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HMS Victory by VictoryGuy - Mantua - Scale 1:98 - First ship build

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This is my first ship model build so please excuse the mistakes. I actually started this model in the mid '90s with the delusion I would build it over a summer, quickly realized I had no concept of what it would actually take, then got distracted by multiple kids and life in general. The result was I took about 20 years off, but always planned to pick it back up again. I dusted it off earlier this year and have finally started to make progress.

When I stopped in the '90s I had only completed the ribs, deck, the upper portion of the hull planking, and a few gun ports (that was about the time I realized the true scope of the project). So the first thing I did was finish the gun ports.......IMG_2114.thumb.JPG.3507fecaa627eb4d950ce988da089b26.JPGIMG_2120.thumb.JPG.cfa64f3f6e627c79f051fc3f557d8bc6.JPG


Then I moved on to hull planking....first layer (a little rough)




Second layer....getting a little smoother




High tech waterline tool.....the two-tone wood colour is due to a 20 year gap between laying the planks!




Edited by VictoryGuy
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Thanks GrandpaPhil and Wallace! I'm glad to see there are others working through the same ship and scale. Both your builds look fantastic and please feel free to give me any input/advice as things progress - it's all new to me!


I'm actually further along but ran out of time to post the other photos last night, so I'll add them this evening. I've managed to finish much of the stern gallery and paint the hull (you're right Wallace, the paint did solve my two tone problem). Please let me know if you have any suggestions!


I decided to paint the hull copper rather than install actual copper plates. The jury's still out on the look for me, but I figured I can always copper it later if I change my mind.


I painted the rest of the hull in the former yellow/black scheme instead of the newer beige/pinkish tone on the actual ship.


The kit's instructions on building the stern gallery are a bit vague, so I built the inside out of balsa, then planked and trimmed with walnut strips. Thankfully I'd painted the brass stern gallery pieces 20 years ago, so that saved me some time. Here's the before & after:






I added the gunwale planks and finished painting the upper decks in black. The cannons/gunport frames aren't glued in yet, I just put them in temporarily to properly position the gunwale planks.




I'm moving on to the rudder & bow sections now, and will post some photos once I make progress.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Made some progress on the bow section - started with the figurehead - here's the before & after


Built the transom deck, painted and added the bow "roundhouses".


Added sections under the transom deck. Bent and installed the decorative brass strips using small brass nails.


Added more decorative brass under the transom, plus the bow supports (which did a good job of hiding the imperfections in my brass pieces).







Edited by VictoryGuy
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  • 2 weeks later...

I got side tracked and decided to build some cannons to see how they'd fit on the deck (no reason other than I thought it would be fun to build them!).


It turns out I needed to lower them in order for the barrels to fit properly through the main deck gun ports. I decided to try removing the axles (cannon on the right in the pic below has the axles removed. The one on the left still has its axles). That lowered the cannon barrel just enough for it to fit nicely through the port (second pic below, cannon on the right). A big relief as I thought I might have to mess with the port themselves.





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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I spent some time over the holidays figuring out how I wanted to finish my gunports. To make them more "scale" and historically accurate I wanted to add 2 ropes to each port lid, however the bronze port lids with the kit are a bit problematic to drill holes through with the smaller, delicate drill bits, so I opted to only drill one hole in each lid and run a single rope. Not completely "scale" but I'm happy with how they're turning out. Now just 90 or so more to go!



My high tech solution for holding the gunports in place while the glue dries.




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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I built the channels and shroud chain plates for the starboard side. I had to figure out how to get the deadeyes and chain plate links to sit properly on the channel, so I got creative and used small nails in grooves to hook the metal deadeye straps onto (kind of like a coat hook). Once I installed them I ran a plank along the front of the channel to hold the deadeye and chain link in place. I can still move the deadeyes from side to side a bit to provide some flexibility when I thread the shrouds (some day...).


Here's the finished product once painted. I attached the chain plates to the hull with brass nails.




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  • 3 weeks later...

I found some time this weekend to get back to the Victory and decided to keep working on the starboard side. A while back I bought the optional lifeboats for the kit, so I thought I'd take a shot at building/painting some of them. The davits proved a little harder then I thought. The kit makes you build the mounting brackets out of spare brass sheet metal. It took a bit of thinking to decide how to rig the lines and properly adjust the height of the davits and lifeboat itself (just this small piece of rigging makes me realize how tough it'll be to rig the rest of the ship someday!).




I made the mounting brackets adjustable using brass wire as pins. If I need to get the lifeboat out of the way in the future they should be easy to remove.




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You bet! Below are the davit plans from the kit. They called for a few things I changed (the brackets they suggest were tougher to make as a single piece, so I just made simple L brackets for each side of the davit). The davits pole is 4mm X 4mm walnut. I cut them to 5.2cm long and rounded the end at the brackets per the plans to allow them to move up and down easily (the plans said they should be 4cm long but that length would have placed the boat too close to the hull and not allowed extra length to sand the ends).


Since the kit didn't come with any lifeboats it didn't provide guidance on rigging the lines to the boat itself. I would have liked to incorporate a block to make it more realistic but I couldn't get it quite right with the type of blocks the kit provided.


Here's a link to the lifeboat kit I purchased from a company in the UK. You might be able to use them as a substitute or to add more boats? They provide 6 boats of various sizes. The hulls are molded plastic, but I think they look OK once you paint them. (https://www.cornwallmodelboats.co.uk/cgi-bin/sh000001.pl?WD=victory lifeboat&PN=36530-HMS-Victory-1-98-Plastic-Wood-Lifeboat-Set--36530.html#SID=91). I think they sell an all wood version but they're 2x the price (as it was the version I bought were around £30, so not cheap!).



The L brackets I made are 7mm long X 4 mm wide. I drilled a hole just large enough to fit a brass nail for attaching to the hull, then put the brass wire through the brackets to hold the davit in place.


Port side davits ready for the next boat....I have to finish the channels and gun ports on that side first.




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  • 2 weeks later...

I started work on the hull decorations this week including the "sea gangway" (stair rungs, side door entrance and hauling sides) and some of the brass side decorations. I'm pretty much done with the starboard side and moving on to the gunport frames/lids on the port side now.IMG_2574.thumb.jpg.cc979cc889e2913f92cc1ba2b7171801.jpg

It took me a while to paint the lids, then drill all the holes for the ropes. The lids with the kit are not that well cast and need to have all the metal burrs and extra bits trimmed off with a knife or they don't fit the frames very well.


Port side ready for the cannons!IMG_2576.thumb.jpg.2202a03ad1cd530f82978e230b97a6fb.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

While I slowly work through all the port side guns, I decided to mount the deck guns while I still had room to work around all the deck components. As I discovered back in December, I needed to remove all the cannon axles and lower the guns slightly to fit through the cannon ports. That involved cutting 64 wheels off the axles and gluing them on the sides to drop them about 2mm. It's just enough for them to fit in a way that looks correct.


The kit tells you to use thread for all the tackle, and there wasn't any breech tackle. I thought it would be more realistic to make breech tackle so I found some spare twine that looked the part and wrapped it around the back of each cannon barrel, then used the kit thread for the train tackle. I attached the breech tackle to the hull with eyelets and the train tackle with a brass nail.







Edited by VictoryGuy
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  • 1 month later...

Lots of progress over the last few weeks but not much new stuff (since I'm just repeating the port side). I added all the port side gunport lids, ropes and drip shields, then finished installing the dummy barrels and the remaining deck cannons.IMG_2710.thumb.jpg.12ad3e2b55d87feca6af8213fc739877.jpg





As a last gunport project I added the stern ports. I had to install them "closed" as I hadn't anticipated carving the ports when I built up the stern. Rather than carving into the stern after the fact to imbed the frames, I ground the metal off the back of the frames so I could mount them flush and in the closed position (I figure the stern cannons wouldn't have been used much and were probably closed most of the time anyway).


As a sidebar, while I was rummaging through some old photos I came across a picture from when I first stared the frames of the ship in the mid-90's (a polaroid, if you can believe it. I have no idea what that ugly plant is in the background....). Makes me feel old!







Edited by VictoryGuy
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  • 2 months later...

I've been very slowly finishing the port side of the Victory over the last couple months but I've been distracted building a Fokker Dr I triplane (i.e. Red Baron) with the kids. Plan to get back to the Victory once the plane's fuselage is done! Here's a pic about halfway through.


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  • 5 months later...

Hi All - I've finally just about finished my side "triplane" project and am starting to get back to the Victory. Hope to finish up the port side over the next couple months. I did manage to build another lifeboat (pic below). My side project became a bit of an epic distraction....here's a pic of the nearly finished plane. Going forward I'll just post Victory pics!



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  • 5 months later...

I hope everyone is well!


With the summer slow down I've been able to find some time to pick up the Victory project. I started work on the various deck components in the "waist". I finished several ladders, the cross beams, pillars and most of the railing. For the cross beams, I had to use the ends of my clamps to hold them up while the glue dried (image below).



Here's the partially finished waist section with the brass railing stanchions and support pillars.





It's a little difficult to see in the photo below, but in completing the waist I realized I made an error about 20 years ago when I first built the basic hull sections (I started this build in the mid '90's but put it down for about 15 years....). The lower stairwells that lead deeper into the hull aren't able to reach the inside deck and are just "hanging in the air". The inner deck should have been much higher than it is. Not sure if this was my error or some flaw in the design, but all I could do was darken the stain inside the hull to make the interior darker and the mistake less noticeable.





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  • 4 months later...

It's been a while since I posted an update as the summer/fall got away from me! I did manage to complete most of the final deck details including the stern lanterns and bulwark hammock netting (definitely the toughest part). Heading on to the masts & rigging next.










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  • 2 months later...

I am enjoying your building project.  I am also building the Mantua HMS Victory.  My first project.  Literally in the deep end.  The work you have done so far is awesome and has helped me a lot. I started in 2000 but due to career pressures, could not spend enough time. Lockdown due to the pandemic rekindled the project and showing some good progress.  Thank you for your postings


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  • 2 weeks later...

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