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Le Soleil Royal by Nwanda - Heller - Plastic - Scale 1/100


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In a moment of over enthusiasm I bought and have started building Hellers huge 1/100 scale Soleil Royal. Internet reviews indicated that the kit may have a few problems - I can confirm that it has a myriad of issues. As I am building this for myself I am allowing a fair amount of artistic licence (In other words I have no better idea than anyone else of what the original really looked like)

 

First the obligatory box shot for those who have not seen the kit:

 

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And contents:

 

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Construction started with the hull - all the gun ports for the lower battery and battery decks are closed off:

 

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Then prime and paint the hull:

 

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After the initial work, I really looked at the smaller parts. Oh Dear! The blocks are horrible, the dead eyes are sad and worst off all, the kit is warped and fit is iffy at best. The instructions are in French, which is a mystery to me, but even for French speakers I would venture that they are vague ....

 

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And did I mention some fit issues?

 

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In order to address the lack of ring bolts, I had to think out of the box. With the SA Rand being very weak, the option of buying custom mades from overseas was too expensive. Luckily my local haberdashery had these (I believe generally used for ladies unmentionables):

 

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With the application of a pair of side cutters, I had 150 eyebolts at a cost of R6 - which I would have had to pay about R200 for if ordered off of the internet. The end result:

 

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Started on the gilding - I used a Sharpies gold pen rather than a hairy stick, and am rather pleased with the outcome

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I also had that artistic licence run amok and had decals made of the royal arms of France for a variation on the ensign:

 

 

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Made a bit more progress, made the bland focsle forward bulkhead loomk a bit more elaborate. To do so I had to force this down my throat:

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The embossed lead cap was then sacrificed thus:

 

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Definitely not true to the original but it is French :-) I also added doors to the two ports, and lead  on their 

 

 roofs. I have no idea why Heller thought that the focsle would be open to the elements.... I am going to add a stove, sick bay in accordance with plans I found for a slightly later French 2 decker. Possibly some cabins for non coms as well

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  • 5 weeks later...

Progress is being made ......

 

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Main deck in place and deck furniture being installed. A lot more will need to be done to get the deck fully populated. i have bought two capstans to replace the anaemic items provided by Heller, the gun tackles will also add a suitable business.

 

Meanwhile, the accommodation enjoys some attention.....

 

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Chequered flooring - I have no idea what the interior of the officers quarters on such a ship would be, but it is startling how much can be seen through the stern windows so an effort must be made

 

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Printed these down to provide some colour on the floor and some paintings on the bulkheads - a landscape of the Loire valley, a view of the French fleet leaving harbour and a portrait of the Sun King in all of his finery. At this point the better half accused me of finally losing the plot ....

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New bulkhead installed, pictures hung and carpets down. Now to make some very small furniture for what is now officially the great cabin

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  • 3 months later...

After a long hiatus caused not least be having to shut down the company for the statutory break, and wrestling with the worst heat wave and drought in living memory - i have 14 acres and all the effort of the years gone by is dying in front of my eyes, I am finally back on this monster. I must admit to having had, and still have, major misgivings about this kit, but shoulder to the wheel etc. and hopefully I can get to where I want to be. Whilst having been distracted, I have still been planning how to enhance this kit - in particular the inner decorations, and found these :

 

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Apparently used for scrap booking, with a bit of cutting and pasting, I can liven the inner bulwarks and bulkheads up. I was also looking for 1/100 figures, which seem rather rare - and whilst browsing the local model shops websites, found these

 

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They are Imai figures for the Nippon Maru, and include a set for manning the yards and a general set of deck cleaners, rope pullers etc - in excess 0f 100 figures for the princely sum of ZAR300 - about 15 GBP. I also managed to source locally a bunch of Artesina Latina parts - blocks, parrels, capstans etc at a cost each of 2 GBP

 

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So now to work .........

 

 

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  • 4 years later...

Greetings!  Great job so far!  Have you made any progress in the last five years?  It would be a real shame if you haven't.

 

I have long since decided based on years of research that this model is supposed to represent the second of three ships named Le Soleil Royal, hence, it bears limited resemblance to the paintings by Berain.  Heller based the model on the Tanneron model in the Musee de la Marine in Paris, which was incomplete because of Tanneron's death.  That said, they made several mistakes from his model; the quarter galleries should be opened and the aft run of  the lower hull should be more full. However, I have seen drawings of French early 18th century ships of  the line had similar runs, so I can live with that with my own model. I did have to open the quarter galleries.

 

I also recommend raising the waterline almost to the lower wale according to most drawings of these ships of  the period. Otherwise, the lower hull looks out of proportion to the model.  Heller marked the waterline much too shallow.

 

Again, great job so far!

 

Bill

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