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Orca by FlyingFish – Scale 1:20 - from the movie Jaws.

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Thank you  DCN - I appreciate your help very much - Jaws has a rich presence on the internet, with many very informed fans! 

Over the last few months I have collected several hundred images, many from the film, and also production shots, out-takes and pictures of the boat after the movie was filmed. 

There are a number of sites where people are converting real boats into a replica of Orca, and their research has been helpful.

I am currently looking for shots of the interior - especially anything of the trunk cabin, and also of the stem/pulpit construction.

Sometimes the shots showing the boat falling apart are helpful (if sad) as they reveal construction methods. for example...



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Posted (edited)

Floors; Stringers; Sheer clamps; short beams and carlins….


If you are interested in the design detail read on, or if not, skip to the build pictures!

The next step is to complete all the below-decks structures, before the side and main deck planking and superstructure.


Working up from the keel, the floors below the pilot house form the bearing for the engine; and further aft the fuel tank; exhaust pipes (more of which later); rudder control and hydraulics.

These details will be added where they show through open hatches in the deck, otherwise omitted.

It’s likely that some bronze floor strengthened the hull as well.








stringer supports the deck beams. The beams are visible when the engine & stuffing box hatches are open.

The floor height is not easy to measure, with confusing images from the film. As there is no pilot house step the engine sits entirely below decks, so there must be room enough to get the engine between the keel and the beams.


The movie still shown suggests Quint and hooper have room to stand – hardly likely as it must have been a tight squeeze.

The image of the rudder hatch open shows no space below the deck, the hook/keel and rudder shaft being just below the deck… hmmm.


Direct measuring of stills suggests the decking is 28 -30” below the sheer line at the transom, with the coaming adding another 4”. The coaming rises forward. This gives just enough room for a very small engine below the pilot house deck.

It was at this point that I realised I had made two errors by overestimating the space below decks when making the engine, compounded by over scaling the engine which has now been replaced with a smaller one. Less haste; more speed!


Below decks were painted a dirty duck egg blue, darker for the deck beams.

This is the rudder control as modelled.



As an aside, the original ‘Warlock’ had a wet exhaust system exiting just above the transom waterline. However, ‘Orca’ was changed for filming to a dry exhaust and stack on the port side of the aft deck. Maybe because the cloud of steam/fumes at the transom would get in the way of filming, and it looks more in keeping with Quint’s character. I assume this was functional, although it may have been a prop connected to a smoke generator; who knows?




The old wet exhaust has a plate screwed over it, as shown on the left. Therefore, the old gooseneck inside the transom trunking, muffler, and pipes back to the engine are not modelled.




The lower trunk cabin is the least known part of the boat – the few stills that exist are confusing. There are some pencil sketches online, but these may well be best guesses at the layout.

It serves as a place for Hooper to stow his various bits of kit, radio tags, scuba kit and shark lance and poison. We see Quint retrieving the machete and harpoon gun, and later lifejackets.

Rather than get bogged down with this, I’ll build what is known, and the rest will be as you might expect to find in a lobster boat of this size. I’m sure if I make mistakes someone will eventually correct me. In any event if can only be glimpsed through the access hatch and the portholes.

Once this is all in place, then the main outside decking and pilot house decking can go ahead.

The construction of the short beams looks like this example:




This requires a sheer clamp shelf, and short beams to a carlin, all planked below and above. Side decks are probably ply, or ply over planking at the transom. This will be faithfully copied.

Enough of the talking, the shipyard hooter just sounded. I'm off to joint the chippies in the bar.











Edited by FlyingFish
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Rudder and prop

I have this reference of Orca' prop and rudder thanks to jlt13th...




Three bladed left-handed prop, and a welded rudder on a shaft, where the bottom bearing is through a plate bolted to the keel and extending beyond the rear of the keel itself. It looks a bit fragile to me.

The figure gives a sense of scale, and proportion.

I was going to make the prop, but I don’t have a lathe or mill, and making it out of plastic would probably be hard to get right. So until I can face shelling out £20 for the right one, I have a four blade prop in place for the moment.

The rudder was probably made in house like this one..




...and fitted like this:




I am a very poor metalworker, but managed to cobble one together:




Rudder needs a sacrificial anode; the keel needs shortening, the keelson shaped, and things tidied up a little yet, but the proportions are getting there. 




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A small diversion...

Need some jaws....



So this is a scratch build right?

Milliput to the rescue. Soft copper rod soldered to shape and a rough daub of epoxy.



Bit o' sanding...



Trip to the dentist...








A little root canal work and tidying up...



Well it's a start... think I can go from here to something like the original later on.





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The British Government set dates for national holidays (bank holidays) to coincide with major low pressure systems from the ocean, resulting in 70mph gales. This weekend was no exception, so build time limited by need to remove bits of broken tree from the garden.

Did you spot this in the film?



I must be getting carried away; no-one will ever see this.









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