HMS Bounty
by Jason Denny

1/87 HMS Bounty (Airfix)

HMS Bounty is of course the famous ship that saw the crew mutiny in defiance of Lieutenant Bligh’s command, following a voyage to Tahiti to collect Breadfruit plants. The admiralty’s intention was that these plants would be delivered to the Caribbean where they would be a cheap source of food for the slaves in the colonies. The hardship of the voyage, Bligh’s strict command and temptations on Tahiti, steered events off course and into the history books. The 1789 mutiny led by Master’s Mate Fletcher Christian sent Bligh and 18 crew loyal to him adrift on the ships launch. 3618 miles later Bligh made landfall in Timor, an epic journey in an open boat with no charts and few provisions. Thus proving his abilities in leadership and seamanship. William Bligh went on to become Governor of New South Wales and a Vice Admiral. Some of the mutineers were hunted down in Tahiti and hanged. Most however including Fletcher Christian made for the Island of Pitcairn where their descendents live to this day.

The Kit

The Airfix kit is now decades old but builds up to a pleasing replica. From what I have read it has its faults but these can be forgiven and at a nice big scale is a very enjoyable build. To my knowledge it has not been posted completed on the net. Construction was simple and the size of the parts revealed good detail for painting later. I built her straight from the box with the only changes being the use of cotton yarn in favour of Airfix’s nylon white thread. I also turned the galley chimney around to face the right way and left off the smallest of the 3 boats. Research suggests there were only the two. They should be positioned centrally on the deck piggybacked but Airfix do not provide and boat chocks. I decided to fix them either side of the hatches to show this detail figuring they would have probably been moved around the deck from time to time during use anyway. Interestingly Airfix does not model the stern lanterns, a feature present in the smaller scale Revell kit. They did however mould the hull with copper plating which was fixed following the vessel’s conversion from the merchantman Bethia to Royal Navy armed transport.


I used Humbrol enamels throughout and sought colour references from vessels of similar period as a guide. There are no accurate pictures of Bounty only best guess paint schemes which follow the main themes of yellow trip, blue gunwales, red stern detail and natural wood. I used Red 60, Blue 25, Brown 62 & 110, Cooper 171 Yellow 99, Black 33 and Cream 71 for the sails. All colours were given a weathering wash to bring out the detail and break up the monotonous shades. Revell’s Blue 55 was the only deviation from Humbrol as it seemed to be the correct shade to simulate tarnished copper for the hull plating. Oddly no one ever models this (Victory always has a gleaming copper hull). I think over time the whole of the plating would be green but I elected for a partial corrosion which seems to work.


This is a new skill for me to learn and it was interesting to discover how the shroud loom worked and how the various shrouds and running / standing rigging attached. No doubt in time I will understand the correct knots and positioning but following the instructions gives beginners like me an opportunity to create a fair representation. There are no blocks or deadeyes as with the premium kits such as the Heller/ Airfix 1:100 Victory even though at 1:87 Bounty is a bigger scale.


An oldie but definitely a goodie and very satisfying once the hull comes together and fittings start to go on. The kit includes figures of Bligh and 2 of the crew to offer some scale and this kit is a good place to start on classic ships. I ballasted mine in the early stages of construction with model filler so she sits correctly on the water. By the time you read this she will have successfully circumnavigated the bath tub!

Jason Denny