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1:72 Slavic Longboat - Falkonet


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After ordering the 'Slavic' Longboat from MSW supporter The Crafty Sailor on Sunday, September 10th, I received it on Friday, September 15th. I retrieved the package from the mailbox on my way home from work, walked into the house and declared, 'Honey, we can retire! My ship's come in!' 'That's nice, dear,' she mumbled as she went back to work.


Nevertheless, I'm excited. This is my first wood ship kit and my first kit review. This Russian kit by Falconet is packed in a sturdy corrugated cardboard box. The text is in Russian but on one end of the box there is some consideration of English speakers where the model is described as a 'Viking ship of IX - XI century.' Slightly different from the Crafty Sailor description as a '9th Century Slavic Longship.' I mention this only in case someone is confused. I don't believe Vikings would be historically considered a Slavic people but since they were quite active exploring the rivers of and trading throughout eastern Europe I have no doubt that Viking vessels were common in Slavic lands.




Upon opening the box one finds two sets of drawings on A4 paper. One set focuses on hull construction, the other on rigging. There is a very brief explanation in Russian and English and from that point on all instructions are simply illustrations with call-outs indicating the part numbers in each step. The wood and MDF parts themselves are securely wrapped in plastic cling film and appear--to my untrained eye--to be of high quality.




The two exceptions to this is a piece of light weight fabric for the sail and a heavy paper sheet with cut out stencils for the shield painting. I believe the stencil also provides a guide for assembling the last four hull strakes out of three separate components each. (This is more implied rather than described in the instructions.) The sail cloth is entirely unfinished and there are absolutely no instructions on how to prepare it. When it first appears in the instructions it has a bolt rope around the edges. Lastly, there is a small zip lock bag containing extra-small pieces such as the mast cleat, shield bosses and rigging thread. The mast step is also in here and it is quite rough--it will need delicate sanding to finish it.



Overall, the instructions leave a little to be desired but I believe I'll be able to figure them out--even as a total land-lubber in the world of wooden ship model construction.


The parts themselves are on 8 sheets of laser cut wood of various thicknesses and 1 sheet of MDF. Note that the sheets are referred to as plates in the instructions. And while there is a diagram of parts per 'plate' in the instructions, there are very few identifiers on the sheets themselves. Nevertheless, in the instructions each sheet is illustrated and each part is numbered and prefixed with the sheet number so finding particular parts should not be an issue. Unless the part has become detached from its sheet. I will certainly take care not to detach parts from their sheets until needed! That may be more difficult than it seems. The laser cutting is very fine. The sheets containing the strakes (G, left and right) are quite thin and fragile and the parts need only the gentlist persuation to separate from the sheet. The final last two bits of the model are the mast and the spar. These are supplied square so they will need some sanding to round them off. I do have some concerns here as the parts are quite thin and vigorous sanding would be detrimental. Care, care, care, is called for. I do wish oars had been included with the kit, though. Maybe I should consider that an opportunity for a little scratch building.





So upon final inspection I believe this is a good first model (for me). The greatest challenge, I think, is the delicate nature of the model. The entire model is less than eight inches in length, assembled. Luckily, however, I am used to hobby time spent wearing a magnifying visor while working at fine scales--being a painter of war-gaming figures. I think I have all the tools I'll need for this model which may not have been the case for something more complex (though I may have to shop around for some suitably delicate clamps.)


I did have difficulty choosing a well suited beginner's model. This model looks like it can be accomplished in weeks, not months. I know myself well enough to know that once I have figured out how to do something, I often lose interest in actually doing it--especially if it is a time consuming task. I really wanted to avoid a more expensive, time consuming project, particularly if I had little interest in the actual vessel. For me, hobby time is tightly related to learning the history of whatever I'm modelling. Consequently, the purchase of the viking ship model has inspired me to re-acquaint myself with the history of Alfred the Great of Wessex. One of my favorite childhood history interests.


I do intend to start a build log once I start knocking together the longship.

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