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HMS Bellona 1760 by SJSoane - Scale 1:64 - English 74 gun, as designed

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Hi everyone,


To get started again, I will post again the photos I took of the original Bellona model at Chatham last year, with permission from the National Maritime Museum. This model is contemporary with the original design of 1760. The Bellona was rebuilt in the 1780s with some significant changes in port locations, refitted rail on the poop, etc. I prefer the look of the original, and so these photos of the original model are my roadmap through the project.


It will take me a while to summarize my own build starting with my re-drafted drawings at 3/16" scale, but I am committed to the task!


Best wishes,
























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Hi everyone,


And here are the drawings I created from the Admiralty draughts of HMS Dragon, The Bellona's sister ship (the NMM could not find the Bellona drawings when I ordered these back in the 1990s; I don't know if they ever turned up).


The xerox copies showed that the original 250 year old drawings were quite distorted and therefore not able to be built from. Also I did not know how I would ever fit a 1/4" scale model of a 74 in my house. So I drew these at 3/16", or 1:64. The Admiralty drawings were very schematic, and so I had to develop all of the details from other standard sources.











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Thanks for getting your log up again so soon, Mark. Thank also for the NMM photos. Were they taken by you in a private showing? I hadn't notice the trundelhead carving before. It's quite lovely. Equally impressive are the perfection of your fillers between the frames. Have you noticed any expansion or contraction of any joints? A few of mine popped open when I took the hull from my climatically stable workshop to a warmer part of the house.



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Thanks, Mark, Remco, Grant and Greg.  It has been fun going through the photos to tell the story in sequence, without extraneous stuff.


Greg, I arranged with the curator a private showing of the Bellona when I was last in England. It was in January when the exhibits were closed at Chatham, which helped. I understand the Bellona model has pride of place in one of their exhibit halls.


The "breadboard" style after the old Admiralty models has caused significant movement in the hull with the season changes, because of the cross grain construction. Colorado can go from 12% to 70% or more. I used to live in house with a humidifier which kept things constant. But the new shop has no humidifier, and the hull regularly opens up a joint here or there in the winter. It used to cause me some distress, but everything stays in place when summer comes around again. I guess this worked better in England, when the humidity was uniformly high.


If I had life to do over--or maybe for the next model--I would frame like your's and David Antscherl's system. The space between frames allows expansion and contraction longitudinally, without stressing the longitudinal members like the keel.


Best wishes,



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That's a very clever round up jig for the gratings. I assume you've rubber cemented sandpaper inside?  I'm going to steal that one. Also, do you make your coamings and head ledges to fit your gratings or do your gratings always fit into the assembly with perfect, full rows? Can't just be dumb luck every time!



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Good Morning Mark!

Now that we´re all re-starting the logs can I ask you to explain how you built the second Jig.


The one made like Ed did.


If you could make a sketch on paper it would be fine. I am wondering about theclamps inside that blue aluminum rail. The bridge is a great to meassure distances, deck beams, gun ports...




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Thank you, Michael, John, and Elia for your encouragement. It really helps keep me motivated.


Greg, I looked for a photo of how I made the grating sanding jig, but can't seem to find it. I'll keep looking. Yes, there is sandpaper underneath, but only exactly to the edge of the grate. There are little runners on each side that bottom out on the lower part of the jig once the right depth is reached. I made the profile of the sanding surface by gluing the profile on the end of some maple, which I then ran across the routing table with a piloting bit. It shaped the entire surface of the maple block with the right profile.


In image #17 in the background you can see the calculations I made for each grating, where I attempted to calculate the exact size of the parts for each grating so it would be a perfect fit within the coaming. But I more recently put the other gratings in place on the deck, and something isn't lining up yet. I may have to do those over. It wouldn't be the first time for me that very careful calculation nonetheless got it wrong...


I have attached an image of the Bellona model looking through the quarterdeck onto the upper deck, which shows a couple of gratings that were imperfectly fitted to the coamings. Maybe they took those from an earlier model and made do, or maybe that is how they really worked. Most of the rest seem to fit better.


Harvey, I am not sure which jig you would like to see. I have attached some photos of the bridge for measuring, and how I used it for transferring heights inboard and outboard from my drawing. I took the idea of the track and the bridge directly from Ed.


The little blocks in the blue track I used for help in cutting beams so that the center of the made-up beams always aligned with the center of the hull, using the proportional dividers. But right now, I can't remember why I needed the blocks when I could just use the dividers. I'll remind myself when I start making the beams for the upper deck.


If you let me know which jig you are interested in, I would be very happy to make a sketch!


Best wishes,










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Thank you, druxey, Christian and Ed. All of this re-posting is allowing us to see all of the builds afresh! Ed, I will be particularly happy when we have your index again. I used that fairly regularly.


Daniel, the blue track idea comes from Ed, and it is made from components purchased at Rockler Woodworking. All of the parts for the track and the tightening bolts and knobs are already made. The link to the site is:




I recall that I used a router with a bit exactly the width of the track, using a fence on the router to keep it parallel to the sides of the building board. Once the grooves are cut, the tracks are very easy to screw in.


The bridge was a little trickier, because it wants to be exactly right angles to the building board, and have some way of lining up with the station lines of the plan on the board. Ed developed one idea, and I tried a slight variation that I showed in the previous pictures. Ed, are you able yet in your re-posting to link to your bridge design?  I recall Ed has an way of fixing his camera to the bridge, which I want to try someday.


The final complexity was to get the top of the bridge to the building board surface to be exactly the same distance as the top of my board with the section drawing pasted on, to the bottom of the keel. That is so measurements taken off the board with the drawing will exactly match the same height on the actual model measured from the bridge. I hope the photos explain this well. If not, I'll do a little drawing of the arrangement.


Best wishes,



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