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Norske Love by Freddy Andrew - Billing Boats - 1:75 - The Eternal Build


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I started the Billings Boats "Norske Love" in about 1986.  At the time I was living in Venezuela and purchased the kit No. 437 while on a trip to Europe.  The picture shows the wear and tear on the box after travelling through three continents and various home moves. 

 

I reached the decking stage before business commitments prevented me from continuing.  Now, 25 years later, I am retired and returning to the hobby, picking up this build again.

 

Pictures of the current state of construction will be attached in the next post.

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Here are two pictures of the hull. Most of this construction was completed in Venezuela where materials (other than in the actual kit) were not readily available.  The decking planks were obtained from Norway during a visit by a friend.  These were installed without staining or clear varnish.  Suggestions as to attempting "stain and/or clear varnish" at this late stage or leaving "as is" would be welcomed.

 

The doors and frames were also painted with available paints - the frames are clearly the wrong color, and will regretably remain that way.  Living in the USA makes access to materials much easier and I now have a complete set of color paints for the model.

 

Both sides of the hull are now being filled in 4 cms below the lower deck line to allow for the construction of the gun bulwarks, etc. 

 

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Photos of the decking now follow.

 

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The doors and frames at the stern end of the boat (between the two upper decks) has been removed for rework.  The clearance between the door/frame assembly was insufficient to clear the stern mast.  This was only detected in recent days, when I tried out a dry assembly of the masts.  I checked against the plans and could find no error in my measurements, so have reduced the internal side panels by about 1mm each and will refit the modified assembly.

 

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Very nice, Freddy.  As we have discussed - much to be learned, much to be discussed.  I can see that some items are missing from my kit already - that isn't really encouraging but I suspect, like everything else, can be overcome.  Watching closely!

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Hi Bill,

 

Like you I have missing parts, including some that are supposed to be in the Fittings Kit, but I agree that these will be overcome.  In my case, it is much more important for me to acquire more knowledge, that will contribute greatly to the enjoyment of building.  I look forward to exchanging experiences as we continue with our builds.

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Hello Bill - on my plans there are three door/frame assemblies (35, 36 and 38) located between decks.  The plans and paint charts refer to color No.3 (green) for the panels and No.36 (magonany stain) for the frames and doors.  The following pictures identify Assy. 38 and some of the rework in process to get sufficient mast clearance.

 

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I was unable to obtain the mahogany stain and used a dark brown color instead.  However, the same mahogany stain is indicated on the plans for all the deck planking.

 

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This appears darker than I would like, and following your observations I will probably settle for a natural sanded finish to the planking with a protective coat of clear matt lacquer.

 

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Seeing the way you put 38 together helps make sense out of the drawing.  I didn't get the colour sheet thing in my kit.  Nor did I get the panelling that goes behind the 'openings' in the 35, 36 & 38 sub-structures.  I suppose I could use balsa from a local shop for that.

 

I'm with you on the darkness of the mahogany.  Because I don't believe at all that any of these parts would not have been painted, I'm thinking along the lines of 'buff' or some such.  Or maybe I'll give some thought to something that would compliment the green (buff might be attractive).  I have lots of time to think about that. 

 

The only other builds I can find pics of show most everything left natural, which isn't helpful at all. 

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Hi Freddie, think carefully about the stain you use, as it will be difficult to rectify if it is not right. I used a stain from my local DIY store, you might get a better choice. Thin it down and apply as many coats needed for the shade you are seeking, then put on a clear varnish of your choice. Or as already suggested, sand , then varnish. The build is looking good.

 

Best wishes

Richard

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Hi Richard - Thanks for your comment and advice.  Bearing in mind that I have already mounted the tween decks doors/frames onto the planking, any plank staining will have to butt up against the frames. I am concerned that staining (even in low concentrations) might end up with uneven coloring in the areas adjacent to the frames.  Thus I was thinking of settling just for the clear varnish.  I would like to hear your opinion.

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Hi Freddy and and a warm Welcome to MSW!

 

About staining...I have built the Billings Wasa and there they also suggested staining with mahogany...think twice! Decks were of oak, nothing else. If I'd so it again I'd go for some dark oak staining, that's for sure. Oak staining is a lot lighter (color-wise) than mahogany, and therefore less prone to be seen if it ends up in wrong places.

 

Anyway, I really like the looks of this kit and I am sure you will do here justice! Just keep asking if unsure about anything, and wait for the reply. For a reply you'll very likely to get (all the time). And as some state it, the dumbest question, is the question never asked...

 

Keep it up, and have fun!

Edited by Wintergreen
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Hi Wintergreen, thanks for visiting and your helpful advice.  I have a Billings Wasa on the shelf as my next project and also noted the Billings preference for the mahogany stain.  I do not know what wood was used for my planking, as it was not specified.  I do have some spare pieces that I could use to experiment with an oak stain (initially diluted until the right intensity is reached). When the Norske Love is completed I will be seeking your advice on the Wasa, but that might be twenty years away based on current progress.

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Freddy, seems like we started the builds at the same time (mid 80's), difference though that I finished Wasa around the 1990's. We'll see what I remember...

In twenty years, you say, that'll be fine, I'll be almost a retiree by then... lol.

 

Brian, I think BB have switched to wooden blocks and deadeyes by now. At least in my most recent purchase (Dana some three years back) they were of wood, and they even supplied planks for the deck, even though the super structure is plastic on that one.

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Thank you Brian C, Wintergreen and BlassicBill for your comments on the Billings Boats fittings.  My only comparison with my two Billings Boats (Norske Love and Wasa) is with the first boat kit that I purchased in 1977.  This was HMS Bounty, a 1:60 scale from Sergal in Italy.  As shown below, this model has a double planked hull and the fittings are brass or wood.  The lifeboat is plastic with wood strips supplied for finish covering.  All of the fittings came as standard with the kit which was quite moderately priced at that time.

 

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I decided to put the Bounty on hold when I saw and fell in love with the Norske Love (I believe named after Norwegian Lion in English, no pun intended).  So I was very disappointed when I discovered that the fittings kit provided by Billings at an additional cost consisted mainly of plastic items.  However, I accepted that these fittings would require a lot of extra work and painting in order to obtain the right detail.  I purchased the Wasa fully aware of these less than lovely fittings.

 

Now comes the good news from Wintergreen that these fitting kits have been improved and also that the horrible plastic blocks and dead-eyes have been replaced with milled wood as indicated by BlassicBill with his more recently acquired kit.  Does anyone know if the other plastic parts such as the figurehead, gun-ports have bee replaced with metal, and especially if the plastic gun carriages have been replaced with wood?  Alternatively, does anyone know of a supplier of a high quality fitting kit not necessarily produced by Billings that would be appropriate for the Norske Love.

 

I believe that it will be well worth the extra investment of replacing my old kits with the new ones.  I am not sure if these fitting kits are still available as separate items or if they are now included in the basic construction kit.  Thanks to everyone for alerting me to this potential improvement.

 

Overall, I am very happy with the boat, even though the fittings kit could be of a higher quality (probably a cost issue).  Also, the assembly/construction instructions could be a tad more forthcoming, but the kit is rated at expert level.

 

 

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Hi Bill - Thanks for your thoughts on the mast mounting.  I will follow you with the masts located, but not glued, into a preset foot. That foot could be either a grommet or a drilled plywood piece, glued to the steps (or deck in the case of the mizzen).  I think that this arrangement should hold the masts in their correct locations and alignments, while the stay rigging is being fixed to the hull.  At this stage, I think my preference would be for a solid plywood foot rather than the grommet alternative, but I will certainly experiment with a grommet, so thanks for your suggestion.

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I was visualizing a plywood 'grommet' actually (as you describe).  I take no responsibility for any failures that might ensue :D

 

My kit has plastic figurehead, scrolls etc. as well as plastic gun carriages - no improvements there, sad to say.  A BIG back of wooden blocks et al.  Brass guns, brass pintles & a few other items.  Lots of plastic.

 

On the plus side, I did find a bunch of pieces that I thought were missing (a belief I held due to a total lack of numbering on any of the parts supplied).  So, I have what I need to do 35, 36 & 38.

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Bill - that is great news regarding the "missing" pieces and I look forward to seeing those assemblies fitted into the boat.  By the way, the green paint used on those assembly back panels has been changed for blue on some models.  Whichever you choose, the poop deck sides would be painted the same color.  I am staying with green.  I have to decide if it is worth investing in a new fixtures kit just to get the plastic blocks replaced with wood.  I am still hopeful that someone will lead me to an improved fixture kit for the Norske Love.

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Locating the masts - took a step backward when opening the deck to take the main mast.  The result was damage to the planking around the area of the main mast, which had to be cut out and replaced.  I should have set the mast holes in the decks to their correct diameters before laying the planks.  I will do that on the next build.

 

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Having viewed several forum articles I had already decided to not glue the masts to the hull and to rely on the standing/stay rigging to hold the masts in their correct locations. To provide a relatively firm base for working on the rigging when the masts are fitted to the hull while still allowing final alignment though the standing rigging, I made three plywood mounting blocks drilled to mast diameter clearance.  These are shown following:

 

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So far, the blocks have allowed for provisional vertical alignment of the masts (port/starboard), but the rakes have not yet been set.  Once the overall alignment is firmed up, the blocks (not the masts) will be glued on the mast steps (or lower deck in the case of the mizzen). 

 

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I want to finish this provisional alignment before closing up the lower hull (below the level of the guns).  Viewing several of the forums I found a reference to Ship Modelling from Stem to Stern (by Milton Roth) - thanks to JerseyCity Frankie for that.  I have just received the book along with two others: Ship Modeling Simplified (by Frank Mastini) and The Ship Model Builder's Assistant (by Charles G. Davis).  I will gain as much as possible from these books before proceeding further with the mast location and the construction of gun ports for the lower deck.

 

 

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Hello Håkan,

 

Thanks for your helpful observation.  My major concern about the decking is with regard to the finish.  The  decking and upper hull color recommended by Billings (No 36 - Mahogany) is shown in the following picture, together with samples of an unsanded plank and a plank stained Golden Oak.

 

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This appears to be rather dark and similar to the finish of my Bounty hull (see earlier post).

 

The following two pictures show the two samples on the model deck, the first with flash, the second taken with natural lighting.

 

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My inclination is to leave the decking unstained as per earlier comments received from BassicBill, and finish the planking with a clear matt varnish.  I would appreciate your opinion and recommendation.

 

Take care, cheers, Andrew.

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