'Many photographs and helpful building hints for this kit from beginning to end...' Tower Hobbies, New York

'Excellent site, must see for builders of ANY kit'. 'Wooden Ship' Yahoo Group

This site documents the construction of the 'San Juan Nepomuceno'. The original ship was a 74-gun Spanish navio ('ship-of-the-line') that fought against Admiral Nelson's fleet at the legendary Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Sailing as the last of the Franco-Spanish line, she was caught between the British Royal Navy ships Dreadnought, Polyphemus and Prince. Severely damaged and with 250 casualties, she surrendered to Dreadnought and so became one of 18 ships captured by the British that day. After the battle she was patched up at Gibraltar, before sailing to the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham, England, to be repaired and adopted by the Royal Navy as the 'San Juan'. The version you see here is somewhat smaller, a 1:90 scale model supplied as a kit by Artesania Latina.

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The aim of this site is to help fellow modellers if they are thinking of purchasing this kit, or have got stuck and want to see how someone else did it. It should also be useful to those building other wooden kits, as a lot of the techniques will be the same or similar - especially if their kit is by Artesania. The site is designed with talented beginners and intermediate modellers in mind, and nautical jargon is kept to a working minimum. 

It's mostly photographic but with comments and tips as appropriate. It does not replace the instruction book but accompanies it, so there's more about the tricky bits and less on the straightforward parts. Hopefully it will answer those minor yet vital snags that arise unexpectedly. The pictures were taken at interesting or satisfying points in the model's construction, and show things exactly as they were - nothing has been altered or tidied up. They are divided into pages of thumbnails, each of which you can click on to see a larger picture and relevant comments. The resulting model is almost as the makers intended, but with some minor embellishments and improvements. 

My first project, the 'Cutty Sark' from Constructo, invariably prompted the question: 'How long did it take?' I had absolutely no idea, so this time I logged each session over the course of the 18-month build time from April 2000 to October 2001. The answer, as near as I can ascertain it, is 305 hours. So for a kit that cost £220, the price is only 72p for each hour of fascination, confusion, satisfaction, exasperation, pleasure and final victory that together yield an heirloom.

I hope you enjoy this site and find it useful. The 120 main photographs are 70-100 Kb each and the whole site is about 12.6 Mb. To save surfing you can download and print just the text, or for a nominal sum the entire site can be posted to you on CD-R. To find a specific subject look in the site index.

 Thumbnail Gallery 1:

 Framework, decks and hull planking

 Thumbnail Gallery 4:

 Masts and standing rigging

 Thumbnail Gallery 2:

Secondary planking, cannon ports and  ornamentation

 Thumbnail Gallery 5:

 Yards, sails and running rigging

 Thumbnail Gallery 3:

Deck fittings, stand, lower deadeyes and  rowing boat

 Thumbnail Gallery 6:

 Views of the finished model



Quick links take you straight to some of the most useful pages:


Before you start





Display case


Text-only site

Site index





History: Find out more about the Battle of Trafalgar:


Battle map Franco-Spanish fleet British Fleet



Feedback is welcome: please e-mail with your own experiences of this model and what you think of this site. Was it useful? Could it contain anything else to assist? 



Useful reading: 'The Period Ship Handbook', a series of three books by Keith Julier, covering the building of many different kits together with useful text and lots of clear drawings. Ideal for novice and intermediate modellers. For a full history see 'Trafalgar: Napoleon's Naval Waterloo' by René Maine, Thames and Hudson, 1957.


Copyright notice: All design and content of this site is copyright of the author. The images and text are free for non-commercial use; if you wish to copy pictures or text to others please quote www.sanjuannepomuceno.co.uk as the source. For commercial use, publishing or advertising, please ask using the Contact button above Member of model ship directory