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HMS Victory by rkwz - AIRFIX - Scale 1:180 - First plastic ship build

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This is my first attempt at model ship building... I plan to move on to wooden ships but thought I'd try my hand at a plastic ship first to ease into the hobby.


The kit requires quite a bit of time spent removing the excess flashing. I tried my hand at acrylic paints initially but decided to stick to Humbrol enamel paints (hand painted) as recommended in the manual.


Instead of Humbrol 81 Matt Pale Yellow, I opted for 63 Sand Matt as I felt it didn't look as bright and had a more muted tone.


Got a sore throat while painting the hull and wondered if it was due to the solvents in the enamel paint. Cured it with some whiskey but will be sure to wear a face mask moving forward...


I painted the sections first before glueing them thinking it would be easier to paint them this way. I used Tamiya Extra Thin Cement to glue the hull and bottom deck to start and noticed some slight dissolving of the enamel paint. Will touch them up later but maybe glueing them first would have been wiser...


Glued on the deck posts first but now starting to regret it as I foresee some issues aligning the upper deck above this (could knock them over).


Hopefully these decisions won't come back to bite my behind later in the build. I am however enjoying the build process immensely.



As a total newbie, I have a few questions to ask:

1. I used a fine handheld drill to reopen the holes in the hatches but in the process, the holes became round and lost its original square shape. Is there a better way to do this?


2. Any advice on painting the stern? Was thinking of painting the lighter colours on first then filling the windows with either a light blue or grey colour. Or is it better to do the opposite and dry brush the window frames with yellow?



Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.







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Um, a regular face mask does not protect you from volatile organic vapours. Only a respirator with suitable filters does that. Provided you have reasonable ventilation, the small quantity of these compounds should not affect you.


For cleaning up square holes, use either a square section escapement file (it's a tiny version of a Swiss file) or a small broach.

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You may find this little book very useful for modelling the 1:180 Airfix Victory.

HMS Victory(Classic Ships  No 1: Their History and how to model them)

Noel C L Hackney.

It specifically relates to improving and rigging this particular kit and dates from the 1970’s.

Second hand copies can be obtained very cheaply, I see there is one on Abe Books for the price of £1.98 at present.


Well worth a punt😊






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Thank you everyone for your constructive comments and input.  Time to get my hands on a respirator mask (or continue curing my throat with an Old Fashioned) and fine pin files from the local hobby store.


Will dry brush the stern windows as recommended too. Notice the stern parts doesn't fit easily onto the hull and will research filling it up with putty... any advice or experience to share with me on this step? Pardon my ignorance.


Managed to find a copy of HMS Victory(Classic Ships  No 1: Their History and how to model them) on world of books for a steal, will have a good read of it before getting too far ahead of myself with the build! Thank you Blue Ensign (btw I had a look at some of your builds and was blown away by your skill ... Was initially going to go sail-less as the plastic sails in the kit didn't really appeal to me, might attempt your sail making technique when I get to that challenge)







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Slow progress, painted the gun carriages and plan to glue them to the lower deck first before the upper deck is installed which I thought might be easier to manage.


Would like to rig the cannons for added detail, but have heard it may not be worth the effort for a ship of this scale ...  Would anyone kindly share some advice on this?


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The smallest guns I have rigged were on my 1:150 scale Heller French 74 build.

The carriages were around 8mm long.

It is probably feasible to add the Breeching  ropes if desired, but the side tackles are very tiny and 'false'  representations are the way to go, I suppose it depends on how  much you wish to torture yourself. 😉

I used a combination of very fine wire and tiny sections of styrene for the blocks.



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I think you mean how much fun I'll have rigging them up Blue Ensign? (Am I going to regret saying this...?)


As always thanks for sharing your tips, will give it a whirl I think and share my progress (or disaster story) later haha.

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Cannon rigging done for the lower deck. Due to the small scale and my fat fingers, I didn't attempt the side tackles and did a simple representation instead based on my limited ability.


After the first attempt at glueing the "rope" to the hull, I worked out it was better to drill a little hole into the plastic, dab a tiny amount of Super 'phatic glue onto the hole, wait for it to dry a little, then jam the rope knot into the hole and pray. The rope tended to stick on to my forceps in preference to the hull but eventually I persisted and got through all 10 cannons.


Will need to touch up the deck paint (as you can see, the Tamiya extra thin cement melts plastic and enamel paint) around the gun carriages. Notice the deck hasn't adhered to the hull properly (as mentioned earlier), hopefully won't be a problem when I add on the upper deck later.



Broke a few deck posts in the process, but nothing Tamiya cement can't fix...




Also had a go at finishing the lifeboats. Again had to drill a little hole to fit the rudder.




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Making some progress with the build, ship is starting to take shape, but I realise I am barely halfway there...


Made many mistakes and this is what I have taken out of the experience so far:


1. Definitely should have glued the ship together instead of painting them first.

2. The fit on this ship isn't perfect, was frustrating getting the decks to align and stay in position while the glue was setting. Luckily I invested in some clamps and rubber bands. The stern didn't fit properly as well, so I may have to cover up the gaps with putty.

3. Lucky I rigged the below deck cannons as I have lost count of the number of times they were knocked off position. I will look to do the same for the upper deck cannons, but maybe do a better job of it this time.



Some minor touch ups to be done later, for example the copper roof over the ship's bell, fingerprint marks etc.


Found this site for accessories for the Airfix Victory 1/180:




I'm planning to get my hands on some blocks, boat hooks, eyelets, deadeyes, proper thread etc. but will have to carefully figure out what sizes to get in order to maintain the scale of the ship. Also not keen on glueing rope to the ship's hull after my experience with rigging the cannons before.




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That looks to be an interesting site.

In the UK  the smallest eyebolts I have found are these:


 I use them extensively in my builds.



PS. The link doesn't seem to be active, The Company is Jotika who manufacture  Caldercraft kits. I am referring to mini brass etched eyebolts sold in sets of 250.

Edited by Blue Ensign
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Thanks for the tip Blue Ensign, notice the eyebolts you recommended come in 7mm lengths being longer than the ones on the HiSModels page... Haven't worked out what I need yet in terms of quantity.


On a separate note, have just received the book by Noel Hackney in the mail so time for some bedtime reading!




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Thank you for your kind words, OC.


Slow progress, waiting for paint to dry but have finally started work painting the stern. Needs a little touch up and detailing after my crash course in dry brushing...IMG_20191201_234016.thumb.jpg.67f8acd37ab46a4754f1d1c8966cf61c.jpg

The next job was to fit the headrails which isn't an exact fit. Had to get creative clamping it down and hopefully the glue should hold.



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Hi, Definitely make use of the Noel C L Hackney book. I built the Victory Airfix kit 30 years ago and it is still on display, Actually in the lounge at the moment. You can see her in the back ground of my latest build.


His 'order of dressing the masts and yards' is what I still use today. The step by step method makes sure you get blocks in place at the right time so not to make it more difficult later. Combined with the James Lees book I use it for any age sailing warship.



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Hi Thunder, thanks for sharing a photo of your Victory...  the rigging ropes look taut and the ship looks very much to scale and is absolutely beautiful.


Still reading the Noel Hackney book and suspect I will have to reread it many times over as I go through each rigging step in detail later.


If you don't mind me asking did you stick to the plastic masts supplied in the kit? I am a little worried they may not be rigid enough and may snap during the rigging process... one of mine came a little deformed because the sprue attachment broke off. Also did you use the thread supplied with the kit or fishing wire for the rigging?




Before rigging the ship, I have to glue on the dummy cannons and gunport lids. Just did a count and realised I've lost 4 cannons (which are really bits of plastic cylinders glued to the hull) and 1 lid. Will either use styrene or fashion them out of the excess bits of sprue to compensate.


Also the 2 upper deck carronades and gun carriages have yet to be positioned. Still deciding what to do with them in terms of rigging. Might have to glue on a tiny piece of styrene to represent the side tackles as Blue Ensign suggested earlier to maintain some sense of scale.





Thanks for the link to dafinimus.de, EricWilliamMarshall. Have had a look previously but the AIRFIX kit i'm tackling is much smaller in size... would love to have a crack at the Heller Victory kit in future though (I hear this is the best plastic kit representation of the Victory).

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Might have found a solution to the missing dummy cannons after all...


Noticed the heads of the toothpicks I had been using to mix paint with are a near perfect fit! Will try glueing this on with super 'Phatic glue. This glue seems to work better than tamiya cement for plastic/wood to paint adhesion and dries without leaving any noticeable residue.



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Given the scale of this kit I think you've made a  great job of the stern detailing. Those  pilasters are a pain even on the Heller Victory.

 Way back I did build the Revell version of Victory, which is slightly smaller, as a practice build for the Heller 1:100 using the Hackney book.

You may be interested in the relevant sizes of these two kits.


This is version 1 of the Heller Victory which is now long gone, replaced by version 2 which I still have on display.

Building the Airfix kit will give you valuable experience for taking on the 'beast'.






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18 hours ago, rkwz said:

i'm tackling is much smaller in siz

Doh, my apologies! To your question of the masts: I just finished the Revell’s USS Constitution in 1/196 scale, somewhat similar size in the real world but, I assume, a simpler kit (heavy frigate vs. ship of the line). I used the plastic masts without issue. I will note that the masts and spars can flex, which means taut lines can become slack, which is a pain.

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Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement. Getting to the fun bit now putting together the little pieces and setting up the masts.



Noticed the attachment for the lower and top mizzen masts was off by a little over 1mm.IMG_20191205_184107.thumb.jpg.5890ce5e74d81cf63400d877f5015fb2.jpg


after sanding that section down, I was finally able to fit it snugly.




I've decided to keep the lower masts painted same colour as the hull without the black bands based on something I read that Nelson had ordered them painted that way to identify friendlies just before the Battle of Trafalgar.




Well that was fun.


Haven't glued on the masts yet in case I might need to remove them for rigging or space is needed for rigging the upper deck cannons, plus they need to be aligned at some stage. Also left the yards alone for the same reason.


The main mast fit was tight and popped the upper deck adhesion to the hull, had to carefully wiggle it into position while holding the deck, and after that, I used Phatic glue to reseal the deck and hull connection (hence the rubber banding).


Phatic glue is my newest friend. It doesn't dissolve enamel paint like the Tamiya cement and has reasonable adhesion. I'd recommend this for any plastic bits that would be easier to paint on the sprue before attaching them to the model.


Edited by rkwz
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I should stop now and read the book if you want to use it. There are holes to drill and blocks to fit under the mast tops that you will not be able to do once they are fixed in place.


I used the airfix masts and yards and the only one pulled out of shape is the sprit sail yard. This is after all those years. I didn't use the airfix threads but the book tells you possible sources and how to check they are the correct sizes. For the smallest I use Fly tying fishing silk thread. Then guttermann and the largest is Twilleys.


Blocks are a mixture of lead fishing shot, wood and home made out of strip styrene. get the whole strip, run groves along whole lengths on each side using a draw knife, drill holes and cut to length with flush cut miniature electrical side cutters. Cut the correct way and it even rounds off the edge. String all onto a length of wire and paint brown. Can make doubles and trebles the same way.



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Thanks for your tips, Thunder. I think I might have got a little ahead of myself again haha. Thankfully I can still remove the masts (the main mast could be a challenge) to drill those holes and fit blocks etc.


Ship building is an exercise in patience I've learnt.


I did order some wooden deadeyes and blocks which will take 1-2 weeks to arrive, but will certainly try out your method of making them from styrene if I run into trouble later.

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From Memory the hackney book covers:


  1. short History of the ship
  2. Colour scheme with tips on painting methods
  3. Extra materials and tools.
  4. Short cuts to the build which is more like a simple list of modifications.
  5. Advanced modifications
  6. Step by step build sequence which references each modification at the stage it needs completing.
  7. Step by step rigging instructions of standing and running rigging
  8. Step by step rigging instructions of sail rig either under sail or what would be rigged during harbour rig.

What is so good about the book is the rig can be adopted for any version of the kit.


The two others in the series, Mayflower and Cutty Sark are equally good. The mayflower for tips on painting to simulate wood.

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Started work on the mods as set out in chapter 7 of Noel Hackney's book.  Quite a few to get through... IMG_20191211_231453.thumb.jpg.762571a336e00492db950d6597aa2f97.jpg

Added posts to the aft edge of the skid beam opening. Completed footrail along the fwd edge of the poop deck. Working with 1.5mm thick styrene is pretty tricky.



Drilled holes in the bowspirit 'bees'.


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Thanks, Wallace. What started out as a simple project has descended into something of an obsession... Hoping to take my exp on this to the next build!


Next job is to add belaying pins. IMG_20191213_142552.thumb.jpg.c60ad6a07c0b4632cd3dc9ec2cc7a4b2.jpg

Added footrails alongside the belfry. Still need to add 8 x square styrene blocks over the rails to carry the spirit topsail and yard braces later.



only 1 belaying pin on the mizzen bit as my pins are in short supply (have 40 only) and I'm not planning on sail rigging. This will take on the mizzen top gallant halyard later.



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