Those of you who have seen my previous posts on this project will be happy to know I’m still on it. The last year has been a very busy one for me in the research of Japanese traditional boats, and that is the primary force that’s pulled me away from a lot of progress on HMS Victory. Well, that and the fact that there’s just a lot to the model and I have been adding details, straying from the original kit, and that’s been time consuming and a little overwhelming. But, progress is being made.
I finished planking the upper gun deck and then planked the inner bulwarks of that gun deck. I had to stop at the top of the gun deck, as I want to make sure that the remaining gun ports, which are for the deck above, would be located correctly. For the sake of artistic appeal, I decided the model would look nice with a natural wood bulwarks planking, and chose to use Swiss pear for this. Yes, I know this is very different in color from the actual Victory. But, I’m going for the nicer wood tones.
With the gun ports cut, I then needed to line them. I had no interest in using the brass “picture window” gun port frames provided in the kit, so I had to make the linings. Now the real Victory has a very thick hull, so I tried to make the linings deep enough to create the illusion of a thick hull.
Figuring that I would try to keep as much natural wood showing as I could, I used Swiss pear for the gunport linings. There’s a possibility that I will end up painting them later, but just in case I could avoid it, I used the nicer wood. I attempted to pre-fabricate linings that I could then just insert into the gun ports, but I spent a lot of time trying to make that work out, and I just decide to give up on getting clever, and get down and dirty, adding them in one by one. For this, I modified my gunport plug idea that I mentioned in my last post, and used that as a guide to make sure the ports were the right size. I don’t recommend this way of installing gun ports – it was just my fall-back method that I knew I could make work.
Adding the linings this way required me to enlarge the openings a bit. I added some pieces to the plug, effectively creating a thicker cross section to it, leaving a short length that would still fit into the existing holes. The thickness of the added pieces was that same as that of the gun port lining. With the plug inserted, I then took a sharp pencil and traced around it, giving me a mark for enlarging the gun port.
After enlarging the opening, I added the lining to the sides of the port and used the plug as a guide. If the hole is a bit too large, that’s okay, as I would glue the side linings into place and just push them snugly against the plug, assuring the gun port was the right width. I then removed the plug and let the glue set. I could do one after another this way until all the side linings were in place.
Once the glue was dry, I then added the port sills. Because the position of the sills were much more critical in making the model look good, I attached a batten as a guide to make sure they ran fair. Of course, I also used my cut-out cannon guide from my last post to make sure I didn’t mess up the position of the gun ports in relation to the deck.
The next order of business was to give the hull more strength by adding the outer planking layer. I used South American boxwood for this. Since I have 10″ and 4″ table saws and a portable planer, I used wood I bought in bulk from Gilmer Wood Company. This is the same piece of boxwood that I cut the deck planks from, but I tried to use some of the cleaner looking wood as my plan is to leave the “yellow” bands of the hull natural boxwood and paint the black areas. I know that there’s been some revision to the real HMS Victory’s current paint job. This will be somewhere between the old color and the new one. In any case, I’m going more for artistic appeal than realistic appearance.