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

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Your very welcome Mark. You are right and there isn't any pillars that will interfere with the tiller but there is one that goes between the end of the tiller and the beam on the  back side  of the mizzen mast. I just got done looking at the Dragon/Bellona Profile inboard works, you should be able to fit one more pillar under the beam were the tiller ends.I have the same set up with one behind the mizzen mast itself. The one forward of the forward bit can sat on top of the gun deck beam and because it goes underneith and hold's up the stove carling it will not be right underneith the upper deck beam, but it will still support it. If you want I can send you a couple of plans but you can see the same thing going on with the Glory I did send you one plan of the Temple of 1757 that shows the same pillar setting in front of the end of the tiller.. 


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I have been pulled out of the workshop by other stuff for a while--don't you hate how that happens?--but back to it!

Thanks, Gary, I added those additional pillars:



It is a little tight on the tiller, I may have to trim it back just a bit. And the one just forward of the fore riding bitt has to miss the square hatch on the gundeck, so it stands just aft of the beam in the upper deck above. Maybe it just ran up to the deck above, or maybe it was longer and bolted to the side of the beam above. I am showing the carlings under the stove in the section above, but they are on the sides, not the center, so they don't interact with the central pillar. Or maybe the pillar at this point is two, so it can sit under the stove carlings at this one location?


druxey, thanks for that photo. If it is indeed a single hole with a hood, then I guess they didn't originally worry too much about chafing. Because the initial sketch you sent, and that I redrew for the Bellona, clearly shows the rope will traverse back and forth from the wheel. Interesting! My photo of the original Bellona model frustratingly shows no detail here. This issue shows how a technological invention--the steering wheel--had to be adjusted over time as experience showed some of the shortcomings of the original version. Happens at light speed today, much slower back then. We might have enjoyed a slightly slower pace of life!













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Hi druxey, I see now. I confused its length because of the wheel handle coming down in front. So it looks like it would be shorter than the actual travel of the rope lock to lock, but more than chafing in a hole just a little bigger than the rope. I will use it, because I would reasonably guess the sliding cover as in Victory would have been something later than 1760.


More work on the pillars, now on the upper deck reaching to the quarterdeck and forecastle. I am mainly working from what I can see in my photos of the original Bellona model (below), and what seems rational. For example, no pillars beside the aft hatch, and therefore no pillars possible there because the centers do no line up with any beams above. No pillars close to the bitts, because they are providing vertical support at their locations. Except, the model shows pillars under the fore brace bitts on the quarterdeck. Also, iron columns beside the stove. I am not sure about pillars in the wardroom on the upper deck. It looks like there are more in the last photo below, but I can't quite see if it is every beam, and how far astern. I seem to have more beams in the quarterdeck over the wardroom than the model shows, but my beams are taken directly from the original dockyard drawings.


5:00 Mountain time, sun over the yardarm, and time for a scotch to think about it!














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  • 2 weeks later...


Hi everyone,


I have been pretty silent for a while. I had to upgrade my CAD software because the old version would no longer run on the updated operating system. And you know what happens when software is upgraded; no end of issues to resolve. But I finally got everything working, and then kept plugging away at more details.


I was mainly concerned to check alignments of things running  through several decks, mostly the bitt pins but also the pillars. For details like the belfry, I looked at the second Bellona model, the HMS Victory as build ca. 1760, and the Princess Royal which I recently rediscovered was also designed by the Bellona's designer, Thomas Slade, just a year after the Bellona, as best I can tell. So I am thinking that details I can't figure out elsewhere might reasonably look like what is in the Princess Royal contemporary model.


Here is a snapshot of the details I am beginning to pin down. I am also showing here a detail Gary (garyshipwright) first highlighted; how to provide a landing for planking around the bowsprit.











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Mark I have a couple of question if you don't mind. From looking at the deck plan it looks like you have two large carlings underneith the stove. Is there a reason why it is showing two?  After looking at the sheer plan, it shows that the pillars are on the side of that carling I mention above and shouldn't they be underneith  that carling to support it? Some thing else I noticed Mark is I don't believe that they would have installed a pillar under the cat beam because of the collar beam set up. Here's a photo of my beak head and  bellona that you shared that shows the heavy type of stantions that was used to hold the bow sprit in place along with supporting the cat beam.  Gary 



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I have a question that is not related to this discussion - more a point of curiosity.


This beautiful, old dockyard model of Bellona - even in its interior - appears heavily aged and distressed; much much more-so than your typical dockyard model.  Was the distressing deliberate, on the part of the model-maker,do you think, or is the model’s appearance the natural by-product of vigorous handling, over the years?  Either way it is curiously different from most other original models I have seen.


Apart from that, Mark, nobody could ever accuse you (and Gary) of not doing your due diligence.  Fantastic work, as always, and an interesting engineering conversation.

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Marc, I was also struck by how the first Bellona model was so heavily aged. It looked like it had centuries of old dust crusted onto it. It must have sat out of a case for a long time, and has not been cleaned for some time. I have also noted some inconsistencies, like the gratings in some places that are grossly overscale, like they were taken from another model. Compare the upper deck and quarterdeck gratings in this image:




As they say in the Western United States ranching and horse culture, this model was "rode hard and put away wet".🙂


druxey and Gary, thank you once again for your close observations and exceptionally helpful advice. I have fixed the oval hole drawing, removed the pillar under the cat beam, moved a single carling under the stove to the center, redrawn the pillars under this carling, and drawn in the large posts in the beakhead bulkhead that support the cat beam and frame the opening for the bowsprit. I think as I am getting older, my powers of observation or maybe memory are not as reliable as they used to be. For example, I got it in my head that there were two carlings under the stove, but when I went back to all of my resources, I could not find that anywhere. I made it up.  It sure helps to have others more knowledgable than me checking my work!









Drawing more detail has shown me a few more areas where sources show different designs, for example, the railing at the aft end of the forecastle. Thomas Slade's original drawing shows knees supporting the uprights:




And we see these in the original model, although almost flush with the beams and perhaps covered in some way by the planking if it were installed?




These are shown clearly above the planking in Slade's original design for HMS Victory of about the same age:




But the knees are gone in the second model of the Bellona, about 20 years later:



And then to make life for us poor researchers even more fun, the first Bellona model shows 2 sheaves in each upright, the second Bellona model shows 1 in each upright, and the Victory model does not appear to have any. And I don't really understand how the first Bellona model could have knees and also sheaves, because the knees would be severely cut into. And how could the rigging plan work with either no sheaves, one sheave or two?


Tenons into the beam, or knees, that is the question!


Best wishes,



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Oh, and one more curious detail. The models in the previous post show the chimney pipe for the stove as fully filling the opening in the deck. But when I draw the stove  in section and also the opening in the deck as dimensioned in Slade's original drawing, there is definitely a large gap between the two. Bigger chimney, smaller opening?





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Mark I have to agree with druxey on the exhaust of the stove and on the sheaves and or standards I do believe you would be ok if you added them or didn't.  I have gone through my plans and some show the breast work knees and some that don't. The same thing with models  some have them others do not. I think that from a different point of view having those knees would help those items to resist the stress of the rigging and being pulled loose from the deck itself.  I also found three model's in the gallery that show them having those knees, the Ajax 1767, Hercule/Thunder 1760 and the Egmont 1768, along with the framed Bellona, so I do believe you are in good company. The number of sheaves in them, still looking for a answer on that one. 

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Hello Mark,

that looks all very good to me. But because I had not searched much for the fore part of the ships, but only the aft for the Dragon I could't help you there much. At leat some pictures of the forecastle and the chimney.





and the model who is known as Thunderer, but I believe is the Dragon.



What I can say about the pillars at the upper gun deck is, that they had them only under every second beam. That is what I found out during my first visit at Greenwich. At the quarter deck where almost no pillars. At least one in front of the wheels. But I have no written record about this, only what I found researching the models where you could look inside. The first Bellona model has at least under every Beam a pillar, even at the quarter deck! I know no model with that future. I think they did this to stabilize the model better.

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Thanks so much, druxey, Gary and Siggi, for your observations and help.


Siggi, in all of the models you have looked at, was the Bellona unique in having so many pillars on the upper and quarter decks? It sure does look like a forest of trees on the quarterdeck, and in the captain's cabin... 


I am amazed as I start to finalize details on the Bellona how much I have not noticed in looking at these ship drawings and models all these years. You are all helping enormously as I try to work some of these details out. I am a little envious of the drawings later in the century that show so much more detail; the Bellona drawings were clearly rushed out the door with just the bare minimum of detail. But then, I would not have had as much fun over the years working out these details...


I have been working away on the drawings, noticing for example that the sheaves under the steering wheel for the tiller rope have to be dropped below the carlings in order for the rope to clear the beam just aft (see below).


I have also begun to wonder how I am going to rig the tiller ropes, when this assembly will be buried under two decks before the steering wheel can be attached. I may have to build the upper and quarterdecks together, working from aft.



And realizing the main capstan on the gundeck has no clearance for normal length bars, which will hit the pumps unless they are very short:






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Gary, I would love to see that detail of the hinged pillars, if you ever come across it again. I have a couple of pillars that cannot sit directly under a beam because of something like a hatch below, and I am wondering how the pillar is attached at the top in these situations.


Sailor, druxey points out that the pump brakes can be easily removed, and they can also be connected or disconnected in various ways so that both can drive both pumps, or one side can drive one side, or one side can drive both pumps. So I imagine if they needed to use the capstan and also pump, the fore brake would be used to drive both pumps while the aft brake was temporarily taken away to leave room for the capstan bars.


While looking at this further, I discovered that Brian Lavery's book on the Bellona calls for capstan bars 11'-6" long (p. 69), while Goodwin's Construction and Fitting book calls for bars one third the beam of the ship. The drawing below shows the result of Lavery's dimension in orange, and the Goodwin dimension in black. Goodwin's dimension does get awfully close to the immovable bitt pins, so maybe it is a little closer to Lavery's dimension.


Does anyone have a way to resolve which it is?


I tried looking a photos of contemporary models showing the capstan bars, but it was inconclusive for me to see.


Best wishes,





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3 hours ago, SJSoane said:

Gary, I would love to see that detail of the hinged pillars,


I have never seen it. These are some kind of "daily objects" from that era. I did try a guest on the 74 by looking at "locks" made during that time. Rekon also tried a solution on his 64, some kind of a door hinge. Some are locked on the top and other are locked on the bottom or removable panels.



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Thanks, druxey, good thinking! Here are guns run in and out, in plan:



And here is a gun run out in section. The black line shows Lavery's length, while the orange shows the additional length of Goodwin. They would be hard-pressed to use the capstan with guns on the deck. at the longer length. So I think I will use Lavery's length, although I wish he had given a source....



Gaetan, thank you for the photos. You are right, these are good examples of something so obvious to the shipwrights that they probably never would have drawn them out. But it makes sense, and it would be very easy to lift the pillars out the way when the space was needed.


Best wishes,







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Good morning Mark,

if the question is, how something is build, I would mostly agree with Goodwin. Because he has researched how something was done. Lavery is interesting with the historical background. 

Dafi wrote about this: 

and I would agree with him. I remember a film where girls on one of these training hulks run the capstan and had to jump always over the cannons. 

In real these had to be removed also with the pillars, before you could use the capstan. To remove the pillars they had a jack to lift the deck beam a little, to take the pillars out. So, fighting and using the capstan together would not work.


One other thing, the drum of the lower capstan is plain. That is something I found now out. I don't know if that is always so, but I found it on many plans.


Here fore example the Dorsetshire and Standart 1782, note the nice turned pillars!


2105764406_Bildschirmfoto2020-10-23um10_40_47.jpg.c21e83ab5c66cee806e61cb81d928498.jpg 1424067691_Bildschirmfoto2020-10-23um10_50_00.jpg.18aa161c21bdd4437d3f74e0b204c1ca.jpg




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Thank you Siggi,

I have been wondering how they would swing a column up if it were hinged without the foot of the column being rounded to allow it to pivot, or even pull a column out.  Hinged or not... of course they jacked the overhead beam up a smidgen to create the necessary clearance!


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