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Heller's Le GLorieux: Copper Sheathed Hull?


Kriegmeister
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Hello everyone,

 

I recently purchased the 1/150 Le Glorieux. The kit features a representation of copper sheathing below the waterline, and I'm curious if this would have been accurate. I admit my knowledge of ship construction - and this particular ship - is somewhat limited when compared to other subjects, as I usually model aircraft and armour. However, I've learned from books about the age of sale that the French applied copper as a general practice some years after the Royal Navy. Was it not this fact that gave the RN an edge, notably in the warmer waters where Glorieux was taken as a prize during the Battle of the Saintes? Given her service record, and the date she was lost in a storm, I suspect she never saw copper, retaining the white paint below the water line. But like I said, I'm not that well versed in nautical construction from that period.

 

I know Heller released Glorieux and Superbe, and that by and large these are the same kit. I've so far been able to determine that Glorieux never sailed in the post-Revolutionary Marine Française, but that Superbe did indeed. I've also gathered from my research online that the waterline at the stern does not reflect the way which the copper plates were applied (at least on Superbe), and that either way some detail will have to be removed and replaced to correct it. Did Heller mould Glorieux with copper sheathing for the sake of the Superbe kit? 

 

I look forward to your insights.

 

Matt

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, there is only one sprue that is different between the two and that is the one with the name plate. Most Heller kits have at least one second kit that does this. The Phenix and Sirene are the same kit although very different when completed.

 

Why not build it as in British service?

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The definitive authority on the French Seventy-four is Jean Boudriot.

 

He notes in his four volume work The Seventy-four gun ship that in 1780 sheathing was far from being in general use in the French Navy and lists only seven frigates having been coppered as at 31 January 1780.

 

Regarding Ships-of-the-line he comments that the navy remained cautious  even tho' a number of them will be coppered shortly.

 

Glorieux was rebuilt in 1777, and was lost in September 1782, following capture. Apparently the French were surprised at the speed of the coppered British fleet which gives some credence that the French fleet was not coppered.

 

We also know that De Grasse's fleet was off Yorktown in September 1781, before sailing to the  Caribbean, so post 1780 there would have been a very short window to copper Glorieux

 

On balance I think perhaps that she was not coppered, but whatever you decide nobody will gainsay you.

 

Good luck with your project.

 

B.E.

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