Building the HMS Majestic

This is how the model is constructed.

First we construct a frame for the model. The keel should be double-thick cardstock and will be glued onto a single-thickness base plate. I rubber-cement the baseplate to sheet glass to ensure that it stays absolutely flat during construction. The hull formers will also need to be added; these are almost-rectangular (not quite rectangulat because the hull has slight tumble-home) pieces that are edge-glued vertically. Together this forms the shape of the hull where the deck and sides will go later.


Next we install the deck. The planking can be simulated by drawing parallel lines with pencil and then coloring with marker. The edge of the entire deck should be black. The blastplates are made of bond paper, colored grey, and glued to the deck. Glue the entire deck assembly into the model, making sure it is centered.

Also at this time prepare the two hull side plates. Cut out the holes for the lower 6-inch guns. Portholes can be simulated by punching tiny holes with a pin. The hull sides are shown in the picture, along with the attached deck showing the formers and frame underneath. The Victorian color scheme has black hull sides, red below the waterline, with a thin white edge on the top where it meets the deck.

deck installed

Make 8 of these little 6-inch guns. The guns are basically cylinders with an open bottom and a tiny rolled-paper stick for a barrel. The base is mostly to provide an enclosure for the gun so that light doesn't show through and reveal the insides.

Lower 6-inch

Place the guns in the cutouts in the hull side plates, then install the hull side plates by edge-gluing onto the frame. Make sure the anchor bed cutouts line up on both sides.

sides installed

To make the anchor beds, first put black paper squares on the forward and aft edge of the anchor bed area. Then make the anchor bed itself. The bed is half of a box open on the fore and aft edges. The built-up side is the lower side, while the edge that is single-layer card meets the deck. Glue these in place.

anchor bed

The superstructures are basically boxes and fold up in the obvious way. Note that the edge actually extends beyond the deck to form a rail of sorts. Also, there is a cutout on the face facing the turrets because the rear of the turret swings through an arc that cuts into the superstructures. An additional piece of card is bent into a curve and fitted under here to represent this. Again, portholes are made with a pin.

After finishing the superstructures, install the conning tower and more tiny QF guns. The conning tower is a simple cylinder with a disc that covers the top. If you are feeling adventurous, you can cut out the eye slits.

and aft superstructures

The casemate parts are shown here. The 6-inch guns (two per side, four total) are made almost identically with their siblings on the lower deck; they are slightly taller and they are white. Also, make the little quick-firing guns; a rolled stick and a square are passable enough for our purposes (they will be barely visible when finished). I use interior tabs to secure the facing to the bottom; the tabs won't be visible in the final model.

casemate parts

Place the 6-inch guns and the QF guns into the assembled lower casemate. You will have to edge-glue the little guns in place; straighten them out when dry. Also, make little partition walls around the 6-inch guns. Install the top and place thin strips representing the vertical supports. A partially completed and a fully completed casemate are shown.


The masts look complicated but are quite simple. The mast is a rolled tube buff colored (I use Prismacolor Spanish Orange). There are two discs for the fighting tops on each mast. There is a rail on each fighting top, and the base is a cone with the end lopped off. You should be able to figure it out from the picture.

mast construction

The fore and aft flying bridges are constructed similarly, except that the fore bridge has a hole for the mast. Each level has edges that fold up to form the railing (we are depicting the ship with white canvas-covered railings rather than trying to model rails at this scale). The cutouts are for stairs. If you are handy with a knife, you can cut out the windows in the carthouses and such too. Assembly is straightforward.


The flying bridges are not glued directly to a superstructure element. Rather, they are supported on little posts, just like in the original. Make these out of rolled sticks and glue them to the bottom of each superstructure piece. This step is rather fiddly; wait for the glue to get a bit tacky and nudge it into position then. This picture shows the supports underneath the aft flying bridge.


The forward bridge is impaled on the foremast; this shows how it is done. Add the support posts after impaling on the mast.

forward bridge

Showing progress thus far: the superstructures, casemates, and masts are all installed. She's starting to look like a ship now.

halfway through

There are a bunch of little vents that curve around. The easiest way to make them is make a tube and cut V-shaped bits out. Edge-glue the cut out portions together and you get a tube that bends around 90 degrees. If you want, put extremely thin slivers of paper in a cross in the mouth of each vent. The picture shows a completed and an incomplete vent.

how to make vents

The funnels are simple oval tubes. Note that there is a funnel weather cover at the bottom; cut out oval-shaped holes to match and stick the funnels through these. Also, there is a pressure tube running on the aft edge of each funnel; represent these with colored rolled sticks, bending them as necessary to go around corners. All the funnels and vents are mounted on very simple box-like structures. The result is shown below.

funnel parts

Now we need to assemble the turrets. The base is an egg-shaped oval with a thin strip around the side to elevate it. The turret itself is a flat top and a piece that curves around the front and sides. A small scrap piece covers the back. The guns are rolled-up tubes of bond paper; first roll the main barrel and then glue on and roll a shorter piece. You can make the turrets spin by mounting the turret on a circular piece with a paper tube at the bottom; this tube goes through a hole in the barbette and is cut to length and capped with another piece of paper. The picture below shows an assembled turret and a turret broken down into parts. When the turrets are complete, add a rectangular grating to the top and three little sighting hoods, made from short tube lengths capped with a disc.


The searchlight platforms are circular discs set atop a cut-off length of tube. Three triangular braces come out at right angles, extending beyond the platform. Notice that the platform is not set at the center of the circle but is stepped towards the facing direction. A very blurry picture is shown below.


The remainder of the masts are made from rolled sticks, cut to length. The boat crane is also a similar piece.

Attach all the parts together. Once everything is in place, you can install two QF guns in each fighting top. At this point we have essentially all the structure done; all that remains is final deck detailing and the ship's boats.

Shown below is the ship in a nearly-completed stage of construction. We can make the anchor holes with little black oval bits of card. Deck details are made from small bits of cut tube and card; refer to plans to find what you want to add.

major parts