HMS Victory: 1:98 Mantua POB kit, circa 1980

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#1
Kit was purchased from a hobby store in late 2016, but had apparently been made sometime around 1980. The owner was not sure how he came to have the kit in his store--estate sale?... who knows. The plans (not instructions, mind you) are in four languages: English, Italian, German, French and are copyrighted 1971. I 'laid the keel' so to speak on January 16, 2017 and worked fairly diligently on it during the course of that year. This year, I've not had time to spend on it since around March 2018, and only recently (Sept. 2018) have been trying to get back to work on it. I've taken many photos during the course of construction, which I'll share below. I hope to continue sharing this build log as I continue work on her.

These photos illustrate the work completed within roughly the first month - January/Feb 2017

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#2
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This photo shows the 'T' beam included in this kit, which gives the model a very high degree of rigidity against bending, twisting, etc. To enhance the stiffness even more, I predrilled and installed small brass wood screws every few inches along its length (you can see one of them in this photo). As an engineer, I used this method to make the two parts of the 'T' act as a composite beam.
 
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#3
Continuing build log showing lower deck construction. The kit only includes the 16 guns on the open upper decks, but I was considering buying additional cannons to fill out her complete 104-gun compliment and cut out open gun portals below deck. However, even if I could get them for as little as $2.00 each it could cost a lot, so I decided to forego it and have closed gun portals. Even though these lower decks will never be seen, they still add quite a bit of additional stiffness to the model.

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#5
Test fitting masts for the first time. My plans didn't provide any information about how they should be fastened or anchored below decks, so I was on my own (not the only time with these plans, mind you). I came up with some fabricated blocking in which they would fit snugly and rest atop the 'T' beam mentioned in a previous post. When the day comes to permanently step the masts, they can be glued very securely.
However, I am open to advice. Should I glue the masts into their blocking, or leave them unglued? They will fit very snugly when pressed down and not easily come out, even when not secured down with all the additional ratlines that will be installed. If I leave them unglued, it would preserve the option of some day removing and repairing, rebuilding or replacing them, should they become damaged in some way. I'm interested in whether anyone else has done this on a build of this or any other ship model?
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#6
Began first layer of hull planking, mid-March 2017. It took about more than two months to complete--while working fairly steadily. It was a BIG job. I soaked each plank in water for about a half hour before gluing to soften it for bending. But I marked where the edges would go in pencil on the bulkheads, to give myself a guideline for applying glue. I used Gorilla Glue, which says to wet one of the surfaces to be bonded to promote curing. With the planks being still damp this was ideal. I predrilled tiny holes at each bulkhead with my Dremel as I worked my way from bow to stern, placing small brad nails in each hole to secure the plank in place until the glue dried. I started the nail with needle-nose pliers and a twisting motion, and finished up with a small jewelers hammer to leave just the head protruding from the plank. After the glue had set, I removed all the nails with the pliers. When planking was finished I went back and filled the holes with wood putty compound and sanded the whole thing smooth. In a later step, 1/64" finish planking will be glued in place as a second layer with contact cement.
BTW, when those last pics were taken, I couldn't help hearing the Genesis song, "Driving The Last Spike" running through my head... over and over.

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#9
February 2016: A major new undertaking - construction of the stern gallery. Up til this point, the most difficult operation in the construction of this ship.
The curved surfaces are formed by clear plastic pieces, which leave transparent windows after the remainder is covered with 1/64" thick walnut strips. At first, it looks pretty ugly--but amazingly turns quite beautiful eventually.
I didn't trust these curved pieces to not pull away at some later point, returning to their initial flat shape. So in addition to the Gorilla Glue, I very carefully predrilled and installed several small screws into the stern gallery framing to ensure it will never come undone.
And finally, I won't lie... I was somewhat intimidated to begin this stage of construction. It was obviously going to be very difficult, and the plans weren't altogether clear on how the pieces fit together or how they could be securely fastened in place. Having it turn out as well as it did bolstered my confidence--and I'm going to need it when I dive into the work on the bow. It should make building this stern gallery look like assembling a plastic Revell kit.

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Jan 18, 2017
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#10
I've been in a hiatus with the ship since around March 2018. Between taking an overseas trip--which DID include an in-person visit to the original HMS Victory docked at the Portsmouth Shipyards in England!--and many other and varied tasks, I've not had much time to spend working on it. Couple that with becoming severely STUCK with determining how to build the curved 'hair brackets' et al, and getting little guidance from these plans, and you come up with a severe case of 'ship builder's block'. The photo below shows the last work I did back in March, consisting of attaching a couple of curved moldings on the bow and the hawse holes for the anchor ropes. Just this past week, however, I did successfully attach a few pieces of the hair brackets and think I'm ready to get back to it. I'll post photos of this latest work as soon as I complete a little more of it. 20180323_070743.jpg
 

Uwek

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#13
Great that you started the building log, and we all can hope, that you will find in future more time to work on this model.
Looking forward to see you progress :cool:
 
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#18
Look like the italien kits of the 80s are better quality then now.
While I don't have basis for comparison with today's kits, I can say this one is of very high quality. The instructions leave singing to be desired though. While the PLANS are beautiful, with very accurate 1:1 scaling on all parts, they provide very little on how to actually build some of the parts. It's almost as if they idea is, "if you're building this kit, you're a big boy and you can figure this stuff out for yourself."
Thus far, I've been up to the challenge and as a result I've grown in my abilities along the way. But I would not recommend this kit for a newbie with only moderate skills.
Of note: all the bulkheads and other pieces had to be cut from solid pieces of wood, with outlines inked on them, but NOT laser precut. So my scroll saw and dremel have been indispensable in building this ship.
 
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#20
I also have this beauty of a kit. If you contact Mantua they will send you a complete "how to" manual. It's actually quite good. I bought this kit in or around 1980 and was stunned to realize I probably didn't have the skills to put it together. However this winter I will be attacking it. The original wood is still in excellent condition. A bit of advice: buy many blades for the scroll saw. It's a bit of a beast.

John
 
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