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La Renommèe by Landlubber Mike - Euromodel - Scale 1:70

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My next model is the La Renommee kit from Euromodel:





This kit has been on my wishlist for quite a long time.  I believe someone had a beautiful build log going pre-crash with MSW 1.0.  That image stuck with me, as well as the Kenji Nakajima model pictured above.  As far as I can tell, the only log going here is from J.P., who is doing a masterful job and setting the bar very high!


I bought the kit on eBay a few months ago.  I originally was going to build this after I finished the Pegasus and Charles Morgan, but given how much I have been bashing those two kits, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to build a kit from the box (even though Euromodel kits often encourage builders to take advantage of the incredible plans to enhance the kit).  I also have the Euromodel Friedrich Wilhelm zu Pferde on my shelf -- a really amazing kit -- but I want to better my skills before tackling that kit to do it the justice it deserves.


When my kit arrived, I realized not only was I missing Plan Sheet 1, but the keel was pretty warped (it had obviously been sitting somewhere for quite a while).  I contacted Euromodel, and Massimo Mazza was incredibly courteous and helpful in replacing both for me.  To show my gratitude for Euromodel's kindness, I decided that I would start this model alongside the others.  I just hope to do the kit, Massimo and the other folks at Euromodel proud by my efforts!


One thing I should mention is that this kit is in Italian and has limited instructions.  However, Euromodel, together with MSW's own PiratePete007, have done a really nice job in providing translation and other materials.  In particular, Pete has really done us model builders (and Euromodel) a great service in putting together very detailed guides on how one can go about putting together models from the Euromodel line-up.  Those guides are really well done and very insightful, especially for me as I am on the beginner end of the spectrum, so a big thank you to Pete!  

Edited by Landlubber Mike
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There are a few Euromodel build logs on here, and one thing that really stands out with their kits is the quality.  The plans are absolutely first rate.  This kit has 18 plan sheets, which go into incredible detail on everything from deck items, to rigging, sails, etc.  The order in which things are presented in the sheets is a bit of a head scratcher, but not an issue.  The wood in the kit is also very good, and the fittings are especially nice.  The cast pieces in particular are really well done - they really put the MS Charles Morgan cast pieces to shame.  The box is quite heavy!


Here are some pictures of what comes in the box:

















Edited by Landlubber Mike
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Provenance of Kit


There has been a lot of discussion on what ship this kit is supposed to represent.  What is clear is that the kit is based on Plates XXXI and XXXII of Chapman's Architectura, with the only details being that these plates are included in the section of "Privateers":







Euromodel states it's a French vessel that was launched in 1747.  However, it appears that the ship at the following links is likely the "true" La Renommee for that period:







From what I've read on a Russian ship model forum, in Boudriot's research, Admiral Paris, a Frenchman, in his Souvenirs de la Marine (which was published in 1879), was copying over plans from Chapman's Architectura and mistakenly labeled it the Le Renommee, when he was intending to say something about the anchors or stern or something being similar to the Le Renommee. That mistake has been passed down, and may have been passed down into this kit.


Then there is Keith Julier, in The Period Ship Handbook 2, who believed that the kit represents a frigate of the same name that was built in 1793.  That vessel only had 32 guns, while the kit supplies 40.  It clearly can't be that ship because the Architectura was published in 1768.


Then there are others that think it's actually a Swedish ship named the "Jupiter" because of the figurehead and certain stern details.  On page 106 of Wolfram zu Mondfeld's  "Historic Ship Models" is the exact picture of the stern which is labeled as the Swedish privateer from 1760. The German site below, as well as a Russian model ship forum I came across, also think it's a Swedish ship. I can't find anything on a Swedish ship named the Jupiter though, and a query to the Digitalt Museum in Sweden came up empty.





I'm by no means a naval historian at all, but all this is very interesting.  One thing I was thinking was whether there were particular features of this ship that are uniquely French, Swedish, Danish or other.  I would surmise that you could look to plainly visible things like the figurehead, ornamentation, flags, etc.  Then there are structural items such as how the stern is constructed, height between the decks (for example, I learned in researching the Unicorn and Lyme that they were based off of French frigates, which had a lower height between the decks than seen in the typical English ship of that time, as well as had shorter railing, etc. on the quarterdecks).  I thought maybe the open stern would provide a clue, but Plate III shows a very similar but smaller (and unfortunately, unknown) ship, and Plate LI shows another with a similar open stern that is of an English East Indiaman.


One clue might be the waist.  I've done a lot of research on the waist of ships because the Corel Unicorn clearly uses the wrong waist for a British frigate of that time.  From the Gardiner books on frigates, the waist of ships in the 18th century was generally open during the early to middle part of the century, and gradually started closing up as the 19th century approached.  I think this principle clearly applied to British ships, and likely French ships as well (I don't have any books on French frigates, but flipping through the Ancre monographs for ships at the time, all seemed to have similar open-waisted ships to the British).  Gardiner seems to have essentially limited his studies to British frigates, as his last book, the "Sailing Frigate," uses pictures from the NMM.  In that book, he shows the development of the filling in of the waist, and shows a similar closed waist with row of light gratings similar to Plate XXXII with the Lacedaemonian (SLR0674 from the NMM), a ship that was circa 1812: 





What's curious is that Plate XXXII shows a very closed waist which wasn't used by the British until the beginning of the 19th century.  So, I don't think Chapman copied it from the British.  Then take a look at the Venus, an actual Swedish frigate that was designed by Chapman and built in 1783 (it was captured by the Russians in 1789):





A smaller ship for sure, and obviously post-dates the Architectura.  But look at the general design with the gunport rows, small windows at the quarterdeck, the name badge just under the row of windows on the stern, and in particular, the waist and main deck with the rows of gratings (again, not seen in British frigates until the beginning of the 19th century).  It looks like the little younger sister to Plate XXXI!


All this is not at all meant to disparage Euromodel.  The kit is clearly based on, and true to, Chapman's plans.  As we know, actual ships sometimes differed from the plans, ships were captured and converted, etc.  In any event, whether Chapman himself designed the ship in Plates XXXI and XXXII or copied it from elsewhere is anyone's guess, but I would lean towards this being a Chapman design given the early adoption of the closed waist and line of gratings.  Now, whether the ship in Plates XXXI and XXXII was in fact built or not is also anyone's guess.  And does this make this a Swedish ship?  


In the grand scheme of things, does any of this matter?  The kit makes for a very nice model of a mid-18th century frigate with really beautiful lines that I will have a lot of fun building - regardless of whether I put a French or Swedish flag on her in the end :)

Edited by Landlubber Mike
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I had a fascinating discussion with Mike over the provenance of the La Renommee a few weeks ago and his incredibly balanced views expressed above do him much credit. Sure, others could come weighing in with their opinions but I hope this log stays on track without too many distractions. I appreciate his open mind and now in his hands he has a beautiful 'little' ship.



Edited by piratepete007
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The only thing I can bring to this discussion is that it does match Chapman.  The French "Le Renommee" doesn't have the open stern.  Also, the Frencj quarter galleries from the period are different.  Similar but different in that they are "flatter".   But I suspect you've already noticed that.  A couple of other points... the French used "fireplaces" and not stove like the Brits and the French had at an oven in their frigates.  


Now that's not to say that there wasn't a privateer of the same name that doesn't show up on the books as privateers were not "official" navy ships.

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Thanks everyone - the more the merrier!  


Mark, part of what sent me down this path of research was the helpful discussion you and others had with J.P. on his build log.  I wasn't aware of the stove/fireplace distinction though, thank you!  I need to get my hands on the Boudriot "History of the French Frigate" book - it's one of the few very expensive books out there though :(

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I haven't been able to find much on Swedish frigates on the period.  One ship I did come across is the Göta Lejon from 1746.  I found plans as well as two beautiful models.  It's obviously a bigger ship (I think a Third Rate), but it shares a lot of the design characteristics seen in Chapman's Plates XXXI and XXXII of his Architectura.  This, along with the Venus pictured a few posts ago (and the closed waist), make me lean towards thinking that the ship in the plates is a Swedish vessel.  
























Edited by Landlubber Mike
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Hi Mike, I'd really suggest you do a little research before you start  :P   I think your approach to build the kit following the plans and your heart is definitely the way to go, people may have opinions but nothing can be proven.  Sure this will build up into a beautiful model.  Definitely following this one.  

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Thanks guys, really appreciate the support.  Jason, I'll have to do a little more research ;)


I spent some time with the kit the last few days.  First I test fit the bulkheads with the keel, and was happy to see that there was a nice snug fit without the need for much opening of the slots.  So, a good start on things.


Then I read Pete's build notes - a very nice resource for Euromodel builds.  He correctly pointed out that the mast slots in the keel are incorrectly positioned.  Not only are the slots positioned too far back, but the main mast and mizzen masts are at the wrong rake.  Pete did say that the foremast needed to be repositioned another 3mm, but at least with my keel, it seemed like the foremast slot was maybe off only 1mm or so, if at all, and was at the correct rake.  Interestingly, the keel matches Plan Sheet 17, but not Plan Sheet 3.  My guess is that Plan Sheet 3 is correct, after looking at other plan sheets in the kit and taking a look at Chapman's Plate XXXI.  So, I redid the slots for the main and mizzen masts, which included adding some scrap plywood so that the masts would fit snug in the slots.  Thankfully Pete pointed this out, as it was an easy fix at this stage.  







I had heard of people having issues with the plans not matching up, and that does seem to be the case unfortunately.  Interestingly, the stem matches Plan Sheet 17 (first picture below), but not Plan Sheet 3 (second and third pictures).  You can even see how the bulkhead slots on the plans don't match up with the slots in the keel:









The stem is pretty close, but this brought back painful memories of the Corel Unicorn kit, which I abandoned in frustration because the plans were all over the place, and on top of that, did not match the Chapman plans in the Architectura in having a hull that was too tall by a factor of something like 20mm.  So, I spent some time taking various measurements (gunports to waterline, waterline to bottom of keel, etc.) against Chapman's Plate XXXI.  In my edition of the Architectura, Plate XXXI is smaller than the Euromodel plans by a factor of approximately 2.3.  I am very happy to say that the Euromodel plans appear spot on with the Chapman plans in terms of hull dimensions!   :cheers:  


I do want to say that I don't want to come across as overly critical of the kit or anything.  Just wanted to point these items out so that others that might be following this log might avoid any confusion with their kits.  Aside from a few inconsistencies, the plans seem very true to Chapman's Plate XXI which is a big relief.


Next I started work on determining where to install the mounting screws for the pedestals.  I've been using #6-32 zinc plated machine screws with a nut epoxied into the keel.  They seem to fit nicely through the pedestals I bought from Model Expo, and I can get the screws in 3" lengths.  The stern is a bit lower than the stem, so I started by marking the waterline, and then positioned the pedestals approximately 25% of the way from both the aft end and fore end of the keel.  This worked nicely in that the pedestals were safely between bulkheads.  I'm still considering color schemes, so I'll drill the holes for the screws/nuts once I figure out the wood to be used for the keel.  Here's a quick photo I snapped, with some bonus artwork in the background from the real artists in the family :)



Edited by Landlubber Mike
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Friends, I'm a bit stuck in terms of a color scheme for the hull.  I was originally going to go with  a similar approach that Kenji Nakajima's build took (first picture at the top of my log) and go with mostly black and either walnut or pear for the brown areas, with boxwood accents.  But, after seeing Chapman's plans for the Venus and the two builds for the Göta Lejon, I'm thinking of trying something different.  In particular, I'm really taken by the color scheme on this model:





If I went that route, does the blue strip running across the full hull look odd?  Does it look odd to have the dark brown areas just above that blue stripe?  I haven't seen too many ships with this color scheme, but it seems like these Swedish ships might have had a slightly different color scheme from other European ships.


An alternative is Chapman's color plan of the Venus, which is similar, except it looks like a black stripe runs across the top of the hull, but there is a red stripe at the top near the quarterdeck:





Alternatively, I could go with something like this color plan, where it's mostly black and pear around the gunports, with blue at the top of the hull at the quarterdeck and forecastle:





Any suggestions or preferences would be greatly appreciated as I try to figure things out.  To avoid the use of paint, I'd do the hull below the waterline in holly, wales in black, and that middle band around the gunport likely in pear (I think box might be a little light for my tastes).  It's just what to do with the other areas of the upper hull that I can't decide on :(  Thanks!

Edited by Landlubber Mike
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Hi Mike


Looks like the first row of seats are taken up so I will have to start the second row :(.

Looks like a nice kit to build like all Euromodel kits are.

I think you will find that Euromodels  the best people to deal with if you run into some difficulty, not forgetting Pete he is so helpful.


Good luck my friend but most of all have fun.



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  • 2 months later...

Mike, I admire your tenacity with the questions surrounding the history of this vessel......I just stumbled across this log and your efforts are to be applauded. Looks like I've been out of the loop for a while but it's nice to see someone jump into the fray with another Euromodel kit. I agree with your commentary over the quality as well as the shortcomings offered by the Le Renommee kit and look forward to future collaboration as your build progresses.



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Thanks JP.  It should be a fun ride whichever flag ends up on the ship.  I've been a little busy with work and family stuff the past few months, but recently turned back to my Morgan build to get that going.  


I'm still trying to figure out the color scheme for the LAR.  I'm toying with the idea of using holly to simulate the white stuff.  I bought a bunch of holly from Jeff from his close-out, but didn't get any pieces thick enough for the keel and stem, which I think comes out around 7mm in thickness.  So, I'm trying to decide whether to go that route, and then buy milled stock that not only is in that width, but whether I would need extra for the hull so that the holly is all the same color.  I might end up going with paint on the build, particularly with the ornamentation, so I could always paint on the white stuff.  I'm not a fan of white paint because it usually requires a number of coats to cover, which then looks thick.  I found a whitewash stain from General Finishes that goes on nice and thin though, so that might be an option.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Mike - I was blog surfing and stumbled upon your build. This looks like a very gratifying subject for a model and I look forward to following along. In these Swedish models that you have posted pictures of, it looks as though you have a few striking examples from which to draw upon. I wish you luck and look forward to future installments.


All the best,


Edited by Hubac's Historian
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Marc, thanks so much for looking in and the kind words.  Even if the provenance of the kit is uncertain (my guess still is that it's a Swedish, and not a French, vessel and I'll probably build her as such), the subject is really beautiful and the Euromodel kit is absolutely fantastic from the detailed plans to the materials.  The cast detail parts are very well done.


Between being busy with work and working on items from my Morgan build, I haven't had a chance to spend much time on this kit.  I'm still trying to come up with a plan on color scheme and the use of paints versus colored woods.  In a way it would be nice to build a kit straight from the box since I'm already heavily kit bashing the Pegasus and Morgan.  At the same time, I'm finding working with woods like ebony to not be so difficult, so perhaps a bit of kit bashing won't be that bad.  

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+1 with mike,the real "la renommée" is very différent than this.

if you want to build her, you would buy the monographie from ancre and you'll see that there is an other ship...

I agree ofencer - I think the Ancre monographs cover the real La Renommee.  When I look at Chapman's Venus and some of the Swedish models of ships at that time, this model seems to be a Swedish one.  


If that's the case, it's pretty cool in that there aren't too many Swedish ship models out there.

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  • 5 months later...

I've been focused on my Morgan build the past few months and haven't turned back to my LAR.  In part I'm still considering what kind of color scheme, and whether and to what extent I will use paints or try to paint with wood.  Given the castings and the quality of the materials, I'm considering just building the kit as is, with maybe some minor replacement of the wood with better modeling woods.  I might actually try using weathering techniques, not necessarily to make the ship looked aged and beaten up, but to add highlights and lowlights, etc. to approximate more of a patina'd look.  


So I managed to get my hands on the Ancre monograph of La Belle Poule (1765) for a good price on eBay.  The monographs have so much detail they are fun to look through.  Flipping through it today, I noticed a reference to a La Renommee of 1767 and the Chapman 'Architectura.'  The version I have is in French, and not speaking French I need to use Google translate which does a pretty good job.  Here is the translation of the discussion which is summarized above regarding the provenance of the ship.  The monograph has plans for the 1767 La Renommee, which don't look like they match up with the kit/Chapman plate.  Anyway, here it is.


The Fame 1767.

Among the hundred frigates of 12 of our navy, there are two that will be (pierced to fifteen) being designed by the engineer Nicolas Groignard man of great reputation, notably author of the three-point ship Brittany.


These frigates, by their great length and strength, are special cases. The Renommee had been preceded by the Terpsichore, built at Nantes in 1757, we do not possess the plans of this frigate.


The Fame, was theoretically pierced on each side of fifteen ports, but on the number two were not open being masks by the curling and the linings. It was only planned to open them in the event of hostilities.


The plans of the Fame are preserved in the Danish archives and there exists at the Museum of the navy in Paris, a fairly complete numerical estimate of this frigate.


The Fame, presented the singularity for a French frigate to have the big bitts on the false bridge, the hawks being pierced between the jottereaux.


In the methodical Encyclopedia Vial du Clairbois (see Monograph of Dawn, page 18, footnote 1), the model of a Swedish frigate, directly borrowed from the The great work of Fr. DE CHAPMAN: ARCHITECTURA NAVALIS MERCATORIA ... In his text Vial du Clairbois warns the reader of the foreign model of his example and indicates that only the frigate Fame, has big bits on the false bridge and consequently the Lower capstan bell is at this level.


Admiral Paris, in his (Preserved Naval Memories), took again the plate of the Methodical Encyclopedia, but without taking notice of the text, and presented this frigate (born Swedish) as being Renown; But this is only to be found in detail in the considerable mass of information gathered by Admiral Paris.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi MSW friends, hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and wish you all the best in 2018.


Work and kids have been keeping me really busy the past few months. I made a little progress on the Morgan, but am at a point where I need to figure out what technique to use to accomplish certain next steps of the build.  I'm at a similar point in my Pegasus build.  So, I decided to turn back to the Renommee.  A few months ago I thought about selling the kit so that I could be a little closer to scratch building a few ships on my wish list.  But, with the heavy bashing of my Pegasus and Morgan, I thought that it would be nice to have a challenging kit that I could build right from the box.  Plus, this ship, which I'm further convinced is a Swedish frigate, is really a gorgeous subject and the Euromodel kit is really fantastic in so many ways (plans, fittings, wood, Euromodel customer service, and PiratePete's great guides).  So, I'm back working on her.


I'm still thinking about the overall color scheme, but I think I'm going to use as much of the kit wood as possible.  I'll probably switch the redheart for the bulwarks and gun carriages, and something lighter like maple or maybe tanganyika for the deck.  Depending on how the hull comes out, I may leave it in natural wood or paint on white stuff.  Either way, I think I'm going to try and use stains and finishes to achieve a more weathered look if possible.


Thanks for looking in!

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Some progress while home for the holidays with unseasonably cold temperatures - lots of hull work, and still lots more to do.  For the first time, I built a basic frame board to help square things up.  Usually I've just eyeballed things and built the hull in my lap, but I think using a frame should help.  At this stage of the build, I also decided to do attached the keel and stem to the false keel.  I know that some wait until after the first planking, but I like adding it now to help ensure that everything is square.  I also install nuts in the false keel to take the machine screw which will run through the pedestals, so it's better to drill the hole one through the keel and false keel than have to do it later.


For the stem, I used a scalpel to initially scribe the various part definitions as per the plans.  Will likely need to deepen them, and possibly use stain or pencil, to further define the lines -- especially after I taper the front of the stem per the plans:



After attaching the stem and keel, installing the pedestal nuts and running a few brass rods to help pin the keel to the false keel to the hull for stability, I started installing the bulkheads and am about halfway through -- using my kids' legos to keep everything square:




As I mentioned in the first post, when I got the kit (secondhand), the false keel was really warped.  The really nice folks at Euromodel sent me a new one for free which was much better.  It still had a slight wave to it, but after adding the stem and false keel, and the bracing blocks as seen in the pictures above, everything is pretty straight and should only get straighter after the two decks are added.


I should say that the fit between all the parts is very nice and snug and pretty much perfect.  Nice, particularly after my experience with the MS Charles Morgan where I needed to do quite a bit of work to get everything to fit correctly and adjust for issues in the shapes of the bulkheads.


Edited by Landlubber Mike
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I'm a little confused by the plans for the stem:



I get that the front-on view (the diagram to the far right) shows a slow taper transition from 7mm at the top to 4mm at the bottom.  What I can't seem to figure out though is the diagram at the bottom.  I'm assuming that this shows the taper from the underside of the stem (if you are looking up at the stem from underneath it).  What I'm confused about is that step transition midway through does that seem correct?  It's almost like the stem is full width until the stem post (Part 4), but then there is a dramatic change in diameter with the main piece (7) and figure piece (6).  The stem needs some tapering to get the figurehead to sit properly, but not as much as suggested by the lower diagram.


Unless I'm reading it wrong?  Anyone have any ideas?

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Mike - I think its a view from above, and it looks to be correct.  The widest part is where the bowsprit sits, and the thinner part is the top of the knee of the stem.  The reason for the jump rather than smooth transition is that it accounts for the difference in width between those two points.  Hard to describe, but clear in my mind :-)


Nice work BTW, good to see some progress.

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Thanks Jason!  If that's the view from the top, wouldn't the width of right most edge of the bottom diagram have to match up with the width of the farthest right point of the stem as it's shown in the right diagram?


I think I need a "Reading Ship Plans 101" class :huh:

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I'm in agreement with Jason.  Logic says as you do... they width should be consistent but in this case, it isn't.  Could be kit designers choice or maybe that's the way it was.   If this is a Swedish ship in actuality, it could have been that way.  It's sort of like that arch over and behind the stern.   Definitely a "what the h***" moment when we realize the French Renommee doesn't have that.  So, yes, you'll have to do some thinning.  You might be able to do some tapering rather than scoring and grinding.  I think that's what I would do... just taper it.

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