Marine Art and Maritime Modelmaking

Welcome to my blog, it's primary intention is to keep my existing clients up to date with the progress of their commissions, but hopefully it will prove of interest to anyone with an interest in Marine art and modelmaking

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

HMS Victory, Airfix 1:100, alterations worth making to the kit, gun ports etc

In my opinion the most important alteration you can make to this kit is to thicken the hull walls around the gun ports. The injection molding process/ financial restrictions mean the ships hull is considerably thinner than it should be.
So using some styrene strip of 3.2mm x 4 mm for the lower gun deck, 2.5mm x 4mm for the next and 2mm x 4 mm for the upper gun deck, I set about thickening the hull
First of all the gun ports were sanded down to remove the poorly represented inner frames, then using a guillotine/cutter the styrene strip was cut into 8-9mm lengths and glued on the inside of the gun ports.I then  adjusted the strips looking from the outside,  positioning each piece, making sure they overlaped evenly and parallel to the edges of the gun port.
Below, 13 hours and 352 pieces of styrene later all the gun ports on both sides of the hull have been completed.

A close up shows how the hull walls now appear convincingly deeper when seen through the gun ports.

This shot shows the hulls from the inside, none of the styrene will be visible when the decks are in position, except for maybe the middle ports on the 12pdr gun deck, theses ports may need  to be hidden by a  thin sheet of styrene after the lower decks have been put in place.
The next alteration made to this kit was to prepare the keel for the copper covering. The bottom part of the central keel is cast flat with no detail.This part of the ship is not really seen when viewing the ship from above, but if viewed from a lower angle it can be seen.
 One complete packet of styrene strip 4 mm x 0.25 mm was cut into lengths between 12-15 mm long.The flat part of the keel was tiled with this so that it appeared uniform. This took 3 hours and 15 minutes for both halves of the hull, leaving it ready for the next stage, covering in copper foil.

 The next task was to deal with the moulded wood grain on the outside of the hull. Initially I thought I would leave it ,but after some contemplation, I decided the out of scale wood grain effect upon it  would really detract from the overall look of the finished model.
The only reason I could think of for not removing the wood grain effect was that is was a time consuming, boring, messy, laborious task that I didnt really want to do.

 With this in mind, armed with a piece of 180 sandpaper I decided to take on the dreaded laminate floor style wood grain.
On the left of the stairs the wood grain as it was originally, on the right of the stairs the rubbed down hull. The result is pleasing, but great effort was required not to remove any detail around the gun ports or other sharp edges that I wanted to keep.
After 8.5 hours both sides of the hull were rubbed down to an extent where the wood grain effect exists only as a light shadow. The seam lines on the top of the hull were also removed with a scalpel and sand paper.

The last major alteration to the hull I have planned is concerning the windows in the stern of the ship.The glazing bars in the windows look cheap like UVPC, not suitable for Georgian glass so with a small square needle file the windows had their bars filed down to make them thinner.

The three  columns of windows on the left hand side of the picture have been filed down, compare them with the other windows which are untouched. The thinner rubbed down glazing bars have a delicacy and irregularity that adds greatly to the appearance of the model.

I was going to cut the rear gun ports out, but unfortunately the holes do not line up with the lower deck, they appear to be position lower than they should be ? So making the necessary alterations would become quite time consuming job and are not in the budget for this project.

The windows at the side of the stern were also given the same treatment.The half on the left has been filed down and awaits cleaning up,the half on the right is as it comes in the box. This photo shows clearly shows how over sized the glazing bars are.

Below the photo shows the stern cleaned up and ready for painting.

The windows were cleaned by running the edge of a scalpel along the glazing bars to remove the "fluffy bits" ,then they were brushed with a stiff brush to get rid of any bits, leaving a finer and  increasingly delicate looking stern.

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