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Bottled Ship Builder

HMS Ramillies

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I thought I’d post a WIP thread of my 1/1500 scratch build project of HMS Ramillies. Typically I build the base and the ship separately but this time do the some issues I had with securing USS South Carolina to her base, I’ve completed Ramillies up to the main deck and joined the sea base and the ship together. This should be okay as the superstructure will mostly be built as a sub-assembly.


The model is a little less than 5” long and made from boxwood. The camouflage scheme was used by Ramillies in the winter of 1917 into the spring of 1918. The sea base is carved wood as well and painted.




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A little update.  

The gun turrets are finished. I’ve chosen to depict the guns in exercise, perhaps a dumb show drill since the railings are still up. 


I had to make an executive decision about the interior of the splinter shields and turret roofs in as far as the paint goes. I chose a medium grey since no references I can find describe what Wilkinson intended and what the paint crew actually did. So medium grey it is.

The parts count stands at 236 individual pieces. 


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It's surprisingly hard to find information on paint colors.  Had a friend who does steamship miniatures tell me about models he did for the Ellis Island display.  I believe the display depicted the early 1900's.  There was a ferry that ran to the island that nobody bothered to write down the color of.  He did a tremendous amount of digging to find the color and while he never found it he some how found out the name and phone number of the man that used to paint the ferry who was very old but still alive at the time he built the models.  So he called the painter up and asked him what the color of the ferry was.  I don't remember the exact quote but it was something like, "It was such and such red and I'll be damned if I had to paint that ferry one more time!"  So he was able to get the exact color but only because he contacted the painter himself and partially because that painter had painted the ferry one to many times and memorized the color name of the paint.  Maybe it's because people would reuse and repaint things so often but it seems no one ever used to write down the color of things. 

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That is the way of it huh? It’s nice that he was able to get the guy on the phone and put it to bed. It’s similar to a couple of other instances I’ve been involved with. A much less historically important one was deciphering what color “stone” was on the upperworks of British merchant ships. Was it a tan? Was it a grey? No one knew. Then I’ll be damned if I was watching a color documentary on old British ocean liners from the 40s and 50s, and in the background was one of the ships I’d been trying to decipher. 

The other one is the green Tirpitz camouflage. That’s a whole thing that no one can agree on and we even have a color photo. Some say grey, some say green. All I know is that once that old photos was professionally color balanced... it looked grey to me. 

Edited by joe100
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Nice work Joe, and just to fling a spanner in the works over paint colour, the purists talk about 'Scale Colour', where the colour is faded by an amount proportional to scale (used to work with a couple of model aircraft builders). I had a lot of fun baiting them over this.



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  • 2 weeks later...

After 36 days of work, 672 individual scratch-built pieces, my 1/1500 scale model of the British super-dreadnought HMS Ramillies is finished. The model depicts the ship as she appeared working up in late 1917 with her Wilkinson Admiralty Disruptive Dazzle camouflage scheme. 

The model is made from boxwood and brass, with four grades of tungsten wire for the rigging. The sea base was made from carved basswood and painted. The ship was built entirely from scratch using scale drawings and photographs. If you’d like more information about how I build these ships, I have a website www.josephlavender.com. None of the models are for sale and I do not take commissions. 

The 1943 Shilling is just under 1” or 24mm in diameter for scale.

HMS Ramillies was a difficult subject since she’s probably the least-documented of the five Revenge class battleships. Only a handful of photographs exist of her from late 1917, the period I chose for the model. However, the originally Admiralty color plates used to paint the dazzle camouflage still exist. Ramillies wore this camouflage from late 1917 through March 1918. 

The colors did pose a bit of a challenge since the forward section of the ship was essentially painted pink or mauve as the RN referred to it, and that color doesn’t scale well. I chose a pinkish peach color cut with a bit of medium grey. Had I used the color right from the plate, without scaling it, I think it would have appeared too garish. The same was done with the other colors as well, cutting them with grey to soften them a bit.







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Very nice model. Camouflage colours are always going to pose a problem. My late father served on an 'F' class Destroyer during the Second world war but couldn't really remember the camouflage colours she had in the build up to D-Day  after the Western Approaches (blue and white)were painted over .

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