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Oseberg Viking Ship by liteflight - Billing Boats - 1/25 Scale - 9th Century

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First model ship kit build: First build log on MSW.  Be still my beating heart!


The Kit:

Billings large model of the Oseberg Ship (1/25).  This turned out to be Billings part number 720 and has plywood laser-cut shields, and laser-scored scrollwork in ply

(More on the laser and ply later as the build commences)

The kit was a Christmas present (2018) from my lovely Admiral, and was ordered and obtained from our local model boat shop Float-a-Boat.  It took about 6 months to arrive but this was not a worry, as we both had plenty to do since we had just moved house.  By the way, "Oseberg" in Australia is pronounced "Osssburg"

I'm sure I could have obtained it cheaper and faster, but the end cost would be huge, as real model shops will not be there unless we use them


I failed to take the ceremonial unboxing and layout on the carpet pictures.  Sorry

Not much in the box, as longships do a LOT with a little material. 

Some dowels, stripwood  - all obechi as far as I can see, sail material, build instructions (which make IKEA instructions look encyclopaedic by comparison) and a double sided full size plan, which includes (some) dimensions for the build Jig


Why a Longship?

I love them!

I went to see the Sutton Hoo museum in Suffolk, UK and was smockraffled by the model of the reconstructed boat in the entrance.  It's about 1.5m long and I remember seeing it's bow from water level and realising that I want to make one of them.

So since that I have been reading about the construction - actual and model. 

I have learned of the wide range of boats in this style of construction then and now.

I can remember walking round Stavanger harbour in the 1980s and seeing small boats whose construction and fastenings are clearly cousins of the Oseberg ship


Confession.  I have Previous Form

In the early part of this century I raced Footy Radio-control (sometimes) yachts and progressed from state-of-the-art carbon masterpieces designed by Angus Richardson (he designed the 507 Footy still sold by Melbourne's RadioSailingShop) to satisfying scale gaff-riggers such as Presto (https://www.woodenboat.com/boat-plans-kits/presto-footy)


I was asked by Angus to make him a Drakkar to the Footy rules to act as his Admiral's barge on ceremonial occasions, so I made one, learned a LOT and made him the requested Drakkar called Rodolm with an Angus-designed pattern on the sail (photos follow if anyone is interested) 

The lower hull was carved blue foam (to the sections of the Gokstad ship) with about 3 strakes above the foam to make the hull.  The keel allowed a removable polycarbonate keel with lead ballast to be inserted.  Mast was exactly in the centre of everything and sail was fixed to the mast.  Both rotated up to 180 degrees to allow close-hauled sailing on either tack.

Now regrettably Angus had poor sight, and Rodolm had low and symmetrical prow and stern (as it had to comply with the Footy rules) and sailing her turned out to be a challenge for him.  I added a staff and mylar streamer to the stern to help him with orientation and wind direction.


Info: "Footy" yachts have to fit in a Box 12 inches long  x 6 inches wide x 12 inches deep. (Rodolm did)


I am aware of venturing into a huge forum of skilled experts with diverse knowledge. 


Please feel entirely free to dive in and comment, help, suggest solutions and/or request more (or less) information


To come in next post:

The build so far

Mine is a Friday Kit

Decisions about Floor levels

There will be no Ply edge visible!

The Giants on whose shoulders I an planning to stand 


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Hello, or g'day if you like😉

From the sounds of it this could be a breeze with your previous 😁, looking forward to the photos of the aforementioned "footy"

Good luck with your Oseberg and have fun👍

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Pulling up a chair to watch!


If you have any questions, as a Viking period re-enactor in a previous life I may be able to help with detail questions (like - no horned helmets, please!) The Oseberg ship is apparently the funeral ship of Queen Asa (Oseberg is named after her), and archaeologists found two women's bodies on board - one presumably the Queen and the other probably a servant woman, probably killed as a sacrifice to accompany her mistress to the other world. I haven't revisited the information recently, but last time I looked they didn't know which woman was which, but one was quite old and had mis-shapen feet, and wore custom-made shoes to compensate.


Not sure if you already knew but when the Sutton Hoo ship was unearthed nothing remained of her timbers and they had to very carefully dig out her shape by the stains in the sand caused by the (vanished) iron nails. I've been twice to see the Sutton Hoo treasure in the British Museum - amazing stuff - the gold and garnet work looks like it was made yesterday! By the way there is now a group in the UK building a full-sized replica of the Sutton Hoo ship - see https://saxonship.org/


Though the kit has inscribed decorative carving you might like to look at photos of the original, which is even more complex and amazing (via a google image search) - though I don't know how possible something that intricate would be to duplicate at 1:25!


Oh, and when you get to the decorations on the shields, you might like to look at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shield/shield.html - Christobel and Peter are friends of mine from way back. Their home page is worth a visit, too. They're very hot on historical accuracy.


Have fun with it.


BTW, where in Melbourne are you? (Not that I can visit at the moment anyway, you understand . . .). 



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Sounds like a great project ,but, tell me is "smockraffled" something like Gob smacked ?

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