Building the Spanish navy Battleship PELAYO as in 1895
Displacement  9745 tons  Armament     2 x 12.5in  5   x 6 pdr Q/F
loa 334 ft 8 in 2 x  11 in 14 MG
Beam 66ft 3in  1 x  6.4in 7 Torpedo tubes
Draft   24ft 9in 12 x 4.7 in
Complement   520

Pelayo was completed  in 1888 at  the French Yard of La Seyne, there being no Spanish yards large enough at the time to undertake the work. She was based on the French design of the Marceau but with less draft so as to allow her to negotiate the  Suez canal fully loaded. Fitted originally with an auxiliary sailing rig of 4000 sq. ft she was soon reduced  to military masts . The main   Hontoria guns were mounted in  barbettes on the Canet system which permitted loading in any position,  8000 ihp gave her a top speed of 16.2 knots on trials. She had a rebuild  at La Seyne in 1897 where she was re-boilered  and partially re-armed , the 4.7" being replaced by 5.5". She therefore  missed the Spanish -American war by  being yard-bound which  resulted in her  never seeing action with an enemy vessel.  She did however fire her guns in anger bombarding the Moroccan  shore in 1909.

She was the flagship of the Spanish  Navy and attended many International  Naval reviews and Regattas

 In 1912 she was badly damaged after running aground and thereafter was only used for training purposes.

She was eventually relegated to an accommodation , disarmed in 1923 and broken up in 1925

The Spanish Pelayo was an unusual choice of subject  as a first attempt into the resin ship model market, nevertheless that is exactly what Jadar Models of Poland did. Quality wise for a first attempt it is a credible effort, fairly crisp casting and  containing  within  the kit a small Photoetch fret with ladders, railings, boat seats, davits and  gunhouse roofs.
 Unfortunately they  appear to have used a single, somewhat flawed(!) drawing as their primary  source of information on which they based the master. It shows PELAYO with a rounded sloping cruiser stern,  as well as missing  out 4 x 4.7" guns and apertures from the broadside battery. 

The neat little PE boat launching davits were absolutely incorrect  as well as the  boat fit consisting of far  too  few and all of  them  wrong. although those supplied had neat PE boat thwarts.

click images
to enlarge
Scaling off  photos showed the funnels to be somewhat short so these were replaced with  new squashed alloy tube versions.

There was a   deckhouse that was too high and too far aft on the quarterdeck,  the superstructure bridge levels  and window  layout  as well as scuttles on the  foredeck hull  sides were either incorrect or totally absent. . The torpedo net booms were part of the casting and curved  to the profile of the hull.....

so much for the negatives. 

On the plus side it is a very esoteric subject, unlikely to made by anyone else and it did scale out dimensionally ok fore and aft as well as athwartships  according to my sources. So the challenge was on; this  certainly would be  no quick out-of- the-box build!

The first major surgery to be taken in hand was the erroneous stern shape. So as to be able to sand and file and grind  without getting the inevitable cracking of fillers  on a feather edge  I decided  to cut  away  a major section of the stern and  glue in a lump of resin;  this was  part of a discarded 1/350 WEM   Hood resin turret.. So as to prevent the glue cracking under the stresses of grinding  I drilled and pinned the grafted section for  belt and braces security.

After the correct profile was achieved I turned my attention creating the missing gunports.  As most photos of Pelayo show her static in harbor with all the square scuttle lids open I decided early on to portray her in a mini-diorama setting so as to use this feature to show of her tumblehomed hull shape.  I used parts of the ever-useful WEM Askold PE set, the gun  embrasure lids furnishing  me with perfect little brass squares in a variety of sizes;  in the event I needed over 150 little brass squares....
These scuttles  when opened in harbor  often  did not have the lids   at an exact uniform level of opening; I  replicated this feature in miniature.

 The sternwalk and its roof  was fashioned from ordinary printer paper, once tacked in place using white glue it was  soaked in CA glue which  made it rigid and gave excellent adhesion all around the edges.

The railing of the sternwalk  was actually PE   ratline footrope, this was cut from an old GMM 1/700 Titanic set it gave the correct appearance of close-space vertical railing,  the lower edge was tidied  with some self adhesive  RC Cammet vinyl tape.  I used this  type of tape extensively for all aspects of construction on this model.

White is a problem color  when brushed onto very small areas in my experience, so a  smooth surface that can easily be achieved with  consistency in tone and finish is an attractive  proposition, especially when edges can be trimmed back with a sharp blade.

Using a combination of various  widths of the aforementioned tape I was able to easily achieve the  fiddly color separation lines  on much of the superstructure, as well as  make crisp scuttle lids and windows.

The main central superstructure  had the windows made by laying down  a strip of black tape and painting the window divisions in as appropriate. The  conning  position had a new roof made of paper, which gave the correct step up  from the main bridge wings. The lower  bridge had  the walkway added  aft along with the the girder supports made of sprue and  PE scrap. this was finished off with life-rings fitted according to photos.  Flagboxes, small rope reels and telegraphs were applied to the fwd  lower bridge.

By overlaying  a thin  red  vinyl band onto a pre-fitted  white band a crisp white boot top demarcation line was easily achieved.

I added the deck-edge  strakes made from thin fusewire as can be seen in the photos.

I  had realized that the profile drawing in the  Spanish  Pelayo monograph  was not entirely telling the truth,  and I   would need  far more information. I scoured the internet and ended with  placing help-needed  requests on the message boards; these   quickly yielded an avalanche of  photos and even  better still , scans of builders drawings!  I  was able to contact  the  well known  Pelayo  authority  Nick Mitiuckov who had just had published  a new monograph of Pelayo;  the book was rushed to me from Russia by Sergey .

 I was now  better armed  to be able make sense of the grey areas as I now had cross-sections as well as some deck photos which went some way to clearing up some of the queries that had surfaced through the build. I made two capstans using  small tube and N-scale railway buffers.

I was able now to see the exact positions of the  deck hatches and companionways, as well as the positions of the  ornate 'leisure'  seat benches on the quarter deck. These items I bent up from very small bits of corrugated PE;   

I have never seen  such items of civilized  non-military equipment on any other capital ship!

In the meantime I had masted the ship using stainless steel tubing to give rigidity . The fighting tops  used were those supplied in the kit,  they appeared to be about the right diameter, however I  wanted to have the  apertures open, this I achieved by  cutting  out a slice using a rotary saw blade. Thereafter the 'step'  was given more definition again using the vinyl  tape. 
The lower searchlight platforms were made by forming a circle of PE handrail,  affixing to the  mast and painting  .The open bottom of the PE rail was infilled with white glue, when dry it was painted from underneath; this has a twofold advantage: keeping the rail and platform  floor demarcation line perfect as well as keeping the platform  thickness to the absolute  minimum.

I had been steadfastly avoiding   the  problem of  replicating the  complex boat launching mechanism , it consisting of a variety of tapering pierced girder structures with slide guides on top.

Fundamentally it was an athwartships  sliding  traveling hoist for the  steam-boats, the outer arms when the vessel was underway were capable of being folded fore and aft.

The uprights I made of GMM   IJN   Chiyoda parts, which had a hole spacing  and taper that gave the right effect . I then added  fine brass strip to each side to give depth to the PE and make it appear the massive structure that photos suggest it to have been.. I needed a number of pieces of small  pierced girder for the fwd boat crane as well as the aft swing davits. Unable to locate any PE  sections remotely suitable I resorted to making my own; having selected some ladderstock of the  appropriate width with rung spacing  about right for my hole spacing I infilled every other 'hole' with white glue. When this had set I   painted it with a thick coat  of white paint  The  thick paint had the effect of settling in the 'corners' of the holes between the infilled apertures, thereby  giving a passable rendition of very small  roundhole pierced girder. These were cut to length, bent about and the married up with a piece of 1/350 ladderstock to complete the box structure assembly . The  outboard solid arms were cut from paper doubled over so that I ended up with symmetrical pairs, this paper again was infused with CA to make rigid. Stretched sprue  and scraps of PE completed the fwd boat crane assembly.
For the aft swing davits which needed considerable 'reach' to  clear the tumblehome when lowering boats  I again used my home-made pierced girders, but this time cut them to a tapered section with sharp scissors, bent them across a hole and then using stretched sprue added the upper part onto the davit. The final effect is quite pleasing and gives a good impression of  the tapered davits.
The steam boats were  adapted from  spare WEM resin items, they were given  different deckhouse and cockpit layouts as well as a more wineglass shape  stern. The remaining  boats are a mix of double-ended whalers  from WEM, spare Combrig and Modelkrak; all boats carved  about to give the wineglass stern and straight stem. Oars were added made of  stretched brown sprue.

The  small clipper-bow steam yacht , based loosely on an ex-yacht-now- houseboat  called  'Romance'  locally  to me  is seen here delivering some important dignitaries to the accommodation ladder.... She  was carved from a large  piece of scrap resin overpour, cockpit was hollowed out, brass coamings  and seating added as well as  a slender tall funnel.

The sailing workboat with the lateen-rig was inspired by photos, this  interesting vessel was adapted from a hull from the scrapbox,  floorboards were made of 'plank' PE , thwarts added  and the stubmast installed. The sail was  made of pencil line paneled  paper, bent into shape and infused  with CA before painting and  mounted onto a wire spar. The crew are perched around the windward side as there is very little  space midships because of her cargo of barrels of water (wine?)... The  rowing dinghy being towed astern was made from  another spare boat that I shortened by cutting in half and adding a new paper transom.

The Spanish Naval Ensign was made of printer  paper colored with artists colored pencils, these can be retropainted with using a brush with water. I applied a yellow stripe, then a piece of masking was stuck on, red pencil added and washed, the above process was repeated  holding the paper against a window for correct alignment to   the other side, thereafter  remove tape and cut out, resulting in a  custom flag. It only remained to add the crest, crease up and apply. I made a very small version indeed for the steam yacht also minus the crest.
 I had no really sharp and  clear photos the large crest at the stern,  so I made a crest resembling the real one as far as I could discern from scrap PE bits.

The four  large admiralty pattern anchors used were the  PE  kit items  which I was very impressed with!

The ship was mounted on my usual artists  watercolor paper base. The large mooring buoy was made of alloy  tube and furnished with a small PE ring according to photos. Virtually all railings  were GMM superfine gold plus colored with an indelible pen. The small awnings on the bridge  were made of thinned white glue dragged across the  frame edged prior  with sprue.
All rigging was stretched sprue applied with patience and a steady hand. The ratlines  and shrouds were originally intended to be the new WEM items, alas the  fighting tops were too high so I resorted to making them from wire shrouds and  and sprue foot-ropes.

A  mention must be made  of the Vinyl Tape used throughout the build of this model;
It is a small sheet of matt vinyl that has been slit into differing widths  ranging from  0.5mm upwards.
It is manufactured by BECC model accessories here in the UK and was supplied by Mr. Carpenter  of  CAMMET Ltd. It is available in a variety of colors.

The PELAYO  was a most challenging subject to research, there being much erroneous information around. I would not have been able to complete this model without the  gracious  and speedy help of the following people:

Santi Caro for supplying me with numerous books  and kindly translating great swathes of text as well as ALL the  picture captions.
Darius Mazurowski for putting me in touch  with Nick Mitiuckov author of book 'Pelayo'
Sergey Myagkov for express sending the above  book to me on trust!
Julio Pillet for sending me huge scans of the  plans from the Museum in Madrid!
Steve Backer  for looking up his  1887 naval annual  publication featuring the Pelayo to set my mind at rest about the capstans!
and many many others  who immediately  dug about in their reference piles to assist me with my quest for information


essential resources  and references when attempting to build the Pelayo!

Busques de la Armada Espanola  1849-1900                           Spanish  Ministry of defense
' El Acorazado Pelayo'                                                           Quiron Ediciones
Pelayo   by     Nick Mitiuckov /A.Anka   via Sergey      
Spanish American War website                                     
US Naval Historical  center website        Pelayo page    
Interesting deck views                                                   

More of Jim Baumann's work.