Building Shipyard’s Dutch Fluit Schwarzer Rabe, 1627 – Part 5

For me, it seems that there is a danger in working on paper models. I find these things to be so engrossing that I have a hard time taking a break to do other things. I’ve been working on the Schwarzer Rabe pretty steadily for a couple weeks now. Almost a week ago, I had made a comment on that I was probably posting my last update for a while, as I get back to working on some other projects. But, I never stopped this one. Here it is, a week later, and I’m still trying to make myself shift gears and get some other needed work done. We’ll see if that happens after this post.

As you can see above, I’ve got the last strip of planking to go. As I expected, there’s not quite enough room left to fit the whole width, so I have to decide what and how to trim. But, there is a feature on Dutch ships, where the lower 3 or 4 planks extends out over the stern post. I learned from another on that this features was called a streek, pronounced in Dutch like “strake”. So, it seemed to me that the best way to mount the last planking strip was to add the sternpost and maybe even the stem and keel first.

Below, you can see that this last strip has a little notch in it that matches a notch in the keel rabbet strip. I think these will line up okay in the end.


However, there is one interlocking section of hull planking on each side. Neither of these line up, though trimming the planking strip is no problem, but you can see the parts below.


Although the area is in shadow here, you can see how the streek overlaps the sternpost and excess will have to be trimmed off. At this stage, I haven’t actually glued the sternpost into place yet – I’m just testing the fit and alignment of the parts.


In fact, as you can see below, I have a slight alignment issue. But cutting off the keel rabbet strip and trimming the sternpost slightly will fix this issue.

Up to this point, the model has the appearance of printed paper. It looks very clean, but the separation between the planking strips is pretty obvious, and it looks like paper. So, the next step is for me to deal with those separate strakes and all by treating the lower hull with thin CA glue, so I can sand it down a little and even out the bumps. I’m also using a little filler in those gaps.

The model takes a turn for the ugly at this stage. But, hopefully, by the time it’s all cleaned up, it’ll look like a nice ship model again!


Before doing a lot of the cleanup, I need to add the final planking strip, which includes the streek. But, in order to get the best fit, I need to add all the keel, stern and stem pieces first. This wasn’t that difficult to do, but it was clear that my planking is a little bit off, in that one side I’m needed to trim the planks just a bit, while on the other, I’m finding the need to use a little filler. I would have thought this was in issue of my keel/stem/sternpost not being centered correctly. But everything appears straight. And, while I’m having to compensate a little, things seems to be working out okay.

Once the keel was completed, I was able to carefully trim and glue the last planking strips into place.

By the way, as a side note, I wanted to mention that I’m purposely using the term “planking strip” for the model pieces. My natural desire is to call them planking strakes, but that’s a term that usually refers to a single continuous plank from stem to stern, or a single row of planks that are butted or scarfed together. I don’t like to use that term for these model pieces, because most of them actually represent several strakes of planks. Just FYI.

These early ships had several thick planks, and the Schwarzer Rabe is no exception. Rather than thick planks, however, a second layer is provided for these thick strakes. These have to be cut and glued to the hull, and there are about six on each side.

I’m in the process of adding these thick strakes now, and I have to say, I’m really enjoying this part of the build, because it’s adding a lot of detail to the hull, giving it more dimension, more depth.

As you can see in these photos, I have four thick strakes now added. I’ve also been giving myself a little diversion and working on the main hatches a bit.

The gratings and the coaming are actually laser-cut parts that are part of the detail set that I ordered from GPM. These make a real difference in the appearance of the model, especially the gratings which are simply printed in the kit.

One problem I found in the kit is that the main hatch coaming has a strip across the middle. This strip is supported by a part of the sub-deck, which itself has nothing supporting it from underneath. This creates a bit of sag in the middle of the deck and in the coaming. I fixed this by gluing a strip of wood to the underside of that strip, but I’m noticing there is still a bit of sagging just aft of the main hatch, between it and a smaller hatch. I marked the area with a red arrow in the photo below.

I’m going to have to add another piece of wood under here too, to get rid of the slight sag. I don’t have this problem at the forward end of the hatch as there is a bulkhead right at that end.

So, next time, I’ll fix this, and I’ll add the remaining thick strakes. I’m also anxious to finish the planking of the upper bulwarks near the stern. This area is covered with green lapstraked planking that gives a very decorative look. But, I’m not sure if it’s a good time to add that planking yet or not.

Anyway, there’s plenty left to do, and I’m definitely enjoying this build. More, next time.






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