Plotting a Finis Belli a ca. 1585 ironclad

pebbleworm

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#1
With a lot of time in a businessmans' motel coming up and an itch to build something small I've decided to try to build a model of the 1585 ironclad Finis Belli, built for the siege of Antwerp
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/Schip_Fin_de_la_Guerre.jpg
With only that engraving to go on this is definitely a model that Mr. Chapelle-that old crank- would say should not be built. But I like it and it's my boatyard. After staring at the hull for a while it began to look a lot like a modern Dutch "Fries Jacht"-
http://www.windenwater.nl/Hommel/
Scroll all the way down for a picture of the whole boat, but there are alot of good boatbuilding pictures on the way down. Even the tumblehome almost matches the Finis Belli. I figure I can start with the lines of a Fries Jacht, lengthen it a bit and get to a shallow draft round ended barge. Once I get some decent drawings done it should be a relatively straightforward project. Simple superstructure and not a lot of rigging. Also, not a lot of references. Just about everything I've found is based on the engraving and some ca. 1890's magazine articles. If anyone knows of anything else I would like to know! I think the middle two in that forest of masts were only there to mount the fighting tops. The 16th Century is a dimly lit period in maritime history which is one of the things that makes it interesting. And I get to put cannon with large wheels on it too!
 

Sgtmik

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#2
Mr. Pebbleworm, in my best Charles Laughton accent, "Behold the turtle he makes no progress until he sticks his neck out." Go for it. :music-rockout: :handgestures-salute:
 

pebbleworm

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#3
RE: the ship "Its' great bulk rendered it useless"... Poking around on the web I have found little information on the ship itself, even in Dutch, French and Spanish. I think using a Fries Jacht or Lemsteraak hull is going to work, just that the scale will change from 1/20 to something smaller. And the hull will look plausible instead of being my first attempt at naval architecture. Fortunately there are plenty of lines plans for full and model size Lemsteraaks out there on a bunch of excellent Dutch websites. From what I can puzzle out, the hulls of both types are just about identical in shape and proportion, but the Lemsteraak is larger. I'm at the point of taking measurements off of the engraving and trying to straighten out the perspective view to get a straight side and top view. I usually am scratchbuilding science fiction models in plastic, so I've done this before. By the way, an excellent book on how to generate model plans is "Model design anbd blueprinting handbook" by Charles Adams available from:
http://www.modelersnotebook.com/MDBH1-main.html
Here is a review:
http://www.modelshipwrights.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=2459
 

pebbleworm

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#4
Looking for period references for scale I ran across some ripping sea battle paintings by Hendrick Cornelisz Vroom:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/27/Vroom_Hendrick_Cornelisz_Dutch_Ships_Ramming_Spanish_Galleys_off_the_Flemish_Coast_in_October_1602.jpg
and
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Vroom_Hendrick_Cornelisz_Battle_of_Haarlemmermeer.jpg
 

pebbleworm

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#5
Today I spent some time playing with paper cut outs of lemsteraak plans and calculating the proprtional size of features on the ship. And everything seems to fit at this back-of-the-napkin stage sketch. Next two steps will be to draw some actual measured plans and figure out what the actual scale is. Even in the distance, the Spanish galley is absurdly tiny and the guns are BIG. Not quite Tsar Cannon big, but Mons Meg and Dulle Griet big (monster cannon from the 14th Century). Maybe silly big, buit the silliness is part of the appeal.And the gunports are the size of a single car garage door which did not seem practical until I found this picture:
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/21753285
The most detailed description of the ship I have found is in The British Navy Book:
https://books.google.com/books?id=DCfvqdePJ0kC&pg=PT96&lpg=PT96&dq=finis+belli+navy&source=bl&ots=_qStMerONJ&sig=KdHCFN1zubBMGmCfu5PGWU355hE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi33oPcxYDMAhVKl4MKHbOXDmYQ6AEIIzAB#v=onepage&q=finis%20belli%20navy&f=false
But there are no references, and I have not been able to verify most of the details. I think I'll have to assume Commander McBrag just making stuff up, even though I would really like to have three rudders...
I do have good hull plans of a Dutch royal yacht, the Green Dragon, and I am thinking the half-bulkhead method Clare used on his America will work well for the framing. I was not looking forward to notching a bunch of bulkheads, I'm having fun researching and doodling!
 

pebbleworm

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#6
Thanks for the moral support! My doodles are starting to get dimensions and with some effort I can start to think how things would have gone together in 1585. Reading through "The Matthew Project" at modelshipbuilder has been very helpful in seeing how to generate plans and cut parts:
http://modelshipbuilder.com/page.php?64
One complication is my time in the motel is suddenly going to start 5 days from now instead of 5 weeks, but I spent part of yesterday (before I knew I was leaving so soon) making stripwood, and I can ship myself a box of tools. Some of the details of the fo'c'sle , poop and superstructure will have to wait until the hull is done but fortunately all are simple parts. In a lot of ways this ship is like a sail powered confederate ironclad. Slowly this "vaisseaux prodigieux" is taking form.
 

Sgtmik

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#7
I followed your link to the Mathew project, and I found so many similarities to the Spanish Caravel Santa Maria that I am building. She is a 1:200 scale rather small for my clumsy hands but I will press on. Thanks I found that link very helpful. :text-thankyouyellow: :handgestures-salute:
 

pebbleworm

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#8
Glad to hear that. Sometimes the right bit of information shows up for no obvious reasons. Modelshipbuilder has the highest signal to noise ratio of any model ship forum in English I've found, probably because you have to ask nicely to participate. Their standards are high so I am a little intimidated to sign on which is probably a good thing. Once I have something built I probably will. Fluff posts (Lookin' good! etc.) are not that useful and I am trying to have something (somewhat) substantial to say when I post here. I like this board because it is pretty straightforward- not a lot of fluff, not judgemental/toe the party line and people know what they are doing. When they need help they also know what to ask. I do appreciate the moral support I have gotten with this project. Have fun with your Santa Maria- there are a lot of possible versions to build!
 

Sgtmik

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#9
I have learned so much from the guys in this forum. Everyone is eager to help and just a bunch of nice guys. Welcome to the group. :music-rockout: :handgestures-salute:
 

pebbleworm

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#10
Slowly, progress is being made. A good chunk of Sunday was spent in the motel drawing bulkhead patterns- I should be cutting some wood this coming weekend. I found another contemporary picture of the ship, which confirms the general arrangement and the general lemsteraak hull shape- at least to me:
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fin_de_la_guerre#/media/File:Fin_de_la_guerre_gestrand.jpg
The flags are interesting on this version. I haven't been able to track them down as I learn more than I expected about the 80 Years War. They might be a Sea Beggars flag- at least that had 10 pennies on it. If anyone from Belgium or the Netherlands can shed any light on this, please let me know! Pictures will be coming soon.
 

pebbleworm

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#11
Sawdust! Finally! Playing with cardboard cutouts was very helpful, but also disclosed some problems with using the lemsteraak hull shape. It just wasn't beamy enough. So I found some lines for a chunky little Boeier that are working much better:
http://www.geheugenvannederland.nl/?/nl/items/FSM01:1999-183
Over the weekend I started cutting the keel and bulkheads. It feels pretty good. I also had the local small town copy shop blow up the images of the whole ship to full (model) size. This is actually pretty helpful in gauging size and proportions, although they still need to be calculated. More news as it happens.
 

pebbleworm

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#12
The motel project quicly turned into 6 or 7 12 hour day a week at work, leaving not much time for modeling. But I am unexpectedly back home for a while and things are coming together


The beamy, barge like hull of the Boeir is starting to become obvious. I made a few learning experience errrors-
I don't really like Basswood because of the fuzz, but I had some on hand.
I somehow mis-numbered several of the bulkheads and glued them in the wrong position- a little methanol took care of that problem. It does a great job on softening wood glue.
And I broke a couple of the single thickness basswood parts, but they were easily repaired.
I did not like the buzzy, cheap scroll saw I started to use. A big, heavy 25 year old cast iron Grizzly scroll saw showed up for cheap on craigslist near the beach, so off we went. It is MUCH nicer to use!
Things I see coming up:
Filler blocks, and lots of them. There are some pretty extreme curves.
Final adjustments on the deck supports to eliminate lumps, bumps and waviness. I was planning on using some 1mm veneer for the subdeck. Would something thicker make the illusion of flatness easier to accomplish?
 

pebbleworm

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#14
True enough, the basswood will be hidden but it is pretty fragile as well. I have the false deck on and an going to re-do the tumblehome sections of the frame to more closely match the engraving. Marking out the masts, fort and other parts, proportions are looking pretty good overall. I have some 1/50 brass cannon that will work well for the monster guns. A little oversize I'm sure for true scale, but it's what my documentation shows! Since this is the 1500s the cannon will need 15mm or so diameter spoked wheels. I'm thinking I can laminate the rims out of veneer around a mandrel. I'll just have to try it and see if it works.
 

pebbleworm

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#15
More progress- as usual, work close to home entails hours that would be illegal in the EU, but I have had some time to redo the tumblehome supports, bend, and install the prominent upper wales. The wood I finally used was (I think...) Maple, and at 3X5 mm it bent very well with heat alone from a curling iron. The next wale is only 3X3mm so it should go a little easier. I can't find my round drawplate so have been making treenails by drilling wood or bamboo toothpicks into a rusty drill gauge I found in an abandoned building. This is working well down to a #50 drill, but usually results in flying or twisted, fibrous rope-like rods between #51 and #56. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? (ancient joke- "Practice, practice, practice!)

ALL of this would be going together a lot easier If I had drawn up a decent set of plans in advance. But, I don't know how to draw up a decent set of plans. I've assembled a few kits, but learning how the real ships were put together has been a huge help in figuring out how this little model should go together. Although the cheap Dover reprints of Charles G. Davis' books (The Built up Ship Model and The Ship Model Builders Assistant) seem to have fallen out of favor, after a second reading I've found them very helpful. This is some pretty arcane stuff to wrap my brain around. I see a third reading of some sections coming up in the future.
And wood... The Hevea I sliced into planks does not respnd well to bending soaked in water at 5X5mm- instead swelling a little and getting very splintery and fibrous. Hopefully it will work OK as planking. Mr. Davis reccomended oak at about that size but it had the same problem. or I need more practice.

For the deck planking I'm thinking of using coffee stirrers - dirt cheap birch, 6X18X1mm once you square the ends off. This would be 18 to 20 inches wide at 1/72 to 1/87 scale. Is this too wide for Western Europe in 1585? I am thinking that for this application it just doesn't matter. More news as it happens!
 

Sgtmik

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#16
Mr Pebbleworm,
Keep up the good work. You are much more ambitious than I am. :handgestures-salute: :music-rockout:
 

pebbleworm

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#17
On to the cannon... Sort of. A while ago I got some unfinished African Blackwood clarinet tubes from a surplus house and finally had the motivation to turn some of them into rough dowels that will be used to turn cannon barrels. I just ripped the clarinet tubes into roughly square to octagonal strips and chucked into an electric drill and forced them through a drill gauge. This material turns very nicely!
 

pebbleworm

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#18
I'm making a lot of little adjustments as this goes together. I'm really just scaling up from the somewhat contradictory contemporary illustrations, gaining some insight from other later illustrations of this "monstreaux engine" to see how it goes together and then cutting to fit. I'm happy with the progress so far. The African Blackwood is nice stuff, and not hideously expensive for model size pieces. Dense, hard and strong it would make great ship fittings. The dowels I have from the clarinet tubes are 7 or 8mm in diameter to 20 or 23 cm long. Currently out of stock, but they say "temporarily":
https://www.sciplus.com/p/CLARINET-BELL-438-L-X-21116-MILLED----BP_57141
 

pebbleworm

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#19
Made some progress on the deck and bulwarks, and getting things a little more symmetrical through shimming and sanding. I used birch coffee stirrers for the planks- dirt cheap, even if 15% or so are un-useable at full length due to a kink or bend. Caulking is just black crayon. I started with a pretty tight pattern in the middle of the deck, but decided I liked a more random look better and aswitched over. The fort will cover most of the deck so the effect shouldn't be too jarring. Now I'm planning the planking which should be interesting given the curvy hull. I've been looking at a lot of Dutch yacht restoration sites- they usually use wide planks, fire bending, and weights to horse the wood into some pretty extreme shapes.
http://www.windenwater.nl/index.html
This project has been a great excuse to research some pretty arcane subjects!
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g72/gormanao/Fin%20bulwarks_zpsrdeprlmw.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g72/gormanao/Fin%20Deck_zpspyojlbfb.jpg
 

pebbleworm

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#20
I got the first layer of planking on. It was a challenge, and "mistakes were made". On the whole, it went on pretty well and I learned more about planking in the process. Shorter and narrower strip wood seemed to help. I let some planks go where they wanted to in the mistaken belief that they knew better. That needed to be rectified but no big deal. I did run into a problem with my bulkheads- one at a pretty extreme curve in the bow was just a bit too low, resulting in a scow like flat section. I think the best solution is to add a 3mm or so piece of flat wood to this area and fair it in by eye. Any other suggestions?
Scow Bow to the right:
http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g72/gormanao/hull%20planks%20layer%201_zpsaiqpaiya.jpg
 
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