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Opened my next build!  The Airfix 1/144 Wasa. I find the history of this ship to be fascinating. This will be the smallest scale I have tried.  Looking to really hone my skills and techniques on very small features, especially painting the stern. Pictures I have seen show it to be beautiful and I hope mine will reach that level when complete. I checked the MSW index and only see one build of this Airfix kit and that is by kpnuts. Fantastic job!  I really like the ocean effects and the displaying of the ship lesning over before it eventually sank. Numerous other builds of other kit manufacturers. Will read through several before starting mine. One thing I have already determined is that is debate over if the stern end of the ship was primarily red or blue. The kit shows it as being painted red but several builders an articles I have read say it was actually blue. Will need to make my first education decision right off the bat. If there are any MSW members currently building, or previously built, any version of the Wasa please share any advice or suggestions you may have. I thoroughly enjoy this site and sharing with other builders. 

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'Seems the Wasa has had several 'periods' of scholarship.  In the early days after she was raised, Billings put out a kit where they made a stab at 'filling in the blanks' (and there were many then) - perhaps influenced by another Wasa built a century later and their own version of the second Norske Love (also 18thc.) ... there very one I'm trying to rectify now (which makes me glad I didn't do more work on it since th e70s).  As more pieces were recovered, preserve and fit together in a giant 'jigsaw' puzzle, more correct versions came out and a common opinion was that the original Wasa had a blue stern and gilded carvings ... and there is a lot of artwork and also models built that way.  Curent scholarship favors wide use of red pigment (apparently blue was hard to make and costly) and the carvings were polychrome.  There is a 1/10 scale model (with red paint) on display with the original ship in Stockholm, and as it would probably be a good idea to take their lead.  

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Airbrushed the hull halves and deck sections with Vallejo acrylic surface primer. Plan is to paint the deck sections a weathered and worn appearance. Once I am satisfied with the deck I will assemble it into the two hull haves and then putty and sand the seams. By then I hope to have a firm plan on how I want to paint the hull and all the ornamentation. 

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Great to see you building this old beloved ship so long after my box with models felt downna stairs destroying my youth's fruits...

As I figured out there is a museum's model right beside the original VASA wreck in Stockholm - hope you do find this helpfull for your colouring:

 

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There are several books available on the theme. 

 

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I do not know if Airfix updated theirvcolour instruction to the stand of the historical art's progess -

 

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The very last I knew aboit the instructions was giving us  this. 

 

By the way the VASA sunk on to penny picking:

 

So as the barbed bolts weren't used to nail the orlop deck's planking  down they were changed by cheaper ordonary nails... 

... so the ship listed... 

... the ballast started to move... 

...managed to get lifted the planks above and... 

shifted completly - sinking to proud of the fleet (nearly) right into our hands. 

Edited by Heinrich der Seefahrer
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Thanks Heinrich. Do I understand you correctly that the first two pictures are of the model at the museum next to the actual ship?  It has red as the primary color. What is third picture of the Wasa with blue as the primary color?  I really like both and have yet to decide. One tough decision as well is going to be the detail in the ornamentation. The first two pictures from the museum show the it to be detailed in several different colors. The third picture (with blue) have all the ornamentation a single metallic color (silver, gold, etc). At 1/144 scale the ornamentation is very tiny and is going to require fine paint brush and magnifying to paint. Even much more if I try to put a bit of detail. Really enjoy everyone’s input. 
Thanks

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The 1:10 museum model at Vasa Museet remained unpainted for many years.  Eventually, micro-analysis of paint remaining in the ship’s timbers revealed her true colors.  You can not hope for a more historically accurate guide to painting the Vasa than the museum model, itself.

 

Fortunately, the AIRFIX kit is among the most finely detailed of all plastic sailing ship kits - at least, with regard to the sculpture work.

 

Although Rex chose to do her topsides in blue, he is a true professional who achieved remarkable results with detailing this kit:

 

https://shipsofscale.com/sosforums/threads/modified-airfix-1-144-scale-classic-series-wasa-c-1628.5559/

 

This is an indication of what is possible with some research and extra effort.

 

I wish you luck on your build, and look forward to watching it unfold.

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Have not posted an update of progress for a few days. When I have had time to work on my Wasa I have experimented on weathering the deck sections. I have also debated and experimented on red or blue as the primary color. Who would have thought this would be a tough decision. I know there is strong opinion for either option and photos I have seen using either show both can produce an impressive model. I am just going to have to pick one and go. 

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I have just (half an hour ago) finished reading the book The Royal Warship Wasa by Björn Landström. It was originally published in 1980 (in Swedish) and may very well be the origin of the blue color scheme. His beautiful illustrations in the book definitely helps promote his conclusion that the painting was blue. According to his text this conclusion was based on the record from the shipyard which shows that indigo pigment (blue) was bought, not on any actual finds of blue color on the wreck. Swedish warships of later dates was also know to have used blue, so his conclusion must be considered reasonable at the time of the writing. However, Landströms early conclusions has later been disproved by better methods.

 

I can highly recommend the book, even though some of the conclusions in it has later been corrected by further research, while other have been confirmed. 

 

Regarding the reason for why Wasa sank, she was highly unstable possibly due to the second gun deck that was ordered (by the king) after the building had already been started, and the shape of the underwater body had already been determined. In fact she could only list about 10 degrees before she would capsize, something she did in very light winds.

Edited by bolin
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Thanks Hubac for the compliment and thank you bolin as well for the future confirmation of the blue color. What I have yet to find in photos of other builders who went with blue is if the inside wall of the hull is also blue as well as the door sections of the deck assembly. All the builders I have seen that use red on the exterior also have red on the inside. If I go with blue would the primed area on the next photo also be blue along with the door sections?

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If the large model in the Vasa museum is anything to judge by, an I think it is, the inside of the bulwark was not painted.

https://digitaltmuseum.se/021015510413/vasa-1-10-modellens-bemalning-07-08-19-maj-08-bemalad-och-klar-439-modellen

 

I am a bit sad that the blue color did not turn out to be the correct one, it is more striking than the red.

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Bolin I am not sure what you mean when you say “sad that the blue color did not turn out to be the correct one”. Earlier in the post you say research shows blue was the correct color?

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34 minutes ago, Bill97 said:

Bolin I am not sure what you mean when you say “sad that the blue color did not turn out to be the correct one”. Earlier in the post you say research shows blue was the correct color?

What I meant was that by 1980, the best understanding of the color was that it could have been blue. Landströms beautiful illustration helped popularize that interpretation.

However, it turned out that better methods could later discover evidence that it was likely wrong. Many beautiful models have been made based on Landströms interpretations.

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The objective reality - through microscopic paint analysis of the ship’s timbers - is that she was painted red.

 

Deep, ultra-marine blues were cost prohibitive throughout the 17th Century, as they are made from ground pigment of lapis.  Our tendency to want to paint models that color is a conditioned preference, resulting from popular depictions, like Landstrom’s work - as noted by Bolin.

 

If you don’t like red, there is nothing to stop you from painting the ship blue.  It is your model, after all, and you only have yourself to answer to.

 

If you absolutely want to know the truth, though - the truth is red.

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Thanks Hubac. No. I like red just fine and after our full discussion have decided to go wit red. Have primed over the test areas already painted blue end ready to go with red. Also based on bolin’s advice about painting the bulwark I am going to paint it and the riser door sections of the deck a weathered wood color. I have seen that area red as well except for the doors, but doing it the same weathered wood as the bulwarks, gratings, and other wooden elements on and around the deck. Even though I would love to paint the characters polychromatic (and I may continue experimenting with them), due to the very small size of the characters  at 1/144 scale I may have to settle for gold. Some of the features are only visible under a magnifying glass. But wow monochromatic does look good! I have the steady hand and patience but wonder if it would look like just a bunch of colorful dots to the naked eye. 
Now that I have a plan wish me luck. I will post progress as I proceed. 

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Nice colors for the deck 👍.

 

Indeed
A red background with colored figures is historically correct. But quite a challenge to paint on this small scale

Blue with gilded figures is not correct. But perhaps easier to paint and also very nice to look at.

 

As mentioned before.
Your model your colors.

 

Ps,

The collors on my Vasa are not the correct colors. 

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Thanks Backer. I really like your color scheme and will try to replicate most of it on mine. I admit that your’s being wood, instead of plastic like mine,  does show up in the finish. I really like the actual wood grain in your finish. Replicating that on plastic is not as realistic but I will give it a good try. I am going to attempt enlarging your photos to get the character detail. When I zoom them on my phone the blur out to much to see the detail of each character. Like you said this might just be to mountainous of a job at this scale. I can foresee ultimately going gold guild against red background. 
 

Backer, or anyone else that reads this build log, if you could shed some light on one other painting question I would appreciate it. I hope this is my last painting question. On the inside of the bulwark there are molded vertices that follow down from the rail support posts (see photo). I will probably paint the rails and support post white when viewed from the outside of the ship. Wondering how these vertices are treated on the inside of the bulwarks. 

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Decided to try polychromatic on the characters. Figured if I did not like how they came out I can always paint over them with a solid gold. Going to take a while but I have no where I have to be. So I will enjoy. 
BTW I found what another builder did with the verticals inside the bulwark. They just painted them the same brown color as the deck area. White at the top for the rail support and brown at the bottom part. 

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And so the detailed hand painting begins!!  Assembled the hull and deck sections. Did a little putty and sanding to seal up some visible seams. Masked, primed, and airbrushed the hull a Vallejo Model Air dark earth color. Always seems to take so much longer to mask and prepare than the actual airbrushing takes. Hand brushed the first coat of red (I decided to go with red instead of blue since I am going to attempt polychromatic ornamentation). Definitely need a second coat of red to make the color “pop”.  After that I will continue painting the ornamentation under a magnification lamp with tiny brushes. Wish me luck. 

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Red,  excellent choice 👍

Try painting the inside of the cannon ports one with black or dark grey (Only the back where you glue the canon on ). 

Then you create "depth" in these holes.
(Start with one if you want to try this)

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Great idea Backer!  I will try that. Got the second coat of red on yesterday. Definitely better now. Going to mask and paint the horizontal raised “boards” that run the length of the hull a darker brown and then continue with the ornamentation. Will see how far I go until I just throw all my paint out the window and switch to all gold!  : )

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