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Bottled Ship Builder

HMAV Bounty, Scratch Built, 1/336

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This perticular model took part of 2021 and almost all of 2022 to finish. To be exact, a year and week. I probably could have finished her earlier, but in the end, the time I spent was well worth it. 

The model was made entirely from boxwood and brass, fully planked. The rigging is copper wire and the sails and flags are made from silkspan. The base is made from spalted tamarind and the sea is carved and painted boxwood. The model was built from original drawings made by the RN. I’ve chosen to depict the ship coasting into Tahiti in happier times. Most folks don’t realize that the weather was pretty poor through the time Bounty was in Tahiti, and I’ve chosen a moody sea. The paint scheme, I believe, is far more accurate than the blue and yellow we see in later paintings. The contemporary paintings we have of the ship were painted by artists who never actually saw the ship in person. The rest are done much later, and we do some some artistic flair with the colors. Bligh himself comes tantalizing close to the paint colors used, but he leaves us high and dry in the end. We know for a fact she was left in her civilian colors, her hull was coppered, and her fittings changed to bronze from iron. Also new masts were stepped, in the RN fashion, on which Bligh comments he’s not satisfied with how this was done. As for the colors, I think she would have been at least partially, if not fully painted black. The interior facing portions would have been red, as was the style of the day, but I just can’t see such a working vessel being painted anything fancier than black. Sadly we’ll never know. 

The model contains several thousand pieces and was built to a scale of 28’ to 1” or 1/336. The hull is carved boxwood with individual planks are held to the hull with approximately 1,500 tree nails which were inserted into predrilled holes. Paint, as always, is from ScaleColors. 

HMAV Bounty was a small collier purchased by the Royal Navy in 1787 for a botanical mission to Tahiti. Bounty, originally named Bethia, was built by Blaydes Yard, Kingston-upon-Hull, England and modified for her mission by the RN at Deptford Yard. 
The ship was sent to the South Pacific Ocean under the command of William Bligh to acquire breadfruit plants and transport them to the West Indies. That mission was never completed owing to a 1789 mutiny led by acting lieutenant Fletcher Christian. The mutineers later burned Bounty while she was moored at Pitcairn Island.

I have spent years reading about and studying Bounty, her crew, and her mission, and I’ve even been fortunate enough to acquire pieces of the real ship herself. If you’d like to see more of my work, I keep all of the model photos here: www.josephlavender.com










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Well thank you! I’ll certainly take the compliment, considering your body of work has always been an inspiration to me. 

I’ve always been surprised that miniature modeling has been seen as some sort of wizardry that shan’t be mentioned. Inevitably, the second question after “how?” is “why?”. It seems many are focused on scales that the manufactures set, and if it is 1/700 or 1/350 they just glaze over. 

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I no longer Build kits either, I like a nice old imperial scale, something easily divisible by 12, and this really gets up folk’s ire at times. I do it as a nod to tradition, they don’t seem to understand anything about tradition. 

Im glad you like Bounty though, and for the kind words, indeed. I’ll post a build thread of the current project shortly, IJN Kongo, 1944

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