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Steamship Heinrich Kayser by Nils Langemann - scale 1:96-1898- as she appeared in 1922 - Finished

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Steamship Heinrich Kayser


Introduction to this build log, by Nils Langemann


The steamship Heinrich Kayser was launched in 1898 baptized to its birthname „Elbing“ and was one of the typical new fast merchant vessels built for the D.A.D.G. (Deutsch Australische Dampfschiffahrts Gesellschaft) shipping company at the FSG shipyard in Flensburg, northern Germany. It served the trade route Europe via Cape of Good Hope or via Suez Canal and the red sea and across the Indian Ocean to several Australian Ports together with her sister ships on regulary basis for many years.

After WW1 and in compliance with the Treaty of Versailles demands the Elbing went under command and management of a british shipping controller, from which the “Elbing” was bought back again by the Hamburg based Kayser & Sohn shipping Company in 1921, which renamed the vessel to “Heinrich Kayser”. In 1922 my grandfather was appointed as the master in command on its last fatal voyage from England to the US eastcoast, down to Florida and back touching Norfolk Virginia as last port and thereafter went down with all aboard her in a heavy full gale and with broken rudderchain and broken hatchcovers. The last SOS radio signals came from position of the New England Seamount Chain, some 500 miles off the US eastcoast where the Atlantic is 5000m deep. No survivers, not a trace was ever found. This type of ship was a mere cargo steamer of 5600 tons, which may have been able to accommodate 2-3 passengers, midships. The Heinrich Kayser was capable of cruising at max. of 12 knots with her twin-boiler arrangement in tandem setup, and having appr. 20 firemen (stokers and heaters), working in shifts to keep the boilers at pressure accordingly.

I built this model, which is already completed to date, after a shipyard overview plan in honor to my grandfather and all its 43 souls crew and three passengers.

It is only a couple of weeks ago that per incidence, and 91 years after that foundering, on a raised web forum thread I was able to take up contact with an american lady, who`s great grandmother as well as her great aunt have been on board the Heinrich Kayser at that time and lost their lives as passengers way back in 1922

The build log shall comprise probably 21 individual parts due to limit of pics per post, and shall document all building sequences in pictures. Comments, questions, etc. shall be welcome and answered along with the build log as it grows.

The model took me appr. 1800 manhours to build over 2 years including the search for a plan, new modeling techniques like metal- plating /”riveting”, soldering, glass-case making, all trials, etc.

The fully completed model can be viewed in my album (steamship Heinrich Kayser) under topic : Gallery of completed scratch built models

Have fun and enjoy whilst studying this oldtimer steamer of 1898 in its buildup




Here it Begins.....


Build log part1



this is one of the ship under its birthname "Elbing"



this is one of the very last Pictures of the Heinrich Kayser



overview plan frontsection



overview plan aftsection



stringers and single-layer planking in pine







planking under way, propshaft built in



Frame plan, self drawn, not included in overview plan



planking nearly completed




Part 2 to follow....

Edited by Mirabell61
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Having already viewed the final product, I'm in awe, especially given the 1:96. A great tribute to your grandfather; a testimonial to your skill; and a family heirloom!




PS. And you built her in a mere 2 years!

Thanks for your Kind words Tom,

Keep up your interest for the following Posts



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This is a lovely looking model of an unusual subject, Nils. Thank you for bringing this to our attention as well as the sad story behind the loss of both ship and your grandfather.


thank you for your words, yes it is not usual to have a personal relation a subject like this one, the pitty is that before I started my own Research most of the late and still living Family members did hardly know anything about the ship, its Crew, and nothing at all about possible passengers.



Edited by Mirabell61
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Thanks for sharing build log with us. You did great, she's great and looks powerful. Already viewed final but this is the behind the scene of 1800 hours of work :) 



Hi Bugra

Thank you for looking in, and I`m glad you like this old Steamer



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Thanks for the build log Nils. I'm really surprised about the sails on the plan...

Thanks for looking in Richard,

the sails were quite common to the steamships builds around the turn of the century, ( remember the plan Shows the 1898 Version),you can see this on many oilpaintings of that time. They had been removed on most Steamers as the engines became more reliable.



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Build log part 2




planking completed, rudder and sternpost reinforcement mounted, minimized Polyesterfiller where necassary, and poopquarter knee-whale attached




impressions of rudder making components



the five blade prop is only an interim solution, a four blade historic prop with blades bolted-on the central hub is to follow later



here first time experience Begins with metal plating for hull

The hull wooden surface is sanded smooth and fixed with quick dying transperant liquid filler, which drys off quickly leaving a real smooth and shiny surface on which the self-adhesive Aluminium foil sticks like hell. No Problem with roll-embossing the foil plates from the rear plate side, because the rivit immitations are roolled-in before the protection foil on the plate rearside is removed, giving free the glue film.



Workstation for making the plates



leave a gap between first and second plating line, the third plating line is set by overlapping the edges of first and second line

Note : vertical rivit Joints have 4 rows of rivits, horizontal Joints have 2 rivit rows



plating nearly done, the whole hull is still mounted to the shipyard baseplate

Mounted into the keel are two reinforced M5 female threads for the later to be mounted stand-bolts



the upper hull portions have not been plated yet



soldered, full functional mounted rudder before plating, shaft going through to poop deck



here the upside down 135 cm Long hull is nearly ready for seperating from the baseplate, it is very stiff, riged and of lightweight

Edited by Mirabell61
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Well, I was hoping to see this section. Great work on metal plates Nils. 


I'm curious about the tool that you used for marking plates. Can you show us ?


Thanks, Bugra.


upon your request, here a short intercourse and self explaining use of the plate marking tool.

By the way, I use this method on all model hulls that are of rivited structure, only the tooth modul sizes differ acc. to the appr. scale Chosen. The holders for the toothwheels are made from old paintbrushes that would go to the bin otherwise.








different wheel (toothsizes, and toothnumbers, also requires a semi soft rubber plate underneath and of course the precut plate



(turn around the plate, so the protection foil is up....



use a metal ruler, or like here a masons tool, leave plate edge free



the roller tool, use Dremel with circle sawblade to cut in the two circular grooves for obtaining 3 toothrows instead of one



press tight down the roller tool and move swiftly Forward in one move. Same time press down the ruler



looking at the marked edge from the rear side



looking at the result of the rivit resembling, (here 3-row riviting)



remove the protection foil, Keep the gluefilm side free from dust and debris



Happy exercising and good success



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Building log part 3




brought on White primer coating and Sub waterline red



the last Picture where the hull is still fixed to the baseplate. The upper hull portions shall be plated and painted when the decks have been permanently mounted



hull seperated from baseplate, all went well, no Twist, no destortions



extreme lightweight hull, prop- and ruddershaft already mounted, superstructure for deck Support can be seen



riged structure in forecastle area




decks made from 1,5 mm thick 4-layer Aeroplywood



the Forward maindeck, 3 hatches, and the quite Long poopdeck, 2 hatches,(working decks) are going to be metal plated. These decks were of steel plating due to rough cargo handlingand overcoming heavy seas. The cardboard template behind hatch #4 Shows the riviting pattern for deck plating



hatch # 1 behind the forecastle bulkhead



bow section before finalizing the decks and the final plating




raw workdecks mounted, midship deckhouses started, hull painting done and forecastle bulleyes mounted. It`s now slowly looking like a ship should be...





Build log part 4 to follow.....

Edited by Mirabell61
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Hello Nils,


I am really overwhelmed by your build... This is modelling on its top-level. I will follow your log and I am very very curious to see the progress.


Good luck and a lot of fun




Max aus Hof in Oberfranken

Hello Max,


what a cute member Icon you have, gives me a smile on monday morning. Thanks for your words, and enjoy the further parts of the Heinrich Kayser build log



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Build log part 4



characteristic for These old steamships are the large vents, necessary more than ever when going through hot,tropical zones of calm sea...


Here is to give my Version of the vent Hood making..., and the main masts, and crows nest




sizes and types of vents



an Arrangement of inlet and outlet vents



prefit check with the decks



application of primer after soldering and cleaning the brass surfaces



was quite a bunch of individual parts



inner Hood surfaces have their own color



as well as the outside surfaces



Forward and aft mast




do not throw away your old dome-nuts, they serve for exellent venthoods




especially those where the dome Shell is made and brased on of thin pressed sheet





Build log part 5 to follow.....

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Build log part 5




for making the stand Posts I use brass candle holders (found on flee-markets)



the anchorchain port reinforcements are fitted



begin... rivited structure to deckhouses and hatch rims



further Fitting out



midship deckhouses, on deck inbetween the coal bunker hatchcovers



forecastle compartments



so far well under way...



workdecks ready for priming, painting



the figures are scale 1:100



the portside depth indications are in Roman figures




Build log part 6 to follow....

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thanks for your word. Regarding to the plan I received it upon Special request from the birth shipyard (which does not actually sell plans of their builds), but I told about my personal relation to the ship because of a Research of the fate of itt foundering and the fate of my grandfather.



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