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1) Under Enemy Colors   2) A Battle Won   3) A Ship of War (UK)/Take, Burn or Destroy (US)   4) Until the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead
 
Model of HMS Themis

Four years ago a local ship model builder named Bruce Ellis started a model of Hayden's fictional ship—the Themis.

Bruce and I met at a local college where I had come to speak about nautical fiction. I was invited to Bruce's house after, with some of the others from the class, and he showed us one of his models—the frigate Juno. For those of you who are history buffs you will know that Hayden's escape from Toulon Harbour was based on real events that involved the Juno. An interesting coincidence. The Juno model Bruce had built from scratch was a museum quality model, and we all were very impressed with it. A few months later Bruce told me he'd decided to build a model of the Themis. The Themis, of course, was not a real ship but a fictional ship of the Pallas class.

Bruce is a very thorough researcher, and he quickly came up with a plan for the Themis and began his build. I was very excited to see this take shape, and was lucky to be able to visit Bruce's shop frequently to see the ship take shape. The model Themis was built just the way the original would have been built—plank on frame. Bruce has been collecting specialized woods for years, and planked the hull in very old pear wood. The grain on this wood is so fine that it's in scale with the rest of the model!

Bruce has an amazing workshop. Many of the tools he uses are almost miniature—like a tiny table saw and even smaller wood lathe. It almost looks like elves should be working there. Over the course of four years I watched the slow, magical construction of the model. Bruce's skill and patience constantly impressed me. How he works at this scale is something of a mystery to me. To give you some idea, the deadeyes are about 1/4 of an inch, and many of the blocks would be about 3/16ths. Bruce made everything on the ship. He turned all the guns on a lathe. He turned all the belaying pins on the same machine! The belaying pins might be half an inch long.

After four years of work, the Themis, complete with carved figurehead, was finished. To my total surprise, Bruce presented the model to me when it was done! It now sits in place of pride in our living room where, I confess, I have spent hours gazing at it, constantly finding new and wondrous details. Many, many thanks to Bruce for this amazing gift. Here are some photos I took of the model, which do not begin to do it justice.

Clicking on the photos lead to larger versions.
 
Copyright © 2019 S. Thomas Russell
Themis model
Copyright © 2019 S. Thomas Russell
Themis model
Copyright © 2019 S. Thomas Russell
Themis model
Copyright © 2019 S. Thomas Russell
Themis model
Copyright © 2019 S. Thomas Russell
Themis model
Copyright © 2019 S. Thomas Russell
Themis model

Under Enemy Colors (2007) A Battle Won (2010) Take, Burn or Destroy (2013)
Under Enemy Colours (2007) A Battle Won (2010) A Ship of War (2012)

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