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Modeling a Viking ship with splines

By Karl Stocker
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Date Added: 30th December 2010
Software used:
LightWave

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15. Just to make it a little nicer, let's give the endcap a little edge. Points are already on hand. Use the inner hull points, as shown, for this:

16. Looks ok, doesn't it?

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17. Alright, now for the very unique Viking "mast-fish" with its locking block. It's a device that one of those bright guys had come up with, that allowed them to quickly drop or raise the mast. It was reputed to have been so strong, that it could hold the mast without any rigging. However, most old drawings and carvings do show rigging, nonetheless. The reason they needed to drop or raise the mast quickly was strictly for tactical advantage. Their lightning attacks required a maximum of maneuverability. So, for that reason, whenever they approached their point of attack, so to speak, they would drop the yard and mast, and start rowing. With 30 oars, the light and shallow drafting vessel was very rapidly maneuvered, slammed into the beach and minutes later, the raid was on. Any enemy vessels would depend solely on wind and sail, and the quickly rowed Viking ship could outmaneuver them to keep out of range of arrows and spears. Over half a millennium later, the Venetian fleet and similar Mediterranean warships were once more rowed, carrying a single huge, long-range, and powerful cannon in front, giving them a distinct advantage over the large French and English sailing ships, that had to depend on the wind to bring their broadsides to bear.

Go to an empty layer and create a box with these specifications.

18. Now modify the box in this way. Use point edit and select the section divisions and slide then as shown (while holding down (Ctrl)).

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19. If you want to bevel the edges of this box, a great little plug-in will be of enormous help. The KW Edge Smoother is shareware and can be downloaded from here, and a single application to the object resulted in this. Even if you don't want to purchase it, have a look at the site anyway. Big difference, isn't it? This was done with the default 50 cm bevel. I love that little plug-in.

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20. It is already properly located in the X and Z axes, and only needs to be slightly moved in Y until it (BTW, name it "Mastfish") is just barely embedded in the deck surface. You can just see where the ribs, that run across the deck intersect the Mastfish.

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21. Next you will have to cut a hole into the mastfish. Create a disk with these numbers and in the indicated location:

22. Put the object into the background layer and do a Boolean subtraction. This results in an unsightly stress line.

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Fig. 118

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23. Even I, ever so slowly, learn a lot doing this project, and we know how to fix those stress lines now. One way is to just hit (Tab) and the subdivision will eliminate the stress line. Try it. The other way is to cut the Mastfish, which immediately releaves the stress line. Either live with that, or continue. For even greater stress relief select that small polygon around the mast hole and go to CONSTRUCT/Triple. Triple, as you can see, goes a long way to minimize any stress problems. Save your file as ship_tute13.lwo

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24. I just noticed that I already had included the mast in the downloadable file. Ok. No problemo. If you still want to do the mast, do this. Go to layer 6 where the "stump" we used to do the Boolean subtraction, is located and place the mast in layer 8 in the background. Select the bottom points of the stump and pull them down some. Then pull the top points up until the mast narrows.

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25. Where the mast narrows, use the stretch tool, and reduce the diameter to 80% of the bottom dimension. Next, do three extrusions, to taper the mast as shown.

26. There is one more thing that is NOT in the downloadable file. I decided, since the mast will be laying down, when the ship is rigged for attack or landing, to bevel the bottom. BTW. Speaking of laying the mast down. The masts would weigh as much as 800 pounds and were short enough to fit on the deck in the back half of the ship. That way the Vikings could quickly slide it into the mastfish and set it up. So, don't stretch the mast beyond of what I gave you in the file. This is an automatic size limitation. Here's what we've got thus far: We may be able to eliminate the slight pulls up front, and don't forget, horizontal boards are what is making up the hull. Once textured, that should be all but invisible. Also, as I keep telling, each Viking ship is pretty much unique, you can extend the keel and shape it into anything. A spiral was common, as on the Oseberg ship, as were figure heads. I recall a ram's head from the movie, The 13th Warrior.

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