Royal Caroline 1749
This is Mantua Models’ Royal Caroline (kit no.750), the original being launched from Deptford in 1749 as a Royal Yacht.
The scale is 1:47. The length, excluding sticky-out-bits fore and aft, is 65cm (just over two feet). It’s really a work-in-progess, and arguably should have been posted here under a different tab. Briefly, this is a wooden ship kit. A few pieces (transom, cross members, etc), are laser-cut sections that are removed from ply sheets. Everything else is measured, cut, filed or sanded from individual sections/length/ planks of either walnut or larch. Brass decorations (‘gingerbread’) are cut and filed from frets (with difficulty). Other lengths of brass are measured, cut, and filed to shape; I hand-painted all the brass with a thin coat of gold lacquer.
I started the kit in December 2012 and worked on it for six weeks, taking it to the point seen here in two of the last photos, where the hull, parapets, and decking are completed. In November 2013, I returned to the ship for a further six weeks, taking it to the stage where external hull decorations and many of the fittings to the decks are complete.
The hull, by the way, is formed as with a real ship. Sectional supports sit at right angles to the transom, and .5x 3mm larch strips are soaked in water, bent, and fixed lengthwise to create the ‘first’ hull. This is sanded and filled to achieve a smooth, balanced surface. Walnut strips are then treated and fixed over the first hull. These form the final exterior hull and have to be fitted closely and without gaps or fillers. I’ve added a photo here of the first hull fixing over the framework for the lifeboat, to give an idea of the beginnning of the process.
Many ship modellers leave the timbers in a natural finish, but I chose to use acrylic varnish stains for variety and interest across the build, with the underhull in white and the gunwales in French blue. The Mantua colour callout for the red parapets is ‘Pompeii Red’, which I never found, and instead used the Vallejo Games colour, Gory Red.
I still have to complete several complex frame sections to the main- and fore-decks, the lifeboat, and all the masts and of course the extensive blocks-and-tackle rigging.
I estimate I will need another two sessions of six to eight weeks to complete the ship, but as I tend to save it for mid-winter work it will probably be 2016 before it’s completed, unless I find myself ‘in the zone’ at some point and decide to push forward.
I should add that this is my first (and likely only) wooden ship build, and that any model shipright would probably guffaw at my efforts here, but for me it’s decorative and looks like a ship.
14 additional images. Click to enlarge.