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Hubac's Historian

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  1. Hi Daniel, I’m a member of the Shipcraft Guild of New York City. Depending upon where you live in Jersey, we are probably not too far from each other. We could always make room for a visitor a future meeting, in Brooklyn. As for the demonstration - spoiler alert - the actual technique is dead-simple and virtually fail-proof. I will be doing samples with two different washes over two different surfaces; the stock raised grain, as well as the grain sanded away so that the coarse-grit scratches become the wood structure/grain. The latter provides the better, more realistic result, IMO, but both are pleasing. There will be pictures I took of Herbert Thomesan’s work on the Texel diorama, as he is the one who taught me this distressing method. Much of the discussion will center on surface prep, paint compatibility issues, and different effects. The 10 minutes allotted, should just about cover what I have to say about it. Maybe one of my club members will record the session on my phone, and I will post it here, afterwards. As of now, I’ve made decent progress with painting the port side; I’ve painted in the bootcap and have begun blacking in the wales; all of my simulated iron work shows nicely under the paint. The starboard side is base-coated and distress washed through the waist, but I have paused the distress washing so that there is a good visual contrast for the Joint Clubs, and to allow the oil paint a chance to cure. So, I will be bringing the model along, even if nothing is assembled.
  2. Please don’t ask me the specifics, because I don’t know, but there are environmental regulations that determined what exactly the spray environment needed to be and how they disposed of the excess polyester resin. To bring that portion of the factory up to code was going to be cost prohibitive, at the time, because the company was experiencing a significant dip in sales. If peak production meant that the company was selling 11-12 pianos a week, when I started in ‘05, they were down to 7-8 pianos sold when I left in ‘09. They just weren’t selling enough pianos to support that shift, at the time. I will end this train, here, so that we can get back to talking about Chuck’s model, which really is fabulous. Bravo! I look forward to seeing his work at Joint Clubs next week.
  3. Hi Bob - excellent finish tutorial. Had to butt-in on the Steinway comment. I was a pattern maker there for a number of years. Steinways are lacquer finished; sprayed in successive coats until there is really quite a thick film. Sprayed pianos go into a temperature controlled drying room for a number of weeks, for the finish to fully cure. The surface is then wet-sanded in successively finer grits until leveled and to a satin sheen. A hand applied compound provides the final soft sheen. Pianos can be ordered with a mirror polish. This is ultimately achieved with compound and a rotary buffer, after the initial sanding. They really lay that lacquer down thick! While I was there, there was a lot of talk about switching to polyester, but it was going to be expensive to get up to NY code, and the finish, when damaged, is not easily repairable. Polyester film also lacks the “feel” of lacquer; it can literally be plastic-y.
  4. Hello, Jan! There was no caption, but towards the back of the book, there was an acknowledgments page that referenced the Parker Gallery. Now, in an amazing display of promptness, I had an email response from Mr. Archie Parker, this morning. I sent him thumbs and everything else I knew about the portrait, which all came from this citation in the Robinson annotated collection of VDV works: This Robinson citation seemed to reference Euston Hall as the, then (1980, I believe was the publication date for these Robinson volumes), location of the portrait. However, the citation also references Parker Gallery in the late 60’s, and the subsequent sale and ensconcement at St. Malo. Last year, I contacted Euston Hall, but the art director, there, had no idea, or records of the painting ever being in their collection A little later, this afternoon, Mr. Parker wrote back to me to inform me that he had checked Parker Gallery’s records, but unfortunately, their sale records do not stretch back prior to the 1970’s, and they do not appear to have any archival photos of the portrait either. Mr. Parker could not have been more gracious, and he promised to contact me, should the painting surface in the future; he “flagged” me in their system. So, in the meantime, I am back to square one, only with a slightly less grainy image. My next move will be to attempt to track down any art historians, in residence, at St. Malo. This is a significant portrait, in it’s own right (regardless of my personal interest in it), so there is some likelihood that it may have been loaned from private collection, at some point, for public exhibition. Maybe someone has some ideas about that, somewhere. ’Gonna keep digging. Like the actual remains of SR, buried beneath a parking lot at Cherbourg, this painting must be hiding somewhere.
  5. My observation of trends in French naval architecture is that the open, lower stern balcony (middle deck level) is an artifact of the early First Marine. Apparently, their (relatively) fragile construction left them open to damage from a strong following sea. By the time of the St. Philippe, this stern balcony would merely be a vestigial “false” balcony, projecting only far enough from the face of the stern to serve as a supporting ledge to the corbels that support the open balcony above, on the main deck level. What is interesting to me, on the other hand, is that Mr. Lemineur has chosen to represent the “balcony” of the quarter deck level, also as a vestigial fascia, as opposed to a shortened balcony that does not wrap to the quarters. The original drawing does suggest as much, but the French loved their balconies, which were also much admired by the English.
  6. Thank you, EJ, I am keeping my fingers crossed. I sent an initial enquiry to the Parker Gallery last night. It turns out they are art dealers and not a museum, but someone there may still have a clue, if even 39 years later. Thank you Heinrich for all of your excellent picture references; you are so good about including them in your posts, and I appreciate them. I have been curious about the Citadel paints for a while, and the staff at the Warhammer shop, here in New York, seem particularly knowledgeable. At some point, when I’m passing through there, I will stop in and ask them their thoughts on ver-de-gris paint effects. As for the full rig, I will pull out all of the stops when I get to the fully visible guns. The guns below deck are mostly concealed, so all of the extra effort to rig them and paint the interiors, etc, seems wasted. I appreciate the quality and effort of Dafi’s build, but most of it, for all intents and purposes, will only exist in pictures, once all of the decks are in. I prefer to spend time detailing what can be seen. Heinrich, you raise many good points regarding the carriages and their wheels. I think that Dafi’s display is probably the most likely and sensible. If navies were to also paint the treads of the wheels, the deck would soon be streaked in red, or yellow, or whatever. So, carriages would be painted, yes I think, but wheels not. The issue as to whether the French would be diligently polishing their bronze, at all times, is a tricky one. Heinrich, again, makes a sound argument for patination because these ships of the Premier Rang Extraordinaire were most often in-active. And as they were moored along the Penfeld (or Rochfort, Toulon, etc) as SR was for the first 18 years of her existence, the French often neglected the basic maintenance required to keep the ships well aired and dry. Consequently, SR was rotten well before her eventual re-build and involvement in any real action. It seems unlikely, though, that SR had her guns actually mounted for very much of those 18 years, as the need to equip other active ships would be more pressing, and there must have been some recognition that the weight of those batteries would be detrimental to the ship, if she were just laid up in ordinary. So, if the guns weren’t blazing from some other ship, they were probably being stored in the arsenal, and being left to the whims of the sea air. My preference is for a light patina, primarily because I think it will make visible these beautifully moulded details, that I would be hard pressed to re-create, at this scale. Also, though, bronze patination, or “rust” is a different animal than iron oxidation. Rusty iron guns are dangerous and in-operable. I don’t exactly know this to be a fact, but it seems unlikely that discoloration of bronze would negatively affect the operation of the guns. Lastly, light ver-de-gris calls attention to the fact that SR's guns were bronze. Much as I think it looks cool, I don’t think I’d go as green as Herbert did on the guns fir his Texel model.
  7. Thanks, Dan. They’ll look even better in ver-de-gris patina; all of SR’s guns were bronze. And I’m cautiously optimistic that if I get the green wash right, you’ll even be able to see the tiny fleur-de-lis that are moulded onto the barrels.
  8. As I often do, whenever I’m passing through, I stopped at The STRAND today. I can’t overstate the joy I experienced, after I started leafing through this book: No Index mentions of Soleil Royal, but a whole series for the Battle of Barfleur. And, then I got to page 114: WAIT!! WHAT’s THAT?!! Is that the portrait I’ve been searching for the past year? WHY, YES IT IS!!!! Still grainy AF, but about twice the caption size as I first found in the Robinson annotated volume of VDV drawings. Now - I will readily admit that this better picture still does not confirm my theories, but it does more strongly suggest that I am on the right path. And at least now I know where this portrait resided in 1980: The Parker Gallery. Maybe, by some stroke of luck, it’s still there. If not, they may be able to point me in the right direction to where it is now. If they can’t, or they aren’t permitted to say whose private collection it resides in, then perhaps, they still have quality archival photographs of the painting! So, the trail is hot again! I told you I’d find it out there, somewhere, TD! I thought it would be the internet’s tentacles that would bring her to me, but for now, maybe it’s good old print carrying the day.
  9. Yes, I made a poor assumption; your shipyard is full! Colbert would be jealous! I like your layout techniques. It’s a fine start to the drawing.
  10. Thank you to everyone for your likes, comments and looking in. So, it is a bit of a process, but it appears that the effort to insert a filler of .030 styrene sheet between moulded halves of the 36lb guns, of the lower battery, will be worth it. The uptick in heft is definitely discernible. Initially, the bore at the muzzle is a little oblong, but a little judicious reaming takes care of that: The cascabel has been ground away to seat nicely in the 3/16” holes that I drilled into poplar stock for my dummy carriages. This past week, I made 1” blocks from this stock that were painted black and drilled at the appropriate height for the lower and middle batteries. For added strength, I will later add a steel (sewing) pin into the back of each barrel, in order to give the glue a little something extra to hold onto. I will probably also shave away the trunnions, as they no longer are needed, and would only be distracting, if seen. The idea behind dummy carriages was that I wanted to be able to easily install the guns toward the end of the build, and I was hoping to avoid the 5-piece carriage assemblies until the upper decks. Well, that should keep me busy for a while!
  11. It sounds, to me, like the best way to proceed. You will have to decide, though, whether you intend to represent the six stern lights, plus a door opening in the center. You could - if you were set on the idea of wanting to build a full-hull model - work within the confines of the Heller kit architecture. If you stuck to Heller’s scaling, when you recreate the window/door openings, that will result in two stern lights to either side of the central doorway. In my opinion, though, this would be a less than ideal approximation. The other consideration is that the profusion of so many large figurative sculptures demands a wider platform than the Heller architecture can provide; the stock kit of Soleil Royal seems impossibly tall and too narrow, as it is. Nevertheless, You could simply trace the stock outline of the stern and lower transom, and then attempt to fit scaled-down spacing that will allow for the seven openings that are required. I suspect, though, that the impression this creates will be even less ideal than the five openings option. That’s a quick enough thing to lay out, though, just to see for yourself. My thinking is that to really do this - one would be well served by chopping away the lower hull and increasing the breadth of the hull, at the bow. I don’t think it’s really feasible to add more than the 5/8”, overall, as I did at the bow of my build; at that dimension, I had to do some tricky heat bending to get the extensions to mate, without simultaneously spoiling the rounding of the bow. Those extensions, though, make it possible to set your stern transom at whatever width is necessary to accommodate your new window/door layout. I needed 1/2”+, but you could probably muster 3/4” without anything seeming exaggerated. In the end, you will have to go to considerable lengths to produce a good scale impression of the RL, from the SR kit. This kind of modification build is (much) less about strict adherence to the actual scale and dimension of the original RL, as it is a balance between what is close enough to correct that it strikes an overall impression of being right; this is all a highly scientific approach that I call “Fudgery”; cheat a little here, get that exactly right, subtract that entirely, and then add back all of these missing details. And, then, VOILA - a reasonable facsimile of the Royal Louis of 1668. This raises the question, of course, as to where you will obtain the necessary scrap hull to make these extensions. Would you purchase a third SR kit, or would you sacrifice the St. Philippe project for the sake of Royal Louis? Sometimes you can find partially built kits on EBAY for a reasonable price. Something to consider, anyway.
  12. I love the attention to detail! You will never regret all of the effort you have expended getting this, oh so right; not the trials, not the errors, and not the extra, extra. It may give you pause though, when considering the armament of your next project 😀
  13. Overall, my width increase amounts to a heavy 1/2”, almost 9/16”. That is what was required to add in the missing sixth stern light. Was it the saw safety guard that stopped you?
  14. My only guess at the rationale for it would be that more nails would minimize movement between layers of the lid - stabilizing it, much the same way that glue does for alternating layers of plywood. You would definitely want the lids to close securely, but open easily enough. Maybe this construction facilitated that.
  15. Hey Guys, With regard to the Vasa lid - the shiny appearance of the lid lining is the result of the last step of PEG preservation; museum conservators used hot air guns to melt away excess PEG from every wooden surface of the ship. The resulting shiny patina of the linings matches that of the rest of the ship. I presume that the linings are made of the same oak as the hull planking, albeit in a thinner scantling. When I saw the Vasa, around 2000, I don’t recall noticing anything unusual about the lid linings. To my eye, metalic linings would have seemed unusual. I am far from an expert, though. These are just my observations. The other consideration is that the individual plank seams on the Vasa lid lining are clearly visible; if they were sheathed in metal, it stands to reason that they would not be.
  16. I am doubtful of that, Dan. I’m not sure you would have the practical means of hammering out uniform sheets of copper, for this purpose, at this early stage in the 17th C. I think what you are looking at is the patinated surface of the preserved lid liner, after it’s 20-year poly-ethylene glycol bath. If they were copper, or had there been copper there, I think you would see evidence of ver-de-gris staining of the lids and surounding timber.
  17. A reasonable question, Dan. I’m not sure that I have an answer to the issues of compression/drilling, etc. Yet a field of lid-liner nails appears to be a documented detail of 17th C. practice. the Vasa: And the modern reconstruction of Batavia: I’m sure if I search my image database, I could pull up a few VDV, the Elder portraits that show the detail in the 1650’s. Perhaps Lemineur takes artistic license, but maybe not as much as it may seem. If anything, I am surely under-representing them.
  18. I think a few things are worth considering for this approach. First, I think it would be most advantageous - for the subsequent thinning and shaping of the keel and stem - if the visible portions of the keel, as well as those portions where the plastic hull joins it, are made from solid wood. You will never be able to convincingly conceal the fact that you have carved through the outer layers of plywood to form your new keel shape; not without a mess of epoxy fillers, anyway. A solid wood keel can be carved back cleanly, and the longest stretch of it, beneath the hull, can even be reduced on a router table, if you were to make a sled for the hull that maintains a parallel relationship between the keel and fence. However many passes it takes to achieve this safely, and then turn the sled, and repeat on the other side. The drawback of this approach is that the stem and sternpost will still have to be carved by hand. This is an advantage, though, if you intend to taper the stem and sternpost as eould have been done in full scale. My suggestion would be to edge glue solid stock to plywood of an appropriate thickness - which would, in effect, serve as a sort of central bulkhead former, up to the main deck level. This approach would even enable you to mimic the appropriate joinery of where the stem and sternpost meet the keel. Now, speaking to the problem of the rise of the stern deadwood - I think your cut line needs to be as close to the flat as you can make it. If you have access to one, the easiest way to achieve this would probably be to sand it off with a machine table belt sander. You could also probably rig up another kind of router sled and get even better results. Now, even if you are a little bit off with the deadwood - as long as you have very carefully removed the keel from the rounded portions of the hull, you should end up with a nicely mating joint to your new keel former for approx. 75% of the hull. Any discrepancies along the stern deadwood could, perhaps, be backed by sections of your expansion-foam plug. A resin-based epoxy filler could then fill-in any discrepancies and be faired back into the hull form. If there are big gaps, you will have to be careful to select a filler that does not kick off with too much heat, or you must take extra time to fill the gap in stages.
  19. I have certainly sacrificed scale accuracy for detail, and some sense of depth, on the carvings. Little by little, though, technique improves. I appreciate the thought, EJ.
  20. What you are doing is the extra effort required of making an exceptional model. Really impressive work!!

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