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How to build a model viking ship

Updated April 17, 2017

The Vikings were a seagoing people whose distinctive ships often called longboats were crafted to withstand long ocean voyages. Whether you are a teacher looking to bring a lesson on the Vikings to life with hands-on crafts, a gamer or hobbyist who would like a model Viking ship for their collection or are simply interested in creating your own model of a Viking longboat, you can easily build this simple model with a small amount of paper and glue.

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  1. Select and print a Viking ship plan. The detailed plan can be printed in full colour and assembled straight from the printer. The basic plan offers you the chance to customise the ship by colouring in the pieces by hand and adding your own designs. Plans can be printed on plain white printer paper or on white cardstock for a sturdier model. You may also print plans on paper then cut out and trace onto sturdier cardstock or cardboard.

  2. Cut out the printed plans. On the detailed plan, cut the two halves of the hull apart along the centre black line. If using the basic plan, the hull piece should be traced onto a folded piece of paper with the bottom of the ship lined up along the fold.

  3. For the detailed plan, score the hull pieces along the dotted lines. Glue the front and back or rudder and prow of the ship together on both plans. For the basic plan, colour and decorate the ship before starting to glue.

  4. Allow the glue to dry before adding additional pieces. On the detailed plan, cut then fold the tabs on the base piece. Insert tabs between the two sides of the hull gently pressing it into place. Fold the strakes (or tabs) on the deck and place them between the two sides of the hull. Glue each strake to the inside of the hull starting in the centre and alternating from side to side. Once dry, fold over the top edge of each side of the hull and glue in place over the strakes. Cut out the separate rudder bar piece and fold this around the rear of the ship and glue in place. On the basic model, decorate the shields. Cut out the shields and glue them in place along the each side of the hull. Cut out the seat and punch a small hole in the centre where marked. Place this in the centre of the ship.

  5. Cut out the sails and make two small holes for inserting masts. Insert a plastic drinking straw or a light wooden stake or stick through those holes to serve as the mast. On the detailed model, the mast can be mounted by carefully placing a hole in the centre of the deck or by mounting the stick in a small piece of clay and affixing this to the deck. On the basic model the mast can be mounted in the seat piece.

  6. Tip

    If your ship model is prone to tipping over, use some clay along the base of the ship to steady it, and prevent it from capsizing.

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Things You'll Need

  • A colour printer
  • White printer paper
  • Cardstock or cardboard (optional)
  • Scissors
  • White glue or glue stick
  • Magic markers or coloured pencils (optional)
  • Drinking straw or thin wood stick
  • Clay (optional)

About the Author

Lissabeth Ross began her career in journalism in 2005 as a staff writer for the "Journal of the Pocono Plateau." In addition to writing for several different newspapers, she served as the editor of the travel publication "News of The Poconos." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Rutgers University.

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