View Full Version : HMS Victory

05-30-08, 10:43 AM
Not large scale (1/72) but here is a Victory diorama that I built a few years ago.http://www.scalemotorcars.com/forum/images/imported/2008/05/75.jpg

Mario Lucchini
05-30-08, 03:40 PM
Not large scale (1/72) but here is a Victory diorama that I built a few years ago.http://www.scalemotorcars.com/forum/images/imported/2008/05/75.jpg

Just WOW!!!!..............1thumbup1 1thumbup1 1thumbup1 1thumbup1


hot ford coupe
05-30-08, 08:39 PM
John, that ship is incredible. That shows and abundance of talent and skill. The rigging is nothing short of masterful. First rate all the way.

Lancair IV
05-31-08, 12:40 AM
God I wish I had your talent and patience. Absolutely stunning John. If my Sopwith Camel turns out half as nice, I'll be happy.........


09-30-08, 12:11 PM

09-30-08, 12:12 PM

09-30-08, 12:13 PM
There are a lot of models of HMS Victory around but I do not know of another that has been done as a storyboard diorama.What is a storyboard diorama? Simply it is a diorama that tells a story.It is a diorama whereby the story is the most important element.It can contain figures or not ,however my dioramas always contain figures.Victory is the first diorama that I had ever done and it didn't even start out that way.
Back in 1976 ,when I started Victory,I had been back into modeling for only a couple of years after a long absence dating back to childhood.I passed a hobby shop window one day and saw a model of HMS Victory and fell in love.I was set to buy a kit right there but the shop owner wisely pointed me in the direction of something a little easier.After strong resistance on my part ,I left the shop with a Santa Maria kit feeling I was only wasting my time.However I did put my best effort into it and it turned out OK.( I still have it somewhere around here).
The thing I remember most about this kit was making the top ,a basket like affair on the main mast.I got a little creative when making mine and to my surprise it was more than just a top but seemed to me quite artsy-fartsy for something I designed myself.This is the first time that I remember having stepped outside the box and I really liked it.The rest of the kit I build per the instructions but I always loved that little top.
That creative spark really got me going but I was a trained aviator not a sailor so I hit the books.I bought a Bounty and built it out of the box and continued to study.It too turned out OK and I even got a little creative with the stern decorations.
Well the big day arrived and I finally felt that I was ready to tackle the Victory. I arrived home with my Sergal kit ,opened it up and was immediately disappointed.The plans and instruction booklet was useless and written in engitalian which for the life of me I couldn't understand.I rushed back to the hobby store and immediately picked up a book that I had seen there "The Anatomy of Nelsons Ships".
After reading it cover to cover and pouring over the plans I realized that what I had bought was nothing like I had seen in the window a few years previously. So it was back to the books and an even better nautical dictionary this time.
I finally decided that I would use the wood strips and some of the brass fittings that were in scale from the kit and scratchbuild the rest which I thought at the time would probably take me a couple of years. Wrong!!!
I decided to stay with the double plank-on-bulkhead method but I made my own plywood bulkheads using Longridges plans from the Anatomy of... book. More on this later.....

What you see in the above picture is the finished storyboard diorama.It is a little unusual in that I have had to link up a usually unseen fanciful below the waterline, with a more realistic above the waterline type model.Usually when modeling storyboard dioramas you try to make everything as realistic as possible.As you can see from the picture the ship rests on a couple of dolphins I carved from cherrywood,which you would usually only see on admiralty type models.
Speaking of admiralty models,I decided early on ,even before it became a storyboard diorama ,that this was to become a decorative type model that would appeal to kids and the young at heart.As a modeler I admire these models but I had noticed that in the museums or at exhibitions the models that told a story were really the most popular with the kids.I love to tell stories with my models and maybe also sneak in a little education for the kids as well.My Victory is really about depicting a sailors life aboard one of these magnificent ships,these ships that are at the end of a long evolution of just how big you can get just using only wood and rope.

Don Garrett
09-30-08, 02:21 PM
For what it's worth John, I understood perfectly every syllable of your post....I doubt seriously I'll ever build another tall ship. If I did it would never see completion in what's left of my lifetime. Beautiful....you have the soul of an artist and poet.

09-30-08, 07:12 PM
What Don said, I could't say it better.

10-01-08, 10:14 AM

10-01-08, 10:33 AM
The last few pics give you guys an idea of the overall look of the ship.This is a decorative type model and not meant to be exactly like the real thing.I wanted it to have the wood/brass look rather than be painted.Why? I love the beauty of the lines of the ship (the run of the wales)and to paint it Nelson fashion with the lines parallel to the waterline only spoils the shipwrights original design.
You will notice that some gunports actually cut through the wales at some points .I believe that here the shipwright was sacrificing a little strength for beauty.Why else would he do this?

10-01-08, 06:20 PM

10-01-08, 06:57 PM
Drumming Daybreak Storyline.
The red coated Royal Marine is actually holding a drum.He has just finished being part of the dawn "drumming daybreak" ceremony.In the Royal Navy a drummer at first daybreak would start drumming and continue his drumming until as the saying goes "you could see a gray goose at a mile."Immediately after stopping the drumming a cannon would be fired and the royal ensign raised and the stern.
The diorama itself is named for this ceremony.

10-01-08, 10:58 PM
The answer to your question about why the gunport cuts through the wale is because the gunports run parallel to the decks, and not to the hull planking.


10-02-08, 08:25 AM
Yes, I know that but the question is, why don't the wales run parallel to the decks instead of sweeping into a gentle curve? 1gramps1

10-02-08, 10:12 AM

10-02-08, 10:35 AM
Gun crew firing the cannon as part of the "Drumming Daybreak" ceremony.There was no standard issue uniform in those days for the ordinary seaman ,so you can get a little creative here.I decided to paint my figures fairly colorfully as I wanted to add a little life to the brass/wood look.The orange background is the gun flash at the moment of firing.

hot ford coupe
10-02-08, 01:20 PM
That's modeling at its best. A first rate job if I ever saw one. 1thumbup1 1thumbup1 1thumbup1

10-03-08, 11:46 AM

10-03-08, 12:24 PM
This is the final part of the ceremony,the raising of the flag at the stern.Notice one of the ship boats at the stern is being hauled up on the davits, while the other is still battened down.I show only two men hauling on the davits' ropes but of course there would be many more in real life.I have taken a little artistic license when telling this story when I thought it appropriate to do so ,however the overall story is based in fact.

10-03-08, 09:59 PM

10-03-08, 10:31 PM
In addition to the main storyline there are other stories going on here.
The officer sitting under the flag at the bowsprit cap has a telescope in his hand.He is actually scouring the horizon looking for enemy ships.
When in harbor at dawn and especially when under bare poles,the ship would be extremely vulnerable to enemy attack ,sneaking up under the cover of darkness. The ships crew would all be on alert and all guns would be run out prepared to fire.When the all clear was given normal ships routine could begin again.

10-04-08, 09:57 AM

10-04-08, 10:34 AM
Besides the obvious activity on board, this picture represents so much more.
The black sailor dressed in white hauling on the rope at the extreme left of the picture represents Victory's varied crew at the time of Trafalgar.Besides a mixed racial group ,there were also French deserters and many other nationalities,willing participants and press-ganged individuals.

Don Garrett
10-04-08, 10:55 AM
And the plot thickens....is anyone swabbing the decks and mending the rigging?

10-04-08, 12:05 PM

10-04-08, 12:11 PM
Storyboard Dioramas long history.
Storyboard ship dioramas have as long a history as any other type of modeling.Sailing vessels with figures aboard have been found by many archeologists digging around in our human past.A more recent example would be this model from the time when Admiralty Board models were popular.
Made in the late 18th century in Buckler's Hard shipyard in Hampshire U.K. ,where this type of ship was actually built,this cut-away type example shows on board activity using scale figures on all decks.
This model inspired my Victory but I opted not to do it as a cut-away.

hot ford coupe
10-04-08, 03:02 PM
0) 0) 0) 0) 0) 0) . Now I feel a bit small. Gang, we're now seeing the best of the best. And I thought it couldn't get any better. Go figure. 1clap1 1clap1 1clap1 John, your attention to detail is first rate all the way. If I had to do rigging like that as detailed as that, I'd have a headache as big as Texas. 1what1

10-08-08, 01:48 PM
ok, stupid question:

I assume you keep this under glass somehow? If not, how in the world do you keep the dust off?

10-08-08, 03:21 PM
Yeah the pics were taken before I put it in the case!1gramps1

10-11-08, 11:08 AM

10-27-08, 10:45 AM

11-01-08, 11:31 AM

11-01-08, 11:47 AM
Copper plates were made from individual pieces,that were weathered and glued on.The nails were made from copper wire ,cut to length and one end sanded flat.Holes were then drilled into the hull and the nails were hammered in for a tight fit.

11-06-08, 09:10 PM

11-06-08, 09:28 PM

11-06-08, 09:51 PM
New pics of the Victory storyboard diorama.
I was playing around taking pics of my Victory model tonight trying to make it look like the title says "Drumming Daybreak." The rising sun,a plain old 60 W bulb stood in for the sun.
I am quite pleased with the pics considering that Victory is now in glass case which makes taking pics very difficult during the day due to reflection.
I am very happy that I went with the wood/brass look as it seems to get a richer patina over time, unlike paint which tends to deteriorate.

11-07-08, 11:50 AM

11-07-08, 03:06 PM
Magnificent... almost beyond discription.
This is a true masterpiece.

11-07-08, 03:12 PM
Absolutely incredible detail! Someday I would love to do the USRC Bear which my great uncle served on in the mid-20s in Alaska, I have some great and detailed drawings of it, but ship models like these have always scared me off.

11-07-08, 05:15 PM

11-07-08, 07:40 PM

hot ford coupe
11-08-08, 10:23 AM
That's incredible. You'd have to stare at that model for hours to see all the detail.

11-08-08, 10:31 AM

11-08-08, 05:54 PM

11-08-08, 07:06 PM

11-08-08, 07:53 PM
As she sits in her case.
I put one 60Watt bulb on top of the case and shot the pic.The Nelson bust is actually made from copper from the ships bottom that was present at Trafalgar.
The piece of wood on the R/H side is oak from the ships wooden walls.
The base is African mahogany and the carvings are American cherry.The cases base is made from American walnut.All these woods were chosen for their color and reflect the color of the weathered copper plates on the ships bottom.

Lancair IV
11-08-08, 09:42 PM
John.....The boat is stunning.....Did you make the case?


11-09-08, 11:28 AM
What's going on!
I have been asked ,what is the story of this diorama? A few years ago I sat down and wrote the following story which was published on a few websites and magazines at the time.I can't find the original but I did find a draft copy with a few corrections.I took some pics of each page ,I hope it is readable.Thanks for your interest.Cheers! John.

11-09-08, 11:48 AM

11-09-08, 03:48 PM
John.....The boat is stunning.....Did you make the case?

The wood part yes,the glass no.1gramps1

Lancair IV
11-09-08, 04:19 PM
Who did the glass work?

11-09-08, 10:54 PM

11-10-08, 09:16 AM
Sorry Lancair,they are long out of business.1gramps1

11-10-08, 09:27 AM

11-10-08, 11:19 AM

11-10-08, 02:50 PM
Main storyline pics.
The last pic of the officer straddling the bowsprit at the cap with a telescope in his hand,is actually surveying the horizon for enemy ships that may have sneaked up during the night.It was common practice when a ship was in harbor under bare poles, part of the dawn routine was to be prepared for immediate action. The flag indicates that there is a light to moderate breeze blowing and that the ship has weather cocked into the wind as it would do when at anchor.
I have never figured out what the hammock like netting behind the cap was used for ,if anyone knows please enlighten me.
The previous pic shows the marine drummer on the marines walk holding his drum after just having participated in the drumming daybreak ceremony.The fellow sitting on the head is steadying himself holding on to a rope while going about his business.

11-11-08, 12:12 PM

11-11-08, 12:25 PM

11-12-08, 08:55 AM

11-12-08, 09:11 AM

11-12-08, 08:59 PM

11-13-08, 10:14 AM

11-13-08, 10:59 AM
Victory carried seven anchors,2 Bowers,2 Sheets,1 Stream,2 Kedge.
The pic above is one of the Bower anchors.These anchors kept the ship from drifting.The flucks(hooks)stuck in the seabed and helped keep the anchor from shifting.

The anchor's cables huge weight was what really stopped the ship from moving when at anchor.Because of the combined weight of anchor and cable the whole crew had to help haul it in .

11-14-08, 03:19 PM

11-14-08, 05:52 PM
The Figurehead etc...
The figurehead on the Victory is a shield of the coat-of arms of Great Britain.Normally painted, but I chose to finish mine in gold which I think goes better with wood/brass color scheme.
The two ports at the bow with the vertical doors open to the sick bay.
The cathead,the angled beam that the blue and white officer is standing on contains a sheave block or pulley for lashing the anchor for storage.

11-14-08, 08:21 PM

11-15-08, 11:36 AM
Bobstays and Bowsprit shrouds.
Three bobstays are fitted between the head and the bowsprit.Note that the stays are wormed, parceled and served as required.I used linen line for this ,which I made up on a ropewalk constructed from old mechanno parts.
The forestay and fore preventer stay have large wooded hearts at their ends,which are reeved together.

11-15-08, 12:14 PM
HMS Victory Rigging.
If you guys would like I will post the sequence that I used to rig this ship.I kept a log over the many years of building this ship so I might as well put it to good use.
I have noticed that most books on rigging actually do not give you a step by step rigging sequence which leads to a lot of confusion.
My model is more than just "harbour rigged "as I wanted to depict the ship as she would be just before hauling up the sails from storage and repair.
In the beginning I will give just the basic sequence and if I get the time I will fill in the details as to rope sizes etc...
Because I post to more than just ship related websites,please let me know if you are interested and if so,I could start a new thread just dealing with this subject. Cheers! John.

11-17-08, 10:03 AM

11-18-08, 11:50 AM

11-18-08, 12:05 PM
This post was from another thread on another website but I thought that you guys might be interested.

Wow, spectacular model. A great showpiece of skill and patience. The rigging... unbelievable.
But, the figures are very distracting to me. Uniforms are too blue/red etc and too glossy. Colours are way too saturated - they ought to fade with distance.

My response:
Actually that was done on purpose so that the figures would not get lost in the rest of the detail.This is a decorative,storyboard type diorama and is meant to tell the story of life at sea on one of these old warships.The figures are really more important than the rest of the diorama in my view.This diorama was done for children and the young at heart and is an educational tool. The intense coloration helps me tell the story.
Cheers! John.

11-18-08, 01:20 PM
I can't stay silent any longer John. I'm absolutly blown away by your work on this model. I'm sure you are very proud of what you've done and I assure you that your fellow modellers on this site are proud to have you amongst us.

Are you strictly a ship builder or do you also build in other mediums?

11-18-08, 02:17 PM
Thanks Rick! Mainly woodcarving and storyboard dioramas.Take a look at my photobucket .
Cheers! John.1gramps1

12-07-08, 10:34 AM

12-07-08, 02:10 PM
John, absolutely first rate work. After taking a thorough look at the detailing of the rigging and everything else about the build, I can see why I never attempted to build a ship of any description , let alone anything as complicated at what you've done. It's truely a masterpiece. Of course we will expect nothing less from you on any of your future builds that you put on the site.
Amazing work.
CHEERZZZ !!!!!! (MF)

12-11-08, 10:50 AM

01-15-09, 11:52 AM

hot ford coupe
01-15-09, 12:17 PM
Dang, if you took that photo with a sky background with some clouds, I would honestly believe they were your research pics. Incredible work, John. You are the "chosen one".

01-15-09, 12:42 PM
As far as I know.....
this is the only ship model that there is of HMS Victory as a storyboard diorama, complete with scale figures .I have searched the web and I have never seen another anywhere in books,mags etc...
If anyone out there knows of another I sure would like to know about it ,if for nothing else just to satisfy my own curiosity .Thanks! Cheers. John.

01-16-09, 11:30 AM
Found one! 1/24 scale wow!

HMS Victory in scale 1:24 (http://www.hmship.com/html/left_zeromargins.html)

01-16-09, 11:45 AM

01-16-09, 12:13 PM
Classic Marine type Dolphins.
This is where my other hobby woodcarving came in handy.I carved this classic design from cherry wood.Two of these plus a center piece, screwed into the base, support the ship.The base itself is African cherry wood of a slightly different color and the plexiglass cases base is American walnut.All these woods were especially selected to harmonize with the ships copper plates.

01-17-09, 12:25 PM

01-17-09, 06:05 PM

06-09-09, 11:46 AM
Fun with photoshop!1gramps1

hot ford coupe
06-09-09, 12:29 PM
Don't you just love that Photoshop? Your photos would make a nice album. It really shows your passion for modeling.

07-28-09, 03:44 PM
Hi John,

I'm almost at a loss for words, at least the appropriate ones!

After looking at all nine pages I feel like I've been on a museum tour (I love museums), and then thrown back in time when sailing ships ruled the waves all at the same time!

The detail is astounding and beyond belief!

Its extremely well done!!


Thanks for the eye candy!!


hot ford coupe
07-28-09, 04:53 PM
I hoped you'd come a cross this thread, Martin. John Reid is one of the ship builders I was talking about. You have to come up on this stuff without warning to get the full experience. Your reaction is what I expected. Take a look at John's other dios and pictures. His models don't only look great, each one tells a complete story and he does this with ease.

08-15-09, 06:21 PM
WOW1clap1. I am humbled by your skill. I love the ship, only seen one other that got my attention like yours, it belonged to a fella who owned a hobby shop and this was a commission build. Now it too told a story like yours, but the difference was built to fit into a large glass jar. This ship like yours instantly drew eyes to it. Until today, I thought I had seen the best, then I read your thread. This is museum type work, or should I saw, ship builder craftsmanship. I tip my hat to you sir................Rickgringrin

08-31-09, 05:18 PM
Thanks Martin and Rick for your kind words regarding Victory.She was lots of fun to build and a real challenge in the years when no computer info was available.Today it is so much better when help is available at your fingertips.I wish I had a digital camera back then to record this build but I did keep a log book.1gramps1

11-08-09, 12:20 PM

11-08-09, 05:06 PM

hot ford coupe
11-08-09, 06:36 PM
I'd hate to be floating in the target ship that wall is pointed at. 1what1

11-08-09, 07:52 PM

11-09-09, 12:10 PM

11-10-09, 09:48 AM

11-11-09, 10:59 AM

11-12-09, 08:03 AM

11-12-09, 09:58 AM

11-12-09, 10:49 AM
People may not say much about your pictures because we all think they are great and can't keep saying that but notice the thread has been viewed 1,680 times so far. Lots of repeat business.

11-13-09, 10:25 AM

11-13-09, 10:29 AM
People may not say much about your pictures because we all think they are great and can't keep saying that but notice the thread has been viewed 1,680 times so far. Lots of repeat business.
Don't worry Syd I know that.I don't hear from most people at all but my photobucket sure gets a lot of hits.Well over a million so far!gringrin

11-13-09, 11:10 AM

11-13-09, 03:22 PM

11-13-09, 03:54 PM
Are you sure "Friggin' in the Riggin'" is period correct??he1he
Edit - I meant the wording - not the actual riggin.

11-13-09, 04:34 PM
It has been my experience that ship modelers have more difficulty in figuring out the sequence of the rigging than the rigging itself.I know I sure did.
When I rigged my Victory I only had a couple of ropes that were out of sequence and these I belayed to the shrouds rather than the foot of the mast.I figured that was pretty good considering this is a very complicated ship to rig properly.
This info will only be available on my photobucket and is intended for my modeling buds only.Good luck. Cheers! John.

My photobucket:

Pictures by JohnReid - Photobucket (http://s6.photobucket.com/albums/y250/JohnReid/)
Look for the album Friggin' in the Riggin'

11-14-09, 09:24 AM
Simply put ,to rig a ship you generally work from front to back,bottom to top and inside to outside.I started with the bobstays and worked aft.
Note:Bobstays [2] refers to their location in the drawing or diagram (in my photobucket ,look for the Album ; "Friggin...... "

hot ford coupe
11-14-09, 12:42 PM
That's incredible. When I used to build a ship that needed rigging when I was a kid, it was always a tough thing and the amount of riggin was nowhere and I do mean nowhere close to that of your build. Rigging alone is an art form in itself. 1clap11clap11clap1

11-14-09, 02:59 PM

11-15-09, 08:10 AM

11-16-09, 07:58 AM

11-17-09, 06:00 PM

11-17-09, 06:30 PM
I never get tired of examining the detail. It motivates me to keep trying.

11-17-09, 07:30 PM
What ship are you building Syd?

hot ford coupe
11-17-09, 07:43 PM
The detail and construction is absolutely first rate. I never get tired of looking at this model either.

11-18-09, 07:29 PM

11-18-09, 08:16 PM
The above pic was taken today.I was trying to compose something a little different using my Nelson bust and the model.The only problem is that the bust is fixed permanently in the case.I was severely limited in my camera angles ,lighting etc... because of this fact.
I tried silhouettes and different pics of all kinds.Normally you would not want the subject in the foreground to be out of focus but rules are made to be broken,so I tried to make the bust look like a B&W chalk image that someone drew on a photograph.I am quite happy with the results.

11-19-09, 03:50 AM
Hi John,
I admire your ability to create a "small world" which has a story around each corner. You have done this with the Victory and with your excellent dioramas.
My hat is off to you!
Keep up the good work :0

11-19-09, 05:30 PM

11-20-09, 10:20 AM

11-27-09, 08:02 PM
Please see the ship building section for a new thread on rigging HMS Victory step-by-step.1gramps1

04-25-10, 11:56 AM
Hi Guys! I know it has been awhile since I posted anything to this thread.
I have been very busy getting my aircraft dioramas ready for donation to the Canada Aviation Museum.The new part of the construction is to be finished in Feb of next year but my dioramas will need to be ready to go well before that ,as they will be doing the finishing for public presentation.The fourth and last large 1/16th scale aircraft diorama will only be finished in a year or two after that, then I plan to concentrate upon finishing the running rigging part of the Victory thread and then bread box size shadow boxes of various subjects.I am very anxious to really get into shadow boxes but my other commitments must come first.
Cheers! John.

02-18-11, 07:46 PM
Hi John very impressive build , I've just obtained a PanArt 1/78 scale HMS Victory while here in New Zealand.
Some day I'll get round to building it, only time will tell.