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La Belle Poule 1765 by MTaylor - Scale 1:64 - POB- French Frigate from ANCRE plans

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About the model:

As they say, "No time like the present" and as I'm stalled on Licorne by several non-hobby issues, I'm starting this one to take my mind off things.  I have the plans scaled down from 1:48 to 1:64 I'll be drafting plans for building the ship as the ANCRE monograph doesn't have drawings pre-made for such things a frames, keel, etc.


As the title states it will be a POB build as there's next to nothing in the plans of the below deck area. 


I'm making decisions at this point will working on lofting the bulkheads, keel, etc. on the types of woods.  Most likely I'll Swiss pear for the external planking, some ebony or ebony stained wood for the wales and other bits and pieces, boxwood for the keel, stern post, and bowspit.  Not sure yet about the decks.   As for the bulkheads and some internal bits that won't be seen, I'm deciding whether to use Baltic Birch plywood or Yellow Ceder.  It may come down to cost on this though.  I'll be using the DeathStar for at least marking the wood to be cut for the bulkheads but not ruling out cutting as that will depend on the wood selection.


I selected this ship as "next" as it was the more famous of the ships involved in the battle that brought the French into American Revolutionary War.   


Here's the history of Belle Poule and some pictures of the plans and the monograph.


La Belle Poule is a 12-pounder class of frigate with 26 12-pdrs on the gun deck and 10 6-pdrs on the forecastle and sterncastle.   




La Belle Poule was built in the shipyard at Bordeaux starting in 1765 and launched in 1767.  \


From 1772 to 1776, she was on hydrographic missions around India.


She returned to Brest in 1776 .  At the time, France wasn't engaged in War, but there were numerous incidents.  


April, 1777, Belle Poule was chased by a British ship of the line (unknown which one) and after evading her, returned to Brest.


December, 1777, Belle Poule transported Silas Deane back to America along with the news of the French-American Alliance.


On 7 January, 1778, she was stopped by two Britich ships of the line which demanded to inspect her and her Captian, Charles de Bernard de Marigny replied:  "I am the Belle Poule, frigate of the King of France; I sail from sea and I sail to sea. Vessels of the King, my master, never allow inspections."


17 June, 1778.   The famous battle between Belle Poule and Arethusa occurred which was actually celebrated by both countries.  It was this battle that brought France into the American Revolutionary War.  Note that Licorne was captured by the British.


After this battle, she did numerous patrols.


14 July 1780.   Belle Poule was overhauled and after a two hour battle with Noncuch (64), she surrendered.


Feburary, 1781.  Belle Poule was commissioned by the British.   She participated in the Battle of Dogger Bank later that year.  A footnote is that her Master during this period was William Bligh.


November 1782.  Belle Poule went to ordinary and also served as a British recieving ship.  


1801.  She was sold off.


Plans, etc.


I'm using the following references:


Le Belle Poule Monograh by Boudriot and Berti

The Art of Ship Modeling by Frolich

and lastly, the only build log I could find that actually is showing the process unlike most that just show the finished ship:  https://5500.forumactif.org/t3216-la-belle-poule-de-1765-au-1-48-par-guydal


Anyway, a bit long winded but I'll be back when I have my cut sheets, plans, etc. ready and start making sawdust.


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Thanks for the like and comments.   


14 hours ago, Martes said:

Be careful with those plans!

I tried to use them when making my little 3d model, and fallen for the fact that side and forward/back views show different gunport height, for example. And also they are somewhat different from "as taken" plan from NMM. So it can be a source of headache.


The plans have already given me a headache.... no plans on the knee of the head.   I've had to research the French, German, and Russian sites which is entertaining as I don't speak or read those languages but Google came to the rescue.  I now have a drawing in work for that.   After that will be the false keel along with the keel itself and sternpost.  Might as well jump in with both feet.    The side view seems to be correct when compared against the NMM plans so I'll work with those and sort everything else out as I go.   


So far, so good.  It's been frustrating researching but rewarding.  


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Drafting gun ports must be boring,  subject to lapses in precision, and more than a few plans have some of them as inconsistent in their pattern.


When lofting, I pick a port at midship and develop a gauge/jig for the the distance of the sill and lentil from the underside of deck planking/top of deck beams.  I add the thickness of the sill and lentil timbers to size the opening.  I use this gauge for the rest of the ports, rather than using the profile to determine gun port height,.  Transferring the data to a card and installing the beams before finishing the ports gets the slope of the sill parallel to the deck for each.



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Gidday Mark.

I will be following your progress and if possible offer support along the way.

On the contrary I found your intro interesting and informative.

I can certainly empathise re understanding languages.

I will be awaiting your problem solving in what promises to be a challenging build, at least in the beginning.

I wish you all the best in your endeavours.


Edited by pontiachedmark
Rectify spelling
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First hurdle leaped and landed.... I think.  The knee of the head. See pics below. Note that they have been distorted a bit for "security" reasons.   I won't be detailing every drawing, but just to give an idea and see if anyone thinks I'm on the wrong track. The first drawings show what I had as source and what I drew.  The exploded view is food for the DeathStar.  I'll move the bits and pieces around for the most efficient (and to take the grain into consideration) use of the wood.


Next up will be the keel, false keel for mounting the bulkheads, and the stern post.   Should be fun....





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I remember you have studied Belle Poule in another post? Of course you have good drawings of Ancre now. I happened to see a draught of NMM,  the text of ' 1810 ...As taken off...' was marked on it. I don't know if it means that the drawing was drawn in 1810, but it was when she was captured.




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Hi Mark,


Congrats on your new build ! She's always been one of my favorite subjects.  My friend Keith built this ship in your scale and drafted her in POF.  




Im sure he'd be happy to help - send me a PM if you want his contact info.  




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Thanks for the likes and comments.   I discovered that on Licorne, I messed up the knee of the head a bit but it's fixable.   Making some progress on keel, and false keel but still flipping drawings back and forth to get answers.  Seems the info isn't in one place but I consider that normal for any project.


Now to the comments....

13 hours ago, druxey said:

Looks good, but I thought that the 'hook' for the main stay collar was a rounded off rather than angle-tenon shaped.

That's true on the English (and maybe other countries) but the French seem to like doing some things differently.  The upper edge seems to also support the bowspit.  Here's a reference:




11 hours ago, Martes said:


The side view is OK, problems start with hull lines, planking thickness and fore/aft external views.

Those will be sorted.  I saw one that's off but for the most part, I'm still reconciling the drawings (both NMM and ANCRE).   There's a lot of cross referencing that needs sorting out between the various plan sheets.   


8 hours ago, malachy said:

The danish archives hold a copy of the original french body plan of the 1765 LBP, comparing that with the british 'as captured' plan might be worth the effort :)


Thanks, I've printed it out and will be checking it out.  I've heard the Danish have lots of these items but how did they acquire it?  

7 hours ago, Martes said:


Does this include planking or not? I don't see characteristic steps, but then the French might have different drawing conventions...

There's one characteristic "step" about the same location on the hull as that on Licorne.   The thinner planks come down to the lower end of the gun ports and then go to thicker ones.   They then taper down from that to the keel.   

4 hours ago, ChrisLBren said:

Hi Mark,


Congrats on your new build ! She's always been one of my favorite subjects.  My friend Keith built this ship in your scale and drafted her in POF.  







I  saw that one Chris but didn't make the connection.  I remember Keith well.



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42 minutes ago, mtaylor said:

Thanks, I've printed it out and will be checking it out.  I've heard the Danish have lots of these items but how did they acquire it? 

Through industrial espionage missions educational trips of their shipwright trainees. These were a part of the very thorough education danish naval engineers received on the way to the top post of fabrikmester (with tasks similiar to the british surveyor). For example, Frantz Hohlenberg travelled to France, England, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden before he was recalled to Danemark.



There's one characteristic "step" about the same location on the hull as that on Licorne.

Um, 'step'? The transition from 'normal' planking/diminishing strakes to the wales? :)

Edited by malachy
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