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HMS Victory by paulb - Caldercraft - 1:72

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Hi fellow builders,

After 2 years of trying to build the HMS Victory, using the Caldercraft kit I think it's time to show some of my efforts on this forum.


I live in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and I regard this as a 10-year project. Building is the fun part, time is of no essence as the fun is much less when the model is finished (speaking for myself).


I chose the HMS Victory for several reasons:

- The Caldergraft kit is essentially historically correct, although some research is still necessary.

- The kit is technically very good, most parts fit without much adjustment

- The "original" 1805 Travalgar version of the ship can still be visited in Portmouth and plenty of photo's circulate on the internet, therefore building a historically "correct" model is easier than of many other ships.

- Many books can be found on the subject like Longridge, McKay and others. over time I collected a (very) small library on the subject.

- There are some build logs of the Victory on the internet of excellent builders, notably Gil Middleton. In some instances my choices differ from theirs, but I will explain my choices as much as possible.


In the weeks to follow I wil show the progress so far, which is as far as the 30 cannons on the Upper Gun Deck.


Some basic facts about the HMS Victory:

The HMS Victory was (and is) the flagship of the English Navy which defeated the combined French-Spanish fleet during the Battle of Trafalgar. Admiral Lord Nelson was mortally wounded during battle by a French sniper, but England won the battle.

The HMS Victory is the 5th ship with this name and the largest by far. The ship was ordered in 1758. It is a First Rate Ship with more than 100 cannons. The design of the ship was completely devoted to firepower

In 1805 (Trafalgar) ther were:
- on the Lower Gun Deck: 30 cannons for 32-pound balls
- on the Middle Gun Deck: 28 cannons for 24-pound balls
- on the Upper Gun Deck: 30 cannons for 12-pound balls
- on the Quarterdeck: 12 cannons for 12-pound balls
- on the Forecastle: 2 cannons voor 12-pound balls and 2 carronades for 68-ponds balls(!!)

The total length of the ship is about 70 meter, water displacement more than 2000 tons and almost 5500 square meter of sail can be carried.
Some other numbers: 40km rope in  the rigging, 1400 blocks, 300 tons of "potable" water, 50 tons of coals, 20 tons of wood, 50 tons of beer, etc.



  1. First and second planking
  2. Wales
  3. Gunports
  4. Coppering
  5. Upper gun deck, cannons and fittings
  6. Quarter Deck
  7. Forecastle
  8. Bow
  9. Poop Deck
  10. Stern Fascia
  11. Quarter Galleries
  12. Hull details



First an impression of the progress so far. I will try not to bore you with every individual bulkhead and plank. Details will be provided on request (of course).







Edited by paulb
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Paul,  that looks a very fine piece of work that you have done.


You have identified Gill Middleton's log which I regard as one of the finest on this forum. If you have not already done so I would suggest having a look at Dafi's Victory <here>  . It is based on a Heller plastic kit which may not immediately seem relevant to your wooden build but he has done a lot of research into the detail of Victory's construction which he documents here. He also creates various tableaux with figures to show how the ship was operated. If nothing else it is a fascinating read.


Good luck with the rest of your build.

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The lower wale consist of 4 rows of "top-and-butt-system" with a 1mm  "black strake" on top, the middle wale consists of 2 rows "anchor stock planks" with a row of straight planks on top which are connected with scarfs. The upper wales are simply 3 rows of planks with connecting scarfs. For each different plank I made a metal jig.

The lower and middle wale:



And the three wales together:




Edited by paulb
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Lining the gun ports: the lining can only be done from outside. I made a small tool for holding the lining, glueing it and releasing it again. Courtesy of Gill.
It is made of 3 *bucks woodensticks, a wedge-shaped piece of wood and a bent brass strip.





From the side:




With a level attached. The lower lining will have no stop for the lids. There is some discussion about stops on the side linings.




Edited by paulb
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Fitting the lining of the gunports

- the lower lining has no stop, sloping a few degrees downward.(rainwater). 

- the upper lining runs horizontally, parallel to the gun barrels,

- the side lining are positioned at a 90 degree angle to the ship's heart line (see McKay) 

- the stops recess 1mm compared to the planking of the hull, but of course more than that compared to the wales. When making the lids I will compensate for the thickness of the wales.










Edited by paulb
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McKay used a Mercator projection for the copper plates: 







2 lines are important: A-B en A-C. these lines separate the surface into three sections and meet at the bow.

Line A-C is easy. It is a straight line, as the numbers of rows of copper plates are the same from back to front. To calculate distances I relied on the number of plates, rather than centimetres. 

the A-B line is a bit more tricky: I marked a number of points, proportionally measured, from the gunports. Then I connected the dots to make a line with joins the A-C line at point A.

Line A-B is important as the row of plates below that line has uncut plates.


Glueing: I started next to the keel, filled section 3, but stopped well before line A-B. Midship I could continue all the way until line A-B because it only has uncut plates. Than I determined the exact position of line A-B  The line A-B which I drew was only an approximation. As soon as I reached line A-B I finished that line to point A. Only then I filled up section 3, direction bow, against line A-B.

Edited by paulb
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Upper Gun Deck, cannons and fittings


cDSC_3158 (2)


And a detail of the inner bulwark including beam shelf, ceiling, stringer and waterway (quarter round, concavity facing up).


cDSC_2579cDSC_3161 (2)cDSC_3160 (2)


Shot garlands: holes made slightly bigger.


cDSC_3157 (2)cDSC_3162 (2)


Edited by paulb
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Hi Paul

Great to see your build log, another Caldercraft Victory is always welcome.

Your Vic is looking great so far keep up the good work.

I trust you are enjoying the hundreds of copper plates :)

I think your 10 year estimate is a good one, I have been on m Vic for about 13 years (had a break in the middle)

But I'm only a few weeks away from the finish line now.


I will be looking in occasionally, best of luck



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Hi Paul,


Lovely work. You sure seem to be motoring along nicely. I want to ask you a question regarding your wales, not that I have the option of changing mine at this stage...but it is a somewhat confusing area. I can't help but think that I have been working with old information that has since changed. Both Longridge and Ed Tosti used anchor stock for their lower (main) wales and top and butt for their middle wales. You have switched that order, as I see others have also done, but I cannot fiind any sources that discuss this change. Can you tell me what your reference is? McKay?


Thanks, Ian

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Thanks Ian and Elijah.


@Ian: Nice work you are doing with your Victory.

The construction of the wales often causes a lot of discussion.

You are absolutely right about what Longridge writes:main wale anchor stock (because of its strength), middle wale top-and-butt (because it uses less wood than anchor stock).

Surprisingly enough on plan no. 2 in the same book the drawing shows the reverse, and is very similar to McKay's drawing.

I have followed McKay, not because I know for sure he is correct, but his drawings are the most recent and I had to make a choice. Both solutions have sources to support them.

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Paul, thanks so much for the speedy reply. So this is good news for me, it appears maybe there is no precise answer! I see Alexandru has adopted the approach you have followed as has Heinz, at least partially. At the end of the day all that really matters is that we are happy with our model.


I have pulled up a chair to your build as I know I'll be borrowing some of your ideas and expertise.


Best Ian

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You are most welcome Ian and Sjors. Your Victory and Agamemnon are both very inspirational and instructive for me.


Now the last fittings of the Upper Gun Deck, before mounting the Quarter Deck.
Any parts like stanchions, pillars and the Elm Tree Pump are provided with a metal pin at the bottom, before glueing them on the deck. The pin sticks through the deck for extra strength.

The Elm Tree Pump consists of several parts. According to the manual the handle is plain brass, but the pump on the HMS Victory has a wooden handle. I drilled a 1mm walnut stick lengthwise, stuck it over the brass handle, sanded the sides flat and finally gave it a matt finish. Additionally I gave the pump a water outlet, otherwise it would not be of much use.



cDSC_3571 (2)

Painted (with the exception of the handle):


cDSC_3636 (2)


I might fit the mast sleeve now or later. Probably now for easy access.

Edited by paulb
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I've got a question about the color of the (visible from the Quarter Deck) skid beams of the Victory, the ones supporting the boats.

The manual calls for black, Gil Middleton painted them brown, which I like a lot, but Longridge and McKay don't mention color.

Does anyone have any historical reference as regard to the correct color?


All I found is picture taken from below(i.e. standing on the Upper Gun Deck).




It seems the dark beams are the Skid Beams, which are covered on top by canvas.

They look pretty dark, but so do the pillars, which are dark brown.

Edited by paulb
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