VASA OF 1628 IN 1:50 SCALE


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The Warship Vasa was built for King Gustavus Adulphus of Sweden in the early 17th century, and the ship ended up sinking on its maiden voyage. The Baltic sea has a very low salinity which prevents the existence of shipworm, a small snail that eats wood and so Vasa's timbers were well preserved. Vasa was raised in the 1960's, put back together since more modern ships anchors and rubble from the construction of nearby docks had demolished parts of it, and put in a museum in Stockholm.
Because of its status as a world attraction, the ship has gotten a lot of attention over the past several decades and is well documented. Information on the ship is not hard to obtain and the above framing diagram exhibits what we know (during the time of the framing of my model) of the general concepts of warship construction in the early 17th century. Thanks to the knowledge that the experts at the Vasa museum transmitted to me, I was able to come up with this approximation that I used to build my 1:50 scale model. Every other frame on this diagram is colored tan in order to distinguish it from the next. Each frame is made up of 8 separate pieces of wood and there are over 90 of them.

The start of the framing process. The two large upright pieces of pine are molds that are cut to the hull lines at their particular station. They were temporary and were removed as the framing progressed, with new ones being added as and where needed. The pine lath that goes from one mold to the other formed a guide that keept the outside edge of each frame exactly where it should be. This method in itself actually approximates the way that the original ship was built. It was Dutch practice in the early part of the 17th century to plank their ships before framing them. (The Swedes hired Dutch master shipbuilders to oversee the work on the Vasa) 

The Dutch method of shibuilding. From a diorama in the Vasa museum. 

The model from the starboard bow. Woods used in framing include birch, walnut, alaskan cedar, apple, and sycamore. I used different types of wood in the framing so that the viewer could distinguish one frame from the next easily.

Starboard side planked up to the planksheer

Planking/hull framing Close-Up

All of Vasa's guns
Light 24 pound artillery

My 3 pound culverin approximation

3 pound culverin master and finished barrels

Masters for most of Vasas guns.

From top row to bottom: 82 pound stormstycke, 42 pound stormstycke, 20 pound stormstycke and 1 pound falconet.

All of Vasas guns.

The finished Lower Gundeck



The finished upper gundeck....








Upper deck mostly completed...


Finished foreship....


The waist...

Helmsman's cabin...

The lower transom...


Looking into the lower gundeck from a gunport...



Finished Exterior Bulkheads...

Vasa was adorned with hundreds of wooden sculptures. The reason for this was to show off the power of the king, serve as a propaganda medium, frighten the enemy, and to instill morale into the crew since going to sea in these days was a brutal affair. The below pictures show some of the carvings that I have made. Be aware that many of them received more carving work in order to fit in their appropriate place on the ship.
(you can click on any of them in order to get a larger, more detailed view) 

Beakhead sculpture

Railing links 

Gunport adornments

Knightheads and tackblocks

Exterior bulkhead carvings

Starboard quarter gallery and aftercastle carvings

Port side quarter gallery and aftercastle carvings

Helmsman's cabin carvings


The results of nearly every day work over the course of four years.








Built in mid 2010-february 2011

My framing method
Framing completed

Completed inboard details

Notice the windlass that is around midships. This was found on board Vasa, and when archaeologists experimented with it on the longboat, it fit perfectly in the bearings. This proved that this boat was one of Vasa's, even though several were found around the wreck.


Started in the fall of 2009, and was delayed a couple years due to a wait on information from Stockholm.







The display case that I built for Vasa...

Installing deadeyes

Mizzen standing rig set up

Main and mizzen standing rig finished.

Sprit topmast standing rig

Standing rig finished!

Most of the mizzen running rig finished.

Rigging the mainyard...

The main topsail; one of four sails that Vasa had set on the maiden voyage in 1628.

Another of the main topsail.

The foresail.....

Finished foremast....

 Spritsail yard and sprit topsail yard running rig complete...

(Click on any of these to get a larger view) 



Vasa in the case and on the case stand that I built.