Sovereign of The Seas 1637 - Heavily modified Mantua kit

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Apr 9, 2013
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Newmarket, Ontario Canada
#21
Hi Gary,

I have now read through all 13 pages of your build and am impressed with the research you did on the model. It is a ship that can be interpreted in several ways and only contemporary paintings and writings can confirm what she looked like as original plans are not available. I was able to buy the Sephton book as an ebook on Amazon and have started to refer to it this morning.

Now onto posting more of the work I completed on her so far.

Regards,
Bill
 
Joined
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Location
Newmarket, Ontario Canada
#22
Having made the decision to modify the hull, I proceeded to make the changes to achieve a profile close to the Lely Portrait of the stern. The following picture shows the beginnings of the stern construction.

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As you can see in the photo that follows I decided to "paint with wood" in my depiction of the Sovereign. It meant that I would only use different colour woods to represent colour on my model and thus the decision to plank below the water line in American Holly and above it in Swiss Pear. Not an easy feat as I found out.

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With no experience in carving, I consulted the Seaways List for information as to how to go about carving ornamentation. There was a limited amount of information available in print. The preferred method was to trace the outlines of the sculpture on a piece of wood and start carving. I soon found that when the lines disappeared, it was like driving in fog. This left me to do some soul searching and find a way to get around this. I discovered that drawing the item to be carved on paper, and then on the wood, was the answer. This allowed me to commit the image to memory, so when the lines began to disappear as I carved, I still knew what the object looked like and could continue to carve without fear. The following photo shows my very first carving for the stern of the Sovereign. It was carved using a Proxon engraver that holds 3/32" burs.

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The next photo shows some additions to the stern which include some of the arched window frames, carved from Boxwood with rotary tools.

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More to follow.........
 
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#23
You will notice that the area above the top two arched windows has dimples carved in the left most panel. I was struggling with the effect I wanted to create and did not keep that presentation. The next photo shows a curved piece of boxwood that has a series of tear drop shaped openings that alternate like theatre seating as the rows expand. This is how these areas were filled in, using one strip and later adding partitions to create panels.

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In this shot, you can see the two strips in position with partitions placed over them to create the panels. More carvings are added and the windows treatments were added.

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You may have noticed the presentation of the leaded glass windows on the stern. I had experimented with black thread soaked in a mild solution of white glue and water and trying to create a grid but this method failed. Finally I fell upon using plastic window screen. I stretched the screen to make the openings in the screen diamond shaped and pinned them to a teflon sheet on a board. I then painted the area with white glue and let them dry overnight. In the morning the pins were removed and the shapes maintained themselves. I cut the appropriate shape and placed it on the hull and laid the boxwood window frame over the grid. It turned out to be an effective method or replicating the glass.

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The next two carvings to be added to the stern were Jason holding the golden fleece and Hercules holding a club. Both carvings are standing on pedestals with a decorative motif.

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As the carving proceeded, I began the central carving of Victory. It was by far the most complicated carving to date and took many hours to get it to where I thought it deserved to be on the stern. This photo shows Victory in progress held against the stern. Note the arch over her head with sculptures of clouds with faces in them.

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More to follow..........
 
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Location
Newmarket, Ontario Canada
#24
As Victory was a major turning point in my carving, I will post a couple of in progress shots of her. The first shot shows her size in relationship to a Canadian dime.

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The next photo shows the carving compared to a section of the Lely Portrait which was my guide in creating her.

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And finally, Victory mounted on her pedestal on the stern.

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More to follow...........
 
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#25
In the next series of photos I am showing the development of Aeolus, God of the Winds. This carving was in a way more complicated than Victory as it involved a bird as well. Ths first shot shows the rough carving compared to a dime.

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In the next show it shows Aeolus in its finished state.

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And now in position on the hull. Note that Neptune is also added on the left side of Victory. Additionally, I have added wings to Victory. Note that Victory has rings around each arm. These rings are part of the Victory carving, not added later. By now you have noticed the Bells Scotch bottle in the background. A source of inspiration in my carving.

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More to follow.........
 
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#28
The next issue was to carve the ribbons. These ribbons connect the faces in the clouds above Victory's head to her arms. The faces are blowing air which turns into ribbons and they wind down to encircle her arms. Sounds easy, right? After some due consideration, I decided that they had to be carved from the solid. I started with a piece of boxwood about 1.4" thick and cut out the shape of the ribbon on a jig saw. Then I had to create the different levels of the ribbon from front to back.

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The finished ribbon on the left side of the stern. Notice the engraving of the word "NAVA" about which Thomas Heywood said "may Victory point to Jason, being figured with his Oare in his hand as being the prime Argonaut, and say Nava, or more plainly, Operam nava;". The corresponding ribbon on the starboard side is engraved "CLAVA" about which Haywood says "Shee pointeth to Hercules on the sinister side, with his club in hand, with his Motto, Clava; as if she should say. O Hercules, be thou as valiant with thy club upon the land, as Jason is industrious with his Oare upon the water."

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The next photo shows both ribbons in place.

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More to follow..............
 
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Location
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#29
Next comes the Prince of Wales Feathers.

As stated on the web site: http://www.princeofw...waless-feathers


"The badge of The Prince of Wales comprises three silver (or white) feathers rising through a gold coronet of alternate crosses and fleur-de-lys. The motto "Ich Dien" (I serve) is on a dark blue ribbon beneath the coronet. Its use in royal heraldry goes back to the time of Edward Prince of Wales (the Black Prince) in the 14th Century."

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This was my first in the round carving and posed some difficulties as the feathers curl at the top and some more engraving is needed.


The carving in progress.

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The finished carving.

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The carving mounted on the stern with a couple of caryatids at each side.

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More to follow.........
 
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Joined
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Location
Newmarket, Ontario Canada
#30
On either side of the Feathers are gun ports. I carved the gun port surrounds as shown in the next photo.

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The surrounds mounted on the stern counter.

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By now, I had abandoned the Proxon engraver tool in favour of a belt driven Emesco Dental Drill to do my carving. The beauty of this drill is that there is no torque on your hand as you find in other rotary tools. The belt is smooth and assures that your hand will not ache from fighting the side torque.

The Emesco Dental Drill

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Now the upper counter is completed with a few other carvings of mythical creatures and I am beginning the work on the lower counter. On the right can be seen a pedestal ready to accept a wreath of angels, the next carving to follow.

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The following photo shows one of the pedestals in the process of being carved.

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The port side pedestal is finished and mounted on the lower counter.

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More to follow..................
 
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Joined
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Messages
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Location
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#31
Next in line was a carving of a little fellow squatting and holding a wreath of angels above his head. This was mounted on the previously carved pedestal. A round gun port surround was added as well.

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Wreath of angels in progress.
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The same carvings were completed and added to the port side along with three more gun port surrounds. Next was the addition of curved side trims on both the upper and lower counter as shown in this picture. These were most difficult to carve and fit to the curved surface.

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Curved end trim for counter in progress.

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Location
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#32
The next stage in the build was to create a representation of the stern lantern. I wanted to use the Lely Portrait as my guide and decided to build it using a 'plug' form to form the superstructure.

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The plug in place on the stern for alignment purposes.

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The next shot shows the framework of the lantern in progress.

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As the lantern progressed, I needed to create a large dome carving and the next shot shows the rough piece of boxwood in place on the lantern.

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Another fitting on the stern to check for alignment etc. You will note that the carving has started on the dome.

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The next shot shows the partial completion of the windows. I used the same technique as on the stern windows with plastic window screen to create the diamond leaded glass.



More to follow............
 
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Location
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#33
On either side of the stern lantern there were decorative panels engraved with " Soli Deo Gloriam" in Latin. It means 'to the sole glory of God' as the ship was dedicated to God. I carved these shapes and engraved them as the following photos show.

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Just above Victory's head were a crown of feathers. I carved these in Boxwood that had been heated and bent in a curve as the following photo shows.

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The ball for the top of the lantern being made on my Unimat lathe.

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The stern with the feathers in place and the stern lantern mounted and completed.

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More to follow.........
 
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Location
Newmarket, Ontario Canada
#34
The next are I addressed was the port side stern gallery. The Payne engraving and the Van de Velde sketch of the port side show that the gallery was deeper than is depicted on the Mantua model. There was an additional section at the bottom of the gallery which I determined I should add to my model.

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After adding this section, the whole gallery needed to be framed in boxwood strips to create areas for the many carvings needed. Windoes were added as was done on the stern which involved carving individual arches for each window and of course, the leaded glass window itself.

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In between the windows, caryatids were required in duplicate. In order to create these on mass, I used a straight edge razor blade with the profile cut into it and scraped a section of boxwood with the blade to create a strip of about 4" in length with the profile in it.

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It remained to cut the individual caryatids on my Preac.



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In this shot I added the rails covers at the end of the gallery.

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More to follow............
 
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Location
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#35
Now I went forward to the first of three rather ornate and complicated carvings that adorn the top of the port side gallery area. It is a crest like carving with the initials "CR" in it. CR is Carolus Rex or Charles King. In the next photo, the carving has been roughed out to eliminate wood not required.

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Showing the carving partially completed on the gallery area.

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The completed carving ready to mount.

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More to follow..............
 
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#36
It was at this point, in my build, 2002, that I was urged by my modeling friends and peers on the Web to write down my experience with carving in the form of a book and share it with other modelers. As there were limited resources available to instruct a modeler on carving sculptures, I considered the request and decided that it would be a way to give back to the hobby that had assisted me so much. My aim was to create a book that would be a tutorial on both 'in the round' and 'bas relief' carving utilizing rotary carving tools with dental burs. It had to be heavily illustrated with step by step photos. With a poll taken of potential buyers it was determined that it could produce sales of about 100 copies. It took 6 months to produce and get into print and the 100 copies sold immediately. It went through several reprints and a translation to French before it went digital.

Thankfully over the years, it has been popular with modelers in over 20 countries and is still selling in digital PDF form on the internet. I sincerely hope that it provided the incentive for others to attempt carving as there are so many beautiful ships adorned with sculptures that we can build if we have carving knowledge.

For those interested, the web site is: http://carvingbook.weebly.com/

More to follow...........
 
Joined
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#39
Next was the building of the cupolas over the stern galleries. After some due consideration, I decided to cut out the general shape of the cupolas from boxwood and carve the details on these pieces.

The piece of boxwood with the shapes ready for the jig saw.

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The following photo shows the middle cupola with the pattern drawn on it and the initial carving started. The shapes were tear drop in form similar to the grating on the stern..

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Four of the cupolas carved and ready to mount.

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Cupolas mounted on the port side.

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The Van de Velde sketch cupolas......

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The Payne cupolas.......

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At some time in the future lanterns will be mounted on the end cupolas and a sculpture on the top of the middle one.

More to follow......................

Bill
 
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Location
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#40
The end carving above the cupolas was similar to the first carving with CR on it with the addition of a window frame. The next photo shows the blank piece of boxwood with the drawing on it ready to carve.

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The carving in progress....

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And the finished carving.

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More to follow..........
 
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