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HMS Victory 1765-1778 Commissioned by Steve Anderson - 1:64 scale

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Greetings to all.


This will be a "sort of build" log of my scratch-built model of the Victory starting in 1991 to present. In the pre-digital photography era the few photos I have were shot with a Nikon 35mm camera. I'm not the most disciplined when it comes to shooting progress pictures. I get so excited about the build that I think there's just a few more things to do before shooting the next pictures. So here's some shots and explanations of my process from the early '90's.

Part 1


After the usual research and gathering of plans and photos I decided to build in 1:64 scale, or 3/16th"=1'. A good average house scale. My base plans were taken from John McKay's book "The 100-gun Ship, Victory", and C. Nepean Longridge's "Anatomy of Nelson's Ships". McKay's plans are based on how she would've looked after her 1800-1803 large rebuild prior the Trafalgar. Longridge has more detailed  drawings along with structural details of general construction of the period. My original intention was to build this version. After prolonged study the drawings I noticed the original sheer line and rails, still visible today, before the build-up of the bulwarks along the quarterdeck. So back to research for drawings of how Victory looked from 1765-1799 with stern galleries and elaborate carvings. Meanwhile the build still went on for the hull structure.


The first step was to enlarge the drawings to 1:64 scale. I enlarged the outboard, inboard, framing, profiles and plan views of the ship then all the frame sections. The keel, stem and stern post drawings as well.

Framing and Shaping the Hull

I used what is probably a unconventional approach to construction of the hull. Since the "Man of War" has more frames than a merchant vessel, and they almost touch each other, I figured that 1/4' thick frames would be very close for an Admiralty style builders model. All the frame sections were laid out on 1/4" thick birch marine ply and cut on a band saw. I cut 1/4" spacer sections for between the actual frames. These were carefully aligned and screwed together in stacked sections until I had the complete hull. (No photos exist of this phase). I used a 1" Makita belt sander to knock down the stair step frame sides close enough to start block sanding by hand. I forgot to mention you must make sure your frame drawings, before cutting, start amidships facing towards the bow and aft towards the stern post. That way when the shaping starts you are sanding to the line of the drawings for the proper shape. It's like making a pattern or wood buck for a mold.

After the hull is shaped and sanded to a finer grit, the next step is to unscrew all the frames and take out the 1/4" spacers. Back to the band saw and cutout all the insides of the frames and notch for the keel indexing.

The Keel, Stem and Stern Post

Next was cutting out and assembly of the keel, etc. From here it conventional construction with the keel laid upright and plumb on the building board, and frames set in position. I cut frame shaped sections out of the spacers and placed these between the frames at the middle and lower gun deck levels for strength and rigidity. Once everything is glued in position with stringers holding the outside into place, I sanded and shaped the inside of the frames.

The Planking

All the planking is Basswood used for its very fine grain. For the bow and stern areas I used my wife's tea kettle to steam the planks for the tighter radius bends.


Below is the completed planked hull, the cutting down of the bulwarks, The addition of the wales and moldings, upper rails. I made tooling jigs for shaping the moldings. Lower deck 32 pounders are sitting in place. Cannon construction is another project in itself. And of course one must take the motivational paint break to see how things will look.






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Part 2

Thanks to all that have started following my attempt at a build log and for your likes and comments.

Although most contemporary Admiralty models had no guns, I decided early on to add this level. If I didn't I might regret it later on. My early visions included the possibility of a fully rigged ship and so it would have to have sea going artillery. I seriously underestimated the scope of building a 100 gun ship of the line. The guns and tackle added a tremendous amount of hours and really tested my patience. I often tell my friends that in the time it has taken so far I could've built three frigates. But the other side of the coin would mean I wouldn't have a three decker, the most awesome war machine of its time.

From early 1993 to mid 1995 I had made the master 32 pound barrel on my lathe, made the RTV rubber molds, and started casting 30+barrels. Carriages were constructed with the cross pieces and trucks. The cheeks I scaled on my computer, saved to a floppy disk, and I had them laser cut out of 1/8" white Lexan. The completed assemblies can be viewed in the above photos. Starting amidships in 1995 six cannons have been rigged, have gunport doors, and the middle deck framing has been started. I had also decided to have the guns run out to starboard and the portside guns run in with ports closed or open for viewing, to show the lines of the ship better.

Each gun has three single blocks and three double blocks with corresponding ring bolts and lines. (And like an idiot I made the blocks). There's the breaching rope, etc. Now multiply by 100 and you can see the enormity of the task. Not saying it wasn't fun but I had to take breaks and go back to ship construction.

One photo  shows the mainmast stepped. All three lower masts were made to line up through each deck.

In July of 1995 I was relocated to Orlando, Florida for my work for 3 1/2 years. My wife and I decided to take the train first class with a sleeper compartment from LA's Union Station to Florida. I built a carry case with a clear lexan top and Victory made the trip safely in our compartment with us. Victory was laid up in Ordinary for over 6 years, due to other projects, before I got motivated to work on her again. Let's see...more guns.

In Part 3 we will jump into the 21st Century.



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1 (1).JPG

Victory 3.jpg

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Part 3

One thing about building a ship model is, that no matter what stage it's in, it's cool to look at. In 2002 my father-in-law built an oak and lexan case for the ship which fit over the building cradle to protect it from dust. The addition of the removable case made the ship construction look more museum like. It was the catalyst that got me motivated again to work on the project.


Below are the rigging stations for each port and starboard gun sets. These are the middle deck 24 pounders. The lower gun 32's were done by the same method. I cut and installed the hanging knees, inner planking, and ring bolts. The beams were fitted but removed for installation of the guns in sets of four. After installation the middle deck area beams for that section and lodging knees were installed. And finally the gun port doors with hand fabricated brass hinges. Then on to the next set. By switching tasks I was able to keep my sanity and the progress was more rewarding. During this period of time the rudder, tiller with ropes for the helm were installed, and the chain pumps on the lower deck. The Galley stove and pantry were fabricated and installed too.

As a working artist most of my weekday times, with some exceptions, are spent painting aviation art. (I specialize in the First Air War of 1914-18.) So construction on Victory has been confined to weekends if I'm not building something else. After the finish of the middle deck framing and planking it was back to guns again. This time the 24 pounders.

Again I divided up the tasks and started on closing up the bow. The forward forecastle bulkhead and the top head rails set the tone. The head timbers and rails are probably the most complicated structure on the ship. You can just visualize them cutting through the enemy's line of battle.


The finished head rails and timbers really stoked the fires of my building frenzy.

As C. Nepean Longridge writes in his book, The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships, "One can light one's pipe at the end of the day and rest assured that the job was done properly." So British! Still cracks me up.

Next: Part 4
The ship project gains momentum.







Victory 1010b.jpg



Edited by Steve Anderson
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Hello Steve,


You have an exquisitely beautiful model, one that is in fact older than I am. I can only hope to someday have the level of patience and passion to take on such a monumental project as this.


Nowadays we are very fortunate to have access to things like hobby-grade CNC machining, computer aided design, and 3D printing. It's interesting to think about how the art of modelmaking has changed since the early 90s!




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Part 4

When I started building HMS Victory there was no Internet. All research had to be done through print media and involved years of building your own library. Centuries-old treasures lay in display cases in museums available only to visitors, and at that, only about 10 percent of their entire collection is on display. In 1994-95 along came the World Wide Web (www). That's what it was called. The term, Internet, did not exist yet. In its cave drawing days it was like a bad set of Encyclopedias, but it was a start. As Dr. Watson says, "After all Holmes, we are men of Science," and a giant network was born that expanded with light speed.

In 2014 I discovered the National Maritime Museum's website. 

Up to this point I was working in the blind as to what the actual details for the pre-1800 period of the ship.

I eagerly went to the ship models collection, which is the link above, and found two contemporary Victory models in her 1765+ configuration.

These models were not on display when I made multiple visits in 1988. The NMM is under an umbrella called the Royal Museums Greenwich or RMG. This is only one snowflake on the tip of the iceberg. The wonders of the Internet, and thanks to the staff of RMG, are showing us not only what is on display, but the other 90 percent as well. I finally found what I needed to complete the build I wanted. Original plan drawings are in a section too.

With new inspiration I started back on the build and what changes had to be made. The first and most obvious was the fore and main channels had to lowered to below the upper deck gunports. I used brass pins to hold these in place so it was a matter of relocating them and replacing the missing moldings in their previous locations.


Following: a series of before and after the changes.


You'll notice other areas of progress between the below photos. Next thing on the list was the beakhead bulkhead and round houses. I had used contemporary model photos of another three decker for reference and the dimensions and moldings were too high. So this was cut out and newly constructed. Again before and after photos. Changes include entry ports and additional fenders.



The last four photos are from 5-2016 to 5-2017.

Next, Part 5 will cover the stern galleries.


victory 1765 d.jpg



Victory 1765.jpg


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Victory May 2016  36.JPG


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  • 2 weeks later...

Part 5 The Stern Galleries


Once more thanks to for interest and encouraging comments.


First off, I'd like introduce the ship's cat "Pogo". Project manager, little best friend, and lays on the exact tool I'm looking for. Been on job just about 15 years.


(Bottom photo) This is what Victory looked like for years, so after finishing the middle deck with the 24 pounders, it was time for a sanity break to start closing in the back of the ship. 


Each of the middle deck windows consists of 32 individual pieces of wood. I made templates for all of them.


The upper deck balcony was especially fun to build.


"Victory" was painted by cutting a mask and then sprayed with my airbrush in gold leaf lacquer. The ladies are hand painted with a brush in oils. I had to chuckle at the drawn stage curtains revealing the gun ports. 


This is the pattern I made in Photoshop for the balcony balustrade using the 1765 model for reference.


Next, in Part 6, the magnificent figurehead that was removed in the 1800-03 rebuild.








balcony rail pattern UD3.jpg



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  • 1 month later...

Hi Steve. I have to agree with every one, she is a beautiful model and one to be proud of. Just a question good sir but how long and wide is you dock? Am wanting to build one for my Alfred but has a slip with the wall's like the Bellona has she is being built in. A little on the hard side to find measurement on them and maybe other's will have information on them as well. Gary

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On 9/5/2022 at 7:30 PM, Sailor1234567890 said:

Always wanted to see someone do her in pre rebuild days. Looking great.

I remember back in the 1990s that a friend of mine converted the Heller 1/100 kit to her as-built configuration. I have to admit that that, to me, is when she was most attractive.  You are doing a wonderful build.  Well done!


Bill Morrison

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  • The title was changed to HMS Victory 1765-1778 Commissioned by Steve Anderson 1:64 scale
  • The title was changed to HMS Victory 1765-1778 Commissioned by Steve Anderson - 1:64 scale

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