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HMS Victory by Ian_Grant - FINISHED - Heller - 1/100 - Plastic

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I had a build log on the now apparently defunct "HMS Victory Modeller's Knowledge Repository..." by Pete Coleman, but all this is gone now. I thought I'd just show a handful of progress shots, and the completed project.  I never could have built her like she came out without that web site; it's a shame about it. For any readers contemplating a build, know that there are now available seven sheets of brass etch to enhance the kit. Everything from accurate shroud chains to nice stanchions to trigger locks for the cannon. They are superlative, although I only ordered two as this was my first model in decades and I had never seen brass etch to that point in time.


You can find the brass etch here:



Never served thread before.  After reading about serving machines I made one out of my old meccano.  Here are the first served shrouds around the foremast head.  The deadeye strops are brass etch. I later changed the jeer block lashings to natural colour, just to make them jump.


I bought this kit in the early 80's.  The decals crumbled to bits when I wet them, so I ordered adhesive vinyl lettering for the figurehead. I painted the false panels blue instead of black because I liked the look with all the other blue trim.


The brass etch binnacle, with (barely visible) lantern and compasses. Home-made post and rails at the poop deck ladders. Syren 2mm blocks on the cannon tackle. Larger brass rod belaying pins so my big clumsy hands could tie off to them. Notice the brass etch boarding pikes on the mainmast. Hammock netting from HobbyLobby, on brass etch stanchions. Added brass handrails down the main companionway ladder.


First look at masts plunked in dry assembled. Looking like a ship!


Lower shrouds complete.


Psychedelic mizzen ratline guide from cereal box.  Why not the blank side, you ask?  I have no idea now.


Home-made topsail yard parral.


Nearly there!  Decided to rig bowlines too, hitched to yards. Stream anchor lashed to port sheet anchor. Also made anchor buoys, lashed to foremast shrouds.


Copied Blue Ensign's idea to make little Lord Nelson and Captain Hardy figures. Faces aren't very good but ok to naked eye.


Had a cast acrylic case made for her, atop a cherry cabinet I made for the purpose.  Sat three of the boats on the shelf to allow viewer to see down to the upper deck through the skid beams, but really you cannot see even the cannon rigging on quarterdeck.  At least my eyes cannot.  Print hung above is Geoff Hunt's "England Expects", depicting "Victory" among the British fleet approaching the combined fleet on the morning of Trafalgar.


Edited by Ian_Grant
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Thanks everyone, I'm quite proud of it.


Y.T. ---  Plastic kits are all plastic, no wood. Where my topmasts and topgallant masts etc. were unpainted wood, I painted the plastic with a suitable light base coat colour (suitable for a pine spar) then dry-brushed sparingly with Humbrol matt khaki, then applied a coat of Humbrol satin varnish. This is one of the things I learned on Pete's web site and I was amazed at how easy it is to make plastic look like wood. That said, I used wood dowels or bicycle spokes on the inside to stiffen them when gluing halves together.


As for blocks, the Heller kit does indeed supply "blocks" but they bear little resemblance to blocks.  Most people building this kit discard them and buy after-market wooden blocks. I recommend the beautiful ones from https://www.syrenshipmodelcompany.com/


Speaking of discarding, the Heller kit has many shortcomings which I will just mention now to forewarn potential builders:


It comes with two odd colours of thread in a couple of sizes, and recommends dying in tea or coffee(!?).  I discarded it and bought Amati rigging thread in about seven different diameters and two colours.  I also learned about this thread on that website. 


Plastic deadeyes are hard to mold.  To have the three holes, the mold must pull apart from the two faces of the deadeye, but then it is not possible to mold a groove around the circumference to encourage the shroud to stay in place. Heller did their best, adding a single ring around the circumference which prevents the thread from slipping off in one direction only. I found this impossible to rig and followed the advice on the website i.e. discard the deadeyes and buy wooden ones. I wish Heller had simply molded the deadeyes in two halves which we could glue together and save some money.


The kit does not include the chains for the shrouds. They show a half-assed method involving loops of thread. Luckily the solution is to buy one of Daffy's brass etch sheets which provides beautiful chains and preventers as here:


The kit lacks any means of attaching the yards to the masts. In the case of the lower yards, this is sort of ok because they were restrained by rope truss pendants which you can rig but you need to know where to add eyebolts to the deck to rig properly. For the other yards you need to make parrals of some form; see previous photos for one of mine made with small seed beads and small pieces of wood.


Those are the major issues.  There are others, like the difficulty painting the stern moldings and figurehead shield due to uncrisp molding, the plastic hammock stanchions with no holes which are best replaced with Daffy's etch, the complete lack of guide pins when gluing things like cannon barrels and spars, horrendously awful rigging notes in the instructions (buy a book), and for the completely detail-oriented the erroneous deck plank shift pattern.


But for all that, it builds up into what is widely considered the finest and most accurate plastic ship model on the market.

Edited by Ian_Grant
Added bit about missing parrals.
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  • 5 months later...

Alas!  I have come to realize that my driver gaff is stepped too low on the mizzen mast!  I recall at the time looking at pictures of how high the gaff peak reached compared to the mizzen topmast and wondering why mine could not go that high - I operated under the assumption that the gaff throat must be below the mizzen catharpins, in order for the gaff to be lowered if necessary.  Now I think that it was stepped above the catharpins, just below the cro'jack yard and remained there when at sea unless damaged. If necessary the catharpin lashings could easily be cut to allow the gaff to be lowered temporarily.


Fixing this would mean re-rigging the mizzen topgallant braces, the gaff peak and throat halyards, the gaff vangs, and more especially the gaff parral beads. It's easy to say but not very accessible to say the least; yet now that I've seen it I can't unsee it.


What to do, what to do??

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Hi Ian,


Looking at your splendid Victory, it didn't strike me that the Gaff was slung too low, but things can look different from different angles.

Here's a possible get out of jail card.


You can see here that the Gaff is slung below the Catharpins.


Personally I would leave things as is, or at least think very long and hard about  re-visiting at this stage.






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Dear B.E.  ---  Thank you so much for taking the time to reassure me on the mizzen gaff!!!


On my model the throat lies just above the blocks for the davit lifts, as it does in your photos. So that's great.


I found when trying to set the angle of the gaff that the limiting factor was the aftermost catharpin, as opposed to the mizzen top. Even in Geoff Hunt's painting the gaff peak lies significantly higher than mine. Now I'm wondering if I set the mizzen futtock staves too low; I made them equivalent to the length of the doubling as for the other masts.


I don't need to think long and hard about changing the futtock shrouds - no way, no how!


Thank you again!

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On 8/31/2020 at 4:17 AM, rkwz said:

Beautiful and such detailed work!


The Heller Victory is on my Xmas wishlist...along with Daniel's amazing etch sets 😁

I hope you get one rkwz!  If you buy all of Daniel's etch sheets you will have a museum quality build. Just be sure to obtain a copy of "Anatomy of Nelson's Ships" by Longridge in order to rig properly.

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  • 10 months later...

Ditto. One of the challenges of the Victory is that, with a site like this available, it’s like having a 1000 page instruction manual including several alternative ways of doing many sections. Make that 5000 pages. Not that I’m complaining, it would be virtually impossible without the build logs and advice. So I am gradually revisiting logs, like yours, and really appreciating the artistry that’s gone into the build.

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I agree Kevin. I know I could not be doing it. I am sure there are many Victory models built, including Heller’s, by people right out of the box with no knowledge of how to get help from sites like this. I am tremendously glad I found MSW. I even liked a Facebook group for building the HMS Victory. 

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Posted (edited)

Ahh......my long dormant blog has awakened! 😀


Since I'm helping answer Bill's questions for his Victory build, inspired by looking through the instructions and Longridge again I thought I would add some more random shots.


First my serving machine since people have been amused by it.....my childhood meccano plus brass tubing.



Progress......fore yard slung



Third party stream anchor lashed to sheet anchor. Anchor buoy lashed to bower anchor.



Main top at completion. Note the topgallant shroud lashings inside the topmast shroud deadeyes.



Last step - stern lanterns attached. Bit of a bother to paint though. 🤪



Evergreen ribs, floorboards, windlass, anchor davit, etc added to launch, compared to typical boat hull as received.



Completed set of ship's boats. Blue pinnace was especially interesting to bash.



Placed Admiral's barge on skids. Other boats displayed beside ship to allow view through to main deck.



Shot off the bow.


Edited by Ian_Grant
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Yes, on the old Pete Coleman web site "Blue Ensign" had many invaluable detailed entries on various topics, one of which was his beautiful work on the boats. After seeing things like that, one cannot but follow along and spend the extra time to enhance one's own build. A blessing or a curse??


Meanwhile, Blue Ensign has branched out from ships into 17th century womens' fashion 😁😁😁 ****


**** see his "Queen Anne Royal Barge" build.

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