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Discussion in 'Dioramas & Displays' started by JohnReid, Nov 8, 2008.
There are a lot of models of HMS Victory around but I do not know of another that has been done as a storyboard diorama.What is a storyboard diorama? Simply it is a diorama that tells a story.It is a diorama whereby the story is the most important element.It can contain figures or not ,however my dioramas always contain figures.Victory is the first diorama that I had ever done and it didn't even start out that way.
Back in 1976 ,when I started Victory,I had been back into modeling for only a couple of years after a long absence dating back to childhood.I passed a hobby shop window one day and saw a model of HMS Victory and fell in love.I was set to buy a kit right there but the shop owner wisely pointed me in the direction of something a little easier.After strong resistance on my part ,I left the shop with a Santa Maria kit feeling I was only wasting my time.However I did put my best effort into it and it turned out OK.( I still have it somewhere around here).
The thing I remember most about this kit was making the top ,a basket like affair on the main mast.I got a little creative when making mine and to my surprise it was more than just a top but seemed to me quite artsy-fartsy for something I designed myself.This is the first time that I remember having stepped outside the box and I really liked it.The rest of the kit I build per the instructions but I always loved that little top.
That creative spark really got me going but I was a trained aviator not a sailor so I hit the books.I bought a Bounty and built it out of the box and continued to study.It too turned out OK and I even got a little creative with the stern decorations.
Well the big day arrived and I finally felt that I was ready to tackle the Victory. I arrived home with my Sergal kit ,opened it up and was immediately disappointed.The plans and instruction booklet was useless and written in engitalian which for the life of me I couldn't understand.I rushed back to the hobby store and immediately picked up a book that I had seen there "The Anatomy of Nelsons Ships".
After reading it cover to cover and pouring over the plans I realized that what I had bought was nothing like I had seen in the window a few years previously. So it was back to the books and an even better nautical dictionary this time.
I finally decided that I would use the wood strips and some of the brass fittings that were in scale from the kit and scratchbuild the rest which I thought at the time would probably take me a couple of years. Wrong!!!
I decided to stay with the double plank-on-bulkhead method but I made my own plywood bulkheads using Longridges plans from the Anatomy of... book. More on this later.....
What you see in the above picture is the finished storyboard diorama.It is a little unusual in that I have had to link up a usually unseen fanciful below the waterline, with a more realistic above the waterline type model.Usually when modeling storyboard dioramas you try to make everything as realistic as possible.As you can see from the picture the ship rests on a couple of dolphins I carved from cherrywood,which you would usually only see on admiralty type models.
Speaking of admiralty models,I decided early on ,even before it became a storyboard diorama ,that this was to become a decorative type model that would appeal to kids and the young at heart.As a modeler I admire these models but I had noticed that in the museums or at exhibitions the models that told a story were really the most popular with the kids.I love to tell stories with my models and maybe also sneak in a little education for the kids as well.My Victory is really about depicting a sailors life aboard one of these magnificent ships,these ships that are at the end of a long evolution of just how big you can get just using only wood and rope.
More, I need to know more!
As she sits in her case.
I put one 60Watt bulb on top of the case and shot the pic.The Nelson bust is actually made from copper from the ships bottom that was present at Trafalgar.
The piece of wood on the R/H side is oak from the ships wooden walls.
The base is African mahogany and the carvings are American cherry.The cases base is made from American walnut.All these woods were chosen for their color and reflect the color of the weathered copper plates on the ships bottom.
John, I think anyone would be proud to have created such a beautiful object!
Can you take us through the story scene by scene... I see the sailors and marines, gunners and the bluecoat of an officer... and the barrels (Nelson's body was brought home in a barrel of rum, or was it sherry?) or a I reading too much in to that last one?
What's going on!
I have been asked ,what is the story of this diorama? A few years ago I sat down and wrote the following story which was published on a few websites and magazines at the time.I can't find the original but I did find a draft copy with a few corrections.I took some pics of each page ,I hope it is readable.Thanks for your interest.Cheers! John.
With you so far...
Main storyline pics.
The last pic of the officer straddling the bowsprit at the cap with a telescope in his hand,is actually surveying the horizon for enemy ships that may have sneaked up during the night.It was common practice when a ship was in harbor under bare poles, part of the dawn routine was to be prepared for immediate action. The flag indicates that there is a light to moderate breeze blowing and that the ship has weather cocked into the wind as it would do when at anchor.
I have never figured out what the hammock like netting behind the cap was used for ,if anyone knows please enlighten me.
The previous pic shows the marine drummer on the marines walk holding his drum after just having participated in the drumming daybreak ceremony.The fellow sitting on the head is steadying himself holding on to a rope while going about his business.