Building a 1/600 Scale Fleet

As promised at ConQuest, Bob Henry’s article on building a 1/600 scale fleet using the HMS Victory by Airfix.

For those of you interested in building a fleet, the ships can find them on line at: Model Expo, Inc. The current price is $1.85 each and they show that there are 341 models in stock. Once at the Model Expo site search for “Airfix” – in my search, the model of the HMS Victory was the first item found. In any event the listing will show as follows: AX0267 HMS VICTORY 4-1/8″ LONG $1.85

– September 2004, Mike Taber –


I originally got the idea from “Virtual Scratch Builder site Using the Airfix HMS Victory in 1/600ish scale you can make just about any ship from a 28 gun Frigate to a 130 gun ship of the line.

After “getting” your ships, first assemble parts 1, 2 and 3 this is the two sections of the hull and the deck. Using standard plastic model glue, let it set for a few hours to become hard.

Use a few rubber bands to give some pressure so the parts will set up tight.

Then take a fine tip marker and mark were you will make your cuts. Once marked make all of your cuts. You may use a hobby knife, or as like me I use a “DREMEL Moto-Tool.”

Bringing the ship down to water line is the easy part. Simply cut 1/16th of an inch below the gun ports that are closest to the water line leaving about 1/16th of an inch space. This is done if you are building a 1, 2 or 3 decker.

In the area of the stern of the ship you will make a cut out of the hull were the rudder would be. I used piece #16 (nameplate for the stand) and cut it and place it in that location so you have the area below the stern windows filled. You do not have to do this on a 3 decker as it cuts perfectly as per the original kit. “In the photos below you can see how the there is an L shaped space below the stern windows”

To make a ship shorter or longer than the original kit you must remove or add a section from the hull. These changes are best made before the ship is cut to water line.

To make a ship shorter remove the section between the Cargo Hold and the Middle Mast. Then glue the two sections back together.

To make a ship longer make a cut behind the Middle Mast. Then insert a section from a ship that was made shorter by putting it behind the Middle Mast. Then glue the three sections back together.
Below is a list of different numbered gunned ships and what you need to make them.

bullet 28 – 38 gun Frigate, 1deck and remove a section.
bullet 44 – 50 gun Frigate, 1deck.
bullet 64 gun ship of the line, 2 decks and remove a section.
bullet 74 gun ship of the line, 2 decks.
bullet 80 gun ship of the line, 2 decks, add a section.
bullet 98 – 100 gun ship of the line, 3 decks.
bullet 110-120 gun ship of the line, 3 decks, add a section.
bullet 130 gun ship of the line, 3 decks, add a section, add a 4th deck from a previous ship 3rd deck being removed.
bullet Merchantman, 1 deck, and remove a section, sand down gun port if you like.

Once the ship is reassembled give it a good primer coat then finish assembling, painting, rigging, flags and mounting your ship on base.

Finished ships in action at ConQuest
Pictures by Clif Castle

As per painting and rigging your ships there are many good references out there. On the “Yahoo groups” “WoodenWalls” ; in the files section there is a very good file “NAVAL.xls” a Napoleonic Ships Painting Guide by Roy Trochim
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at:
Bob Henry