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Rob Pollock
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HMS Victory, 1805

June 20, 2017 · in Ships · · 56 · 4.7K

The Ship:

is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, ordered in 1758, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. She is best known for her role as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

She additionally served as Keppel's flagship at Ushant, Howe's flagship at Cape Spartel and Jervis's flagship at Cape St Vincent. After 1824, she was relegated to the role of harbour ship.

In 1922, she was moved to a dry dock at Portsmouth, England, and preserved as a museum ship. She has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012 and is the world's oldest naval ship still in commission.

There is of course much that's been written about Nelson and HMS Victory in the past 212 years, and if you're interested there's a wealth of information on-line about the ship and its times.

I can also recommend John Sugden's magisterial two-volume biography of Nelson, "Nelson: a Dream of Glory" and "Nelson: the Sword of Albion".

The Model:

This is the Constructo 1:94 model of HMS Victory (80833). The overall dimensions are (L) 1110mm, (H) 800mm, and (W) 400mm. I should add here that the dimensions are as stated on the plans; my own model differs about 5mm in all respects.

The build took just over 1000 hours across six working months. Although described as a 'kit' it should be noted that in practice the model consists of lengths/sections of timber in various wood types, a set of numerous architectural-style plans and a few fittings in brass and white metal. All cutting, shaping and fitting is the responsibility of the modeller.

Additions/substitutes to the project were 2mm ball bearings used as static cannon shot for ammunition racks, the BECC Model Accessories' set of fabric 'Nelson signal flags' ("England expects that every man will do his duty") and rigging thread (various diameters/types) from , as the material supplied with the Constructo kit wasn't fit for purpose.

I used more than 150 metres of rigging thread in the project. The deadeyes and lanyards are hand-tied, as are the clove hitches for the ratlines/shrouds; there are about 1500 of the latter.

There are a number of wooden models of HMS Victory available, some simplified and others highly complex. The Constructo model retails for £330. In scale, price and complexity it's similar to that provided by Corel, while a more diminutive 1:200 version from is just over £100. In contrast, the Caldercraft version retails for £740, but at 1:72 the dimensions are larger still, and highly detailed indeed.

The 'accent' figure is a 1:12 resin bust of Nelson from Hawk Miniatures. I had planned to paint it in full military detail, but with the ship itself so decorative I opted for a more sombre effect, using a bronze enamel from AK Interactive's Extreme Metals range. After painting, the figure was buffed with graphite powder and an old soft toothbrush.

The small square of timber 'floating' between the bust and the pedestal base is in fact a small piece of original oak from HMS Victory itself. During the ongoing restoration projects in recent years old timber sections are salvaged, cut down and sold as souvenirs to the general public, with provenance of the Portsmouth Naval Yard Museum, to help with restoration costs.

Apologies in advance for the photographs. A model this size is difficult to transcribe into images without losing some of the continuity of the lines.

Reader reactions:
18  Awesome 1 

28 additional images. Click to enlarge.

56 responses

  1. That is simply outstanding workmanship, sir...I've a feeling we just might be seeing this one again (if ya know what I mean). And you must be ready for the "rubber modeling room" after all that rigging and such. Impressive build, my friend.

  2. Huge congratulations Rob, this is beautiful! Everything about it is impressive. 150+ meters of rigging is mind-blowing, and the original oak from Victory just makes this a unique and perfect presentation!

  3. Awesome work! That rigging makes me speechless.

    • Hi, Gabor. You get into a rhythm with it after a while, but naturally there's a logical sequence that has to followed. In some cases you have to think in reverse and back-to-front at the same time, especially for the running rigging.

  4. So you've made it! Congratulations on your perseverance, she looks fantastic. 🙂

  5. Simply an awesome build Rob. My compliments on hanging in there for all that time to complete it. The rigging alone is mind-boggling in its complexity but you certainly mastered it. That's a model to be proud of... Very Well Done !

  6. A pretty amazing build, Rob. I'm jealous!

    • Cheers, Scott. As a general modeller rather than a ship specialist, I think anyone with the required level of commitment can achieve similar results.

  7. No words suffice - congratulations! WAAYYY more patient modeler than I will ever be!

  8. Stunning Work Rob. Those hours of patience have really well spent.

  9. Beyond praise, my friend. A stunningly beautiful model for sure!

  10. You have ten times the patience and skill I will ever have! That is definitely fit for the national history museum!

  11. Yes ! Tis worthy of a museum!

  12. Great piece of work Rob! Congratulations!

  13. Rob, unbelievable! A real masterpiece. Congratulations of a successful build, one you can display with pride.

  14. I have been watching for your progress during the updates you have provided with much anticipation. This is truly a work of art and indeed belongs in a museum. I can only imaging what it must have been like tying off over 1500 clove hitches !

    Years ago when I built the Revell (1/96 scale?) USS Constitution, the rat lines were solid one piece affairs. Yours definitely look much more convincing, but I'll bet you're not ready to tie another knot for some time to come !
    Bravo Sir ! Well done. I really like it Rob... The actual piece of Oak from the original ship really suits this build well.
    Thanks for sharing this beauty with us my friend.

  15. Never saw the progress on this one bot Wow,you must be so proud of yourself,that is one mammoth build,There is more string line or what,than is in my wife's sewing room,thanks.

  16. WOW Rob this is one STUNNING work of art! I think this needs to be in a Maritime Museum.

  17. Amazing piece of work. Fantastic attention to detail. Congratulation to a great achievement.

  18. A real beauty Rob. We should all have the dedication to finish a model like this.

  19. Masterpiece, Nothing else to add...congrats Rob.

  20. Rob, This is amazing, looking at all the intricate detail, especially the rigging is simply "modeling at its finest" !, Well done !

  21. Wow. Fantastic in all ways. Incredible work.

  22. My absolute compliments for your fantastic craftmanship. What an amazing job. The rigging is outstanding, and when looking at the photos I keep discovering more and more details. Just great!
    I've visited HMS Victory a couple of years ago when staying over some days at Portsmouth, it's well worth a visit, as is the whole museum.

    • Many thanks. I was at
      Portsmouth eighteen months ago and spent two days at the Naval Yard and Museums, which include the ironclad clipper "Warrior" and of course "HMS Victory". I agree, it's a wonderful place.

  23. Hi Rob,
    Museum piece. I can see it, hard labor went into this super model.
    Congratulations with this master piece.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  24. I built this one 1:180. Yours is a LOT better!

  25. Thanks, Alfredo.

  26. Fantastic, Rob, you must be really chuffed. The additions such as the bust and the original piece of wood really help to set it off. Achieving such a high standard consistently throughout such a complicated build shows real talent and commmitment.

    • Cheers, George. Hopefully, the decorative quality of the model compensates for the degree of difficulty in building it. This was a challenging project.

  27. Rob, this is one of the finest ship models I've seen! Beauty!

  28. Fantastic work Rob. You've provided a much needed nudge to kick start work again on my Royal Caroline (Panart). After six years on and off (mostly off) I've yet to lay down the second layer of planking! Again, after viewing your precision work I'm resigned to pick up the pace!

    • Hi Jeff. I did the Caroline in early 2015 (posted here). It was my first ship model and full of errors but still very decorative; I still have it in my front room in a case. Thanks for the comments.

  29. Great result Rob. I can appreciate the stamina it takes to build a period ship model in any medium. I've been chipping away at Heller's 100th scale version for many years on and off so to complete yours in six months you must have been burning the candle at both ends.

    • Thanks, Robert. As it happens, I've just decided to revisit the project to add additional ship's boats on the main deck, which were woefully lackng in the main kit. I'm using a Mantua set, slightly different scale and although seen earlier they never seemed to be in stock anywhere until this week. Probably quite fiddly to work with now vur hopefully a final improvement.

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