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

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Hello Marc,

 

I have also found some month ago this picture of the "Soleil Royal" . I also remember me reading that the first figurehead of this ship was a mermaid, holding on her hands a terrestrial globe surmounted by a cross.

That figurehead could have been carved by Antoine Coysevox, but I'm not sure about this. Sure Michel Saunier will know that better than me.

 

On the other hand, there is only 15 guns on the lower row; and the SR had 16 of them... and I count only 49 guns per side, (3x15 +4 on the poopdeck, being unable to determine if some are present on the forecastle).

 

At least, this picture can give us a good idea about the figurehead of the ship before reconstruction.

 

Have a nice day.

 

 

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Hi Cedric,

 

Yes, at best, I think these images are vaguely impressionistic; somewhere, in there, is some truth about SR's appearance.

 

If anyone does know, it is likely to be Michel.  As always, I welcome anyone to come forward with their insight and opinions.

 

I believe Michel had mentioned, once, that the Puget drawings for SR's ornamentation exist somewhere in the Louvre.  My understanding is that Berain re-interpreted these drawings (and presumably, elements of the ships first ornamentation) to create a new decor, at the time of her refit.  Has anyone out there ever seen these first Puget drawings?

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I had not seen those drawings before or if I had, I did not realize they were of the same ship! While the overall shape and size is the same, the decorations, windows, balconies, quarter galleys, gun ports and more have so many variances between renderings that with out having the drawings labeled, verifying that they are of the same ship would be nearly impossible. I can now understand where some of the conflicting elements on my plans have come from. For instance the 5 window stern lights looks to be a variation of the 7 window configuration. Same with the confusion on the quarter galleys being open or closed and even how many there were. I can now definitively see arguments for a few ways just depending upon what year the ship is being modeled and which drawing the modeler uses.

 

Why couldn't photography have been invented a few hundred years earlier.... ;)

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Why couldn't the marine "photographers" of that time, the Van de Veldes, have drawn more of the important French ships?

 

When it comes to stern architecture, little is more confusing than French practice.  Ships of a similar size to SR, but still slightly smaller across the main beam, nevertheless, often had more than SR's six stern windows; as shown, the Monarch had seven and I believe La Reyne carried eight (not including the quarter galleries).  This seems to have been a matter of scale and builder's preference, although certainly in many cases, the number of stern windows would be inextricably tied to the layout of the proposed decoration.

 

When it comes to the question of open or closed, or partially open quarter galleries - generally speaking, the quarters before the Reglement of 1671 (or is it 1673?) are largely open.  Thereafter, increasingly, there is a shift toward closing the quarter galleries, as the English had long been doing, by this point.  Yet, there was little enforcement of any of these early regulations, which were early attempts to standardize construction practices, so there remained a great deal of variation on the subject right up to and into the construction of the Second Marine, following the La Hogue disaster in 1692.

 

That is why, in the absence of credible drawings from the period, it really is anyone's educated guess as to the actual or intended arrangement of the stern for any of these great ships.  In the case of La Reyne, though, the arrangement is really pretty clear.  All of the important information is laid out in those two VDV drawings.

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Hi Marc, E.J. - 

 

I am highly enjoying your discussions about the interpretations of these artworks as research tools.   I am learning a great deal from your thoughts and M. Saunier's as well.

 

Thinking about the question of open or closed galleries, it occurred to me that perhaps there could have been removable shutters to protect against sun, wind and elements.  Then when the 'photographs' were taken, sometimes they were on, and sometimes not.  

 

It makes sense from a practical point of view, but is that something that has ever come up in your readings?

 

Dan

 

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Hey Dan - that is certainly an intriguing thought.  Much as fhe superficial interior bulkheads would be struck as the crew beat to quarters, it would make sense to have removable quarter panels to both preserve these expensive decorative works and reduce the carnage causing splinter potential of wood flying through the air, during battle.

 

But, I don't know whether that was a thing or not.  All the best source material is written in French, and I could very likely have skimmed past that detail in deciding what passages to translate more thoroughly.

 

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15 hours ago, Hubac'sHistorian said:

Why couldn't the marine "photographers" of that time, the Van de Veldes, have drawn more of the important French ships?

Mostly because they didn't saw them !

Between 1671 and 1688, Le Soleil Royal spent all of his first life disarmed in harbour, La Reine was drawn only because she served once as flagship during the anglo-dutch war, others first rates were in Toulon.

Furthermore, France en the Netherlands were not on friendly terms during those years.

 

When it comes to stern architecture, little is more confusing than French practice.  Ships of a similar size to SR, but still slightly smaller across the main beam, nevertheless, often had more than SR's six stern windows; as shown, the Monarch had seven and I believe La Reyne carried eight (not including the quarter galleries).  This seems to have been a matter of scale and builder's preference, although certainly in many cases, the number of stern windows would be inextricably tied to the layout of the proposed decoration.

 

When it comes to the question of open or closed, or partially open quarter galleries - generally speaking, the quarters before the Reglement of 1671 (or is it 1673?) are largely open.  Thereafter, increasingly, there is a shift toward closing the quarter galleries, as the English had long been doing, by this point.  Yet, there was little enforcement of any of these early regulations, which were early attempts to standardize construction practices, so there remained a great deal of variation on the subject right up to and into the construction of the Second Marine, following the La Hogue disaster in 1692.

Most of the drawings from that period (1666-1670) indicates an enclosed lower gallery surmonted by a balcony, sometimes with upper carvings around the side windows onto the hull itself (french term is "amortissement"), here the Van de Velde drawings can be of great help. The case of the Royal Louis is quite an exception, due to Puget's interpretation of "naval-decoration"

 

15 hours ago, Hubac'sHistorian said:

 

That is why, in the absence of credible drawings from the period, it really is anyone's educated guess as to the actual or intended arrangement of the stern for any of these great ships.  In the case of La Reyne, though, the arrangement is really pretty clear.  All of the important information is laid out in those two VDV drawings.

Why I prefer to focuse on La Reine ! At least I have one definitive start point. That doesn't mean that my problems are solved, but it's another story.

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14 hours ago, Hubac'sHistorian said:

Hey Dan - that is certainly an intriguing thought.  Much as fhe superficial interior bulkheads would be struck as the crew beat to quarters, it would make sense to have removable quarter panels to both preserve these expensive decorative works and reduce the carnage causing splinter potential of wood flying through the air, during battle.

 

But, I don't know whether that was a thing or not.  All the best source material is written in French, and I could very likely have skimmed past that detail in deciding what passages to translate more thoroughly.

 

That's the "good sense" of a XXIth century citizen, note of the common people of the XVIIth.

I never found any indication that those side windows could be open or removed.

 

Just to give an idea, after the 1673 campaign, the intendant of Brest wrote to Colbert that some captains did not make their ships "clear". In one case (if I remember, it was Le Tonnant), the lower decks were found full of animals déjections...(animals wich served for the food of the officers).

 

Also, King Louis XIV in a decree expressly ordered to the captains not to remove anything ont their ships (carvings and so on...).

 

If you need some help for traduction, you know you can aske me, just send me a PM because yahoo.com is now banned from my mail server (décision of the IT direction following last cyberattack).

 

Have a nice day.

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What a shame that these remarkable vessels lived such a sheltered life - away from the eyes of those who could accurately record their magnificence!  And so, we are left to scratch our heads and wonder at it all.  That is why SR is so captivating for me.  She's like a puzzle that is missing so many pieces; and yet, we can see a shadow of truth, a glimmer of what she once was.

 

You make a great point, Cedric, about the state of diplomatic relations between France and the Netherlands.

 

I will definitely be PM'ing you when I get stumped - which is to say, often.

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image.thumb.jpeg.ce3890226ba10eeb58ca0886ced75f3a.jpegDrawing continues.  The frieze lattice is now in place, and I can now draft and scale the shells, fleur-de-lis and folliate diamonds that will ornament the frieze.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.af122eecad83e472c6990f2fb99a2a5a.jpeg

 

This was remarkably tedious to draw.  I designed the frieze lattice to be a repeating pattern, every 3/4", like wallpaper.  I had thought I could simply draft one vertical section from main gun-deck to sheer strake, then copy, paste and position it every 3/4".  Then, I figured I'd just erase whatever sections were not necessary.

 

Well, that wasn't going to work.  As the sheer of the bulwarks rises, towards the stern, the height between ribbon strakes tapers wider;  so it could not simply be a matter of re-scaling.  Everything had to be drawn to fit.  There is yet to be done some clean-up and tying off of loose ends, but I think this gives me a good, open framework for the rest of the ornament.

 

 

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Hello Marc,

 

Well, you are miles away from me with your plans.

 

Hereby my two cents about your last drawing:

 

Hope it will helps.

 

Ave a nice day.

 

Cédric

Drawing-SR.gif

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Hi Cedric,

 

Thank you for the excellent advice.

 

Co-incidentally, I had been thinking about adding that second port on the poop.  The issue will be shortening the secondary poop deck (poop royal deck?), but this was a necessary accomodation, anyway, as a result of lowering the sheer line.  So, last night I drew in the port.  Rather than  a circular port to match, though, I chose the octagonal profile, seen in the Berain/Compardel portraits. Perhaps they should match, but for now, I think it still looks good.  I will post a picture update after I place all of the ornaments on the frieze.

 

Your plan for the quarter gallery looks right on-point to me.  A four foot projection from the hull scales out to just a hare less than 1/2", which matches the width of the stern windows.

 

I think you are right about the degree of bulwark ornamentation in 1669.  In addition to the examples you cited, there are several others that show only a simple field of fleur-de-lis.  However, what I think I am trying to re-create is the re-fit ornament of 1689, which would represent the full development and expression of the French baroque style.  Afterwards, the crown would become increasingly interested in paring down these excesses.

 

Cedric, are you using GIMP for your drafting, or some other program?

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Oh, and concerning the main deck ports and their lack of verticality.  I agree with both you and Michel about this.  Dan noticed the error as well.  This is one of those things that I'm not willing to correct on this plastic model because it would necessitate re-cutting and re-framing the ports, and completely re-creating the acanthus escutcheon carvings between ports.  When I eventually do a full scratch-build, I will address that issue then.

 

 

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One question I have about the amortissement: your drawing shows the detail starting at the level of those middle deck windows, in line with the open gallery rail and rising up to the sheer line.  This is often how I have seen it modeled (Royal Louis 1692, the Tanneron models of L'Agreable and Le Brilliant).  However, would it not make design sense - for the sake of continuity - for the amortissement to continue down to the open gallery decking?  Even if only as a framework of ornamental rails and stiles?

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2 hours ago, Hubac'sHistorian said:

One question I have about the amortissement: your drawing shows the detail starting at the level of those middle deck windows, in line with the open gallery rail and rising up to the sheer line.  This is often how I have seen it modeled (Royal Louis 1692, the Tanneron models of L'Agreable and Le Brilliant).  However, would it not make design sense - for the sake of continuity - for the amortissement to continue down to the open gallery decking?  Even if only as a framework of ornamental rails and stiles?

 

I think not !

Design sense as "common sense" was clearly not a way of thinking then.

 

Your best reference in this case is the model of the so called "Louis XV" in Le Musée de la Marine. It exactly depict the arrangement of the side structure you are in plan to do.

 

I do not know if you know that fact, but I found a old source (just have to remember wich one) who said that le Soleil Royal rebuild was not finished when she leaved Brest with Tourville on board for the battle of Beveziers. The vessel was simply painted with a pearl grey (gris perle) and carvings of the poop were even not completed.

And Tourville absolutely needed some assistants and domestics for his service, a "common sense" who added more or less 100 people more on board !!

I will try to find this source in my souk.

 

To answer your other question, I work with Autocad.

 

Have a nice day (full sunny here in Brussels).

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I also remember reading, somewhere, that SR was rushed into service before the re-build was complete.  Not sure where I saw that either, but may have been Andrew Peters's book Ship Decoration.

 

Cedric, how complete are you going to make your plans? I will certainly draw up to the main tops, with the shrouds in place, because I have to figure out their new positioning.  I think I will also draw in the topmasts and spars because, that too will he made from scratch and I want to be sure that I get the scale of it right.

 

Although I will also be building new decks, I don't think I will draw them - the exception will be the new deck railings, which will have some ornamental motif that needs to be worked out to scale.

 

Please let me know if you find that passage about SR's re-fit.  I'd like to see it, if possible.

 

Despite the spotty forecast, we also had a nice day, here, in New York.  I went to my daughter's school "field day" and we had a great time!

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7 minutes ago, Hubac'sHistorian said:

....

Cedric, how complete are you going to make your plans? ....

Well, it will dépends on the help I can obtain to have a correct hull shape first.

 

Things like the angle of the keel from waterline, the main frame and how to develop her (his or her ?) in both directions fore and aft, also I presume that the sheer of the first deck on Heller's kit is far too pronouced to the bow. I remember reading somewhere that the correct sheer was 2 lines per feet (or one feet divided by 60). So there is still a lot of work before speaking of "plans". The heigths of the gunports was dependant of the sheer of the decks.

 

Also I wait the return of Mr Saunier from his week-end to discuss about the dimensions given in the document of L'Anonyme du Havre de Grâce.

If the first part depict a first rate wich is without doubt Le Soleil Royal, I'm still asking what could be the second part of a first rate of 2000 tons.

Except La Reine and le Royal Dauphin, I did not see such ships at that time.

 

As you can see, plenty of questions to resolve before going further with my plans.

Re-reading my previous post, I don't know if I should have said "miles away from me" or "miles ahead from me", wich seems more correct !

 

Have a nice day then, time for supper here.

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Well, when you consider that my plans are merely a scale layout for the ornamentation - I'm really not that far ahead of you.  Someday, I will create a propper lines plan from the main frame, fore and aft.  However, because I have no intention of re-molding the plastic hull, frame shapes are not necessary right now.

 

I will say that I am eagerly awaiting the release of the Lemineur/Tusset monographie on Le St. Phillipe.  Although this was one of the early ships of the Second Marine, I suspect that the shape of the main frame would not have differed dramatically from that of SR.  I believe the main difference would be the development of the hull, aft of the mainframe, as it resolves into the stern framework.  An accurate model of SR1, must incorporate the pre-1673 stern framework, just as Michel and Niko have done with their models.

 

Bon Appetite!

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This has been quite a busy and productive holiday weekend.  I have completed the ornamental frieze layout. While there are still issues with overlapping elements, generally, I am very happy with the spacing and size of the individual elements.  She is starting to look like what I intend for this project.

 

Here are a few pictures:

 

image.thumb.jpeg.ea94edafaccb2f16d9b3faeba7384dec.jpeg

image.thumb.jpeg.c2bb04d02b840b9f7a043832cad39580.jpeg

A detail closeup that shows the added octagonal port:image.thumb.jpeg.590195dc50eedf18ff44b74f1e40f5fe.jpeg

 

 

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Hello Marc,

 

Really a nice work !

 

Have you yet an idea how to proceed to build that Framework ?

 

In my case, I really envisage to ask a czech manufacturer to make a fret of fleur de lys at a small scale (1 to 3 mm heigth, things I really can't do).

 

Just a question what are those things drawed between the lower wales on the second pictures ?

 

 

 

 

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Thank you, Cedric!

 

The frieze will be built up.  First, I will tack-glue this layout to a sheet of .020 styrene, so that I can cut out the lattice-grid.

 

That grid will then be cut down into manageable segments - perhaps on mitered corners, where one would expect to see joints - and then glued to the upper bulwark pieces that have been scraped free of the stock ribbon strakes and ornaments that would interfere with the new layout.

 

I'm thinking about bending annealed wire to the shapes of the frieze layout, and then glueing a shaped wire segment to the centerline of all of the frieze lattice segments.  This will give some shape and dimension to the lattice and crevices for the mild distress wash to collect.

 

the fleur-de-lis, shells, folliate diamonds and lattice scrolls are just big enough that I can carve masters and make uniform resin castings of them.  There are so many of each and they must be consistent for the finished effect to look as intended.

 

Each casting will have it's back sanded flat and then glued to the frieze, just as you might decorate a Christmas tree.  The lattice scrolls will probably have to be cut into the frieze lattice because they appear half-on and half-off the lattice.

 

Color-wise, lately, I'm thinking that I might go with a lighter blue for the upper bulwark pieces - reserving the deep ultra-marine blue for select sections of the stern and tafferal.  Also, I am leaning towards painting the frieze lattice and sheer railings in yellow ochre, and using gold only for the frieze ornaments and figurative reliefs and carvings of the stern and quarters.  My thought, there, is that the gold would pop more and be more visually impactfull.

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And to answer your question: Between the lower wales, these are scupper ports.  You can sometimes see, in VDV portraits, these sleave or sock-like attachments on the lowest scupper ports.  I'm pretty sure that the Batavia replica, in Lelystad, carries them.  My presumption is that these sleaves prevent in-flow of water on the lowest battery, in rough and rolling seas.  I have never seen them above the lowest deck.  It seems to me that Fimo is an ideal medium for creating these.

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Hi Marc - 

 

I think the fact that several of us have noticed the tipped gunports on the Heller casting means that they are eye-catching elements and should be adjusted if it can be done without too much work.  Looking at your drawing carefully it seems that the tipping is more apparent than real.   Here is how I would go about changing the model and the drawings:

 

For the model, not much work is needed.  Even the sides of the aftmost gunport need to be shifted only about 2 degrees.

592d88309df24_adjustedgunport.jpg.ec0b951de11d0d514ac71e08415ef7d1.jpg

All of the others are closer to vertical and need less adjustment.  The insides of the port can be modified with a needle file.  It may be that only doing the verticals would be enough to change the look of the piece.  Doing something physical on the model might make a nice change from all the drafting.

 

As for the drawing, I do not know the program that you are using, but check to see if there is some 'rotate' or 'skew' function that you can apply to a selected portion of your drawing.  The Photoshop Elements program that I use has several.  Here I have simply taken a square outline of the gunport and rotated it to vertical.  The second has the gunport skewed, which leaves the sill tipped.

592d893c79de4_rotatedgunport.jpg.8ef19b9012bc419368d3c7bf7224a8c8.jpg

592d88315b5a8_skewedgunport.jpg.ac29066ac053aebe60dd32a294160efb.jpg

The program also lets me more carefully select just the gunport by using the 'lasso' function, but that is a much more time consuming process.

 

If your program does not allow you to do this, I could do it for you if you send me a JPEG file of your entire hull.

 

Dan

  

 

 

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Hi Dan,

 

In turning it over, in my mind, I suppose the easiest way to correct this error and produce a seamless result would be to scrape away the raised port framework around each port.  Then, make a mold for new resin castings that match the profile of what you just scraped away, but with the upper port enhancement moulded in (instead of it being a separate, more fragile casting).  Then you could re-position the new frames so that they are vertical over the old skewed opennings, and glue them in place.  It seems likely that the necessary adjustment is so small that one could simply backfill any resulting voids with Squadron putty, and then file flush with the port openning.

 

I'm not sure it bothers me enough to go to the effort (which is considerable), but then Dan - you have planted a seed, and you know how that goes!

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Maybe you could try the easier method of straightening the gunport sides on one or two ports.  If you don't like the look, you can either backfill to the original configuration, or go with the insane amount of work needed to replace all of the surrounds.

 

If you have truly lost your mind and decide to go the replacement route, you could consider 3-D printing for the surrounds.  You could make up one in the computer, then copy it multiple times and attach them to each other with sprues to form a sheet which can be printed by Shapeways or other inexpensive service.

 

In either case, I will be watching with interest.

 

Dan

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hubac'sHistorian said:

Hi Dan,

....

I'm not sure it bothers me enough to go to the effort (which is considerable), but then Dan - you have planted a seed, and you know how that goes!

That could goes to a better rendition of the ship !

 

An idea I had when I was still thinking to improve Le Soleil Royal with a 16 guns lower row (what needed to realign all of them) was simply to cut the raised framework of the gunports and replace them onto a new plastic card. All the molded carvings (repetitive) could be of printed in 3D or made in resin ?

This will also improve your model because the inner sides of those upper bulwarks is quite terrible with the ejections pins marks and absence of a inner planking engraving, and they are also a little too short on breadth (I mean here taking the inner and outer planking plus the size of the upperframe).

 

Just my two cents.

Do it. Labor omnia vincit

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The issue I can see with plumbing the legs only (assuming, also, that you are going to try and preserve the sill) is that you will have to do a fair amount of finessing to join your new moulding stiles to the remaining arched header, and you will have quite a bit of tricky work in the corners, where the stiles meet the sill.  If the molding around the port were a simple, flat raised molding - that would be relatively easy to add to and subtract from.  Unfortunately, it is not: in cross-section, it is an astragal with thin flat edges and a half-round center.

 

Even if you go that route of plumbing the sides and rejoining with the sill and header - at best you are left with a parallellogram shaped port.

 

If it's to be done at all, I think it is better to recreate the raised port frame altogether with the upper port enhancement attached.  Another incentive for doing this is the fact that the aft-most port on the main deck battery is overlayed by the kit quarter gallery, such that the port moulding is cast into the quarter gallery plate and not the upper bulwark, itself.

 

because the new quarter galleries I am making land just aft of this port openning, I would have had to construct a framework anyway.  The existing frames can't simply be excised from the QG plate because the carry the same coved profile as the QG plate, as it fares inboard back to the hull.

 

The idea of 3-D printing has some appeal.  Thanks to Vossiewulf, I now have some idea what the 3-D modeling component that something like that entails.  But I'm not sure about taking that on.  That seems like steep learning curve stuff.

 

In any case, there is time yet to think on this.

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Cedric, I remember well all of the filing and filling of injection mould cavities and sprues on my first SR.  I am also mindfull of the fact that these kit bullwarks are too thin.  Just as I created the impression of depth on the lower port opennings, I may "plank" the interior surfaces of these bulwarks to improve their detail and sense of heft.

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Marc,

You are faced with some tough decisions. With the amount of work you are putting into the design, where do you draw the line at what is acceptable? It would be easy to say do it all if this was a true scratch build where you had free reign to make those adjustments across the whole ship. Working with in the set confines though of a pre-formed hull restricts that ability to a point. Pat that point, you may as well go fully into the full scratch build. After many years of modeling in plastic and building several ships in it, I know the frustrations that it can create. While a lot can be changed you still reach limits on what is feasible to do. Seeing how you adapt to these challenges and work within the limitations set by the mold and your own plans is one of the things, (outside of the ship herself and the excellent research) that is truly fascinating about this build. Watching you work through the complicated decorations and make them work within those limits while staying true to the original ship is a view of model building that is not often seen. 

 

When you finally start the build phase, watching her come alive will be a sight to see I'm sure!

 

If you are looking for a tie breaker on to straighten the ports or not to, I am on the side of straighten them. While yes, it is a lot of work, it is relatively easy enough to do and will make the overall appearance better. Also, if what you say is true and you are planning on remaking the port enhancements anyway, this would not be going far out of your way to correct something that may bug you later on.

 

Either way, carry on! :D 

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