Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

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Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by moreplovac » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:37 am

Well, it has been a while when i did my first wooden ship model. Few decades ago, while back in elementary school, i joined, at that time known as a "wooden ship model club". Basically a bunch of kids with a passion for ship modeling will gather together after school in the classroom dedicated to the club and start working on ship models. Those were scratch build attempts, more-less successful. The ship models that would survive all kids adventures will be presented at the "school day", kind of celebration of the school end at what time teachers and students will present their achievements during long 10 months of school days, studying and getting decent grades... Anyhow being eager to get into ship modeling, i joined the "club" and started to scratch build my first ship. It was very interesting back in those days until one bad Monday. After spending weekend working on frames for my ship, i was all pumped up to show my work to teacher and other club members. Unfortunately on the way to the school a met with local bullies who demanded, beside other things to see what i have in the backpack. Off course, being me, i did not want them to touch any of my weekend hard work so we ended up in exchanging "arguments". At some point in time, i dropped my backpack to have a bit of a better movement capabilities... I happened to defend myself and victoriously grabbed my backpack just to hear a lots of clunking noise.. Opened up the backpack and saw all my weekend hard work broken in peaces.. Darn.. Disappointed with results of argument exchanging (not disappointing with results of argument exchange) but with the broken peaces i decided not to show up on the club anymore.. Today i don't know why..
Anyhow, here i am again with another attempt. Since there is no more bullies i hope to get better success.
I did not start the build log at the beginning of my Greek Bireme journey (apologies for that); was to eager to get back to work bench so first few log pages will be just to get us all at the stage where i am now. Unfortunately there will be no much room for improvement since i am half way thru building the model.
I have not worked on models for quite some time; this will be my first attempt in several years but since i already noticed lots of mistakes i decided to buy another kit of the same ship. All lessons learned building this kit will be applied to the second..

So, lets begin....

The kit is from Amati, scale 1/35, called Bireme, Greek Warship

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Content of the box is not too "crowded", instructions, small peaces, ropes, planking material...

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Instructions are not the strongest feature of this kit; they are written on three languages. Two big peaces of instructions my work space wall will not be able to handle both at the same time.. So need to get a bigger workshop :-)

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The laser cut process is very precise and leaves not to much residue to be removed after you cut off all peaces...

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The important part is to mark all peaces before you remove them so you will know which frame goes where...

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All marked and removed for further assembly...

Being very keen to get my hands dirty (with glue) i started to dry fit all parts..

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All parts fits fairly good but still a lots of movement (no snug fit) so i think i might have a bit of a challenges in the future...

I am planing to do a catch up work this week by posting few more past pictures so i can actually start with real build log as soon as possible.
I decided to take "back to the future" approach by posting pictures of the existing stage of the ship and continue with build log that will, eventually ended up in the present time.. Weird but it should work..

I have done some planking for the lower deck (not sure what would be the correct term used during Greek period) and for the area where the oars will be located. Need to put oarsmen sits in before going with main deck planking..

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There are some small holes in the bow area that i am hoping to fill out with glue and sand dust. We'll see how that goes...
But i also planing to build a "ram" following some historical pictures which, hopefully, will cover most of these small imperfections..
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So i started to glue frames, finally. Making sure that frames are installed with correct angle, i improvised with some old mounting gear for a Ikea curtains. They are working OK but i think for future build, i am going to "borrow" few Lego blocks from my son' huge collection... Hopefully he will not noticed (i doubt it already) :-)

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To be continued...

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Re: Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by aew » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:08 am

If you haven't already seen it, this log might help.
I suspect that the ram is the one you're referring to.

It's looking good so far.

Current Build - HMS Vanguard

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Re: Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by moreplovac » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:07 pm

It looked straight at the first glance but the second frame was a bit higher that the others. I corrected that with a help of acetone and "jolly good pull".

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I was wondering how would planking be held at the stern and decided to put few peaces of balsa and shape it to the correct curvature..

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This would be enough juice i think..

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Well, did not turn bad after all...

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This is the phase when i started to do a bit of a planking. Must say that ... i forgot a lot when it comes to planking and thanks for useful documents on this forum, i made a first few rows of lower deck planking...

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Then i got mental strength to start planking the hull..

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You might noticed few filler blocks i had to install to make the hull curve in proper shape. Some of the frames are just not big enough. There were also possibilities that i have not installed frames in the correct order so i double checked that and i was actually installed them correctly. Woohoo..

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As i mentioned before, the instructions are not very good; in one case this is not that bad at all, since this will leave enough space for modeler's own personal touch..

At the end of the day i think it was not that bad.... I could not resist so i had to test my sand skills... Well for now, looks ok...

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Re: Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by moreplovac » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:14 pm

aew wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:08 am
If you haven't already seen it, this log might help.
I suspect that the ram is the one you're referring to.

It's looking good so far.
Hi Arthur, yes that is the one i am planing to build and attach to the model.

Thanks for following..

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Re: Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by moreplovac » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:23 pm

At this stage i am on hull planking, still trying to understand what technique those ancient Greeks were used to make a hull plank in one peace, stretching the whole length of the ship.. Kidding of course, but have a tough to make planking a bit more realistic i might find some options to "virtually" break the length of each individual plank. Will see.

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A bit more planking..

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and more planking with some extra blocks on the frames to make a curve of the curve a bit more properly curved...
Hmm it does not look that bad after all..

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I was not paying attention to deck planking ending up with visible space between two last planks. I think at that time i was pushing myself for some reason to complete just two more planks. As someone would say... lesson learned, this is still a hobby not a full time job (unfortunately). This would require a bit more research what is the best method to cover these unwanted spaces.

Lower deck planking is on its way... Must not forget to make a hole for a mast, at fifth frame.

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Continue with lower deck planking tasks..

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Re: Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by moreplovac » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:31 pm

Today i have done a bit of a planking on the stern area. Was trying to come up with a plan how to do planking that might be as close as possible for planking job done during Greek era.. Planking plan that comes with the kit is not quite meaningful (or maybe i dont read it properly) so i tried to twist a plank to follow the shape of the stern. I had two planks designated for this job, had them in the water for two days to soak enough to make it possible to twist. Tried and did not work. So, bellow is planking decision...

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The opposite side of the stern done in the same manner.

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Here how it looks from the top..

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Today i started to work on oarsman' seats.. Made a copy of plan so i can cut the seats shape and transfer it to the wood. I cut the individual seats, use scotch tape to glue them to the wood and cut individual seats..
Had no other ideas how to cut the groove besides using the saw. Its working fine but slow.
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During the process of reading plans, i overlooked and installed extra plank in lower deck area, where the seats supposed to be located. Below photo shows two planks where the seats are and three planks on the opposite side. Once i finish with remaining 9 seats, need to remove plank and cut, and install another 11 seats..

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I dont like these dark brown remains of laser cut on exposed frame parts; instead of sanding them i am contemplating of covering them with veneer strips..

Will see.

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Re: Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by moreplovac » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:43 pm

Well, no much to report today. Keep making oarsmen' seats...

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Uh, now i have to deal with those yellow glue extras, leftovers from gluing hull planks. Those might not be that visible but i will know where to find them, so ...

During dry-fit, i noticed that 11th seat is a bit short and need to be extended for about 3mm.. I was expected if i cut the template from the plan, the final product should fit OK, but..

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Today i completed the second row of oarsmen benches. I found out that if you follow the plan to the letter, you might ended up with benches that do not fit well..

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Then i started to work on main deck. Dry-fitting of main deck planks shows that a bit of a extra work has to be done. Basically few frames are lower than the others so i needed to add some blocks that will raise the height a bit.

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This should be bringing the planks into nice, flat position once installed. Haven't started actual planking, this will be done tomorrow.

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Yesterday i was busy sanding the hull in preparation for a first coat of "something". Have not decided on what that "something" will be; most likely it will be a wood satin finish, clear coat, waterborne or maybe some tung oil or linseed oil. Most likely will use few planks for testing before committing..

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Several layers of sanding were completed, started with 50, then 100, 200, 400, 600...

After that, i put some masking tape on the hull, just to protect it from dings and dents that can definitely happen during construction process.

Kit plan does not have any parts that will be used to tight the mast, once installed; i have decided to put a bit of a reinforcement (and to cover some holes) where the mast will be installed. It is a small peace of extra planking, with a 6mm hole. Using my trusty bench drill press i made a hole in that small peace of wood. Miniature parts, fat fingers.... welcome to the world of ship modeling.

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On the main deck i will put a small, bolt shaped peace of wood, that will cover imperfections on the main deck where the mast will be installed. Again, i did not see part like this on the plan but there are some other builders using this method to improve appearance of the model.

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The next step will be to put some wood finish on the interior part of the ship, before covering the ship with main deck...

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Re: Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by moreplovac » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:12 am

Today i decided to cover the hull with danish oil. It was close battle between danish oil and tung oil. Both would provide similar results, at least in my mind and at this moment i am ok with results. Yes, there are some imperfections showing up with this decision but i think i might be able to live with it.

I forgot to prepare the location to hang the ship for drying so after i finishing with danish oil coat, i carry the ship with me through my "workshop" to find out a peace of wire, strong enough to hold the ship. Was lucky enough to quickly locate a wire and here we are, hanging the mighty Greek ship..

Here is the bow, it is not quite pretty but here i am planing to install a mighty ram that should cover the majority of that unfinished bow.

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While the ship is on dry-hanging dock, i was starting to think about oars. I dont particularly like oar' layout included in the plan; it is not quite realistic so i started to think about getting my own layout for oars. Did i bit of a research and come up with a layout i think would be a bit more realistic than the one included in the plan.

I traced the oar layout to the paper in preparation to make 46 copies of it, print it out, cut the paper, transfer it on Starbucks coffee sticks and make the oars. The only challenge i have is to keep picture's ratio 1:1 so i can actually have correct and usable layout. Will use good old method, test and try..

The finished oar you see on the picture is a prototype to see how well the spoon will fit to the handle. I am satisfied with results and will continue making the oars tomorrow and few more days since each individual blade has to be made and carved from a peace of Starbucks stick, and there are plenty of blades to make.

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Today it was a blade day. 44 oar blades to make, all out of the coffee sticks. I was not quite sure how to accomplish that, had different ideas how to use blade template (to make one out of the steel, or some hardwood), transfer shape on the peace of plastic but ended up just using my prototype and trace it on the fresh peace of wood (from coffee steerer)..

So here is process and results. Made 36 blades, 8 more to go.. According to the plan, here how oars should look like. I have spent some time on the Mediterranean sea (25+ years in scuba diving) and have pretty good idea how oar blade should be shaped. This oar from the plan appears to be quite inefficient to power the mighty warship, regardless to the number of oarsmen.

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Today it is oar's day. All about oars.
Completed rest of the oar blades, i think 8 of them so total of 44.

Then i attacked the oar pols; cut them all and get them ready for handle shaping.

Here is the process i used to shape the handle. After cutting them all, i used Proxxon DB-250 mini lathe to shape the handle.
Pole length is marked and positioned in the lathe..

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In order to shape all handles to the same diameter, i come up with a small tool; two coffee sticks with a 150 sanding paper glued to two sides; i put a small leftover plank which is perfectly sized to 1mm. It will act as a guard to prevent handles to get to tiny and eventually break during the process. The other sides of the sticks were glued together, forming some kind of sanding tweezers..

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All sending setup...

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Turning the lathe at the speed 4, managed to shape about 20 oar pols for about 40 minutes. Not that bad..

The end result for today looks like this.

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And yes. This picture was taken before finishing up all 20 pols..

Today i was working on oars, putting them all together..

Cutting the grove for a paddle is a bit of a challenge for fat fingers dude like me, but managed to have it done somehow..

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and end result for today:

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Now, oars have to be shaped a bit, sanded and cover with danish oil or similar.

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Re: Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by moreplovac » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:23 am

Today i completed all oars, sanded them and got them ready for a danish oil `massage`... Mental note to myself: need to start paying attention where my phone' camera is focusing or to pull out my SLR..

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I needed to convince myself that several hrs of work on oars was actually worth it. I think i ended up getting a very decent oar if compared to oar on the plan. Still not sure how oarsman can get the mighty bireme to the speed of 9 knots (at least that was the speed of Olympians trireme) which supposed to be enough to successfully ram the enemy's ships, if they have used oar type from the plan. I think if oars were made in the shape copied from this plan, the bireme would most likely will be able to achieve few dents and dings on enemies' ship..

Also worked on covering all exposed frame parts with veneer and made them flush with the frames. I think it turned out to be a decent work...

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..and the view of all frames covered with veneer. There are also a guide lines for fake doors i am planing to work on next time.

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Continuing with work on a main deck. Even dough plan does not say so, i wanted to add a bit of an "edge" planking just to finish up nicely the main deck. I was not able to locate any more appealing piece of wood in my shop so i used few extra planks from the ship pile. Started from the back...

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... used miter cut tool, which turned out to be very useful and sharp tool (my thumb is a witness)..

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The next picture shows twisting and fitting of a planks; since wood was a bit to long in the water, the clamps left a small dents in the planks so i ended up cutting that part and using two new planks. Must be more careful, no spare parts anymore..

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The ship plan shows that main deck planking goes all the way, up to the top of the ship; i did not like it and finished up deck planking like this: it needs a bit sanding but i kind of like clean lines...

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Then started to work on deck area where fake doors will be located. Not quite sure yet should i just fake it or spend extra time to cut the opening on the deck nicely, make 20+ doors, etc. We'll see. Plan says just to enhance the appearance of the doors with tiny strips of oak...

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Between those three strips of wood i need to either make it or fake it.

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Also, at this time i needed to make a hole for a main (and only) mast..
Measured it, marked it and went for bench drill press, ship modeler's nightmare..
I must say it does look very scary, all your spent hours under the mercy of mighty bench press. I do have a smaller, modeler's kind of press but it is still unopened, in original shipping box. I think i should spend some time and recycle that shipping material..

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All good, no casualties.
Dry fitting...

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End result acceptable..

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and from the oarsman perspective...

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Re: Bireme - Greek Warship, Amati, scale 1/35

Post by moreplovac » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:28 am

Worked a bit on the "fake" doors on the main deck. Very tinny strips of oak wood, i believe 1x1mm and very fragile..

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Then i made a small "jig" to make a doors uniformed as much as possible:

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Testing fittings, it will work well..

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Today i completed all fake doors for friendly oarsman, numbered them all and marked positions on the main deck.

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After listening to two long-play albums, that's about it...

This concludes the catch up work. From now on, this blog will be updated as progressing thru build.

Happy modeling..

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