H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

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catopower
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H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby catopower » Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:19 pm

Well okay, I figure starting some kind of build log will help to keep me on task with this build, though it hasn't helped much for some of my other projects!

Someone I'd done some ship modeling work for about a year ago called me up about 6 months ago and asked me about building an HMS Victory model. He also asked me to promise me not to let him ask me to build another model for him because his wife is starting to get a bit overwhelmed by the number of ship models he has. He's the same person who asked me to build the colonial schooner Independence, but he still wants that model. I suggested we get started on this one, just because it will take a long time to complete and I'll need to spend time studying the kit to determine what changes I'll want to make and what that will take.

I had started messing around with a smaller Corel Victory kit, which is in 1:98 scale, but it was a bit too small for his needs. The Mantua kit was chosen as a compromise. I really wanted to build the Caldercraft kit, but at 1:64 scale, it's just a bit too big. This Mantua kit is just small enough to fit the display space available, though looking at the size of the model, it seems odd to call it "small enough".

The kit was purchased from Ages of Sail and I saved on shipping by just driving down there and picking it up since they're only about 45 minutes from home. Total length of the Mantua kit is about 51". This is the largest model I'll have built from beginning to end, so it's a pretty neat project for me.


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My plan for this model is to build it with modifications to include an expanded interior layout so that the hatches can remain open, but show some amount of the lower decks through the openings. This doesn't require a great deal of detail, just enough so that ladders don't descend to nothingness. I'm also intended to build the upper gun deck all the way through instead of the kit's partial deck, so that there are fewer dummy features.

I considered modifying the dummy gun ports so that you could at least see portions of gun carriages through the gunports. But, then I took a step back and realized that I'm just being asked to build the kit and I'm already adding far more than is being requested. Also, I do need to actually finish it in my and the owner's lifetimes!

I also considered using Bob Hunt's practicum which is based on this kit, but decided that while it might be useful, I didn't need the added expense.

This model will be painted, but the owner wants the amount of paint limited. So, I'm going to attempt to use boxwood for the upper hull and only paint the black areas, leaving the yellow bands natural boxwood. However, I'm still considering using a little bit of wood dye to give the natural wood a little tint towards a yellow ochre color. Not sure on that yet.

My research material will be the standards: John McKay's AOS book "100-gun ship Victory" and C.Nepean Longridge's book "The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships."


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Anyway, I expect this to be a slow going build so I won't be going overboard with the posts. But I did start the build back in December, mostly in planning things out, making copies of drawings, making construction notes, etc. I did start some of the construction, so I'll do some "catch-up" posting soon. Stay tuned...


Clare
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Re: H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby GaryM » Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:36 am

I do not know if you are interested in it but I have the magazine of the but of the 1:98 scale Mantua kit that Gene did a long time ago. There is also a copy of his articles available on the internet. It would probably be appropriate since it was the same manufacturer but the smaller version.
Happy modeling,
Gary Maple

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Current build: Sergal Sovereign of the Seas
In Que: Sergal: Cutty Sark and Amerigo Vespucci; Billings Titanic
Completed: Amati: HMS Prince (old 1:78 version); Billings: Norske Love and Vasa; Mantua: La Couronne; Sergal: Mississippi Riverboat and La Soleil Royal
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Re: H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby popeye » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:50 am

looks to be a very interesting build Clare. I'll be sure to look on ;-)
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Re: H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby catopower » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:02 am

Hi Gary, thanks for the offer.

It's an extremely rare book, but I managed to stumble across a copy about a year ago and got it for the 1:98-scale Corel kit. There's some useful information in it, even for this larger model.

Popeye, I'll try not to disappoint!


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Re: H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby catopower » Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:17 pm

By the way, Gary, thanks for mentioning that book. While it's not very useful because the author basically describes modifications specific to the smaller Mantua kit, and gives all his measurements for 1:96 scale, I like some of his ideas. And it does make me think that if he can do what he does at 1:96 scale, I ought to be able to do something similar at 1:78.

I particularly like his idea for the false gun carriages, ship's wheel and belfry construction.

Also, the book focuses on a few detail features. The problem with the AOS and Longridge books is that there is SO much information that it gets to be kind of confusing on what things to focus on in the upgrading of the kit. I just have to skim past the opinion narrative portions of the book which get to be kind of annoying after a while.

In any case, let me get on with the build...

Construction Begins

This is a nice big kit. I must say, it's very satisfying in size and weight of the box, making you feel like you're about to build something really significant.

I'm beginning by using scaled up plans from the AOS book. Most of the drawings are 1/192 scale and to scale them up to 1/78 requires they be blown up 246.2%. I used to do the math all the time, but got tired of it and made an Excel spreadsheet that handles most common scales.

I tried scaling the plans up on copiers, but their scaling algorithms are WAY off. It was far better to scan the section of interest, scale it up on the computer using Photoshop or Preview (Mac bundled), and then print it out. I did this with the stem and stern post areas to make more accurate looking replacements.

Meanwhile, I cut out the main framework parts and did a lot of test fitting and the model was in the condition for quite some time while I contemplated the modifications I would make to her.

I also cut a large piece of plywood to use as the building board. I glued down a couple strips of 1/4" birch to hold the keel in place. A couple basswood blocks sit under the midships bulkheads, keeping the whole thing level, and the keel strips make a tight enough fit to keep the model from moving around any. Later on, I may set up mounting lugs to further add to its stability. But, before this was done, I simply held it in a "Keel Klamper."


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The stern gallery is one of those areas I'm picky about. I don't want painted windows on the model. You don't necessary have to see anything when you look in the windows, but I always appreciated being able to look in. The problem is that the design of this area puts some of the framework right across the middle of the windows, which would just look bad in my opinion. So, I had to look at ways to open up the view just a little.

To begin with, I took the kit's laser-cut stern gallery piece and photocopied it onto clear acetate. This gave me a working piece that I could attach to the model to help me visualize things.


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The model will be painted, so the material for the stem and sternpost isn't that important. I ended up using boxwood because I'm comfortable working with it and I have plenty of it on hand. I often make these out of Beech, which is very hard and is cheaper, but used boxwood, just because...

I built up the stem from separate pieces based on the plans. Again, this will get covered with paint, but it's a good exercise and some of the seams will show through.


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New and old stem.
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Figuring out the stern post was actually tougher as I found the kit hull length and shape hard to match up with the AOS and Longridge plans. But, I think I managed okay. Still, cutting away sections of the kit's keel makes me nervous!


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Stern post pieces and cut away keel. You might also notice the upper portion of the keel piece missing. This is part of the stern gallery modification I'll mention in more detail later.
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More later...

Clare
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Re: H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby catopower » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:23 pm

Modified Framing

This kit is similar to most HMS Victory kits I've seen in that only a port of the upper gun deck is detailed. It makes sense since the quarter deck and focsle deck hide everything below. But, because this deck is more open than the other two gun decks below it, I'd like to build the whole deck, at least as far as the cannons and general details go (I know you won't be able to see much of anything once the model is done).

To open up the upper gun deck requires modifying some of the bulkheads. I did this in a fashion similarly to the way Bob Hunt describes in his practicum. How do I know that without a copy of the practicum? Well, he lets you download the beginning portion of it on his website. I considered purchasing the whole thing and using it as a guide, but the modifications I'm going to make are fairly limited in comparison with his practicum build. Looks like a very good product though, so you might want to check it out:

It's one of the Junior courses at the bottom of this page.

This stage of the model required a lot of planning. I copied plans, wrestled with ideas, and in the end decided to reign in a penchant for complicating things. I was only asked to build a kit. If I'm scratch building a project or building the kit for myself, that's a bit different. There are time and money constraints to consider here.

Of course, opening up the deck does mean that I'll have to add a lot of gun carriages and full cannon barrels and then they'll look different from the dummy barrels included in the kit. But, I'll just have to worry about that a little later on.

Middle Gun Deck

Anyway, I modified the bulkheads and created a deck section for the middle gun deck, which will be visible through hatches in the upper gun deck and through the entry ports amidships. Adding this section required me to make some beams, which I made from basswood. These will support the middle gun deck section.

I made this section probably far larger than I needed to. But, it's all trial and error here, and I wanted be safe and make sure it would appear that there might be a complete middle gun deck. I used some thin plywood for the sub-deck and then planked it over with 1/8" wide strips of boxwood veneer that cut for the purpose. The deck had to be made in two pieces to be able to fit it through the frames. With this in place, the next step will be to add some of the visible detail of lower hatches and covers.


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Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures of these steps, but I will do better in the future.


Clare
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Re: H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby popeye » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:01 pm

looking good Clare.......to me, that why they make these kits. nothing wrong with a little bashing here and there ;-) yea, modifications can be a little scary, but when your done, you'll be smiling like a Cheshire cat! so, your going to have full gun carriages down there.........sweet! :D
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Re: H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby otrax01 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:22 pm

Hey Clare this is great, the next ship in my que is C. Mamoli's 1:90 scale 1765 version of the Victory. I plan on starting in about 6 months and I've been pouring over the plans while not working on the Mirage. I'll be following your build every step of the way so you better be posting a lot of pictures and posting every day! :text-lol: At our next meeting could you please bring those two books so that I can take a look through them to see is I should get them.
Kent
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Re: H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby catopower » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:14 pm

Thanks Popeye, Kent!

Actually, I'm only going to have full gun carriages on the upper gun deck. The planning alone has been a bit daunting, but now that I've started construction, at least I can do a bit more building and a little less thinking about it all!


Kent,

Awesome! You should hurry up and rig that Mirage of yours so I can watch how you build YOUR Victory! Then you can help me out :D

I think the Mamoli Victory looks really nice. At 1/90 scale, her details are going to be a bit finer than your Mirage. Don't you have more than one Victory in your queue? I thought I remember seeing a Mantua one too or something. Can't remember where. Maybe in the video you posted? I have another one too, an old Corel kit I had started a while ago that I was going to do some similar modifications to. But, when this project came up, I set that one aside, though I think working on this one will help with the other one.

Anyway, I'll definitely bring the Anatomy of a Ship and the Anatomy of Nelson's Ships books to the next meet-up. Gary might have some other books on HMS Victory too that he might be willing to bring too.

And, speaking of the meet up, I'll be sending out an email reminder about it shortly.

More on the Victory shortly...

Clare
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Re: H.M.S. Victory - Mantua/Panart 1:78 Scale

Postby catopower » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:51 pm

Though you've seen all the frames and decks together, it's all still a test fit at this point, and everything can be removed. At this time, I had decided that I would need a way to mount the model when done and I chose to set it up so that I could use long thin screws to hold it in place. If I recall correctly, it was #3-30 screws and nuts I used that would fit up through the keel and into the hull. These are machine screws and the nuts would be embedded in the inner keel piece.

I started by drilling the holes for the mounting screws in through the center of the keel. I had measured the locations so that the screws would fit within the bounds of the stand that was provided in the model kit, though I have not decided if I will use it one of my own design. Any such design would have to conform to the screw locations I choose here, but I think I'll be okay with these, which are between bulkheads 4 and 5 for the forward mounting screw, and just forward of bulkhead 9 for the aft mounting screw.

Next, I cut a pair of holes in the side of the inner keel, each large enough to fit a pair of nuts. I used a pair of them, which could have complicated things I suppose, but I wanted something a little more substantial to hold onto that a single nut. The holes I cut are just large enough to fit the nuts into. Of course, I cut close to the expected drill hole first, and then widened the opening carefully to keep it centered on the drill hole and just large enough to fit the nuts. It wasn't that hard, and soon I was able to fit the nuts and test their position with the mounting screw.

The screw then kept the alignment while I applied epoxy to the nuts, being careful not to let any seep onto the screw itself. It wasn't much of a problem as the nuts fit pretty tightly into the square opening I'd cut. After all this was done, I then added some more glue and put reinforcing pieces of wood that cover the openings.

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You can see in the photos that I'd also cut a rabbet along the edge of the keel. On this model, it won't make so much of a difference as the hull will be copper sheathed anyway, so the rabbets aren't all that deep. Just enough to lay the inner planking into, really. Also, note that the gluing and the covers went on later, but I don't have photos of that part.


I also built an entirely new deck section for the middle gun deck as I mentioned in a prior post. This deck will still have dummy cannon, but I needed to fool the eye when looking in through the deck hatches and the entry ports, which I'll be leaving open. I've planked it as you can see in the following pic.


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Sorry about the weird coloring. It's in low light conditions and taken with my phone, which doesn't handle that as well as my regular camera. The quarter deck and the mast are in place temporarily just to make sure the mast hole I cut in that lower deck is aligned correctly.


Clare

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