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Jeanne D'Arc by popeye the sailor - FINISHED - Heller - 1:400 - plastic

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during the doldrum that I've been on for the last few weeks,  my son gave me this neat little model.  he bought it at a flea market for $10.00.   the model was untouched....all of the parts were still in the plastic bag inside.  looking at the condition of the box,  I thought it might be an older kit,  so I did a bit of digging.  there are no mold dates anywhere,  other than the 'Heller' embossment on the inside of one of the hull halfs.  to my surprise,  the kit may only be about five or so years old.......it wasn't immediately listed on the Heller site,  but going in a little deeper,  showed it along with several other destroyers and battleships.   you have to pardon me here.......I'm kind of a history nut when it comes to plastic kits.   there are many kits out there that could be considered collector's items.....not that I care that much {I'd likely build the darn thing anyway},  but it's a nice touch of nostalgia.   I've built so many plastic models over the years.......Revell is a walk down memory lane for me.  I've not built too many Heller kits....that also goes for French ships.


I was going to closet this kit.....I know that I have other 'fish' to fry.......but I've seen some really super builds going on here lately.   the arms race between Greg and Carl is really cool to watch {my money's on Greg, BTW}.......and Danny.......well,  he's taken to card like fish to water...his latest one is gonna be epic!  Kevin's HMS Fife is shaping up to be a super looking model......and shares a sort of similarity to the Jeanne D'Arc.   the Jeanne D'Arc is a helicopter cruiser and troop transport,  all rolled into one.  dominated by a large flight deck aftward,  she has the capability of launching two Puma,  and two Gazelle helicopters or four Super Frelons.   during war time,  she could house eight to ten helos.  I found a really great article on the vessel: 




built back in the 50's,  she was named La Resolue.  she wasn't renamed to the Jeanne D'Arc until 1964,  when the cruiser of that name was decommissioned.

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I didn't do a complete contents check until a week ago.   the overall length of the model is 18 inches long.   there are many really small parts,  so I'm wondering if P.E. would be needed.....likely doubtful that a set is around for her anyway.



the instructions come in two large sheets.....three pages are the actual assembly instructions...the last page being text in different languages and the symbol chart.


the hull halves......


...and the parts to the vessel...



the kit comes with the parts for four Gazelle or Super Frelon helicopters......I'll need to figure out which.    seen here,  the blades are either spread out or retracted for storage.


the decal sheet......surprised that there are no decals for the helicopters.  


I downloaded a Humbrol chart so I could cross reference the colors to model Master.  too bad they don't have Humbrol at Hobby Lobby....sure I could find it somewhere.   another favorite of mine was Pactra.


very few part fell off the sprues.......however at the bottom of the bag,  was the flag sheet,  chain,  and the few parts that did fall off.  can't be too careful ;) 


As mentioned..there are a lot of small parts.   hope I don't lose any of them :unsure:


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yesterday,  after going as far as I could with the Jolly Rogers,  I assembled the super structure....part of it,  anyway.   it's made up of five parts,  and the fit was kinda wonky.    I might have to use a little putty to fill the bigger imperfections.


the top part will be equally as tough to add to it.......these kits aren't like the good old days,  when the superstructure usually consisted of two parts {halves}.   they most likely still do....haven't done one of these modern ship in quite a while.   


then I figured that I would assemble the main parts of the helicopters.  for those with eagle eyes,  you might have seen it.....but I didn't.  as I was removing the halves from the sprues,  I saw that a tail section was broken off one of the halves :(   I didn't find it in the box itself,  so I looked in the bag.   nestled in the odd bits was the broken piece!---------->RELIEF!!!



you might be able to see the break line.   through some dry fitting,  I got to see how the elevator will look.   I do have some flash to deal with and the mold edges are a little flared......I'll be sand'in 'em down and squar'in them off.


more soon :) 



Edited by popeye the sailor
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hello Piet....thanks for look'in in and the good word :)    yea......I haven't updated my signature.   just look'in for the day when I can retire......I'll have plenty to do by that time ;)   I'm finally finding the time to get back to business......it feels pretty good :) 

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I did make a bit more progress with this one........but I'm beginning to see some ill fittings here and there.   not only that,  but there's a lack of locator holes,  tabs and pins,  to guide where the parts go.   I'll point them out as I go along,  for those who either have this kit,  or kits like this one.   they might not be intended for the faint at heart ;) 

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thanks Greg for looking in.....I took a look at the site you mentioned.......they have the super frelon helicopters w/radar {SA321G} and the Lynx choppers..and I'm sure one of the P.E. sheet could be used.   I might have gone too far though,  opting to use what is supplied in the kit.   makes me want to find a carrier though ;) 

thanks for the tip :)   I bookmarked the site!


thanks Mobbsie :)   wood or plastic,  any kit can pose problems.   I've made it a bit further,  thinking up some strategy for the assembly....some parts are not lining up very good.   another thing I see in this kit is the ejection pin marks...some protrude quite a bit.   I've trimmed most of them off and cleaning them up with sanding,  so they might not look too bad when I get around to painting.   I have some update pictures handy......still in the camera at the moment.  I'll be back.  :)  

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going a bit further with the ship,  I thought to assemble some of the sub assemblies.   the 100mm guns were first......the parts were found and laid out.   if you read through the article I posted on this vessel,  there was to be quite a bit of armament aboard.   for starters..there were to be six 100 mm guns.   the two guns aft of the super structure were eliminated,  leaving only the two fore of the super structure,  and the two at the stern.   she was also to have a quadruple 305 mm mortar launcher on the fore deck,  but this was never installed.


the openings of the gun shells have a lot of flash that must be trimmed out.  I have partially done one of them.


once they were all trimmed out,  gauging the openings by eye,  I made up a sanding stick for them.   planking comes in different thicknesses......I chose one and CA'd some fine sandpaper to it.  sticking it in the openings,  I found {and was glad to see} that all four openings were the same size.


once all the other parts are trimmed of sprue marks,  they can be assembled.   a strange thing to note about this kit......the actual ship is fitted with twin triple mm38 Exocet anti ship launchers at the front of the super structure, at the fore deck.  earlier in her concept,  she was to have a twin Masurca SAM Launcher mounted there instead.   these were never installed.    the kit features the SAM launcher...the only picture shown in the article,  is an artist's depiction of what she would have looked like.   the Exocet Launchers were installed in 1974.   {same year I graduated high school}

    the top part was cemented on the super structure.........what a pain it was to fit.....it's not perfect.   at the aft section in a recess,  were can only be described as injection pin marks.  for the marks to be this pronounce,  the knock out pins must have been too short for the mold.   my intention is to trim them off.


yea......there's a lot of sanding scars.  hard to figure out why they made the super structure to have this many parts........counting the top part,  six in all.  I removed some pin marks from the deck on top as well.


they will be sanded to insure a smooth deck.   along the sides of inner wallsthe hull,  there are two levels.....walkways below the main deck.   these are to be filled in with railings.   the kit comes with two types of railings.......neither one is numbered to tell you which one to use.   I used my better judgement here......I'm sure I am correct.


both sides are done....with a little cleaning up,  they should be good.   along the top of this section,  the hull cuts away from the main deck and there is a heavy mold line down the middle of it.   I did my best to eradicate these lines.   the decks are ill fitting as well.  the stern section has a wall on both sides of the elevator area.....they connect to the outer hull.  I cemented the stern section into the hull so I can line them up better.....then I can fit them to the main deck section.  

   walkway / shelves needed to be installed along the elevator's inner walls.  I used a piece of suitable width planking for spacing.


the appendage that runs toward the mid ship hangs free.   the main deck is to fit over this,  creating the outer walls for the side hull walkways.  I was going to cut and add a length of sprue as a support for it,  but it would get in the way of the walls,  molded on the main deck part.   the fore deck fits pretty much in the same way.   I will need to use a little bit of filler to fill in the small imperfection.


still a lot of tiny pieces to go.

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thanks Mobbsie........and yes,  the filler came in handy.   I happen to have some of the plastic filler.   I haven't used it much since I got into the wooden models,  so I had to knead the tube a little to get it mixed again....pliable too ;)    there are only three places so far,  where it will be needed.   more work was done to the super structure......the front bridge area needed to have some filler around the top lip.  with it sanded and fixed up,  I chose a better alternative to the deck paint.  they suggest a darker gray,  but in the pictures I've seen,  it looks to be more of an asphalt color......kind of gray,  but more towards a blackish color.   the decks were painted in this new paint I mixed up,  and the sides were painted the darker gray....a battleship gray.



the funnel was added after the paint was dry....the top section to the super structure {to the right} was painted with the darker gray.  all that needs to be done now, are the inner bulwarks and railings,  which have bee added to the aft end.


a pair of life boats and the SAM launcher was assembled.....the missiles are to be another color,  so they will be added later after everything is painted,


the parts for the props were added to the stern.   once cleaned up,  I can begin on the outer hull painting.


the tip of the bow needed some filler...that was done and then painted with the mixed paint.  I probably should have used the air brush for this.......the main deck shows the streaking real good.


flash has been a problem.......finding more than I thought.   the walls were added to the elevator area,  as well as the railings along the inner area.   the elevator will be in the down position.   odd thing I see here,  is that there is a depression line {a slot},  for a wall........not included in the kit?!?!   I could add something here,  but not sure what would be logical.   I forgot to fill in the third imperfection when I painted it......I'll do that when I touch it up


the main deck was dry fitted after it was painted.


as I suspected......I will have to do some trimming to fit the aft end of the main deck,  to fit where these two walls are.   there's still more painting to be done here as well.


we'll see how much I get done today  ;) 

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You are very brave to tackle this old kit. A friend of mine built it about 45 years ago, when I was still living in France. Heller produced all their military ships kits in the scale of 1/400th, long before the 1/350 became the standard.


The molding and quality of these old kits is not at all on par with the Japanese and Chinese latest kits and require a significant amount of patience, putty and sanding to get a correct result. I have built the Richelieu, Bismarck as well as some civilian ships from Heller, when I was a teenager. They were great kits and the artwork on the box cover, made us all drool.


I would immediately eliminate the plastic railings provided in the kit and replace them with photo etched parts. It may be difficult to find PE railings in the scale of 1/400 though, but Eastern European manufacturers may have something for you.



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1/400 railings are readily available for the Titanic and I believe several other ships. 1/350 might also work but Denis will probably be well beyond that by the time he could get them.


By the way Denis, i don't think the missiles would be stored on the rails but would be loaded just prior to launch from an internal magazine.


Fun build to watch.



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thanks for the encouraging comments gents.......I appreciate the interest  :) 


this must be an updated kit Yves.......it gives her complete history,  right to when it was decommissioned in 2010.   what still bugs me though,  is why would she be modeled with the SAM missiles,  and not the two triple Exocet launchers that she ended up with for most of her career.   the kit does have it's faults,  but it's coming out OK so far.......I'm only having to make a few minor adjustments.


Lou......the SAM missiles and launcher looks like this........the Exocet launcher is encased.   American warships have these launchers too.....the missiles are externally attached to the trajectory arms {pods}.   Edwards has the Titanic railings and stuff.....I have a few other places where they can be found.  there's a wonderful site that I will send you regarding the Titanic,  I think you might like it  ;) 


I won't give up on it Greg........I'm too far into it.  even though I could use any of those different sheets,  I think I'll just use the supplied railings and stuff.  given the time factor {and the cost of some of them made the admiral flip}...I'll wait till I get.......lets say.......a better subject to expend the effort into.  you are the guru of P.E. ......it's sage advice coming from you ;)   I truly enjoy what you do to your vessels.   besides,  I think I spent my allowance for the time being.......a future project that got put away for Christmas {anything that will keep my grubby paws out of it}.

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so.......yes,  I did make some more progress on this project.   the first thing was to fill in that gap in the stern.


when I touch up the decks,  I can address this.   the main mast has a lot of small pieces......the tree was starting to take shape.


along side there is one of the DRBC-32A fire control radar units........there are three on the upper structure.   the four Super Frelon Helicopters supplied in the kit,  are made up with a number of small parts as well.   trimming the assembly joints took some care.......that little dimple you may have seen in the front,  is actually the front wheel.   I had to be careful not to cut it off!   a pair of aft wheels {pods and tires}......giving them a tripod landing gear,  were cemented in place.   the tail section was also cemented in place......a tiny stabilizer is still to be added after they are dry......overnight.   the rotors will be added last,  after they are painted.


still some clean up to do on them..........more was done to the mast tree.


the DBRN-34A navigational radar unit


I think these are the two other DBRC-32A radar units


......and I don't think I showed you the 100 mm guns assembled.......they are ready for paint.


with a bit more clean up,  these should be ready for paint.   more soon :)


thanks for look'in in and also for the likes.....glad to have ya follow'in along  :) 

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oh.......before I forget :huh:   I mentioned earlier,  that there is a sort of slot,  toward the back of the elevator well,  if you look below deck.   I was unsure if there was anything there,  since I did not see a 'back wall' in the parts sprues.   I noticed today that there are these two doors.........part number 21.   for some reason or another,  these parts are nowhere to be seen in the instructions.   I haven't fitted them yet,  but I believe they go there.


just a little info for those who have this kit.

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hello there!   I would have been here sooner.......but I had an emergency brake-en-decktomy to do.   this time it was my older son.........Jee dad,  I had them checked in June.   yea right.........what did they use to look at them.....certainly wasn't their eyes!   while I was at it.......I set his tire pressures to 42 PSI {max pressure 51 PSI}.....the place he last got his oil change set 'em at 32 PSI.  then I cleaned the corrosion off of his battery terminals.......tisk,  tisk.......just like his brother  ;) 


anyway.........I have an update........proud to say there was only one heart stopper {I'll get to that}.   it starts with an addition to the super structure.......the railings around the area that the SAM missiles are to go.


after they were dry,  they were painted,  the upper solid bulwarks {inside walls} were painted,  and the whole assembly got some touching up.  while I had the battleship gray out,  most of the sub assemblies got painted,  along with the main mast.



I'll have to touch the main mast a little.......shiny areas can be seen showing bare plastic {the paint is almost the exact color of the plastic}.   I almost forgot about the 100 mm guns........they got a coat of paint too.


the Super Frelon helicopters should be dry by now,  so they got a general cleaning up.  flash lines and what was left of the sprue marks were removed.  nice to see then on their landing wheels finally.


I got to the last one,  when Murphy hit........the tip got torn off the tail section as I trimmed off a tiny bit of flash!


as I pondered what to do about the damaged heli..........I cemented the upper section to the super structure. 


I still have more to do with it.......I got an idea.   I had looked for that tiny bit of plastic on the floor.......to no avail.   even Gibbs tried to help me.....always enjoy when he tried to help {I'll have to photo it one day for you folks to see......quite funny}.   looking in the bag of loose parts and 'shake',  I found a piece of flash that might do the trick.   it was flattened out and cemented to the tail.   later it was trimmed........not as good as I wanted it.......but it will do.  I'll use this one to put in the elevator ;)   here's what it looks like with the repair.  I had cemented the stabilizers on the other ones.



it doesn't have that tear drop point to it.......now I need to look and how the French painted their helicopters.  one variant is a camo gray.....I like it,  but it's too bad there are no decals for them.......I may see what I can do with the decal maker....Dunno :unsure:  I did a little something else this morning,  before I got my son's car.......gotta go and bring his car back to him now,  before traffic gets to hectic.   I'll add it when I get back  :)   thanks for looking in and the good word!

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so.....owner and his car is reunited :)   this morning,  I was looking at the deck and how it fits into the hull.   I know I'll have to do some finagling to get everything to line up.  there are two lobes toward the fore end,  where the 100 mm guns fit.....it doesn't line up there.  nor does it line up well at the aft end......the two areas of deck surrounding the elevator......it doesn't quite reach the two end walls.   the first thing was to do a second coat of that asphalt colored paint that I had made.  to be honest,  I forgot what colors I mixed to get that shade.......even forgot what I mixed it for.  pretty sure that it was for a past project......or....perhaps for the Titanic...not sure.   I did the main deck first.......I used a different brush,  and it came out much better.


the way the fore end of the main deck fits onto the fore deck,  in my examination of the fit,  is the key to the problem I'm having here.   the fore deck has a locator tab that the front of the main deck fits over.  here is the front section of the main deck.


there are the two holes {pedestals} for the 100 mm guns.  the front lip fits over the fore deck tab and sits flush on the fore deck.  on both sides there is a flat.....they tuck into the hull and line up to these two lobes.


I did a second coat for the fore deck too........there is the locator tab....a U shaped border.   I need to remove it and make this flush with the deck.  then I can slide the main deck back enough to line everything up........the tolerance is that minute,  that I need.   I painted the aft deck area too.   then I can paint the inner walls of the elevator,  along with the outer walls on both sides of the elevator opening.   it will give me a chance to check out those two parts that aren't in the instructions......willing to bet that's what they are for.


I've also started to work on a display stand for the model.   why do they supply just these two derrick like structures for stands?  to me,  they are useless.....in the older models,  they were shaped so one could screw them to a board,  to make them more sturdy and evenly spaced.  so far,  I've taken a piece of 1/8th basswood, and cemented a border around it.  there will be a bit more to it.


....more progress soon  :)

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well the evil deed is done.........but first,  there was a distraction.   I couldn't find the stabilizer for the fourth Helicopter!  I had it on the desk to my left,  shielded with a railing,  along with bits from another one.   odd that it was the only part missing :angry:  so I'm on the floor again......looking for it.   I gave up after a while......it wasn't until the next morning.  I barely had my eyes open....for cry'in out loud......spied a tiny piece of gray plastic on the carpet.............and there it was!   

     with that dilemma over and done with,  I took my big pair of convex toe nail clippers and performed the tabindectomy to the fore deck.


then it was the task to trim off the rest and bring it down flush.   I gave it a coat of paint,  and will sand a bit more with a fine grit.......another coat after that should hide all the sanding blemishes.


I also painted and fitted those odd parts {#21}.......yep!   that what they are......the doors!  I still wonder why they aren't shown in the instructions.......no matter,  I figured it out  ;) 


you might be able to see the notch on both sides of the walls above the doors.......haven't seen a part to fit in there.  with the deck in place,  it won't be seen anyway.   I'll wait till the deck is in place before I paint here......I may have to use filler {I see a couple spots on the aft deck that needs more }.   after I removed the tab on the fore deck,  I noticed that it had a minor curvature to it,  causing a dip in the center which will equate to a gap when the main deck is fitted.  there was a bar running across the span of the fore deck to prevent warping.  it was trimmed ti fit and cemented across the underside to cure this.


I got a little creative here.....at the base on the aft section of the superstructure,  there are to be these two parts added that look like doors.   due to the thickness of the plastic, they would stick out like a sore thumb.   I took a small piece of thin brass sheet,  and cut a pair to replace them.


dunno if you can see them,  but on the adjoining walls at the base,  there are molding divots.  I covered them as well.  painted......it looks pretty good.


around the front of the main deck,  and along the side where the lower decks will be,  was painted with battleship gray.


when dry,  it was dry fit time,  to see what I would need to trim at those aft walls.   I found that it was merely the tabs at the end that would need to be done,  so that was quickly done.  the removal of the tab was a good idea.......it allows the deck to be moved back to where it needs to be.   there is good contact at the fore deck.


as can be seen in the first photo......the gun pedestal lines up nicely with the lobes along the hull sides.


the aft deck has some small gaps where it meets the walls.......some filler will take care if this.   it's far less than I initially saw in my earlier dry fits,  so the tab removal benefits again here as well.


then I decided to tease myself,  by adding the superstructure to the dry fit.   it snaps on with very close tolerance,  but the fit is pretty good.



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I took these few pictures just now........I forgot to show how the doors looked.   I also made a little more progress with the stand.   spacing them out,  the plastic stands were cemented to the board.   I used the Testor's green tube cement.......I forgot how awful it smells.


there's a plaque that goes with it....I'll add it when I come up with a paint scheme for it.   looking aft..I positioned the doors in a partly open position.


the shadowing above the doors hides a very minute gap.......I could add something,  but it would need to be .05 mm,  or less.  then I tried one of the 'copters......


hmmmmmm......perhaps they should have included a smaller heli?!?!?!   one of the reasons why this vessel was decommissioned,  was because modern helicopters were becoming too large and heavy.   why present a model with the largest aircraft that it probably could handle?  it might have been better to supply two super Frelons,  and two smaller ones.....like the Lynx or Puma.

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Here is the artwork of the original model box as my friend built it in the early 70's. The painting is probably by Paul Lengelle, who used to paint all the Heller cover box. Fantastic artist.




Quite a spectacular vessel. And as the name implies, it is a vessel used to train Helicopter pilots and seamen.

Edited by yvesvidal
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thanks for posting the box art Yves......it's pretty interesting.    it shows the SAM launcher....looking at the box art on my kit,  they show the Exocet triple launchers.

    reading the article I posted,  there was quite a bit of planning on this vessel,  but it ended up with armament, different than what the box art depicts.   the early kit shows what never was installed on her,  while this later kit shows what was installed,  but not supplied in the kit.   it's a nice kit anyways  :)  


thanks again for posting the picture.....and thanks for looking in  ;) 

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