H.M.S. Inflexible, 1:200, Scratchbuild

  • Bitte, Ich kanne verstehe nur ein bischen Deutsche.

    So, with your permissions I will resort to American!

    I have been working on this model for a few months. Inflexible was begun in 1874 and launched, I think, in 1877. It had iron armor and framing with muzzle loading guns. The belt armor of iron and teak was 2 feet thick. For loading the guns were rotated to the central glacis and loaded with mechanisms below the deck.

    I hope to turn this into a kit (GBM: Golden Bear Models) soon after its completion.

    I will leap to recent pictures that show its current state of completion. If there is interest I will show photos of earlier construction.

    I might point out that the model and construction has been planned to build things as separate assemblies as much as possible. Only recently have I glued down the fore and aft structures as well as the catwalk. Currently the funnels, masts and forward raised decks are still unglued.

    Golden Bear Models

  • Hello Golden Bear,

    another outstanding model from your workshop.

    The details are marvellous (holes in railing, tiny "sticks" at the bottom of the main turret, the elegant steamboat).

    Is this a box with signal flags on the main deck?

    I have much admired your Victoria.

    Keep up the great work !


  • Zaphod, yes, that is a locker for the signals flags on the after spardeck.

    As for more information about the ship's history... she was designed and built during the period when metallurgy and engineering were evolving rapidly and when nobody really knew what a warship should look like! There was an idea that a ship should have heavy enough armor to stop hits from guns as large as their own. However, the striking power soon exceeded the ability of armor to stop it unless the belt was hugely thick. With armor that thick, designers lost the ability to spread the belt along the entire length of the ship. Thus, they looked for ways to shorten the belt so that it could at least protect the critical machinery and ammunition storage. Victoria represents one idea, since with only a single turret, the belt could be much shorter.

    Inflexible, an older ship, was built in response to the Duilio and Dandolo which mounted enormous guns in staggered amidships turrets. By putting the turrets in the middle like this, the belt was much shorter than if they were out at the ends of the ship. In these central citadel ships the ends were left unarmored with open spaces filled with cork. THe design idea was to put enough flotation in the heavily armored center section that the ship could float and fire even if bow and stern were riddled with fire.

    Of course, during the course of construction, newer and larger guns came out and they mounted them as they were available. The extra weight changed things so that the center raft no longer had adequate flotation in the case of sunken bow and stern. There was a great deal of argument about the feasibility of this idea and testing of the concept did not come until much later when a decommisioned ship was used as a gunnery target and remained floating despite taking a number of large caliber hits.

    She ended up taking 7 years to build, partly because of the controversy about her, and partly because of ongoing design changes.

    Her armor belt was 24 inches of steel over iron with I think 17 inches of teak backing. She was armed with 16" guns as main armament.


  • Here are some photos from earlier in the build. As I said before, my desire is to make a model where the structures can be built separately from the hull and only attached only after the detailing is done. I spent a lot of time designing the hull frames for this reason.

    The model is complicated because there is a central glacis - where the muzzle loading main armament was loaded - that the turrets cut into. There are also the fore, aft and central structures that are all joined by a long catwalk so that variations in height can not be tolerated. Also the fore and aft structures are not continuous but each have a passage through them at the level of the main deck!

    I began building at 1:250 but changed everything to 1:200 while still working on the frame. The first photos show the old 1:250 frame in the background with the 1:200 model in the front. I was testing techniques for installing the turrets as separate assemblies and playing with different color schemes.

  • Hello Golden Bear,

    the hull is staggering, such an attention to detail and stability.

    This should be a great model when finished.


  • Then I began building up the two structures, starting with the aft one. I was waiting for an order of 1:200 railings to show up from Poland so I needed to jump around a little bit in order.

    After doing the aft pieces I built a turret as a turning assembly that could be set aside safely until it was time to glue it in place.

    THere were two 2nd class torpedo boats carried on the aft structure and I show the first that I built.

    The last photo shows the spar deck detail and the signals locker (but it is blurry)

  • Thank you, Zaphod! I have developed techniques to reduce if not to eliminate warping problems with ships hulls. This seemed particularly important for a model with a hull only a little over a centimeter in height. But it seems to have worked.

    My next step was to build the boat frames for the aft structure. I show them with the two tpbs set on them. I attached the aft searchlight platforms - without railings so far - and took some close ups of the detail for interested people.

    Then I began working on the bridge. THere are a lot of pieces to it but it came out nicely. I also built the funnels and a couple of the 4.7" guns for the forward spar deck.

  • I built the two raised platforms foreward and finished the bow pieces (they are wrong in the photos in this post and got fixed later).

    Since I needed railings to go any further on the forward structure, I started on the center structure and the catwalk.

    Then... the railings arrived and I could really go to work. I applied them to the forward pieces and finished building all the small guns there.

    I would also like to point out the angled ventilator shafts on the sides of the foreward structure with the scoops on top. They are each cut and folded from a single piece of card and overlap on the inside of the wall. There is a binnacle and some kind of horn atop the bridge.

    The last photo shows the completed raised decks. One has searchlights and machine guns and the other stores the torpedo netting.

  • Hi, Klueni. Thank you for your nice words! I am glad that you like it.

    Fred, I shopped around fabric shops looking for something that looked right and bought this ribbon with an open but regular weave. Sorry that I cannot tell you where or what it cost!


  • Hello Golden Bear,

    on the risk of repeating myself:

    Breathtaking Work !

    I marvelled at your French ships, but the Voctoria and the Invincible really take the cake !


  • Hi Main! I don't know about the success of the little tpbs. Victoria also carried one but I don't think that I have found a photo that includes the little craft. I have seen a photo of Inflexible with one. Personally I imagine that they were far more trouble than they were worth. One of those things that seemed like a good idea originally but later seemed not so good!

    In her original configuration, Inflexible had a full, brig, rig and carried an odd chute over her bow for launching torpedoes. The chute looked a lot like a miniature roller coaster ride. I presume that the tpbs replaced this odd apparatus.

    In any case, I've added many little details, including the aft-most 4.7" guns which had curved shields. I've glued down everything that formerly was loose and begun on the rigging. I start with the ratlines, at which I am very incapable. My technique is to wrap them over a wooden frame and to glue only at the intersections of lines. Then I remove them and trim them as close as I dare.

    The first photo shows one of the aft ratline assemblies in place with another one mounted and gluing. I blob in a little Aleene's quick dry at the ends and let it set thouroughly before trimming. The little clothespins apply a little drag on the lines to keep them in place while things set.

    The other photos, poor in quality, show the model with all ratlines attached and the yards restored.


  • I've attached all the lower rigging. Some of it should be in brown rather than black but at this scale I want it to show up better. Besides, it always looks "black" in photos.

    I found it interesting that the two winches on the aft spar deck had the purpose of manipulating the large boat boom. One of the winches raises and lowers the boom itself - for lifting the boats out of their cradles and moving them over the side. The second winch then raises and lowers the tackle at the end of the winch so that the boats could be lowered to the water.

    Next I will work on the upper rigging.


  • Good afternoon, Carl!

    Excellent work here, my compliments! Especially the rigging is looking great.

    And now for something completely different: ;)
    You're doing this model in 1/200 scale now, are you considering to publish it in 1/250 like your Lavoisier and HMS Victoria? I would suggest it, because then it would fit nicely into the same category as the many Wilhelmshaven, HMV, JSC, MDKV, Papershipwright, Passat, (&c. &c.) card models.

    Looking forward to the completion of this rarity :]

    Kind regards,

    Ich schnipsel mit Schere, ich klebe und falz';
    das is zwar nur Schimäre, doch mich unterhalt's! :P(frei nach Johann Nestroy)

  • Hi, KartonC - first you must tell me how to read "Wiccollverdünner."

    I am laughing to myself because I have received so much pressure to design my models at 1:200 instead of 1:250!! I began at 1:250 because:
    i - HMV and WMV are 1:250
    ii - JSC is 1:250
    iii - it takes MUCH less space on the shelf!

    If you look at my first posts you can see that I started at 1:250. So many people wanted 1:200 that I switched over. It might be that they thought that my tiny parts would be easier to handle at 1:200 but for me it meant that I can put in even more tiny parts.

    At least with a downloadable 1:200 model it will be easy to scale down. And, you can always write to me and I will convert it and print it for you if you like. I am far more interested to spread knowledge of the period than in profit. Whatever the scale, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will try to help.

    ... and thank you all for your interest and kind remarks! Much work still lies ahead.

    Carl Beetz

  • Good evening, Carl!

    Well, the "ranks" of the members of this forum are certainly given with tongue in cheek, so they're of no consequence to our ability.
    However, the translation of "Wiccollverdünner" into American English may be something like white glue thinner or "Elmer's-dilutor" :D

    You're quite right and I agree with your remarks about scaling - it's easier to "do it downstairs", especially when using vector graphics based design methods. And as to the tiny parts of your ship models, I'd suggest to make them optional, like in many of the classical WHV designs, where printed winches etc. could be made three-dimensional ad libitum.

    The majority of ship models in card is published in 1/250 scale - but the 1/200 bunch (mostly full hull -or optional waterline- of eastern european origin) is growing steadily too.
    In Germany, after WWII, most of Schreiber and the East German Kranich ship models were 1/200, but nearly all of the other publishers preferred 1/250 to compare their products with the famous Wilhelmshavener card models. The ratio was 2:1 in favour of 1/250. Now my reckoning is 850 models of all categories (Sea, Air, Land) in 1/250 against 430 in 1/200.

    But - you stand out in every crowd! :D

    Kind regards,

    Ich schnipsel mit Schere, ich klebe und falz';
    das is zwar nur Schimäre, doch mich unterhalt's! :P(frei nach Johann Nestroy)

    Edited once, last by Kartonkapitän ().

  • Sorry to hijack, Carl, but speaking of Wiccoll, does anyone know of a on-line source for it.

    I think the Flex will look great in either scale. I agree, always easier and better to scale down than up.

    best regards
    mit herzlichen grussen


    In Build:
    Panzerkreuzer Infanta Maria Teresa

  • Hi, Fred!

    Wiccoll was a white glue produced by Greven. This firm was acquired by UHU, so they discontinued it in favour of their own brand. But on the bright side, there are several equally suited glues available on the market, e.g. Elmer's or Ponal or Kittifix or any white glue for bookbinders or carpenters. Scheuer & Strüver (Moduni # 6138002) now have their own brand of special white glue for cardmodeling.
    Although you could order it, it's rather expensive (80 g à 4.95 plus shipping costs).

    All's well that glues well!

    Ich schnipsel mit Schere, ich klebe und falz';
    das is zwar nur Schimäre, doch mich unterhalt's! :P(frei nach Johann Nestroy)

  • Well, I was pleased to discover yesterday that I still have two new tubes of UHU extra - I like this for spot laminating of parts because it sets more slowly than Duco and doesn't warp like white glue. Getting UHU around here is a problem!

    I have spent some time working on the rigging. It is done except for a gaff that I need to install high up on the aft mast (main mast I believe).

    You will note that the two winches on the aft spardeck attach to the boom. One raises and lowers the boom and the other manages the block and tackle beneath for moving the boat up and down.

    Also, there were a boom on either side of the mast that help raise and lower the boats mounted on side davits. I modeled the one on the port side in this activity, based upon a photo that I found.

    During construction of this side boom the model was knocked onto the floor (by a rotating chair!) and the main boom with rigging came apart along with much of the upper rigging. I have managed to rescue the boom and rerig the damaged upper portions.


  • And now, she is finished. Added the gaff to the mainmast, lots of little details and the main deck railings. I could still put on a red/white strip around the base but that is not necessarily consistently apparent.


  • Helle Carl,

    a great model. It is hard to single out sections. I love the overall attention to detail the clean work and especially the booms.

    Can´t wait to see your next project !


  • Cheatham, February, 30th, 18-umpty


    On behalf of Sir John Bending-Steele, 3rd SeaLord of the Admirality, and Vice-Admiral L.O.L. Carver-Wood, Inspector General of H.M. Navy Yards, I am requested to inform you that Her Royal and Imperial Majesty the Queen Victoria -long may She reign- was very pleased to notice the ingenuity of construction and the extremely fine workmanship of this card model of Her very own latest battleship H.M.S. Inflexible. So much so that She has decided to grant the constructing engineer of this masterpiece the honour of a commission as Royal Cardmodeler to H.M. the Queen. This appointment will appear in the forthcoming Honour's List on April, 1st, 18-umpty.

    I am, Sir, glad to congratulate you to this occasion, wishing you a long and successful career in the service of Her said Majesty,
    and will always remain

    sincerely yours
    respectful servant

    Ich schnipsel mit Schere, ich klebe und falz';
    das is zwar nur Schimäre, doch mich unterhalt's! :P(frei nach Johann Nestroy)

    Edited 6 times, last by Kartonkapitän ().

  • Hello, Carl!

    My hat's off for your construction of the underwater hull. That's a stunning complement to this already excellent model - it turns it into a really colourful work of art.

    I'm looking forward to get it one day :]

    Kind regards!

    Ich schnipsel mit Schere, ich klebe und falz';
    das is zwar nur Schimäre, doch mich unterhalt's! :P(frei nach Johann Nestroy)