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so here we are, this is my attempt to build this famous ship ! 

I always loved period ships, as far as I can remember, but it was a real shock when I got the Heller model kit at christmas when I was 14. The box itself was huge and very impressive, and the model was gorgeous. I still have this model in my workshop, I keep it as a relic ! Then I discovered the Tanneron model, the one which is displayed at the Paris naval museum, and as many I was fascinated by the beautiful carvings. 

In 2008 the desire to build model ships went back and my interest for the "SR" was still there so I bought the Sergal model kit, but I was quite disappointed with the quality of the materials and I realized if I wanted something more accurate I would have to do it myself... So I began drawing the plans and building a first model based on the Tanneron, until I found it was false, and nothing like a 17th century ship should look like... So I restarted from scratch... For this new project, I relied only on the period drawings of the stern and the bow, and all the dimensions and mesurements that Michel Saunier had patiently collected and eventually shared with me. I thank him for that ! 

It took me two years of research and work to complete the drawings of the plans, because I had to learn everything on the subject. 

Early 2014 I finally could start the real work but early 2015 I had to stop because of a newborn baby, and too much work keeping me out of my workshop... I finally could go back to the workshop these last past weeks, here is what I've done so far.

At first, some of the drawings, that apparently have already made their way on the internet. ;) 

I use the Gimp as a software. I did the plans according to the dimensions of the ship, and then adapted the decorations to the result. The drawings of the stern and bow are "artist views", and in no way can be used for architectural purposes. So the drawings had to be modified and distorded, element by element, to fit the plans. But it was not the hard part of the work, the worse was getting the waterlines correct... It took me countless hours !
















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Hi Marc - 


Thank you for posting photos of your outstanding work.  You are clearly a very accomplished draughtsman and woodworker, and your model is well on its way to being a top notch work.  I will be following along with great interest.


It will also be very informative to compare and contrast your work with Hubac Historian's plastic model, and Michel Saulnier's as well.  I may never build one of these massive projects, but I will learn a great deal from all of your efforts.


Thanks again.



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I have taken many of my cues from both Marc and Michel because they are they only two I know of to fully immerse themselves in study of the ship.


I am so glad that you are posting here, now, Marc!  As I say to everyone who doesn't know your ship, your work is peerless, and this model I think, when it is complete, will become the grandest vision of what the ship once was.


I am personally indebted to both you and Michel for freely sharing information and your passion for one of the least understood "Great" ships.


I'll certainly be following with great interest!

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What a wonderful work you did so far, Marc... (I've seen your work on the french forum so keep this one updated as well). SR is one of my favorite ships.

I'll certainly follow your build log.


In two or three words, can you tell me why Tanneron's model is false? I was always fascinated by that model (never saw it in real life though) and to me it looked like a real reference (after all, it's displayed in a naval museum).

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A few points of curiosity for me, Marc:


With regard to your plywood bulkheads, it appears that the lower section of each bulkhead is a separate piece, before the filling of the balsa.  It appears to coincide with a particular waterline.  Just wondering why?


Also, I'm wondering about the first layer of planking that comes up to just beneath the main wale.  It seems that it is perfectly flush with the surface of the faired-in bulkheads and balsa, which would mean that you had to have first cut a rebate into the bulkhead frames before assembling anything.  It's hard to see, but this appears to be the case.  I'm just curious as to why you wouldn't lay down a first layer of planking over the entire hull.  The rebate seems like an extra step, although I'm sure you had good reason for doing it this way.


One more question:  your layout of the wales and all of what would be the actual framing, onto the un-planked hull is all perfectly fair and straight and regular looking.  How do you go about transferring curved lines onto a curved object and have it all look so neat?


Also, I like your solution to shaping the headers of the quarter deck ports; very clean!

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I suppose I see, now that your wale locations are indicated on the bulkhead patterns, but what about the rest of the layout?  Going that extra step will certainly  assist your efforts to convincingly tree-nail the model, as is evident in other pictures I've seen of your exterior planking.


And one more question for the evening!  It would seem that the un-planked balsa/bulkhead hull would be fairly fragile, however, as your planking progresses, have you noticed that the model both seems and is substantially more solid/rigid?

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Hi all, and thank you for your kind words.

Dan, I went to your Queen Anne's revenge thread and I'm really impressed, it's beautiful work !!

Alex, Tanneron model is false in many ways. You may know that the Soleil Royal was built in 1669, when Tanneron model were built in 1839, so Tanneron never saw the real ship. The most important may be the stern with it's huge and very high rear castle. The ships at this time were not that high, and more wide. For an example here is a comparison between my first drawing based on the Tanneron, and the one based on the Berain. The differences are obvious, not only because of the decoration but from an architectural point of view. You can see that the Tanneron has five windows when the Berain has six for one deck. Then, there is a big fault on the first deck, where two last gunports are too low. It's a fault based on the Admiral Paris work that are subject to caution. There are some other minor faults, as the shape of the third deck gunports, (also based on the Admiral Paris's plans) and other little things. 

Nonetheless it is a masterpiece of carving, beautifully executed. In the museum, it is displayed in the "ship ornaments" section and not in the "XVIIe century vessels" section. ;)

I have no time to write the following, I come back this evening.





Sans titre (2).jpg


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Here I am again !

Patrice, content de te retrouver ici également !! Vas tu ouvrir un sujet sur ta superbe Renommée ? (Patrice, nice to meet you here too ! Will you open a thread on your beautiful Renommée ?)


Hi Marc ! You're absolutely right, I did several landmarks on the bulkheads. One cm landmarks to be sure each bulkhead positionned correctly on the keel. And landmarks for the wales, gunports, waterline, and decks to be sure the building would be faithful to the plans. Once the balsa filling done, I just had to join the landmarks to make the correct positionning of these elements appear. It was very helpful particularly for the gunports, to make them form a nice and sweet curve for each deck. 

I made a one mm thick ramin planking (crate wood !) because the balsa is a very soft and flabby wood, and I feared in these areas below the waterline, very curved, the joint between the balsa and the plywood would eventually make facets because of the hardness difference. The ramin made a homogeneous base, regular and hard enough. At last, I did not totally trust myself in the drawing of the water lines, and the one mm thickness of ramin would be a security layer that I could sand down more or less to have a real neat and smooth surface. 

The two pieces of the bulkheads, it's to make the rabbet, a stop for the planking. It would not have been possible with only one piece because of the keel. The cutting is done, not on a waterline, but on an "one cm" landmark, only for convenience purpose. 

The plywood/balsa structure was quite fragile, but not as much as I would have thought. And indeed with the pear planking it became very strong.

Thank you very much for your interest !!




Couple 8.jpg

Soleil Royal 32.JPG

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Soleil Royal 144.JPG

Soleil Royal 146.JPG

Soleil Royal 182.JPG

Soleil Royal 191.JPG

Soleil Royal 193.JPG

Soleil Royal 228.JPG

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Bienvenue, Mark. From browsing websites all over the world it is apparent there are many extraordinary ship model makers whose work we have never seen. Happily, several of them seem to have discovered Model Ship World recently and we are very pleased to view your work. I especially appreciate the meticulous lining out of your hull. It takes a very brave builder to take on a model with such exquisite carvings!

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Thanks !!

Gaetan, the goal is to build the full ship with all the carving, the rigging and sails, in "branle bas de combat" state. (what is the english word for this ?) I know it may take a while, since I'm not retired and I have many more activities, but I will stuck to the project and would rather go slow than rush some aspects of the building. I had to learn everything from scratch: "how is built a period ship", "what is a piece of wood and how to work with it", "what is ornament carving" etc, so it took me a lot of time because I was learning. Now I can go a little faster. :)

Marc, indeed, I spent a lot (a looooooot !) of time on the plans because I wanted the building to be as easy as possible and I tried to anticipate any problem I should met during the build. (of course I didn't manage, but at least I made plans that were easy to follow)



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augh.....i think i'm gonna be ill :o..or at least cry....unbelieveable....time for me to quit pretending i'm a modeler :D.........boy.... am i gonna be attached to this thread....super super....and the fellow looks so natural and lifelike..............................................................and so small...................sheesh!!!

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if i may........what kind of pear wood?.....got some pear once which was very light like yours....then the second time years later i got some which was relative dark.......maybe grown in the north or south makes a difference.....and if i missed it .....what kind of wood for the carving?...looks like it has an awfully fine grain...thanks..

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Neko, you built miniature cutters and you show us that you will have the necessary skill to produce nice carvings. Sculpture is an art you can learn, but you need to have basics talents. I would say that the most important tool would be the proportions. The last ones I did were for the Fleuron which also appeared in this forum.


If I could suggest 1 helping hint for carving, it would be to try rotary burrs and for the smallest ones, dental burrs. There is a learning curves in using tools. In carving, we begin with knives but a knife is harder to control than a rotary burr. You need to exercise strength and control his dosage. With rotary burs... you need no strength to control it, the tool has the power and you concentrate all your talent on the carving.

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