We would be happy to see your progress. I was involved in the development of the kit, and so I am curious how it is to build. I am receiving a copy, but will not start building it until I have all of the parts (I have received installment 108 of 136 at this point). If you have any questions about details, colors, etc., this is the place to ask, and I am always happy to check things on the ship if you need information.
I: The Archaeology of a Swedish Warship (appeared 2006) II: The wind is fair: rigging and sailing a 17th-century warship (sails, rope, tackle, anchors, navigation) III: The king's beautiful new ship: building a warship (the hull, pumps, interior furnishings, tools, etc.) IV: Who are you? The crew as individuals (human remains, clothing, shoes and other personal possessions) V: A floating community (recruitment, pay, provisioning and feeding, social structure, hygiene, etc.) VI: The machine of war (armament, tactical and strategic environment, etc.)
We are finalizing the design of Vasa II right now and beginning the layout process with a publisher, hoping to get this out this year, with a little luck. We took a big two-year detour to select the publisher, thanks to the complicated bidding rules which regulate government contracts here, but we seem to be getting to the end of that. The book looks like it will be about 1000 pages (in two volumes in a slipcase) with 510 colour illustrations plus four sheets of fold-out plans, at either 1:50 or 1:75 scale (still working out the printing logistics for the sail plan, which is a very big drawing). Once we have a contract in place, layout and printing should take six to eight months.
We are also hiring more research staff in order to ramp up the speed with which we can get these books out. I have been a one-man band until a year ago, but we should have enough people now to work on more than one volume at a time.
The deckhouse on Naseby in the van de Velde drawing resembles the arrangement on the Sheldon model, which includes a cockpit or lowered deck section abaft the house.
Most ships of this period, (including Vasa) have at least one gundeck port on each side which points directly forward. On Vasa, this is the first port on the lower deck. Often, this carried an especially heavy or long gun, (as on Vasa).
I am not sure how to respond to your quesiton about the bow shaping. The form of the Sheldon model looks to be similar to other ships of the newer type produced in the 1650s, after the model of Speaker, and so is relatively sharp, with some hollow in the lower part. I expect that Naseby and Äpplet would both be very different in hull form from SoS.
Recent research suggests that the model we have is likely connected to the construction of Riksäpplet. Niklas Eriksson has recently published a book (Riksäpplet: Arkeologiska perspektiv på ett bortglömt regalskepp; Nordic Academic Press 2017) which discusses the model and investigates this connection quite closely. Analysis of the hull form of the model suggests it should sail fine on the design waterline. It was made by a professional ship designer, so it is not a "toy", but embodies his ideas of how a large warship should be configured. The ship built from it had no problems as a sailing vessel, and was only lost through poor management in an anchorage.
We are working on a detailed documentation of the model, but do not have a definitive timetable for publication.
It looks like this grating is directly above the hawsehole, so it would allow the jeer capstan on the upper deck to be used in assisting to raise an anchor. This is one of the uses for the jeer capstan attested in 17th-century sources, such as Smith and Mainwaring, but it requires a lead for the tackle, which this hatch provides. It also looks like there may be a double block already mounted in the right place, or perhaps a whole tackle, so one would only have to lead the fall up through the hatch to the capstan when needed. On Vasa, there is a suitable gap in the grating rather than a removable section.
Indeed! Because Vasa waited so long for its main armament (the 24-pounders), they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel for the upper deck guns, amassing a motley collection of antiques and obsolete types.
The problem is that the decks do not survive on wrecks, for the most part, so we do not know. On Vasa, the binding strakes run the length of the deck,although sometimes with some odd joinery towards the ends. One of their functions is to frame the hatches, but they also contribute significantly to the longitudinal strength and stiffness of the hull, thanks to complex joinery and bolting through the beams.