In November 2012 I joined fellow Ship in Bottle builders for our first community build of the HMS Bounty.
Building Preparations and Overview:
After a great deal of research and consideration, I have decided to build a diorama showing the Bounty soon after she reached Tahiti on 26 October 1788, after ten months at sea. I have also decided to build this on a scale of 1:300.
I started by creating a Bounty folder on the computer with several sub-folders. To these I have begun adding plans, pictures, scenes, and more to help guide and inspire me throughout the building process. I am generally following most of the construction techniques used by John Fox IIII for this model. I have found these techniques invaluable for this project and offer my special thanks to John for sharing his knowledge and skills. Sadly, while I can follow his suggestions, my skills pale by comparison.
Next, I had to find the right bottle for the project that would provide adequate room for the diorama in th scale I have planned. After changing my mind on which bottle I should use I finally decided on an seamless upright decanter styled bottle that is 11" x 7 1/4" with an opening of 1 1/8".
Finally, before starting the actual construction I prepared my work area, accumulated the materials and tools, and printed numerous working copies of the plan in the proper scale.
I should point out at that I unfortunately do not have a good command of the nomenclature of ships so I may be calling some parts worng. If anyone should notice that I am using a worng term or description please let me know so I can make the correction.
Building Log (click on any picture to enlarge it)
Building the Hull - The hull was made from basswood and rough cut out with my scroll saw. Next, I checked it against the top and side profile of the plans and then begin fine sanding the hull to size and shape.
Laying the Deck Planking - I began preparing the deck planks by mixing a white glue with brown acrylic paint. Then I mixed the dimensional wood I was using in the glue/paint mix and began sticking them together. The brown color will mostly be removed from the face of the decking but it does nicely color the bare wood and creates the dark color between the individual planks. After I had sufficient deck boards glued together and dried, I then glued them as a whole piece to the hull. After drying I carefully cut and fine sanded the deck to the shape of the hull. After this dried, I used a damp cloth and cleaned the excess paint and glue from the surface of the deck planks. I ended up having a total of 23 planks across the widest point.
Adding the Keel - Next I added the bow and stern sections of the keel to the hull. I used styrene for this since it was less likely to break than wood. The bow plate is cut out of styrene and ready to add.
Planking the Hull - Now I have added planks to the hull. These will really not show up very much so I have not tried to maintain the proper scale for the planking. Mostly, I have added these for fun and practice.
Adding the Bulwark and Gunwalls - Here I am using styrene for strength and ease of use. Secured with CA glue.
Beginning to add color
Added details to the ship's stern - will have to do fine sanding and touch up the paint in these areas later.
Adding the Quarter Gallery and bulwark braces
Adding the first of the mounts for caronades - accidently broke the bow keel. Good thing it is styrene. A little CA glue and it is as strong as ever. Roughing out plans for the masthead. A lot of shaping and detailing to do but still not sure of the paint scheme I will use.
Building the Chain Wales (Chain Wails or Channels) - now I am ready to measure, cut, shape, drill, paint and install the channels.
Making the Masts and Spars - the masts and spars are made from bamboo and then sized by using a Jeweler'sdraw plate. After they are brought to size they will be appropriately tapered and painted and stained.
Now, I am turning my attention to the deck. At this point I am still considering how I will plan the step the masts so that the deck features are not in the way when I insert the ship in the bottle.
Ship's helm has been added. If I decide to go with hinged masts, I will attach a string going through the hull to the underside of the ship's wheel so that it can be moved out of the way while stepping the masts and then pulled back into position after the masts are set.
Now the rigging.
More progress on the deck. Adding cabins, hatches, and the capstan.
Starting to shape and form the lifeboat and supports.
The guns, bowsprit, and winch are added.
Adding railing on the deck.
Working on the masts now.
The hull and deck are nearly finished with just a few final steps and touchup. Stove pipe, bow grating, stern lanterns, racks and belaying pins and 10 swivel guns have been added.
I have had to put my work aside for quite a while but did get a little time to work on it this weekend. The masts are now in place along with the shrouds and ratlines. What a thankless task it is to add ratlines. I still have some corrections and fine tuning to do on the ratlines. I wasn't satisfied with the railing and pin racks so I have removed them and will redo later. It proved very helpful to not have them in the way while doing some of the rigging. So much to do and problems to work out but i am still enjoying the project very much. The red thread is temporary to hold the masts in place.
Making progress on the standing and running rigging. Still a lot more rigging to do and some re-doing of the ratlines.
After a very long delay, I have restarted my Bounty project. Much has changed in Fruit machines my planning and design.
The following three pictures give some hint as to the design and direction I was going with this diorama. The bottle was a one gallon Kentucky tavern bottle, 18 inches in length. The plan was to show the ship at anchor with natives approaching it in their dugouts and canoes. The island was close by with beaches and palm trees. Although I liked the idea the scale and realism was not really what I envisioned and wanted.
Some major changes came about with my plans and design when I found a decanter styled bottle that seemed just right for this diorama.I liked the upright shape of the bottle and the clarity was far superior to the Kentucky Tavern bottle I had planned. The new botte also called for changes in the scene.
First, I decided that instead of using putty for the sea and landscape as I had always done in the past, I would use wood this time for the base and landscape. The bottle was slightly higher toward the middle of the bottom so I needed to bring the height up so that it would be level for the wooden base. To accomplish this I glued hemp rope to the bottom of the bottle. To the hemp, I glued sections of balsa wood in the shape of the bottle. I used balsa because I liked its light weight and the ease of carving and shaping the wood.
The following pictures show how the landscape is being formed. You can see that sections are used so that they will fit through the opening of the bottle. Once satisified, I begin to paint the sections of the island.
Now I can visualize how the scene will look with the ship added.
I now begin putting the landscape sections inside the bottle and glueing them to the painted wooden base.
Now, I am beginning to build up the sea to cover the base sections of wood so they will look like a whole unit. Inder the center section is my identifying information.
Now that the work is progressing on the island and sea it is time to get the crew ready to set sail. The following pictures will show you the sailors who will be part of the Bounty's crew.
More crew are onboard now and it is time to fly the flag.
I have decided to make another major change to the diorama. Instead of showing the Bounty at anchor with native dugouts nearby, I have concluded that the scales and visual effects of the ship, the dugouts, and the distance of the island just did not seem right or appropriate. Additioanlly, I believe that the Bounty under full sail will be much more dramatic and will make a better display for this bottle. So it is time to make some sails.
The crew has been real busy setting the sails. See their progress.
With sails flying the crew of the Bounty are setting their sights on land. Tahiti is getting closer and you can begin to see the shallower water breaking near the beaches.
Well, launch day has finally arrived. After some last minute touchups and a last critical scrutiny, the Bounty was ready to launch. I had intended to take pictures of it going in the bottle but the process of inserting it was too tedious to stop and take the pictures.
It has been a fun project to work on and allowed me the opportunity to try new materials and approaches. I hope you have enjoyed following this build with me.
by Greg Alvey, Artist