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Dry Dock / Shipyard: Builds & Questions => Navy - Military - Battleships: => Topic started by: ballastanksian on January 26, 2017, 11:50:10 PM

Title: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on January 26, 2017, 11:50:10 PM
Alongside the longer term M19 project, I am restoring this model bought from Surf's Up last July.

To cut a long story short, I built a model of Novgorod in the ninties at college, but let it fester and disposed of it in 2009. I wish I had keptit but it was a display model and when this model turned up, I knew it had to be mine  %% By chance, I met the original builder, now sadly deceased with this very model in progress at the Grange Model show (Midhurst) back in 2007-8 and had a good natter with him about them.

It's history is well known so I will move straight on to what I am doing.

The hull is made from balsa and despite a good coat of paint, it did attract dents and dings, so I decided I would skin the hull with resin and one of a couple of options for reinforcing fabric.

To try and control water ingress, I took the plunge and cut a ring of the original deck off with a coping saw and stuck the sections onto the hull.

Then I filled and sanded the gaps and irregularities. For this I used a splendid wood file made in Japan. I can tell you now, it is the best and smoothest cutting file I have ever used! It files car body filler smoother than fine grade abrasive, indeed, I will probably have to rough the filled surfaces up priore to glassing! Bonkers

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More soon!
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: unbuiltnautilus on January 26, 2017, 11:59:43 PM
Ahhh, that beast was nearly mine at one point...its sheer size was what ended my dreams. Good luck with the build. I think I still have a folder of reference photos on the computer, titled 'Starship Novgorod' know, cos it's round %)

 :-)) :-)) :-)) :-))
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Bob K on January 27, 2017, 07:30:01 AM
There was one of these going on Mayhem not that long ago.  My PM was just too late to acquire it.  I do have a predilection for unusual warships.  I shall be watching this thread with great interest.
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: surfs up on January 27, 2017, 02:06:00 PM
Looks like a great start to the restoration, which I just had the time and space to have done it myself.
Please keep the updates coming.

Ady (surf's up)
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Rob47 on January 27, 2017, 04:40:07 PM
what's the name of that file and where can you buy in UK?
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on January 27, 2017, 07:47:54 PM
Good question! I bought mine from Axminster Power tool centre.

They are called Japanese carver's files. (

They are not cheap, but with care I expect one to last for a long time. As I say, I get smoother finishes on Body filler than I would with a needel file!

I say Mr Nautilus, have you references of the gun turret? I have an image captioned Novgorod of two dissapearing guns but as I rarely trust captions on t'internet, I don't think they are from Novgorod, but perhaps Popov?

My next step is to add resin and either Stocking or grp cloth to the hull, but I have to bolster my wallet first.
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Akira on January 28, 2017, 01:36:41 PM
A wonderful subject. I am following your re-build with anticipation.
BTY the 2015 edition of Warship includes a wonderful article about her and her sister.
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on January 28, 2017, 09:21:09 PM
Thanks for the nod Jonathan. I will look it up and see what it says.

The one thing I have found with Novgorod is that there are many interpretations of weapons fit etc on the various models I have seen that do not always match descriptions given of her. She is a fun ship with a fun shape (and probably comical sailing properties) so I want to match fun with getting the right bits all together.

The biggest challenges will be making her flood proof as the freeboard is woeful hence cutting the ring on deck off and fitting it to the hull to add quarter inch. I have a few ideas to work into the model including bulkheads and a rubber gasket around the inner edge. As I am not having a working rudder, there is no need for actuating rods, so I can put my electrogizzardry into a water tight box just in case
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Geoff on February 01, 2017, 01:15:10 PM
May I suggest using Vaseline as a gasket. If the painted wood parts are a close fit this works as an excellent seal. It has the down side of having to be renewed from time to time but in my experience is pretty nearly watertight and importantly takes up virtually no room at all. Typically gaskets need to be pulled together to form the seal so frequent screws may be needed.

Good luck with this. You will have to come up/down to London and sail it on the Round Pond!


Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Akira on February 01, 2017, 02:06:50 PM
Geoff's idea to use Vasoline is one option. Another might be to create the gasket by applying silicon to one surface, coat the other surface with Vasoline or clear plastic food wrap and then put the hull components together and apply pressure to seat them correctly. After and appropriate dry time say 48 hours, pull apart, clean the vasoline off and you should have a very thin fixed gasket of silicon adhered to one half of the hull. That is the idea, anyhow.  A number of Sub builder use a version of this to seal their pressure hulls. Perhaps raising the question in the sub forum would present some more ideas. After all. you have pretty close to a sub running surfaced. Good Luck.
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Ian K on February 01, 2017, 04:50:26 PM
Hi Ian,

These images will get your Novgorod guns sorted  ok2

I wish I had access to these images, when I built my model in 1990....pre internet and Russian friend!
My model used plywood rings to form the hull, bread and butter style. The top layer and the deck were formed from flat rings of alluminium.
The faces of which were, and still are sealed with silicon grease. It still keeps out the water 27 years later, when it gets its bum wet!


Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Ian K on February 01, 2017, 06:36:14 PM
Hi Ian,

The previous top two images are of Vice Admiral Popov's disapearing mountings. :embarrassed:

The 12" guns were of the same design. The main difference was that the trunnion supports, were attached to friction sliders and the hydraulic dampend recoil rails.
I have images somewhere on one of the "puters" when I can find them I will share!

Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on February 01, 2017, 09:29:57 PM
Thank you very much for your ideas regarding seals etc. I was going to use a length of silicone tubing siliconed into the corner between the outer ring and the flat material the hull is made from which hopefully would distort enough under the weight of the deck to oval. If applied along with vaseline as per Geoff and Jonathan's ideas it should make a good seal. Either way, silicone will be an essential part of the project.

Ian, I would love references to the Novgorod guns if you can find them! I printed off the very same diagram a few weeks ago with the same misgivings. It is sad that they are not right as I was looking forward to making them.

Again, thanks all:O)
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on February 02, 2017, 09:16:39 PM
Is this similar to the references you have on the 11inch gun Ian?

The Vavasseur like mounting looks like the ones I have seen on models.

Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Ian K on February 02, 2017, 10:04:52 PM
Hi Ian,

Yes, very similar. This is the Krupp 305mm mount and gun.

If I remember correctly, they dated from around the start of 1867 onwards, changing very slightly over the next 10-15 years.

It is almost identical to the single Krupp 305mm mounted on the Wespe class german coastal gun boats.

See attached images for the Krupp/Wespe class version.


Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: derekwarner on February 02, 2017, 10:55:24 PM
Ian/ each of the sectional drawings for these gun mounts, the barrel length is depicted as short and stubby like a cannon, however the Drawings in Reply#11 do reference a myriad of principal dimensions [to un-shown tables]

The following [Courtesy WIKI] confirms the barrel length for the 305 mm guns is 50 Caliber] {or as referenced as 14.481 metres??]....{this in itself is questionable as 305 x 50 = 15,250}

However to complicate things, an earlier image depicts the shore based battery of 4 guns as that same short, stubby like a cannon like mountings %)


51.85 t (51.03 long tons; 57.15 short tons)
15.25 metres (50 ft 0 in)
Barrel length
14.481 metres (47 ft 6 in) (50 calibers)
250Ė405 kilograms (551Ė893 lb)
30.5 centimetres (12 in)
horizontal sliding-block
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Ian K on February 03, 2017, 10:49:55 AM
Hi Derek,

The version I posted info for is a 22 calibre length weapon.

There were a vast range of Krupp 305mm guns of 50 calibre plus.
Variations of these were fitted to the Battleships and battle cruisers of the imperial German high seas fleet.  That might explain your result of 15.25 metres :-)

The image Ian previously posted is of the 280mm 22 calibre fortification mounted version.

The other info I posted of the various bore weapons, were built in Russia by Obukhov, of the Krupp design.

Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: tonyH on February 03, 2017, 08:12:11 PM
There's a complete description and (probably) the same pics that Ian sent in The Engineer magazine for May 9th 1879 via Graces Guide. Specifically for the 'Cyclads' as they were called. (

From about page 334

Makes for interesting reading perhaps :-))

Just as an aside, there's an article in the same issue on the Berthon folding canoes which were often used instead of rigid boats on early TB's and TBD's.

Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on February 03, 2017, 10:19:59 PM
Thanks chaps. To clarify for your benefit. The Novgorod had two eleven inch guns and the Popov mounted two twelve inch guns.

With a bit of careful planning and a little drawing I should be able to recreate good likenesses of the eleven inch guns on their Vavasseur mounts from the references so kindly dug out by you chaps. The original references I had and possibly the builder of my model had were quite basic and did not provide details about the mounting.

Again many many thanks and luxuriate in the fact that the meterial will be put to use in the coming months.
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Ian K on February 03, 2017, 10:26:41 PM
Hi Ian,

You are welcome!

The 2nd gun down in the 4x Obukhov designs is the 11" version you need.
I can PM you the larger size file I have if you need it ok2

Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on February 03, 2017, 10:39:45 PM
I will print the one shown off and see how I go with it. I will turn one and cast a few in resin.

Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on February 26, 2019, 10:40:28 PM

Good evening.

Having reinforced my wallet recently, I got to thinking about Novgorod and the enthusiasm juices came to the surface. To that end I have been ordering materials and have been looking at the guns.

Photos will follow very soon, but safe to say, Resin and GRP cloth has arrived from Easy Composites (Recommended by a fellow Mayhemmer) and I turned the breech and made a breech block blank yesterday.

As I need to stuff her full of ballast I am going to sandwich lead sheet between the bottom and the GRP with some notches cut out of the lead so the resin can link to the hull.
This will go between the numerous keels with those being resin coated as they are hardwood. I was thinking about cladding the hull sides with lead strips as well, but this might be too much given how soft the lead is.

Anyhow, that is a project for the weekend, I can do things to the gun master at lunchtimes (Ooh, Pasty day tomorrow  O0 ) I will cast up the guns and breeches in PU resin and fabricate the carriages from styrene.

Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Akira on February 27, 2019, 03:15:58 PM
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, the information presented in the Popovkas article in Conway's Warship 2015, indicates that the main armament of the Novogrod was two Krupp 11inch/20 caliber, 28 ton guns. Installed date: 1873, barrel length 5,588mm/20 cal, Bore/Rifled length 4,750mm/17cal,

As for the mounting "Each gun was indeed on an individual carriage, and these could be trained at different targets, although at some point their carriages would interfere with one another. They could also be lock so that they rotated together. The guns could be train the 180 degrees in 2-3 minutes, but despite the 'great rapidity of action' Reed observed, rate of fire was rather slow, one round per gun every ten minutes or so."The Vitse-admiral Popov mounted 12"/20 cal 41 ton Obbukhovskii guns mounted in the central barbette. "the mountings, of the Moncreiff 'disappearing type' were designed by Lieutenant L.A. Rasskazov, and were ordered from Armstrong in England. But by the autumn of 1876 Anglo-Russian relations were strained due to disturbances in the Balkans, and there were fears the war might break out before their delivery. It was therefore decided to build the mountings in Russia to a design based on the Novgorod's gun carriages, but scaled up to take the 12 in guns"I hope this helps.

Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: raflaunches on February 27, 2019, 07:51:59 PM
Iím looking forward to your next instalment, especially the detail work of the guns. After seeing your 9.2 in guns Iím sure that whatever gun is fitted itíll be fantastic quality. :-))
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on March 02, 2019, 06:34:04 PM


I have some images of progress made to this project.

Because she has the displacement of a feather, I need to find imaginative ways to weigh her down to her low freeboard. I am not ruling out a water ballast system but I am adding some lead to help things along.

In with a layer of glass and resin, I am going to add a layer of lead flashing between the false keels.

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The strips have all had their edges slit to help the resin bond the glass to the hull. Strip ends have also had holes drilled to do the same but more neatly as they might be seen.

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The hull has had a layer of epoxy brushed on ready for glassing stripping tomorrow.

The 11 gun is well under way. I have the trunnions to make before I can put this into a silicone mould and cast the required number of parts. Then I can scratch build the carriages.

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I should have got a little more done next week.

Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Akira on March 03, 2019, 02:17:29 PM
Beautiful master! What is the material, it looks like Renshape? I like how you are approaching ballasting, It will look like original plating.  Are you planning on your armament being operational?
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: ballastanksian on March 03, 2019, 02:28:38 PM

Hi Akira,

The material is called 'Chemiwood' though other names like Modlab are also used for some grades. I imagine that Renshape is a similar wood flour/resin compound that can be machined, turned etc.

My approach to the ballasting is because there isn't a huge amount of space for stuff inside because of her shallow hull and the baulks of balsa used to create the hull shape. The hull is so buoyant!

I will make the barbette traverse but the guns run up slopes on firing, so decided to keep things less complicated. More detail and less action!
Title: Re: Popovka restoration
Post by: Akira on March 03, 2019, 03:58:27 PM