Building Shipyard’s Dutch Fluit Schwarzer Rabe, 1627 – Part 3

As you may have noticed, I’ve now officially elevated this build of Shipyard’s 1/96-scale paper model kit of the Dutch fluit Schwarzer Rabe to a full fledged project, with its own place in my Ship Model Build Logs menu.

It seems that after completing the 1/72-scale Hanse Kogge Bremen laser-cut paper model, for which I did not maintain a build log here, I was itching to keep up with the paper models. I wasn’t really sure if I had been doing a good enough job with my Dutch fluit Schwarzer Rabe, but I thought I should give it a chance. So, I continued the build this weekend, adding more details to the hull, and starting a blog on, which I will basically echo here, or vice versa.

As we last left this build…

On my last progress update, you may recall that I had added all the decks, outer faces of the bulkheads, and covered most of the hull with a first layer. Before I could continue the hull covering process, I needed to add the internal gun carriages.

Again, as you may recall, I had purchased a laser-cut detail set from a Polish company called GPM (website, that not only makes their own kits, and sells kits from various other manufacturers, but also makes add-on accessories for many kits, including most of the 1/96-scale Shipyard paper model kits. Their detail set for the Schwarzer Rabe is quite comprehensive, and includes 7 sheets of various sizes and thicknesses of laser-cut parts. These then replace many of the printed laser-cut parts included in the Shipyard kit. Among the detail set parts are the parts for building the 8 internal gun carriages, as well as the gun port liners.

Base pieces of the cannon carriages from GPM’s add-on detail set.

I have to say, the laser-cut paper parts greatly simplify construction, though they do require painting. And, of course, they still require construction of the all the related parts. But, you don’t have to laminate paper together to build up the parts, and there is very little cutting necessary.

Assembling and painting the gun carriages was very straight forward. But, as for positioning the carriages, while there are marks on the decks to help center the carriages in the gun ports, I found that the placement of the hull pieces with the gun ports didn’t match precisely. So, I used the hull pieces to help me position the carriages more precisely.

You may note is that at this stage, I’ve already started adding the bulwarks hull pieces. This was a very satisfying step to reach. However, I’ve been a little nervous about whether all the parts are lining up correctly, as parts of the bulwarks seem a little low. So, I think there will have to be a little bit of adjustment. Frankly, this was a major factor that kept me from continuing the build right away. I was questioning whether this model was going to turn out correctly. While I still question how well it will turn out, it occurred to me that other paper modelers face these same issues. And I had to ask myself, “if they can overcome these obstacles, why can’t I?” So, here I am continuing the build.

The inner bulwarks pieces went on fine, quite nicely, actually. However, if you look closely at the buwarks at the forecastle, it doesn’t rise above the deck very much. I’ll be dealing with that when I add the inner and outer bulwarks facing pieces there.

In the meantime, I pretty well finished the first layer of covering of the hull and am about ready here to start dealing with the outer covering layer of planking strips.

Unlike with my only other completed paper ship model kit, I’ve learned to score the individual planks of each hull planking strip, to help create the sense of real planking. This is a bit tedious, but really there aren’t that many planks that have to be done. I started doing this with the first hull planking strip and I’m half way done planking the model already. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the intermediate steps, so here’s a bit of a visual jump.

The outer planking strips look pretty good, actually. But, you can easily see the separation between some of the strips. I’m not very happy about that, but I really haven’t figure out how to fix the issue without ruining the hull. Fortunately, this ship has a number of individual thick strakes that are place right along some of these seams. The result should be to somewhat lessen the obvious flaws. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that.

I like the way the bluish hull planking at the forecastle gives the model a nice accent. The white area the the top of the stern area will look similar, but with individual lapstraked planks. But first, the lower hull planking will be done, beginning with the planking strips you see on the cutting mat.


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