HMS Victory – Different Kinds of Model Ship
This article relates two different modeling techniques, the traditional and the high tech. Both ship models are based on HMS Victory which gained lasting fame at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1815. But there the similarities end. Read on to learn about this fascinating story behind their common purpose.
HMS Victory, one of the most famous of all the English warships, was a 100-gun first rate, three-decker ship of the line in the early 1800’s when she fought at the Battle of Trafalgar under Admiral Horatio Nelson. Today, with the help of such technological advances as 3D modeling, she will be renovated and preserved for a cost approaching 50 million pounds sterling or about $75 million. Every piece of timber and iron making up the ship is replicated in a 3D model.
Experts used laser imaging to map the 248-year-old vessel, which is undergoing conservation at its home in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard. The technique allows experts to see more clearly how the ship was made and details each of its 80,000 components. As further restoration is carried out it will be used as a template while a record of the work will be added to it.
Victory was Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, beating a combined French and Spanish fleet in 1805. Nelson was injured during the battle and later died aboard the ship. It is often thought that had Nelson lost at Trafalgar a good portion of the English-speaking world would be speaking French instead.
The laser mapping is said to have provided "an unprecedented level of insight into the construction of HMS Victory". Andrew Baines, curator and project director for HMS Victory, said: "At almost 250 years old, HMS Victory's structure is incredibly complex, both in terms of design and the history of repair and conservation."
The structural analysis that follows the laser mapping would "allow us to plan our programme of conservation". As further restoration is carried out the model will be used as a template while a record of the restoration work will be added to it. At the conclusion of the project 20 years from now, there will be a complete model and a fully restored HMS Victory.
Meanwhile, in Australia, two craftsmen have recently completed a 1:32 scale model of the same ship. Only, this model, while built without the benefit of laser scans and 3D models, has many enhancements not found on other models of the Victory. The Aussies decked out their model with opening sides, moving sails, 110 guns, lights and whistles. With the help of a local IT company, the model ship is even connected to a computer that controls 250 internal LED lights and plays audio about HMS Victory’s history.
The Australian model was built with the intention of having it tour schools to add emphasis to their history curricula. After all, HMS Victory made an impact which is deserving of remembrance and recognition.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author is a long-time collector of model ships, cars, and trains. His passion is for ship models because of the stories they bring to life. The rush of the wind, the beating of the waves, the pitch of the deck all become more real in my imagination. He is a Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa college graduate with a BA degree in American History. Now retired, he lives in Wilmington, NC. He can be reached at http://www.famousmodelships.com.