|We’re all familiar with the story of Noah, the Great Flood, and Noah’s Ark. The Ark itself is a frequently seen image, but most depictions of it are pure fantasy. What might such a vessel have actually looked like? I thought it would be fun to take the story seriously and do a “realistic” model of the Ark, so using physical descriptions from the Bible and other ancient documents, I set to work.|
|Divine Plans. The ancient sources all agree
that the Ark was designed by God (or the Gods). The specifications
of the vessel in the ancient Hebrew book of Genesis were the most
Given 18” cubits, the biblical Ark would have been approximately 450
feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. The hull would have been
sealed with pitch, had some sort of window topside, a door on the side,
and three decks.
|Windows. According to Genesis 6:16, “A sohar thou shalt make to the Ark and in a cubit thou shalt finish it above...” The obscure ancient Hebrew word sohar is traditionally rendered as “window”. A window usually means an aperature in a structure, but the sohar is “above” the main structure by one cubit. For this to be so, the opening would have to be part of a separate section elevated above the main roof. The sohar must have been this structure with ventilation openings rather than a window as such. This would also explain the Babylonian account’s “let it be roofed over above and below” (Atra Hasis Tablet III, line 31), “so that the sun shall not see inside it”, which apparently distinguishes the roof of the sohar above from the vessel’s main roof below it.|
|The roof of the sohar was cut and formed just like the roof of the hull. The sides were made from Evergreen HO scale ladder kit parts (product #201), which came precut with small rectangular notches. When attached beneath the sohar roof these notches became rectangular vents running the length of the ship, providing a nice see-through effect when viewed from directly abeam.|
|Painting. According to the Bible, the Ark was sealed "…within and without with pitch" (Gen 6:14). The fragmentary Epic of Gilgamesh says “the little ones [carr]ied bitumen...six sars of asphalt I also poured inside...” (Tablets XI, lines 54 and 66), and the Atra Hasis says, “...let the pitch be tough and so give (the vessel) strength” (Tablet III, line 33).|
|Based on these accounts it would have been reasonable to paint the Ark gloss black overall, but that would not tend to impart the impression of a wooden ship. I chose instead to paint it a "Gopher wood" brown (Tamiya Color acrylic flat brown XF-10) with the seams "caulked" with gloss black enamel applied as a thin wash. The Ark then received a gentle drybrushing with the lightened base color to provide some highlights. Finally, a misting of gloss varnish gave the ship a slightly wet look.|
|The Great Flood- in 1/700 scale. To add interest to the very plain model I placed it in a heavy, rolling sea. The Ark was heeled over just a bit, with the lower 1/3 of the hull cut away to give it a more natural “sit” in the swells. The water was sculpted from drywall spackle and painted with Testors Non-Specular Sea Blue (FS 35042) and white.|
|There it was, a quick and easy Ark. My interpretation,
though based on the limited information available, is admittedly speculative.
Still, until somebody finds the wreck on Mount Ararat, who is to say I
didn’t get it right?
Holy Bible (Authorized King James Version of 1611), American
Bible Society, New York, New York, 1999
Styrene plastic stock Evergreen Scale Models, Inc. 18620-F 141st Ave. NE, Woodinville, Washington 98072 www.evergreenscalemodels.com