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Hubac's Historian

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About Hubac's Historian

  • Birthday 08/11/1973

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    New York City
  • Interests
    17th Century Naval Architecture, furniture design and construction with an emphasis on the Art Nouveau period, 20th Century architecture, wood carving, muscle cars, the Knicks, and early American longrifles.

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  1. It certainly is, in my opinion! There are probably something in the neighborhood of 30 really great and interesting builds going, on MSW. Because of the variety of subjects, it’s a difficult thing to objectively quantify, but Mark’s model is a top-7 build for me!
  2. Thank you, Henry! I agree with you on the trunnion notches; correcting this, though, meant adjusting the notches, as well as the under support, at this point, and the quoin elevation. For me - it wasn’t worth all of that. I am debating how to simulate the cap squares, or even whether I will do so. I’ma jump over to your build and see what you did. As always, thanks for weighing in!
  3. I, for one, am happy with the results! I love the attention to detail.
  4. The kit gun carriages are mini models unto themselves, comprised of 5 parts for each carriage. This is why I have opted to use simplified dummy carriages for the lower two decks, where they would be largely unseen, anyway. The main deck is another matter though. Because I have shifted the stock middle deck guns up to the main deck - and will continue that shift in increasing caliber, as I move upwards - I have an opportunity to do a little extra detailing on the 16 carriages that are ever likely to be seen. The added 1/2”+ of width across the decks kind of necessitates a little scaling up of the guns. The kit, for some reason, supplies you with 40 carriages, in this 24lb caliber, but I only need 28. Nevertheless, I made 4 extra to choose from. I will not mount any bow or stern chase guns, as this was not done, in practice, while the ship was in harbor. Much of the tedium involved in this process is cleaning away flash lines and truing up surfaces. A good number of my carriage base parts were notably warped, for some reason, and I had to heat them with a foil-wrapped (do NOT ****-off your wife;() curling iron, in order to flatten them. This sometimes left foil marks in the plastic, but they were on the bottom surface of the carriage base, and most of that was removed while truing on my emory stick. So, the first thing I wanted to do, as a detail enhancement, was to scribe in the stepped joint of the carriage sides. For this purpose, I made a two-sided scribing jig from white styrene, into which I also drilled a locating hole for the breeching rope hole. I didn’t actually drill through my jig, as that would quickly distort my jig. Instead I used an ordinary push-pin, through this marking hole, which the drill tip could easily find, afterwards: Although it wasn’t strictly necessary, because I only need to detail 16 carriages, I went ahead and scribed and drilled all of the carriage sides. The scribing process isn’t always super clean, so this gave me a wider pool from which to select. Ultimately, I divided the gun carriages into first-selects - group A - for the visible guns to be further detailed, and a B-group for those guns hidden behind the bulwarks. For assembly of the carriages, I found it easiest to glue one carriage side to the base, at a time, and allow a full cure time before attempting to glue the other side. This ensured that my carriage sides would remain at a 90 degree angle to the carriage base. As a side note, once the basic 3-part assembly was complete, I came back with my EXACTO, and broke the edges just a bit, with a few back-and-forth scrapes; my goal is always to reduce the plastic appearance of the kit, and super sharp edges read as “un-natural” to what you would see in real practice. Next, I attached the wheel trucks. The stock kit, provides alignment lines for each truck axle, on the underside of each carriage base. Unfortunately, the spacing is too close together and not reflective of actual practice. The forward truck should be positioned beneath the barrel trunnion, as this is the natural balance point of the gun barrel. The rear truck should be placed beneath the elevation quoin. The reality of this kit is that it is not strictly possible to exactly follow this geometry, because the aft wheels would, then, extend beyond the end of the carriage. I got it as close as I possibly could, however, and the visuals are, IMO, a vast improvement. The next steps involved hyper-detailing the truck wheels with pin wedges, made from styrene rod. This was really tedious because, in keeping with my process, I always come back and scrape away any excess glue. I feel that the effort is worth it, though, because any glue slop will telegraph through the paint and spoil all of your painstaking effort Finally, I incorporated the through-bolt iron work that holds the carriages together. I used .030 square styrene rod that I slivered with a razor blade, and then heat-flashed with a wand lighter; the heat-flash gives the slivers a little surface distortion that makes them resemble forged iron, IMO. At some point, in the future when I need another small-work project for the daytime, I will do the same for the quarter and f’ocsle deck guns. Meanwhile, in the evenings, I am very busily engineering the mounting base, upon which the model will be constructed; this involves a lot of structural re-enforcing to restore the rigidity that was compromised when I cut away my lower hull. The next photo montage will illustrate these first assembly stages of the model, as well as the initial framing for the scratch-build of the stern post and lower transom. All the best, and thank you for reading!😀
  5. I hear what you’re saying, Vic. It is a matter of preference, as you say. When I applied dullcoat, in my experiments, it seemed to rob the surface of all it’s life. The matte finish I have applied is somewhere between flat and the burnished effect I achieved after blending the VDB oil paint with the chip brush. That burnished surface has great warmth, but it really stretches the bounds of credulity. This, I felt, was a reasonable compromise. I could experiment, on my samples, with just dulling the wales, in order to see what that would look like. It’s only really the Ventre-de-Biche that I wish to preserve.
  6. Thank you very much EJ and Vic, and thank you to everyone else looking in and liking the process. I’m excited to get down to business! Tonight, I trued up the bottom edges of the lower hull (which still needed some flattening), while ensuring that my stem joint remained true. I will probably use a gap-filling epoxy to secure the hull to its base, because I don’t think I can reasonably eliminate the last sliver of daylight, in this joint, without compromising symmetry of the two hull halves. This weekend, I will lay-out the 1/16” styrene sheet that I’ve been “seasoning” (flattening) under the living room carpet for the past six months. I’ve also completed the basic assembly of the main deck gun carriages, and can now add all of the through-bolt detailing on the 16 guns that may ever even be partially visible.
  7. So, some bit of progress. The lower hull is completely painted! The most time-consuming aspect of this was getting good clean lines where the wales join the side planking. One of the peculiarities of the kit is that the wales are moulded with tremendous variation in their projection from the hull planking; around the bow, it’s almost 3/32”, but in other places, it’s a shy 1/32”. The important thing is that the line be clean, and not bleed onto the planking. I have had little success with masking, so the best way was to cut it in by hand. When I did bleed, I would quickly wipe away the mistake with a dampened Q-tip. If I noticed other irregularities, in process, I would very gently scrape away at the still-soft acrylic until the mistake disappeared. What was satisfying is that I found an application for all of the distressing mediums that I had bought to experiment with. The Van Dyke Brown oil paint was, of course, the main distressing agent. I found that the starboard side - which I distressed after doing the port side - was darker in appearance, so I had to then go a little darker on the port side. Rather than a full application of VDB, I applied small dabs with a Q-tip, in a sparse but well-distributed pattern, along the run of guns and between the wales. I then used my “dirty” chip brush to spread and blend the paint, evenly, across the surface. This was an easy solution to the problem, and quickly brought both sides into agreement. The walnut ink was the perfect distress medium, over the ModelMaster Insignia Red of the gunport linings. It was very easy to dial back the effect with a slightly damp brush, if the accumulation was too heavy. Lastly, I was able to muddy the spray-primed ultra-white waterline with two different Testors enamel stain washes; first, I brushed on a light layer of grey wash, and wiped off the excess with a Q-tip wrapped with a t-shirt scrap. I found that two applications of the grey - one after the other, with only a 5-minute set time in-between - gave me a satisfyingly lead-white color. To finish, though, I used a brown enamel wash, and only one coat was sufficient to give me the ring-around-the-ship effect of the vessel anchoring at what was likely a pretty polluted waterway, at Brest. This was one area where leaving the moulded kit grain was beneficial because the grain caught traces of the brown wash. The very last thing was to seal everything under a spray-coat of clear matte medium, which homogenized the two different kinds of black acrylic that I used for the port and starboard sides. So, now, I can begin laying out the mounting base and constructing the model - 🥳!!
  8. Although Blue Ensign doesn’t specifically say, my guess is that the yellow ocher paint he mixes with the PVA is an acrylic, as both acrylic and PVA are water based. There is latitude, here, to experiment with color. One could follow Blue Ensign’s protocol with yellow ocher, and then very lightly dry brush streaks of a faint grey acrylic/PVA mix - more along the perimeter of the sail - before drying the ModelSpan tissue. The difficulty, there, is that you will not yet have drawn in the sail cloths with pencil. Perhaps, though, you could suspend a paper pattern beneath your box opening to help guide you in your distressing efforts. Having never attempted this before, I’m not sure what that would actually look like, but it’s worth a little research (into realistic sail weathered appearance) and experimentation, IMO. The question of how many reef points to include is one that probably varies by nation and time period. I am interested in 17th C. French ships, and they appeared to employ a single band of reef points on the main and fore sails, for example, and two bands on the topsails. As a general rule of thumb, probably one reef point per sail cloth is a reasonable guide. Generally, though, I try to reference the best known contemporary examples of my type of ship, in both portraits and models. As for affixing the reef points, a single knot to both sides of the sail will keep them in place, and I am thinking that a mixture of dilute PVA glue will allow you to drape them in a realistic way. The best and easiest thing you might try first, though, is to PM Blue Ensign. I have found virtually everyone here to be exceedingly helpful whenever I have reached out.
  9. Hello, Johnathan. Excellent progress on your Alabama! If you would like to save yourself $200, and almost certainly achieve a degree of scale realism that will match or exceed the efforts of any professional sail maker, then I will refer you to the following build by Blue Ensign. This is one of the finest plastic kit-bash projects that I have found on MSW, and he provides a full tutorial of his sailmaking technique, using ModelSpan tissue. The process is not complicated, and I will eventually be using this technique on my build:
  10. You are certainly welcome Christopher! And, yes, I’m sure there will be a certain amount of trial and error in making card templates - particularly for the main and quarter deck balcony rails which will have to follow the camber of the stock kit stern windows that I am re-cycling. I may even be able to extend, and thereby salvage the QD stern balcony because I have an extra one and the balusters are a simple, repeating element. I wish I were capable of sweet KISS(es), Chris, but all I do is S entences L ingering O ver B reakfast B usiness (&) E arly R etreat (to bed)
  11. Thank you, everyone for your likes, your comments and for looking in! What’s interesting to me, EJ, is that these sets of drawings were created for approval, first, so there is every likelihood that the actual construction varied, somewhat from the drawings. The models, though, are a different story. Before 1700, there aren’t many (if any?) contemporary models that still exist. It isn’t until the late 1820s into the 1830s that the Musee de la Marine, under the direction of Admiral Paris, makes a serious effort to re-construct the best examples of each rate, from the time of the Second Marine, in the early 1690s, when the practice of French naval architecture finally begins to coalesce into a codified discipline. This is where Paris’s Souvenirs De Marine come from. For his part as the head model maker, at that time, Tanneron was tasked with making models of at least the four primary rates; hence we now have La Capricieux (a fourth rate, of uncertain date to me), L’Agreable and Le Brillant (both dated to 1827), and finally culminating with Soleil Royal (1834). Additionally, for each of these rates, a series of mostly un-planked frame models were made to better illustrate the underlying structure of Soleil Royal, Le Brillant, La Capricieux, among others. It appears likely that Tanneron’s sources would have been concentrated around this time of the birth of the Second Marine, and the choice of subjects appears to reflect that. For Soleil Royal, though, where there are conflicting sets of ornamentation, it appears to me that Tanneron struck a compromise between what was known of the early First Marine (open quarter galleries, for example), and the Louis Quinze model, which was a near contemporary of the re-constructed Soleil Royal (1693): Concurrent with the Musee’s efforts, at this time, other contemporary marine artists of the 1830s and the decades following, helped to broaden the revival and stoke interest in the baroque shipbuilders’ art. August Meyer gave us Le Foudroyant of 1723, in colors: And Christian Molsted would eventually paint several excellent portraits of the Danish ship Christianus Quintus: Above at the Battle of Koge Bay in 1677, and below - perhaps of the same action: I would love to speak with someone at the Musee, in order to obtain a better understanding of Tanneron, and the sources for his work. Unfortunately, the Musee has remained largely un-responsive the last several times I have sent email inquiries. Years ago, they sent me the following collection of imagery, which Victor Yankovic (who had made his own inquiries) was gracious to forward to me, more recently: It came, though, with no explanation or context. It seems as though one must arrange a sit-down meeting at the Musee, in order to get any clear information about the collection. I wish a trip to France were in the offing for me, but that will have to wait until my kids are done with college!

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