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

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I know!

I know!


It's your engineering background.  Me too!!


Our type seems to always gravitate towards the spectacular as opposed to KISS (Keep It Simply... Silly?)


Now that we have to build it ourselves we need to learn a new skill set... seeing the forest for the trees.


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I still can't help myself. I spent a couple of days working on a jig to make the gun capsquares. I did manage to put something together, making left and right hand pieces (because of the angle of the carriage sides). It got complicated, working out how to get the male and female parts to line up when the holes were drilled at opposite angles:




It worked:




But the angle barely shows at this scale, not worth all of the extra work.

Tomorrow, I will try simplifying this to a 90 degree angle used for both sides, then make the jigs for the other two gun sizes before I forget how I did all of this....








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Gee, that's the Rolls Royce version, Mark. Mine was a Ford: just a half-round the diameter of the trunnion glued to a flat surface. The strip of copper was pressed down using a suitable pair of tweezers on edge each side of the half-round. Worked fine. I am definitely not my father's son! (See previous comment).

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Shoot druxey mine was a model T. I drill a hole the size of the trunnion, cut the piece of wood in half at the hole and then taking that same bit, pressing the bit down on top of the copper strip over top of the half hole and I now have a cap square for my cannon.  Very interesting Mark. As they say, more then one way to skin a cat.  Gary

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Thanks, everyone.

Viewer warning: the following is for obsessive/compulsive people only....


This morning I adjusted my jig a little, and it really did make noticeably handed parts, left and right. So I proceeded to crank out cap squares.


 step 1: cutting to length. A little stop jig made quick work of cutting all of the parts to the same length.




step 2: the blank needs some rough bending before putting it in the jig. I measured 7" (real size for the fore end of the cap square) on the end of my pliers, and made a 90 degree bend. This ensures that the part keeps all of the right proportional relationships once it goes into the jig.



Step 3: chain nose pliers are used to form a rough curved bend next.



I end up with a pile of S curved blanks, ready for the jig:




Step 4: into the jig, with the 7" length inboard of the jig, and the 90 degree bend tight up against the dowel.




A tight squeeze in a vise, and perfect cap squares form:



28 identical left hand, and 28 identical right hand. In a couple of hours. Way more fun using a jig, even though I did struggle trying to design the jig, as seen in the previous post. The jigs for the 18# and 9# guns should go a lot faster, now I know what I am doing here.






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19 hours ago, SJSoane said:

I am going to try to get some help for my debilitating psychological condition, complexititus....🧐

I think that's a common condition among modelers of all types... ships, aircraft, cars, tanks, etc.   I'd be surprised though if there's any mention of it medical literature.

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What is the difference between  left and right capsquare? The angle of the frame? At 1/4 scale or less is there enough difference to be noticable if you only make a straight capsquare? On the jig to get left and right is it the angle of the pin thats inserted in the jig right? Well explained, thank you.

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Thanks, all fellow OCD people out there.


druxey, what missing hinge and latch? Like Gary, I was hoping no one would notice. Could it be they were just printers' smudges in the drawings?😉 I have justified this omission to myself with the story that I need to insert these barrels through the gun ports years from now, and these additional bits will break off before I get there. Maybe, maybe, I will see how to do this for the guns on the upper decks.


Gary, I can't pronounce complexititus either. And our British friends would probably have a different pronunciation for it anyway...


Guy, yes, you have it right. The carriage sides slope 2 degrees inward each side at the forward end. And you are also right, at 3/16" scale the angle is like a rounding error, hardly visible. But given my complexititus syndrome, I just had to see if I could make the angles work. I did indeed drill the holes for the dowels in the jig at 2 degrees left and right, using angle blocks under the piece mounted in the mill vise.





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Ad Infinitum, for sure.  My wife, of education, can attest that I am a poor speller.  However, the Iphone is little help.  Spell Correct - PLEASE!!  I’d be saying much worse or wronger things, if I relied on that.


Not, ad-nauseam, though.  I never tire of this stuff.

Edited by Hubac's Historian
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druxey, could it be the cap square on that carronade was cast, not bent from sheet? I never thought of doing that. A good way to pick up the detail of the hinge and clasp...


I spent a good day bending up eye bolts for the gun carriages. I made a jig inspired by Alex M (HMS Sphinx), who got it from a German modeler 

Günter Bossong http://www.minisail-ev.de/fibel/fib-03-09/fib-03-09.htm.


It has a slot just wide enough for the leg of the eyebolt, and a drill the correct size of the inner diameter of the eye. A piece of copper wire of the correct diameter is bent at right angles and put into the jig, then pulled around the drill bit (the hole not being used is for the larger diameter eye bolts for the quickwork, still to come):




The wire is wrapped all the way around the drill bit, and pressed down on top of the leg:



The loop is then grabbed with pliers and cut with micro angle cutters just where the loop hits the leg:



a quick squeeze in parallel jaw pliers to flatten out, and voila, Bob's your uncle:



I see that one of the positions with the greatest job security in the 18th century British shipyard would have to be the guys who made the eyebolts and rings.


Here are 196 eyebolts, just for the 28 cannon carriages on the gun deck. Add in another 28 for the deck, and 112 in the quickwork, and no rest for the weary...








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I only woke up to the benefits of parallel pliers a few years ago when I took a jewelry making course. Wish I'd had a pair decades ago! They are indispensable for miniature 'smithing'. Lovely work there.


BTW, my capsquares were built up, not cast. Mind you, I didn't need the quantity of them that you require.

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  • 2 weeks later...

druxey, you are right, those parallel pliers are a god-send. Flattens things out without marring the soft copper.

And nice capsquares. The giveaway of built up construction is that the join between the flat and the curve comes to a sharp 90 degree corner. Even the best bending still leaves a small radius at this intersection.


I have been busy for the last week constructing all of the metal for the gun deck. Easy with jigs, but many, many pieces to make over and over.


I learned from YouTube videos how to make the rings, which are called jump rings in the jewelry world. Clamp a drill bit of the right internal diameter for the ring into a vise. Then tightly wrap copper wire of the correct diameter around the drill bit. Remove from drill bit. Use sharp angle cutters to cut a square end at the beginning of the coil, then reverse the cutter to cut another square end facing the first. A perfect ring drops off the coil. Cut a new square end, reverse the cutters and cut the opposite end square. Repeat.




I used two parallel jaw pliers opposing each other to open up the ring enough to drop in an eyebolt, then close up the ring. A trick I learned online was to twist the pliers back and forth a few times, listening for a clicking sound as the two ends of the ring pass by each other. This helps form a ring without a gap.




And then there were all of the other metal pieces for the gun carriages, the ends of the bolts, and the wedges for retaining the trucks to the axles.




And slowly but surely the metal parts accumulated:




I blackened in batches, to keep different types separate (left and right cap squares, rings for carriages vs. rings for deck vs. rings for quickwork).

Following Greg's good advise (above), I cleaned in pickle, then neutralized in baking soda and water, then I used 99% isopropyl alcohol). A final soak in diluted Jax blackening for copper.




The pieces were so tiny I used  the orange filter to put into the pickle and baking soda. But then I had to dump them individually into the alcohol and JAX. It was pretty tedious picking them all up individually with tweezers at this point.




The resulting blackened pieces are really quite wonderful in color and luster:




While waiting for some of these processes, I started marking out the upper deck height, in anticipation of finally moving on to the next deck in a few weeks. I dug out an old jig I used to mark the height of the gun deck. It has a bar between opposite gun ports, and a device that slides up to the side at the correct distance down from the port. I then run a pencil over the ebony pointer, to get the mark on the side at the correct height. Without this jig, it would be very difficult to measure down accurately with so much tumblehome. This ensures that the final beam height will be exactly parallel to the gun ports.

The jig allows the black pointer to slide up and down and lock at the correct height within the larger shell of the device.





Best wishes,









Edited by SJSoane
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Thanks, druxey. Here is a closer look at the marking jig.


The ebony pointer slides up between the two side pieces of the shell, and has a screw on the bottom for fine adjustment. And then a screw at the right tightens it down in place. The top screw tightens the entire sliding mechanism against the bar.


The empty screw holes were drilled when I used this for the gun deck. They got in the way when I had to shorten the throw for the upper deck. Should have thought ahead way back then....







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