Jump to content

HMS Bellerophon 1786 by AON – scale 1:64 – 74 gun 3rd Rate Man of War, Arrogant Class

Recommended Posts

Marking off the cleat locations


After having drawn it up, placed the bowsprit on the build and double checked the gammoning cleat locations to the gammoning holes (which I discovered were too short a slot for the minimum number of turns in the gammoning rope) I needed to mark the cleat locations along the circumference of the bowsprit.


There are seven gammoning cleats in a set of two rows above and forward of the gammoning slots in the stem of the build, and five thumb cleats in a set of two rows abaft the jib boom saddle. they wrap around the bowsprit for 180° with the middle cleat of each row at 12:00 (straight up), and the last at 3:00 and 9:00.


I needed to establish 12:00 (up) on the bowsprit, and marked at each cleat location along the top of the bowsprit with a pencil.


To get the locations of all other cleats in a set correct I used strips of paper.  The individual strips of paper were wrapped around the bowsprit and marked with a pencil to indicate where they overlapped themselves to get the circumference exact.  The paper was cut at the mark, then folded in half to indicate 12:00 and then folded in quarters to indicate 3:00 and 9:00.  Pencil marks were made at these locations.


The gammoning strips, as there are seven in a set, needed to be further divided into three equal spaces between 3:00 and 12:00 and between 12:00 and 9:00. This was done with a scale, using 3/4" as it was greater than the spacing and is easily divide in three (1/4" - 1/2" - 3/4").  These marks were made and transposed to the cleat edge of the paper.


The thumb cleats on this build are located abaft the jib boom saddle, not forward of it.  They are also radially spaced differently, and to confuse things, sources do not agree.  There are five in a set but in this build they are unequally spaced.  One is at 12 o'clock, a set at 45° off that (1:30 and 10:30?), none at 3 or 9 o'clock, a set at 45° off of those points (4:30 and 7:30?), and none at 6 o'clock. The strip of paper was cut to the length of the circumference of the mast at the specific locations.  It need to be divided into quarters, so one additional fold was made in each half, from halves to quarters, this created the equal spaces for the circumference at that cleat set location.  I simply needed to remember which locations to skip... and should have marked it on the strips of paper!


The strips of paper were wrapped and taped back onto the bowsprit and the sets of marks were transposed onto the mast.


The last step was to mark the set back location for each of the gammoning cleats. As the bowsprit is set at 30° rising incline the cleats fall back on each side to accommodate the change in angle.  First I drew lines from the forward set to the aft set and extended the line aft of that.  I set the bowsprit at 30° and with a 90° flexible plastic square (made with any plastic sheet) I set one edge to the table, back to the mast, gently wrapped it around the mast and marked off the set back amount with a pencil.


It was right about here that I knocked my jib boom saddle off... it was in two pieces so I had to make another .

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The cleat profile was sanded (yes that ugly word) into a long strip of wood.


Each cleat was cut off the strip with a fine tooth saw

The faces were cleaned up with more sanding


Each cleat was (yellow wood) glued to the mast and clamped in place with elastic (rubber?) bands... and there is my second jib boom saddle but there was something about it that bothered me so a few days later I made a third and final one.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

After finishing the cleats I made the nine hole fairlead.    Full disclosure: I did this twice.  It took a few days of chewing on it before I decided the first was just too tall to step over, and the rope holes were just too small.


The process for both was the same.

I scribed the Inside and Outside Diameter and then the Hole Circle with my compass, then laid out the radial lines for the holes.

I found a finishing nail to use as a pin, and drill a centre hole to pin the piece to a base board.  The piece could now be spun about on the centre pin.


I first drilled the rope holes, then machined the aft face profile with a bull nosed cutter, and finally sanded the Outside radius into the piece before removing the pin.



The last act was to drill a hole for the Inside Diameter and sand the flat face to the final thickness of 7-1/2" (0.12" to scale). 

The piece was cut off and the work was sanded to fit the mast.


Above you can see the original one glued on and the new one placed beside it.


I sanded the old one down to near the mast, soaked some cotton in rubbing alcohol, wrapped it around the remnant of the old saddle and wrapped that in plastic wrap.

This was left overnight.  This morning I removed the old bits quite easily, let things dry, sanded again, and glued the new fairlead in place.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Then was the spritsail yard sling saddle.  It is located under the jib boom, between the jib boom saddle and the Bees.


This is comprised of a small stop block with a sheet of lead nailed to the top half of the mast as a wear plate.

I simulated the lead sheet with a shaving of wood... using a hand plane.  This will be painted to look like lead.


While dry fitting the stop piece it fell to the floor twice.  Each time it bounced out of sight and was lost... I had made it three times!


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Although TFFM suggests making the Woolding Hoops with paper or card I decided to try making them from wood.


I determined the greatest circumference of my mast at the hoop locations and found a piece of scrap about three times this length.


I sanded one side to get about 3" (0.05" to scale) thickness, clamped it in my vise, adjusted the blade on my hand plane to get about 0.03" thickness and went to it.


The pieces were placed (floating) in a cup of boiling hot water.  Once they sank to the bottom they were removed, wrapped around the mast at the hoop locations, clamped and left to dry overnight.  The woolding rope is 1" diameter and there are 13 to 15 turns.  Each set are spaced adequately to accommodate these.


The next day the clamps were removed and the curls of wood were carefully cut with a scalpel to provide a butt joint.

They were removed, coated on the inside with yellow wood glue, put back in position on the mast with the butt joint on the bottom (6 o'clock) and re-clamped.

The next day the clamps were removed and the hoops were slightly sanded.  (There will be more sanding to be done)



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I owe an apology to those nine souls that downloaded my updated document with drawings in post 1050.

The sketch with the locations/positions of the two sets of five thumb cleats aft the jib boom saddle had not been switched out to show the position pattern I used.

It has now been switched out and identified as rev3.


Sorry for that but my checkers are practising social distancing

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember to add the squared-off portion at the outer end of the bowsprit! Otherwise, looking good there, Alan. Now, back to sanding....

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan, that's a very neat, and clever method of obtaining your woolding hoops!

(Shavings are usually swept up for the bin!)


That's a very neat bowsprit fairlead.  I used that centre pin pivoting arrangement when I made mine but I used the mill -- I'm sure it would have been more difficult doing it the way you did it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Jason and Jim.


Being a novice I am very proud of what I've done, though it's taken ages to get this far.

I've not done it on my own, meaning, I've had a good amount encouragement and excellent guidance.


If only I found some enjoyment in fairing the cant frames they'd be done by now.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Do you mean the square wedge bit I see poking through the cap in TFFM photos on pgs 82 and 91.

I see it also in Rees's, Plate VIII.

And also in The Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War, pg 8.


Until now I'd only noticed other references I had looked at showed it flush... so I cut the darned bit off ages ago!

Historic Ship Models - Wolfram zu Mondfeld - pg 227 (bowsprit head after 1780)

The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships - C Nepean Longridge - pg 185 fig 116


Yes, I should have paid better attention to the contemporary sources


Now I have to stick the "gum dang" thing back on (a Dan Blocker, Bonanza reference).

Oh Joy.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Thank you for the quick reply, but now I am confused as the head/tenon on your photo is cut at an angle rather than square cut.

I would have bet you were referring to the portion that fits through the cap, that it should have be square cut to leave a wedge shape protruding through as in the references I gave.


The head of my bowsprit is finish with the cap, bees and bee blocks.

The shape you refer to was done but is behind the blocks.


Now I am not sure I should add a wedge to the head of my bowsprit or not.


1 - cap end of bowsprit.jpg

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the rigging of the bowsprit, jib boom and yards.  I had had a question about the rigging of the Jib Guy Pendant.  It originates from the head of the jib boom and needs to run over top of the spritsail-topsail yard to run through a thimble on the spritsail yard.  I predicted with my drawings that this pendant would run below the spritsail-topsail yard to reach the thimble which would mean it would then pass through the spritsail-topsail canvas.  Search as I might I could find no image or statement to describe how the line could be taut and still pass over top of the yard.  The logical solution was that the spritsail-topsail yard  needed to drop, suspend lower below the jib boom to create the required clearance.  My drawings showed it would need to hang a minimum of 24 inches (61 cm) below the jib boom.  Two feet did not seem to be unreasonable.


While reviewing a video post in HMS Bellona 1760 by SJ Sloane, posted by Hubac's Historian , posting #1670, showing how a steering wheel works on HMS Victory I spotted the rigging of the Jib Guy Pendant.  It passed over the yard but is loose. I captured a screen shot of the image.


If anyone else should ever ponder on so small a detail, this may be the only image you will find.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Spritsail and spritsail topsail yard arm BANDS and EYEBOLTS


From Steels mast making 1794 plate 1, or Ree's plate VIII, we can see the image of the spritsail yard.  There are eyebolts and metal bands at each end of the yard arm.  The bolts measure approximately 1 inch (25mm diameter) which at 1:64 scale is  0.0156 inches (0.04 cm).  The copper wire I used is 0.02" (0.05 cm) diameter which makes it 1-1/4" (3 cm) at 1:64 scale.



First I added the metal bands at each end of the yard arms.  The metal band is about 1-1/2" to 2" (3.8 to 5 cm) wide as best as I can measure. The extreme end of the yard measures 7" (18 cm) diameter on the larger yard and 5" (12 cm) diameter on the smaller.  To scale these are 0.11" (3 cm) and 0.08" (2 cm) diameter .  They are much too small for me to roll a copper strip and solder, so I used the method suggested in The Fully Framed Model (TFFM).  I took a sheet of white 20 lb bond paper (regular photocopy or printer paper) and coloured a small portion with black permanent marker.  I turned it over and coloured the other side so the ink would soak through completely.  Having had the ink soak through meant I would not have a white edge after cutting the strip.  I then cut a strip about 1/8 inch wide (3 cm), applied diluted glue to both sides and applied it to the yard. It did overlap to create a bit of additional thickness.




To make the eyebolts I wound the smaller wire around a 16 gauge (0.064 inch or 0.16 cm) wire to form the eye.  At 1:64 scale this is a 4 inch (10 cm) inside diameter (ID) eye.  Although the Ree's/Steel's drawing suggests smaller ID, I could not imagine a smaller hole in an eyebolt on a yard arm on a ship tossing at sea.  I pulled this tight against the mould wire with pliers to get a good circle shape.  The overwrap was cut back and adjusted to contact standing end as solder will not fill gaps.



I found my parallel pliers were the perfect tool to re-straighten this tiny wire as it grips the complete length rather than pinching one end.  (Thank you Druxey!)  I could have rolled it out but might have damaged the bent eye.


I used a copper-phosphorous solder (thanks to Ed T in his post of 4 April 2014 in his build of HMS Terror on this forum) as I had bought it back in 2016 for this build and had not yet used it.... has it been that long?  This will be used in lieu of silver solder as it is less pricy and chemically blackens well as it is copper based.  I do not have silver solder.  I could have used regular plumbing (soft) solder on these eyebolts as they will not be under any stress nor will they be chemically blackened.



I hauled out my never used butane torch and GRS soldering station (Gesswein Canada)... It took awhile to realize my first problem was the torch was empty... luckily I had purchased a refill bottle way back when I got the torch.  Thanks to a soldering display by Ray Peacock of our local club I saw the usefulness of the soldering station and so bought one and have had this sitting at the ready for the better part of a year.



My first two attempts at soldering were terrible.  I've soldered copper pipe in my home but this is different.  The hole or void in the eye plugged up completely on both and I disintegrated (melted) the first.   I found that if I cut a tiny piece of solder, warmed up my eyebolt and moved the piece of solder against the joint it would get sucked in.  I then turned it over and re-heated to try to eliminate any blobbing.  The copper wire was blackened with permanent marker as I was reluctant to chemically blacken something so tiny as the process is actually oxidation or surface corrosion and I had already vapourized one eyebolt.  Possibly I shouldn't be concerned, but this is what I did and why.


Using a #70 (0.028 inch or 0.07 cm diameter) bit and pin vise I drilled holes into the each end of the yard arms, centered as best I could.  I trimmed the standing end of the eyebolts (about 1/2" or 1.3 cm long) and slipped them into the yards.  Presently they are dry fitted.


If experienced modellers tell me the eyes are too large I can take these out and replace them.... should I?


I've yet to make blocks, sails, rope, and attach them to the two yards.  The sails will be furled.  The parral trucks and ribs are made for the spritsail topsail yard but I do not have the proper rope as yet.


Everything is presently back in the storage box to keep it safe.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

After 3 years working on a side project,  I have finally completed the transcription of every newspaper article I could find mentioning the very first HMS Bellerophon, her crew, and builder.


The 156  typed pages contain more than 520 items, from 84 different newspapers, covering the years 1731  to 1836.  The last 63 items being the period serving as convict hulk.   Through calls at various ports, weather, court martials, the Haitian Revolution, battles (Retreat of Cornwallis, Trafalgar, Nile), providing protection off Newfoundland (where I am certain my ancestors saw her), the capture of Napoleon, escape of convicts, attempted murder of the captain, including the builders marriage, bankruptcy and death.  Then finally her being ordered to be broken up.  There is even the false reference to an earlier bomb ketch of the same name.


It is now being reviewed.  If anyone is interested in receiving a copy, please PM me with your e-mail address and I will send you a PDF.  It is FREE, no charge, as I cannot imagine there being a very large group interested in this collection, so attempting to sell it would be foolish.


This will be Volume 2 of the book to accompany my build.

Volume 3 will be a record of the journey of the build itself... which I admit is moving at a snails pace.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Aon

Sometimes the history research can be just as rewarding as building the model itself. My hat’s off to you for taking this project to another level that is not always done...at least to the depth you have done. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been awhile and much has happened.  It is very warm in the Niagara Peninsula but I don't want to complain too loudly as winter is coming sooner than we'd like.


I hope everyone has been well.


I am just about done my fairing but continue to drag my butt.  Recently I found tools and methods that work for me.  A short bow sander for the outboard side and a 3 inch piece of foam pipe insulation onto which I wrap my sand paper for inboard and finishing the outboard.  This last one is quite comfortable and contour friendly. I find the bow sander a bit monotonous and hypnotizing... had to give myself a good shake now and then to assure I was paying attention to the work at hand.


 It has become difficult to see any close detail as my left eye is completely foggy (vision gone) and my right eye following it more quickly than I like.  I hope to have cataract surgery to correct my vision issue before winter.  Measurements have been taken and I await a phone call to schedule the event so long as day surgery isn't cancelled again due to any covid outbreak....  I still get a darned eye injection every 10 weeks to boot!  Hopefully that will be done with soon.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
  • Create New...