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Korean Turtle War Ship by wim500 - FINISHED - Young Modeler - scale 1/65 - wood

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Already a few years ago I was looking to a documentary (Discovery) about the battle between Korea and Japan. The Turtle Ship had the leading role and at the end I know that I had to build this ship. I have made searches on the internet and could only find one kit from Young Modeler (South-Korea). There is also a 1/100 scale kit, see the nice topic about this ship from Mike Szwarc – it's because of this topic I could not let the box closed anymore :).


Some wikipedia: (full text: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_ship )


"The Turtle ship, also known as Geobukseon(거북선), was a type of large warship belonging to the Panokseon class in Korea that was used intermittently by the Royal Korean Navy during the Joseon Dynasty from the early 15th century up until the 19th century.

The first references to older, first generation turtle ships, known as Gwiseon (귀선; 龜船), come from 1413 and 1415  records in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, which mention a mock battle between a gwiseon and a Japanese warship.
However, these early turtle ships soon fell out of use as Korea’s naval preparedness decreased during a long period of  relative peace.

Turtle ships participated against Japanese naval forces that supported Toyotomi Hideyoshi's attempts to conquer Korea from 1592-1598. Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin is credited with designing the ship. His turtle ships were equipped with at least five different types of cannon. Their most distinguishable feature was a dragon-shaped head at the bow (front) that could launch cannon fire or flames from the mouth. Each was also equipped with a fully covered deck to deflect arrow fire, musket-shots,
and incendiary weapons. The deck was covered with iron spikes to discourage enemy men from attempting to board the hip. Claims that it was iron-plated remain controversial."


A replica is shown in the War Memorial in Seoul.





Controversial or not, I will build her covered with the iron spikes.


Some pictures of the box and its content:


















And started already with a dryfit - total length will be 60 cm:





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Thanks for looking in, you're always most welcome.


I have started with the pedestal frame. I used some oil,  the reason why It's still a bit shiny.



The hull is not so complicated, very flat but it's according to the original ship.

With a little help of "Lego" I glued the first five frames:



The planking will be layered and frames are already prepared for it by the manufacturer:



I'm satisfied with the first results:


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Hello Wim,


This is something very different. Haven't seen anything like this before.


It seems all the action on this ship is happening below decks. I wonder what's down there.

It will be interesting to follow you on this one.


Good luck with the build.


Take care,



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Ed, Anja and Sjors, thanks for looking in and your comments, it's appreciated.



Until now I haven't found any plans either, this kit (or the 1/100 scale from Young Modeler) was the only option.


Below decks it must be very crowded. There were about 60 to 80 oarsmen and about 60 marines aboard. The marines should take care of at least 10 cannons at each side and the sulfur gas or cannon situated in the dragonshead.



It's indeed amazing how many vessels there are - most interesting for us as builders.

This ship is an upgraded Panokseon-ship, also a Korean warship. You can read more about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panokseon

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Thanks for looking in :)


@Don Farr

Hi Don, this one is indeed the one with the interior details. However it's more than a year ago I bought it on ebay they still have them in stock: http://www.ebay.nl/itm/220435859097?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_29118wt_906



Hi Mike, you're most welcome to follow this one. I kept the kit in my closet for more than a year, but after looking in your buildlog ...... :).

Have to say I like the kit, nice wood, fine drawings,etc.

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Hello Phil,


The same with me, before I watched the documentary I had never heard about this vessel either.

Thanks for looking in :).




I'm sorry I missed that program it sounds as though it was a good watch, I'll have to keep an eye out for it you never know it might get repeated.


Enjoy your build mate, I'll look forward to your next update,


Cheers Phil,.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jeff, she is easy to build, so it's not so hard to satisfy your wife ;).


Seven planks on each side were enough to close the hull, no difficult bending.






First modifiation is upcoming.

This is according to the instrucions:



And look at this photo of the replica:


It's not quit the same  :o.

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Hello Wim,


It is indeed not quite the same.


But with your skills and talent, the modification will turn out just fine.

Will you be drawing the modifications yourself on the basis of the replica? Or do you have another source?


Good luck with the modification and take care,



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Thanks for looking in :).


@Sjors/@Mark, you really got me, not much planking and no ratlines, the perfect ship for me to build :).


@Frank, I really do like these kind of ships and next to the Pirate I build an Egyptian merchantvessel (Nave Egizia), I'm considering a reposting of it.

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Thanks Rick and here is some more.


First the bow (rounded planks):





Parts of the mast foot:



Dryfitted in ship:



The tail of the ship must be extended with three pieces, now trying to repair the small gap with sawdust and a bit of carpenters glue.

It's not done yet.



Preparation of the maindeck:



Overview (dryfit):


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Good evening Sjors,


It may be a strange vessel, but I like her :)


The last photos for this weekend, the rest of the week my employer wants me to be in the office :(.


Bending sideboards - 5mm x 5mm cherry.

First soaked in water of course.




And the first modification of the tail (not finished yet).

Furthermore I want to hide the gap at the right side - I'll fix it, but need some time to think about that.



Edited by wim500
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