priming, I first painted the gold, because I had to use multiple coats in order to make it uniform, and "weathered" it.  Then I masked the areas that would stay gold.  I used latex to mask the scroll and the feathers.  I then painted the blue (outside), and weathered it, and also the brown "weathered" wood (inside):

 

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The photo below shows the removing of the latex masking on the scrolling:

 

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Another modification that I have worked on is the taffrails.  The ones in the kit are like solid boards that surround the galleries.  If I kept them, I would not be able to see well through the windows into the furnished cabins.  So I made new taffrails using walnut stanchions and Evergreen styrene strips:

 

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I have used a couple of books for ideas.  You may have seen these:

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The beakhead is mostly finished (except for pinrails that will eventually be cemented inside the bulwarks and shields (or pavises) that will be attached to the outside of them):

 

IMG_6825.jpg

 

 

 

I have also made progress on the companionway.  I "gilded" it with a gold paint and weathered it like much of the aftcastle, but the trick for me was to do the windows (5 of them) in a way that one can imagine them to be glass windows without cutting them out and replacing them.  The other windows in the sterncastle were cut out so that one could eventually see inside the furnished cabins, but with the companionway, there would really be nothing special to see. 

 

The photograph of the companionway of the prototype model in the box art shows the windows painted blue:

 

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It just doesn't seem convincing enough for me.  The instructions say to paint them black, with gold trim:

 

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That's basically what I ended up doing.  I masked it and painted the windows solid black first:

 

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Then I dry brushed gold paint over the muntins or "latticework" of the windows.  I think that the original model that was used to make the molds for the kit had had very fine wire for these muntins.  With my brushing, some gold ended up in the dark areas, so I touched it up with black:

 

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It just seemed too black, so I took a clear acrylic medium, mixed some white acrylic paint into it, diluted it, and painted it on.  I had to redo the gold on the muntins after that, but I think it gives more of a "frosted" look to the lites so that one can imagine a reflection or impurity in the glass:

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The kit comes with plastic eyebolts that are for securing the cannon breeching ropes to the bulwarks and for tying the boat to the deck.  I decided to replace them with brass pieces.  I have some "cotter pin" style two-legged eye pins that I modified for the job:

 

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(To the left in the image above, you can see a couple of the plastic pins from the kit.)

 

I shortened the legs of the pins that I would use and then painted them with black enamel paint (in lieu of brass blackening solution, which would also have worked).  I scraped paint off of the "stumps" of the legs so that epoxy would bond it better.

 

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I needed to drill the holes in the bulwarks deeper so that the eye pins would fit in.

 

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The pins were glued in place with 30 minute epoxy:

 

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Eventually, the glossy sheen will be eliminated with a clear matt varnish.

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Marvellous stuff, and congratulations, you have joined the celebrated ranks of "kit-bashers". Your improvements to the kit are very imaginative - as well as practical - and are definitely making it a better and more impressive model. You've got  fine eye and a steady hand.

 

And I learnt a new word - muntins. Never heard of them before. I'll have to start using it from now on to impress people. :D

 

Keep up the good work.

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10 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

Marvellous stuff, and congratulations, you have joined the celebrated ranks of "kit-bashers". Your improvements to the kit are very imaginative - as well as practical - and are definitely making it a better and more impressive model. You've got  fine eye and a steady hand.

 

And I learnt a new word - muntins. Never heard of them before. I'll have to start using it from now on to impress people. :D

 

Keep up the good work.

Thanks very much for your kind words, Louie!

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  • 3 weeks later...

There is an additional hole on the main deck that has no purpose for this model.  I did not initially realize this fact when I painted the deck and glued it in place.  I figured that each hole had a purpose for cementing bitts, masts, etc.  It appears to be a hole to fit a mast, and it is located behind the rowle where the whipstaff will be attached (to the left of it in this view):

 

1776906248_mastholebehindthewhipstaff.jpg.77ea64606c972f853c3595dd8b57f78a.jpg

 

The Revell 1:96 (really 1:64-65) Spanish Galleon shares many of the same molds as the English Man O' War.  They probably share the same main deck mold.  Spanish Galleon has three masts, with the mizzen mast attached to the quarter deck.  English Man O' War has four masts, with the bonaventure mast apparently attached to the quarter deck.  I wonder if this "extra hole" on the main deck is meant for the English Man O' War's mizzen mast?  At any rate, I needed to eliminate it in the Spanish Galleon.

 

So here is the technique that I used in "fixing a hole"...

 

I have a glass jar in which I dissolved some styrene sprue from the kit with Testors liquid cement, which resulted in "molten" styrene that can be used to fill gaps, etc.  I placed some of this styrene into the hole and kept it supported and pressed down flat with Tamiya masking tap for over a week (it takes a while for the styrene to harden).  When I removed the tape, the styrene was slightly depressed in the hole:

 

IMG_7013.thumb.jpg.7f267acba946f2c706997603137803b2.jpg

 

To even it out, I used Bondo Glazing & Spot Putty (907) and sanded it down:

 

IMG_7015.thumb.jpg.8ec00dc8178b3ca54a1b7688a85196b3.jpg

 

When dry, the putty is hard and crumbles easily, so I coated it with Testors flat clear lacquer, and then, after it dried, I used a knife to "scribe" some "wood grain" into the surface to take the weathering when I painted it.  Here is the result after painting and weathering:

 

IMG_7032.thumb.jpg.15cbe7b0e412cdc6c94bdb7049fe42e6.jpg

 

Mat varnish will eventually "flatten" the sheen and even out the black around the rowle (which I had sanded and touched up).

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Thank you, Old Collingwood.  By the way, your build of The Black Pearl is amazing, and I think that the alterations really add uniqueness and life to it (especially with those awesome pirate figures that you added)!  The figures that are included with the Spanish Galleon are less varied (repetitions of the same poses), but I definitely intend to use them.

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9 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

Beautiful work on patching the hole. It is completely invisible now (at least as far as i can see from the photo), with nothing even to show where it had been.:dancetl6:

Thanks.  It takes some time, but it’s worth it in the end considering all of the hours invested in the whole project.

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On 7/29/2020 at 2:52 AM, Jeff T said:

Thank you, Old Collingwood.  By the way, your build of The Black Pearl is amazing, and I think that the alterations really add uniqueness and life to it (especially with those awesome pirate figures that you added)!  The figures that are included with the Spanish Galleon are less varied (repetitions of the same poses), but I definitely intend to use them.

Will loook forward to more progress Jeff.

 

OC.

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You’re welcome, Bill.  I think that if it had not been for online forums and other sites, I would not have been able to expand my knowledge, and I continue to learn new ways to improve the results.  I am happy to share it with others.

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Great job on "fixing a hole".

 

I am a "Bondo" guy and that crumbling effect has been a tough one to beat. 

My previous "fix" was using CA to coat the 3M Bondo.  But that Superglue is too tough to sand afterward, if a further fix is needed,  without damaging the plastic.

I will be doing the lacquer thing in the future.

Thank.

 

     Nino.

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14 hours ago, nino said:

Great job on "fixing a hole".

 

I am a "Bondo" guy and that crumbling effect has been a tough one to beat. 

My previous "fix" was using CA to coat the 3M Bondo.  But that Superglue is too tough to sand afterward, if a further fix is needed,  without damaging the plastic.

I will be doing the lacquer thing in the future.

Thank.

 

     Nino.

Thanks, Nino.  The lacquer is not perfect in preventing an occasional small “chip”, but it does a reasonably good job.  

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Excellent work so far!  Your skill is most impressive.

 

I was once in a discussion with John Tilley about this model.  He remarked that this model is based on research at the MGM Studios library and bore no resemblance to any real ships and was hugely inaccurate.  He also stated that that high stern castle could not stand.  Yet, I have found references to show similar designs, and the kit components such as cannons, gun carriages, etc. are indeed accurate.  I don't know if this model represents any particular ship but I believe it depicts many design characteristics of the period.

 

Bill

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Thanks, Bill!   I am aware that it likely does not represent a specific ship, and there are some problems with proportions.   Some old paintings do show very high sterncastles (and forecastles, for that matter) on Spanish galleons.  But since there is so much variability in the galleons’ appearances in the paintings, I am not sure if the artists were intent on making their paintings entirely accurate in the lines of the ships.  I am a bit bothered by how high the masts are in this model, so I have decided to make upper masts and spars out of wood to lessen their length a bit, going more for proportions that I have seen outlined in books, including Peter Kirsch’s The Galleon:  The Great Ships of the Armada Era (Naval Institute Press, 1990) and A Modeller’s Guide to Rigging by A. Richard Mansir (Moonraker Publications, 1981).  I will construct cloth sails to fit the different masts and spars.

 

I also found your old thread from FineScale Modeler about the models:  

 

http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/modeling_subjects/f/7/t/99275.aspx

 

With that information, I looked at the photograph of the votive model ship, possibly built in the time of the galleons, on page 8 of the New Vanguard book Spanish Galleon:  1530-1690 by Angus Konstam (Oxford/New York, Osprey Publishing, 2004) and it does show a high sterncastle with a far backwards sweep as seen in the model.

 

At any rate, my final vision of my build will be like a “fantasy” version with some associated heavy gilding of the stern which was probably not really seen in the real life Spanish Galleons, yet represents a “regal” designation and alludes to the treasure of the Spanish Empire.  I will also ground that vision with as many practical realities as I can (given the limitations of this plastic kit) that likely did exist in one form or another in the late 16th or early 17th centuries.

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On 7/26/2020 at 7:49 PM, Jeff T said:

There is an additional hole on the main deck that has no purpose for this model.  I did not initially realize this fact when I painted the deck and glued it in place.  I figured that each hole had a purpose for cementing bitts, masts, etc.  It appears to be a hole to fit a mast, and it is located behind the rowle where the whipstaff will be attached (to the left of it in this view):

 

1776906248_mastholebehindthewhipstaff.jpg.77ea64606c972f853c3595dd8b57f78a.jpg

 

The Revell 1:96 (really 1:64-65) Spanish Galleon shares many of the same molds as the English Man O' War.  They probably share the same main deck mold.  Spanish Galleon has three masts, with the mizzen mast attached to the quarter deck.  English Man O' War has four masts, with the bonaventure mast apparently attached to the quarter deck.  I wonder if this "extra hole" on the main deck is meant for the English Man O' War's mizzen mast?  At any rate, I needed to eliminate it in the Spanish Galleon.

 

So here is the technique that I used in "fixing a hole"...

 

I have a glass jar in which I dissolved some styrene sprue from the kit with Testors liquid cement, which resulted in "molten" styrene that can be used to fill gaps, etc.  I placed some of this styrene into the hole and kept it supported and pressed down flat with Tamiya masking tap for over a week (it takes a while for the styrene to harden).  When I removed the tape, the styrene was slightly depressed in the hole:

 

IMG_7013.thumb.jpg.7f267acba946f2c706997603137803b2.jpg

 

To even it out, I used Bondo Glazing & Spot Putty (907) and sanded it down:

 

IMG_7015.thumb.jpg.8ec00dc8178b3ca54a1b7688a85196b3.jpg

 

When dry, the putty is hard and crumbles easily, so I coated it with Testors flat clear lacquer, and then, after it dried, I used a knife to "scribe" some "wood grain" into the surface to take the weathering when I painted it.  Here is the result after painting and weathering:

 

IMG_7032.thumb.jpg.15cbe7b0e412cdc6c94bdb7049fe42e6.jpg

 

Mat varnish will eventually "flatten" the sheen and even out the black around the rowle (which I had sanded and touched up).

Jeff,

 

I don't  understand  you plugging that half hole. 

This is important as there is another deck level to be built in which has a full hole where the Mizzen mast goes straight through, but the mast doesnt stop there, it stops at the hole you have just filled, so in order to keep the mast strong and steady it fits into this half hole, you'll need to cut that out again asap.

 

Regards 

Robert.

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13 hours ago, Robert Taylor said:

Jeff,

 

I don't  understand  you plugging that half hole. 

This is important as there is another deck level to be built in which has a full hole where the Mizzen mast goes straight through, but the mast doesnt stop there, it stops at the hole you have just filled, so in order to keep the mast strong and steady it fits into this half hole, you'll need to cut that out again asap.

 

Regards 

Robert.

Robert,  this is one way in which the English Man O’ War differs from the Spanish Galleon.  The two kits apparently share the same mold for the main deck, so that hole exists in both.  However, the Spanish Galleon only has three masts (instead of four as in the English Man O’ War).  The Spanish Galleon’s mizzen mast is actually placed further aft than what you see with the Man O’ War, since there is no bonaventure mast in the Galleon.   In the Spanish Galleon, the mizzen is placed on the quarterdeck, and it does not go down completely to the deck below.  I hope this helps explain it.

 

Jeff

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The hull is now painted below the waterline.

 

The first photo shows it covered above the waterline masking and ready to paint:

 

IMG_7038.thumb.jpg.c4afec4c77ddd7a73836e8c087e2ba0f.jpg

 

This next one shows how it looked after it was sprayed with multiple coats of a slightly off-white paint from a spray can ("rattle can").  I used an enamel paint because in my experience enamel adheres better to plastic than acrylic.  Multiple coats were necessary because I wanted an opaque, uniform color, and the dark hull not to show through.

 

IMG_7059.thumb.jpg.1c1b3101acd96a0e48d1a859ed5151ba.jpg

 

Here are a few views after the masking was removed and a little "touch up":

 

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The straight waterline is marked a little below the point of maximum breadth, as seen in Peter Kirsch's book The Galleon:  The Great Ships of the Armada Era (Naval Institute Press, 1990) -- although that puts it a little below the lowest wale here, since the point of maximum breadth is actually AT the wale in this model.   With the waterline where it is, the stern bulkhead in this particular model rides a bit high above it.

 

I wanted the wood grain and "planking" of the lower part of the hull to be visible beneath the off-white paint, so I avoided brush painting (which may have obscured it and also may have been difficult to make uniform with multiple coats to hide the dark hull beneath it).  I do not have an airbrush to do thin sprayed coats.  Actually, years ago, I did have an airbrush and a compressor, but I often had difficulty using and maintaining it.  So instead, I used a spray can.  Testors didn't seem to have an enamel color that I liked ( I didn't really want a stark white), so I used a Rustoleum multi-purpose enamel that would also stick to plastic.  It ended up being a rather thick paint that dries hard.  Despite its thickness, I still needed multiple coats to make the result a uniform, opaque off-white.  Unfortunately, with a spray can, you do not have any mechanical control over the spray pressure or the size of the outlet hole at the nozzle.   These droplets ended up being a bit large, and there is a prominent "spray" texture that is visible over the surface:

 

IMG_7068.thumb.jpg.f87cbf4edd933a297343310088902942.jpg

 

Some of the wood grain and "planking" in most of the sprayed areas is visible despite the "spray" texture, while in other areas, it is obscured almost if not completely (where some of the paint coating was thicker).  I sanded a tiny bit of it down, but then there was the problem of exposed dark plastic wood grain, because in this model, the simulated wood grain and "planking" is actually raised above the surface!  So I cannot reasonably get rid of the texture without eliminating the grain by sanding and starting over. 

 

Since the off-white color below the waterline is meant to simulate tallow or lime or sulfur, or some combination of those (and maybe throw in some pitch), to prevent barnacles and/or shipworms, perhaps I can imagine the texture and unevenness on my model as a thick, "lumpy" coating of those protectants.  I really don't know what the coatings actually looked like in the 16th-17th centuries, though, but I doubt they were as smooth as paint.

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