HMS Magnificent 1899 
by Jim Baumann 

1/700 HMS Magnificent 1899 (Combrig)

HMS Magnificent was the third unit of the nine Majestic-class pre-dreadnought battleships

She was heavily armed  with 4 x 12 in guns ,  12 x 6 in guns,   16 x 12-pdr, 12 x 3pdr 5 x TT Upon commissioning  she joined the Channel Fleet as second Flagship in late 1895. HMS Magnificent  took part in the Grand Fleet review at Spithead in 1897. She became second flagship of the Channel Squadron in 1902, and part of the newly formed Atlantic Fleet. In 1905 18 members of the new lost their lives  as a result of an accidental explosion in a 6-inch case-mate gun. Paid off into reserve in 1906 she served as a gunnery training school ship.

As one of the oldest active ships of the Royal navy  at the outbreak of WW1 she was serving as a guard ship for the naval base on the river Humber. Later, together  with her younger sister-ship HMS Hannibal  she was assigned guardship duty at Scapa Flow. With her main armament  removed she was then converted to be a troopship  and served in the Dardanelles campaign  of 1915 , evacuating troops from Mudros back to the UK. Returning in 1916 she was  refitted in Belfast to serve   as an ammunition ship until  1921, when her active career ended and  she was sold for scrapping,being broken up the following  year.

My model depicts her  as in 1899 in full ' Victorian ' livery

Building the Model.....

The complete  blow-by-blow, illustrated with photos account  of problems encountered, how I solved them and the minutia of  how the model was built can be found here.

Much scouring of many of my books , old plans  and the internet  for detailed on-deck photos   as well as paint scheme was done  before the build so as to establish as far as possible  the  correct state of fit and paint for the desired period depicted.  An internet search for info on the whole  Majestic  yielded a 1/700  kit of HMS Mars  from  a new-to-me manufacturer SS Models of China. This was bought out of curiosity, unseen from e-bay; following inspection upon arrival it appears to be a lightly modified and undersized  resin cast copy of  the Combrig kit.

The only truly  useful thing  was a small PE sheet which contained well executed  flying bridge decks and pilothouse walls. These were however the wrong shape  for my build , but I cannibalised and re-modelled them into the  correct sizes and window numbers for Maginficent

My  model is based on an older  Combrig Resin kit which has been maturing in my kit stash for some years. Dimensionally the casting was very good ,however there were errors or perhaps plan misinterpretation - either simplified or plain wrong! Upon initial  examination the Combrig kit looked  ready to go suggesting a quick and easy build.... Alas not so... hence a  brief summary of the main works done; The entire, partially solid cast, boat-deck ; as well as the fwd and aft 'castle' decks ,were ground away  completely out  to the hull edges, this the allowed  creation of the correct hollow deck underneath the boats  to enable opening up of the corner 6 in case-mates and the small gun (12 pounder) battery case-mates midships ( in the white area ).

Templates in paper were made for making  the new 'wooden' decking pieces fwd and aft as well as the spar-deck midships. The case-mate 'roof ' decks were made of brass sheet with the 'squiggly' walkways made of paper. The hull sides had the 'boarding stairs' made of small slivers of square section brass strip attached with  matt varnish after painting. The entire  central lattice structure supporting the ships boats, all the  davits,  fighting tops ,aft flying decks and  chart house and many. other small details were all scratch-built.

Complete  stern-walk was scratch-built. All the cowl vents were hollowed out and the shafts drilled. The  cowl vent mouth 'cross' supports were made of white stretched sprue. The masts are stainless steel tubes with tapered stainless steel top masts made in my home-made Dremel 'mast-taper-grinding jig'. All rigging including the yard-arm foot-ropes is made of stretched sprue using my usual methods described here.

The ship is mounted with long screws onto a stainless steel baseplate for stability and longevity, and the water was made suing artists watercolour over cockstail sticks , the method being described in detail here.

Despite the shortcomings of the starting point, the completed model gives me much pleasure and looks much as I believe it would have done in 1899

Jim Baumann

Gallery updated 1/19/2017