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Norske Løve by Blue Ensign - FINISHED - Billing Boats - 1:75 scale - an ancient build

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There are scant details on MSW of builds of this iconic Billing Boat kit, and periodically questions arise, often concerning inherited or partially built models requiring completion or restoration in the absence of plans or instructions, which in the case of Billing Boats were somewhat thin.


So, in the spirit of giving some images that may help, I post here my Norske Løve story.


I must have posted it somewhere before but can’t for the life of me remember where or when, but I do have my original log and photos.

A cautionary note, this is a model I made over forty years ago, so the standard of fittings, and the ravages of dust have taken its toll on the condition.


If I knew then what I know now I could certainly have made a better job of her but she remains a model for which I still have great affection, and I have resisted the temptation to upgrade her.


Those not familiar with the finer points of our art tend to be seriously impressed by the sight of her.


( Norske)  Løve Story


More years ago, than I care to remember, before my office was a den of computer stuff, and before the digital age, I had a yen to build a large scale wooden 18th century warship.


In those days it was either Billing Boats or Billing Boats, and as I browsed through their catalogue my eyes alighted on Norske Løve.

It was the image of the modeller putting the final touches to the model that grabbed my attention, I wanted to be that guy.


BB Cat cover

Yes, I still have that original catalogue, in those days I actually went to a model shop, can you believe it!


Pity I didn’t have the internet resource back then, but I did have the Longridge book and perhaps more importantly the Masting and rigging book by James Lees.


Given that the Norske Løve was launched in 1765 it immediately struck me that the round tops provided in the kit, were oddly out of period, more 17th century than 18th


The masts and tops were therefore scratch built to proportions given in the Lees book for ships of the correct period.

The other main area that gave me concern was the head. In common with many wooden kit models this is a weak area with a less than realistic rails set up.


Catalogue shot of the bows


These were therefore also scratch built.


I made other ‘modifications’ not necessarily in accordance with the plans, such as a skylight on the Poop and removeable skids to house boats which were not provided with the kit.


Billing at the time (and probably still are) were in the habit of providing some plastic fittings for their kits such as blocks and Deadeyes, decorations etc.


I seem to recall that the fittings kit was a separate purchase to the main build kit.


This is Billings catalogue shot of the completed model.


The build took me a couple of years, and my office resembled more of a joiners shop than an office. Drill stand and vice screwed to the desk top, wood turning model lathe and dremel permanently plugged in where now the printer and computer stuff reside.


Everything was covered in a fine film of dust, but boy how I enjoyed that build.


When completed the model sat in a lighted cabinet that filled one wall of the office and that’s how it stayed for some years.

With the arrival of computers and the need to use my office for its proper purpose, everything was changed. Away went the cabinet and all the modelling stuff.



 Norske Løve then proudly sat uncovered on a long chest of drawers, where it resides to this day.


Strangely things have come full circle and in retirement my office once again resembles more of a workshop, but I don’t think the resident equipment would appreciate a return to the heavy sawdust days.


So here is the photo collection of my interpretation of Norske Løve,











The head rails were scratch built using yellow pine, but there were several breakages before I got a satisfactory set. The Lower and Middle rails are mortised thro’ the head timbers, and the Main rail rebated into the head timbers.


04 02

I recall the exercise being long, slow, and frustrating.



I particularly like the stern and Quarter galleries with their glazed lights, one of my pet dislikes with wooden kits are false windows or even worse stuck on windows, such as with the Mantua Le Superbe that lies forlornly in the loft.


This is one area where Billing have done a good job, there was very little tweaking to this area of the build.





The modified tops, scratch built to proportions given by James Lees. The plastic rigging blocks supplied by Billings were replaced by boxwood versions.









The main difficulty with single planked hulls such as this is that there is little scope for cocking it up if you don’t want to hide it with paint.

I also have an aversion to stub guns so the lower ports are closed.





The Poop was modified by the addition of a skylight, and the Ensign hand painted on cotton. The simplicity of the Danish flag lends itself to this method.




I think the anchors were aftermarket purchases.


The Boats





Boats were not supplied so I had to create my own.





The deck fittings are mostly removeable to assist cleaning which is evidently overdue when this photo was taken.



Dust build up is clearly apparent here.




I really prefer models out of cases, they have so much more impact, and 1:75 scale allows for reasonable cleaning access which in this case takes about three hours every few months or so.


I hope those who cross paths with this kit get some benefit from this vintage build.













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A thing of beauty BE. Having started with Billing Boat myself years ago, I have often wanted to build this kit myself. I now have the modern version of the model in my stockpile of models yet to be built. The fittings have changed somewhat and the blocks and deadeys are now wood. But the plastic lion hasn't changed one bit! Seeing the photos of your Norske Love has definately given me some inspiration to start mine. Thanks for showing them off!


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Thanks Peter, an oldie but a goodie as they say, but still a model that can be made a lot of.


I think the plastic lion is ok  and if treated today with  artist oils could look really good.

I'm glad they have replaced those plastic  blocks and deadeyes, and there is so much stuff out there now to enhance models.


I was forty years too early with my attempt.





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