Monday, April 11, 2016

The Dover Cut & Assemble "Santa Maria", A Paper Nao

It took three months, but I finally completed my Dover Cut & Assemble "Santa Maria". As I mentioned some weeks back, this was my first complex paper model sailing ship, and the end result has proven to be better than I was hoping.
A few particulars about the model. The scale appears to be 1/96. Many components of the model were replaced with wood, and in the case of the sails, fabric. The rigging plan is an interesting story. Normally, whenever I build a model of someone's interpretation of a ship, I do my best not to make changes; this is a model based upon their work, not mine. In a way, I'm honoring their work. However, the rigging plan on this model is very simple, and as I was adding detail, it was necessary to fill in the blanks. Several sources were consulted, notably the works of Björn Landström and the woodcuts of Master W of the Key (W.A.).
As a kit, there are a small number of problems building the model, but I put those off to inexperience. There are some fit problems, and a few parts had to be replaced. Again, probably a lack of experience on the builder's end.
There are a number of minor issues with the model design itself. First, it has a square stern. This is a matter of some contention amongst many maritime historians, but the consensus is that the "Santa Maria" likely had a round stern. It's most likely that square sterns on naos and other round ships started appearing either at the end of the 15th century, but by the 16th century were common. The top sail is rectangular, pointing to an earlier period (like that of the actual "Santa Maria"). The model probably more closely resembles Magellan's ship "Victoria" (a possibility for a future project). The flags on this model were common up to 1504, so it could be a small nao of the very early 16th century, and in fact that is what I plan on calling it eventually.
For now, this little interpretation of the "Santa Maria" has been quite the learning experience. Will I do another paper/card model? Yes, and in fact I rather enjoyed this more than any project I've worked on in a long time.