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HMS Victory by Charter33 - Caldercraft - Scale 1:72

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Thanks once again for the generous comments and ‘likes’ – much appreciated as always. Michael - the Gloucester Javelin has a special significance. My dad worked on their electronic systems when he was in the RAF and I have clear memories of being taken to watch pilots practicing circuits and landings in them - this is probably responsible in no small way for sparking a lifetimes interest in aviation.


Meanwhile back in the marine world ,,,,, I need to start this post with an apology!  Throughout my career in teaching I have always been an advocate and proponent of the old adages ‘measure twice, cut once’ and ‘never assume …’  In my previous post I referred to the spigots on the dummy cannons being under size.  I have since found that this applied only to the 32 pdr cannons. Spigots on the 24 pdr cannons were bang on 2 mm. Consequently the holes in their deck have had to be re-drilled (No. series 44). At least they were under and not oversize.


Progress with my Victory has been a bit slow over the last couple of weeks. I have just returned to work after an absence of over a year, all be it now on a part time basis, and to be frank I have returned home most days well and truly knackered.  It’s been a long and at times difficult journey but the end is at last in sight.  Modelling activity recently has inevitably been a case of quietly browsing this site (always time well spent).


I have now started to add the copper plates to the hull. A strip of micro-ply as wide as the plates and marked with divisions equal to their length was pinned to the hull to help gauge the fall of the ‘part’ plates at the ends of the initial runs and to mark the width of the first line.




The plates are being attached with a couple of drops of c.a. glue applied before being pressed into place. I am still thinking about whether to follow the method described in the manual ie.  working up from the keel, or to plate some straight runs from the water line down as well.





Thirty one plates now in place, so just 2569 to go …..




Onward and upwards! 


Cheers for now,



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Hi Graham regarding the final plates at the top how do you intend to cut them ? do you intend to add the final plates one at a time pre cut ? my panart version used similar looking plates they where .15 thick I believe. I plated from keel up and let the plates take there own course I drew on the waterline and just plated up over it then re done the waterline onto the copper and took a scappel and very carfully cut to the waterline all beit it took about a dozen blades and a steady hand ,or if you want a straight line of plates at the top drop your waterline down by the thickness of the plate .I opted out of the straight line of plates at the top I comment this because I found it very hard to hold the small plates and precut them hope this helps or gives you something to consider


kind regards



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Hi Graham,

Very nice work.  I love the way you incorporated the Actual Ship's materials into the model. Well done!  It appears that you're very skilled in fabricating metal work - very beautiful mounting pedestals. 

Thank for the clear descriptions of the tools, jigs, and approaches you are using. 



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Thanks for dropping by Marc, here is yet another jig!


Decision made – I’m going to stick with the approach given in the manual and work up from the keel – thanks Steve for the ‘nudge’ that finally swayed me.

After several sessions I have now fitted about 10% of the copper plates. It was always going to be a long haul, but so far it’s been fairly straight forward and surprisingly therapeutic!


One aspect that has been giving me food for thought was how to deal with the keel. I wanted to cover the bottom of it with plates folded evenly over the edges. With the keel 5 mm thick and the plates 6 mm wide this means a ‘return’ of 0.5 mm on the side of each plate. Early attempts with flat pliers and then brass soft jaws in a bench vice failed miserably ……

With approximately 60 plates needing to be shaped some kind of simple former was going to be required. This is what I came up with:




The main body consists of two 60 mm lengths of 5 mm square mild steel bar. The lower part has a shallow recess equal to the length of a copper plate filed into it while the upper bar has two grooves filed in with a ‘three square’ needle file to provide clearance for the raised rivet heads that run across the ends of the plates.  I couldn’t find any small diameter socket headed machine screws to apply the clamping pressure in the workshop so resorted to cutting M3 x .5 threads on the pins of a couple of  plated brass ‘push buttons’ from old 1970’s telephones that were rattling around at the back of a cupboard – knew they’d come in useful one day ….. Clearance holes in the top bar and suitably threaded holes in the lower bar finish the former.


The plate is put in place, but first checked to ensure that the rows of ‘rivets’ on the side are equally spaced from the edges – this sometimes varies considerably.




After clamping the protruding edges are pushed by thumb in the right direction and then a piece of softwood dowel is rolled along the edge to complete the bend.







... and the job's a goodun...


I hope this will be of some use to other builders.






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Nice and neat. I hope when I get there I can come close to your result. I don't know a bout being therapeutic. Sounds more like a root canal without novacaine.I will probably work on other stand alone pieces or make rope for the rigging during the breaks from coppering.



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Thanks for your kind comments guys.

Robert - your Victory build log is one I often refer to when I need guidance. I wish I’d found your tip on using filler blocks between the bow and stern bulkheads before I’d moved well into the first planking …..


Michael – after a day at the front of a classroom copper plating is a great way to ‘chill’! But you’re right, I do need to break away at times and am working on various jigs to help with adapting and constructing the cannons at the moment. For a really  mind numbing task try making the copper plates themselves. I’m currently making half a dozen from copper reclaimed from the scale 1:1 example residing in Portsmouth. Each plate has 40 simulated rivets, each punched individually – I have managed to do two consecutively before having to resist the need to scream or hit the Scotch.  …oh, and the Admiral is also adept at interrupting the work flow with numerous little diversionary tasks ….. bless her!

Cheers for now,


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I building the Panart 738 1:78 Victory using Bob Hunt's Practicum. It is a total kit bash using ebony and boxwood. I devised a little jib / press to make copper plates by stamping them. I'll post the drawing if I can locate it. I really envy you folks that can do extemporaneous metal work. Something I now regret not having learned in shop class.


Can't do Scotch but Bourbon fills the bill nicely


Plate on!!!!



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I'd certainly be interested is seeing the drawing of your plate pressing tool if you can find it, Michael. My own jig is definitely a 'short run' solution. Once I'd proved to myself that the jig worked it went into storage. I'm completing these half dozen now to have them ready to integrate into the  upper run of plates just under the entry ports, at least that's the plan.


Thanks for ,the 'heads up' on the photo-etch benders, Paul.  Never knew such things existed!  Must have led a very sheltered life - the photo-etched parts  in this kit are my first experience of this type of component .....







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  • 3 weeks later...


Work with the copper plates progresses steadily,  although slowly at times.


I must be close to having completed about a third of the hull and have got far enough to be able to include the first three of the ‘Victory plates’ on the port side,  just under the entry port.




 They appear slightly different in colour compared with the standard plates and this effect varies depending on the way the light falls on them.  I assume this must be due to differences in extraction and refining processes – 18th Century metallurgists did not have access to modern electrolysis techniques.


As a break from plating I have been ‘playing’ with the cannons. I wanted add breach rings and after a couple of false starts came up with this method.

The cannon was clamped in a machine vice on a milling machine that had been set up for drilling. Softwood jaws prevented any damage to the cannons, they rested on the pivot and were set at an angle of 45 degrees measured on the bottom edge. Two 1 mm holes were then drilled.


For the rings themselves I decided to ‘roll my own’ from 1 mm dia. Brass rod. This was done with a pair of fine round nosed pliers.



The loop was cut with side cutters and after a little tweeking the loop was pushed into place and fixed in place with CA glue.




Assembling the gun carriages next!


Cheers for now.



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The hottest and longest day of the year.  With the ‘shipyard’ inside the house uncomfortably hot a little ‘Al Fresco’ modelling was called for…….



With the scent of jasmine wafting over the improvised work bench, and a cold beer, life’s good …. and this picture was taken just after 8.30pm with the temperature still in the high 20s.


I came up with this jig to help me to construct the gun carriages – this is the test of the first of many to be assembled.




The four elements surrounding the carriage slide up across into place and keep the parts aligned and 'square' while the glue dries. The jig will allow five to be assembled at once.


Reliance on jigs has been made more necessary as recent medical treatment has left my fingers numb to the extent that I know I’m gripping something if I can see that I am. I’ve been assured that this side effect will eventually go but it’s very frustrating at times.


Finally a little trick to clean up the carriage wheels – mounted two at a time on the grinding disc mandrel of a Dremel and lightly rubbed on a sheet of glass paper.



Cheers for now,



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While work continues with copper plating the starboard side of the hull I've also turned my attention to the cannons and their carriages. Having found a way to assemble the carriages I started work on researching how to set about applying a painted finish to the cannons. An initial request for advice on spraying led to a whole new approach (see the thread in the 'Painting, finishes and weathering techniques and products' ) and subsequently the finish is now achieved using 'Brass Black'.


To reliably form the trunnion clamps I resorted to making a new pair of jaw inserts for my  Mantua plank bending pliers. With this tool I've also been able to replicate the slight left and right hand bias that these clamps need to compensate for the tapering sides of the gun carriages.






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  • 2 weeks later...


A couple of diverse reasons for this up-date ...


Firstly - Robert, thank you for the compliment about my jigs and this post also includes a very simple one. I'm a regular visitor to your build and love the quality of your model and agree with your decision to leave your hull planked and copper plate free - that skillful work needs to be seen to be fully appreciated!


The second purpose is the result of the dreaded PB changes to my account, third party hosting etc. and an attempt to see if I can still access and use my photos. I only use PB as a simple means to 'size' my pictures - I have found that by just up-loading pictures and then re-saving them on a memory stick, and using the latter as the source to add the photos to my posts, the pictures can be added without the need for any more adjustment to meet the required parameters. To be honest I struggle with image manipulation software at times. It appears that I can still use PB successfully, frustrating as the adverts and 'pop ups' are. Yes, I could pay to avoid them, but I'd rather be investing the money in materials and tools. 

This approach, however, and my reluctance to embrace change is in some ways a reflection of a phobia of the new .... time to have a go at uploading directly through the MSW route I think, after all how hard can it be? - next time...


As a break from copper plating I decided to look at the mounting of the cannons and to complete the construction of a gun carriage to check out the assembly process. This jig was made to help with marking the position of the eyelets either side of the gun ports.



I've added additional rings to the sides of the carriages to make the run of the ropes more like the real thing, as many other builders have done. An improvised 'draw plate' helped reduce the size of the end of the loop that then holds the guide ring.




The assembly of the carriage was very straight forward and presented no major issues, but those eyelets (480) are so small! I swear that there is nothing wrong with my eyesight - but my arms must have shrunk as they are no longer long enough to be able to hold small components in focus. Time to visit the optician again ....





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  • 1 month later...


Other commitments and the odd curve ball that life can throw at you sometimes has slowed progress recently. I have, however, made a little more progress so here's an update.


The starboard stern plating has now been completed and the bow is close to completion.


I must admit that there have been some sessions where I seemed to be picking more plates off than I was putting on but I'm fairly happy with the result so far. Finishing along the waterline and adding the 'stealers'(?) into the pattern was challenging at times as well as time consuming.


As bit of a break from this section of the build I decided to have a go at working out how to produce some of the rigging on the gun carriages. Following David's (ShipyardSid) advice to  Robert(22564) I threaded the appropriate eyelets etc. onto the rope before these are later fitted to the carriage and ceiling.



The ends of the rope were then bound with thread.






Right ...... back to plating .....





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  • 3 months later...


Just finished the copper cladding!

I was struggling to see and apply some of the smaller cut plates needed to fill in gaps along the keel and waterline on the first side of the hull so I decided to invest in an illuminated head loupe.  I wish I'd bought one earlier as using it for the first time resulted in me having to re-work several areas as I was not happy with the gaps between some of the plates already in place.




Also in this picture is the most useful tool I found to hold plates in position for marking out and then positioning whole and cut plates when gluing - Blue Tack on the end of a short length of brass tube.  Even the tiniest pieces could be located accurately although the tip of a scalpel blade was needed occasionally to apply final pressure until the c.a. glue had dried. 










I followed the kits instruction's and the guidance in The New Period Ship Handbook for the layout rather than more historically correct patterns. I also went with Keith Julien's advice in this book about getting a cleaner looking edge at the waterline by adding 0.05 x 1.09 mm polystyrene strip pre-painted black.


The rudder, made from oak from Victory, was the last piece to be tackled. Rather than paint the top, unclad, section I 'ebonised' it using the wire wool and white vinegar technique I described on another thread. This was followed by a couple of coats of satin varnish. The result is a black finish that still allows the grain of the oak to be seen.








The three 'Victory' copper plates on each side, just under the entry ports, can be seen in these two views although they are actually less conspicuous than the pictures suggest. There is a little c.a. residue still to be carefully removed with acetone and cotton buds. Fears that I'd run out of plates proved unfounded - just.  Mistakes, re-worked sections and experiments with forming plates to fit around the keel took their toll. Got to the end with about half a dozen whole plates left!


I'm happy to have completed this aspect of this model - but you can have too much of a good thing and at this moment in time I can safely say that any kit I attempt in the future will be copper plate free, probably cannon free too.


This site is full of pearls of wisdom and two of them that are lodged in my mind at present are:

'Buy your toys before you retire' and 'it's probably best to seek forgiveness than permission'

... just maybe there's room in the 'stash' for a different type of vessel, possibly one rarely found 'outside the Straights of Otranto' ..... waiting for the day when Victory is finished - no rush!






Edited by Charter33
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Sorry - but that's way beyond any knowledge that I have. Any one else able to help out here? I could be wrong, but I thought the model built by Longridge, the basis for his book 'Anatomy of Nelson's Ships' is regarded as a very authoritative and accurate representation. 

Edited by Charter33
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Thank's for your generous comments, Michael and Nigel - much appreciated.


With the plating complete I've moved onto the gratings.

I found that a sharp chisel and a cutting mat was my most successful method of cutting the individual components to length.

A simple assembly aid held the pieces in place while the watered down PVA glue dried.






Gratings removed ...




...and sanded.



Coamings next. I was a bit disappointed with the quality of the 4 x 3 strip provided. It had a more pronounced open grain and is a much more red colour compared with the other walnut in the kit. 


I made the decision to convert the remnants of the 5mm sheet that held the rudder etc. into a suitable alternative. The original strips are at the top of the picture.




Inspired by having seen Paul B's recent posts and his photographs of these gratings I'm tempted to try his method of dealing with the joints rather than the mitres shown on the plans. Time to 'play' B)



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  • 5 months later...

After a bit of practice marking out and cutting the joints .........



......... the gratings have been fitted with coamings.






Cocktail sticks covered with double sided tape held the shot garlands off the surface but firmly enough for varnishing.



Cannonballs were placed on each one as soon as the varnish had been applied. A second coat was enough to fully bond these in place.







Construction of the ladders was straight forward. The stanchions were coloured with Birchwood Casey Brass Black. Handrail ropes were added before these were glued to the front of the ladders.



This solution was also used to black the copper eyelets I intend to use to fix the breeching ropes to the inner bulwarks and to take the hooks of the tackle ropes on the gun carriages.



The gratings, garlands and ladders are now all fitted in place .......




.... together with the four large cleats.




Next task - 30 x 12 Pounder long guns and carriages, plus rigging ....





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  • 4 weeks later...

The gun carriage sides needed little cleaning up other than removal of the nibs that secured them in place on the walnut ply sheet when originally machined and squaring up and slightly widening the slots for the joints. I wanted to drill various holes for the eyelets before assembly and came up with this ..........




A spare point from a pair of compasses fitted with a handle turned from a scrap of yew marked the centers which were then drilled using a Dremel drill.


Two Dremel mandrels were modified to help true up the carriage wheels. The cocktail stick shows how a quick couple of cuts helped to keep the wheels supported while these were vanished.






Another batch of five assemblies .........




..... all now painted and awaiting the fitting of the iron work.




I wanted a way to effectively and efficiently convert eyelets (480) into rigging hooks for the gun tackles. This is my solution .......





My focus is now to shape and black the components that complete the carriages together with the breech ropes and tackles.






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Unbelievable - but true!


Things had been going so well. The Boss (Admiral) gets a bit touchy about messy processes being done at home, especially when it involves chemicals and strange odors, so I decided that to keep to the secret premise of a happy marriage, ie. 'anything for a quite life' the blacking of the brass components for the gun carriages would best be done at work (school), before and after the working day.  Yesterday good progress was made with eyelets, trunion brackets and round headed pins successfully treated ...........




......soaking in white vinegar, rinse, soaking in ethanol, dry, and finally thirty seconds in Birchwood Casey Brass Black. A cheap plastic mesh tea strainer was a big help when dealing with small components.




Today my aim was to carry out the same technique on the canon barrels. Once again the work flow was in full swing with small batches moving through the various stages. I hadn't quite finished the final rinse of the last five barrels before the working day started so put I them to one side .........


Lunch time arrives - 30 minutes of piece and quiet, should be able to finish them easily before the next lesson ......


A minor problem - the large 'Belfast' style sink in the workshop is blocked. It's half full of off-white opaque water left by students attempting (half heatedly) to clean paint brushes. The site maintenance team have been notified but, with the school celebrating its Diamond Jubilee at the weekend they are busy preparing for visiting VIPs including a 'minor' member of the Royal family......


No Problem!!!! A small plastic tub was pressed into service, held under a running tap while shiny, clean barrels are transferred from jam jar to tub with a pair of tweezers .... then it all goes 'pare shaped'. The last barrel slips out of the tweezers between jar and tub and drops into the murky depths of the sink.....


Sleeves pulled up I start to feel my way over the hidden sink bottom. NOTHING! Had I miss-counted? Did it actually fall into the tub? A quick count of completed and half finished barrels confirmed my worst fears - one short. Could it have dropped through the plug hole? Am I going to have to buy a spare barrel from CWM? Do they even supply them? (I've checked this evening - yes they do)   


Right, bale out sink, remove screws that hold access panel in place, find tool to undo sink trap ... 5 minutes to next lesson .....


There, gleaming like a golden nugget in the black sludge, the missing barrel ..... big sigh of relief and the sink was re-assembled just as the the students started arriving.


With the sink now empty and fully functioning investigation proved that the barrel could only have passed through the small hole exactly in the middle of the strainer in the plug hole, and even then with barely any clearance. Pure fluke ....


With the school day over the escapologist barrel was re-cleaned and the supposedly straight forward task was finally completed with the barrels just needing a final buff with a soft cloth.  I'll do this just before painting the ends red prior to fitting them on the carriages.




I'm now working on shaping 180 small eyelets into rigging hooks ...... no rush ...



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Hi Graham,  cannons look great blackened.  I blackened some eyelets using a a product called 'Krick', but didn't have much luck.  The instructions with the bottle says that it should blacken after about 30 minutes.  They do blacken but after over a day dipped in the solution.  Now I managed to get a bottle of Birchwood Brass Black but I haven't tried it yet.  After blackening do you varnish them or treat them with something else or just leave them as is?



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Hi Robert,

There seem to be a number of different approaches to using the Birchwood Casey product. Some advocate watering it down which apparently slows things down bit. I have found that it works best for me as I described in my previous post. It's essential to ensure the component is grease free. If the item is suitable I have used a small rotary brass wire brush mounted in a pillar drill to clean the surface before then resorting to the chemical cleaning. I used this on my barrels, especially around the breech rings I had added, to remove any excess traces of the CA glue I used to bond them in place. The eyelets, trunion brackets and pins blackend fine with just the white vinegar followed by the ethanol. Latex rubber gloves are useful to avoid contamination from oils in the skin. The secret is to not leave them in the blackening solution too long. If you do the finish flakes off. I give them 30 seconds, remove and rinse in water, and if they need to be darker dip them back in the solution again. As you use the solution it turns a darker blue but over time returns to its original lighter hue - but it doesn't appear to lose its strength. One other small bit of advice - do small batches and keep agitating the solution. An air bubble trapped in the end of the barrel can leave the bore untreated.

Once done I leave the components for a while. I read somewhere (on this site but can't remember who's post it was - sorry) that the finish hardens further over time. I then gently buff them with a soft cloth. This removes the matt powder that forms on the surface and any 'bloom' that appears sometimes. I've not added any other finish such as varnish and I don't think it is needed.

Hope this helps!



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