* My model of the HMS Victory is down below the photos of my Trafalgar diorama.  In order to conserve pages, the two models are on this one page.*

HMS Victory/Trafalgar 1805

     My diorama of a section of the HMS Victory during the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 is now complete.  I made it from the keel up to the quarterdeck.  It was a formidable challenge that forced me to develop skills in figure making, modifying figures and painting.  Even though it is only a section of the ship, it turned out to be a large model since I am made it in 1/32 scale.  I used John McKay's book about the HMS Victory found in the Anatomy of a Ship series for reference and drawings.  I made a part of the aft area of the ship from about area #1 to area #15 found on pages 38 and 39 in McKay's book.
     As one can tell from the photos, I made just 6 frames and clamped them together with a keel and keelson and began planking.  I knew that the weight of my model would be to the side, so I added several pounds of BB's to add weight in the center.  The model is therefore heavy and already weighs 18.5 pounds and is far from finished.  I made some pig irons (out of maple), the well for the main mast and pumps,  the shot locker and added the loose shingle ballast.   I added dozens of barrels, since my research said this was the area of the hold where water was stored.  The biggest barrels I made, the others I bought, stained and added "iron" hoops.  The outside hull below the waterline was coppered.  The last photo in this section shows the frame for the top of the hold and floor of the orlop deck.

       Clicking on any of the photos below will give you a larger photo to view.

The Hold

the Orlop Deck 
      In this group I will be working on the orlop deck and the figures that will be on it and the rest of the model.  The inspiration for this model began when I came across a set of figures depicting Admiral Horatio Nelson dying at the battle of Trafalgar.  I bought this set made by W. Britain.  I was initially thinking of building just a shadow box of the cockpit area with Nelson dying, but decided to make a cutaway from top to bottom when I came across another set of  W. Britain's figures showing a surgeon.  Just about all of the purchased figures had to be modified somewhat, some of the figures I purchased were duplicated like the powder monkey boy and the wounded marine down below.  I also found torsos, legs, arms, feet and hands that I duplicated by making  two piece molds for and casting them in resin.  I made these parts in order to modify some wrestlers that I found that would become crew members for the gun decks.  More on these "wrestlers" later when I get to the gun decks.  I also discovered that when I placed the roof over the orlop deck, that it was too dark to see the Nelson scene, so I decided to add 10 LED lights.  They are battery operated, with the battery to be hidden in the mast/pump well.


     In this group of photos I added the roof of the orlop which was also the floor of the lower gun deck.  The elm tree and chain pumps have been added and the wires for the lights stored in the well compartment.  I made the side so it can be removed in order to replace the batteries.


     Down below one can see the soft light effect that the LED lights made.  My camera can not capture the entire visual effect that the lights make, but I hope these photos can convey somewhat what ones sees when seeing the model in the flesh.  The LED lights are supposed to last between 50,000 to 70,000 hours, so I figure they will outlast me, since they will only be on for short periods of time when I am displaying the model at art shows, at model contests and to visitors in my home gallery room.My


     Here is the last set of photos dealing with the orlop deck.  The orlop is  just about complete, I have yet to make and add a ladder that will go from the lower gun deck to the orlop and perhaps another figure or two will be added sometime in the future.  The orlop has 18 figures on it already and in the hold there are 2 others.  The last of these photos show just a hair under 240 hours of work.  I have been working on this project for 67 days at the time of this writing.


the Lower Gun Deck
     I am now up to the lower gun deck.  I needed to make the three 32 pounder cannons for this section of the deck.  I turned a master out of wood and proceeded to make a box, lined the bottom with clay and made a two part mold.  I took the mold and poured resin into it to make my cannons.  I was able to take the resin cannons and mount them on the lathe to clean and refine them.  Necessary components to the cannons were made, painted and added.  I made the ceiling for the lower gun deck trying to place the carlings and ledges in their proper place.  The two part capstan I turned and mounted  the lower half.
     Now came for the real test, to make the figures, hopefully showing some action.  I used  various sources for the figures.  Most of them started as Micro Aggression wrestlers.  They are very near 1/32 scale.  I did file some of their muscles off and in many instances only used from the waist up.  I duplicated many pants/trousers from other 1/32 scale figures I had and used them in junction with many wrestlers.  Arms had to be cut off and re-adjusted to show the action I wanted them to portray.  There are 17 figures on the lower gun deck.  The marine (in red) I made from a Preiser Prussians 1756 set.  The Prussian was modified  with filing, cutting and epoxy putty.  For many of the wrestlers I changed heads using the Preiser model figure Adam set.
     Now for some photos with the ceiling of the lower gun deck (floor of the middle gun deck) in place.  The cannon on the far left is being readied to load.  The one in the middle is being pulled up and adjusted to fire it and the one on the right is set for firing.  These photos hopefully will show how confine the space was on the lower gun deck of the HMS Victory.  At this point in the build (I'm about half way) I have over 421 hours of work into this project.  Now on to the middle gun deck.
the Middle Gun Deck
     I am now going to the middle gun deck.  Below are some samples of the figures I am using.  Many of my figures started out as Micro Aggression wrestlers that I purchased (they are on the right).  My modied figure is on the left.  In many instances, I discarded their bottom torso and replaced them with torsos I casted  from other 1/32 scale figures.  I modified their upper bodies trying to make them less muscular.  In some cases I added "body fat."  In the 6th and 7th photos down below are the scratch built figures I made from a W. Britians figure set I purchased (they are on the right).  For these I made a two piece mold and casted in resin my figures.  The marine I casted had a fancy "feather" on his hat like the original, but I cut it off since the gun deck was too low.  In addition to the group seen in the last photo, I later added another sailor who was injured.  He can be seen in some of the other middle gun deck photos.


     Now some photos of the figures in place on the middle gun deck without the roof on.  This is the fun part, placing the figures in place.  They have been secured with a pin place through the foot and ankle and epoxied in place.  The cannons here are 24 pounders.  The cannon barrels were casted in resin from a master I turned and the carriages are made from yellow heart wood.  Figures were modified (mostly in arms and hands) to show some type of activity.


     Here are more photos of the middle gun deck, most with the roof (floor of the upper gun deck) in place.  The gun port lids will not be put in place until the model is nearly finished.  I think they could easily be knocked off if in place now.  On the outside of the hull in yellow is yellow heart wood and the black is ebony.


the Upper Gun Deck

    I have 12 photos of the upper gun deck down below.  In the lower gun deck I had showed the 3 stages of loading and firing a cannon, so for this gun deck, I wanted to do something different.  I decided to gamble and try to depict a cannon ball hitting the side of the ship and injuring the crew.  The cannon crew to the far right have been struck with the enemy shot and some of the crew members of the middle gun have their attention drawn to what has occured.  After I thought that gun deck was completed and the quarter deck had been glued on top, I realized that the two bitt pins needed to be placed there.  I then removed 4 of the posts and was able to add the parts that needed to be.


the Quarter Deck

     Finally I got to the last deck.  This deck would need to have a lot of activity and figures.  I had a group of marines that I made made.  8 of them were transformed from Prussians into Royal Marines.  The others were entirely scratch built in resin from castings I made from Britians metal figures that I had purchased and used as masters for molds.  First up are 4 photos of the quarter deck before I placed figures on it.  I also placed some figures on this deck that were not marines.


                Now for a few additional shots of various areas of the model.


      My Trafalgar 1805 diorama was completed in 838 hours working 248 actual days.  Even though I consider it finished, I can see myself adding a figure or two to some of the decks.  At present it has 105 figures.  When I first started this ambitious project, I had a vision of what I wanted or hoped it would be like.  I think I accomplished what I had in mind.  Now on to the next project.

    Down below is my model in 1/90 scale of the  H.M.S. Victory.  It won 11 awards.

     My  HMS Victory  began as a Mamoli kit, but  the final result is an estimated 85% scratch built model.  Very little of  the model is painted.  The black planks I made from ebony, the yellow planks are boxwood.  The deck planks I cut from maple.  Just about all of the deck furnishings I made from walnut or ebony.  Windows, balusters, stern carvings and name plate are made from boxwood.  This wooden ship model took me 1150 hours and 48 minutes to complete. 
Click on an image  to enlarge.


     I have taken my HMS Victory to four contests.  In February 2007 in San Antonio it won three awards.  It took first in its division, the category award for Best Ship and the Hollywood Theme Award.  In March 2007 it went to Houston's Modelmania and again won three awards.  It won first in its division, the category award for Best Watercraft and the grand prize of Judge's Best of Show.  Just below are some of the awards won in San Antonio and Houston.

     I took my HMS Victory to Austin in April 2007 and it won 4 awards.  It won first in its division, the category award for Best Ship, a special award for Best Interior and the grand prize of Judge's Best of Show.  The photos just above are from the Austin Scale Model Show.