Sunday, January 24, 2016

Garden of Kama - Khmer Galleys update

Khmer galley...

...with rowers seats removed.

...with side wicker protection for rowers.

Another view.

And again.

Reverse the seating to get a Tsolyáni River Galley.
(The stern is now the prow!)

A tiny bit of progress this last week. In the first instance I sent the basic galley prototype to a fellow Petal Head who has access to a 3D scanner. Perhaps this will result in a scanned file that will allow me to side-step my resin supplier who is turning out to be a real bottleneck, unfortunately. I just cannot get a reliable supply of product. Fingers crossed!

The other bit of news is while studying the model again I realized that by reversing the rowers seating and turning the vessel around the resulting look is very much like other small craft designs in the region - Burma, for example, where the stern post tends to be very tall. The prow of the prototype is quite bulky, mainly because it is intended to be cut away and replaced by a Naga-head carving. So a proper Burmese galley would probably need the stern cut down a bit. I haven't really pursued this as it occurred to me that I could make my Tsolyáni River Galley variants by using this reversed seating. I just need to determine what form of decoration the bow and stern posts should have.

The final step forward was with the wicker side panels that the Khmer galleys had to provide some minimal protection for the rowers. I have explored many construction methods and debated resin vs metal castings or perhaps even 3D-printed panels. 

A few years ago, a friend of mine in North Bay found a suitable material in the form of shelving liners. Until now I have always looked at it from the point of view of using it as a master to somehow be molded to make a final product. But always there were difficulties. It needs to be flexible to fit the curve of the hull and then there was the question of how to do the supports. And should there be top and/or bottom rails? Last week, however, I finally decided to just use the shelf liner "as is". Its not like I am likely to sell hundreds of these things anyway, if the last five years are anything to go by!

The top two pictures show the basic Khmer galley prototype. It is 12" long and will have a crew of twenty oarsmen and a steersman. And perhaps a captain and one or two others. The second picture shows the rowers seats removed. The rower figures will be cut of below the knee and face backwards as is normal for a galley. Their oars, however, are much shorter than those of the typical Greek or Roman galley we are used to seeing.

The middle three pictures show the cut strips of shelf liner. In addition to being flexible, many of the liners come in nice bright woven patterns which would be difficult to paint. I don't think anybody actually knows what they would look like. The knowledge comes mostly from stone carvings after all. So they could be plain wicker panels or they could be in various patterns. Mine will be in whatever patterns and colours the local dollar stores can provide! :-)

The last picture shows the Tsolyáni variant with reversed seating so that the stern is now the prow. I just have to decide what other changes - if any - are required.

Comments and suggestions welcome! :-)