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La Reine by CedricL - Heller - PLASTIC - 104 guns French first rate - modified Soleil Royal kit


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HELLER : La Reine…an attempt

 

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The title says all…it’s only an attempt !

 

This idea came to my mind about two years ago when I had the chance to find à  Soleil Royal for 50 euros on a second hand site. I built my first one in the late eighties, direct from the box ; and a second one a little later (unfortunately destroyed during a home-moving), and still another one is still lying around in the bottom of my garage. I thought, that I could, on this latest attempt, go a step further with details and correct the many faults that I was unaware of in my earlier attempts.

I spent, thus, more than a year collecting sources about the first Soleil Royal and discovered also that the ship was, in fact, quite different from the one beautifully carved by Jean-Baptiste Tanneron in 1839 (model of the Musée de la Marine – Paris).

 

In fine, I found the document above. After further researches, I discovered that this ship, the « Royal Duc » - who’s name was changed in 1671 to « La Reine » was nearly a sister-ship of Le Soleil Royal, with the immense advantage of being drawn by Willem Van de Velde the Elder in 1673.

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Keeping in mind that reliable sources of information an drawings of the first Soleil Royal virtually do not exist anymore, and using these known drawings as my basis, I changed my idea and decided to convert the Heller kit into La Reine.

 

To give you an idea of the future build, I roughly drew on Autocad both profiles of the ships :

 

Le Soleil Royal, Heller version :

SR.jpg.ff93c9c91154438f58c1da1d06e75823.jpg

 

La Reine, redrawn from J.C. Lemineur’s book :

RD.jpg.7bf59539dc945e01dbf37a61b6c04ae8.jpg

 

Both superimposed for comparaison ; to the same lenght for the Heller kit. In fact, my model of La Reine will be slightly overscaled in comparaison of the announced 1/100 scale (more near the 1/90) :

SRRD.jpg.1adcbe4bad053f6acadbc84dce98632a.jpg

 

You’ll better see now the problems to solve :

 

The stem must be changed, the forward bulkhead must be extended down to the first deck, on which the bowsprit mast was placed. It is a caracteristic of the french vessels built before 1690 to have the bowsprit mast anchored to the first deck. This is a feature that so many captains will criticize that, following the La Hogue disaster in 1692, new vessels will have their bowsprit placed on the second deck.

A new figurehead and bow timbers must be made from scratch, only with the help of Van de Velde rough sketch…

The distribution of the gunports is completely different. It is a specific caracteristic of La Reine, and of the first Soleil Royal, to have 16 gunports on the lower battery. They were the only French vessels with such an arrangement of gunports on the first battery at that time. The third battery was less armed in order to have place for the officers quarters, and the poopdeck of La Reine was left unarmed, a substantive difference to Le Soleil Royal.

The position of the masts must be slightly modified, with the understanding that their dimensions and those of the yards were proportional to those of the hull.

All the poop and side galeries must be fully scratch-build, but in this case, the drawings of Van de Velde and Desclouzeaux are truly of great help.

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Cedric, after hearing about what you attempting to do over on Marc's log I had to come here and pull up my seat right away. This should prove to be a very interesting, educational and overall exciting project to watch come together! Good luck and I'm looking forward to sharing this adventure with you.

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Thank you all,

 

But, for those who will take a seat, I just can tell you that I have absolutely no idea about the time I will spend on this.

It depend about the drawings and plans I will try to draw during the construction of the kit.

For now, I'm trying to correct the sheer of the lower deck on autocad, because the Heller kit have a far too pronouced one; and I absolutely need a correct shape to implement the lower gunports on correct heigths (at first on autocad, then onto the hull of the kit).

 

So, there will always be periods of drawings and periods of converting the kit...

 

Have a nice day.

 

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  • 3 months later...
5 hours ago, yancovitch said:

hmmmm....correct me please......i thought that the wales on french ships were straighter and didn't cut through the gunports like the british ships.......thought they were more parallel to the gunports.....?

Good morning yancovitch,

 

No, définitively.

The royal ordonance of 1673 said that the 3 last rear gunports have to be cut by the lower wales.

Have a look on Van de Velde drawings of the french ships, you'll see that it was a common practice (and not only for french ships).

 

Another detail I'm looking for: does "sections" of wales were placed on gunports lids to obtain a continuous line when those were closed or not ?

It seems that it was the case on Dutch ships but I have not yet found any evidence for french ships.

 

Sorry for this quick answer with my "rough English". it's only 06.00 am here and I'm not yet really awaken.

 

Have a nice day.

 

PS: still two hard labor weeks to manage  (on professional activities) and I'll could get back to the model.

 

:)

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  • 4 weeks later...
4 hours ago, Heinrich der Seefahrer said:

Hello Céderic,

 

as I'm struggeling with the little Le Coureur kit by Shipyard and a connoisseur of Van de Veldes drawings  I'm looking foreward to your further planings and progresses.

 

Thank you very much Heinrich,

 

I'm currently struggling with my Harrap's, as all my written progresses are in French and have to be translated in English (with Hubac's Historian's help). Progresses will follow between job, family and all others aspects of life.

That also means that "planning" is a word I don't know about. I'm not only busy with the kit but also with acad drawings, who are extremely time consuming despite the help I've aslo received from Michel Saunier about the hull; lots of things yet to solve mainly due to the lack of graphic documents about that "forgotten ship".

 

Best wishes.

 

Cédric

:)

 

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Good evening everyone,

A few progress on that build...

 

 

The known dimensions of La Reine are (given in french feet, the multiplier to convert them to the modern imperial foot is 1.066) :

155 feet lenght between the outer faces of the stem and sternpost.

42 feet breadth at the main beam, notice that on French ships, this dimension is taken to the inside of the outerplanking of the ship (wich, generally, was 4 inches thick except for wales, which were approximatively 8 to 9 inches thick for a first rate). 19 and a half feet for the depth of the hold, this is determined between the upper side of the keel and the upperside of the main beam (without the camber).

The overall depth of the stem is still quite important ; a dimension that is more or less 1/5 the length of the ship between stem and stern. But this placed too much of a burden on the longitudinal connections, wich is why it was progressively reduced to the 1/9 of the lenght.

 

Before 1670, lacking clear royal decree, the distance between gunports was decided by the chief constructor.  That information, along with the breadth of the gunports is nevertheless fundamental because the sum of both give the length between the stem and stern. Laurent Hubac commonly used gunports of 32 inches breadth and 30 inches heigth. At that time, those gunports could carry guns ranging from 18 to 36 pounds, following the avalaible guns in the arsenal.

Therefore, knowing that the length of the ship was 155 feet, (or 1860 inches) and that 16 gunports were to be placed we’ll obtain the following result :

 

1860 - (16x32) = 1348, divided by 17 = 79 inches or 6 feet 7 inches between gunports.

You will then simply haveto convert it to the desired scale.

 

With this, it’s possible to begin the work on Heller’s hull.

I’ve decided to present the ship as a « waterline » model, because the lack of informations about how Laurent Hubac designed the bottom part of the frames and furthermore to gain space ; maybe also because it’s only a plastic ship model and a kind of « mock-up » in my mind. I’ll see later if avalaible informations and help can make me produce a correct shaped hull for a POF model in wood. 

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Cutting the hull at the waterline :

I simply glued both hull halve below the waterline. Then, I glued the support of the mainmast onto the bottom of the inner hull, and then placed the first and second decks but without gluing them (blue-tack is really useful here). I took the mainmast pieces, put them into place and made a small mark in order to find later a kind of correct heigth for that mast.

 

A thin layer of grey primer is then applied to the hull at the level of the waterline. Mounting quickly the support of the ship then place the hull on it, be carefull that the waterline is not parallel to the keel.

An important point is the fact that the engraved waterline is far too low.

In order to obtain something conform to that era, you’ll have to know that the lower side of the lower row of gunports amidship was usually only 5 to 6 feet above the sea !

At Heller scale (1/100), it means that the waterline should be placed 16 millimeters (or 5/8 of an inch at 1/100 scale) under the central gunports.

 

I decided to place the waterline just under the first wale. Using a marking gauge with an XActo n°11 blade in place of the pen, I carefully scribed the new line. Then, I cutted both half pieces with a metal saw ; working slowly and verifying constantly that the structure « hull and decks » did not move.

After that, both half hulls are seperated, removing the blue tack of the decks and the cuttd area is sanded.

That’s it :

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Here begin the real work (and quite a boring one). First I used the existing gunport lids  to close the existing gunports. Some filling will be needed later...

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Once this was done, on the lower parts of the hull, comes the sanding stage. It’s really a long process, and in my case, quite difficult due to the brittleness of the plastic. I would strongly recommand to use an electrical tool like the Proxxon PS 13 for those who attempt this.

In between, I began to redraw on Autocad the different decks, using those of the kits as templates, even if I’m aware of relative problems to solve : the absence of camber (they are strictly flats) and probably incorrect heigths between them.

But at least, I could use them to implement the new rows of gunports, once they will be printed at scale 1:1 of the kit.

 

A suivre...

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Hi Cedric - 

 

A very nice start.  You are setting yourself a very hard task, kit-bashing to such a great amount.  I am watching with real interest.

 

I do have a bit of confusion about your calculation of the the distance between gunports.  You have divided the hull into 17 equal segments, including the one from the forward port to the stem and from the aft port to the stern.  I am not sure that these two distances were the same as the separation between gunports.  I am no expert and I would not be surprised if I was wrong and they are the same as the gunport separation.  But to me it just doesn't feel right. 

 

Would it make sense to locate your forward and aft ports where they fit, depending on the sizes and locations of the quarter gallery, headrails, etc., then divide the space between the two by 15?  That would give you the distance from center to center, rather than the planking distance between ports, but that is just a technicality.

 

Dan

 

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9 hours ago, shipmodel said:

...

I do have a bit of confusion about your calculation of the the distance between gunports.  You have divided the hull into 17 equal segments, including the one from the forward port to the stem and from the aft port to the stern.  I am not sure that these two distances were the same as the separation between gunports.  I am no expert and I would not be surprised if I was wrong and they are the same as the gunport separation.  But to me it just doesn't feel right. 

 

Would it make sense to locate your forward and aft ports where they fit, depending on the sizes and locations of the quarter gallery, headrails, etc., then divide the space between the two by 15?  That would give you the distance from center to center, rather than the planking distance between ports, but that is just a technicality.

 

Dan

 

 

Thanks you Marc and Shipmodel,

 

Well, about that problem, you're probably right; but without any avalaible informations, it will be extremely difficult to locate precisely the forward or aft gunport. Even the VDV drawing is not of great help in this case. So I had to make a choice and simply used the way given by J.C. Lemineur in his book "Les Vaisseaux du Roi Soleil".

 

Have a nice day.

 

:)

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  • 10 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Dear Cederic, 

 

Hubac motivated me to read in here about the beautyful Le Reyne - so I did and I'm enthusiastic to start with my Heller SR.. But the Le Reyne looks too "dutchy" to me and the balkonys I do miss as a light nearly pre-Rokkoko feature. 


So I'll await the receive of the new Ancre-monography about the Sank Philippe of 1693:SP1693.thumb.jpg.02fa45d9653070c6af226631b24ce60c.jpg

Perchance I'll have to overstretch the arrangement of the gunports, but I'm not so courageous to close the gunports and relocate them as you have been. And by this I could try to experimentade with a (dove)blue than red based decoration. 

 

So we'll be three altogether with our SR  builts! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Edited by Heinrich der Seefahrer
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Cedric, considering that basically nothing matches- hull lines, head shape and position, mast position, gunports... is it really an advantage to start from the kit? I'm wondering if you're going to spend more time trying to change one into the other than you might spend just drawing bulkhead lines and scratching it from styrene (if that's your preferred medium).

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  • 1 year later...

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