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Vikings Vanquisher Viking Ship Diorama Coomodel Review

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GubernatorFan

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diorama - Vikings Vanquisher Viking Ship Diorama Coomodel Review Viking31

Introduction

After reviewing the Vikings Vanquisher Valhalla version two-figure set by Coomodel HERE, I ended up going for the Viking ship (longship, drakkar/drekar) prow diorama piece that was designed to go with them. Here is a brief review, with a baker's dozen of photos. Since there is little here that is comparable to actual action figures, I have foregone the process of assigning specific points to the different categories.

Packaging

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The diorama set comes packaged in two separate boxes, one containing the ship, the other containing the printed background. The ship comes in a large, deep, and surprisingly heavy box. Decorated with a graphic representation of the piece, this box is essentially what we call a "shipper"; there is no interior cardboard box here, and the ship comes nearly packed in a foam container directly inside the shipper box. Everything is safe and collector friendly. The printed background comes in a separate, larger but much shallower box, which has no graphics on it, besides the product's logo/label (still misspelled "Vikihgs").

Sculpting and Accessories

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The ship prow appears to be mostly a single sculpted/molded piece, nicely finished to resemble the wooden construction of a Viking longship's prow with overlapping planks nailed together and a carved decoration along the stem. The surface is given enough imperfections and indentations to look like actual wood. The only area where I wish there had been more attention to detail is the upper surface of the "railing," which is quite smooth and bland, and not sculpted to look like a series of interconnected planks; admittedly, you are not likely to notice this unless you are viewing the piece from the "inside" out.

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The sculpted dragon's head is a separate piece, which is attached to the top of the main piece -- partly fitting into the opening, partly due to a magnet. The magnet helps hold it in place, but is not strong enough to keep it from falling out if you turned it over. The somewhat stylized dragon's head is very nicely sculpted, with some additional Nordic detail to resemble what would have been carved in wood. With the dragon's head in place, the prow is about 21.5 inches (55 cm) tall. The last photo in the review shows you the relative height of the ship compared to figures standing on the same surface.

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The only real accessories in the normal sense of the word are the two ropes, which are nicely scaled and just the sort of thing you would expect to find aboard a ship; you will see them in some of the photos below. (The "simpler" piece, made up of two connected rope hoops, is intended to go over the head of the prow and allow the figures to support themselves by holding onto it, but I forgot to put it there.) If the ship's prow is itself a diorama environment for your figures, it comes with diorama pieces of its own. First, there are the two pieces of sculpted breaking waves, which can be fitted along the sides of the hull. The sculpt is detailed and beautiful, the "water" is the right balance of translucent and opaque, but somehow it does not look quite realistic to me. I was worried that it would come permanently attached to the hull, but was very relieved to see that it was not. So you can easily display the piece with or without the sculpted waves.

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In addition to the optional sculpted waves, there is of course the printed background. It is printed on both sides of what appears to be thick stiff cardboard. The background folds into two: one section is wider (about 23.5 inches/60 cm), the other narrower (about 19.66 inches/50 cm); both are 27.5 inches (70 cm) tall. The wider section of the background shows the rest of the ship in a vague and foreshortened perspective, with the unfurled sail bellowing in the wind. The whole scene is depicted as a dark and stormy environment (why is the sail unfurled in all that, I don't know). While not particularly shiny, the printed surface does produce some glare from the light.

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The printing on both sides of the background allows you to set up the scene with the ship facing either right or left, and the sail always behind it.

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The print has not (yet) creased and torn in the corner fold, though I expect it might eventually, if handled and repositioned often enough; having a corner fold is a bit unfortunate, but I suppose there was little choice when it came to the design (though there may have been a way of attaching a single unfolded printout to the far ends of the background). I still think it works fairly well.

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Paint

There is relatively little to say about paint when it comes to this piece (not counting the printed background). The molded hull and dragon's head are colored an appropriate dark brown for a wooden ship, especially one that might have been covered with pitch to keep water out. There is some translucent color to the sculpted waves, which is subtle enough to be reasonably realistic for the most part; perhaps the foam on the crests could have been whiter.

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Fun Factor

By itself, the Viking Ship diorama environment is more a work of art than anything particularly fun. But as long as you have action figures you can pose on or in relation to it, you should have no problem adding fun to its beautiful, yet savage look.

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Value

This is rather difficult for me to estimate, since I am in the habit of collecting and reviewing action figures, not dioramas and backgrounds. I got mine from Big Bad Toy Store for about $170 (USD), with a very reasonable $4 economy shipping. Given the size, number of boxes (two), and weight of the product alone, I think this is a very decent deal. My suspicions are confirmed by the palpably and in some cases criminally higher prices the product commands on eBay (ranging from about $250 to $550 -- with shipping included). If you like what you see, you might want to get it while BBTS still has it in stock.

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Things to watch out for

Not too much, as the piece is pretty solid and in fact quite hefty. That said, I have not tried dropping it to see if it would shatter or crack (or, perhaps just as likely, cause damage to everything else in its path). Remember that the dragon's head is heavy enough, and if you flipped the ship over, the magnet will not be strong enough to keep it attached. I also noticed that, despite the felt on the bottom of the hull and the sculpted waves, sliding them around or removing them carelessly still scratched my work surface -- you might want to be careful if you are placing them on a something valuable or very visible.

Overall

If you like the piece, have the money to spend, and the space to put it (or store it), you will probably be happy with this product. It is large and bulky, but would probably not work as well if it were not. The sculpted pieces and ropes are near perfect. The background is perhaps overly specific (dark stormy night with counter-intuitively unfurled sails), can produce some glare, and has the potentially unsightly corner fold. Nevertheless, it still works fairly well, and we have rarely seen a company go through this much trouble to equip its action figures with such diorama elements. Of course, if this came standard with the figures at no great additional price, it would have been even more impressive, but that does not seem very likely to happen. I am about to move, and this new acquisition is definitely adding up to my anxiety about that process... otherwise, I am very happy with it.

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What do you think? Favorite parts? Favorite photos? Smile

Where to Buy?

Big Bad Toy Store $170

Timewalker Toys $170 (wait list)


#vikings #coomodel #productreview #historical #fantasy #ship #longship #diorama


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Very nice looking Viking ship diorama and figures, Thanks.


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I like the diorama more than the figures. I don't mind fantasy figures when they are marketed as fantasy. It offends me when they are falsely marketed as historical. The above ship diorama is nicely done.


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Ahhhh ! The Vikings !!!!
diorama - Vikings Vanquisher Viking Ship Diorama Coomodel Review Asteri10

Great Scene. I´m fascinated how this works togehter. A half Boat and a Picture with the sail in the background. And it looks like a complete Boat on the sea.
The titanic scene was so great Very Happy
Thanks for showing


I remember this drawing from a book i read in my Childhood. I loved the books about Celts and Vikings.

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Stryker2011

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Nice review. Thanks for that. The pic with the ScarJo Viking is hilarious (that woman would have to have some serious back, abdomen, and leg muscles to pull that off); thanks for the chuckle. What might also work for that pose — if she were tied to the prow like another masthead, but she was snarling, as if it were her idea (just excited to get to the killing and pillaging — maybe the raping, too, who knows).


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GubernatorFan

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BAD WOLF-787 wrote:Very nice looking Viking ship diorama and figures, Thanks.

Thank you, glad you liked it, and welcome.

shazzdan wrote:I like the diorama more than the figures. I don't mind fantasy figures when they are marketed as fantasy. It offends me when they are falsely marketed as historical. The above ship diorama is nicely done.

I agree. The ship's prow definitely looks like it belongs, whether in history or fantasy. The Coomodel figures were very much fantasy. I have wondered if calling them Valhalla version was intended to cover that (as lionized, deified heroes), but now I think that is just what they added to set the two-figure set apart.

Ephiane wrote:Great Scene. I´m fascinated how this works together. A half Boat and a Picture with the sail in the background. And it looks like a complete Boat on the sea. The titanic scene was so great Very Happy Thanks for showing

Thank you very much, glad you liked it. The background does work fairly well, especially considering the desirability of being able to fit it in a corner atop a bookshelf or something of that kind (at least I think it is designed with that in mind). And that's a great painting you showed, of the more peaceful side of the Norse.

Stryker2011 wrote:Nice review. Thanks for that. The pic with the ScarJo Viking is hilarious (that woman would have to have some serious back, abdomen, and leg muscles to pull that off); thanks for the chuckle. What might also work for that pose — if she were tied to the prow like another masthead, but she was snarling, as if it were her idea (just excited to get to the killing and pillaging — maybe the raping, too, who knows).

Thank you very much, glad you liked it. ScarJo got some help from Thor to stay in that position. Or I could have used that special support rope I forgot to put on the neck of the dragon's head prowl end. But Ephiane was right, it was a reference to the scene from Titanic. Tying her might have sent mixed signals -- even if she was snarling -- or so it seemed to me (I did consider it, because she kept trying to fall off -- or at least lean downwards... gravity...).


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Killer review and thank you.

I don't recall this being offered, but it's pretty damn cool.

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GubernatorFan

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dadrab wrote:Killer review and thank you.

I don't recall this being offered, but it's pretty damn cool.

Thank you, and welcome. Yep, this was actually one of their selling points. At first I didn't see myself getting any of these releases, but one by one they grew on me. Smile


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Hi Gubernator,
I’m not sure if you remember me, but I liked your previous Viking post. I wonder if you can expand on Floki as a master boat crafter. Is the historical Floki similar to the way he is portrayed in Vikings? I’ll hang up and listen.

BTW, I like this ship and the scenes you’ve created.

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GubernatorFan

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DrDoubleDaddyDawg wrote:Hi Gubernator,
I’m not sure if you remember me, but I liked your previous Viking post. I wonder if you can expand on Floki as a master boat crafter. Is the historical Floki similar to the way he is portrayed in Vikings? I’ll hang up and listen. BTW, I like this ship and the scenes you’ve created.

Of course I remember you, Dr Dawg. Thank you, glad you liked the ship and the goofy scenes I put together with it.

I didn't know (or had forgotten) that there was a historical Floki, until I thought about your question and looked it up. A man with (partly) that name was a Norse explorer who settled on Iceland. Chronologically, he was a contemporary of the real Ragnar (who comes to us more legendary than real anyway), but the show you are referencing departs from reality more often than it keeps to it; at any rate, we don't know if they knew each other. HERE's a little article on the "real Floki."

The show's Floki certainly has the unstable and flamboyant temperament we often associate with artists, and perhaps that makes sense for someone who might carve the elaborate carvings and decorations of a great longship; on the other hand, stability and responsibility might be expected of a craftsman, and much of the construction has little to do with what we think of as decorative art.

I will say this much: Coomodel's Viking Ship's prow conveys the overall look and impression of the few relatively well preserved Viking ships found by archaeologists (most notably the Gokstad and Oseberg ships), though it is not an exact copy (Gokstad is more elaborately decorated with carvings; Oseberg more plain, except perhaps for the animal head) and utilizes a dragon's head at the top to fit better with popular imagination (some but not all Viking ships had that type of decoration).


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Thanks for sharing !
A purchase I had to regretfully skip as I do not have a place to display it Sad


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Wow! That is a Damn fine prop! So much potential. I can see someone DIY crafting the remainder of the the ship. It would be sweet!

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GubernatorFan

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Allotropos wrote:Thanks for sharing ! A purchase I had to regretfully skip as I do not have a place to display it Sad

You are very welcome. I didn't have place either and wasn't intending to get it, but in the end I couldn't resist.

Pontiacivan wrote:Wow! That is a Damn fine prop! So much potential. I can see someone DIY crafting the remainder of the the ship. It would be sweet!

Glad you agree. And I was thinking along the same lines. Of course, the complete ship would be huge and unwieldy and unpractical in so many ways. But it would be super cool.


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Rogerbee

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It isn't bad, most mass produced diorama pieces lack realism compared to figures. With a bit of a repaint this could look really good.

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GubernatorFan

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Rogerbee wrote:It isn't bad, most mass produced diorama pieces lack realism compared to figures. With a bit of a repaint this could look really good.

Good point. In this instance the diorama (the 3D ship anyway) actually might have more realism than the figures. You are probably right about  some repaint (weathering?) making it even better, but I haven't had the time to consider and research that. The duller treatment of the inside in particular could benefit from that.


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Great review, and really cool piece. I actually really like the shot from inside the ship, and while not perfect, think it actually photographs quite well, while the outer just looks inarguably fantastic.

Also kinda love how well the screaming berserker head does double duty guzzling meed! Perfect.


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Rogerbee

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GubernatorFan wrote:
Good point. In this instance the diorama (the 3D ship anyway) actually might have more realism than the figures. You are probably right about  some repaint (weathering?) making it even better, but I haven't had the time to consider and research that. The duller treatment of the inside in particular could benefit from that.

Lifecolor and Vallejo do really nice weathering materials. Lifecolor even do ones for different types of wood.

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GubernatorFan

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ReverendSpooky wrote:Great review, and really cool piece.  I actually really like the shot from inside the ship, and while not perfect, think it actually photographs quite well, while the outer just looks inarguably fantastic.  

Also kinda love how well the screaming berserker head does double duty guzzling meed!  Perfect.

Thanks, Adam! I also think it's a great piece. And a screaming head can indeed be used for multiple purposes. Someone suggested putting it on one of the new "fat" World Box bodies and having it guzzling while barechested, but so far I don't seem to be able to fit any appropriate (period-wise) clothes on it to make it work.

If you like these reviews, check out the Hot Toys Star Wars Royal Guard one.

Rogerbee wrote:Lifecolor and Vallejo do really nice weathering materials. Lifecolor even do ones for different types of wood.

Oh I agree, but it would take some research in terms of the look I would be going for. I don't know enough about ships and boats to have it in my mind, and I'd be looking for a pitch-treated wood surface that is in better shape than what we have from archaeological excavations. So at present I am leaving it alone, but might come back to it later.


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Rogerbee

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There are restored Viking ships in Norway, which I have seen first hand, though many years ago now.



Don't think this was the one I went to, but, it should give you some ideas.

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Stryker2011

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Interesting video, Roger. Thanks for posting. That burial ship is so shallow, it’d be interesting to see how much of it was above the water before they sank it.


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GubernatorFan

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Thanks for the Video, Roger. Those are the very ships I was referencing above. But they have been in the ground for centuries and then cleaned up, so I am not 100% certain how well we can infer from them. At any rate, the overall look and feel is remarkably similar to the piece by Coomodel, except that it is obviously shinier and newer looking. Some weathering should help, nevertheless.

Stryker -- yes, they are well known for being very low to the water along both sides (though not so much the prow which we have as the diorama piece or the stern). Remember, these particular ones weren't sunk, they were buried into the mud. I suspect that like Greek triremes they were actually too light to properly sink and be preserved on the bottom of the sea (rather they would have capsized and floated about until eventually falling apart -- but I am just guessing).


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Rogerbee wrote:There are restored Viking ships in Norway, which I have seen first hand, though many years ago now.



Don't think this was the one I went to, but, it should give you some ideas.

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Me too but at the Tonsberg museum in Norway where I lived.

Great review GF! I hadn't imagined it was that big for some daft reason. Thought the sail was an actual material one, bummer it's not for that price.

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shovelchop81 wrote:Me too but at the Tonsberg museum in Norway where I lived.

Great review GF! I hadn't imagined it was that big for some daft reason. Thought the sail was an actual material one, bummer it's not for that price.

You lived in the Tonsberg Museum? Just kidding, I know what you mean. Very cool, though.

Thank you, Alex. Yes, it is a good size, actually about right for what it is (the prow being taller above the water in every sense). The sail is just printed, but if you think about it, it makes sense. The mast would be so far back on the real ship, that the diorama piece would have to be much much longer than it is. As it is, we get a shortened perspective on the printed background. To be honest, I am still more shocked by the weight than the price. If you want a shocking (or at least exorbitant) price, check out my HT Star Wars Royal Guards review.


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GubernatorFan wrote:
shovelchop81 wrote:Me too but at the Tonsberg museum in Norway where I lived.

Great review GF! I hadn't imagined it was that big for some daft reason. Thought the sail was an actual material one, bummer it's not for that price.

You lived in the Tonsberg Museum? Just kidding, I know what you mean. Very cool, though.

Thank you, Alex. Yes, it is a good size, actually about right for what it is (the prow being taller above the water in every sense). The sail is just printed, but if you think about it, it makes sense. The mast would be so far back on the real ship, that the diorama piece would have to be much much longer than it is. As it is, we get a shortened perspective on the printed background. To be honest, I am still more shocked by the weight than the price. If you want a shocking (or at least exorbitant) price, check out my HT Star Wars Royal Guards review.

Good point about the sail, I'd still be tempted to make a custom one though! Wink
I'm sure your Royal Guards review is great but I'm staying away as I don't want to be tempted! I'm happy living in ignorance with my 1/6 Hasbro ones flanking one of my Emperors! Laughing

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Rogerbee

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The one I went to was in Gokstad (Not even sure if that's how you spell it.).

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GubernatorFan

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shovelchop81 wrote:Good point about the sail, I'd still be tempted to make a custom one though! Wink
I'm sure your Royal Guards review is great but I'm staying away as I don't want to be tempted! I'm happy living in ignorance with my 1/6 Hasbro ones flanking one of my Emperors! Laughing

Oh, don't get me wrong. Making a real 3D mast and cloth sail would be great. But one would also have to make more of the ship. Even getting two ships (which would be expensive, though not as expensive as some other things in our hobby) would not solve this, as the entire long and low middle section would still be missing. If anyone could do this on their own, it would be you. Smile

I have full confidence in your self restraint. Actually, with just the helmet from a parted-out set I am sure you would be able to make a figure as good or better than the HT. Did you ever get around to doing a sequel trilogy praetorian guard? I will add a photo of that to the Royal Guards review topic (I put one together from parted-out parts and some other stuff). But like I say above, if you are just going to have them as background characters, the old Hasbro ones work very decently.

Rogerbee wrote:The one I went to was in Gokstad (Not even sure if that's how you spell it.).

Gokstad is probably the best preserved, and I am pretty sure it is the first/main ship from the video (the one with the looping coil at the prow instead of an animal head -- though the coil is probably supposed to be a stylized snake).


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Rogerbee

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Ah, so it is the museum I went to. I was only 11 when I went and memories are a tad vague now.

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GubernatorFan

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Rogerbee wrote:Ah, so it is the museum I went to. I was only 11 when I went and memories are a tad vague now.

Sweet... no wonder you called for more weathering... you've seen the actual artefacts!


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The problem with artefacts is that they are centuries old and have little resemblance to the items when they were new. When these ships were being used they were brightly painted and carefully maintained. If you want to replicate the appearance of these ships when they were in use then there should be no "weathering" or artificial aging.


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GubernatorFan

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shazzdan wrote:The problem with artefacts is that they are centuries old and have little resemblance to the items when they were new. When these ships were being used they were brightly painted and carefully maintained. If you want to replicate the appearance of these ships when they were in use then there should be no "weathering" or artificial aging.

Agreed. That is why I haven't taken brush and paint to it yet. I feel that if I am to do anything to it, it would have to be very subtle and not look nearly as damaged and worn out as the archaeological display. And like I said, I simply don't know exactly what a pitch-treated (if that's what it was) ship in good repair would look like. The piece looks more or less as I would expect it to.


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One of the sagas said that the bottoms were treated with "seal tar" to prevent borers. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the rest of the ship, which was elaborately decorated in brightly coloured paint.


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GubernatorFan

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shazzdan wrote:One of the sagas said that the bottoms were treated with "seal tar" to prevent borers. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the rest of the ship, which was elaborately decorated in brightly coloured paint.

Yes, we're talking about different things -- I about the overall look of the wood, you a decorative scheme. You mean like the carved parts and the top of the "railings" along the side? And of course if you hang colorful shields along the side by the rowers (as at least imagined in popular culture) that would help. But that part of the ship is missing here.


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There was no "overall look of the wood" because it was covered in bright paint. There are traces of paint on the hulls of several extant examples and we have illustrations to give us an idea of colour schemes. The entire hull was painted, not just the trim.

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The entire ancient world was brightly decorated. We are used to seeing ancient statues in white marble but at the time they were garishly painted. The first image shows how they looked when dug up. The second shows how they looked when newly fashioned.

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diorama - Vikings Vanquisher Viking Ship Diorama Coomodel Review Reconstructed-in-polychrome

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Even their metal armour was painted. A good percentage of those bronze helmets in museums were originally covered in paint. To our modern sensibilities the paint jobs were lurid and gaudy. Archaeologists have started to go back to these items and use new technologies (chemical analysis, high-intensity lamps, ultraviolet light, x-ray fluorescence) to try and find traces of paints and pigments. Here is one bronze Chalcidian helmet that was recently reanalysed and reconstructed using the new techniques.

diorama - Vikings Vanquisher Viking Ship Diorama Coomodel Review 20120222-Painted_Greek_Warrior_Head


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GubernatorFan

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That was pretty thorough, shazzdan, but you omitted what might be one of the most famous examples -- Caligula as King Joffrey Smile

diorama - Vikings Vanquisher Viking Ship Diorama Coomodel Review Caligula_Rekonstruktion_Polychromie1

At any rate, while I knew about the statues (and the helmets are not a surprise, though less widely realized), the ships were a bit of a revelation. I have seen the Bayeux tapestry images (wrote a paper on them in college) but I suppose I had always subconsciously assumed that this was either a fanciful artistic flourish or an impressionistic attempt to convey the multiple layers of planks making up the hull. Moreover, these were from the mid-11th century. Do you happen to know if the Osberg and Gokstad ship hulls have been found to show any traces of paint?


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I can't remember which ships had traces of paint but I can find out. I don't think it was Gokstad or Osberg. IIRC they found painted hull planks on finds of more fragmentary remains.


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Rogerbee

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I see what you mean. There is a difference between modern day restoration work of what was found and what it looked like at the time. That said, there could have been some artistic license.

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Rogerbee wrote:That said, there could have been some artistic license.

Maybe if it was only one source. I've given you three independent sources that all show painted hulls.


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Rogerbee

Rogerbee
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Very true, I don't doubt they may have been painted, but, it's still hard to tell exactly what they looked like.

Take Tudor portraits, they reflected an artistic style and never truly captured the actual likeness of the person. When they did the forensic reconstruction of Richard III over his actual skull, he looked unlike any painting of him at all.

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