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Barco Catalan by Gbmodeler - 1:48 Scale - Mediterranean Fishing Boat- FINISHED

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The Catalan boat is a small lateen-rigged vessel used throughout the Mediterranean in various forms.  This model is suppose to represent a typical 9-meter boat from the late 1800s.  Photos, plans, and drawings of surviving and modern-day boats are being studied. Also, I was inspired by MSW member Javier Baron's construction methods for his fabulous models, and thought they would work well for this attempt. 

The false keel, which doubles as a construction frame and handle.  Bulkheads will be attached at one small point at each station.



Plywood bulkheads attached and braced with balsa blocks.



Planking has begun with basswood.   Since this is an open boat, the bulkheads are temporary.  They are only needed for the planking process.  The edges of the bulkheads were rubbed with beeswax to prevent glue (super glue) from adhering to the planks during planking.  The planks are just glued to each other (and often my fingers).



I used a bandsaw to cut away unwanted parts of the false keel.  The bottom has been cut and sanded flush with the planking.  The stern and stem posts will be cut away later, and all replaced with new parts.



Feeling confident the super-glued planking will hold, I gently started removing the bulkheads after violently breaking the balsa spacers...




The "cleaning"continues.  Note the balsa "deadwood" at the ends of the boat.  Unlike the bulkheads, the planks were glued to the deadwood.  I noticed that balsa wood smokes when super glue hits it.  That can't be good!



All clean.  Reminds me of a corn taco....  Seems very fragile!



Sanded the interior a little and stained it.  Now adding ribs made from heavy card stock (doubled, stained, and cut into strips).




Keelson added...


"Real" bulkheads and a floor added...







The step plate for the mast is added...







Benches added (stained basswood).



Beginning the decking.  Deck planks are being edged with black construction paper.  Also a cardboard template was made with the proper sheer to use as a base for the deck construction.  The decks on these boats have a lot of camber, hence the three formers.



Deck planking started in the middle.  The middle two planks will guide alignment, but will be cut later to make the opening in the deck.



Viola!  Shaped to fit...



The underside...



Pretty good fit...  You will notice new stern and stem posts were added, as was the keel.



These boats had extra keel-like structures called "escues" on either side of the keel, and parallel to it.  The escues helped to balance and support the boats when the crew ran them up on the beach, to sell their catch.




Installed a pulley for the mast...




Since the hull of the boat will be painted, I thought I better prime it to ensure I sanded out all the blemishes.



Adding the upper planking and wales.  Next, on to the rail trim and false frame ribs...



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Great to see Javier's techniques being used, and for another lovely Mediterranean fishing boat. I'm practising doing the same kind of thing using an Ancre plan set for the Allège d'Arles (although, since this is practice, I won't provide a build log). I'll be following your log with much interest.


Just a few questions, just for my own interest and improvement of my practice attempts:


Is this really 1:48 scale as Chris has suggested)?


Did you make the scuttles using separate pieces of (?) 0.5mm wide strips separated by the scuttle width, or are these separately drilled into one continuous strip?


Did you cut back the first stem, keel and sternpost flat with the planks, or did you cut a groove for the second set?





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I love these small boat projects, the more so that we have a second home further down the coast from Catalonia. There, this sort of boat for beach-fishing was called 'oxen-boats, because they were hauled out onto the beach by a team of oxen, rather than a capstan. In France such boats were called bateaux bœf for the same reason.


Just a question: as the boat is decked almost all over, why didn't you leave the bulkheads etc. in ? Less risk of breaking something and a more stable hull.


You made just a passing reference to your sources. Could you please enlarge on them a bit ?



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Thanks Wefalck!  I took out all the bulkheads because they rose above the deck line.  One could plan a build differently, but I wanted to do most of the planking above the scuppers with the help of the temporary bulkheads.


For sources I did internet searches for contemporary and historic photos, models, plans, drawings, etc. using several different keywords (barco catalan, barque catalane, catalan boat, and other terms that the first searches revealed).  I also kept changing the settings on my search engine by country.  I noticed different results when doing that.   Sometimes, you will find some good info you would not otherwise see (I suppose because of the language differences).  For example, I got wikipedia hits on "Catalan boats" searching in "France," that I did not get when searching in the "US."

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Thanks for the interest Tkay11!  Yes, it is 1:48 scale (about 188mm long).

For the scuttles, I installed a plank (about 0.5mm wide), measured and marked scuttle locations, and the cut them out with a sharp #11 blade.  After that, I placed the next plank, which topped off the scuttles.


For the keel and posts, I just smoothed everything to the planks.  No grooves....

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Historically, the French coast and some of its hinterland from the Spanish border up to roughly the fortress of Salses belonged culturally to Spain, being part of the 'Kingdom of Mallorca', which included parts of modern Catalonia. The Pyrenees weren't quite such a cultural divide as one may think, particularly along the coast, where they could be easily crossed.


If you search for 'Sorolla boats' you will get various pictures by the Valencian painter Joaquin Sorolla on these Catalan/Valencian boats, including them being hauled out by oxen.


Enganchando los bueyes, Valenciaóleo sobre lienzo 82 x106 cm Museo de Bellas Artes, Asturias


File:Joaquín Sorolla - Barcas en la Playa, Valencia (1894).jpg

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Thanks for the interest Tkay11!  Yes, it is 1:48 scale (about 188mm long).

For the scuttles, I installed a plank (about 0.5mm wide), measured and marked scuttle locations, and the cut them out with a sharp #11 blade.  After that, I placed the next plank, which topped off the scuttles.


For the keel and posts, I just smoothed everything to the planks.  No grooves....

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During my research, I did come across a drawing and line plans for a "bateau boeuf."  They are for a 16 meter boat (a little larger than I wanted) but definitely of the same DNA.  There are so many similar boats throughout the Mediterranean, including Egypt and north Africa.  Has anyone every classified them into one type?  "Levanters?"

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Started adding the false frames...

The frames are only 1.5mm wide!



I have to bevel the bottom to accommodate the steep camber of the deck.



Measuring length for cutting the frame to size...



Checking for fit...



A little white glue...









After a while, they add up!





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Finished up the framing, a front hatch deck coaming, and the rudder.  Interesting that the rudders on these boats appear to be readily removable.  I assume to facilitate frequent beaching to sell their catch of fish...





Basswood rudder.  The long pintles are prototypic, I assume to facilitate frequent removal and replacement of the rudder.  My pintles are copper wire; the gudgeons are brass tube with heavy black construction paper and copper wire rivets.  The rudder is moveable!



Making a tiller arm...









The finished product...




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Most of the hull work is done, but before stepping the mast and tackling the rigging, I need to paint the hull.  Prep work starts with masking the deck.   I use "Silly Putty" and blue tape as masking tools.  The putty can be used over and over again, until it finally gets saturated with dry paint and dirt.  However, it takes years of paint jobs to get there.  Applying the putty does get a little tedious sometimes.  I used a dull #10 blade as a putty knife to push material into all the nooks and crannies...  Hope to start airbrushing tomorrow!





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Apropos the rudder: it had to be capable to be unshipped very quickly when the boats where beached, particularly, when there is any degree of surf. As the rudder extends below the keel, you would hit the sand and either damage the pintles or it might become unshipped by itself and lost. At many of the shallow coastlines from which these boats would (have) operate(d) there is a shallow sand bar about 50 m from the actual beach that may have only a foot or so of water on it. You wouldn't be able to pass the bar with the rudder shipped. Another reason is that the incoming surf would hit the rudder and swing the boat around so that its broadside would be hit by the waves - a dangerous situation ...


Haven't seen magic putty for more than 50 years. Didn't know it still existed and that modellers use it to mask for spray-painting. May have to look into getting some.

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One of the things I wanted to do with this project was to try different weathering techniques I've used on other types of models, in the past.  One of those techniques creates a heavily weathered, mottled and worn appearance below the waterline.  It involves using different shades of paint and common table salt as a masking agent, as shown below:



Using acrylic model paints, I mixed a reddish rust color for the base layer - applied with an airbrush...



After drying, I wet the painted area down with water (with a drop of detergent in it to increase viscosity).  Then common table salt was applied, right out of the shaker.  The wet surface allows the salt to stick.



Once the salt dried (about an hour), I applied the second color (in this case, a little brighter red).



Since acrylics are water based, you can see how the salt "bleeds" out a little.  I think this is great!  It adds yet a third color to the mix!  Some of the salt goes flying off into space as you spray on the paint, but no matter.  Most of it stays stuck...



Anxious to see the results, I started lightly rubbing the salt off with my finger.  I should probably wait longer, but I never can...



Some of the salt stays attached, so gentle washing with water and a stiff paint brush loosens things up.  We're done with this phase of weathering, but I do plan on trying a dark "wash" for the recesses and dry-brushing for the high-lights, later... 


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