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Soleil Royal by Hubac's Historian - Heller - An Extensive Modification and Partial Scratch-Build

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Thanks, guys.  I really appreciate the thought, there.  I think, though, that I may have lost a few valued friends by posting too often.  It happens.  Build logs can become cumbersome.

 

Nevertheless, I appreciate everyone who has continued to follow the build.  I won’t lie; I’ll be at this for a long time.  It will be a number of years before I finish what I started.  But, I will finish it.  I’m too invested not to.

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I think I will echo what Druxey and Mark have said in that I don't think you are posting too much. If they were not subject related postings I could understand, but the researched information and detailed experimentation's along with detail construction notes is making this one of the most informative build logs on the site for people creating any vessel of this era or just for good tips on build practices. I say keep it up! :)

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Well, it has been very nearly a WHOLE week!  I was going to do one mega-post, in a few weeks, but then I realized that I had quite a lot to say about the transom wale and the motto banner.  I’ve been quite busy.  Anyone who may be bored by it all is, of course, free to pass this over in their email 😉

 

So, here is what I am trying to replicate with the transom wale:

3927558E-234C-42E1-9AD9-5536F30266CB.jpeg.e7b95df051e51f15679087af0e0f9d55.jpeg

For a somewhat clearer illustration of its profile, let’s zoom-in on this remarkable Puget (I am assuming this is his hand) portrait of Le Dauphin Royal:

02E13FB1-666E-46A0-ADC0-93EFC6686047.jpeg.99adabbe1dbcb9a66a98603346504d69.jpeg

As a side note, several people have expressed their opinion to me that this was not an ornamental program that was ever installed on the DR, anytime after her original appearance of 1668:

F1737519-1DD2-4083-B3A2-17E2402A0E1C.jpeg.b15ddd6958cd27c1e0ed0047c7d1bec6.jpeg

Their thinking is that this was merely a proposal for decor.  Personally, although I can’t yet say definitively, I think that this blue-tone drawing is an actual portrait of the DR, after her first refit.

 

There are several reasons why I think this.  First, while it is true that the Van de Veldes occasionally drew ships that were entirely fictional, the tradition for decor proposals, in France, was already pretty well established by the 1680’s:  proposals were minimally two-dimensional plan drawings of the stern and starboard quarter, with a third such drawing of the starboard bow.

 

As previously discussed, even among known sets from a particular time (signed and dated by the Intendant of the shipyard), there are often weird anomalies and discrepancies between what the quarter and stern drawings depict.

 

With this blue drawing of the DR, there are no such discrepancies.  It is a fully coherent, and three- dimensional drawing of photographic detail and clarity.  Even details that aren’t fully rendered, are clearly suggested - as with the faint representation of either carved or painted ornament on the stern counter, just beneath the lower false balcony.  Simply put, there is just too much specific detail for me to discount this portrait as anything other than a real representation of the ship as she was.  This drawing will soon prove invaluable to me as it so clearly  depicts the bombastic undulations of the quarter galleries, as well as what the amortisement’s likely composition may have been.

 

Continuing along, if we look more closely at the stern post, we can see the same shape for the transom wale more clearly:

7EC04DA4-C910-43C2-A847-4613A1891347.jpeg.8df0b83e5397d4256b4e323d71fcfee5.jpeg

As it is apparent that this is a moulding of some significant depth, and given that I am new to moulding profiling, I decided that it would be best to make up the transom wale as a series of layers.

 

My base layer is the widest piece - a shy 5/16” by 5/64” thick.  Fortified by Dan’s tutorial on moulding scrapers, I ground away the teeth and blacked a line on an old hacksaw blade, so that I could scratch in the first coved profile (on the left):

5EF0F3A2-90B2-4094-B020-68EB20EC042F.thumb.jpeg.2e7b1f6d3ab51fb71009cb1224f4f0d6.jpeg

The scratched profile on the right was the second scraper I made for the middle layer of the stacked moulding.

 

So, first I scraped the bottom edge of the base layer with the first scraper, and lightly cleaned up any remaining chatter with the tip of a round needle file:

54C89D08-4965-41CF-A233-B8AD247D308B.thumb.jpeg.9548682ca7c13cfa3de81f0b24d3bfc4.jpeg

Then, I cut the second layer from thinner styrene, incorporating the camber, as before.  After scraping with the second scraper, the moulding looked like this:

2E747AEB-ACD0-4429-8BE5-ECD36FDB122D.thumb.jpeg.740ff524bbbb0c778b74a88fca833b40.jpeg

So far, so good, but how exactly I was going to carve an ornamental profile into the third half-round layer - which is only 3/32” wide - became the subject of much trial and error.
 

As with any repetitive moulding, the essential aspect is a uniform layout.  Eventually, I arrived at spacing of a shy 1/8” for the eggs, and a shy 1/16” for the darts.  Using my steel rule, I ticked off the spacing and then came back with a simple coved tracing pattern to mark each half of the egg:

49BAE6B5-D75D-4B3C-B28D-BC8CCEF6D277.thumb.jpeg.ae2ea2abbfd2cfbbcd7c18d3dc05d167.jpeg
Adding a small dimple with the tip of a micro drill bit, gave some much needed dimension to the eggs - the edges of which were softened a bit by scraping with a short-sweeped gouge that I use for virtually all of my carved work;  just three knives, mostly.

 

Finally, I cut back the arrow sides, a bit, to make the egg shapes a little more apparent:

B7014979-6496-4480-9C07-BADCF93FCFD0.thumb.jpeg.eb1ce2575792193e41cbe78b3cd6fdd4.jpeg

After a little clean-up and refinement with a triangular needle file, I glued sections of the third layer to each half of the transom wale, after first fitting the transom wales and profiling their ends, at the ship sides:

F17804CE-B535-4538-9A41-380CDCD17CDA.thumb.jpeg.1ef81ffe56ccbc5cc973699c027e3b93.jpeg

5AF24259-6E82-422A-8A97-EE5074F37919.thumb.jpeg.a4017bfb3765afaf7ad524c1233e6863.jpeg

4BC519AE-238D-41B0-9351-F56D09579B85.thumb.jpeg.95f83ade9a8e00d1560ac87fccd913e4.jpeg

30535742-243F-40B3-8A79-B42F43525602.jpeg.b0e2e506187664e0f95e930bf06ee0ba.jpeg

Suffice it to say, this was quite a lot of work, but the results were worth the effort.  I got lucky in that  the depth of the transom wale does not exceed the beveled break of the stern post.  The visual weight of the wale, IMO, is a pretty good approximation of what is show in the portrait of the DR, above.

 

Next up, was the carving of the motto banner.  This was where I started:

3AE65D7A-C433-44AC-BD33-61113215BD4A.thumb.jpeg.bde11c214cf5035b317b356097701b50.jpeg
The important thing when carving something like this is a basic understanding of how fabric really swags because that informs where you scallop in your troughs, as opposed to your convex billows.  It is a difficult thing to describe, however maybe this early picture (in the process) will make it more clear:

56C92137-1340-4A44-881C-8A35C93E5E2C.thumb.jpeg.d30f444de43f1e703b2478e4f4ce9d5b.jpeg

Once your troughs are defined, it is a simple matter of scraping-round your billowing transitions, and looking for opportunities to incorporate subtle highs and lows.  This work can only be achieved slowly, and in a raking light:

 

AA42807E-C306-4455-90AD-C56079DCFB74.thumb.jpeg.fbe3a2ee0d45e5264d6eacaf11c86636.jpeg

And now, to get a sense of what this will look like in place, beneath the transom wale:

C5ED1A39-4AE2-41E7-865D-62B974401F42.thumb.jpeg.47e9994dc782db1473f7bd03ee14f40b.jpeg

F0004696-A75B-4E5F-B673-5D17B66AB624.thumb.jpeg.efe86113175ee70b1b8423871101a0c4.jpeg

The lettering for the motto was drawn onto parchment with graphite, using a darkened copy of the outline of the banner, as a guide beneath the parchment.

 

At first, I drew this, and I liked it, but something seemed wrong:

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A couple of days later I realized that I had jumbled my Latin.  This is what I was going for:

21A4FD80-DC84-468B-8358-E165EB29AB1F.thumb.jpeg.521f599eda52f40b30fc4d30b47cb134.jpeg

With that settled, I sprayed the parchment with matte medium, in order to fix the graphite and stiffen the parchment for cutting.

 

I sharpened a #11 blade to a gleaming edge and very carefully extracted the letters.  Finally, using the tip of that blade to pick up each letter, I dragged the backside of each letter through liquid cyano and very carefully placed each letter on the banner:

71B8103B-51C4-466B-B30A-6A22BA010BED.thumb.jpeg.b0eb37c5535a699cf328bcd84f570efc.jpeg

Once each letter was fully conforming to the shape of the banner, I sealed the whole thing under a wash of liquid cyano.  I will probably spray prime these banner sections before glueing them in place.

 

Next up - the rudder head.  Using Frolich’s L’Ambiteaux as my main guide, I arrived at the following:

20E2C8F5-9670-4FD8-BD71-AD8AC2677913.thumb.jpeg.e78c843b0afd1d6973e95fde90e7fd53.jpeg

At first, I had exaggerated the outboard widening of the rudder, so I revised that taper a bit, and am now ready to profile the rudder head.  It is over-long in both directions, so that I can place it where I need to on the model.

 

Looking back at the DR, though, I wanted something ornamental for the rudder head and thought this ornament would be a sensible choice:

ADC87DE8-D4D0-459F-9D83-8838238FD3FD.jpeg.b1b39d6abcb9e7e384d2c24e80409bc4.jpeg

So, after I have shaped my rudder head and cut in the aft taper, I will make up a carving blank based on this drawing:

87D63BB8-F299-4A63-BD49-1AEB8A5EBE59.thumb.jpeg.8af8c8de2912458dbea144f744087a24.jpeg

So that’s where we are at, for now.  Enjoy your Holidays, all, and thank you for looking in and following along.

Edited by Hubac's Historian

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Hi Mark,

 

nice peace of work.👍

 

I would like to mention that it is more than an attached molding, it is a decorated Hekbalk / Wing Transom. An important construction component that is also listed with the dimensions in the Zerter*, the building regulations.

 

*

Quote

Zerter (in various spellings: Särter, Certer or Zärter) or cutlery in historical shipbuilding in the early modern period was a detailed written design according to which a particular ship was built.

Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zerter

 

I would place the Latin motto above the stern gunports. I saw that in a picture of the Dutch Zeven Provincien.

It also seems less vulnerable to the sea there.

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Also noted, Chapman.  As a matter of fact, back in 2003 when I was volunteering at Batavia Werf, the “spiegel,” or mirror, of the Provincien was in place and the wing transom did, in fact, have a carved moulding on it’s exterior surface.  This was just before they re-framed the stern for greater fidelity to construction practices of the 1660’s.  I was disappointed, at the time, that I wouldn’t have a hand in building of the Provincien, but all work on her had stopped for the re-design.  I did, on the other hand, do a lot of satisfying maintenance work on Batavia.

 

I appreciate the thought on placement of the banner.  Unfortunately, Berain’s design has a few caryatid figures between the chase ports, as well as some perimeter paneling, that break up the free expanse of the stern counter area.

 

Below the transom moulding was the only clear space where something like this could exist.  My authorial license, in this instance, aside - I’d like to remain faithful to Berain’s scheme for everything above the transom moulding.

 

As ever, thank you for weighing in.

Edited by Hubac's Historian

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Hello Mark, I found this illustration in a sale catalogue from 1928:

 

image.png.2966b5da662370fae815649fdd80dd31.png

image.png.d630913de4b986fbb951d936fb30efa9.png

Also in the same sale, grouped with the above item but without attribution to a specific ship, was this pair:

 

image.png.2f1f643321c288b3e19e4352614f8adb.pngimage.png.7360ca9d23aa7a87d502850281dc62a6.png

Details:

SALE NUMBER 2l6l, APRIL FOURTEENTH 1928
THE MARINE COLLECTION OF THE LATE MAX WILLIAMS

at THE ANDERSON GALLERIES
489 PARK AVENUE AT FIFTYNINTH STREET, NEW YORK

 

You are doing beautiful work,

HTH

Bruce

 

Edited by bruce d

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3 minutes ago, druxey said:

was the molding an integral part of the transom, or a separate piece attached over the transom and plank ends?

The entire text is included in my post so there is nothing more that I can state with certainty, but it seems to me that these were seperate pieces. I don't know anything about French methods of the era in particular but other master carvers tended to make a series of individual pieces and then bring them together.

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First of all, Bruce, thank you for the kind compliments.   I appreciate that this interests you.

 

But - WOW!  Quite honestly, I’m not really sure what to make of these early 20th C. auction items you have posted here.  I will say, though, that they are completely fascinating!!

 

To me, they are documented echos of something that may have been better appreciated, and understood in an earlier time; co-incidentally, this was also the time of the hugely influential R.C. Anderson.

 

Your posting, here, is the perfect example of one of my main motivations for starting this build log.  There exist fragments of information; apparently authentic glimpses into a long-forgotten past, but most often - without context.  And so, for me, things like this go into the “evidence” file for my forensic reconstruction.

 

I’m always searching for context.  And, I will say that these carvings do certainly seem French, and the near twin female figures do not seem as though they would be out of place on the Dauphin Royal, for example.

 

Whether you realize it or not, you are my Secret Santa this year.  This is awesome - thank you so much!!

Edited by Hubac's Historian

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17 hours ago, druxey said:

Interesting point: was the molding an integral part of the transom, or a separate piece attached over the transom and plank ends? In British shipbuilding, it was a separate piece.

 

Interesting auction extracts, Bruce.

At some point, when I have a chance, I’ll look through my pictures from that time.  It would make sense that the carving would be integral to the whole timber, but my recollection was that it was picked out and framed with yellow paint.  I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

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Decent day in the ol’ Beeldsnijderij:

 

1BDA5DB5-6C48-4E25-A794-093730E543C8.thumb.jpeg.96f8dc18d501e6395fc39e3b2cba22b2.jpeg

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890BB1C2-E6C2-4E52-9F9E-3F854FCF4AAC.thumb.jpeg.5da2eac5181ea268b3cecebbd0decead.jpeg

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A great deal of time was spent just getting a good fit between the blank and the rudder head.

 

Also, it turns out my right and left patterns were not in perfect alignment, so there will be a bit of a skew to the carving, but that may actually enhance the finished work.

 

The outline of the body is defined, but the head is complicated and will take more time than I have, today, to sharpen up its parameters.

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So, I’m three years into this project, and all of this time, I’ve been poring over imagery of Soleil Royal and her near contemporaries, and trying to make sense of it all.

 

As a gift for my wife, over the holidays, I took advantage of a 1/2-off framing sale, at BLICK, to have one of her favorite Broadway posters re-framed.  While I was at it, I had my Royal Maritime Museum print of Peter Monamy’s Burning of Soleil Royal framed.  They did a wonderful job, and I’d show you, but the whole thing is shrouded in protective plastic, at the moment.

 

But then, I considered framing my other print of SR, which is Bakhuizen’s Battle of Barfleur.  So, I took out the print, and for the first time in those three years, I really examined SR, in the portrait up close.

 

Now, I have written before about the many fictions and discrepancies of the Bakhuizen portrait, and none of those realities has diminished my appreciation for the spectacle and grandeur that his portrait conveys.

 

Nonetheless, I did take a closer look...

F323A182-B426-4E82-AC33-F43ECED368AF.thumb.jpeg.bb57bd6db77ae5c851ea9b6ccbd1adfd.jpeg

A little bit closer...

EA1AD5FE-BBD3-4CEC-82D1-AF822472E5B1.thumb.jpeg.620e549b051c1ead0928ce43224a8633.jpeg

The first thing that struck me was that this is not Apollo’s horse-drawn chariot rumbling across the sky of the tafferal.  And the shape of the tafferal cornice is not the reverse-cyma curve of Berain’s drawing.  And those recumbent figures on the tafferal cornice are neither “Europe” with her horse, nor “Asia” with her camel.

 

On the other hand, Bakhuizen’s representation does seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to the better documented Royal Louis:

FAA981C0-F109-4231-B8E7-E5D84FF412B5.thumb.jpeg.0c2e5302c03d6b5a8e3a93dc35b74e2b.jpeg

The tafferal shape is a central dome, beneath which are large reliefs of the triumphal Monarch and two shackled  slaves at his feet.

6B5F1E3C-B305-400E-997D-76B772E009CD.thumb.jpeg.a3f6a39e934e634216c5c72b683c26bf.jpeg

The posture of the recumbent figures is much closer to that of the winged angel figures, above.

 

And Bakhuizen’s squiggly banner?/rudder chain? beneath the transom moulding actually bears some resemblance to the swagged foliate garland of the Royal Louis:

5E279068-16DF-4B1A-98EE-202D6BB42B87.thumb.jpeg.758f70c11aa2e2592344918f2200e4db.jpeg

And so, all of this, once again, reinforces for me that the marine artists, of their day sometimes were limited in their first-hand experience and knowledge of other Country’s ships, and so they made composite portraits from several different sources.

 

To this day, Hayat’s description of the Royal Louis is the best and most complete description of a French First-Rate, from this time period.  Perhaps it was this document that Bakhuizen used to fill-in the blanks.  Maybe the Royal Louis’s reputation as SR’s “sister ship” was reason enough for Bakhuizen to treat their allegories as interchangeable.

 

While, previously, I have posted what I hope may be an authentic description of Soleil Royal, prior to her refit - the specific contemporary correspondence from which the description, supposedly, originates is not made clear in “The Life and Times of Pierre Puget.”  Short of combing through the archives, myself, to find that correspondence, I will just have to take the author’s word for it.

 

Anyway, I just thought this was interesting and worth the mention.

 

As ever, I am greatly appreciative of everyone who is following along, as well as their likes and comments.  That people are interested in wading into the murky waters of the French 17th C. is a tremendous inspiration to me!

Edited by Hubac's Historian

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Posted (edited)

So, I’m almost finished with the rudder-head dolphin.

 

Earlier, last week, I tried to upload a video I made, once I had arrived at the cleaned-up outline of the thing.  The video resolution was, apparently, too high to upload from my mobile phone.  At 10+ minutes, the video was also on the long side.  Not even my attempts at breaking the video up into seven shorter segments seemed to work.  In any case, I couldn’t see a way, on my iphone to reduce the resolution, so I gave up on that.

 

The point of the video was to illustrate the importance of setting-in, deeply enough, certain key features of the figure, so that once my scribed lines disappeared, after the modeling process began, I’d always be able to reference these features in their correct location.

 

In the case of this dolphin carving, the eyes and “mane” would be difficult to continually pencil back-in, as I did the rough modeling, so I simply set them in as deeply as I possibly could.  With the way that the mane creates a sort of brow, above the eye, you almost can’t go wrong by setting deeply.

 

So, here are some process photos of the modeling:

910E3686-17B7-4DAC-90D1-3CF864E7C927.jpeg.cc2a578bd42120a2a5062d5b04892e5e.jpeg

Here is the last photo I took, just before setting in the eye sockets and the negative space between the mane and the transitional collar:

F20DB8F5-E920-499B-AD85-03A96643EFB7.thumb.jpeg.770396ac24b82c25514e915688e7c883.jpeg

With all of the facial features fully defined, it was time to model the body.  Puget’s drawing, above, requires some effort at interpretation, IMO.  I could, simply have done a straight tapering of the body from head to tail, but I thought the carving would exhibit a greater sense of vitality, if I incorporated a serpentine curve:

0CE737EE-238B-4690-A07C-01CBAD9253F9.thumb.jpeg.639a0276c6dd4f9f9262f8b15e4679df.jpeg

3A9A2D0E-4271-43FC-8D61-C50F123A7EB1.thumb.jpeg.b883419cd243810ebff31f626b62ec02.jpeg

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After doing so, and also establishing a centerline along the side of the body, it was a simple matter of filing soft curves up and down, between each centerline; in cross-section, the body is almost diamond shaped.

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88B1D812-B1E6-4700-894F-D2DD4597DCA0.thumb.jpeg.6dee241b0206cc6b65444d49671add5d.jpeg

After modeling the tail, as best I could (I don’t love it, but it is good enough) - here is what “Flipper,” as I’ve dubbed him, looks like on the rudder-head:

25CEE26F-10C6-4C8B-84F5-AA9189C20456.thumb.jpeg.dd5e89bffbe8df90ac30b85718483ec0.jpeg

E0989A3C-E31B-4786-B08E-6CD733A4B2C8.thumb.jpeg.15562f06f111681d7264d579f6f8b9eb.jpeg

237CEEFE-97CE-4012-A312-61979381406E.thumb.jpeg.05f3c444a193392ec0b2284cbf1e4881.jpeg

I will still need to come back, after he has been glued in-place, and apply his two flippers to the flats I left just below and to the back of the eye socket.  The flippers will be shaped to their outline, before gluing, and modeled afterwards.  I will also apply “pupils” to the eye sockets using the same technique that I discovered for representing the nail heads, along the wales.

 

Otherwise, work on the aft chase port enhancements continues.  These were particularly fiddly bits, but they are nearing completion.
 

More to come.

Edited by Hubac's Historian

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Hi Marc - 

 

Once again your excellent carving talents are amply demonstrated.  I look forward to seeing her in the flesh next week.

 

When I am carving figures, whether human or animal, I also start with the eyes.  Pretty much everything else can be adjusted or reshaped around them.

As they say, the eyes are the windows to the soul, so they have the greatest visual impact of any facial feature, even more than Cyrano's nose. 

 

Dan

 

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Thank you very much Kirill, Dan and Druxey for your thoughts and kind comments, and thank you to everyone else for your likes and looking in.

 

Well, I’ve been quite busy working on a number of small details that will complete the lower transom.  To begin with, I will say that I am searching for suitable tubing with which to make the rudder pintels and goudgeons, so that I can complete that detail.  I am also making small round escutcheon ports for the rudder chain/rope.  Not much to see, there, yet.

 

However I have completed the “nailing” of the transom moulding, the through-bolting of the lower transom knees (which is just a continuation of the side hull detail), and the gun carriage through-bolting of the chase ports.  I will not simulate the plank nailing, as I did on the ship sides, as this detail is only barely visible, if you are examining the model closely.  The overhang of the stern is sure to obscure it completely.

 

I have created the ornamental chase port surrounds. This has been an interesting foray into the pitfalls of not starting from a fully realized scale drawing.

 

My initial hope was that I could use the small frieze scroll ornaments that were left over from the upper bulwark frieze.  I quickly realized, though, that they were not nearly long enough.  So, I made each element, individually.

0E2F090E-5309-46CF-BD05-D7E5E882B7E0.thumb.jpeg.2244fd7f594495a71159b0dcd4e8517a.jpeg

This simple pencil-rub technique gave me very accurate parameters for the port openings, so that it was only necessary to sharply delineate those lines with a sharp pencil and rule.  From there, I patterned the port surrounds and scrolls:

D7C5B7F9-B8FE-4CE9-B6D1-BD4F54D0C729.thumb.jpeg.6e2e0e11bbf55810d4f927d11714aa10.jpeg

Now, here’s where I got into trouble!  Even though I did a cursory placement of the caryatid carvings - which have an architectural extension that comes down between the ports and rests upon the transom moulding - I soon realized that there just was not going to be enough room for all of these elements to co-exist.  Here is the detail, as drawn:

5EE872E8-1485-4FB5-8EED-F91B9F81C994.jpeg.420035ae5f65f7ffc65ebe209c7225c8.jpeg
Neither the Heller kit, nor the Tanneron model account for these port enhancements.  Now, despite my increasing the breadth of the stern by a healthy 5/8,” overall, I would have to have considered this detail when I was framing the chase ports, in order for it all to fit.

 

At the time that I was doing that, I was not thinking that far ahead, and was merely playing with different spreads for the ports.  The more spaced layout may have accommodated everything, but to my eye, the ports were too implausibly far apart, and the outer chase carriages would have been too close to the ship’s sides. So, I made a visual judgement, there, and I think it was the right call.

 

After thinking about it for a while, though, I realized that I could still incorporate the caryatid carvings, if I eliminated the lower architectural base.  There is plenty of space, above the chase ports, for these carvings to exist in their proper relationship to the chase ports, as well as the supporting corbel figures of Spring and Summer, one tier above them.

 

If we examine what I believe to be the slightly re-designed starboard quarter drawing of Soleil Royal II (1693), the caryatid carvings are shown, in profile, without the architectural extension:

CE61CC25-9D0A-4AE1-B9C4-BEEBB6525A15.thumb.jpeg.8f3016333435fd6730b2e146b526aaed.jpeg
With all of that in mind, I got to work, cutting back the caryatids to their essential carving:

EF108807-3640-4F4C-83A8-4F4D7AEEFB3C.thumb.jpeg.71b72fa8d7ac9c4bc1ea0e3c1db7453c.jpeg

Below, on the left, you can see the carving before I decided to further relieve the sides and back, in an effort to give the carving a lighter and more rounded appearance:

A5DB5134-1E35-4895-9EAC-572CFE15FA07.thumb.jpeg.fcf1f88e17a2e5ef26d44e16f9ee8e16.jpeg

By the way, it was also necessary to first reduce the upper thickness of the carving - before pedestal removal - and then re-scribe the upper portion to my new upper transom profile.

 

All of that is well and good, but I will not cement either those carvings, nor the jaumier-concealing scroll and head before I frame-in the next level of the stern.

 

My bulkheads are made.  Because placement of the stern windows is the paramount detail (they have to fit within a very specific proscribed space of 5/8”), I have decided to start by making the window plate first, so that I can make whatever necessary adjustments are needed to the bulkhead framing as I go; apparently, my lower transverse bulkhead former has slightly more camber than what I want.  I can fair this out in the bulkhead framing and tweak the false stern gallery planking, accordingly:

D7C5B7F9-B8FE-4CE9-B6D1-BD4F54D0C729.thumb.jpeg.6e2e0e11bbf55810d4f927d11714aa10.jpeg

What also has become apparent to me is that my 5/8” spacing is right-on, on the port side:

693464DF-B77F-4C41-83E8-E8A2B6648CF7.thumb.jpeg.380590dd73f09a23e4e66dc113c45955.jpeg

The windows fit neatly between the wales, here, but the windows rise a heavy 1/32” on the starboard side:

05FF4A6E-244B-41BC-B915-AE00AD9F5D3A.thumb.jpeg.ad122a984eea0b798a21de7c5395a0ca.jpeg

I think this variance has to do with the process of prototyping the kit, in the first place; there are numerous a-symmetries from one side to the other that have only become apparent as I pattern this or that element of the modification on one side or the other.  Ultimately, this variance will only be barely perceptible in the relationship between the starboard quarter gallery rail, and the upper main wale.  The stern windows will be in a level plane, and that is what matters most.

 

Learning from my mistakes, though, I am already troubleshooting the ways in which I will have to adjust my quarter gallery drawing, in order to fit the reality of what I am building.

 

I definitely need to increase the height of the middle deck gallery windows so that the main deck QG walk lines up properly with the wales - this is a heavy 1/8” increase:

479147AB-91F4-4F16-BA42-4A8483654910.thumb.jpeg.1c1b783a12b2334ea3845f9f31737f8f.jpeg

I’m also debating the possibility of shortening the main deck windows to match the height of their counterparts on the stern, which are precisely 9/16”.  The dolphins could remain the height that I initially drew them, and the harp height could be shortened, or in any case re-drawn to at least properly reflect the rake of the QG.

 

A perspective shot, or two:

5E4AA928-7A81-41E9-8BB8-B2FCC2A22C73.thumb.jpeg.75b01ecf1a022b1c9219cd8018b9a88c.jpeg

EBA85BA9-8BA5-4828-AF07-F9E0465145A5.thumb.jpeg.3d2457160e77b291fd8b5bb2d373185e.jpeg

Lastly, as I often do, I visited the STRAND today.  I’m always searching for a better image of my “Guilded Ghost.”  I didn’t find her, today, but in the back overleaf of a book that seemed much less specific to the 17th Century, I found this extremely clear enlargement of Van de Velde’s portrait of La Royal Therese:

85C82A53-6B4D-47F0-899F-EE029A5E9E26.thumb.jpeg.06fbea4a4e171a725a84718f1d275555.jpeg

DA89DF4B-3F9A-4E0C-A618-E7FFBA994BDB.thumb.jpeg.903a9a63bc381c654309a8ab164a9f1f.jpeg

I have many smaller prints of this portrait, but they fail to capture the detail and broad gesture of VDV’s hand, to quite the degree that this reproduction does.  Usually, I take a photo of the book cover, when something like this interests me, but today I failed to do so.  Anyway, it’s all great reference material for my forensic files.

 

Edited by Hubac's Historian

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Hi Marc - 

 

Well thought out, as usual.  The a-symmetric sow's ear is looking silkier and silkier. . . 

When you come on Tuesday you can look through my collection of brass, aluminum and plastic tubing.

Some goes down to 1/32" o.d., and I even have some hypodermic needles that can be cut up to form the gudgeons and pintles.

Feel free to take what you need.

 

Dan

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So, I’ve been focused on making this lowest tier of window lights, just above the false balcony:

5D053B1E-5778-4D03-8249-796CBE978408.thumb.jpeg.c3d5fb20986421cfb3b04945d45dc3ef.jpeg

I have my general layout, which I pasted to a piece of 3/64” sheet styrene, and then fitted into place:

BDFB3BF5-DC75-4E0C-9EAA-7B3060C6BAA8.thumb.jpeg.70ba3b98d58d3c99ebe02232417ba9fd.jpeg

The primary question was how to go about crafting the raised lip of the window frame.  I knew I had to create a series of layers; the base plate layer, the window frame layer, and the ornamental cartouche layer.

 

The problem is that cutting out the window frames before mounting would result in flimsy parts that would be difficult to shape properly, or glue in place without distortion.  My solution was to paste my layout to the 1/32” sheet and cut blanks to the outer line of the window frame, including the cartouche:

31395575-F671-40E4-BF8A-ED0F0577137A.thumb.jpeg.37c1bc0679b598c67a53c13ad0247b4e.jpeg

D7898BC3-9ABD-4832-B226-CEFFA9C24144.thumb.jpeg.5e5474307797a15fd8e455ac7f3a2c05.jpeg

I then extracted pilasters from the stock kit stern plate because the bell flower carvings on these would be challenging to reproduce.

 

Before glueing these window blanks in place, using the pilasters as spacers, I pasted the cartouche layout onto a second strip of 1/32” sheet, and then very carefully cut these to their outline. After doing so, I glued the cartouches down to the frame layer, and then the frame blanks to the base layer:

C7FA7B33-E355-4905-BB45-D54ACCB3116B.thumb.jpeg.149ffd446d106d5428d20f242e60c3ff.jpeg

Before removing the window waste, I thought it would be best to carve the cartouches, while the backing plate still had some structural rigidity.  These are very shallow relief carvings.  Once they are carved and all the remaining fuzz is removed, I like to coat the carvings with liquid cyano.  This serves to ensure that all the tiny tendril-like bits are fixed in place and the cyano smooths over any surface imperfections in the carving.

 

Now - rather than cutting out the window interior twice, I could cut once through the frame layer AND the base layer.

 

First, I drilled a series of relief holes to make material removal faster and easier:

FE300D70-D894-4730-960F-B085D6959CAB.thumb.jpeg.bdb515eeca40c61376d6597e7133228d.jpeg

Then I came in with the Dremel to hog out the middles:

9CEC6CD6-F38A-4A16-8BEA-4D24F7F2526E.thumb.jpeg.bbaf063c075be33d06df46d7351dd335.jpeg

Finally, though, it becomes a matter of careful paring with chisels and files:

CA825E47-7200-45D5-A61E-22111532BF26.thumb.jpeg.93fc58fb5d256c5708a0d7b8df000bc7.jpeg

What I like about this approach is that it affords me the opportunity to occasionally ignore my scribed lines, in an effort to balance out the stile widths, where necessary.

 882A1B1A-8115-44F8-A7AD-A1C12B6CFEF9.thumb.jpeg.68412b53d0b32c410d9fd4e6049a0cab.jpeg

I will still need to fashion a pair of scrapers to profile the edges of the window frames so that they have a slightly rounded profile.  They are not a uniform width, all around, so I will have to make scrapers that only cut one edge at a time.  I’ll need opposite bevel scrapers so that I can get into and out of all the corners.

 

Later, I will get to making the glass panes from acetate.  This is all a fair amount of effort, of course, but the results far exceed what Heller provides for, IMO.

 

Thank you for looking in.  More to follow soon, as I frame in the next level of the stern to which this plate attaches.

 

Once again - sorry about the picture orphans below:

920A857F-A9C9-496D-BF71-D148D8E2EC22.jpeg

163755E3-75FC-4C1D-9570-797709908997.jpeg

Edited by Hubac's Historian

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Hi Marc - 

 

I was wondering why you had to make your windows 4 panes tall x 4 wide, rather than the 3 x 4 of the Berain drawing?

Was this to keep the pane sizes approximately the same for the upper windows?

 

Dan

 

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Hi Dan,

 

More than anything, this has to do with designing within certain constraints of the kit architecture. You’ll notice that Berain’s windows are rather short, by comparison, and his ornamental cartouche is much closer to the frame outline.  The height between decks, on the Heller kit, is exaggeratedly tall; a 7’ person would he quite comfortable manning the guns on Heller’s ship.  So, in order to preserve a sense of elegance with the window mullions, I just added a pane.

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