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HMS Victory by knotty74 - Billing Boats - Scale 1:75 - first ever ship build, wood or otherwise


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Born in Plymouth and brought up in Pompey. 6 generations of Royal Navy on both sides of my family (all mainly Chief POs, ranging from stores to engineers) but I let the side down when I broke the traditions and didn't become a matelot (mainly because I wanted to fly harriers but got diagnosed as colour blind at 11, so that was out, and lost the heart to do anything else RN related!). So.....I became an accountant, via a trip to Uni to get a Marine Engineering degree....what else!

 

Live in "Admiralty House" (now I'm 40 and have my own nice enough to merit the name), prints of HMS Victory and HMS Royal Sovereign adorn the entrance hallway, stairs and my office, so doing all the "right" things. However, I've always wanted to build a big, wooden, model of "Vicky" as a nod to my Naval heritage and all those family members who have served before. Call it my "apology", if you like.

 

So, my Grandad (stoker/engineer, turned Seawolf programme leader post-Navy), then 81, bought me the Billings Boats kit in a "get on with it then cos I want to see it finished" prompt. This was 2 years ago and I'd made some good progress but it stalled what with the general time-constraints of life (work, kids, divorce, re-marriage etc etc) but I want to kick-start it again and get going. Partly prompted by the fact that same Grandad, now 83, went through a tough time recently and I've now taken him in to live with me and my family (as a thank you for looking after me all those years my Dad was away when I was younger).

 

Wish I'd found this site sooner as have been reading with interest some of the other build logs and some of the hints, tips and problems I've faced so far may have been a bit easier to overcome!

 

Anyway, I will start to post photos of the work to date and some of the above issues and then carry on from where I left off. First ever build, so it's not perfect (so please be gentle all you pros) but I've tried to show (mainly Grandad) that despite being a number-cruncher by profession now, there's a real marine engineer (not just the right letters after my name) in there somewhere!

 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

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Hi Chris, I'm also a Chris, and was also diagnosed with a partial colour blindness which put and end to my ambitions to become an RAF pilot. Ended up in architecure.

Can't wait to see pictures of your Victory (I actually saw -and walked on- the real thing just after christmas)

--Chris

Edited by CTDavies
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This was the day I received the box in the post. Initial impression (following the initial gasps of delight) were how good the laser-cut pieces looked swiftly followed by how many of them there were! This was July 2012!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by knotty74
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Fig 1: The Keel

 

So it began. The first thing I did was pencil number every piece on the various laser-cut sheets with the corresponding part number so that there would be no getting mixed up. There is also a numbered parts list at the front of the instruction manual, so the idea was to cross off each part, both from the list and on the drawing in the manual, as it was used/added to the construction such that nothing was forgotten.

 

This was followed by a comprehensive read through the "instruction" manual.....this model is marketed as being "expert" level and maybe what they really mean is if you're tackling a Victory (which I've read should be your 5-6th ship attempt, not your first! Eek!), then you should know what you're doing by now, so we're not going to tell you very much about how to put it together. To say the instruction manual is unhelpful is a massive understatement! There is a picture of which parts go together where but there is no idea given of which order to do this in, or indeed any advice on how to do it. This wasn't a problem with the keel but got more troublesome as it progressed.

 

 

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Edited by knotty74
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The Building Slip

 

Quickly realised I'd need somewhere proper to actually build her on and thought I'd need some sort of "shipyard" arrangement. Searched "building slip" online only to find Billings actually do one themselves. Result. Bit expensive but has proved totally invaluable for me to date.

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Edited by knotty74
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Fig 2: False upper gundeck

 

So far, despite the lack of instruction in the manual, the laser-cut pieces have fitted together superbly well. The false deck slotted in with the minimum of fuss and adjustment....which at least proved I'd got the bulkhead alignment reasonable straight if nothing else.

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Edited by knotty74
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Fig 3: Planking the false upper gun deck

 

So the fun and games then began and my first decision to deviate from the plans. Fig 3 just showed the gundeck being vaguely planked in some way and some sort of material being used as caulking.

 

I did some research online (though somehow still didn't manage to find this site) and decided I would purchase some bonded black nylon thread for my caulking and that I would cut the deck planking strips provided into 9cm lengths (seemed to replicate a reasonable plank length), such that they could be staggered at 3cm intervals and look like some sort of butt shift system.

 

I started down the centre-line and worked out to one side, finally cutting and shaping round the bulkheads. Then switched around and did the same the other side. The final touches were to paint the whole thing in red ochre (as I'd read about the decks being painted red to prevent the spilled blood distressing the crew) and to add some deck "nails", 2 at each end and 1 at each 3cm point along the lengths. This was done using a 0.5mm black pilot pen.

 

In hindsight (and having done lots more research and reading now) I realise I should have done a proper 3 or 4 butt system, as on the ship herself, but what's done is done.

 

It took a long time to do but I was very pleased with the effect created, even though a lot of this deck won't be seen once the quarterdeck is added later.

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Edited by knotty74
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Hi Boyd. Yes, I actually started my build back in July 2012 and made good progress up to about March 14 and have subsequently ground to a halt due to the time constraints mentioned in my first post. So, with Grandad now here, and having found this site, I'm now keen to get restarted. So I will upload my build log, as far as I got in those first 18 months or so and start again from that point.

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Figs 4 & 4A: False quarterdeck and cabins

 

Again, the false deck fitted between the various bulkheads with virtually no adjusting. Excellent laser-cutting! The cabin woodwork was quite fiddly to do. I fashioned the leading to the window frames out of a bar code printed onto some sticky labels at work and then cut out and stuck onto the acetate provided with the kit.

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Edited by knotty74
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Fig 5: False poop deck and planking both the quarterdeck and the poop deck

 

This was a huge area of planking and given it was going to be oak-wash stained when I finished (and hence be covered up), I decided to cheat a little and plank in long lengths, using the same pilot pen used for the deck nail effect, on the upper gundeck below, to then ink in the butt shift effect and the deck nails on the quarterdeck planking.

 

I still used the bonded nylon along the edges between the planks to simulate the caulking.

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Edited by knotty74
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I came up with the oak-wash idea myself, essentially watering down a normal oak varnish with some water. Was really pleased with the overall look of the decking, as it will be the main bit that people will see on the completed model.

 

I added the skylight to the middle of the poop.

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Edited by knotty74
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You need no advice from me ,you seem to have it all under control. I must agree the fit of the ply parts were usually spot on ,but it,s just a pity they use ply for everything. I supose it,s down to price ,you certainly get a lot of ship for the money !! You will really enjoy the planking.

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Thanks, Keith. Agree the knightheads are fairly prominent and one of the "mistakes" I have made thus far is to get bored with the planking and to start making and fitting deck furniture, which in turn has meant I've had to be more careful when planking and sanding/filling. To date, no breakages/damage as yet as I have been making sure the upturned bow has slotted into the holding groove in the front of the building slip. More to follow on this when I get the rest of the build log uploaded.

Cheers, Chris.

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Thanks, Gundorph. It's actually taken over 2 years so far but I've only just found this site and so am uploading my build log to where I have got to so far. So this is a very fast-forwarded version of how long all this actually took! Ha ha. Few more posts to go yet, when I get time.

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Figs 8B & 8C: More stern gallery fascias

 

Starting to build up the gallery now, building on the basework previously done. I painted the inner surfaces black before adding the new pieces, whilst I still had access, such that the bare wood wouldn't be seen through the windows.

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Edited by knotty74
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Fig 9A: The catheads and the beakhead fascia

 

Catheads slotted in (again minimal trimming) and the blue fascia added to the previously painted black baseboard. Another additional purchase to the basic kit added at this point; some very nice little cathead crowns that I painted, having made reference to various pics/photos in the books I was now using for research purposes.

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Edited by knotty74
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The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed I have skipped from Fig 8C to Fig 9A, ie missed out Fig 9. Essentially, Fig 9 is just the hull planking and so needed a lot of research before I began to do this for the first time ever. Also, to be perfectly honest, I was bored of planking having done both the gundecks and wanted to do something different for now and so built some other things. Probably a bit of an error in hindsight as having so much of the deck furniture completed, didn't help the subsequent planking and sanding etc. Pics to follow.

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