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Mayflower 1620 by RdK - Scale 1:100 - CARD - Finished

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Hi @ all!


I would like to present here my ongoing project. It is the Mayflower from 1620 after the plans of 

Waldemar Nowy (Danzig, Poland) 1975: "Historic Sailship MAYFLOWER" (based on the Mayflower II)


I started this build about in November 2010. I had several breaks during the build due to my private situation. At the moment I work on the cannons and the masts. Here are some pictures of my progress so far. I would also like to post some of my techniques I used as soon as time allows me to.









Edited by RdK
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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 years later...

Hello everyone,


my sincere apologies for being absent for so many years, but my work/studies did not allow me to enjoy ship modelling and other of my hobbies.


I only managed to make the masts ready at some point in 2015. The masts are made from wood, whereas the ship is made from card and paper. I use oil paints (my other hobby I did not have time for during the last decade) to color the wooden looking parts of the ship and the masts. The idea in this model is to make it look 'used' or 'in action' and not like the clean and beautiful museum pieces (which I really adore much!).


On two of the pictures you can see how I tried to make the masts a bit darker (more dirty) around the woolding. And the other shows the 'altering' of the planks, which are made from a self-adhesive foil with wood pattern.


Having finally a bit more time this autumn I plan to continue on the Mayflower by doing the dead eyes and rope for the standing rigging. Here are another two pictures of how tall the ship actually is, and in which state of the build.


I hope to be able to post more soon and also explain a bit my techniques for making such a card model.









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Very nice work, Radek.


I used to have the book "The Voyage of the Mayflower II". Very enjoyable, but got lost sometime during one of my housemovings. A pity; I used to re-read it every so often. The 1957 reconstruction and voyage are a saga in their own right.


You'r doing a very good job of her.



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  • 2 months later...

Hello everyone,


I was able to continue on the Mayflower and almost finished the standing rigging. One interesting detail that is not in the plans are the catharpins. Now I know my model is not very accurate as it comes to history, but I tried to do cathharpins that are from about that era and found the answer in R.C. Anderson's book about seventeenth century rigging.


Last time I rigged a ship model (except my Elbing Cog in 2010) was as a teenager in the last millennium. Hence my rigging is very clumsy; especially the ratlines, because I did not use a pattern mask. Here are some pictures from the progress so far and my apologies for the bad photographs, all made by my old smartphone camera. I have bought a snapshot camera today and hope to post better pictures next time.


When time allows I will also post some older pictures of the techniques I've used in this card model.













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Frames and Underwater Hull



Hi everyone!


Here's a small description of how I started the build back in 2010, some insight into my way of hull shaping.

I start with a 1mm cardboard test-frame (from frozen pizza boxes) to see where the gun ports, decks and masts will be.



Then I cut the middle frame from balsa wood (two 1.5mm plates glued together) to give the model stability, because card tends to deform and bend the whole structure.



The other frame parts (bulkheads) were cut from a 2mm cardboard (old puzzle box) and painted black using a marker where the openings from the gun ports or the gratings will allow to see the frames. The lower tiny edges of the bulkheads were hardened and strengthened with CA glue. The main gun deck was done from a 1mm card.





Next were the gun ports. For that I used 1mm card stripes that were glued to the frames with the gun ports in between. The ports itself were taped with the self adhesive foil with wooden patterns and 'altered' with black oil paint.



Then followed the 'planking' of the hull. For that I use a different approach than most modellers:


Instead of using several layers of horizontal and vertical card stripes or fillers with lots of sanding I use a bit less messy approach due to the fact that I do not have a hobby room and have to keep my work space in the apartment clean.


The next pictures show how I do the individual stripes, or rather panels, for the space between each frame, or bulkhead.








A scratch build like this involves a lot of 'trial and error' where I need to adjust few parts when the result is not as good as hoped for or mistakes are made.





Once all the 'rounded' card panels are glued onto the frame, I did not entirely get around sanding and had to sand a few places around the bulkheads to make the card smooth. Of course, the 1mm card cannot get fully rounded and shows small folds or 'wrinkles' around the edges. 




This made the card feel 'furry' so I used a water based white glue to smoothen the surface. In addition to the smoothening, the glue also hardens the card, giving it more integrity.






No other hull planking is added to the model at this stage. The following step for the hull is applying the foil with wooden pattern. But first the upper side of the ship including upper hull and decks had to be done. 


So much for now. More will follow soon.


Right now I am making the sails and running rigging.





PS: Thanks Steven and Patrick for the encouragement!

PPS: I've corrected the year of the beginning in my first post. It was 2010 and not 2011.

Edited by RdK
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Decks Planking and Capstan


Hi @ all!


The planking of deck and hull is made with the self adhesive foil with wood pattern (color: 'Pear Medium' and 'Medium Nut Tree').


For the decks I use the foil 'Pear Medium'. First the deck is transformed to a 1mm card by using a needle to outline the dimensions and the plank distances. Also, the plank pattern is drawn on the deck. I cut tiny stripes of 1.5mm, attach them on the card and alter with brown oil paint 'burnt sienna'. 






Today I would maybe use black paint for altering as it gives the deck a more greyish 'worn out' appearance. But at that time of the build I liked the more brownish color of the decks.




The darker wood parts such as the walls, doors, and the outer planking have been done with the 'Medium Nut Tree' foil and black oil paint for altering. Here are some pictures of some of the deck elements:












The irregularities in the process - which of course are the fault of the novice carpenter ;) - add a bit to the style of the early 17th century shipbuilding, which was not as precise and accurate as the later magnificent builds of the 18th century ships of the line. Gun carriages have been placed and a small box to imitate depth underneath the gratings.





The capstan has been made from balsa wood and card and painted with brown oil paints 'burned sienna' and 'burned umber'.







Next post about finishing the hull...


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Hull Planking and The Mayflower


Hi everybody!


The upper hull was made out of one single piece of 1mm card. It was first planked and prepared on the inside, then attached to the model.






The half deck was prepared and glued in place above the capstan. Also at this point I had to make sure the running rigging is attached to the cleat because later there will be no space to fiddle around the capstan.




I could have made more hanging knees underneath the half deck, but no one can look inside there anyway and I learn for the next time to do it better.


To imitate the stern windows I used the inner plastic part of a wound plaster painted slightly brownish.



While researching how to plank the ship I found this forum and some useful information regarding 'planking rules'. I also used stealer and drop planks. Now I am not sure if that was common in the early 17th century but it appeared to me as the best way to make the card model look more like a wooden one.








The plank butts are way out of proportion for this scale, but that way you can see them also from a distance when looking at the model and that is what I wanted to achieve. The hull was then altered/painted with black oil paint.




The wales have been made from 1mm thin card stripes and painted with Humbrol enamel paint for plastic models. The thicker wales were colored with the black waterproof marker.





At that point I considered a white underwater hull, but my wife convinced me that the wooden appearance of the model looks better, so I left it like it is.




The Mayflower has been done from a 2mm thick card by hardening it a bit with CA glue, then using an engraver tool, a pen, and a not so sharp knife I got once from a wooden sail ship modeler back when I was a kid. Once the flower was shaped, I hardened it again with CA glue and painted with white Humbrol enamel and oil paints (viridian, sap green, yellow ochre).








So much for now.


...to be continued...






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Keel, Beak and The Stand


Hi @ all!


Thanks Mark! 😊


The keel has been made from thick card glued together to achieve the thickness of the keel, taped with the foil and altered with black oil paint. In the front part I tried to bend the foil to make it look as if the rounded part of the keel has been made from a rounded grown tree.





The beak has been made from card and painted with the brown oil paints and the side panels with the Humbrol enamel paints. For the side panels of the beak I used also the self adhesive foil.









The stand base was purchased from a local hobby shop. Ironically it is made of a thick cardboard. The supports were made from balsa wood glued together. I used the self adhesive foil for the base, altered with black oil paint and painted the supports with the brown oil paints (burned sienna, burned umber).




I have no picture of it, but I used a 1mm wire that I glued into the keel and drilled holes into the supports in order to have a solid stand of the model.






So much for this post. More will follow soon.







Edited by RdK
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  • 3 weeks later...

Deck Fittings and Details


Hi @ all!


For quite a time I was thinking about the gratings. Wooden ship modellers have a nice way to cut stripes and glue them perpendicularly together. However, this did not work for me with card although I have seen others doing it. Another way is to just paint the gratings on a sheet of paper. I came up with the 'hard way' to just take the scalpel and cut out the holes individually. It worked more or less... The self adhesive foil has been used for the frames and all was painted with oil paints.






The bell has been made from paper. The bell shoulder has been simulated with CA glue and the tongue with a piece of card. All painted gold with a marker and hanged with a thread that has been hardened with CA glue. I removed the cord from the bell's tongue later on as it was too long. The rails have been made from balsa wood painted white. The bell's roof was made from 1mm card and self adhesive foil with wood pattern.





Belaying pins have been made from card, a wire and a drop of glue on top. This is a typical way in card modelling to do them.



Cleats and knight heads were made from 1mm pizza card and painted with oil paints. I do not have pictures of the process, but later on I used the same method to do the blocks for the halliards. More on that in a later post.


Ladders were made from a 0.3mm thin card and the self adhesive foil taped on both sides then altered with black oil paint. The edges were painted with brown oil paints (burnt sienna and burned umber).





All black hinges were made from thin card painted black with a marker, bend over a carpet knife to simulate the hinge and using a compass to simulate the nails.




And this is the model in it's current state. Rigging is progressing slowly but steady. Since the rudder can be moved, I removed it for the rigging process because of moving the model back and forth all the time and the risk of damaging the fragile paper hinges.



More on the rudder, channels, etc. soon....




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Rudder, Channels, etc...


Hi everyone!


Thanks @ Steven and Patrick! It is nice to hear when a card model does not look like card at all. That is, I believe, the goal of any card modeller, regardless of the model, whether it depicts a metal or a wooden one. Thank you for the compliments. I wish I could make better pictures.


The rudder was copied from the plans onto 2mm thick card board using either a sharp needle or my compass. I simply put the card underneath the plan and copy the part by piercing the outlines onto the underlying card.


After shaping it, white glue was applied to harden and smoothen the card.


Then I attached the self adhesive foil with wood pattern, which was later altered with black oil paint.


The pintle and gudgeon were made from ~0.3mm wire and 0.3mm paper respectively, painted with a black marker and the rivets imitated with a needle that has no sharp end (was a defect production in the box, turning out useful).



Attached to the ship it looks like this:


The visible part of the tiller was painted with oil paints burned umber and burned sienna.


The channels have been made from 2mm card and pierced with the circle.



a) self adhesive foil attached,

b) marked from the other side, where the holes are,

c) and d) holes pierced from the right side INTO the piece where the marks are to avoid a crater-like appearance on the surface.


So that the final result looks like this prior to altering with black paint:



Support beams were made from 1mm card with ready attached and altered foil on both sides.


Attached to the ship it looks like this:



The catheads were made from several pieces of 0.3mm card/paper and the pulley sheave was imitated with a 0.4mm wire painted black with a marker.


The self adhesive foil was used all around the cathead.


Later I decided to try out modelling a real cat head, but they look more like some dirty little 2-3mm sized bear heads...




The chains underneath the chain plates were made from a tiny chain and paper, painted black.




Right now I've finished the rigging on the stem, but had some problems with the top sail halliard. More on it in the next post as well as how I made the deadeyes...








Kind regards,





Edited by RdK
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there!


Thanks Steven. I am glad you enjoy the build.


Backstays or Halliard? ....and the tricky deadeyes


While rigging the ship this year I've noticed that the plans either lack the fore top yard halliard or the backstays. If I read the plan correctly, the red line in the next picture is identified as a "padun" or "pardun" (polish), which comes from the Dutch word "pardoen" and translate into english as the backstay.



So when mounting the fore top yard, I've noticed that the halliard is missing in the plans. Either or... However, Anderson's book about rigging in the 17th century helps me to sort out the problem. More on this when I have done the top sail halliard.


Back when the ship did not have masts yet, I tried to figure out, how to make deadeyes that look realistic (enough). I was not very satisfied with the result from paper/card. They were constantly too soft and too flat and broke apart between my clumsy fingers. I lack the tools to make them from wood, or it would have taken me forever to carve each and everyone by hand. So I decided to make them from the model clay (the one DORIS is using for sculpturing).



First I made one template from wood.



Then used the clay to form a negative casting mold...


...for both sides of the deadeye. One side had no marks for the holes so they would not misalign while glueing the two parts together.


After baking for 30-40 minutes at 130 degree centigrade I cut the excess material off and glued them on a tiny card sheet.



After cutting them out, the other half was glued, then I drilled the holes, painted black and a second layer with brown.


And here's the result from drilling as seen on the other half that had no holes:



So much for now. More on the masts next time.




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  • 4 months later...

Hi Tony


sorry for not posting in a while. Yes I have a little break as life is catching up. I have to finish my PhD study this year and you can imagine things always get a bit stressed in the end.


The Mayflower is almost finished and as soon as I have a bit time spare I will continue the story here.


But don’t worry, my Mayflower should be ready for her 400 year voyage anniversary!



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  • 1 year later...

Hi everyone,


again, my sincere apologies for having that build on hold. As only a part-time PhD student it is not easy to focus on what's important. But the good news is that I have only one talk to prepare for my studies, which leaves me with more time to get the Mayflower back to the shipyard and finish still this year.


Otherwise I hope all of you are well in this difficult times of the pandemic.


All the best and see you very soon with some updates here!



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  • 4 weeks later...

Rigging compromises...


Hi everyone!


The anniversary of the landing of the pilgrims is here... Today, 9th of November 400 years ago the Mayflower arrived in the new continent. Sadly I did not manage to finish my Mayflower in time, my pilgrims are a bit late, I guess...


But I had now time to continue with my model and encountered some rigging problems. For one I mentioned already that the halyard for the fore top sail and the topsail are missing in the plans. I found the answer to the rigging in Anderson's "Seventeenth Century Rigging" (Thank you Ab!) , where he describes it as being mounted in the top in three parts.




He also describes the halyard to be attached at the deck to the sides or the rail. However, in the plans it is attached at the same position as the fore sail halyard inside the fore castle.




In comparison, the Mayflower II has a top sail halyard that is according to Anderson from the 1700s onward, so too young for my model. It can be seen in action in some of the restoration videos and for instance on this picture:




I decided to make a compromise between Anderson and the plan and on the ship it looks rather clumsy in 1:100...











Another rigging problem occurred when looking at the plans for the main sail sheets. The plan shows the attachment to the side of the ship as follows.




The Mayflower II seems to have a completely different arrangement and it also appears as if the main sheet and the main tack would be one and the same line....confusing....😓




Anderson on the other hand describes the attachment as being during that era (early to mid 1600s) not typically with an extra block on the side (but possible) and typically starting from a ring-bolt on the wale, leading to the block at the clew of the sail and back to sheave in the bulwark or to a block on another ring-bolt and then to a hole in the side. This second block should be above its standing part. The sheet should also never foul guns or chain plates. I did the following on the model:




A similar and more confusing problem appeared with the main sail braces, but more on that in the next post. Here some pictures of the progress so far with the last picture being the most up-to-date state of my Mayflower. Sorry for the not so good quality of the pictures.










See you soon!





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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone!


Thank you Tony!


At this stage I finished the rigging of the ship, only the flags, the rope coils on the decks and the anchors are missing. I will post some pictures about the current state soon. But first let me show my work on the masts....


I made them from wood. Just some round wooden staff from the hardware store. I do not know what type of wood that is. But it was easy to cut it roughly in shape with the scalpel and then sand it down to the right size.








Then I painted it with the oil paints 'Burned Umber' and 'Burned Sienna' and altered them a bit with 'Black' around the places where the woolding is attached.






The trestle tree was made from a mix of cardboard, the self adhesive foil and some balsa wood....














The yards were made in a similar way like the masts. First a bit carving with the scalpel and then sanding it down...






Later I painted again with the same brown oil paints as mentioned and rigged the yards, before attaching the sail and onto the model.




Small deck fittings like the cleats were made from cardboard painted with either Humbold enamel or a brown paint marker.










At that state I had to make a break to my modelling and wrap up the Mayflower...just to take it out some 5 years later...




Right now the model is in the following state:








My apologies for the bad quality of these last three pictures, I have to work out my (not anymore so new) snapshot camera....


So much for now.





Edited by RdK
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10 hours ago, mhkash said:

Hello Radek 

Really Excellent build , and the grating is Super .. When will you start your next model .. do you have any idea yet 


I struggled with the grating a bit, was not easy to cut out every single hole with the scalpel...😅


My next build is in progress, it will be the fictive Spanish galleon "Neptune" from the movie "Pirates" by Roman Polanski.










And when I get bored with that, I have started to look into my LaRenommée Monograph...




Also, I have to fix two of my old card models, a carrack and the Bounty (sorry no pictures at the moment because both models are in the attic)....So lot's to do. And then there is the book "Een Hollandse Tweedekker" that is on the list as well.




As if that would not be enough, my brother bought me this year some Shipyard paper models of the Bellona, the Enterprize and the Victory...😅😅




But first, I need to finish the voyage of the pilgrims in this 400 year anniversary year 2020...


Then I'll practice installing light in the model as well as sculpturing some 3D-figurines on the Neptune. Then I guess it will be time for the Tweedekker and in between my Renommée project, which I will introduce here once I am sure what I am doing.


But I have to balance real life with hobby, and apart from ship modeling I like to climb, play basketball, practice my rusty piano skills and of course manage with my full-time job! At least my studies are close to an end, looks like next spring I can finally defend my PhD-thesis...😳


So much for now. Back to finishing the Union Jack for the Mayflower! 😉





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Hi all!


Here a bit about my way of making anchors (sails and flags in the next post). The anchor I made from the original plans by Waldemar Nowy turned out to be from a too modern era, as pointed out by Ab, so I followed his advise, made some additional research and did them accordingly.


I used some 1 or 1.5mm card, copied the anchor shape on the card by piercing through the plans onto the underlying card, drawing the lines and cutting out with scissors and scalpel. Here some images from my first try:














And here some images of the second one and the correction of the first one:










I used a lot of CA glue to strengthen the soft card parts and shape them into the form with a scalpel, similar to shaping a piece of wood. Then I painted the anchor with some black water-proved marker. Interestingly, on the shiny glue-soaked card, it gave the anchor a metallic luster. :) The anchor stock was made from card with the self-adhesive foil and altered with oil paints. I removed the metal bands, following Ab's advice.


Then I tried to figure out the rigging of an anchor at the cathead. There is surprisingly little material on that topic. But I found some images here on the forum and in the book of Wolfram zu Mondfeld.






The question that went through my mind was how to make the ring-painter or cathead stopper, or as it is called in zu Mondfeld's "Historic ship model", under No. 5 "Seizing" or "Anchor lashing". I did not want to let it run via the cathead back to the deck, as my cathead did not have the required grove on it, nor a guide for the rope attached to the side (sheave for cathead stopper), as is the case in later catheads. Since no one really knows and I thought the Mayflower is in a time of transition to a more "save" storage of the anchor, I decided to go with what's practical and let it run from the anchor-ring straight back to the deck and the nearest belaying point, similar to the description in Mondfeld's Anchor stowage for ships of the 13/15th century, as if the builder did not yet had the idea of letting that rope go back via the cathead so it would keep the anchor a bit farther away from the hull. However, it starts from the cathead with a rope that has a big knot on the upper part, like in the first image I found here on the forum. Here some pics of the process and the last two pictures show my solution to the anchor lashing/ring-painter. 














So much for now, next post about the sails and flags. The Mayflower is almost finished, I am just attaching the rope coils on the deck. So I will finish it in the next few days.


Kind regards,



Edited by RdK
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Cannons, Sails and Flags


Hi all!


Here a bit about how I made cannons, sails and Flags.


Rolling thunder...


Making cannons from a slightly thicker paper is really easy when comparing with the magnificent ones carved from wood or cast from real metal. Also in this model scale 1:100 and with them not really visible, there is no need to make them exactly as they look in real. For instance you cannot see the cascabel so there is no need to do it. So I decided to simulate only the muzzle, muzzle swell, and trunnion of the cannon and make a simplified cannon carriage without wheels and any rigging. The Mayflower was equipped with at least one minion cannon, which is about 7 feet (2.2 meters) long, so I rolled eight of these.




I used card for the barrel, some copper wire for the muzzle and the other reinforce rings. For the trunnion I cut a pin into the right size. The muzzle swell was imitated with some CA glue. In the end I coated the cannon a bit with CA for integrity but also because the black marker, when applied on CA gives a slightly metallic luster. Important is that it is acetone free, as acetone will dissolve the CA!






The gun carriages were placed in position already before the planking so all I needed to do now was to glue the cannons in place.





The sails...


With the sails I wanted to achieve an antique, rustically model appearance, yet I wanted the sails to look dirty, as if they were on a long journey. So I chose as material an old white shirt from fine linen. I colored it with black tea. Then I cut them out with a small margin of 5-10mm, which I then bent and thus saw the edges. Then I imitated the seams of the individual panels by sewing (more or less) straight lines down the sail. The edges were then sealed with CA. Next time I might skip the sawing, but I must admit it was surely relaxing after a long working day, listening to the ticking of the clock and the afternoon sun shining through the window...






Where a bonnet is used, I sew it according to the pattern from zu Mondfeld's "Historic Ship Models":








The ready sails I then shaped into a blown form by using some sand and clear varnish. This is a method I found in one of the polish ship model forums long ago... First I mount the sail onto a stick imitating the yard, attach it from all four corners into a hanging position, weight it with a bag of sand and cover it with the clear varnish from the bottom. But I still have to work on my execution of that method or use just simply some white glue instead of the varnish.










Once the sails were dry I altered them with oil paints and attached to the yard, prior to attaching them to the ship.













The Flags...


The method to make flags is also an old one. In order to shape them into a wind-blown appearance I use metal sheets and not fabric. For that I first drink my beer...😋 Then I copy the flag dimensions onto the sheet by simply piercing them through the plans onto the underlying sheet, preferably a bit outside the dimensions so when cutting, the piercing marks won't be visible on the edges. The flag is then painted with enamel paints (the ones for plastic models) and altered (with turpentine-diluted oil paints) if needed or wanted, and then bent into the desired shape. The attachments to the halyard were imitated with drops of CA-gel glue and colored black with a marker.










So much for now. I finished the Mayflower this week and will post the pictures of the finished model as well as a small description of making the name sign for the stand tomorrow or so.






Edited by RdK
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13 hours ago, RdK said:





I used card for the barrel, some copper wire for the muzzle and the other reinforce rings. For the trunnion I cut a pin into the right size. The muzzle swell was imitated with some CA glue. In the end I coated the cannon a bit with CA for integrity but also because the black marker, when applied on CA gives a slightly metallic luster. Important is that it is acetone free, as acetone will dissolve the CA!






The gun carriages were placed in position already before the planking so all I needed to do now was to glue the cannons in place.


Hi Radek ,

Excellent work and great shots, I really find what you are doing is amazing , the Guns part is splendid .. will do the same with my current build

thank you for sharing




Edited by mhkash
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