Researching Royal Navy ships themselves and life onboard over two centuries ago can take a lot of work and Internet surfing or alternatively be somewhat eased by playing and replaying historically accurate DVDs.
As I sit here watching one of the four-DVD set of the Hornblower Series, I realize what a wonderful tool this is for scratch builders, kit bashers and scale model ship builders alike.
You forget things like men were shorter in those days so the between deck height didn't have to be over six feet.
For instance, judging the size of a gun powder cask in relationship to the height of a man is difficult from something like Wikepedia (if it is even covered), but seeing men handling these barrels makes you aware they were about the height of the span from a man's fingertips to his shoulder. In the middle they were twice the diameter of a man's waist.
You can see this clearly as Hornblower's men were preparing to blow up a bridge in France. (in Vol. IV -The Wrong War).
In nearly the same scene, you get a good look at one of the ship's guns on its carriage. You can easily make out the details of the carriage so you can construct them yourself using scrape wood stock.
Back on board the Indefatigable, you get an idea of the size and limited space seeing crew members, officers, militia men and the French passengers all milling around the limited space on the deck occupied by 3 large covered launches, the forecastle, deck guns and three masts. Not a place you'd expect to find Red Coats drilling.
But the real gem on this DVD is a feature called "England's Royal Warships" hosted by Edward Windsor. Both the main program and the features are capable of instant searches which makes going back for a review of the details a lot easier
Windsor's hosting takes place aboard the HMS Victory and brings to life some amazing details of England's favorite flagship.
The DVD set consists of eight disks and if you look at them right they offer a host of valuable ship constructgion tips.
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