The Gokstad Viking Ship Saga———in 1/6th Scale

Bill Egger’s masterpiece under full sail. Stunning! (Photo: Joseph Binette)

Closeup of the shields. Absolutely COOL!
(Photo: Joseph Binette)

Exclusive to The Joe Report…

Fans who were browsing the internet for viking figures last year  may have encountered a wonderous sight; a one-of-a-kind, highly detailed, wooden replica of a Gokstad Viking ship—in perfect 1/6th scale. Like its full-size inspiration, this amazing 1/6th version would also encounter “storms” en route to its final destination.

The ship’s seller (but not builder) was Joseph Binette, owner of an antiques business in Torrington, Connecticut called Round-n-Round Antiques. Joe described the astounding 1:6 watercraft thusly…

Bill Egger’s masterpiece is in exact, 1/6th scale.
(Photo: Joseph Binette)

“It’s an exact 1/6th replica of the famed 72′ Gokstad viking ship that sailed c 700 -900 A.D. It features an all-oak construction, fully stained and painted in the original colors. The model measures 12′ long by 4′ wide and has a 10′ ceiling height as it sits in its cradle or stand. The model was built and carved by noted Goshen, CT wood artist, Bill Eggers and is ideal for collectors, museums, display, nautical decor or parades. It`s a fine example of Eggers craftsmanship.”

Broadside view is awesome.
(Photo: Joseph Binette)

A fine example, indeed. The ship is a mind-blower, especially for fans and collectors of 1/6th scale. I asked Joe if Bill Eggers would speak to me about the ship, and he said, “Sure!” and gave me Bill’s number. I called Eggers up in Goshen, CT and spoke with him about his Nordic, nautical masterpiece. I wondered if he’d ever built a boat of any size or type before and his answer surprised me…

Imagine the pounding of a big drum, urging your 1/6th oarsmen onward to VICTORY!
(Photo: Joseph Binette)

“Actually, no. I’d never built any ships before. But I do have 55 years experience as a wood-working contractor in Manhattan. And I’ve built a lot of things for company displays and museums, including a Roman chariot, mini-stagecoach, even a FULL-SIZE replica of 53 Willy’s.

Closeup of the dragon figurehead. WOW!
(Photo: Joseph Binette)

The viking ship took me over 8 months to complete. It was quite a job. I had plans for taking it out on the water, maybe adding some R/C components and sailing it around lake or something. But that never happened.”

I asked him what ultimately happened to the ship. Did he ever sell it on ebay? Did he receive $5,000 for it as his friend Joe had been asking? He said…

Closeup of the bow reveals Egger’s astounding woodworking skills.
(Photo: Joseph Binette)

“No. The ship was listed for almost a year. But I guess the economy was too tough to sell such a large, expensive model. So it never sold and I took it off ebay.

Side view of the bow and the figurehead. Perfect place for a “forward observer” Viking!
(Photo: Joseph Binette)

Then, I towed it all over New England to various history museums, trying to donate it to them for free, but they wouldn’t take it! You know what they all said to me? ‘No thanks, Bill. It’s European.’ They only wanted American history items. I guess if it had been a Native-American birchbark canoe or something, they would’ve been more interested.

Closeup of the stern reveals a beautiful curl, shields and more.
(Photo: Joseph Binette)

Ultimately, I ended up donating it to a private collector I know in Atlantic City, NJ. He’s got barns and barns FULL of big models and stuff. This was the first and only ship for him though. He’s created his own private museum of sorts. But it’s not open to the public. Visitors are allowed in by personal invitation only. Anyway, that’s where it is.”

Ah, well…The saga of Egger’s massive, 1:6 scale Gokstad Viking Ship has come to an end—at least for now. Maybe someday, we’ll see its dragon figurehead and bright red and white striped sail again. Until then, why not satiate your yen for barbaric, Nordic Adventure by watching the exciting (6-minute) opening sequence of Kirk Douglas’ epic film, The Vikings. It’s retro-cool!  WATCH NOW


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