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La Couronne by EJ_L - Finished - Corel - 1:100 - 1637 Version

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So my Christmas gift to myself finally showed up today. As my wife has gone back to school for her Masters degree, this is my keep out of trouble project for the next couple of years. I have been waiting to build this ship for a while now. This will be my most challenging build to date and I'm looking forward to it. I love the beauty in the ships of the 17th century and hope I can do this ship justice. I have not found many build logs for this ship so I am also hoping that I can create a nice log for others to enjoy as well.


I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and as this project progresses please feel free to give me any tips you may have. I want to give her my best. So without further ado, I'm going to get started.


In theses first few pictures I am just unpacking the kit. There is a very nice build log for this ship on this site but it is the Mantua kit where this is the Corel. So far I can see a lot of similarities between these two kits as well as a few differences. There is an instruction book and several sets of drawings but I have a feeling after skimming through them that I will be doing a lot of research and figuring it out on my own. In my experiences, this is more of the rule than exception which I actually enjoy. This adds the challenge to building model ships that puts this hobby above standard model building. It creates the feel of really building the ship and not just following a series of steps.


As I'm looking through the bags of pieces I can already see that although everything is usable as is, I will be trying to scratch build many of the pre-made parts. The canon bodies and gun port lids jump out at me as examples of this.










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I remember seeing a completed 'Couronne' in a local model shop window in London when I was a schoolboy back in the 70's. It was my first wooden ship model encounter and I remember being astonished that anyone could produce something so complicated that wasn't a plastic kit! 

I can't remember if it was built very well or not but it made a huge impression on me at the time.



Edited by overdale
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Yes, the primary wood is Tanganyika and Walnut and Pear wood. There is also some Mahogany and Maple as well as bass wood for supports and blocking. There is a good chance I will be either replacing or adding to some of the kit wood from my own selection depending upon how much I like the appearance.


The lanterns are plastic but not the worst I have seen. I will look around though to see if I can find some better looking pieces. There are a few items I am already looking at replacing for better quality. Overall the kit isn't that bad. I have worked with far worse.  

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E.J.  I have been building the Corel Unicorn. The illustration of it on the box and the illustration on your box show a family likeness. The hull of my model uses the same or similar types of kit wood. I made the hull and varnished it 40 years ago and the colour has matured. The light wood around the gun ports has gone darker and the darker woods have lightened. Personally I like the resultant unpainted effect.  To get the gun port surround colour shown on the box illustration I suspect it was painted.


I note you are intending to scratch build replacements for the deck furniture. I agree that is a good idea. I have just "improved" a Corel cannon and managed to get a reasonable result modifying the original parts - doesn't take long. Doing this would make nice little stand alone projects to break up the monotony of planking.  I found most bits of furniture, such as the pump, were best replaced totally.


Good luck with your build.

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I have had a productive though slow couple of days. I have found that many of the cut ribs in the kit have needed a lot of trimming to make them fit the keel. The keel also has proven to be a problem as it was warped and my stern and bow when sighting down the length of the ship were pointing in opposite directions. After installing the false lower gun deck that helped bring them closer to alignment but it was still off. I have had to run a brace to bring the ship the rest of the way in. I will have to add some blocks to secure the ribs to the correct alignment permanently.


On another note, years ago my dad came across these plastic bench vises by Black & Decker. I didn't know what I would use them for but while working on a ship and needing something to hold it by the keel I remembered I had it in a box under my table. It's been the a great device for ship building as it holds the ship securely while not leaving marks since the jaws are plastic. The vise body can rotate in 3 dimensions to allow me to position the ship any way needed. Also it has clips that can be inserted into the jaws that allow me to mount the ship upside down when it is time for planking the bottom. I will show that when I get to the planking. Another one of those items that I'm glad I held onto. Never know what will prove useful or when.


Edited by EJ_L
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  • 2 weeks later...

EJ_L, I also have this same kit. I hope to someday have time to begin it.


When I was looking around for sails and other items I came across this site that had all kinds of castings and other things for this model, and many others. I have not purchased from them but understand they are a good company.





Just type in La Couronne in the search menu.

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I've been busy over the last couple of weeks. Fairing up the ship and installing "dummy" blocks for the canon barrels that are on decks that do not get built. Also I have had to add extra filler blocks at the bow to help with the planking. None of this was unexpected as I've done it on all my past ships but it does make for a lot of work. I also went ahead and planked the upper gun deck first. Getting it installed helped with aligning the lower gun decks canon blocks as well as helping to square up all the ribs. I also figured it would be easier to plank before the hull closes it in.


On the stern, I have been in a debate on what it looks like. I have seen two different images of it repeatedly. One shows it completely flat from the keel up with only the balcony extending over the rudder and the other, which is also the way the instructions with this kit shows, as having the cabins jut out over the rudder and the balcony come out further still. I think I am going to build it the second way mostly because I think I like the way it looks better and that is the way my stern is shaping up. However, if anyone knows the correct design please let me know and I will be glad to make the necessary changes.


With regards to the planking. I intend to make this a double planked hull mostly because I know my planking skills are not where I would like them to be for a single planking. Also, since the second plank layer is really just a veneer, I like having the 1st layer to help support the second. One day I hope to become good enough to only plank the hull once but until then this is good practice.


So without further ado, here are some pictures to show how the build is going.












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Thanks for the compliments. As for the gun ports, they are not too bad. The dummy ports on the lower deck can be placed wherever they are needed to make the ship look right. The upper decks gun ports I haven't done much with yet as I have not gotten that far but, I'm not too worried as I have plenty of space to make minor adjustments if needed. That being said, I do not know how accurate these plans are. I have been searching for more information on this ship to try to confirm accuracy and have only had very limited luck so far. More often I find conflicting information that is forcing me to make best guess decisions. A more pressing issue to me has been the appearance of the stern as stated earlier in this blog. I have seen two different designs of it and although the overall look is the same, there are noticeable differences. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Planking has continued and has now climbed over the lower gun ports on the starboard side. I have paused it there as I have had to build out the stern cabin spaces and gun ports. I temporarily set the upper decks so I could verify the spacing for all the openings in the hull. I'm also making sure I have everything in place that needs to be before the planking covers it up. My plan is to bring the planking up to the upper gun deck then I will start detailing out that deck before I continue the rest of the planking. 






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Thanks Ken! Yes, she is a very tall ship. Part of the era of ship building where ships were built much like fortresses were with tall turrets and high walls. Fortunately from what I have been able to read about her, she was a sound ship and did not suffer from inbalance much like the famed Wasa, which was of similar constuction did. Surprisingly though from her size she was actually considered a third rate ship of the line for only having a 64 gun armament. The first rates of the time carried over 100. This is largely, from what I can tell, what led to her short life span of only about 7 years before being decomisioned and scrapped.


As with most things time moved on and ships got smaller and more powerful eventually making these larger ships unnecessary. Still, there was a beauty in their design that fadedaway also. And let's face it, if you were in the ocean staring at the broadside of one of these ships I think that the intimidation factor alone would at least make a person think twice before trying to stand and fight.

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I've come across an issue that I'm having trouble with. I'm laying out the openings in the forward bulkhead for the forward canons, and bowsprit and I cannot get a clear determination on their location. Two main issues are causing problems. The first is the stepping of the bowsprit and the second is the location of the 8 forward facing canon.


From my understanding of the construction of ships in the early 17th century the bowsprit would be stepped off just to the starboard side of the fore mast. I'm okay with this except it seems to interfere with the positioning of the lower canon locations. The canon on the starboard side are now blocked. 


With the canon port themselves I am not sure of their locations. 4 of them I can tell are on the spar deck. The other 4 are a mystery as they do not seem to fit anywhere. If they are on the main deck then the offset bowsprit blocks them as well as the hatch way to get onto the prow deck. If they are above that then is there a between deck that should exist? That is almost my though given the amount of space I have between the main deck and the forecastle.


The only models I have seen either have the bowsprit centered which I do not think is correct or they eliminated the 4 lower canon and only use the upper 4. Can anyone help me out with this? Has anyone seen another model of this ship somewhere that might have a better explanation or know where I could look for answers.



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Well,for what it`s worth here`s what I did on mine.






This was built about 20 years ago so it is probably incorrect. I built it with the bowsprit centered. I put the 4 false guns in the upper openings & put lids on the lower 4. After looking at mine it doesn`t seem right - I don`t know how they would fire the lower guns without hitting the planking that curves around the front :huh:. I was pretty much a novice then so I just built it to look like the picture on the box.



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Thank you for the pictures. You did a very nice job by the way. I have also wondered how the lower guns would fire without hitting the planking Or even the bowsprit itself Especially if the bowsprit was stepped off to the side. Maybe it was more of an intimidation look than actual functionality Though, that would seem unlikely given the excess weight.

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I have noticed this as well on a few different ships. I guess if you were faced with losing some rigging and/or a mast compared to losing the entire ship then that would be a worthy sacrifice. Kings were more likely to forgive a damaged ship if she came back with cargo intact or mission successful than if the ship was sunk or worse yet, captured by the enemy. 


I'm also thinking that in the case of the forward canons on the Couronne, I am sure that there was enough play in the angles of fire to clear the rigging and planking if only just enough.


I think that I've got a plan for design on this. I'm currently working on some deck furniture to let my head clear to look at it with fresh eyes and to see if any new information surfaces and then I will resume building the bow. That is the nice thing with these larger ships is being able to stop working on an area for a few days and work on another part to get a fresh perspective on a problem area. Had to do that with the stern layout also. For anyone who is looking at starting this kit, it is a good kit and nice ship to build but, the Corel plans do leave a lot of detail out that requires additional research. I know this is typical for ship kits at least in my experience but if someone new reads this you have been warned.  :) 

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I also have the Corel la Couronne awaiting space in the shipyard. I found this site and it may help to answer your questions about the stern arrangement. The site says the plans are high resolution digitalized and downloadable. But, I can't figure out how to do this. If you can will you please post directions






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Unless the shot (grape? canister?) hit something solid, there would damage to the ropes at least by the muzzle blast.  I'm thinking some of the forward firing guns across the head would have been last ditch defense as opposed to chase guns.  Maybe the higher up would be used for the chase? 

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More progress has taken place on la Couronne and she is showing her shape now. I have finish the first planking which I admit I am not really proud of and shows why I am still part of the group that double planks hulls. I have decided though that this will be the last ship I build in which I only rely on the framing supplied in the kit. There simply are not enough connection points and the spacing between the frames is too great and uneven to get the desired shape of the hull in one planking. There may be some people who are very good at planking that can do this but for my skill level I am thinking that if I add more frames, somewhere a lot closer to what would have been on the actual ship, that having those extra connection point would help in allowing the planking to come out smoother. As for this ship, I will now begin the "cheat" stage in which lots of smoothing, planing, and wood filler followed by lots more sanding will take place. I want my veneer layer to look great and I know what I will have to do to get it that way.


I have also been test fitting many pieces such as the upper decks for spacing and preparing others such as the window frames on the stern for installation as they will need to be in place before or ready for placement as the final planking goes on. I will be removing the all the decks down to the main again so I can detail it out. Also many of the planks have run long and will remain so until I can get all the bulkheads installed. It is much easier to leave wood longer than needed and trim it back to fit than it is to try to stretch it longer. I keep my eyes open for the elusive wood stretcher but so far it has not been seen. ;)


Well, I'm off to create a lot of wood dust. Till next update, drink up me hearties yo ho!





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