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10 hours ago, mbp521 said:

It’s just a thought, but the color of stain that you are using looks great on there. I would think that a couple of more coats would give you the desired color you are looking for and may help alleviate the visible wavy lines of the wood.

To clarify, I'm planning on using the same stain to finish the model (Model Shipways walnut stain). I diluted it heavily for the initial staining as it's extremely thick, which made it far lighter. If you look closely at the hull shots you can see that some planks are different shades, which reflects staining batches at slightly different dilutions (I did it by eye and feel). I intend to dilute it less for later coats to (a) get a darker color and (b) keep it from penetrating as deep and not dissolving the glue. Depending on tests on scrap, I may mix in some black paint or just use pastels to darken the surface. Will show tests before doing anything.


Thanks for all the supportive comments & likes!

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More problem-solving and warnings for future builders.


First, the planks are fitting less and less well as I progress up the hull. It's possible, even likely, that I'm not laying them out exactly as the kit designer intended, which is a problem with pre-spiled planks. But I think it's more than that. For example, on the fourth strake, if you line up the stern plank thus:




the bow plank ends up sticking out this far past the previous plank:




I think that's way beyond an error I could have made, and I'm sure I'm using the right planks. Though one improvement the kit could make is to lasercut or otherwise label the actual wood sheets with the plank numbers. You have to consult the plans to match the wood sheets, and it's pretty confusing when there are lots of very similar planks right next to each other.


In the last strake, I ended up needing to nibble a bit off the plank ends to keep the end correct, but this time it's ridiculous. So something needs to be cut. Oddly, if you match the actual end of the plank with the stem (so you'd be cutting off extra from the middle portion where it butts against the stern plank), the curve doesn't fit at all. But if you butt the orginal end (as shown in the photo), the curve fits nicely, just with a lot of extra. So I cut it off at the bow end. Strange but effective.


Next problem: The deck insert does not match the shape of the planking; it sticks out rather badly into the run of the planking and needs to be carved back quite a bit. For example, look closely at where the deck interacts with the frames in the photo below (especially between the two foreground frames), and envision how a plank set into the notch in the frame would interact with the deck:




It can't be done. Rather a lot of material needs to be taken off the edge of the deck to allow the planks to flow naturally within their precut notches in the frame. This is true at both ends. I initially tried to do this with a sharp knife, but the geometry is really difficult and tight and I came very close to either nicking the planks in place or christening the vessel with blood. The deck wood is pretty hard and the knife doesn't want to carve in that semi-cross-grain direction, plus the assembly is somewhat fragile. Then I hit on using a pair of nippers instead, which worked far better.




These take out nice chunks of wood at at time, are easy to align with the flow of the hull, and it doesn't matter that their cut is rough because this is a false deck that will be hidden by the planking and the real deck above it. So I just hacked away until I got close, then finished the edge with knife and file. I had to remove a LOT of material at bow and stern to get the planks to run cleanly. But it worked great.


Another problem this deck is about to cause, is that it interferes with using frame-based clamps to hold the planks on. The next few strakes are going to be especially tricky. This deck has been a problem from the beginning and I'm wishing I'd just never installed it at all. The frames are held solid by the braces on top, and I could have filled in a supporting deck later on once the hull was complete.


Anyway, here's what the deck edge looks like in the same view as above after it was carved back; can you see how the edge now allows the planks to lie in their notches?




One final note on laying planks, for future builders. At both stem and stern, the planks transition from clinker (overlapped) to carvel (edge to edge) as they flow into the stem/stern keel piece. There's an awkward short zone where each plank dips beneath the next and is following elements of both styles. In the photo below, it's between the two frames; left of that it's full carvel, right of that it's full clinker:




I've found the best way to do this is to sand/file a bevel onto the edge of the plank in just that area, like this:




It lets the plank start sliding under its neighbor without looking any different from the outside. Maybe this is obvious to others, but it took some careful testing for me to figure out just how I wanted to do this for each plank.


Thanks for reading along as I keep wrestling with this "relaxing" project.

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That's all a bit wierd, Cathead. You'd think the manufacturers hadn't tried out making the kit themselves to see if it all worked, before they put it on the market.


I have no answers to the length of the planks or to the width of the deck insert. But I think what you're doing is the right answer. In the long run you have to deal with what's in front of you rather than what is theoretically the right thing to do (when it doesn't work!).


The problem with the deck interfering with clamping the planks was always to be expected. To be honest, based on your previous record, I'm looking forward to seeing what ingenious solution you come up with to solve it!


And I do like what you've done with the transition from clinker to carvel at the ends. Simple and elegant.

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I think that there needs to be bevel on bottom and top plank at the end so that they still forms clinker. 

On a real ship there was no clinker to carvel transition at the ends. Plank ends were not perfectly lined up but there were small steps.


On skuldelev 2 (the source for this ship) ends were carved to the stems to solve this problem



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This is an issue with the kit, which makes no allowance for the "proper" formation of the stem and stern. It would actually be fantastic to have the carved stem/stern pieces for planks to fit into, but I can understand why the kit maker decided not to replicate that and I decided it would be too hard for me to fabricate.


Here is a good image of the modern reconstruction showing the stem (source here):




And here the original piece showing the precarved stem and the run of planking into it (source here):




And here is the current model:




On the real thing, the planks appear to blend seamlessly into the keel, growing ever thinner until their overlap vanishes into a single surface that becomes smooth before the tip of the keel (I say "appear" because the carved stem takes care of the most delicate part). On the model, there are four ways that I can see to handle the plank ends reaching the keel:


(1) Bevel the planks ends at a fairly sharp angle, more like one would do with launch or bluff-bowed ship. This is what the Dusek kit images show and what most people seem to do. This is easiest but, I think, less accurate as the bow/stern has none of the smooth flow into the keel of the real thing. See, for example, this image from jack.aubrey's log of the similar Gokstad ship:




(2) Carve a full stem/stern piece to accept the planks. This would be the absolutely most accurate but was beyond my skill set.


(3) Sand all the planks down incredibly thin to achieve the right blended effect, which would make them extremely delicate (there's a reason the Vikings preferred shaping a one-piece stem instead!). I decided that this, too, was beyond my skill set and was also very risky.


(4) What I chose to do: Attach the planks parallel to the keel (with a large gluing surface for stability), then once the planking is completed, carve/sand the planks to blend into the stem more like the real thing, and possibly even to mark joints that simulate the pre-carved stem. I felt this would be easier to do once they were thoroughly glued in place than trying to pre-shape each plank just right with very narrow margins for error.


This does result in the planks going carvel a bit earlier than on the real thing, but I think the different will be pretty subtle once it's finished, and hopefully mitigated by shaping the final result to more closely mimic the real thing. This also supports my goal of using a bit of filler to mask the minor gaps between planks at the ends, as this is where it should look like a single blended piece anyway! I decided I was willing to trade a bit more carvel planking than the real thing for what I hoped would be a more realistic transition into the keel, as I think the latter will be a lot more noticeable on the final model. I hope I'm right and that it works out the way I want!


Thanks for the observent comment that challenged me to better explain my thought process here. Does this make sense to you?

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Yeah, the clinker to carvel transition really got me at first. It's really hard to get right, and it's not really explained that that's what you have to do! Yours came out nicely though! I think they made the planks longer than necessary so there would be more room for error. Had to trim them back on mine too.


I wish the stem/stern pieces had been more accurate too, but agree that's the nature of making a simplified kit. The Skuldelev 2 only had the stern preserved, and it is more complex than on the smaller ships. It's actually in three pieces scarved together - and the planks don't even connect directly too it - six of the planks attach to two "stem-wings" which then attach to the stem. I can post pictures later if you're interested, but I don't think that would be easy to do in a kit or even carve by hand!

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Sounds to me like you've chosen the correct option. The difference between your finished product and the real thing is probably going to be so minor that you would have to point it out before anybody (except perhaps the absolute top experts in Viking ships) noticed. This is going to be an impressive model when complete - hell, it's already impressive!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Slow progress on planking and haven't taken many photos. I am now reaching the level of the false deck, where another of this kit's quirks comes into play along with the very poor directions.


If you're familiar with Viking ship construction, you may have been confused by the design of this model so far. It has frames extending from the keel to the uppermost strake, just like a normal ship hull. However, real Viking ships did not have framing like that; they were built shell-first and then small frames were fit inside the shell afterward. There was no one frame that extended all the way, and indeed the strakes above the deck were supported only by small braces. In other words, this is nothing like a typical longboat built on a skeleton. Yet the model has full framing, one assumes to give sufficient guidance for laying out the overlapping clinker planking as this would otherwise be rather difficult to do right.


The instructions simply tell you to glue all the planks on until the hull is complete. Yet this would leave you with a wildly inaccurate hull interior full of thick ribs! So there is a vague followup-instruction that tells you to "cut off the parts of the ribs...which overlap the deck". After a private consultation with Binho (who has passed this stage on the smaller version of this kit; thank you!), I finally understood that you're supposed to finish the hull and then cut all the frames out that extend above the deck. Of course, this would be much harder to do if you glued all the planking to the frames, especially in clinker hull where you can't just slide a blade along the smooth curve between the planking and frame of a carvel hull!


So essentially what you need to do, once the planking goes above the deck, is stop gluing the planks to the frames and only glue them to each other. This will make it a whole lot easier to cut out the extraneous framing afterward (as you just have to make once cut through the frame at deck level), but the instructions never mention this (indeed, there's a vague image of a knife carving the planking from the frame, which just sounds problematic in all sorts of ways).


Given the curve of the planking, I'm at the point where the planks start to rise from below deck level to above deck leve at bow and stern. So in the image below, there is glue on the two left-hand frames and none on the two right-hand frames for this reason (glue on the overlap has not been applied yet). From here on up, I will not be gluing anything to the frames because they will need to be removed. This also makes it clear that I shouldn't have bothered staining the frames because they either get cut away or hidden beneath the deck. Didn't quite grasp that when I was starting.




I'm also finding that, in some areas, the planks have almost no overlap even when they sit exactly as they're meant to in the pre-carved frames. This makes it really hard to get a good glue bond between strakes, which becomes ever more important once the frames aren't holding the planks in place any more. It's possible this relates to me not quite getting the planks aligned just as intended in the kit design, but it really does feel like these planks just aren't cut out quite right (as mentioned above with the obvious problems in length and layout). Just not that impressed; if all of this is due to my errors (which is possible), it still leads back to very poor instructions that made it impossible to understand how to lay these out precisely right in the first place.


Earlier I mentioned that I might have trouble holding the planks in place once the deck started interfering with my normal clamps. This has turned out to be a non-issue, because this close to the deck things like clothespins and other clamps work great, and in fact make it easier to hold the planks together because you can now clamp all the way along the joint, like this:




This couldn't be done earlier because the deck was in the way. I assume this is how planking will look from now on as the strakes keep rising above the deck. I'm also going to have to be more careful about glue drips in the interior, which up until now I didn't worry about because it would be hidden, but not anymore. I may abandon my building frame and just start working freehand, as the hull is now pretty stiff and I'll need to be turning the model back and forth to check on both exterior and interior alignment and appearance.


So that's that. Planking can be pretty dull work and I've been moving slowly as life keeps throwing other things at me. Thanks for sticking with me and reading (or at least skimming) my blathering on. Although I work as an editor, I don't always reread my own writing here because it feels too much like work, so I probably take more verbiage than I really need to explain stuff.

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You are getting the job done (despite the rotten instructions) and it looks like the end result is going to be very good indeed. But I won't be recommending Dusek to anyone who wants to build a model of a Viking ship.


Keep at it, mate. Every time you come up against one of these problems and overcome it, you not only achieve something with this model but you gain experience, skill and judgment for your future builds.

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This kit just keeps getting weirder. I've done strakes 17-23 now (numbering upward from the keel, using the kit's part numbers). They've been fitting less and less well as I go up (especially at the stern) and I've had to do more and more bending and filing to keep things in place. The pre-spiled planks just don't want to follow the curves of their neighbors. Then, when I got to #24, the wheels just came off entirely.


Here are strakes 24, 25, and 26 temporarily clamped in place (26 is the "uppermost" but  lowest in the photo). Note that 24 doesn't even come close to the curve of 23, in fact it blends smoothly over it and fully overlaps it by the time you reach the stem. Then 25 and 26 follow a wildly different curve, matching each other but not the rest. They're sort of parallel to 23, but with a huge gap (24 would have to be at least twice as wide as the rest to fill that hole even if followed the curve of 23). All of these are in their "right" place as determined by the pre-cut notches in the frame (under the clothespin on the right). I tried shifting 25 and 26 down a place (butting against 23) but they don't fit like that either. I'm sure I'm using the "right" plank, having triple-checked the plans and even tried several other plank shapes in case the sheets are numbered wrong. Nothing fits, and once you start rearranging all the other planks everything just goes haywire.




I have no idea what's going on or what to do. I've already tried soaking and bending 24 into some kind of conformation but it really doesn't want to match that shape, and when you do that 25 and 26 don't line up at all, so it doesn't really get you anywhere. I supposed I could try to trace out a pattern of what plank shape would fit this gap and try to cut it out of the edge of the leftover planking sheets? It'll look terrible, being at least twice as wide as all the others, but what else can I do?


Also, returning to the question of whether I'm somehow using the "wrong" plank, the other end of 24 fits reasonably well (as have all the bow strakes):




Ideas? I'm open to the idea that this is all somehow user error, but I'm a reasonably experienced modeller who has planked a number of hulls reasonably successfully and never had anywhere near this much trouble. And even if it is user error, I'm in too deep now and have to dig myself out.  I'm really starting to dislike this kit. If I can just get the hull planked at a non-embarassing level, I think I can make the rest of it look pretty good, but man is it fighting back.

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Sorry for all your troubles with this build so far. I’ve had major issues with other builds in the past, but nothing on this scale. Unfortunately this boat is way out of my wheelhouse to offer up any good suggestions as to how to remedy the situation.


One would think that with the way the frames were notched to accept each plank that it would work as a bend and overlap guide as the planking progresses. Obviously this is not the case, and to me seems to be an engineering flaw in the design.

Without having the instructions in front of me it makes it difficult even attempt to understand how things fit together, but from your pictures it looks as though if plank 23 (I think) were wider toward the stern instead of tapering under 22 and 24, things would fit together a little better. Again this is just an assumption on my part going off of the pictures. 


However, not to make light of your struggles too much, you could take the Viking approach to this and beat the planks into submission. 

Hopefully things will sort themselves out and you’ll soon have a hull to be proud of. 



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This really is terrible, and you deserve better for all the work you've done. The only thing I can think of is to cut yourself some new planking from matching timber - if you can get hold of any in the current global situation. 


However, firstly it looks like most of plank 24 is ok. So maybe you could cut it back to the nearest frame to where it goes wrong and keep the bit that fits. If 25 and 26 are so far off that the remaining gap (between them and 23) is far wider than a plank should be, then perhaps cut them back as well and replace their ends with something that has a curve which allows 24 to fit properly.


But that all depends on being able to get timber that matches the existing strakes.


That's all I've been able to think of. I hope it's of some help to you.

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My lovely wife suggested cutting the planks at the nearest frame to the offending point and swivelling the cut-off bit around that spot till it fits in place. The two cut edges would be at somewhat different angles and you would then cut one edge to line up with the other. And do the same with the other strakes if needed. Might not work, but worth thinking about, anyway. If it did you wouldn't have to find more timber for the strakes . . .

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Sorry to read of and see your dilemma!

Altho' I am not Duseking I can see that this could be the position that I might be in (I am Billing - without cooing)

I think that I agree with the principle of MBP521 (Viking it into place) and the practice of the fragrant Mrs. Louie-d-F.

Suggestion - reproduce the offending plank 24 in say, thin card and fit the end that fits, and then cut across the plank where it starts to fail to fit and see if swivelling it will improve matters - it looks as if it should!

The snagette with this approach might be that A)  cutting the plank would remove a slender wedge of plank and make it too short at the ends, so requiring the plank the be made from new in a new shape and b) the sheer line would be altered 

If the planks are 1mm ply or something similar can you get any more to remake a plank?  Failing that some thin veneer (https://www.cardsofwood.com/) in a suitable wood - I think they do birch and ash veneers about 0.030"


Further thinking with my Engineering/topographers head on  - the offending strake needs to rotate about 2 or 3 degrees to meet its mates at the stern, if it pivots amidships or thereabouts - so a cut across the plank around a midship frame would only leave a shallow VEE shape to fill in if the stern end is swivelled, or you could cut/sand a slender wedge out of the strake to allow it to be butt jointed.

Sketch follows, before you wake up 😊

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I realise that I am not sure of the strake numbers, but here goes anyway


I think that the aft end of the problem strake needs to move (in this position) down to establish the right overlap with the darker, redder strake below it, and the end needs to pivot somewhere near the place I have marked

I think that would fill the gap with the next pair of strakes

I hope this suggestion might help


What adhesive have you used for planking - if it is any of the carpentry glues the strakes can be removed with a hot iron.  NOT the household Iron unless you have a deeply understanding Admiral.




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Also sorry to read of these troubles. I can't offer any help, but it looks like you have some great minds working on it.


On 9/5/2020 at 9:22 AM, Cathead said:

once the planking goes above the deck, is stop gluing the planks to the frames and only glue them to each other.

I'm having a similar problem on my Amati kit, as more planks are glued they are getting farther and farther away from the frames. I'm about to turn the corner and be above deck. Not sure what I'll do as there will be a gap between the frame and plank that shouldn't be there.  I don't recall other Amati builders having this problem.


Hopefully there will be a solution, but I'll burn that bridge when I'm standing on it.


Good luck with your issues.


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I don't think it's a faulty part as it would have to be a flaw in the entire laser-cut sheet; also, as there are two of each part and each plank matches its counterpart, again it's not likely a manufacturing flaw. It's either a design flaw of some kind or some mistake on my part. Possibly a bit of both, if I somehow haven't been laying the planks out juuuust right then maybe the curves could be going off. But that's where the kit needs better directions if it's going to be that sensitive to minor user error.  In any case, I'm going to try various fixes and see what I like best.


In the meantime, today was my 41st birthday and some fun inspiration arrived:




This is a recent book that comes highly reviewed. It seems to take a very comprehensive view, incorporating broader geographic elements, which is especially appealing to two geologists. The figurines are 1:32, close enough to the kit's 1:35 and a fun painting project (I've never painted figures at this scale before). So despite my frustrations, I now have powerul motivation to keep going.



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Happy Birthday, Eric, and many more of them!


I take your point about the accuracy of the strakes as laser-cut.  But as you say it could be a gradual accumulation of tolerances till it makes itself known loudly


 Great birthday presents- the wee warriors will be a fun paint job.  My son used to paint Warhammer figures, and I learned a couple of things:

 spray everything Matt black to begin (after, of course, washing them down to remove release agent) 


The paints sold by Games Workshop are excellent quality acrylics, but not cheap

I feel that the book should include Oak in the title!

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10 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

from what I can see they look  very historically accurate

Yeah, I looked at a lot of options closely and this series struck me as quite good. I'm not an expert but saw no obvious flaws. These are from my mother; I gave her five options and told her to pick a few from those; my initial five were the most accurate and most appealing to me (for example, I left out archers as they were fairly uncommon). I also like that there's a range from the jarl in the middle (lots of mail, fancy shield, decorated scabbard) to the basic warrior on the left (leather jerkin, plain wood shield, etc.). Will show more details as I work on them. She must like swords as she left out both axe warriors. If I enjoy painting these I may have to add a few of those, as axes from this area are more unique than the swords at this scale (not sure I can fit "Ulfberht" on there).


7 hours ago, liteflight said:

The paints sold by Games Workshop are excellent quality acrylics, but not cheap

I don't have an airbrush. Any advice on brush-painting (other than get one)? As for the title, I wondered that too, but will fill you in when it gets there.


Also, thanks again for all the above advice. I've started experimenting and will let you know what ends up working best. I've already figured out one lead that is promising.

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I should have said - the Matt black basecoat is a spraycan called Chaos Black, and gives a perfectly even basis for painting- all t’other paints are little pots, and they all have fairly silly names!
I love the crouched posture of the basic warrior. Very dynamic.  
You could coordinate the shield colours with the ship?

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