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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. Hello Heirich! The funny thing is that I did a GOOGLE search for “Versailles de la Mer,” because I had mentioned someday writing a book by that name. Well, this German title is what I discovered, so it appears someone beat me to the copywrite. Based on the review you linked to, it certainly sounds like it has some useful data for mining! I was at my father’s, this weekend, and I brought home with me all of the kit decking, as well as the lower gun-deck cannon barrels, and all of the port lids. These are perfect small work projects to bring to work with me. All of SR’s guns would have been bronze, and with that in mind, I will work up a darker bronze basecoat, over which I will apply a semi-transparent ver-de-gris wash. I have an idea that maybe I can improve the scale of the kit barrels by sandwiching .030 styrene sheet between the halves. Because the kit barrels have wonderful detailing with beautiful fleur-de-lis ornaments cast onto the barrels. I think the ver-de-gris will catch these details. I’m still busily painting the lower hull. I have the port side painted and distress-washed, but none of the wales, or other details picked out yet. Over a large surface area, the color and tonal qualities of the VDB are exactly what I was hoping for. It really looks great. I have signed on to do a table demonstration of this technique at the North East Joint Clubs meeting in New London, CT, on Saturday April 27th. I will be using the kit upper decks to demonstrate just how easy it is to apply a few different types if washcoat, and the instantaneous and near effortless patina that results. I may or may not bring the actual hull because it still won’t be assembled into anything stable, at that point. Nevertheless, I would be able to transport her in her new custom drydock/build-box. It would be a fun time to really introduce the project to a wider audience, so I will consiser that, as the conference draws near. If any of you will be attending, stop by my demonstration table and say “hello.”
  2. Doris’s update: Well, since I saw you last, I’ve completely armed the whole ship - proofmarks and All. All of the upper decks have been framed and laid with their accompanying bulkheads and deck railings. I’ve also decorated said bulkheads, fabricated and installed all of the driftrails, and completed the lighting. I’ve also pressed the extra crew from the Caroline into service for her sea trials. It has been a busy morning! My update: Well, since I saw you last, I’ve opened a jar of paint. It was a stubborn lid, and I had to run it under the hot tap to soften the dried paint. More to follow. Thanks for looking in! As ever, I have never been happier to be shamed with your prolific output and pace; it is a joy to see the Katherine rise. I continue to be inspired by your innate sense of scale and proportion. When I look at the ornament of the upper bulwarks, it seems to me that there is a perfect balance between the heraldic ornaments against the blackness of their ground; they are also appropriately shallow, relative to the gunport wreathes and window embellishments. It all looks impossibly realistic to me! And, yet, there it is. Well done, Doris!
  3. Hi Heinrich! In all likelihood, I will make my decks from styrene sheet that I scribe in with plank lines and joints, and then scratch the surface with coarse sandpaper for wood grain. I liked one of my lighter paint work ups, and think it would make for a realistic looking deck. I think I used walnut wash on that sample, instead of the VDB. I will build this model with all guns blazing. No closed ports. I will not spend any time fitting out interior cabins, though. I am very familiar with Dafi’s excellent Victory, but I do not wish to take it to that level. It might be interesting to do a larger scale model (maybe 1:50) of the coffered great cabin ceiling, which could be displayed alongside the diorama. During the survey of the ship, in 1688, a sketch of this ceiling was made with descriptions of the various portraiture, labeled A-G. If I could somehow get a sense for what those portraits might have looked like, then maybe I could re-create them, in miniature, in their corresponding panels of the ceiling. At least, with this pesentation, one would really be able to see and get a sense for how the interior of these great ships was fitted out. I, too, am not that thrilled with the kit gun barrels because they are too spindly and lack the appropriate scale. Someone once referenced an excellent source for model ship chandlery that had really excellent representations of Soleil Royal’s cannons. I thought to order an assortment of scales to see which might look best at each level of the battery. Of course, that link is buried somewhere in the 26 pages of this build-log. I will have to take a look. I only need dummy barrels for the lower and middle decks. The main thing is the scale of the guns. All Van de Velde portraits give an excellent sense for the heft of the artillery, and Heller’s efforts fall far short, here. For reference, Doris is now completing the artillery for her excellent Royal Katherine. Everything about her guns is spectacular, and frankly - amazing. But the thing that is most satisfying, IMO, is the scale; her guns look right, poking out from the ship’s sides. Michel Saunier and Marc Yeu went partners on a series of cannon for their respective SR builds. The scales they are working in are different, but the castings they ultimately produced are magnificently detailed and correspond exactly to the one remaining gun from SR. Again, though, for this project I think that is going a bit further than I am willing. The hull will be mounted to 1/16” styrene sheet and re-enforced from within. It is not necessary to use anything so heavy as 1/2” stock.
  4. Really an interesting model, and very nice detail work. I will gladly follow along.
  5. Jan, thank you for posting that link to the Airfix Prince; really a wonderful model. This is one that I started modifying over ten years ago, but then our first child came, and that was the end of hobby time. Because of the relative scale difference, I have considered converting the Prince to represent the fire ship, in my diorama, that sets Soleil Royal ablaze; that idea, though, would require me to pierce my ship with cannon shot, and to generally represent the savagry of the battle. Well, I want her to look a little grimy, but I don’t think I can go that far. Like you, EJ, I had long been accustomed to thinking of forecastle and quarter deck planking that is nibbed into the margin plank. The purpose of doing this is to prevent long, thin plank ends that taper to a sharp point, as these areas would be particularly prone to rot. I began to notice, though, that the Tanneron models, as well as the best modern arsenal models show continuous strakes of deck planking that taper towards the bow and stern. Here are the decks of Le Brilliant: This is also a prominent feature of the St. Philippe mongraph: Later, when I go home, I will see whether Mr. Lemineur offers any insight into what appears to be a particularly French design feature.
  6. Hello Heinrich, You are right that I will save time by not fitting out the interior, in the style of Dafi’s Victory, for example. I am tempted, though, to fabricate cable bitts and the cable manger just for the hell of it. The hull will be mounted to a 1/16” styrene platten that will be gussetted (I’ve already made a series of gusset patterns that follow the interior shape of the hull, up to the lower gun deck level), and cross-braced to resist the wracking forces of the masting and rigging. I’m pretty sure that I can still use the kit-supplied lower decks by simply separating the outboard gun sections from the inboard section, to accomodate the increased breadth of the hull. It will all be securely fixed to styrene “beams” which will give the structure added rigidity. I will carry on like that up to the main deck level, which will be completely scratch-built, with the appropriate camber and layout of plank shifts, with their strakes tapering narrower fore and aft. There are many custom alterations and additions that are yet to come; among them, I plan to represent the ship’s stoves beneath the forecastle deck. I will make period appropriate deck railings, as opposed to the 19th century clipper ship railings that come with the kit. All visible guns will be rigged. The ship will be alive with figures, etc and so forth.
  7. Voila: https://www.wettringer-modellbauforum.de/forum/index.php?page=Thread&threadID=28516&pageNo=26
  8. It is interesting that raising the load waterline above the lowest sweep of the lower main wale dramatically improves the appearance of the lower hull. And don’t worry - there will be no knee kicking. To me, whatever it is that others attempt to do with the kit is fascinating. A few others have mentioned that they might attempt the Royal Louis or the Monarque of 1668, using the Heller shells. If I can find them again - I think the model resides on a German forum - I’ll post links to a truly spectacular Flying Dutchman that one extremely talented modeler made from the Heller kit. All the figure reliefs have been skeletonized, in ingenious fashion and design. The mold and moss truly look like they’re growing from rotten timber. Maybe, sometimes, plastic modeling isn’t afforded the same credibility as wood, on ship modeling sites, but this model is truly a work of art. I will look for it.
  9. Heinrich - thank you for your kind words! Yes, I have also seen this weathered version of the kit, and it seems as though the modeler has done a similar wash and wipe with oil-based Van Dyke Brown, or something similarly dark. It still looks good - even without scraping off the raised grain - but I prefer the texturing and shading that the coarse sand paper imparts. I will be using two shades of blue; most of the frieze backdrop will be a lighter Cerulean blue, which in the 17th Century would be derived from copper salts. I will make sparing use of Ultra-Marine to highlight various aspects of the lower frieze and tafferal. I will not, however, “gild” all mouldings and ornamental work, as a matter of preference; even if that’s what would have likely been done to the real ship, I think it comes off as a little bit overwhelming; all that painstaking work gets lost in a sea of gold. Instead, the frieze lattice and most upper bulwark port frames will be done in yellow ocher, with a very light distress wash of walnut ink stain. Gold will be reserved for the ornaments, themselves, because I think this presentation will make them pop more. I have brought the model home, now, and I will resume painting soon. Maybe tonight, even. I am also making a protective build-box to completely house the model, until I get into the masting and rigging phase. Ironically, though, I will make the lower sections of each mast (in wood) fairly early on, so that I can step and rake them properly, and play with the proportions until I am satisfied with the run of the shrouds and the heights of the lower tops.
  10. Thank you for that link, Heinrich! The discussion of the gammoning was a little hard to follow because Google Translate does less well with German, than say, French. As far as the Heller kit is concerned, I think that it would be perfectly sufficient to raise the load waterline a solid 1/4”, so that it stands within 5 scale feet of the lowest gun port. This will improve the proportions of the lower hull, while still remaining safely clear of the gammoning. You can, of course, take your conversion project to whatever extremes you wish, but I think it may ultimately be less frustrating/more satisfying to accept certain constraints of the kit architecture. To, in other words, build a more impressionistic model of the SP, as opposed to a rigorously accurate one. With Cedric’s conversion to La Reyne, for example, it is his intention to correct the sheer of the decks/run of the guns, the layout and number of guns, as well as the forward sheer of the wales. All of this will necessitate some tricky reconstruction, at the main deck level, with a complete scratch build of the upper bulwarks - not to mention, a total reconstruction of the head. This last bit would be necessary, in any approach, because the structure and arrangement of the head knees and rails on La Reyne of 1672 is totally different from SR or SP in 1689-1693. All of this is not strictly impossible, but it is certainly a very challenging project. I, for one, am fascinated to see whether he follows through on some or all of that bacause doing so will almost surely introduce a number of ingenious solutions and techniques to bring those changes to fruition. Even if he were not to go to those extremes, however, I do believe it is absolutely possible to build a good impressionistic model of La Reyne with the Heller kit. I was, as a side note, really amazed with the German forum builder who converted the Heller Victory into the Commerce de Marseilles. I’m not a student of the Trafalgar era, but that looked mighty convincing to my eyes! In the end, the project has to remain fun, in order to sustain your interest and get to the finish line. I wish the best for you and your model, and I’ll be watching every step of the process.
  11. An interesting observation about the joint lines of the cutwater; when I get to that part, I might just fill the stock joint lines with putty; sand the whole surface level; and, finally, scribe in new interlocking joint lines that more appropriately follow the shape of the cutwater. It’s just one of those things about the Heller kit that doesn’t jump out as completely wrong until you really look at it. Good catch! I still don’t think the gammoning should be submerged, though. Heinrich, can you please post a link to your German forum? I’d like to read the discussion, there.
  12. Hello Heinrich, Well, you have many interesting ideas and techniques to test out; your scrap hull should be an excellent testing ground for your experiments. With regard to the hawser insert piece, it always annoyed me that it doesn’t fair smoothly into the rest of the hull - even though the plank lines align, as though the planking strakes are continuous. And they would be in full-scale. For my model, I took a little extra time to scribe a rebate into the aft edge of the hawser insert, as well as a diminishing to nothing rebate into the top and bottom edges from aft to forward, so that the hawser insert would flow smoothly into the rest of the hull. This is time well spent, as the visible step that remains from a “stock” assembly only contributes to the plastic-y feel of the finished model; like a hugely exaggerated flash line.
  13. Thanks, Mark! The name started out as a bit of alliterative fun, but 26 pages later it has sort of become true. Thank you for taking the time to read through all of my tangents.
  14. Hey Mark! No apologies are necessary; you are getting in on the lower deck, so to speak, as far as the actual build is concerned. I’m glad to see you here, and I hope the project will remain interesting to you, as it evolves. I’m in Brooklyn, now, and still settling in, so there hasn’t been any ship work, as yet. We have a club meeting next week, though, and I’ll be picking her up then, if not sooner. Thank you to all for your likes, comments and looking in!

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