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Vasa by Karleop - FINISHED – Billing Boats – reviving a poorly built model

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Hi everybody!!

First of all forgive my poor English, hope you can understand what I want to tell.


The story of my VASA started about 10 years ago, when the son of a friend visited the museum in Sweden and bought the model thinking that he could do with her dad, who has some experience in woodworking. Shortly after, they gave up trying to do it, and stay abandoned for about 8 years.


One time I visit him and seeing the model he told me the sad story and asked me if I wanted to try doing it, which I promptly accepted. After reviewing the boat I noticed several errors and that it will be difficult to assemble. Here in Mexico we say that It is always easier to start something than to repair it!

This boat represents three challenges:

1) Undo many of the laid parts, redo some parts, either already broken or broken when I tried to take them off.

2) It is a boat complicated to assemble, rated for experts and additionaly with many plastic figures that must be painted with much detail.  Also with poor instructions and drawings (but fortunately with much information in forums like this).

3) Many of the pieces were loose and detached from its original panels, so it was like a puzzle to find parts.


Therefore, at that time I decided not to start it, partly because I was doing the Endeavour ship, so stay on hold just over two years.


Finally, about 6 months ago I decided to build it. Initially without much hope because it had some irremediable things that were complicated to repair (like alignment of lateral panels or deck).  So I thought to build it more for practice, that a model to show. However, over time I change my mind and now it’s getting pretty good.






Edited by Karleop
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Thank you for your welcome and surely I will ask for your support in these forums to clarify doubts. Although I will show the progress of the building, I think the forum from NAZGUL (Matti), Ulises and others shows the details of the VASA construction at a level of excellence.


Following with the Vasa, after analyzing what must be done, I started with the task of removing the parts that were wrong. Although I thought that the problem would not be great because they were stuck with white glue, it was not so easy and some parts suffered damage, especially the ones of plywood. What I did was wettting the unwanted parts with a combination of water and ethanol but not turned out so well. After that, I read that it was better to use a mix water- vinegar but I did not try it.


In the following pictures you can see some parts after the detachment process




And here some pieces that I had to redo:


post-797-0-19187300-1391370210_thumb.jpg   post-797-0-58477400-1391370224_thumb.jpg









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Hi everybody.

After removing almost all the parts that were misplaced or wrong I begun with the hull plancking.  For that it was necessary to make some adjustments in the bow adding a little piece in order to fit the plancks.



The next step was to correct and rebuilt the stern.



After making the stern and the bow adjustments I proceed with the hull plancking.There were few problems placing the first plancks, but below the water line it was a little tricky because the hull made a sharp curve and the plancks at the stern, and mainly in the bow area, must be cutted and bevelled.  









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  • 2 weeks later...

Update Feb 15:


Hola a todos:


After finishing the hull planking I began to paint and bend the upper strips of the hull.  For this operation I use my wife’s steam iron.


post-797-0-24580600-1392519461_thumb.jpg  post-797-0-30689300-1392519479_thumb.jpg



Then I begin making the galleries and domes.  This was a tricky operation because they need cuts in 3 different angles.   To facilitate the cuts I glue first a square piece of plywood at the base of the cylindrical pieces.




To make the model more real I decided to include the roof shingles, which cost me much work at first, until I decided to glue one over the other and then cut all together in a triangular way in order to fit over the roof.


post-797-0-02535600-1392519570_thumb.jpg  post-797-0-44960800-1392519582_thumb.jpg


Finally I place galleries and domes in their place.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everybody


Continuing with my Vasa I will show you some updates.


Deck planking and nailing:


After placing the domes and galleries I devoted myself to correct the deck planking. It was made with continuous strips and with no much care, also without treenailing.  To correct this it was necessary to remove some planks and install new ones, and to simulate they were several shorts planks instead of single ones.


To simulate the treenails the first step was drilling the holes.  Later I used a walnut color wood filler adding a little quantity of acrylic paint (to make it darker and also more liquid) and insert it with a syringe into the holes.  After sanding it appears very convincing.  You can see the three steps in the next picture. 






Painting and bending the plastic figures:


It was a new experience trying to color the plastic figures with detail, at first I though painting all gold, more or less as the COREL model, but seeing the marvelous work that Matti (Nazgul) did, I decided to go to the colored version, although at first sight they seem to be unreal or like a Disney version.   I tried to paint the figures with the original color as can be seen in the Vasa museum page, others following Matti´s  Vasa model (MSW Wazan Forum) but many others were by my own because they don’t appear in those  pages.


In order to make the plastic figures more prone to acrylic painting I used a white primer, and then I colored the figures with all surface acrylic paint.





It was necessary to bend some figures to fit in certain places. In the instructions manual they mention that this can be done using a candle as a heat source, but I think this is a very risky procedure because it’s easy to overheat and damage the figure.  Some recommend doing this with boiling water, also a risky process.  I find that using a steam iron is much easier but it is important to calibrate the heat to the correct point, enough to make the plastic flexible but not to make it stick on the iron surface. In any case is important to remove the piece at the correct time, if not they begin to shrink.




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Nice method for bending the plastic. I found using a soldering iron gives great control, and thinning down the sculptures makes it easier and makes the m more in scale. I think it's a good idea to shape them before painting them. Nigel suggested the soldering iron and it made the build so much easier for me.


Akterspegeln looks really good!



Edited by NAZGÛL
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Hola Matti, I have not used the soldering iron but the steam iron (in this case with NO water) has worked very well for me.  Although not show in the pictures, to prevent that the piece can adhere to the iron I used small pieces of waxed paper in between.  About what is best, bending the piece first and then paint it or on the contrary, I find its easy to paint them first because you have a flat surface to work on and the heat dont alter the painting. 


The steam iron has also helped me a lot to bend strips of wood. The only bad thing is I had to buy my wife a new steam iron! :o  :o 
Thanks for your comment about the Akterspegeln (transom?) 
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Last minute update,  using the steam iron is possible to have more control over the heat and the shrinking process for a plastic figure.  I used this peculiarity to shrink some of the "emperors" of the bow.  In the picture you can see the original size and two pieces already shrinked in different proportion.



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Hola amigos!!


From my experience in modeling ships without exception makes and models, all kits bring some mistakes in the explanations or in some cases, lack of clarity, even in cases where the instructions and drawings are plentiful. For novice modelers this is the most frustrating because they do not know what to do, for the more experienced is a challenge and part of the hobby. Regarding this specific model, I want to share some of the problems I encountered till now and how to solve them, with the hope that can be useful for other modelers who go for this kit.  I must clarify that I take this kit already started by another and perhaps some of the errors are due to this and not the kit itself.


Figures between decks: or the figures are too big or the space too small. Instead of them I used pieces of toothpicks.



Pulleys on deck “jacks”??: In the Manual appears 3 figures with two 6mm pulleys in each one but they are only 4, so I used 5 mm pulleys for the larger figure.



The figures in the bow rail are bigger than the space where they supposed to be, I put an extra strip to make enough space.



The plywood piece designed to accommodate the lateral figures had to be modified.



The Lion of the port side had no tail, so it was necessary to make one.



The “caged Polish” figures on the stern that come with the kit are really ugly; I prefer to do new ones, not as in the original ship that seem more difficult, but as in the Sergal kit.




Stern lantern: the plastic piece that simulates glass did not fit, I need to make a new one and I also added and upper and lower piece to accommodate vertical brass wire.





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Hi mate, nice work! I didnt get some of the problems you describe. The railing (ballustraden) is wrong in many early drawings and on the 1:10 model also. If you build it like the real ship the figures fit well I think. 



In my opinion the jacks (knektarna) becomes to big if you follow the instructions and need to be smaller. The pulleys are to big and I do my jacks witout them.


I had no  problem with the top parts of the beakhead construction. Maybe it is how they align if the previous builder made errors in earlier stages of the build?


Here are some reference of the polish noblemen sculptures: 





Keep up the good work!



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Gracias Matti,

Yes, probably some of the errors are due to the bad built of the original builder and not the kit itself.


About the "polish", at first I tried to make like the originals you show on the picture but after several unsuccessful tries I decided to do them as in the Sergal kit.


Regarding the jacks you said: "In my opinion the jacks (knektarna) becomes to big if you follow the instructions and need to be smaller"  Do you know what are the original size of them? because seeing the pictures is difficult to say.  Probably  I will modified them.


By the way, I tried the vinegar method to blackened the brass with no good results, so I will follow your sugestions.


Saludos, Karl

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Hi everybody.


I already finished the deck jacks and now I am in the process of doing the cannons and carriages.






Now I am in the decision of blackening the cannons or how much.  I try the Patina  (used for staining glass) with good results and depending of the submersion time is how black they get.  The shining brass makes a better contrast with the hull but being purist I know they were black.  I'll think a little more.




Saludos, Karl

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Hey Karl, I replied earlier, but it got lost somehow. Good work all over and the bow with all those lines and curves meeting up looks great! Really interesting to see the two door version of the front railing, the shield "is" a double door and it's something Landström imagined in his book that Billings incorporated to their kit. I haven't heard about any evidence about black painted cannons, there was black paint bought for the carriages though. I really like the graysh look of the cannon in the last pic.


And the real Vasa is warped and quite wonky in many ways giving her an organic beauty.


Keep up the good work Karl!





Edited by NAZGÛL
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