Modeling a Viking ship with splines

The business end of the Gokstad Viking ship in the Oslo Viking ship museum.

The business end of the Gokstad Viking ship in the Oslo Viking ship museum.

1. Open LW. Use 1m grid, hit the key on the numerical keypad (num Lock on) and enlarge one of the viewports to lay the points out as I did. Be reasonably close, but don't get paranoid about the accuracy. All Viking ships were built one at a time, in different areas, usually for some rich Nordic land owner, and by different shipwrights. Probably no two were ever identical. In CREATE/points place them where I show them.

2. Copy the points and paste them back and then slide them horiontally to the right. Image 2 shows them as seen in the 500 mm grid.

NOTE: The tip is made up of four (4) points.

3. Next it's "connect the dots". In CREATE/Make Curve connect them with Open Curves. Make sure you use only one series of points at a time. You have enough points to end up with four separate curves. This gives us the keel of the ship.

NOTE (Center Image): I squeezed the outside line inward, to have the whole thing come to a near-point.

4. To make the outer bow shape a little smoother, go to a different layer and create a disk. Don't bother to make it 3D. You'll just use it as a guide to slide the points into a more smoothly rounded shape. Delete the disk when you're finished.

5. Next, copy the upper inside curve to another layer and delete the first two points.

6. You are now left with a shortened curve in a different layer, as shown below.

7. Copy that line, you know and seven times. Each time slide it as I have indicated. That means that one of the copies will be below the original one. The other six will be above the original curve. You'll end up with this:

8. Now for some tedium (much more to come). Connect the dots vertically with open curves. To keep from getting snagged later, I decided to do it like this. The first row will be connected two dots at a time. The next row, all dots will be connected with a single open curve, and so on.

9. To more smoothly integrate the hull with the keel shape, drag (MODIFY/drag) the points of the first row forward, while holding the (Ctrl) key down.

10. Now go back to the keel. As you did with the hull, you will have to do with the keel; that is, connect the points with open curves as shown. Use three curves per four points, as you can see. This will build an outer "shell". We don't need the inside curves, because once the keel is mirrored, that side will be invisible. Also, in retrospect, make the keel about half as wide as shown here. The reason is that once it is mirrored, it will double in width.

11. Next, select the last row of points in the layer with the hull. Even though I showed all of the points selected, omit the bottom one. We don't want the ship to leak.

12. Here the fun begins. Tedium maximus. In the front view, drag the selected points to the right. Here shown on the 1 m grid. Again, much adjusting will follow, so don't worry about extreme precision.

13. Do the same with the next row of points. The next row was one that had the points connected two at a time, and so you will end up with a not very smooth line. Not a problem. Go to the polygon edit mode, select all of the curves, and hit (Ctrl)(s) and the result will be a continuously smoothed curve.

14. Repeat the process for every set of point/curves and apply smoothing, where necessary. Following the completion of the process, I went and moved some points around to make the horizontal hull curves a little more smooth. The problems are mainly in the front part. The result of my adjustments is shown below. Don't panic. This is a very forgiving modeler, and you can shift, nudge and slide things until you are happy with the result.

Save your file as ship_tute3.lwo (just to stay in line with my own designation)

15. Don't do this yet, but just for grins I went and mirrored the spline cage to get a look at the complete hull.

1. Maximize the perspective view (you know, place the cursor into the view port you want to maximize and click on the <0> key in your numeric keypad, Num Lock on) and rotate the image as shown. Switch to the polygon edit mode and select the polygons in the order I show you: top, bottom, left, right. The order will be helpful, but is not essential. You may experiment.

2. Click (Ctrl)(f) and enter in the Make Spline Patch window the numbers as indicated. Hit "ok" or (Enter). This is what you get:

3. You say, "Wait! I did not! Where's that color come from?" Ok, here's how: Go to the Surface Editor, select Default, and click on the little color square to bring the palette up. There click on any color you like, as long as it looks like mine :-). No really, it's your choice. Make sure you check "Smoothing" in the Basic tab page.

4. Ok, with that out of the way, we need to do something with that patch. Hit (w) and the Polygon Statistics window will appear.

a) click on the Minus sign next to Total (fig 2-8)
b) click on the Plus sign next to Faces (fig 2-9) (if you followed my suggested selection order you'll have polygons facing you - if not, click the key to flip them)
c) select a new layer (click on the lower half of another layer field)
d) click the key (polys will disappear) (fig 2-10)
e) click the <'> key to switch layers (spline cage appears as black outline)
f) click on the key and polys will reappear (fig 2-11)
g) click on <'> again to return to the original layer and select the polygons for the next patch as in figure 1. Do this until all patches have been created.

5. NOTE: Occasionally you will get a message that "The Curves Don't Cross Correctly". What happened will be that you have selected an additional polygon line, as I did, in this case (see weird arrow). Other possibilities could be that there are more than one point involved at one intersection. However, in this particular case, I hit "ok" and simply deselected the extra little polygon line and all was fine.

6. Are you finished? That wasn't that bad now, was it? Save your file as ship_tute4.lwo

7. Now it's time to patch the keel. You know the drill. In the perpendicular view in the layer with the keel, select the polygon lines (in this view) L, R, Bottom, Top. You have to enlarge the picture a lot to see them clearly, near the tip. I suggest that for the thin edge of the keel 1x5 polygons will be fine. On the side use the same as we did before, 2x5. With faces selected here is what you'll have. Cut and paste the patch to a new layer. Continue until all three sides of the keel are finished. For practical reasons, it will be easier to finish the top and bottom edges first, then reset the numbers and do the wider outside edge. Don't forget to flip the faces where necessary. The little top area you can just close off the old fashioned way. Select the corner points sequentially and hit to create the polygon. Make sure it's pointing up, or flip it. Copy it to the mesh layer as well.

8. BTW: To tell you what may happen. While transferring a patch, I accidentally cut some of the lines to the patch layer. It happens. When I returned the lines to the spline cage and attempted to patch the next section it gave me the dreaded "The curves don't cross correctly" message. I figured it had to be points and went to the point edit screen and hit (m) and did an automatic point merge. 16 points were eliminated and that fixed my problem.

Once the narrow edges are finished, start on the wider, outside edge. Continue as previously discussed.

9. When all done, this is what you'll have. Save your file as ship_tute4.lwo (click "ok" about the overwrite)

10. Let's do a little test render, and I must say, I am not displeased. We're right on track.

11. I will give the oarholes one more try. The last attempt did not come out particularly well. There were huge stress lines in all of the affected panels and I am still asking questions about what we can do about that or if we want to live with that. I will provide both ship panels as options as well as the Boolean objects. In the end you can make up your mind which version you want to pursue. So, in the meantime, just copy the Boolean objects from the attached file to your practice file and perform the Boolean operation as I describe it. With the Boolean objects in place, create a copy of your hull in a new layer.

12. With the hull in the active layer and the Boolean objects in the background layer, go to MULTIPLY/Booleans or (Shift)(B), and the Boolean CSG window will open. Select "Subtract" and hit ok.

13. Here's what you'll have. A perforated hull segment, artifacts and all. Apparently this is a tough one for the software. Not to worry...

14. Simply, in the polygon edit mode, select all of the offensive polygons, (best done in the lower-right viewport - head-on view) and make sure you get the circilar end polygons too. Like this, and then hit (x), and they'll be banished into cyberspace - unless you hit the (u) key. Then you can get them back, should your dark little heart desire that.

15. At last, here is the hull segment, oar holes, stress areas and all. Save your file as ship_tute6.lwo What happened to file 5? I used it as the before Boolean and 6 as the after Boolean operation. Anyway, the Boolean object is in layer six of the zip file. Have fun. Render the result and see what you think. Maybe it's nothing, but at this time I am not pleased. Hang tight, however, in Part 3 we'll take care of this.

Inside view of the Gokstad ship (looking aft). You can see the Mastfish and the central yard support and get a clear view of the hull and deck.

1. So, still here, eh? I'm glad. I won't feel so alone in my effort. Once we get to the deck and topside details, So, let's open the file ship_tute7.lwo, and select layer 3 and 5 and keep layer 4 in the background. To select multiple layers, depress (Shift) while clicking on any layer, same as if you're slecting multiple points or polygons. The image shows you what you want to see.

2. While holding down the (Ctrl) key, with (t) selected, slide the hull sections to the right, as you see here. Leave no gap between heel and hull.

3. However, there will be a gap at the top. To eliminate it, select the points shown and go to MULTIPLY/Drag and slide each one carefull to the left. I then followed through by sliding a couple of adjacent points over a bit as well, to keep the lines smoothly curved.

4. Here's what we've got now.

5. Now select layer 5. What we will do next is to reduce the sizes of the polygons that have oar holes in them. Go to CONSTRUCT/Knife and cut like so:

6. When you hit the spacebar, the knife will be deselected and you will have a cut down the hull.

7. Repeat this process next to each oar port and end up with this. Now select each polygon that contains an oar port.

8. Go to CONSTRUCT and click on Triple and the result, magnified to show the detail on one of the oar ports is here:

9. Looks like it was well worth the effort. I am pleased with this. We're all learning here. Definitely I. Save your file as ship_tute8.lwo

10. Next, we need to give the hull some depth. Remain in layer 5 and in the polygon edit mode select all polygons (use the polygon statistics window)

11. Hit (c) select a new layer (6), and switch layers ('). In the new layer hit (v) and the hull section appears.

12. Hit (t) and while holding down the (Ctrl) key, slide the hull section to the left. You can now see the original hull in the background layer.

13. Select all the polygons in this layer and flip them. You now have an in-facing and an out-facing hull section.

14. Next you must creat the top rail of the hull. In the side view, with BOTH hull layers (in this case layers 5 & 6) selected, in the point edit mode select all the points along the upper edge. Hit (c) and go to layer 7 (as shown on the illustration) and hit (v). You now have copied and pasted all of the points from both hull sections to layer 7.

15...and here they are.

16. In layer 7, select points, in sets of 4, sequentially and hit (p) to create a polygon. Do that for all of the segments. You'll end up working in different view ports for convenience.

17. When you're all finished, go to the polygon edit mode. Flip (f) any polygon that is not facing up, and then select all of them. Hit (q) and in the Change Surface box name them Rail2. Hit ok, and it will turn grey.

18. In the Suface Editor you now see "Rail2". Go to "Default", where our original color choice is located, right-click and a tiny window will pop up that reads "copy" and "paste". Click on copy and then go to "Rail2". Right-click and in the tiny window click on "paste". You color will now be assigned to "Rail2". Neat, eh?

19.Go to layer 6 and name the in-facing hull with oar-ports: "Hull_In2". Then same procedure as above.

20. Go to layer 5 and name the out-facing hull with oar-ports: "Hull_Out2". Then same procedure as above. Cut and paste the contents of layers 6 & 7 into layer 5.

21. Now to a real pain in the butt. In the combined layer 5, select every point as I show in the illustration. As you probably noticed already, I neglected to pick the intermediate points that appear in two of the edge segments for a reason. Firstly, I have no intention to affix the oar-port liners to the hull, to not cause new stress areas. Secondly, I intend to only create half of each liner and then mirror it. Now, that's just a suggestion. Read on and you may decide to rather connect all of the points with polygons, one at a tine. That way no final adjustment of the mirrored portion is necessary. Your call.

22. After you have selected all the points around each port, copy and paste them to layer 8. Switch layer and now in layer 8 start to create polygons.

23. As you can see, I did only 1/2 of each hole.

24. Then I select those polygons, ONE HOLE AT A TIME, and mirror each one (hit (Shift/V) or go to MULTIPLY/Mirror). The drawback of this is that you will have to correct the point locations. Select the affected points and drag them to where they should be.

25. A big job, I know. After you are finished, do a FIXED point merge with a 30 mm distance, and then, in the polygon edit mode, select all of the polygons and name them "oar_ports"..

26. Cut and paste the hole liners into layer five, and this is what you have. Save your file as ship_tute9.lwo

27. Now for the deck. Go to layer 5. You'll have to back-paddle a bit here, for convenience. Go to the Polygon Stat window and slide down to Surf: none. Click and hold on the down-facing triangle and select surface Hull_In2. Copy and paste it to layer 6.

28. Now, in layer 6, in the side view carefully select these points. Copy them to layer 7.

29. Switch back to layer 6 and delete what's in there. Switch back to layer 7 and copy and paste the points to the empty layer 6. Back in layer 6, in the top view, you have one set of points, and you know there is an identical set in layer 7. Select all of the points in layer six and do a (Ctrl/v) (Set Value). The Set Value window pops up. Change the axis to Z (in my case, and I hope in yours as well) and click "ok".

30. All the selected point zip up to the Z = zero line.

31. Cut (x) and paste the points into layer 7 and delete the ones that are too close together, as I have.

32. And now it's back to routine. Select the points in sets of four, sequentially, and hit (p). If any polygons face down, flip the up. Go to the Polygon Edit mode and select all polygons and name them "Deck2". Then follow-through with the Surface editor, and change their color back to that of Default. Next, cut and paste the deck into layer 5.

33. In layer 5 you will now have a double-sided hull, with oarports and a deck surface. Save your file as ship_tute9.lwo

At this point it remains your option to duplicate all of the steps necessary to create an inner and outer hull as well as a top rail surface for the hull section without oar ports. I will only work on the hull with oar ports from here on.

1. The worst is behind us, I think. It's time to put some of the pieces together. Again, I will concentrate on the hull with oar-ports. Open ship_tute9.lwo. There is one more thing that can be done while working with a quarter ship: ribs. Go to the Polygon Statistic window and use the Surf: function to select the Hull_In2 and Deck2.

2. Copy and paste them to layer 6. Just had a thought - it happens. Go to layer 6 and select Deck2 and cut it (x) and then paste it into layer 7. Then select layers 6 & 7 together.

3. In the side and top view, just like when we made the cuts in Part 3, you will now cut the hull and deck into thin strips. Go to CONSTRUCT/Knife and cut where I show you. Don't worry about them being exactly even or in the exact place where mine are. Just get reasonably close. I highlighted the cuts.

4. Now delete everything that is not a cut, and you'll be left with something like this:

5. In the sideview select the points and slide them such that all slices are about the same width. Then go to layer 7, what was the copy of Deck2. Select all of the slices and go to MULTIPLY/Extrude and pull them up a little and there are your deck ribs. Select all of the polygons, magnify to see if they need to be flipped. Mine did.

6. In Layer 5 do the same, but extrude toward the inside of the hull section, since the ribs that are visible above the deck will be near vertical. Extrude horizontally and flip polys if necessary.

7. Paste them into a single layer and name them Ribs. Go to the surface Editor and copy and paste the default color, but reduce the smoothing to 30 degrees. Cut and paste the ribs into layer 5. Here's what you should have:

8. After selecting layer 4 & 5 and mirroring the content, I just about pulled the plug on this project. Subsequently, I spent a lot of time tugging the points at the merging edge, until the hull looked smooth. You are welcome to play with this, but, if all else fails, you can of course download the .lwo file, which I painstakingly corrected to the best of my limited ability. you can readily see where the center is not integrating very smoothly.

9. Save your file as ship_tute10.lwo, go to the Point Edit mode and select these points. The objective is to get a smooth transition established. After that, attack the oar-ports. I found this task to be the toughest so far. Have fun.

10. Now the oar ports. You can see the before and after, here:

11. On second thought, I think we want to flatten the whole midsection in a little. Select these points and then with (t), while holding down (Ctrl), give it all a little push to the top of the screen.

12. There, this is way, way better. Now I'm getting happy again.

13. After all is said and done, and you've sweated appropriately over your creation, you should have a reasonably smooth joint and are ready to mirror everything in the necessary axis (Z in my case). What we have is one nice looking Gokstad Viking vessel. Whew! Save your file as ship_tute13.lwo

14. Looking at the photo at the top of the page, I see that a small cover is applied over the upper part of the ends. To do something similar (keep in mind, as I already said before, each Viking vessel was a one-off construct and uniquely built by one shipwright to the specifications of the local Viking land owner, who had the wherewithal to afford a raiding or trading vessel. So barring some real weird stuff, we are never wrong.). Select the points as I showed in the end-on view. When you do that, and hit (p) to create your polygon, you will immediate discover that you are also selecting the points on the opposite end of the ship. Set your views up as I did, then delete the opposite number. Also, you may want to do a point-merge ((m)) first on those points you intend to connect with a polygon. I found that to be very helpful. I named the polys "endcap". For efficiency sake, select the points twice and delete one side, make your poly, select them again, delete the other side, and make the second poly on the opposite end of the ship, and so on. I will go only four polys down.

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?

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)).

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.

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.

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.

Fig. 30

Fig. 30

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

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.

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.

1. In the name of accuracy, here is a kind of invisible detail of the mastfish. If you want to go that far, you will have to Boolean a box out of the mastfish to end up with this slot. The mast would be slipped into this slot and then locked down by the mastlock. Essentially, a large block of wood that was on one end shaped like the mast and once inserted held the mast securely.

2. I expect the back side of the mastlock to be somewhat slanted, so that gravity would drop it down against the mast contour. It's an ingenious device.

3. Next, put a lid on it. Create a box with these numbers:

4. Rotate it, or pull the points until it is slightly above the mastfish, and parallel to its top surface. Then pull the back point to get a siluette as you see here.

5. Unless you have KW Edge Smoother by now, select the two mastlock (oh, yes, before I forget, name the box: "Mastlock") top polygons and bevel them. Just for grins I beveled the bottom polygons as well, giving them the same treatment as the top (including the gap elimination and point merge as described below).

6. To eliminate the unsightly gash, in the sideview, pull the points on top of each other and do a fixed point merge with 10 mm selected. Two points delete and you are ready for the next step.

7. Notice the now smoothly connected polygons. Bring the old mast stump back into play, and take a Boolean bit out of the lid. Which leaves you with three options.

1. Live with the stress line. 2. Select and cut and paste the affected polygon, or 3. cut and triple it as you did before with the oar-ports. Your call.

Since the item is very small, I decided to just cut and paste the poly. Stress lines relieved. Save your file as ship_tute15.lwo

8. The next item should be the T-shaped yard supports. They were removable as well, as least the rear one, to facilitate lowering the mast, after which time it could be set up again as added support for the yard-arm. It is suspected that even the mast might have been lowered upon the yard-arm supports, (maybe that's why there are three of them) to provide added deck space during the hectic disembarcation and boarding phases of the raid. Obviously, the most complex part is the top crossbar. On the 50 mm grid, lay down these points.

9. Select the points as shown and connect them with an Open Curve. Then select the bottom twp points, and connect them with an Open Curve.

10. Center the points in X.

11. Select all of the points sequentially, and hit (p). you will have a polygon.

12. Select that polygon, hit (E) or CONSTRUCT/Extrude and give the thing some depth.

13. Notice those straight lines? There will be lots of them. Delete them all. In some cases you will have to go to high magnification to differentiate them.

14. In one case, unable to separate them out, I sacrificed a short poly to get rid of the large one.

15. It was easy enough to restore. When you're all finished, flip the polys and then, once more, in sequence, select all of the points, UNSELECT ONE ROW OF THEM, and hit (p).

16. Copy, cut and paste that new polygon to an empty layer and slide it (or use Set Value) to X = zero and paste it back into the object layer. Automerge all points. And there is the completed yard-arm support crossbar.

17. On the 500 mm grid, slide it to about here and then give it a post to rest on. Create a box like this:

18. Now, in the sideview widen the crossbar just a little, to have it extend more over the edge of the post. This one, as you can see here, is sitting right in front of the mast.

19. Cut and paste the crossbar into the same layer as the support post, select all of the polygons, hit (q) and name the combination "Yard Support". Then copy and slide them (shown in the 1 m grid) about 7 m one way, and mirror the yard support across to the other side, for a total of three of them.

20. Now they all need some feet. Close in on the right one and go into an empty layer, keeping it in the background. Create a box with these values.

21. Next reshape it in profile like shown in the left image and from the top as shown in the right image.

22. Now select it, name it (yard support base), color it, and mirror it. This leaves us with two of them on solid footing. One remains.

23. This is the one sitting across the mastfish. Zero in on that one, and keep it in the background layer and place the following points as shown, in the 200 mm grid.

24. Now repeat the whole process we went through with the crossbar: 1. Select and connect the points on the curvy side with an Open Curve. 2. Select the points adjacent to the straight edges and connect them with an Open Curve, one at a time. 3. Select all the points in sequence and create a polygon. 4. Select the polygon and extrude it. 5. Delete the straight edges. 6. Reselect the remaining points sequentially and create the final smooth polygon. you will be left with something like this.

Next delete the current central support strut.

25. Now to do it all over again to create these points:

26. Select them in sequence and hit (p). Next extrude the new polygon, as shown, and flip the polys, and cut and past it all into the layer of the previous part.

27. Now select all, name it Ctr support base, and color it back in.

29. When you select all of the relevant layers, this is what youll see. Save your file as ship_tute15.lwo

A rendering shows us where we are, thus far. BTW, the file includes the bucket. There were several on each Viking vessel, and just consider it a freebie. If you can't create a bucket by now, I would not know how you got this far.

The Gokstad rudder and pivot.

This whole thing is evolving essentially as I build it. Being a novice myself, many of you may already have knowledge that will let you execute much of what I do in simpler or maybe better ways. However, for those at my own or lesser skill level, this is a fair way to put this thing together. As you can tell from the photos, we are staying very close to a historically accurate model.

1. First the yard. Big deal. It's a stick. Create a disk (rod) as shown, and bevel one end. Then mirror it and you've got the yard.

2. Next I discovered that we needed to do something that is not a big deal, but kind of important to make things look right. Select the Mast, Mastlocktop, and Mastfish. Hit (H) (MODIFY/Size) and and we will change the size of those things to be a little more in line with historical drawings and my photos. Go to the 500 mm grid, and looking down, reduce the size to the smaller dimensions shown. Reasonably close is quite sufficient. After you are finished, you will notice that the objects shrank in every axis, meaning that you will have to drop the unit back onto the deck level.

3. Place the yard in front of the mast (big surprise, that one ;-)). Save file as ship_tute16.lwo

4. Now on to the rudder. The rudder is a fairly complex item and this is probably where the experts among you will have many different ways of building it. First the rudder hub. That one's easy. I just made a little open curve from a few points and lathed it. In the 50 mm grid it looked like this. Oh, hit F2 to get it situated around the X,Y axes. It's easier that way. We'll maneuver the final product to wherever it needs to be later. When you have the points and connected them with an open curve, lathe! Go to MULTIPLY/Lathe, and as soon as you hit the (n) key, you will see this, provided you are set up with a 360 deg End Angle. If not, change to 360 deg. Select the item, call it Rudder Hub1, and use the preset METALS/Iron, to color it.

5. Move the hub to X = 15.95, Y = -810 mm, Z = 1.65 and that will get you close to where you need to be. Next you will have to rotate it. What you need to do is to have it located on the outside of the hull on the right (Starboard, see how old those terms are!) side to be able to attach the rudder there. Use the Rudder Hub layer and the ship hull layer and switch between them until you have achieved the proper relationship between those two parts, as shown in the right image.

6. There is another little piece to this thing. An axle sort of device that seems to be able to pivot, as well as lock the rudder in place. Go to an empty layer and keep the Rudder Hub layer in the background. Create a small disk and stretch it. Attach a squashed ball to the end and that's it. While pretty close to the pictures, I completely winged it. It will be nearly invisible and, as is, very closely resembles the real thing. I am working off drawings as well as pictures. Since each ship was unique, so was the rudder design and embellishment. Name the item Rudder Pivot. I think that would be accurate. You may even want to add the tie-down strap. I did not (yet). The location and purpose seems to be slightly at odds between resources. The pivot essentially sticks straight out to compensate for the curvature of the hull and allow the rudder freedom of movement. You can see that I tilted mine ever so slightly, though that might not be necessary (as the photo of the rudder reconstruction shows). Combine the Rudder Hub, the Rudder Pivot, and paste them into the ship hull layer.

7. Now to the rudder itself. Fun is guaranteed for all. I started with a straight, sectioned rod. Why so many sections? Because I think there'll be lots of shaping along the way. On the 500mm grid, slide the sections as shown in the second image. Go to the point editing mode and move the points of the 3rd tier down as indicated. After selecting that row of points, go to the top view and deselect all but the six points shown. Hit the (h) key and center the tool symbol somewhat toward the right and do a horizontal stretch. You see, you are beginning to start the shape of the blade here.

8. In this vein, you will continue down the rod. Here's are next rows of points.

9...and the next rows...

10....and the bottom two rows.

11. When all is done, you've got this nice little rudder shape. Bevel the top polygon as shown, and then...

12. fix up a few points to make the vertical lines a little smoother.

13. Now cut, or bandsaw (I used CONSTRUCT/knife) the bottom row of polys to allow you to add a little curve in there, as I did..

14. Finally, select the bottom polygon, flip it (f), and MUTIPLY/Smooth Shift it, twice. Take each of the new point rows and use (h) to push them inward a little. Nobody says you can't use to slide things as you need them. Make sure the reduction is done in both views. Flip all polys as necessary.

15. Now, if you so desire, shape the bottom of the rudder round, as I did. Not a big deal. All rudders were slightly different, as you by now have been made aware of by me. What you end up with is this nice little Viking ship rudder shape. Pat yourself on the back. Uh, if you haven't yet, name it "Rudder".

16. The Rudder Control Arm is next. It's waaay simpler than the rudder. First create a disc.and extend it. slide the segments as shown.

17. Now use MODIFY/Stretch or (h) to reshape the first segment as shown here. The Rudder is in the background layer, in case you wondered. Then, after extending the handle end slightly beyond the diameter of the Rudder (background layer), bevel the end polygon twice.

18. No go to the other end of the control arm and bevel that polygon three times.

a) Shift 20 mm - Inset -25 mm
b) Shift 100 mm - Inset 0
c) Shift 20 mm - Inset 20 mm

19. Go to the front of the control arm and copy and paste the polygons as shown, into an empty layer. You'll use that as a Boolean object. The composite image shows the polygons involved and the result after the Boolena subtraction. The Rudder top now has a proper slot in it.

20. Neat little rudder, is it? Now all you have left to do is to "pin the tail on the donkey". That is get the rudder handle combination mounted on the pivot. After all of this work, save file as ship_tute17.lwo

21. Guess what will become an oar? How about the rudder control arm? Works for me. Select it, make a copy of it and paste it into an empty layer. Select the point of the knob at the end and with (t) move them toward the right, as show. The grid is at 500 mm.

22. Shaping the blade of the oar. Take the point on the leading edge of the arm and slide them as shown. Follow suit with the rest of them until they are in place. The second screen-grab is on a 100mm grid. You can easily see where this is all going to end up. A few cuts (blue line for the initial one) will soften the curve.

23. All the cuts are in place and you can shape the oar a little more. Blue arrows indicate the cuts.

24. Grab the two rows of points in the middle and use (h) to stretch them vertically...and the right image shows you what you want to achieve.

25. Now sqeeze the blade a little, use (h), and you will be left with a very passable oar.

26. On to the Rowing benches/ sea-chests. With storage space at a minimum on those vessels, they used sea-chests as rowing benches. Very practical. They were found with curved and flat tops. All heavily banded with iron straps. Make a disc and delete the lower half of the points. Follow with a box and you've got the sea-chest nearly finished. They mounted them on legs, I guess to keep the contents dry. Two more little boxes (one copied and slid) take care of that.

27. Now for the iron banding. Copy the sea chest to an empty layer. Take the knife and cut a slice out of the middle somewhere. Hit (H) (MODIFY/Size) and enlarge the slice slightly. It's your iron band. Delete the rest of the chest. Copy a few and spread them across the chest. Then select them, name them straps, and copy them to the chest. Use the same color you used for the rudder pivot and hub, to color the bands. I made them just a little more shiny.

29. And voila, one burly seachest. Now you realize, that at some point you will have to make 32 chest and at least 30 oars and distribute them evenly around the ship. I'll give you some pointers. Of course, setting up one quarter of the ship and mirroring the rest will pretty much take care of it, with some adjustments. On the 200 mm grid, stretch (h) the seachest to these dimensions. When you move the cests around, make sure none poke through the hull.

30. What remains is the sail. The sail will be fastened to the yard with hoops of rope. So, go forth and make some hoops. This is what we need. Open an empty layer with the yard in the background and create these points. Connect them with a Closed Curve.

31. Go to an empty layer with the curve in the background and create a small disk in the Front/Rear view.

32. Swap (') layers and go to MULTIPLY/Rail Extrude, set it to Uniform Knots = 20, and hit "OK". Name the result "Hoop".

33. Go forth and select, copy, and slide, until you have six of them, as shown on the left. Then mirror the bunch in the Z axis. Save file as ship_tute18.lwo

This is a model that was on display at the amazing Roskilde Fjord Vikingship museum, near Copenhagen. Some of the rigging is visible. Off to the right you can just make out the dark hulk of the assembled and mounted wreckage of one of the six Viking ships that had been recovered from the silt of the Fjord.

1. Open file ship_tute18.lwo and select an empty layer with the yard in the background and put down these points and connect them with an Open Curve.

2. Continue to create points until you reach the center of the yard (Y axis). Connect them with an Open Curve as well.

3. Copy all of the points halfway down the mast. Straighten them out (Set Value), and then copy them again to about where I show them.

4. There, you now have created half the points for the sail. Go ahead and connect them with Open Curves the same way you did the top row of points. Then connect them all vertically. After that you will shape the sail a bit, to make it appear as if it were slightly filled by wind.

5. Just in case this happened to YOU, select all points, go to Set Value ((Ctrl)(v)) and set all points to ZERO in the X axis. Piece of cake.

6. Go to the side view and drag the center row of points forward.

7. Now select just the bottom row and slide the points (holding down (Ctrl)) as shown. Next, select the center row of points and sort of follow the bottom row. When done, IF you were to mirror the polygons, it would look like the image on the right. It's about the look I was after.

8. Now you can start patching the sail(Ctrl)(f). Use 1 and 5 as the number of rows and columns. Let's see how that works. Looks ok to me. Continue until the entire sail has been patched. After you're finished, mirror the whole thing (polygons
please) in the Z axis, and you're looking at a passable sail, IMO. Select it, hit (Q) and name it Sail. Make the color double-sided. Sometime, in the next part, you'll be texturing it anyway. Save file as ship_tute19.lwo

9. Rigging! We will now add the necessary lines to the ship and if you want to get any more into it. I will leave that to each individual. We'll need four lines to keep the mast up. Two in front and two in back. We will also need four lines to control the sail, all leading to the back.

Open an empty layer and have the mast and sail in the background. Create these points. Select the end points and move them. Then go to DISPLAY/Select Inverse and copy and slide the other points as shown.

10. Go to MODIFY/Drag and move the points and I did. Connect the dots with a Closed Curve.

11. Go to an empty layer, keeping the curve in the background and create this disc.

12. Rail Extrude it, and call the result "Sail Holder". We now created the rope that holds the corners of the sail and keeps the sail and hoops from bunching up. Mirror the Sail Holder and color it the same as the Hoops.

13. Now select and copy one of the center Hoops. Rotate it as shown in the left image. Save file as ship_tute19.lwo

14. Create a 20 mm disc, and Lathe it.

15. Copy the loops and place them as illustrated.

16. Now on to the mast lines. It doesn't get much easier than this. Put both mast and ship in the background of an empty layer. Create a disc, and then stretch that baby all the way to near the end of the ship.

17. Grab the end points and swing them toward the railing (gunwhale?). After you finished that, mirror the line across the Z-axis.

18. Mirror both lines on the X axis and adjust the endpoints at both ends. You want the ones at the hull to be touching the railing, and the ones at the mast to be immersed in the mast Loops.

19. Take the upper line, in the top view, copy it, and rotate it as shown. Grab the points at the yard end and pull them into the end of the yard.

20. To "terminate" it on the yard, copy one of the yard Hoops, slide it to the end of the yard, and rotate it in the side view toward the Rig 2 line. Next, in the Top View, rotate the hoop to align it with the line as shown. To make it a little better, select the end points of the line and move them into the hoop.

21. Here you see the result of that bit of detail work. If you want to be more correct, and it is your work, after all, you could conceivably bring the hoop to more of a point and then make a thick connection (a tiny ball) to simulate a knot.

22. Mirror that stuff in the Z-axis, and grab the end points of the upper line, and pull it down to where the arrow is. Then select that last bunch of lines and call them Rig2. Save file as ship_tute19.lwo

23. Now to the final set of lines. Put all you see in the previous illustration into the background of an empty layer. You'll use it as a guide for the next set of lines (Rig3). Now expand the top view and create a set of points. Spacing is somewhat arbitrary at this point. Next you will have to rotate the row of points, to have the left-most point just above the shadow image of the sail tip. I am showing you a magnified view of this. The arrow points at the tip of the sail, the final destination. Connect the points with an Open Curve, and mirror the line in Z.

24. Here you will have to slide the new set of points, until they form a reasonably straight line from the corner to the ends of the first line. Anyway, look and you'll see what I mean. NOTICE: I did not select the first point at the sail, because I don't want to move it. After some fiddling about, this is what you should have:

25. You realize that the reason for the points is that these lines will be curved, just to make things look a little more interesting. Now go to the sideview, grab all of the points and create a good approximation of a slightly curved line. Yes, I know, the left view is where you start out, but this (right) is where you should end up. By now I hope I don't have to hand-hold you through yet another Rail Extrude evolution. This is what you need to do:

1. Copy one of the lines to an empty layer.
2. In another empty layer, with one of the lines in the background, create an 8-sided 20 mm (2 dimensional disc).
3. Make sure you position the disc at the beginning (Diamond symbol) of the curve (the "rail"). Rotate and move it so that the center of the disc points down the rail.
4. Go to MULTIPLY/Rail Extrude and let it rip on "automatic".

You'll have a nice curved line from the lower corner of the sail to the left side of the railing. Repeat the process for the other curve.

26. Just a few short minutes later, this is what you've got:

Save your file as ship_tute20.lwoHere are two renders. One in the attack mode, with the sail down and the mast in the bottom of the boat, and one under sail. The keel is not sub-d'ed in the renders. The earlier .zip had the keel "tabbed". I changed that in the most recent .zip.

You can either fill it with LW Vikings (I want to see the tutorial), or you can build Poser Vikings and equip them with gear from Renderosity. Lots of free Poser downloads there. Anyway, I hope you like it, and you considered it useful. Let me add a comment here. These are largely the same bits and pieces I have used on my own Viking ship. I only opted to extend the keel into some spiral design and as of tonight added some shields and minor modifications (I flattened some of the sea chest tops to mix flat- and round - topped ones. What you do with this is up to you and your imagination. You supply the labor and the skill. Oh, and feel free to send me advice on the texturing of the hull. Everything else is pretty easy, from what I can tell.

Let me share some of the texturing ideas that I have used for my own Viking ship model. Above, the Gokstad (your model) rigged for attack: mast down, sail reefed, yard stowed, and oars out.

Open your file ship_tute20.lwo

1. Take the outer hull, paste it into an empty layer, reduce it once more to 1/4 of the full-sized hull, and cut it into strips, naming them H1, H2, H3.....H8.

2. Name the first strip H1, cut it and paste it into an empty layer. Do this successively with all of the next hull sections. I made 8 such strips. You can make more. Fewer won't look right. Once they are recombined, as you can see in my dramatization, they are all individual entities (Hull boards), labeled H1 - H8 from top to bottom. As such we can texture them individually and in spite of the extreme curvature of each board.

Don't recombine them at this time. Leave them in their individual layers. Save your file as ship_tute21.lwo

3. I also created a weight map for each of them, which I called H1W - H8W. Here's what you do: Change your perpendicular viewport from Smooth Shade to Weight Shade. All of the hull will now look a pale green. To facilitate that, I vertically combined all of the double polygons and hit (Shift)(Z). This turned them into a single polygon. Do this for each double row. The ARROW points at the first of the combined polygons, while the second set is pre-selected. Before you go combine the two polys, deselect the first one, or they'll all combine vertically and horizontally. You only want to combine them vertically. By the way, now you know why I quartered the hull once more. Labor saving procedure.

4. Next you can delete all of the left-over points. We'll talk again after you're all finished and build the weight maps.

5. First, though, set the stage for the use of the weight maps:

a) Go to the Surface Editor - Pick a Hull segment (H1 - H8).
b) Open the Texture Editor for that segment (H1 in this example).
c) Go to Add Layer and select Gradient
d) Go to the Input Parameter and select Weight Map (since we don't have them yet, leave the window labeled Weight Map at "none")
e) Set the Alpha and Parameters to 100%
f) Click anywhere on the gradient window and slide the new arrow to the bottom, as shown. Pick a color for the Parameter. I chose 157, 079, 000

Close the Texture Editor and then in the surface Editor copy (and paste) that color to all of the Hull sections, the Keel, the Mast, the Rudder (NOT the control arm), the yard, the toprail, the deck, the Inner Hull, the ribs, and the endcaps.

6. Done? Good. That took a few minutes, didn't it? Now take the first strip (know which one it is, H1 - H8 - remember, each is in its own layer), and select all of the points along the lower edge. The one shown here is H3.

7. Click on MAP/New Weight Map and name it HxW (since I am showing H3, the weight map will be called H3W). Hit ok. and you should see this: The weight map. If you don't select the points at the base, the map will go solid red.

8. Recombine all of the hull segments and save file as ship_tute22.lwo

9. Open the Surface Editor - Open the Texture Editor for one of the hull sections (H1 - H8) - Then, where the arrow points, input the appropriate weight map that you have earlier created: e.g. For hull section H1 (shown here), input weight map H1W...for hull section H2, input H2W...and so on.

10. Now let's do something with the deck. Select the deck and cut and paste it to a new vacant layer. Then quarter it, as you did with the outer hull.

11. Go to CONSTRUCT/Knife and start cutting this baby into strips. The arrows show you where to cut (looks like I've missed an arrow).

12. Go to the Polygon Edit Mode and select all of the polygons. Then bevel them as shown. The result will be that the deck now has slots, indicating planks, laid down between the ribs.

13. Now it's time to select both of the outer hull and the deck layers, and mirror them in the X and Z axes, and see how this thing renders. Save the file as ship_tute22.lwo

WOW! I must say I am pleased. All of the slicing and weight-mapping paid off. You may be of a different opinion, but this is starting to look pretty darn good (I am biased, of course). Tweak the colors, add Fractal Noise and/or Turbulence to each hull section. Slightly different each time. It's up to you, as will be the addition of Vikings, weapons, shields, and other details.

Bye ;-) for now.

You can download the latest .LWO file (22) here, including the scene file for the left image: Depending on which layers you clear in Layout, you can have either the Sail-up, or the Attack configuration shown in the image at the top of this page.

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