Bounty Launch

The plight of Capt William Bligh has been recounted multiple times in both print and on film. The actual event took place in April, 1789, when a group led by First Office Fletcher Christian took control of the ship commanded by William Bligh, setting Bligh and a group of loyalists adrift in the southern Pacific Ocean in a small ship's launch.

Laying the Keel for the Bounty launch kit

Whilst the mutineers sailed on, first to Tahiti, and then later to form a colony on Pitcairn Island, Bligh and his party were left to fend for themselves, eventually covering some 3500 nautical miles of ocean before reaching safety in Kaupang, Timor.

Bounty Launch Planking Completed

This model was built by CaptainSteve from a kit by Model Shipways, following an alcohol-fuelled discussion with his good friend, CaptainAndrew.

Construction began in February, 2014, and the model was completed just over a year later in April, 2015. Having become a member of MSW by this time, the progress of this build was detailed in his build log on that site.

Bounty Launch Internal Framing

This was perhaps one of the most entertaining builds of CaptainSteve's short modelling career; it was also highly educational, as during the process CaptainSteve took to reading the complete log detailing the journey, as written by William Bligh his ownself.

Bounty Launch Tree-Nailing

"Say what-eth ye will o' Bligh," blathered Our Hero, "he was most certainly an harsh disciplinarian, but-eth he was also an most accomplished naval officer, navigating the launch to eventual safety with just an sextant and set of naval charts, and his own knowledge of the seas.

Indeed-eth, the men marooned with him owed-eth him their very lives."

Bounty Launch Bench Supports

To reflect the harshness of this incredible voyage, Our Hero gave the hull and internal wood-work a more weathered appearance by cutting long grooves along each plank and then filling these with graphite, before applying washes of diluted wood-stain.

Bounty Launch Stern Seating

By now, revelling happily in his role as a kit-basher, CaptainSteve added many details to this build reflecting the events of the journey.

For example, the anchor affixed to the bow has only three tines, for Bligh writes that one didst break-eth off whilst they were making their escape from hostile natives after landing to collect fresh water.

Bounty Launch Hull Complete

A pair of native spears were also fashioned and added, as at another time they didst trade for these from other islanders. The carpenter's toolchest and four cutlasses have been included, for the mutineers allowed Bligh to take these with him.

Bounty Launch Making of Toolbox Montage

As well, a collection of breads, breadfruits, mangoes and coconuts were made from modelling clay; for added realism, the coconuts were coated with glue and rolled in finely-chopped hair follicles gathered from a barber-shop floor.

Montage of details created for the Bounty Launch kit

Lastly, four cutlasses were made from basic office supplies (file-clips and folder-card), before being added. Construction of many of these added details has been journalled in CaptainSteve's forum on MSW - the KitBasher's Guide to the Galaxy.

Bounty Launch Making the Masts

Whereas in his earlier works, CaptainSteve used the kit-supplied threads to fashion the rigging, for this build he was able to purchase vastly more realistic scale-sized ropes, as produced by the Syren Ship Model Company.

"These doth give-eth an more authentic look to the model," he commented, somewhat needlessly, "especially whenst work-ething on an larger-scale model, such-eth as this Launch be at one-to-an-sixteenth".

Bounty Launch Sail Montage

Cloth was supplied for making the two sails for the model, and hand-sewn.

"The stitch-ething didst tak-eth me many an day," Our Hero bemoaned, "for at the time, I hadst done-th an injure to me ownself and were a-waiting-ething an appointment with the surgeons."

Bounty Launch Rigging1

But he were to persevere and persist and, thankfully, there were but two sails to create ... "Two-and-one-half, actually", he interjected. "For Bligh didst detail-eth in his log that they carried an spare set o' sails with them".

Okay ... so there were two-and-a-half sails ...

Bounty Launch Rigging2

For added realism, CaptainSteve employed a dry-brushing technique to "weather" the sails, and even added bird-droppings along the top (splotches of white paint) ... for Bligh had logged that they were continually plagued by sea-birds as they neared shore, traversing the Northern coastline of Australia.

Bounty Launch Working Rudder

Although not specifically covered in the accompanying plan sheets which were supplied with the kit, Our Hero chose to fashion the rudder and tiller with working hinges, cutting the parts from tiny strips of brass. The hinges themselves measure just 4mm high.

Bounty Launch Completed - Internal View

© Pictures CaptainSteve 2021

Bounty Launch Completed - As she stands today

These final two pictures show the Bounty launch as she stands today, adorning the mantle-piece in the home of Our Hero's friend, CaptainAndrew.

Bounty Launch Completed - As she stands today

© Pictures CaptainAndrew 2021

View CaptainSteve's full build log at ModelShipWorld