La Fabbrica di Gulliver


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The "burchio", in dialect "burcio", was the most widespread type of river boat starting from Roman times until the 1960s, when it had the greatest development thanks to the passage to motorization followed by a sudden and definitive disappearance.

From 15 to over 30 m in length. with a width of around 5, it was characterized by square shapes and a "flounder" bow, i.e. flat for sliding on shallow waters. The masts passed from the ancient square sails to the Latin triangular ones in the Middle Ages, to finally take on the typical trapezoidal shape "in the third". Fitted with one or two holds, it had quarters and galley for the 3 crew. It was normally towed by the service boat, the "batel".

The 1/24 international scale model is inspired by the project of the Naval History Museum of Venice and the documentation collected to reproduce the boat. It is therefore a complex reworking compared with the memories of people who lived their lives aboard these indispensable transports, which connected the navigable part of the rivers in the plains with the coastal terminals, first and foremost the Venice lagoon.



The Magano del Po built in the Ferrara area at the end of the 17th century. xix used for the transport of heavy materials such as sand, gravel, grain and also as a ferry with a cover on which dear cattle took place. The Magano del Po is propelled exclusively by oars or with long poles for shallow waters, a characteristic of the bow suitable for sandbanks, the family of the boat captain used to live in the stern cabin until the early 20s. Length mt. 18.80 - Width mt. 4.50



The boat is typical of the Padua area, had shapes very similar to the burcio, from which it was distinguished by the lower bow, the lighter construction, the only large central hold of almost 11 meters, but above all by the rounded profile of the stern, with the rudder following its line. The largest boats could reach 25-26 meters in length; like the burcio, with the advent of motor propulsion, it was a rather versatile boat, which indifferently embarked marine engines together with war remnants of automobile derivation. The decline of navigable canals as traffic arteries decreed an early end compared to other more conventional boats for lagoon and coastal environments. Unfortunately, there are no accurate descriptions or technical measurements capable of ensuring an irrefutable modeling or true transposition.

The model: obtained from a generic orthogonal projection which reflects its general lines, it is suitable for a reproduction in 1/24 or 1/48 scale. Starting from 25.5 m. (hull excluding the rudder protrusion) of the project, with the 1/24 you get a model of 106.25 cm x 22 wide, with the 1/48 instead 53.13 x 11. In this case the smallest model does not involves complex detailing; as always in “environmental” dioramas you can go down to 1/72, in which case the detail must focus more on descriptive details of the load or the movement of the characters on the boat or on land.

For the reasons explained above, the project was studied exclusively by the "Fabbrica di Gulliver" in the spring of 2006, with the production of a first motorized prototype, which we considered more significant, lacking a reliable representation of the sailing system with traditional sails at the third.

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The service boat for transport boats such as burci, gabarre, padovane, is difficult to describe as only the measurements are known in a generic way: around 7 meters long by 2 – 2.5 wide and a height equal to about eighty centimeters, there were many types, with bow in plaice or in stem, almost equal ends, very widened or mirrored stern, relatively tapered lines. From the documentation relating to the Sile it appears in some cases to have a certain momentum, in the style of other common lagoon boats, from which it differs essentially in having a free bow, without a covered wooden locker, more suitable for rougher waters than on the river .

It usually had two oars for classic Venetian rowing with the stern oar on the starboard side and the bow one on the left, but it could be rowed in the Valesana style, with both forcole at the stern crossing the handles of the oars in a characteristic and poetic movement.

The model: essentially combinable with the mother boat, both in static reproduction and diorama, it obviously follows the scale ratio of 1/24 or 1/48. Despite the notable difference – in 1/24 it corresponds to 29 cm x 9 wide, in 1/48 instead 14 x 4.5 – the manufacturing difficulties make the model smaller, more suitable for dioramas, with complex detailing. On "environmental" dioramas you can go down to 1/72, in which case the detail drops noticeably.

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