Friday, May 17, 2019

HMS Shannon - GHQ 1:1200

Well, I'm not sure exactly where the time went, but I was surprised, looking back at my old posts, to find that it's been well over two years since I last posted photos of a ship model. Two years! Obviously I couldn't let that stand, so I pulled out a kit that I had left about half completed and got to work again.

Here is GHQ's 1:1200 model of HMS Shannon, the famous 38 (nominally) gun Leda-class frigate. She was launched in 1806, and achieved her greatest fame on the 1st of June, 1813, when her captain, Philip Broke, issued a challenge to Captain James Lawrence of the USS Chesapeake. As Broke wrote in his challenge:

As the Chesapeake appears now ready for sea, I request you will do me the favour to meet the Shannon with her, ship to ship, to try the fortune of our respective flags. The Shannon mounts twenty-four guns upon her broadside and one light boat-gun; 18 pounders upon her main deck, and 32-pounder carronades upon her quarter-deck and forecastle; and is manned with a complement of 300 men and boys, beside thirty seamen, boys, and passengers, who were taken out of recaptured vessels lately. I entreat you, sir, not to imagine that I am urged by mere personal vanity to the wish of meeting the Chesapeake, or that I depend only upon your personal ambition for your acceding to this invitation. We have both noble motives. You will feel it as a compliment if I say that the result of our meeting may be the most grateful service I can render to my country; and I doubt not that you, equally confident of success, will feel convinced that it is only by repeated triumphs in even combats that your little navy can now hope to console your country for the loss of that trade it can no longer protect. Favour me with a speedy reply. We are short of provisions and water, and cannot stay long here.

In fact Lawrence never received the challenge, as before the boat carrying it could make its way into Boston harbor, Chesapeake was already under way, sailing out to meet the British frigate. The encounter lasted less than 15 minutes, and was to be one of the bloodiest single-ship duels of the era. By the end, the British crew had stormed aboard the American vessel and taken the ship in hand to hand combat. Chesapeake lost about 60 men killed and as many wounded. Lawrence himself was among the dead. Shannon had 23 killed and 56 wounded. Broke was among the wounded, and though he defied expectation and did not succumb to the saber wound to his head, he never commanded another ship.

For this model, I've made my own bowsprit from brass rods, and also replaced the topgallant masts with brass, to make them thinner. The ratlines and sea base are from Langton. Rigging is done with nylon paint brush bristles.