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HMS Bellerophon (1786) by fake johnbull - Amati/Victory Models 1/72 Vanguard kit -

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Next step is installation of chains to channel. But I want to tell about some modification to channel firstly.


Correct reasons I don’t know, but some deadeyes and chains are omitted in kit design when comparing actual plan of Slade designed 74 and kit design.




Perhaps kit designer Chris Watton want to escape that channel edge are occupied by deadeyes of slightly larger size from manufactures' stock and deadeyes being crowded each other.


OTOH, AOTS Bellona and NMM Hercules/Thunderer model (contemporary Georgian style hull model with modern rigging) show some of deadeyes are unused.



large_d3335_1.jpg (1280×1084)




If they are correct, numbers of shrouds of kit design isn’t wrong. But I decided to add missing deadeyes to channel.






Surely added deadeyes give crowded impression, but I myself am satisfied with result.


Main mast channels are given another modification. Some of chains for backstays are positioned immediately above gunport, these resulted in their chains are lead horizontally, not diagonally as normal chains.




To resolve them, I shortened their deadeye strops, but chains seem to be still horizontal and not strong. Finally I removed aftend of main channels and altered them to stool channels at upper position. This arrangement is also can be seen on HMS Victory today.






Many contemporary models are showing aftend of fore and main channels reducing their width inward and chains of backstays immediately above gunports are still keeping diagonal angle. But I think my modification gave practical solution. 


Now it’s time to tell about chains themselves. PE chain parts are also one of few disappointments of the kit. While each chain assembling should have different length according to its position, kit PE parts are same size. Also preventer plate should have groove alongside their length, but kit PE is merely flash surfaced.






Finally, I decided to make preventer plates and intermediate links by myself. Difference of length of each chain assembling will be controlled by length of intermediate links. I think deadeye strops and toelink in kit PE need no modification.



Preventer plates were made from copper wire with soft-soldering. Maybe I should use brass rod and silver-soldering, but preventer plates don’t directly receive upward forth of shroud. So I use easier material to bend.


Photos themselves tell how I made them than word, so no detailed depiction will be required.











I soft-soldered rearward side of plates, but it is unavoidable solder is flooded into outer surface. So I grooved by file.




BTW, NMM Elephant plan shows two sizes of preventer plates. Fore channels ones and foremost three ones are short and rest are long.





OTOH, Edgar and other Elephant plan show longer preventer plates are used on foremost two chains of fore channels and they seem to be even longer than main channels ones.








I decided to make two sizes of preventer plates for easier work. Also if I add billboard at later stage, plates of different size will be hidden.


After their completion, preventer plates are fitted to hull but only pinned at lower hole. Upper hole will be pinned with toelinks later.








Some building guide books tell that assembled deadeye and chains can be chemically blackened as whole assembling. But I’m afraid that this method ruins surface of deadeyes. I blackened chain parts with Asahipen Metal Primer and AZ Blackening Spray before assembling them. They work well and blackened layer of strop is tough enough to endure against bending force when fitting deadeyes. BTW I add some modification to deadeyes. Top edge of each holes are recessed with electric tool.










Making of intermediate links are also told by photos themselves. Before I started them, I expected depressing work requiring long time, but it finished within much shorter time than I expected. intermediate links require strongness than preventer plates, so I used 0.5mm brass rods.








If test fitting is OK, then soft-solder it. Soft-soldering gives enough strongness unless changing shape of link with strong teightning. Butt end of each link is positioned at rearward for beautiful result.




Intermediate links are blackened on-site. I use toothpick and apply AZ Blackening Spray once prepared on another tray. 




Capping pieces are moulded and fitted to channel edges. I used walnut strips included in kit. Boxwood would be better choice for moulding, but I used easily available material.





Bellows are latest status of my building.










 Next, I want to finish rest of external hull fittings except mizzen channel area.


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Thanks again for your kind word😄


I don't know whole appearance of Bellerophon figurehead, but I’m looking forward how you interpret his appearance on your superb POF model.


Another subject of decorations of Bellerophon is stern statue which is said to be also salvaged from actual ship.


HMS Bellerophon Figurehead - 1786. | Hms bellerophon, Greek statue, Statue


At this stage, I don't employ him yet. But when I finished other important areas of the ship, I want to add him to stern.





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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Mitsuaki,  I really like the additional detailing that you have put into the channels and the chains.  I have been considering taking the same approach for making the preventer links with wire.  It's a small detail, but the results you have achieved are such an improvement on the flat kit supplied part and add so much to be beauty of the model.

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Thank you for your kind word😄



Although details of preventer plates are obscure from a distance, they look nice by looking closer.


Much closer inspection of Victory in Portsmouth reveals preventer plates are made from square metal rod, not round rod as I did, but I think round copper wire are enough acceptable in 1/72 model.





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Improving of head rails and cathead support


Before finishing rest of external hull details, I tried remaking of head rails and cathead support. When I firstly finished these areas, I was satisfied with the result.




But later it became apparent that the curve of cathead support and ekeing rail is too acute than it should be by comparing my model with plan of Elephant. Elephant plas is shown in green line. Also mould on main head rail is simpler comparing with many beautiful models of past days.






These parts are one of most difficult items to form, so I have been reluctant to rework them. But I finally determined to do them before proceeding further steps. BTW, I don’t know exact place where cathead support and ekeing jointing together, but for convenience, I divide them at top edge of channel wale. I would call part running between top edge of channel wale and cathead “cathead support”, and curved rail connecting cathead support and head rail “ekeing”. My apology if my usage of term is incorrect.


I firstly prepared NMM Elephant plan and expanded its bow section horizontally so that distance between forepeak of middle head rail and cathead support matches to actual length. Then cut it at bottom edge of middle head rail to use it as template.




Next I remove old cathead support and ekeing. Old ekeing part are modified to gentler curve than before, and fitted to channel wale with help of template.




Cathead support is completely new one. I prepared pattern cut from Bristol board and test fit it to hull with help of Elephant plan template. Once satisfied with the shape of pattern, I transferred outline to 0.5 mm maple sheet and cut them. They form forward and rearward faces of cathead support and need two parts per one cathead.








2 mm walnut strip is cut to fill horizontal arm of cathead support between forward and rearward faces. It is cut slightly smaller than maple part to represent mould of cathead support. BTW cathead is projectiling diagonally forward. As a result each length of forward and rearward faces of cathead is different. When I made cathead support previously, I prepared patterns for each of forward and rearward faces because forward one is little smaller than the other to correspond this difference of length . But this time I prepared only one pattern and cut rearward one slightly larger and shaped both of forward and rearward ones at once with small electric router after fitted to hull.






Rest of void between forward and rearward faces are filled with 0.5 mm maple sheet cut into arc.




Yellow area is finished with yellow dye and Watco oil of natural colour. Blue area is painted with Humbrol No. 25.


Also more moulds are added to main rail.








Reworked cathead support and ekeing is still slightly out of Elephant plan, but I’m satisfied as a whole. It looks much preferable than before.



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  • 6 months later...


Thank you for your comment and sorry for not updating my building log.


Although I don't have enough time to write English text at this moment, I have been posting latest status of my building to Twitter with Japanese text. So appreciated if you are enjoying them till I add new post to this topic.




I have almost finished upperdeck arming and fittings.






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Thanks for your comment.


Today, I shaped balusters of ladder rails between quarter deck and upper deck referring AOTS Victory. Lower longer pair will be last parts to be installed onto upper deck.


After I install them, I want to start to write English text for updating this building log.


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Thanks for your comment. While it is nature to seek accuracy as a modeller, different info sources are showing different interpretations of specific details.  Changes of details are also matter of problem.


Considering of her building date, Bellerophon would have iron crutches on inboard edges of gangways as can be seen on model of Queen Charlotte of 1889 and skid beams would be rest on these crutches.




But there may be also strong possibility her skid beams were changed into permanent structure beneath of gangway in her long active career as can be seen on sectional model of 74 gun ship around 1795.




Moreover, skid beams of today's Victory are showing some difference from sectional model of 74 gun ship. For example lack of hanging knees are one of them.




After some thought, I decided to follow the way of 74 gun ship sectional model, but there still remains problem of what is right method of her skid beams construction.


Maybe answer is sleeping on contemporary refit documents if NMM is still preserving them. But it is slightly too maniac to seek such document for me as an amateur modeller. Anyhow I want to seek accuracy within limitation of amateur as far as I can do it😅


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Anchor linings


Parts around anchor lining are ones of confusing terms in ship history. For example, Peter Goodwin depicts the part directly fitted to hull between main wale and chain wale as “anchor lining”, the part covering chain as “billboard”, and longitudinal part between them as “bolster”.




Other two images are I downloaded from the internet while ago, which I suppose scan from books of George F. Campbell and L. G. Carr Laughton. Former reverses usage of terms of Goodwin, and latter depicts whole parts as anchor linings.






For convenience, I will follow usage of term by Goodwin.


For determining their shapes, I referred Bellona coppered model.




Firstly, side elevating image of Bellona model are enlarged to fit 1/72 scale. Outline of anchor linings are taken from it.


Anchor linings are made of amarillo strips. They are straight forward building of amarillo strips, but bottom lining strip should be thinned to fit diminishing depth of "thick staff" above main wale. Once shaping done, it was dry fitted.




Rest of linings are roughly cut, dry fitted, determined outline referring enlarged Bellona side elevation image, and finally shaped.






In the case of Bellona model, anchor linings are also covering forward area of second gunport of lower deck. It was made of 1 mm walnut strip, but it also should be thinned partly to clear gunport hinge.




Bolsters are made of 3 mm walnut dowel. It also should be partly bored to clear preventer plates. Lengths of preventer plates are also shortened than other plates not to interfere with bolster.




Billboard of Bellona model are showing gentle S shaped curve viewing from fore and aft.




To represent it, I made billboard as lamination of 0.5mm maple sheet as baseboard and outer planks of amarillo and walnut. Firstly maple sheet is bent by steam and heat from kettle. Maple sheet can be bent to convex by applying steam and heat. S shaped curve can be formed by apply steam and heat to end of one side of the sheet, then reverse it and apply steam and heat to another end.




Outer planks are glued to be lined up with blackened wales and yellow plank between wales. Walnut strips are firstly glued then blackened by black dye and ebony colour Watco oil. Next glued amarillo strips.








One of problem of Bellona model is that upper edge and bottom edge of starboard billboard seems to be parallel...




but those of port one seems to be twisted to fit narrowing line toward bow of each level.




Image posted by Siggi52 are showing this twisting clearly.




I don't know which is correct, but twisted one seems to be more natural. To represent it, I twisted billboard lamination by putting pressure on my fingertips, but cracks occurred to maple baseboard. I repaired them with CA glue, but hindsight tells me that outer planks of walnut and amarillo should be also twisted before gluing onto baseboard.




Anyhow, I made up my mind to satisfy billboard repaired with CA glue. Fortunately repaired surface can't be seen from outboard.











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Posted (edited)

18 Pounder Guns


As I posted previously, guns were specially 3D printed by one of my fellow modellers.




Kit PE monograms are CA glued to guns, but I didn't use flintlock PEs because firing lanyards are lost from some of them. I sprayed primer, then sprayed Mr. Color semi gross black, and finally dry brushed with Humbrol silver.








Carriages are kit diecast parts. Although diecast carriage of Amati isn't best ones and much more superb carriage can be obtained through market or scratch built by oneself, they can be seen acceptable by applying paints and gun tackles.


It was hard task to open holes for eyebolts for gun tackles, but they were done by help of electric drill. Red paint is Humbrol enamel mixed with proportion suggested in kit instruction. Wheels are also painted with Humbrol mat black. Chemically blackened eyebolts are added after paints dried.






BTW, kit design is showing varying heights between deck level and gunport openings. Those of forward sections are higher, and those of lower sections are lower. As I posted previously heights of carriages are modified to protrude guns from centre of gunports.



Gun tackle blocks are Amati parts, but their shapes are improved with PE saw and Urawa mini router.


Hooks are added to gun tackle blocks. They are represented by turning copper wire around strop rope, then twisted and finally bend to hook shape.










Eyebolt positions of inner planks of hull are determined by help of template.




Gun tackles are fully rigged for guns of midship sections because they can be seen well from opening of waist.






But those of each ends are simplified because they can't be seen well. Gun tackles are directly knotted and reeved between eyebolts of carriage and inner hull side, and finally small walnut pieces are CA glued to suggest blocks.








Gun tackle ends are separately coiled and glued to deck. They are omitted for aft section guns.








Along with 18 Pounders, cleats for main course tack and fore course sheet are also glued.




Sheave position of main course tack are altered according to suggestion of Alan.







Edited by fake johnbull
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Cannonballs and shot garlands


Firstly I tried using kit cannonballs but it seems to be slightly bigger. As far as my research, diameter of 18 Ponder cannonball is 5.04 inch and it became approximately 1.8 mm at 1/72 scale. Amati cannonballs are provided as 2 mm size, but their actual sizes are slightly bigger than 2 mm and varying little by little. Finally I determined to use 1.8 mm baring ball as 18 Ponder cannonballs. They are blackened with AZ Blackening Spray.








Sizes of shot garland are varying from one reference source to another. I took length between holes from HMS Euryalus book published from Sea Watch Books.




Sizes of garlands are referred to Goodwin's "Construction and fitting". Width is 2.5mm and depth is 1.5mm. They are made from walnut.






I don't have drilling machine with automatic feeder, so I have to drill holes with hand operated machine. Intervals between holes aren't equal, but I have to accept them.



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Posted (edited)



Capstans are basically made of kit parts. Firstly whelps should be glued with equal intervals around spindle. I divided length of circumference of spindle by numbers of whelp, namely six and prepared scale of this numerical value. They are drawn with Adobe Illustrator.




I rolled this scale to spindle then marked according to scale.




These marks are lengthened by using simple jig. Then whelps are glued carefully.






Aft capstan is almost straight built of kit parts but forward one is upgraded because they can be seen well through opening of waist. Chocks and drumhead top are added. Shape of chock is also drawn with Adobe Illustrator. 

They are cut from 1mm walnut strip. Then they are glued between whelps and shaped.







Disc slightly smaller than drumhead is cut from 1.5mm walnut and rounded to give slope then glued onto drumhead.




BTW, I removed round base plate of capstan because I already glued rectangle base plate onto deck.






Edited by fake johnbull
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Ladders between upper deck and lower deck


Although kit contains ladder parts, they shows steeper slope than both of kit plan or Elephant plan. So I determined to scratch build them.




I don't have table saw, I made side carriages by laminating. I scanned kit plan and draw lines equal intervals with Adobe Illustrator again. They are printed and used as jig by gluing guide of 0.5 mm plastic strip.  I prepared jig only for one side, but I laminated horizontal strip with slightly longer length than required, another diagonal strip is glued onto another side of laminated components, then carefully divide them to 2 separated side carriage parts. Material of them are 0.5 x 3 mm maple strips. They are basically deck planking materials, but I used them because I have surplus numbers of them.








Treads are also 0.5 x 3 mm maple strips. Firstly length of uppermost and bottom tread determined by actual parts matching then glue them to side carriage.




Length of other treads are determined measurement between each side carriages with calliper.






Main ladderway is added with centre carriage by inserting other pieces of wood between each tread.




Completed ladders were stained and fitted between decks. Handrail stanchions are kit PE which is chemically blackened. It is difficult to fit them to lower deck. So I fitted them heel of side carriages with holding wood piece.


Handrail rope is prepared with excessive length. I placed one of lower pair of stanchions to its holder, rest 5 stanchions are reft free. I pass rope through holes of all 6 stanchions. One end of rope on fixed stanchion is knotted. 5 stanchions are fitted their places after ladder is located. Point to be knotted of another rope end is determined and this last stanchion is once removed, rope end are knotted, then finally this last stanchion are fitted to its holder.









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Correction of forwardmost quarterdeck beam


NMM Elephant plan shows forwardmost quarterdeck beam is curved and protruding forward at its centre like the other Slade designed 74.






Also position of forward main bit of kit design are slightly rearward than it should be comparing Elephant plan. It may be more natural to move bits slightly forward so that they support centre portion of foremost quarterdeck beam protruding forward.




Bits are already glued tightly as per kit design. So I have to cut them from deck carefully. They are re-glued slightly forward by help of brass rod as reinforcement. I also engraved dummy sheaves to bits utilising this opportunity.




A pair of 3 mm walnut is glued both ends of beam, and shape them using quarterdeck baseboard as template.






Remains of removing of main bits can be seen, but I made up my mind to neglect it😅



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Posted (edited)

Skid beams


Boat stowage method of wooden warships is one of major items which significantly changed through 18th century.


Model of 50 gun ship around 1714 shows boat stowed on spare spars hang on between fo'c'sle break and main bits.





Model of Victory in her original form around 1765 shows gangways are connecting between fo'c'sle and quarterdeck at slightly lower level than fo'c'sle and quarterdeck. Boat is stowed on skid beams on iron crutches projecting from inboard edge of gangways.





Although skid beams and boat are omitted, model of Queen Charlotte of 1789 shows almost same boat stowage method with Victory model, except gangways are raised to same height with fo'c'sle and quarterdeck.





Sectional model of 74 gun ship around 1795 shows significant change. Skid beams became permanent structural members of the ship and are placed below the gangways. Gangways themselves seem to be broader than ever.







Victory today in Portsmouth also has skid beams below the gangways, but details of them show not a few differences from 74 gun ship sectional models.





While skid beams of sectional model have hanging knees, those of Victory today have no hanging knees. Instead many Victory reference books are showing skid beams are notched to slots of inner planks. Skid beam of former seem to be directly above of beams of upperdeck judging from skid beam pillars situating near the corner of coamings. OTOH many Victory reference books are showing there are no connection between upper deck beams and skid beams. Finally, pillars of sectional models are fitted to immediately outboard of coamings and those of Victory are fitted on coaming themselves.


I can't judge which method is most appropriate for Bellerophon. Considering her building time, her boat stowage method would be same as Queen Charlotte model. But there is also strong possibility that skid beams were altered to permanent structure during her long career. After some (or much?) thought, I finally decided to follow the method of 74 gun ship sectional model.


Skid beams themselves are laser cut parts of kit. Pillars are shaped from 2 mm walnut dowel. Total numbers of 12 pillars are required, 2 for each 5 skid beam, 2 for aftermost fo’c’sle deck beam. So I made simple jig from plastic.






I firstly tried making pillar from 3 mm dowel, but it seems to be slightly fat. Pillars shaped from 2 mm dowel seem to be slimmer than those of 74 gun ship sectional model. But those of Victory today also seem to be slim, so I decided to go on 2 mm dowel.




To placing skid beams directly above of pillars, I stack masking tape on upper deck, marked position of pillars, peel off it, stack it between rearmost fo'c'sle beam and foremost quarterdeck beam, then decided positions of skid beams with help of calliper to maintain equal intervals for both end of starboard and port.








Hanging knees are shaped from 2 mm walnut sheet.




Main course tacks and fore course sheets are tied to each cleat at this stage. Gasket coil like ones are separately made and CA glued there. Another end of each rope is passed through each sheave and hung on outboard, gasket coiled there until rigging stage.




Carlings are also added with 2 x 3 mm walnut. They are glued to just inboard of kit gangway baseboard so that I can broaden width of gangways later.


Hanging knees are also added to aftermost fo'c'sle deck beam and foremost quarterdeck beam. AOTS Bellona shows knee of former is thin and latter is thick. So I used 1.5 mm sheet for former and 3mm walnut for latter.










BTW, to my eyes afterend or break of fo'c'sle of kit design seems to be slightly rearward than it should be. I cut that area of fo'c'sle deck baseboard (approximately 1.5 mm width), aftermost foc'sle deck beam are glued to fit this position.


Although kit rigging plans show only ends of foretop yard braces are tied to main bit. But I added other rope coils to crossbars of main bits.













Edited by fake johnbull
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Balusters for ladder railings between quarterdeck and upperdeck


Maybe they will be scarcely seen from openings once model competes, I added two balusters beside of aftermost coaming of upperdeck. They will form set of balusters for ladder handrails between quarterdeck and upperdeck. They were shaped of 2 mm walnut dowel referring AOTS Victory. Along with upperdeck balusters, I also shaped those for quarterdeck. Required numbers for them are only 6, so I shaped them without help of jig.




I passed handrail rope through holes of every 6 balusters at this moment.




Handrail rope is prepared with excessive length. I’m planning to split quarterdeck baseboard at slightly starboard of hatch opening. I will place split baseboard, plank, make hatch coaming, place quarterdeck balusters, then pull one end of rail rope, knot there and cut excessive rope. Rest of baseboard of port side will be glued and planked after these works finished.






Along with balusters, position of quarterdeck beam of this area is also altered. As a nature of POB ship model, deck beams are lined with bulkheads. But deck beam of this area is running across ladderway opening in kit design. So I made slots to inner planks slightly rear of this bulkhead and notched surplus deck beam there.








Forwardmost beam of fo’c’sle deck of kit is also running across ladderway opening position showed on Elephant plan. Ladderway opening of kit design is situated rearward of that of Elephant plan to prevent deck beam lined with bulkhead. Beam of this area is also notched to new slots as did at quarterdeck. Opening of deck baseboard is also altered.






BTW ladder rails between these decks of Victory today seem to be wooden or iron bars. But I used rope according to 1/128 Majestic model built by Mr. Philip Reed.





Images of above link don't include its detail, but in his book "Modelling Sailing Men-Of-War", Mr. Reed used rope rail for this place. Maybe it would be right for 74 gun ships which were mass-produced in enormous numbers.




Alongside with these balusters and rope, stanchions and handrail ropes of ladder to lower deck are partially represented. Stanchions are made from 0.5 mm brass rod, because kit PE sheet doesn’t include surplus stanchions.


Next, I will make sliding covers for tiller rope behind this area. They will be last parts to be fitted onto upper deck.

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Posted (edited)


Thank you for your comment.


Sometimes, it is very difficult to guess details of specific ship of specific date, so we have to seek infos of other ships of same era.


While I'm still unconfident of authenticity of my skid beams construction, I satisfy that they themselves seem to be rigid with pillars and hanging knees😅

Edited by fake johnbull
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Steering gear


Though steering wheel is itself fitting of quarterdeck, I made it at this moment because I want to confirm tension of tiller rope down from quarterdeck to upper deck and point of upper deck sliding foots.


Sliding foots are clearly can be seen on Victory today.









AOTS Victory shows sliding foots are also fitted onto upper deck. Except heels of ladders down from fo’c’sle deck, quarterdeck and gangways, they will be last parts to be fitted onto upper deck in my building.


Base of sliding foot is 0.7 x 3 x 8.5 mm walnut and I rounded each edge. Sliding cover and rails of both sides are shaped as one part from 2 mm square walnut dowel and their lengths are 12 mm. These figures are referred to Goodwin’s “The Construction and Fitting”.


Those of upper deck are simplified shape, but for those of quarterdeck I add some details including rabbets of sliding cover to be hold into side rails、grooves between sliding cover and rails.






Wheels and their supports are upgraded. Decoration of forward support is made of 0.3 mm brass rod and Liquitex super heavy gel medium. Though it is apparently bigger than real one, I accept it considering my skill😅😅😅.






After constructions of these parts are finished, I dry fitted them into their places. I split quarterdeck baseboard into two parts at slightly starboard position of hatch opening. Tiller rope is spread with tweezers and passed through sliding foot on upper deck from starboard.








Depth of upper deck beam immediately aft of opening is thick because of rigidity, but I thinned it to show tiller rope more clearly.




After finishing dry fitting including rest of quarterdeck baseboard, poop deck baseboard and grating just before of ladderway opening,-I shed light there. Happily tiller rope and sliding foot are can be seen through opening. They may be able to seen well after fitting of ladder of this area.






Next, I want to start construction of fo’c’sle deck, quarterdeck and gangways.

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Thank you for your kind word.


Although some of items I had added may be hidden by other items, I myself am satisfied something is surely there behind other items.

It is value of building log to record these hidden details, and this is one of reason we modellers record building process.

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Hi Mitsuaki

Your build and photos of the details are inspiring!!   As you no doubt are aware of the history of Bellephoron and her participation at Trafalgar,  I think you and your build log followers would be interested in the TV series under development regarding Nelson and Trafalgar.  Please be sure to take a look at the posts in the Nautical/Naval History section here at MSW and check out New podcast/tv series about Nelson and Maritime Britain during the Trafalgar period. You will be able read all about the proposed series, including a post from the screenwriter heading this project, Adam Preston who has recently joined MSW.  

Thank you!

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