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Pelican, later renamed as Golden Hind, by Baker - scale 1/45 - Galleon late 16th century

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Internet Links ship building 16th century


Balcony, doors and windows


Channels and installing cannons

Fore and rearcastle

Rearcastle interior

Forecastle interior + stove





Transom upper part

Lower hull

cannon deck

Upper hull



Treenails 2





Masts, blocks, deadeyes chaines
Standing rigging
Running rigging and sails
Sail making

History of the ship

Captain : Francis Drake (after 1580 Sir Francis Drake)

1577  Build or rebuild and launched as the Pelican

1577 Set sail with 4 other ships for an expedition intended to pass around South America

1578 Renamed as the Golden Hind(e)

1579 Captured the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de la conception

1580 Arrived back in England after a trip around the world 

First English ship to sail around the world

And after this journey stored in dry dock on public display until she was finally scrapped.


about the trip and sir Francis Drake





Dimensions (depending on the source)

Length : somewhere in between 31m to 37 m

Tonnage : somewhere in between 100 to 150 tons

Armament : 18 to 22 cannons

Crew : start of the journey  80 to 85 men, Back on arrival in England 56 men


Modern day replicas build :

·  One in Essex ,build between 1947 and 1949 (demolished in 2013)

·  One in Brixham in Devon build in 1963? Sunk in 1987 and scrapped (Now rebuild based on the hull of a steel barge)

·  One in Appledore North Devon, launched in 1973, sailed more than 140,000 miles all over the seas and now on display in London.


Source : wikipedia

The model
More then 45 years ago, the Airfix Golden Hind on 1/144 scale was the very first scale model I ever built. 
This model now wil by a plank on frame model.  And I can only do my best to make it as realistic as possible.
There are no plans, no drawings and no paintings of the real ship. I just find a few etchings of about 1600 - 1620 on the internet and they are both different.
On the internet there are plans . They are of Aeropiccola, an Italian company that no longer exists. 
I think the scale is abouth 1/50
They looked great in the beginning.But the more I look at them, the less good they begin look ...
It seems as if the hull is too wide and the shape of the frames dont match the shape from those of Matthew Baker (A well-known shipbuilder from this period) 
But :
It looks like nobody knows If this  ship was a real "race galleon" or just an armed merchantman (privateer). 
Before we start
Were the guns placed below dek or on the dek?
I believe that all the guns were lined up below deck. And not on the deck  like with most Golden Hind models.
Guns on the deck may cause an unstable ship . And on the models there is not enough room to absorb the recoil of the guns and too reload them.
Mi first step is to try to build a hull with:
A shape that has enough space to absorb the recoil of guns. But is not too wide
Has place for 14 cannons below deck
Has 2 light guns in the forecastle.
Has 4 light cannons in the rear castle.
Apparently it looks if there is only one ship wreck from this period is found. Called "the Princess Channel wreck” or “the Gresham ship”
In this period many newly built ships were so unstable that the hull had to be adjusted immediately. With the aid of Girdling: (making  the hull wider at the water line). Or furring ( make the  hull below the waterline wider). Actual evidence of this was found in the Gresham ship.
Even on the replica of the Golden Hind the hull is widened at the waterline.
I use plywood, ramin ( the pieces of ramin wood are old leftovers from construction works in our house 20 years ago) an cherry wood (from a tree that came from the garden)
And the keel of the Golden Hind was laid on a sunny day the 10th of september.
Edited by Baker
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Good luck with it. There'll never be an exact replica of the Golden Hind unless someone gets a time machine and goes back to have a look (and take photos, measure up etc) Whether she had a stern gallery, what her colour scheme was - all conjecture. But it's certainly possible to make a model of what she could have looked like and not be too far wrong.


She may not have been a new ship in 1577, as Francis Drake renamed her on the voyage - she'd been the Pelican. According to Wikipedia, she was 100 feet long. 


You already have Mathew Baker which is probably your most reliable source, but (though these are not English), you might also look at the SO-1 wreck (see here) and the Red Bay wreck which sank in 1565 (see here and here. (there are also other websites available if you do a bit of a search). And the Swedish warship Mars, sunk in 1564 here


And there's a thesis here on the evloution of hull design in sixteenth century ships of war which has some useful information in it.


Have fun!



Edited by Louie da fly
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Thank you all,



i bought the Bosch saw recently to make a "bee hotel".
I saw a similar in-store, price: 995 euros.
Now I have a Bosch saw and a bee hotel, price: 213 euro ....
Steven and Duff
Thanks for the info.
I found already the thesis on the evoloution of hull design. But not the other sites.
By viewing this thesis  there is little chance that my model will get a stern gallery.
Always welcome
Now, on with the stem.
More pieces are sawed and glued.
After drying, the whole piece is sanded a first time.
Now the paper keel is glued to wooden keel
And after this , the grooves for the frames can be sawed out
Edited by Backer
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The keel is finished and sanded a second time.
The scarf joint between the keel and stempost and the two parts of the keel are simplified versions.

The hull under the water line will be painted later and they will be hardly visible. 



This is how a real scarf joint looks like on an 16th century English ship


A building slip is made 


Now we can begin with the frames.

The original frames of the drawings will not be used.

The length and width dimensions between keel, beam and waterline are( fore me) wrong.

They have already been sawed. But shall end as firewood for the stove.

New frames will be made 

A new (paper) frame has approximately the right shape and proportions.



But first
Now it's time to study, to think, to draw and to make new frames.





Edited by Backer
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  • 2 weeks later...


First. I changed the name of my build log in too

“Golden Hind : A English galleon late 16th century”   (Seems more appropriate)

New frames are drawn on paper and cut out.


There are now more frames used on the bow and the stern than first planned



Then the frames are drawn on plywood and sawed. The beam is 4 cm narrower than the one on the plans.

The hull proportions are

KEEL / BEAM : 2.80

DEPTH / BEAM : 0.50



All the frames are made too high ( sawing off a piece of is easier than to glueing on)



Reinforcements are sawn from plywood and glued to the keel.






The frames are not glued yet. But  are now temporarily attached to the keel. So  i can see if they fit and that outside can be sanded where needed.

When the outside is sanded, the frames are removed again so that the inside of the frames can be sawed out.



The sawing of the inside of the frames can begin.

I made myself  a simple tool for this .



The first frames are aligned and glued.



All the frames are now aligned and glued.




Visible parts of the frames on the upper decks will later be replaced by solid wood.

It looks like I go in the right direction I think.



The shipyard is now temporarily "on hold"

Autumn and winter period is for me : military modeling.

But I remain of course to follow MSW.





Edited by Backer
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Well, the shipyard is on hold. But here is something to disscus about.
Before drawing the frames i had 2 difficult questions :
1 . What are the dimensions and tonnage of the Golden Hind?

Well, even Wikipedia does not match

wikipedia (in english): length (deck) 31m, beam : 6.1m, tonnage 100 - 150 ton

wikipedia (in german): length 37m, beam : 5.5m, tonnage ,? ton

Most sources say 100 and 120 tons. Occasionally 150tons, and somewhereone I found one

 that says 180 tons. 

The length is between 31 and 37 m.Length on deck 25m. 

So no one really knows the right answer.


2. What is the scale that I'm going to build? 

And what will be the dimensions and tonnage of the Golden Hind compared too  the scale i am building

After some calculations. The scale of my model will be 1/45.

Too calculate the scale and dimensions i used the help from a formula.

Keel x Beam x Depth                                                                          Keel x Beam x Depth


-----------------------------    = Tonnage        or  (the easy way)            ---------------------------

Keel + Beam + Depth                                                                                100


And 1m = 3.28 feet.

My model is : 

Keel 0.42m - Beam 0.15m - Depth 0.075m  - scale 1/45

Keel = 0.42x45x3.28 = 61.99 feet

Beam = 0.15x45x3.28 =  22.14 feet

Depth = .075x45x3.28 = 11.07 feet

This gives following dimensions

  • Tonnage : 161 tons or 154 tons with the easy formula. 
  • Length on deck will be : 22.95m  = 75.27 feet
  • Length of the hull will be  32.6 m =  106,92 feet
  • Overall length will be : 37 m =  121.36 feet
  • width of the hull will be : 6.75 m =  22.14 feet
  • Depth will be : 3.37m = 11.07 feet
  • ratio keel / beam : 2.8


How to get between the 100 to 120 tons and retaining the length of 31 to 37m  (like mentioned in most sources).

By reducing the beam and - or depth.

Suppose :

Keel = 0.42x45x3.28 = 61.99 feet

Beam = 0.13x45x3.28 =  19.19feet

Depth = .065x45x3.28 = 9.6 feet

This gives 113 tons or 114 tons with the easy formula.

But in doing so, the ratio keel / beam changes to 3.23 

If you compare the studies about the Gresham ship, furring and ship building in the 16th century.

Than a keel/beam ratio of 3.23 leads almost to a “crank ship”

A logical consequence is that a ship of that length with 100 to 120 tons is quite narrow and maybe not stable. Especially if you then put all the guns on the upper deck. As on some ship models.

Unless one increases the depth drastically. in order to increase the stability.

I was never a highly educated student (now also not). But :

A ship that could sail around the world and could conquer a bigger Spanish galleon. Must be seaworthy and should by a stable platform to fire his guns.

If anyone thinks that I am completely wrong about this

Please let me know. I have all winter to think about it


used links for this study












Edited by Backer
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I doubt anybody ever measured the Golden Hind's length - I believe all those figures would be rough estimates, and probably the tunnage is too.


I agree with your statement



A ship that could sail around the world and could conquer a bigger Spanish galleon. Must be seaworthy and should by a stable platform to fire his guns.


Let Mathew Baker be your guide and use your best judgment and you'll probably end up with a model closer to the real thing than anybody else has ever built, even if all the small details are different.



Edited by Louie da fly
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Thanks everyone for following  my build log.


And thanks Steven to match with my vision on the dimensions.


Well, now I need some help.

I can not find what  the height of the cannon deck (orlop deck) should by.

Does anyone know the height between 2 decks

I think it is 1m60 (The average length of a man in the 16th century)






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Small point, Patrick: most model hull reconstructions of this time are too deep at the stern. The transom's lowest point should be just under the waterline. If it's any lower, then the rudder action is impaired as water won't flow past the upper rudder properly. Check the Baker drawings.

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Thanks for the info about the stern.

have checked this and will certainly change this later



the book looks interesting.

I ask it for my Christmas at the Admiral.




The whole idea behind my question about the height of the deck

I want  open cannon ports

And I don’t like the building method as in my Wasa (black holes with semi cannons).



That's why I want a deck with enough detail. So, that if you look through a porthole. You do not see black hole with a part of a cannon. But a real cannon and a deck.


I hired an assistant. He is 1m60 tall, very cheap and is satisfied with no room and no food.

But. A deck of only 1m60, is too low he thinks .



but there is still plenty of time to think about this



And good news

Yesterday we had beautiful weather and no family visits or jobs

So, there was wood sawed and the part where te deck is too be attached is sanded to



So that I can start with my deck in my hobby room. Without having to make a lot of dust...

so Mrs. Backer stays happy also 





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  • 1 month later...



A replica is build of the Spanish galleon San Juan.

Great site and beautiful work



Now : The  orlop deck, planking and hatches

Most of this deck will not be visible when the ship is ready.

I see this work as an exercise to gain experience in deck planking.

And if someone looks through a cannon port or a hatch. This will give a better view.


There are little or no archaeological finds of decks from English galleons.

Only from one ship wreck.





One frame was cut out to low. this was adjusted.




A first layer of planks is laid and sanded. In order to obtain an even surface




The waterway is been placed.




A possible layout of the deck

There may be only 12 cannons installed instead of 14 (the helm can possibly be in the way)




hatches to the lower cargo space




Every time I looked at frame 1. I got a headache ;)....




So frame 1 was improved.

Much better now. No more headache




The second and final layer of planking is placed and sanded.

I was so absorbed in this work that I forgot to take pictures while planking the deck




Now to to the dummy frames that will be visible in this deck

1 test assembly of frames and a gun port was made




I'll just lay one  layer of planks on the hull


The next step is to fill the space between the lower part of the frames.

And adjust the frame of the transom


But it is too wet and cold outside in my garden
to do this
And I have no indoor space where I can turn on my sawing machine
So back to plastic military modeling.
Index : see post 1
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  • 2 months later...



The shipyard is restarted.



I have started to fill up the space between the frames.


When one side is finished there will be A more detailed update.

Index see post 1


Edited by Backer
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I think that this is the replica that now lies in London. The hull is widened
Build in 1973 i think
Work on the first side is going well
And the badly made frame at the stern is almost in correct shape.


index see post 1




Edited by Backer
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Hello Patrick;

     With reference to the "Golden Hind", I bought a set of drawings from Glasgow

many years ago (30?) which were drawn by the late Harold A. Underhill.  He named

this set of drawings, an "Elizabethan Galleon"  HAU was an excellent draughtsman.

His details are very interesting.  They were sold by "Brown, Ferguson & Son"

I'm sure you'll find them on the internet.  Regards, pollex (Calgary)

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The upper ends of the frames are provided with supports.

So that they can be less easily damaged.





I started with the filling of the lower space of the frames ( i think "fillerbloks" is the correct word). 

Wooden pieces are sawn to length.





These pieces are then made at approximately the right shape.





And glued between the frames




A few frames also had to be adjusted. 

One side is filled up, and can be sanded.IMG_20170221_152520.thumb.jpg.84e358118011bbcc903632936ebfc6d4.jpgIMG_20170221_152649.thumb.jpg.9cabd6fec8fde531b1bce2b38629830c.jpg


One side is sanded


I used this machine to sand the rough shape




Some  test planking is attached (looks ok)




The frame of the stern has been modified and should now have better shape (thanks druxey).



One side is done and seems to have the proper shape below the waterline



One side to go.







I had picture uploade problems, see :








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thanks Michael and Cristian and everyone watching this


When the fillerblocks are ready on both sides. I will start with building up the frames. ( It is my intention to make the inside partly visible  through open doors and windows)


Before I can do this, I first need to determine the final shape

I now have plans and images for 4 different Golden Hinds….( Yes 4 )

The final shape will probably look like this





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  • 3 weeks later...



The filler blocks are placed on the starboard side.

Because sanding with the sanding machine is faster the blocks are not made in advance  in to the proper shape.

This is now probably the most ugly hull ever shown MSW…..


A few minutes of sanding and the shape is already better.

If you want to do this in the same way
Do this outside. This makes a lot of dust ....


Now further  filling and sanding until the desired shape has been achieved.

The lower part of the hull is ready for planking.


My first goal was to try to build a hull that has probably the right shape

Below the waterline it looks to be in order


next update : frames and gunports on the cannondeck




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