Over the holidays, Ages of Sail received a new shipment of kits from the Polish manufacturer of paper ship model and structures kits, Shipyard. Among these were two kits released in 2019. Both are cogs, sea-going cargo ships that were widely used in medieval Europe from the 12th through the 14th centuries.
Cogs were of lapstraked construction, with a broad and flat-bottomed hull, and commonly built of oak. The carried a single mast mounting a square sail, and were up to about 80 feet in length, with the largest carrying up to 200 tons.
We’ll be looking specifically at Shipyard’s Hanse Kogge kit, which is apparently based on a late 14th century Bremen cog of the Hanseatic League. The league formed as a confedration of trade guilds to promote commerce and mutual protection. It was formed in the late 12th century and grew to dominate Baltic trade for hundreds of years, with the cog beiung the mainstay of trade transportation.
The kit’s box cover is labeled “Ships of the Stötebeker Era”, which suggests it’s part of a series. Another kit in this series is a cog labeled the Wütender Hund Kogge. It appears to be a slightly larger cog with a forecastle structure and a menacing looking wolf’s head on the sail.
I knew nothing of the Stötebeker Era mentioned on the box cover, so I had to look it up (actually, I didn’t know a whole lot about Cogs or the Hanseatic League either). Apparently, Klaus Stötebeker was supposedly the leader of a group of privateers called the Victual Brothers. During a war between Sweden and Denmark, they were hired to fight the Danish and supply the Swedish capital. After the war, they continued to capture merchant ships, but were eventually captured and tried for piracy.
The Hanse Kogge Kit
Shipyard’s Hanse Kogge kit is only available in a laser-cut, boxed kit, unlike many of their other subjects, which are available in a standard paper model at 1/96 scale as well as a larger scale laser-cut model in 1/72 scale.
The kit comes in a large flat box. Inside are three smaller, plain cardboard boxes contain ing paints, brushes, and miscellaneous parts. A large plastic envelopes contains all the laser-cut heavy card stock sheets.
One of the really standout features of this kit is the 52-page, full-color, illustrated instruction booklet.
The booklet is full of photos showing each step of the kit’s construction. Being intended for the international market, there is very little text. What there is, is in English, German, and Polish. But, the photos seem to make each phase of construction pretty clear.
Most of the text is towards the front of the manual, with glue recommendations, and a section on how they obtained a woodgrain-like finish using the acrylic paints included in the kit. They seemed to do a good job with it, but I think it will take some practice before being able to achieve a proper finish.
I haven’t built this kit yet, so I can’t say just how complete the instructions are, but they look really good. And, as you can see, this is a very detailed kit. By all appearances, this is a very well engineered product, and looks like it should be a lot of fun to build.
In addition to the instruction booklet, which is really big enough and appears complete enough to call it an instruction manual, there are a three large format sheets of diagrams. Specifically, there is one double-sided sheet with scale drawing of the sail and its details on one side and a short paragraph of text on the history of the ship on the other. Another double-sided sheet and one single sided sheet provide clear rigging and belaying point diagrams. Lines are clearly numbered, so it’s very easy to follow which line gets tied off where.
Miscellaneous parts and items are packed into separate cardboard boxed inside the main kit box. These include a set of paint brushes, two sizes of wire, brass belaying pins, and parrel beads…
Six bottles of acrylic paints (from my experience, these work really nicely with paper)…
Rigging line, wooden dowels (some things are easier to make from wood on a card model), and six packages of laser-cut blocks, hearts, and deadeyes – some assembly required.
Laser Cut Cardstock Sheets
Finally, what’s a laser-cut card model without sheets of laser-cut heavy card stock? There are seven large sheets and one smaller sheet in all. Lots of parts there. The sheets are in two different thicknesses. Plus, one large sheet and the small sheet have a glossier finish and are of thinner card stock.
One of the things that’s very intriguing about these laser-cut card models is that the planking is pre-shaped, so there is no need to learn spiling techniques to shape them corrects. This is mostly unique to laser-cut card models, though there are some exceptions, particularly with wooden kits featuring lapstraked hulls, such as viking ships.
In any case, besides these laser-cut sheets, there is one small sheet of black laser-cut card stock for the rudder hinges.
Finally, to complete the model is a pair of colorful, pre-printed flags, as well as a pre-cut, partly printed sail in two parts.
Note that I referred to the sails as partly pre-printed. That’s because they have the outlines of the printed pattern on them, but it looks like you’re required to use the included paints to fill them in. In actually, I don’t think it’s correct to say that they’re laser printed. It looks to me that they are laser-cut with the markings burned into the fabric. Hence, the lack of color.
The Finished Appearance
So, what’s the model look like when it’s all done? I haven’t built it yet, so no pictures from me personally. But, here is a full range of photos from Shipyard.
Building the Model
I’m planning on tackling this kit soon. Since there is so much photo documentation in the kit instructions, I’ll probably limit blog posts to showing progress and mentioning any hiccups in the build process.
If you want to build your own, the kit is now in stock at Ages of Sail here: https://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/hanse-kogge-(-shipyard-1:72-scale).html
Or, you might try your hand at the other cog kit, the Wütender Hund Kogge.
This kit makes for a slightly larger model, so it costs a little more than the Hanse Kogge kit. But, it appears to be at least as nice looking a kit. This one is also available from Ages of Sail here: https://www.agesofsail.com/ecommerce/wutender-hund—kogge-(shipyard-1:72-scale).html
Look for a build log to appear here soon. Ω