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Vasa by kriss - Revell - PLASTIC - 1:150 and here's to the goddess of fiddly bits

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On a whim, I figured I needed a new hobby. Model ships? Why the heck not. 

 

Many hundred small, fiddly and fragile pieces, which with some glue, love and paint can turn into one great big fiddly and fragile piece. What's there not to like? 

Okay, let's be realistic - quite a lot is not to like. I'm decidedly not looking forward to the rigging, I've given up on the model being even close to true to the original and I'm starting to realize just how much of a time sink this'll be. This, however, is really part of the fun. I don't like it, but I quite enjoy it. 

 

But let's start from the beginning before I get ahead of myself in a tirade against them German peddlers of plastic.


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A fine example of Swedish engineering
 

As you might have guessed from the thread subject, this is about a model of Vasa, from the Revell 1:150 kit. Vasa has a few things going for it - one, the damn thing actually still exists, so the amount of guesswork involved in measurements and minutiae decreases quite a bit. 

 

Two, there's plenty of discussion about it online, so I usually just have to ask Google about a given piece of it, and someone has already gone OCD proper, saving me the trouble - not to mention time. I can go plenty OCD too. Wikipedia should come with a warning sticker. 

 

Three, it's a plastic kit. While the wooden kits look very sexy, they're godawfully expensive (keeping in mind this is my first model - don't get a Ferrari if you're still on training wheels) and the fiddly part count and DIY factor seem to skyrocket. 

Besides, as an avid wargamer, I have a pretty decent feel for plastic as a material, having scratch built plenty of crap for Warhammer throughout the years. 

 

Four, I always wanted a Vasa model kit as a kid, but my mother - wisely, I'll admit - didn't let me get one. I'm sure there's a psychologist that'd have a thing or two to say here. 

 

Fast forward until last week or so when I get the kit delivered. Five minutes in, I regretted every bad word I ever uttered against Games Workshop. Holy hell, the ship kit building schtick is so far behind in quality it's not even funny. I did expect some quality difference - GW is mass market and expensive as all heck, Revell, not so much - but not this much. 

 

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That might be lions, or it might be the Queen of England. 

 

I also didn't expect the kit to be so far off the original, seeing they supposedly worked with the Vasa museum to make it fairly accurate. The real hull is asymmetric - the model hull isn't. The real armament is fairly diverse (seven different types) - the model armament isn't (three different types). 

 

Additionally, I think the German words for "ratline" and "rebar" must be fairly similar, because someone clearly made the latter rather than the former a part of the model. I'll write that down as an administrative cockup somewhere in Bünde.

 

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Nein, nein, nein, nein...

 

But hey, it set me back €20 and I got plenty of time. Despite my moaning and groaning, there is a kit to work off in the first place, for which I'm grateful.

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Plenty of time was surely something I needed. About 14 hours in, not counting a bit too many hours that I'd care to admit for research, I got to the point where I could start actually gluing pieces together. 


 


Why's this? One word: Cannon. Bloody cannon. 


 


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Not a bad idea


 


This kit has fake gundecks. I don't mind that, it's a pretty smart solution. What I do mind is Revell's idea of sprue placement. Allow me to illustrate:


 


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Not a good idea


 


Back end of cannon: Pretty much invisible inside the hull. 


Front end of cannon: Sticking out of the hull, for obvious reasons. Highly visible. 


 


Guess where the sprue connects to the piece? Right. The visible front half. What could have been two seconds per cannon worth of scaping moldlines with an X-Acto knife turned into quite a bit more than that in careful filing. 


 


At least they were friendly enough to provide a tiny front center hole for those of us who fancied drilling the cannon. Oh, sorry, was that my wishful thinking?


 


On the plus side, the bits (i.e the cannons in the mounts) have sort of fit together rather snugly thus far. No huge complaints, and now that the drilling and filing business is all over and done with, I'm actually pretty OK with the looks. It's not even too far off the proper scale.


 


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Awaiting some primer


 


Next up, and I'm thinking this will take a while, it's time to replace Revell's idea of grating. I noticed that you can order some, but hey, that's sort of cheating and I got plenty of .4 x 1mm plastistrips. 


 


post-5475-0-40082800-1373391336_thumb.jpg


From this..


 


post-5475-0-32024500-1373391367_thumb.jpg


..to something a bit closer to this. 

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Hi, it will be nice to follow this build. Fred Hocker at the museum helped Revell make this. I really like it, and except some idealized details, its close to the original. You can paint the carvings very true to the original.

 

 

/Matti

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Overall, it's not a bad model, despite my moaning and groaning (and this is as far as I can tell, seeing my frame of reference when it comes to ship models is.. shall we just say somewhat limited). I'm just spoilt with Games Workshop's plastics. 

 

Incidentally, your build was one of the ones I ran across while researching stuff :)

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Nice to this build, I watched this kit also during my visit to the museum last year in Stockholm, but my wife found 1 kit of the Wasa enough.

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Haha, I have 2. :) I use the Revell for reference of how the stuff goes together and as a way to try painting.

 

I might build it after the big one is finished, but it could be cool to frame each half and give my sons to hang on the wall.

 

I think the sprue connects where they do to get straight canons that holds during transport. I painted them before gluing them in the wagons

 

 

/Matti

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For the past three weeks, I managed to spray the cannons with some primer and realize that my chances of producing the grating purely by hand at .5mm - which is roughly what I need - is not going to happen, at least not with the tools I have.

 

Very productive indeed (if you notice something dripping here, that's sarcasm).

 

On the positive side of things, some snailmail deliveries managed to show up - they're not really part of the build per se, but hey, it's a lot about the process, not just the result. 
 
The books - of course I had to get books to realize just how much up shift creek I'd be on this project - showed up. For your perusal:
 

 

Ship modeling simplified, Frank Mastini

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At 114 pages plus glossary, and covering a lot of ground in those pages, this book is probably the most worth while of the trio I ordered. Do's, don'ts and general building concepts and above all terminology are covered very nicely, most often with illustrations. Never again will I have to guess or Google what a backing link or a stunsail boom is. This is a good thing. The Happy Talk is kept at a minimum, the text is nice and to the point. 

 

Reading the book, I'm very happy I didn't start out on a wooden model. Then again, the scale would probably have been nicer to work with than 1:150. You win some and lose some. 

 

 

 

Rigging Period Ship Models, Lennarth Petersson

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The part that seems like the biggest piece of voodoo is the rigging, I'll admit. There's a metric crapload of lines going pretty much all over the place, and from most pictures on the interwebs, it's not really evident how - or sometimes where - they're attached. This book illustrates these bits nicely - even very nicely. No text, just illustrations. Feels bloody good to have a proper reference guide, even if it really covers ships a few hundred years older than Vasa. I have no idea whether any major concepts changed in that time. Yet.

 

But yes, proper reference = good, once I stop my grate-OCD and get a move on so I ever get to the rigging, that is. 

 

 

 

Ship Modeling from Stem to Stern, Milton Roth

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Wheras Ship modeling simplified did a good job of explaining the concepts and terminology by means of crisp, clean illustrations and well edited text - this book doesn't. Some areas are covered in great detail - the section on guns, for one, is 16 pages long and very nice. The section on rigging - again, one of the least obvious buts to a novice, is 14 and crap. There's even a ten page section on ships in bottles. 

 

For a book called Ship modeling from stem to stern, one would think that some more focus would be put on actual ship modeling, rather than filling out the damn book with paragraph after paragraph of whatever tidbit the author found the most interesting. Illustrations range from good/decent to outright bad. 

 

It's evident that the author is a subject matter expert, and he certainly doesn't let us forget this. The book is probably still worth having as a reference - the bits that do have proper illustrations and proper depth are good - but I'm very happy I didn't just buy this one book and stop at that. 

 

 

 

Finally, my one non-book purchase: a gorilla stand for the phone, allowing for, alongside a voice activated camera app, hands free photos to be taken. I'm thinking it'll prove useful in the process of getting all this documented proper. Hold fiddly bits, shout at camera. 

 

Next up - vacation. No update in at least a week and a half, so hah. During which time I'll figure out how to go about the grating. The options right now are upgrading my tools for woodworking quite a bit - which is probably not worth it in the long run, seeing I don't do much in terms of woodworking - or getting either a hobby 3D printer or a CNC mill. Alternatively, send the machining jobs off to Shapeways.

 

It's cheating, but it's high tech cheating and a good excuse to get some new toys. I can live with that.

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Another update of progress, just not on the model itself - more of the research'y kind. Sorry about the false flag. 

 

Lucked out to find Götheborg in the Visby harbour during the Medieval week. The ship is a hundred and twenty odd years younger than Vasa, granted, but it's there and you can actually walk on the damn thing - without getting chased off by security.

 

Figured I'd snap some shots of details I wasn't quite sure what they'd look like and that had proven elusive or proved me lazy enough not to look them up yet.

Some of the finer points of the rigging will be quite painful in 1:150, but it seems doable to fake it somewhat, given some careful planning. Also got a much better sense about the deck planking and what the wood grain should look like for the masts. Shouldn't be too tricky to paint the plastic in a similar style, and just hope that the preferred choice of wood didn't change a whole lot in said 120 years between Vasa and Götheborg. 

 

A few pictures attached for your viewing pleasure, full set available on Flickr.

 

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Kriss,

 

You picked a hum-dinger for a first ship...  And I thought 1:100 was too small.   Part of the "fun" is the challenge to clean everything up and make them nice. :) Not much different with wood.. I mean the part is in that chunk of tree somewhere, we just have to find it. At least with plastic it's there.. just not as smooth or sharp as you may want it.   At 1:150, I'm not sure how much detail you can add for rigging.   Although we have "ships in the bottle" guys who do remarkable work.   Hang in there, I think you're doing great and your attitude will help get through this. 

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I have seen the Vasa by Revell done before, it makes up to quite a nice model with a little work which is what you are doing.  Keep up the good work and have patience.

David B

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mtaylor, dgbot, thanks. Yeah, I realize the ship is a bit on the.. detailed (*cough*) side of things to start out with, but at least most of that is molded and only time consuming in the painting stage, I'm thinking. 

 

Speaking of time consuming, current project, gun ports. Why gun ports? I'm blocked for the deck grating. Seems that the BB model differ from the actual ship in the # of holes in the grating, and I don't have a photo reference for the entire deck from the 1:10 model at the museum. Thankfully heading to Stockholm next friday, and for once I have a few hours to spare while in town. Hello Vasa. Long time no see..

 

But I digress - gun ports. One thing I sort of lack in the Revell model is the rope going from the inside of the gunport, into the ship. I can definitely see why it's not there on a model this scale, but I rather like it, so if at all possible, I'll try to model them. 

 

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Images shamelessly stolen from Somewhere

 

The main problem with the Revell kit here is that the lions on the inside of the ports are way, way too big. There's no good space in which to place the ring. But hey, hard to say what it'd look like without trying. Said and done:

 

post-5475-0-29398000-1376593781.jpg

 

The jury is still out on the looks. It's technically a bit too big, but I'm not going to be religious about scale, seeing Revell hasn't been either. Whether it'd turn into detail or clutter.. well, I'll have to sleep on that. At least it's no more than a few minutes of work per gun port.

 

The really big drawback is that I'd have to glue them on fairly early, making handling the ship without breaking the ports off an interesting proposal. 

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I wouldn't have complained, put it that way ;-) But it's a small and cheap kit, I can see why they chose the scale they did. I'll just make the best of it. 

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In my opinion its a great kit. Shapewise its fine, and the sculptures, while small, are really nice. The gratings are bad though. I dont understand why they did them like that when the rest is so well made.

 

The kit is idealized and symmetrical, most obvious if you look at the hull planking under it. The bow planks under are wrong and doesnt share the lines of the real ship and the way the dutch built their ships. The gunports are also idealized, and all are the same size and in nice lean rows. The original have larger gunports for the bottom deck and smaller the upper. And the sizes varies a lot for many ports. They are quite wonky in their placement also. I dont like idealized models, but I understand why Revell went that route and that one have to be a rivet counter to even care.

 

I agree that it would have been great if it been in a bigger scale, but one gets a very descent kit for a bargain price and when one starts painting those sculptures, one forgets about shortcomings and starts to appreciate its strenghts even more. Its the best kit so far when it comes to the sculptures.

 

Its hard to judge the lion on the gunports, the gunports vary in size, and Revells doesnt.

 

Looking forward to see what you do with your build!

 

 

/Matti

Edited by NAZGÛL

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Rivet counter, eh? That sounds like me ;) Jokes aside, I can see the charm both in OCD and in getting the big picture right and not caring about detail. Thanks for the encouragement!

 

Speaking of OCD, my 2mm Billing Boats deadeyes arrived today. Ironically enough, I live next door to Denmark. Proved easier to order the damn things from the US. Hello, globalization. 

 

Figured it'd probably be a good idea to make a jig to keep the things in place while threading them - said and done. The end result is pretty close to the original (see the first post in this thread) in size, but they look a lot better. 

 

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Plasticard and brass wire - man's best friends.

 

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Linen thread. A bit too thick for my taste..

 

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Cotton thread. Better.

 

I'm happy with the results, but quite open for suggestions if there's a saner way of going about this. The ship does, after all, have close to 200 deadeyes to thread...

 

The other thing that has been keeping me busy would be the gunports. Adding the ropes to them has proven fiddly, but meditative. Roughly halfway done, got a few left to do on the port side of the ship. Starboard is yet to be done. 

 

post-5475-0-51480500-1377123452_thumb.jpg

The portsickle, from construction to finished item. 

Edited by kriss

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Managed to visit the museum. Pro tip: 1 PM on a sunny friday afternoon in the tourist season? Not the best time to go there, unless you have a thing for queueing. 

 

Need to sort, upload and label 232 pictures to Flickr. That'll happen one of these days. For now, here's one of the specifics I went there for - the ongoing serial of What does the damn deck grating look like, really?

 

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Both pictures taken of the 1:10 model, from the port side

 

This is the 1:10 model, granted, but I went and had a long, hard look at the sections you could spot (some are downright hard, on account of the pretty steep railing near the aft and the fore) - it seems to match. No wonder there.

 

On the wtf side of things, it really seems that the mid section of gratings should be a section of 8 gratings, rather than a section of 7 where one is double wide. Airfix, Revell, Billing Boats and Corel and Clayton Johnson's model seem to disagree. This sounds a bit implausible, so I'll have to think that one over. Problem being, I have a hard time seeing the 1:10 model being wrong too, seeing that it's produced by the museum itself.

 

The double wide cover looks better. Need to wrap the whole issue, stop waffling and get the CAD drawings done, seeing there's a spot of a delivery time attached to Shapeways orders. 

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I'm slab dab in the middle of a repetitive stretch. I don't mind repetitive, but the images don't get very impressive.

 

All gunports are primed and ready for painting. Took a bit longer than anticipated (surprise..), but they do look pretty damn nifty when attached to the model. On the downside, I need to paint them - and a large swathe of the sides - before I can attach them (attaching them much later on would be preferable, but no can do. Getting the gun port ropes properly glued to the inside wall of the ship would be too tricky from the outside...)

 

So the current project has been getting the sides somewhat ready for painting. One of the things I wanted to preserve from the real ship was the planking joints - etching out at least a few of them with the back side of an X-acto blade. 

 

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The other thing that annoyed me was the molded rope holding the bowsprit and the head together. Molded rope looks pretty poor next to real rope, and there'll be plenty of that before the build is over. The way the rope bundle was cast also implied a nice big solid blob of plastic (interestingly enough, all the Revell promo shots of the bow of the model are done from angles hiding this fact) - can't have that.

 

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Still work in progress. That said, the brown sections will be covered by the rope in the end, so I'm not going to get overly detail oriented here. Believable > OCD.

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An interesting project Kriss, I think I'm going to like your approach to it. At 1:150 scale most detail can be included, full rigging, even the side tackles to the guns can be simulated. Helps if you've got young eyes and nimble fingers tho'

 

The finished model size fits easily in a domestic setting and even when cased is not too obtrusive, it is a scale I've great affection for.

 

Look forward to following your progress. :)

 

Cheers,

 

B.E.

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Not sure about young eyes, but they're keen enough for this :-) Definitely shooting for full rigging, will see if I actually get there. As an old teacher used to say, Aim for the stars, land in the treetops.

Certainly helps to post stuff to MSW every once in a while - partway as an excuse to get work done, partway to get inspiration by the talented people around here and the pretty damn nifty builds going on. 

 

This weekend's work has, by and large, revolved around deadeyes - they're now all mounted and primed. I really like the looks of the ones the museum put on Vasa, but it'd - realistically - be blood hard to mass produce those at 1:150 and still get consistent looks. Seeing I needed 90 of these mounts, this was a bit of a concern.

 

I ended up doing a compromise that looks about the same from a little distance, is rougly to scale and easy to mass produce with a consistent result - basically just by twisting some wire. 


The recreated Vasa mounts:  

post-5475-0-72087800-1378678846.png

 

What I ended up doing:

post-5475-0-57738800-1378678847.jpg

 

Figured it'd be a good time to start fixing up the aft section as well, seeing there's a decent chunk of work to be done.

Some of the sculptures are badly defined. Some of that can be saved by a creative paint job, but there's etching to be done as well. The gothic knights also lack shields - this might be a for a reason, but I think it looks better with them shields than without them, so they'll have to be green stuffed. 

 

That, however, is for later. For now, I just started out cleaning out the windows. The ones on the gothic knight tier of the aft are flush on the model. I wanted them slightly recessed, and a with much, much smaller grating than the molded one. Something similar is going on with the upper windows as well (not pictured). Makes a hell of a difference for the looks. 

 

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Toyed with the idea of copying Matti's LED work, but decided against it in the end - I think the scale is a bit too small for it to make sense. 

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Hi Kriss

   Great job so far. I have this kit too and have sort of run into the same challenges as you. This is an exersize in miniaturization. As for the rigging I humbly recommend that you discard the cast ratlines (I think your doing that) - do them the old fashioned way, you will be amazed at how good it looks. Consider sticking to a restricted rigging plan- standing rigging(back stays and fore stays) then do lifts and braces for the running rigging. I promise it will look like a spider web just with that. Another tip - go to the sewing section of your favorite store (I'm sure you already familiar with it ) and ask for bees wax. It should come in a small plastic disk-shaped container. YOU WILL NEED IT. Use the beeswax to coat every line or the rigging will suffer from uncontrolled hair growth :):) Another important tip use the masts and spars in the kit for measurement and replace all of it with wood. The plastic will easily snap or deflect and bend under the presuure of even the most carefull rigging. What you do not need is for the bowspit to snap off at the most inopportune time.(guess how I know)  Considering that you are already cutting, glueing, sanding and painting the plastic parts the expenditure in time to use wood instead is an excellent investment.

   looking forward to seeing more of your build log- hope this helps

   Steve

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Matti: Thanks!

 

Steve: Useful advice, indeed. Yeah, the rebar ratlines are going the way of the dodo :-) Hadn't considered the load on the masts and spars, will have to think about that. It's not the fiddliest pieces of plastic I ever had the pleasure of manhandling, but rigging is certainly Here Be Tigers territory..

 

As for waxing, yes, that'll happen, unless just I happen to find a linen thread that's hard and thin enough for the purpose. As it happens, my better half waxes her own thread for reenactment gear, so we're rather (too) well stocked in the wax department. 

 

In other news, work will take me to Canadaland (also known as Kelowna) for just about a month, putting a pretty effective hold on my activity and the build until october or so. Best of luck with your respective projects

 

post-5475-0-96883300-1378930049.jpg

They didn't look quite proper without their sheilds

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Kriss,

Nice job so far. I have been racking my brain ( or what's left of it ) in regards to the gammoning and how to remove the chunks of plastic without harming the scroll work. That was one of the first things I noticed when I bought the kit. I also take out the windows and replace them with faucet screens and screen door replacement screen and then using Micro-Mark Krystal Clear to simulate the glass. It actually looks good representing early style glass. I will be following your build with great interest.

 

Steve

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docidle: First of all, pardon the late reply (been travelling and not really kept up to speed on the hobby stuff). Thanks for the encouragement - the gammoning for me was an exercise in Xacto and patience ;)

 

It took me three and a half months from the start of the build, but I'm actually getting to the point where it's time to whip out the paint pots and do some damage.

 

Since I'll be painting the entire model, on account of it being plastic, I figured I'd shoot for non-realistic highlights, roughly in the same style as period naval paintings; highlights a bit more extreme than they'd be for a flat/natural look. Smaller details warrant sharper highlights. 

 

Figured I'd start with the drudge bit, them gun ports. 

 

The definition on the ports is so-so - can't just drybrush and get a good result. It's also one of the pieces of the model that's eye catching, justifying some attention. The combination means that it'll take a while and a half - I'm guessing along the lines of 15-30 minutes per port, times 50 ports. Whoppee.

 

Will definitely have to shift in and out of modeling and alternate painting other parts too, or I'll go bonkers. 

 

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The original size is 5x5mm

 

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Closeups always look so depressing

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Half the gun port fronts painted, half still to go, plus all of the backs. Don't ever want to see a Lion King poster again.

 

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It's the circle of life...

 

I've developed a love/hate relationship with Revell over these. There's six or so different models of these lions, which really is above and beyond what they needed to do here and fits the real ship with its variety of lion head shapes and sizes nicely. To put it in perspective, it seems(!) that both Corel and Billing Boats use one single lion style for all the ports.

 

That said, the casting is so-so. One of the styles is rather well defined and would look great when just drybrushed or washed. The other ones range from decent to outright bad. Painting stroke by stroke by hand was the only semi good looking option. The size is also not to scale, which is understandable - the detailing would be minuscule if it was. 

 

I found out that the gun port hinges are screwy - if used as cast, the gun ports will be facing more downwards than outwards when glued in place, which 1) is a shame, 2) doesn't match the real Vasa.
The hinges as illustrated in the build manual don't have this problem but would look pretty crap closed instead - I'm guessing this was a last minute change on Revell's side. Every gun port will need a few half millimeter long bits of plastistrip attached to fix this. 

 

With a bit of luck the hull halves will be glued together by christmas or so. Need to do the above mentioned fix for all the gun ports, paint the remaining half, paint the guns themselves, paint most of the aft, some of the sides (the bits that'll be obscured by the gun ports) and finish the deck - including the bloody grating - plus paint it. 

 

What could possibly go wrong?

Edited by kriss

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Kriss,

 

Looking very good, as Wasa is shaping up for you.

I started Airfix Wasa back in the mid -70's, still only the partial painted hull halfs with painted canons and deck only glued in my old room @ my parents home.

The box with all parts are still there too.

I was too young to concur such a build at the time. 

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Per: Funny, I actually wanted a Vasa model back when I was yea high. Never got one, which was probably just as well, or chances are it'd have ended up just like yours.

 

Had a little bout with the flu, which, for better or worse, meant some more quality time with the brushes. All the lions are over and done with. Still need to do the backs, hinge mod, minor cleanups and the final highlights.

 

Whee.

 

post-5475-0-06385700-1383872599.jpg

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Productive week. Had a date with a laser cutter. Four and a half minutes worth of coherent light lovin', and I got the *bleep* gratings started proper. Still some detailing left. Okay, still a crapload of detailing left..

 

The results were OK. Not totally stellar, but it's a lot less work than trying to do it properly by hand, looks very nice from six inches and out - and seeing it'll be painted anyhow, I don't mind that to much. 

 

post-5475-0-57124800-1384554951.jpg

Zzzzaaap

 

post-5475-0-15053000-1384554948.jpg

Something's burning

 

post-5475-0-10861200-1384554947.jpg

Mounting brackets

 

post-5475-0-98171600-1384554945.jpg

 

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Original to the left, replacement (WiP) to the right

 

For reference, if anyone else is going down this (insane) path:

Edited by kriss

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Nice upgrades! Those small lion details you painted earlier must be frustrating to do. Nice that you post your work for others to use.

 

/Matti

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Hello and congrats on your build.I can see you are doing some improvements to the kit. A friend of mine gave me this kit to build it for him many years ago, but he asked to be built and rigged first, and then just spray the whole thing with gold spray paint. He is a doctor and still has that model in his office. I can say it doesn't look bad at all. :)

Keep us posted.I will love to see this one finished.

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