My Workbench

Friday, November 1, 2013

Davco 5th Rate 40 Gun Frigates

This time home I started work on two 40 gun frigates by Davco. The company marketed them as the 32 gun Dutch frigate Helder 1808, but this can't be. According to, Helder was the name the British gave in 1808 to the captured 32 gun Dutch frigate Orpheus. So first, Helder would be a British ship, not Dutch with that name. Second and most important, the model has 42 guns not 32. It has 28 gun ports on the upper gun deck, 12 guns showing on the quarterdeck, and 4 guns showing on the forecastle. This makes 44 possible guns for this ship. With 16 guns showing on the top deck, I can justify possibly two guns shy to a side on the main gun deck below, but that is all. Definitely not the 12 guns necessary to make this a 32 gun ship. So I am calling them 40 gun frigates. I found two Dutch 44 gun Frigates Amphitrite 1797 and Castor 1786. Both were captured by the British, Amphitrite off the Texel August 30,1799 (retaining the same name),  and Castor August 17, 1796 (renamed HMS Saldanha). Both ships were converted to 40 gun frigates under the British. Since the Amphitrite was captured within two years of her launching I have modeled her as a British frigate. The Castor spent nine years in Dutch service and one year as Batavian so I have modeled her as Batavian Republic.

HMS Amphitrite: 5th rate 40 gun.
151'3" length, 41'6" width, 1183 tons, crew 320
1800: Upper gun deck - 28 x 24 pounders. 1804: Changed to 28 x 18 pounders
Quarterdeck - 10 x 24 pounder carronades and 2 x 9 pounders
Forecastle - 4 x 24 pounder carronades

Castor: 5th rate 44 gun.
147'3" length, 40'4" width, 1065 tons, crew 270-284
Upper gun deck - 28 x 18 pounders
Quarterdeck - 12 x 9 pounders
Forecastle - 4 x 9 pounders

The following four photos show preparing the two models. As with all Davco ships, masts and spars have to be built. One of the packages came with an extra set of foresails instead of the mizzen sails, so I had to build a mizzen set out of brass sheet. I also had to make a spritsail and yard for Amphitrite. I also figured out a new way to make the ratlines much easier using a bristle from an old wire brush for the cut side of the mesh, instead of a piece of black thread. It's much less messy and easier to attach.

HMS Amphitrite masts set:

Sails set:

HMS Amphitrite finished:

Spritsail sheet line actually passing through a wave:

Dutch Frigate Castor masts set:
 Sails set:
 Standard rigging done:

Castor finished:

Comparison to Davco 64 gun Prinz Frederick:

Comparison to Langton 68 gun Dutch 3rd rate and U.S. penny.

I hope someone enjoys this and comments. Suggestions and ideas are always welcome. I haven't decided what my next project will be when I get home again in a couple of weeks. I have two more Dutch frigates, real 32's this time but they are Navwar models, so will require substantial work. On the other hand I would like to get started on a Spanish fleet. I currently have 9 ships to build: two Langton ships, 112 gun Santa Anna and the 74 gun El Montanes; four GHQ ships, 3 El Montanes and one Xebec 22 gun; two Davco ships, 112 gun Salvador Del Mundo and the 36 gun frigate Hamadryad; one Navwar ship, the 112 gun Santana.


Anonymous said...

Hi there, great job !!

I'm also a fan of naval miniatures, specially Langton's, and have also a few of Davco/Skytrex and Navwar.

I just came into your page when looking for some pictures of 44-gun dutch frigates.

I look forward to see your spanish fleet. Too many 3-deckers hummm, ... let me suggest the Rayo model (Skytrex), rigged with Langton's masts & sails and also using a Langton's 64-spanish poop (stern) which fits perfectly and is much more beautiful.

Regards / Mendo (Spain)
(mendo_mad@ orangemail .es)

Anonymous said...

Great job !!

Another naval miniatures fan.

I was searching (with google) for some 44-gun dutch frigates and found your models. GREAT! :-)

I look forward to see your spanish fleet. Huummmm ... to many 3-deckers ... why not the Rayo (94-96 guns)?