Scratch Building the Carrack in 1/700th Scale Part 2 Fora by Neal Callen Clarke
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Entering the world of Scratch Building completely changed my perspective on Ship Modeling. I had always thought Scratch Building was for 'Serious' modelers, the guys with the Skills that are beyond the reach of ordinary mortals like myself. Scratch Building the Beja (See Part 1) turned my experience of the Hobby inside out. I discovered both that I was a better modeler than I realized, and that many of the skills of Scratch-Building were not as difficult as I had first imagined. Most of all, the excitement of creating My Own Subject fueled my drive to press on and overcome any difficulties I encountered. I'd gone from being a consumer— waiting on the model companies— to being a producer— choosing my own subjects and then going after them. That in itself was exciting enough. But there was another result as well— the interest and input of other modelers. That was the magic of Blogging. There were guys out there who were interested in what I was doing, and who wanted carracks of their own. I could easily understand this. It was a lot of hard work to scratch build a detailed hull in 700th scale, much more appealing to let someone else do the hard work. For myself I found hull making rather fun, the real hard work comes in the rigging and fitting out. Rusty White's suggestion that I make a casting master when I showed him the Beja opened up a whole new dimension to my hobby.

At the same time Bruno Gire, a master modeler and Photo-Etch Artist from France offered his assistance with the creation of the new carracks. While he began designing the PE, I began in earnest on two new hulls. The first one I named after my friend Bruno, who, to this day, I have never met, calling it the Sao Bruno ("Saint Bruno" in Portuguese) though this is only a 'pet name' for the hull, not an actual name for the model. For the second hull I wanted to create a contrast, something really generous in proportions, which I named 'Fatty'. Rusty offered to cast whatever I created in his studio which meant suddenly I had all sorts of options available to me. Using these two hulls, in combination with various superstructure modules, I would be able to create a whole range of carracks, naos, and argosies of various configurations. Suddenly the sky was the limit!

The photos from Part 1 actually show the construction of the Bruno hull. Here is the final result:  'New Bruno' refers to the 2nd attempt. 
The first try at a new Carrack hull produced an effort that did not have the correct shape. I was learning a lot about carracks as I went along and decided to restart the Bruno hull.  Carrack-055
Carrack-056 Carrack-057 Carrack-058 Carrack-059 Carrack-060 Carrack-061
Here is a comparison shot with the Beja in progress. I thought that the Bruno would be a good deal smaller than the Beja once completed, but, as it turned out, this hull will produce approximately the same sized ship.  Finally we have a correctly styled stern. Note the angled planking on the Stern. I actually got this backwards, the transom planks should go diagonally down from the sternpost... oh well, next time. Fatty is born. Carrack-062
Carrack-063 Carrack-064 Carrack-065 Carrack-066 Carrack-067
Family Portrait, with the Beja in progress. I quickly realized that the Fatty hull was too high. The solution was to hollow out the midships and then cut down the waist, creating a raised base for both the fore and after castles. This meant I had to remove the waist part of the main deck, which was now at upper deck level, and create a new 'false' main deck one level down.  Carrack-068
Tricky surgery and not much fun. Fatty's stern planks in progress.  Carrack-069
This time I got them right.  Carrack-070
Fatty cut down with ribbing in progress.  Carrack-071
Creating the waist 'bumpers',  a common feature on ships of the era. Carrack-072
 Note the curving plank detail on the forecastle. Carrack-073
This is an authentic detail of ships of this type from the period. Carrack-074
Fatty's chain-plates installed.  Bow on.  Carrack-075
It seemed to have the right look. I realized that Fatty, despite all the headaches, was probably my best effort so far. Carrack-076
A quick look at the Yard. Superstructure modules under construction. Note the use of IJN perforated bar!  Carrack-077
Completed Bruno and Fatty with various superstructure modules.  Carrack-078
Inside Rusty White's Studio; masters are glued to the base and ready for casting. This was an exciting moment! (Carrack-79) Carrack-079
 Creating the Moulds... The smaller box held the armament casting masters.  Carrack-080
First casts emerge from their moulds... Suddenly I've got lots of little tan ships on my hands! Carrack-081
Back home where the fun really begins. Various configurations, from right to left, a Small Carrack based on the Bruno hull, (in the back and a bit blurry) a large 15th Century Flemish Carrack based on Fatty, a Medium Carrack based on Fatty, an extra-large 'Econo-Carrack', also based on Fatty. On the right a Bruno-based Nao, a Fatty-based Venetian Carrack, and a smaller Bruno-based Nao.  Carrack-082
Close up of the small Bruno-based Nao.  Carrack-083
The Venetian Argosy.  Carrack-084
The Econo-Carrack.  Carrack-085
This was an attempt at a Spanish Galleon based on the Bruno Hull. My research into ships of this era seems to support the view that Galleons could be created on Carrack hulls.  Carrack-086
I decided the first carrack I would build would be the Econo-Carrack. Here you can see work has begun facing the forecastle.  Carrack-087
Strut supports underneath the Forecastle overhang. Carrack-088
Bruno's PE arrived from France! Two suites for each hull. I was ecstatic.  Carrack-089
Painting figures. They must be in the tropics because some of these fellows are not wearing shirts.  Carrack-090
Officers, no standard uniform in this era, of course. Some of these fellows have cloth of gold sleeves and vests... or are they armor? Very different from XX Century Naval fashions. ?? Carrack-091
Bruno Gire's custom made PE Shroud/Ratline sets primed, painted and ready for install. Thank God! No more freehand ratlines!  Carrack-092
Close up of the Medium Carrack based on Fatty. Carrack-093
The famous 'W.A.' Carrack engraving dated to circa 1450. This is a late Medieval Carrack from the heyday of the type and before the use of shipboard cannon had begun to affect warship design. I had been intrigued by this illustration for several years, and decided maybe I could adapt a Fatty hull cast to approximate the ship depicted. Since the engraving is Flemish, I decided to call it the 'Flemish Carrack.'  Carrack-094
First off we would need a round stern. That meant cutting off the transom and doing some scratch reshaping.  Carrack-095
Flemish Carrack stern taking shape.  Carrack-096
The curious and possibly unique stern gallery of the Flemish Carrack taking shape. ?? Carrack-098
Bruno Gire had several sets of turned brass masts made for the Sao Bruno and Fatty hulls, but I wanted to see if I could scratch my own from materials at hand, so for the massive mainsail yard of the Flemish Carrack (see engraving) I attempted a new technique: two needle shanks glued end to end, with the joint reinforced by CA impregnated paper. I then painted the yard heavily, making sure to give the center section the heaviest coat of paint. The result was a satisfactorily tapered yard. Carrack-100
How to make Sails? I had deliberately avoided sails on the Beja so that I could concentrate on other issues, but in the meantime I began experimenting with various materials. Painted shrink wrap? No go. How about Plastic Bags? Nope. Tin foil? Didn't work for me. Then I began to experiment with paper towel, toilet paper, napkins, etc. The best material turned out to be the fancy paper dinner napkins you sometimes get at catered events. Separate into single plys, wet each ply and lay them out on a clear piece of plastic. With your fingers work in some Tite-Bond Carpenter's glue and allow to dry. The result is a parchment-like material that is both flexible, fairly stiff (so that it can be shaped) and has the right color.  Carrack-101
If there are colors to be added to the sails, you can use decals and lay them in on top of the first ply, then sandwich the decal with a second layer of paper ply. The decal will show through and at the same time the paper will give the color a somewhat 'faded' look. For sails with colors on both sides, three plys will be needed. The same materials and techniques can be used to make flags (see below.) Carrack-102
I also wanted to suggest the stitching lines between the different runs of sail cloth, so I created a jig and ran black nylon monofilament in parallel rows through the sail material as I made it. When cut to shape, the result looks like this: There's not enough space to properly document the Flemish Carrack build here, but here she is at about 50%.  Carrack-103
If you look at the original engraving you will see that the shrouds have no ratlines. Instead, access to the Crow's Nests are by 'Jacob's Ladders' inboard and parallel to the masts. This appealed to me as it meant that I got a 'free' carrack without having to use my precious custom PE shroud/Ratline sets. Notice the double-decked fighting stages and the long overhang of the forecastle. This acted as a sort of siege tower to be put over the waist of an opposing carrack. The soldiers would then jump onto the main deck of the enemy ship (and on top of the defending soldiers) and attempt to capture it. A more daring and dangerous method of naval warfare is hard to imagine. This is the reason carracks were built so high, and why their design was perfectly suited to Medieval Naval Warfare, but unworkable once shipboard cannons had become effective weapons.  Carrack-104
To create the 'full bellied' effect of the sails I first trimmed the edges, then cut along the lower edge at regular intervals. I then re-glued the sail together with the edges overlapping, to create a three-dimensional shape.  Carrack-105
The 3-D Sail installed on the Flemish Carrack. The after castle net canopy (Bruno Gire's PE) Is installed, as is the PE rudder (note simulated pintles and gudgeons)  Carrack-106
There is a similar canopy on the forecastle, but it is out of focus here. Carrack-107
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Updated 2013