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  1. This evening I finally finished making a tool that does two things; a) it’s a better version of the gizmo I made to precisely set the steps dead level and correctly spaced; no doubt I’ll some back to that in a few days or weeks, when I’m ready to glue; and b) it’s to let me precisely measure the different angles on the hull. In the immediate term that will let me ‘cut’ the steps to the right angles in the 3D software so that, in theory at least, no post-production fettling should be needed. Right now I’m still working on creating the canopy, quite a complex and detailed thing to do from scratch in the software, and a final version of the entrance itself; These are a couple of test pieces, largely to see how good I could get the panel moulding detail. The photo doesn’t really do the result justice, even in this untouched up state the finish is much smoother to the naked eye and of course these are dead square, perfectly angled and so on. The prize though may be the gunports themselves. I’ve never been that happy with the work I’ve done on these so far - the finished model would kind of have a good side and a not so good side, and it’ll be Sod’s law that this will vary according to which bit of the model you’re looking at. So what you see above is my spare hull, untouched so far, and I’m thinking I could probably do a much, much better job of the gunports if I made all-in-one inserts and thickeners on the printer. Key to that is knowing the precise angles on the hull, hence all this work making the tool. So, all going well I’ll be able to get going again shortly.
  2. Last post on March 9th... and I went down the 3D printing route, and have spent much of the last spent 8 weeks learning just enough about designing and printing 3D parts to be close-ish to being able to apply it to this model. Along the way I’ve made dozens and of side step sets, entrances and gun port inserts, while learning how to get the result I’m after. Here’s a little sample, this is a good print of side steps version 1; version 2 is going to be ever so slightly shallower, 2mm deep rather than 2.5mm, a more true bottom profile and with the angles set with more accuracy, all relatively painless modifications done entirely on my PC. Wish I could do another visit to the ship - it’s a day trip for me, but may as well be the other side of the world while we remain in lockdown.
  3. Side steps part 2. This is my heath robinson (look it up) vernier height guage / setting platform for getting the side steps in exactly the right position and exactly horizontal. Patent pending of course. That small sheet of evergreen is double-sided taped onto the piece of wood and you can see me offering up the first step in the first photo. All that's needed from there is a bit of CA, let it set for a couple of minutes, then next step. As a proof of concept piece it definitely does the job, allowing me to position the steps to 0.1mm, but either the wooden platform is slightly off the horizontal or the entrance itself is slightly off the vertical. We're probably only talking one degree here but with such tiny objects in series it's enough to spoil the effect. The other problem I've had is that glue gets onto the plastic platform, espacially CA as mine doesn't have a very fine nozzle, and the object can too easily get stuck to that. I have a solution for this for Mk2 - I'll first glue the steps to some strip as a kind of sprue that sits back on the platform, maybe with a tiny bit of weight to stop the step falling off, so I can have the step itself protruding maybe 4 or 5 mm in front of the platform when I apply glue and position. (If anyone has better suggestions I'm all ears). In case you're wondering why I'm going to all this trouble just to get the steps exactly right, it's because I've always been a bit rubbish at manual superfine work, and even as a tradesman I made up for this by finding ways to get the tools to do what I couldn't. Besides which, it's fun. For anyone interested, here is a table giving the exact gap size between the steps (3.3mm). Don't use the measurements as true heights from say the keel, they are the relative positions reading off my height guage. I wouldn't mind betting that this 3.3mm pitch is precisely what the die-makers used, as the 66mm distance was exactly that, not even 0.1mm out. The end result is not as good as I was aiming for. For one thing, the steps are way too big and out of scale. I now think the thin part should be about 1/20th the width of the gunport whereas mine is about 1/3rd. However 1/20th is tiny, only about 0.5mm so I'll probably try something like 1.5mm. Which means the moulded steps are probably about right as the correct depth of the fat part of the steps. The messiness underneath the top planks doesn't really look anywhere near that messy to the naked eye, it's just the camera accentuating every blemish. You can see that slight 1 degree misalignment here, can't you, especially on the top step. I can also see that next time I need to double side a guide strip on the LH side, to get them all perfectly aligned. A bit of trivia - the lower deck on the model must be 3mm or 4mm too low, as the rigols should be coming out just below the second step down, not the third. Even if I shifted the entrance and steps down a couple of mm this still wouldn't align to reality. (The aperture itself is roughly made at this point and I'll be squaring that up after I've got the steps sorted out. Actually, it was meant to be the finished article and I haven't the slightest idea why I thought that top bit was square). I'm a little torn now between making mk2 from strip, having a go at 3D printing as that looks interesting and I'm seeing printers on ebay for as little as £70, or trying resin casting, something else I fancy dabbling in as I have a few household jobs where either of these could prove handy. I'm finding myself sometimes wishing I was still in my trade (precision sheetmetalwork) as I'd have been able to make these beautifully from aluminium using the CNC's. Either way, these ones will have to come off.
  4. Hi Phil, that’s one for the shopping list, along with another trip to portsmouth in the spring. Luckily for me it’s quite close to home.
  5. Today I've been having a go at making the sidesteps from scratch, just for the fun of it. It would almost certainly be cheaper to buy some from Daniel but I want to see how much I can do myself first, fat fingers and all. So I spent a pleasant morning in a model shop and came home with more Plastruct sizes than I'll ever need and, of course, some additional tools, equally un-needed! After quite a lot of experimentation trying to build the profile from flat shapes, I've settled on 3.2mm x 0.8mm for the top plank and 1.2mm angle for underneath. I've made a simple jig to set the offset depth at 0.8mm, which looked about right, plus I now have plenty of 0.8mm thick with which to set a depth in the jig.... This is my prototype; not too bad, but I think I need another 0.5mm depth for the bulge, put a more round edge on the flat and experiment with using milliput, which I've never used, to create a radius inside the angle. Along the way I had another look through my photoset from a visit to Portsmouth back in 2013 and realised the ports in the model must be wrongly aligned, as here the lower deck is offset from the top deck by maybe 12 inches. Not that I plan to do anything about that.
  6. I'm so glad to have found your work on here, BE, I remember it from the old site and had particularly wanted to use the sail making tutorial and copper weathering as a reference, as well as loads of other stuff.
  7. Some questions or musings now, for the experts. I still don’t have a clear sense of the point at which I should at least prime the hulls. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think I’m better off keeping glue points clear of paint altogether, is that right? My line of thinking is that, if I screw as much on as I can, this will effectively mask the areas that should be kept clean and I can then prime safely. Also, I’m thinking of buying an airbrush, as it seems crazy to spend hundreds of pounds on this build only to have a poor, brush finish. I’ve seen several sub-£100 complete kits on amazon and ebay and wonder what those with experience think? I’ve never used an airbrush and don’t know what’s okay at the budget end, bearing in mind I may only ever use it on this one model. How sharp a line do you get with airbrushes, with good masking? I’m particularly thinking here of the bee-lines. Do you have any recommendations for a budget of £100? And lastly for now, any tips or tricks on fitting the stern section? It looks particularly tricky and ill-fitting, with the hull ends seeming to run through the window lines.
  8. Yesterday I took the plunge and opened up the admirals’ entries. This is where I’m varying slightly from Dafi’s mod, because the aperture looked too long (aesthetically) after I’d cut it so I’ve lowered the top a little just to look ‘right’ for me, and will probably also raise the bottom slightly so that the side step is in line with this. I bought the Amati entry ports back in 2013 and at this point plan to use them, rather than buy Dafi’s (which weren’t available then) but the engineer in me really doesn’t believe super-glueing metal to plastic is going to work that well! Although I’ve necessarily cleared off 3 or 4 of the side steps on each side to make room for the hood, I’m not yet decided whether to go the whole hog and replace them all with Dafi’s sidesteps or just do my own thing and leave most in place. This is what I meant when I said I’m more interested in the overall aesthetic than accuracy, as right now it feels like cleaning off all the steps is one more thing (no doubt several evenings) until I can start glueing the model together. It does get quite boring staring at two hull halves day after day, not least because there are things that I don’t think I can move on to until I have the decks in place, like the stern and bow section proper! Having said that, I probably will buy some of Dafi’s parts as these do lift the model significantly. The photo on the right is a mini-saw I knocked up to cut out these ports. I mention it because I spent ages debating whether it was worth spending £5 on a ready-made item but then, in a rare moment of insight, thought of using a junior hacksaw blade. So, I just cut a section of that and it's fits perfectly in the pin vice. It even cuts to the line quite nicely.
  9. To return to the scruffy port side. Having dry fitted I could see that the boxes on the upper deck would be visible through the top deck so I've tidied these up and make them look the same as the starboard side. To me at least the starboard side looks great through the deck, the port side looked horrible. My tidying up is not brilliant, the 'line' is wonky but I don't want to undo the whole set of ports just to get a perfectly smooth flow - it'll never notice! I suspect other builders would have known this beginners error from the outset, and I'd point you to foxy's build on this site (7732-hms-victory-by-foxy-heller) as an example of a really tidy piece of work. Note though that wide evergreen will foul the line of some of the small holes and less wide may be better. Port side top deck thickeners infilled and puttied but still need sanding smooth
  10. This next photo shows how I 'strip thickened' the starboard hull. In this instance I set the long evergreen strips on the two lower decks perpendicular to the horizontal rather than flat against the hull, so the sills and lintels would be true to real life, otherwise it'll look weird and there'll be hardly any space for the guns to poke through. I haven't worried about that on the upper deck as, at 1mm thickness, it doesn't really have that effect and a little filing before lining sorts out the top. I then (obviously) added the short verticals either side but didn't worry about precision as any gaps here are very easy to fill later. For the liners, this time I used 0.5mm evergreen of three different widths, 4mm, 3.2mm and 2.mm respectively, setting the back edge in line with the back of the thickener and tweaking once all four pieces of the liner are in place and the glue is still wet. I also didn't try so hard to cut the liners accurately, close enough is good enough, and have used vallejo filler to seal the corners and joints. This has been a much, much better method than that I used for the port side. It still takes a lot of time, I'd guess 10 or 20 hours including filing off the poorly moulded liners and tidying up, but the end result looks more like it's part of the ship than boxing in. I've found that vallejo is the best filler for that particular job as it has a very fine nozzle and you can run the filler into the corners quite nicely. It is also very easy to scrape and chisel rather than file off the excess, giving sharper lines. Conversely, Perfect Putty is good for larger, easier access areas like the joints in the evergreen on the inside. And I used thinner evergreen for the top strips, hoping to avoid, on this side, the drilling problem mentioned earlier. Incidentally, the gunports look a little small to me, compared to their size in relation to the guns on the real thing. Partially lined starboard side, top deck still to be done at this point.
  11. I’ve thickened the hull around the gun ports using 3mm, 2mm and 1mm thick evergreen respectively. This photo shows how I thickened the port side, by 'boxing in' around each gun port. I copied this idea from somewhere though that builder probably did it much more tidily. My thinking was that it wouldn't show from the outside so the scruffiness wouldn't matter. I'll come back to that presently. After creating the boxes around each port I then lined the inside of each one with 0.5mm evergreen, cutting strips from a sheet and leaving it long on the inside, trimming off the excess later; there's a photo of this. I tried to cut the liners as accurately as possible, to avoid filling and filing later, and set the liners depth in the port by eye. This whole process was, to be honest, very, very tedious. In some ways it led to me parking the project because by the end of it I'd realised there was a better way, thought I ought to start all over again and re-do the port side, but couldn't face it. The holes you see in the evergreen are where I’ve drilled through from the outside for the gunport lid ropes. I think my thinking was that I’d have line running through these and tied off or glued on the inside. The holes are large on the inside to give plenty of room for the rope, from the outside they are only tiny pilot holes. The reason I mention these is because I broke a number of drill bits doing these, as they were sometimes right on the edge of the evergreen, which is why you see extra evergreen above, to give the drill something to bite into. Edit: the reason you see gaps in the joints and 'trapezoid' shapes in the top row is because I was trying to line up against the edge of each individual port moulding. There lies madness, as these are no guide at all, hence the better, 'strip thickening' approach on the starboard side.
  12. For dry fitting, I’m holding the hull halves and bow parts together using miniature self-tapping screws (M1.4 x 6mm) and a few larger set screws on the fat part of the keel. This helps me understand what I should paint before glueing and which areas I need to keep free of paint. I drill a 0.8mm hole all the way through, widen one part to 1.4mm and partly countersink. This works quite well. As my bow section is slightly distorted and has to be pulled together to meet, I've screwed a thick bit of evergreen on the inside to hold it in place, but as the evergreen plastic is relatively soft it gives slightly, so it’s not brilliant but it’s close enough for a dry fit. You’ll also notice I’ve opened up the two closed ports in the bows on each hull half. That’s just because ‘moulded in closed’ looks a bit rubbish to me and I’ll scratch build some lids from card later on. The right hand photo shows that bit of evergreen mentioned above.
  13. I’ve also found that some of them fall off while you’re trying to get the decks in place as they are not necessarily a snug fit, so I’ve temporarily extended the lugs with evergreen. I’ll probably remove these deck by deck once I’m glueing up, as they’ll break off easily enough. Similarly, I’ve added some support in between lugs, especially towards the bow end, to stop the deck flopping through when fitting.
  14. Although I naturally went straight into building the guns – that looked like fun(!) – I’ll begin the log in the more logical place, the hull. This is because the hull requires a lot of work-up and even after many dozens of hours I’m still not ready to glue it together or put paint to plastic. I started by dry assembling, to understand what went where etc and found that the red channel beams that support the lower deck are wrongly numbered on the sprues. On mine, 242 is actually 239, 241 is 240, 240 is 242,239 is 241, 238 is 238 and 237 is 237. Those for the upper decks appear true. It is worth cross-checking the Heller instructions against those of Imai, which seem a little clearer in places (though neither are great). They don’t all fit snugly into their lugs, some are tight, others loose but I’ve resisted the temptation to fiddle with their length as I suspect the variation is down to deformation in the hull mouldings, which will be forced true once decks are put in. On the subject of these beams, after several dry fits, where you have to bend the beams to get them in place, I’ve found these start to bend too easily, sag downwards under pressure and don’t necessarily hold the decks flat, so I’ve glued some thick evergreen on the undersides to make them stiffer. Note the mis-sequencing of the top set in this photo.
  15. 20th February 2020 I started this build almost exactly 7 years ago (February 2013) but parked it after perhaps 2 or 3 months for a variety of reasons. Every once in a while I’d half-heartedly take another look but, with no end of other calls on my time – a house renovation, a large garden, a family – it was always easier to justify further procrastination. I finally got going again this January 2020 and am enjoying it immensely this time. One of the reasons I parked it, to be honest, was demoralisation - I hadn’t really appreciated what building a 1:100 Victory would entail and there are some very tedious, repetitive tasks from the outset. I think I was probably expecting it to be something like building planes as a child just with more and different parts. Also, the poor Heller instructions had me scouring the web straight away and landing on Pete Coleman’s site, which was both a blessing and a bane. For those who didn’t ever see it, it was like this site, full of examples of truly extraordinary skill and craftsmanship. The trouble was, having seen what I should do, I couldn’t possibly just whack this together straight out of the box, as intended, and that meant hours and hours on small modifications lay ahead. However, it was always parked, not abandoned! I should say from the outset that this is my first go at high quality model-making. Other than helping my progeny with the odd bit of model-based homework I haven’t touched a model kit in perhaps 45 years. I chose the Victory for sentimental reasons, inspired by the books of Patrick O'Brian, not realising that this is probably the Everest of plastic sailing ship models. In fact the intention was that this would be the only kit I’d ever build, it was a project for one wet and miserable winter rather than a hobby. Who knows, that may change by the time I’ve finished the Victory (assuming I ever do). So, the object of this build log is two-fold; it’s partly to share my learning with anyone else in the same position, novice’s taking on this huge challenge; and partly to seek advice, as I go along, from the many experienced, expert modellers on this forum. It may help if I say what I’m aiming for. I’m not too bothered about true historical or nautical accuracy, just want a really nice looking ship at the end of the day. I’m unlikely to spend much if any time adding features below decks that can’t be seen, but I am making the ‘usual’ modifications like hull thickening, the admirals’ entry and altered side steps. It almost goes without saying that I’m constantly looking at the fantastic work of Dafi, Foxy, Bishophobbies and a few others, though I’m expecting my results to be more modest. That's enough of the intro - in a moment I'll start adding build content.

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