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Posted (edited)

A friend emailed me photos of this schooner model asking for my thoughts. The photos are low rez but it’s clear It’s been “restored”by an amateur. Still I don’t think the restorer monkied with the guns, and the guns are odd: too numerous for starters, with far too little space between them. But the REAL oddity is the bizarre carriages that raise the ordinary carriages above the rail. To avoid having to cut gunports in the bulwarks? I can NOT believe this system was ever used in real life, it’s simply too unworkable. But why has it been demonstrated on this model? Someone went to great effort to incorporate these carriages and I’d like to understand why. It occurred to me this could be a patent office submission model or a demonstration model to find financial backing? 

BCC98816-0BD8-44A9-85A2-6E7DF249B69E.jpegThe “restoration “ included too clean too white rigging and a line spiraled around the main boom and gaff for no good reason. 

94BE1908-0AC9-4082-926B-C05B14F8BDF5.jpegOdd flag. French I assume?

7DC2FAB7-0570-4579-BC39-EA790768EE46.jpegThey look like they are designed to swivel.

D5A13C25-9207-4CF5-9189-0A373158E384.jpegHow do they recoil?

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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Posted (edited)

I’ve seen “disappearing “ gun mounts in land fortifications, they have a huge sturdy mechanism to raise a gun above the level of a parapet or embrasure and when the gun fires it is lowered back out of the line of sight and fire from the enemy. But I can NOT believe this is what’s going on here. I understand the need to keep the warlike nature of your vessel a secret from your enemies, but that is taken care of simply by using gunports lids. The amount of manpower needed to prepare a broadside would be doubled or trebbled if the gun crews were also expected to jack the guns up then lower them back. Plus, after the initial surprise, you still need to use the odd mechanism for each subsequent shot, reducing your rate of fire. If the carriages are a permanent and fixed feature that DOESNT raise or lower, why are they so spindly looking? They aren’t robust enough and would be a tremendous danger on a small pitching and rolling vessel. Speaking of rolling: if you raise all the cannon three feet higher, the ships metacentric weight is unfavorably altered and your rolling motion and stability is greatly negatively impacted. The amount of ballast need to counteract all that tophamper would be significant.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie

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The cannons have recoil, as you correctly mentioned. By looking at these stools I can have only one conclusion: they will drop on shooter's leg after one shot.

So my opinion is definite: these carriage designs are definitely a spawn of someone's brain slug.

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Just visible on the forecastle are two carriage guns on rotating mounts. These appear to be authentic. Because the photos through glass are not easy to 'read' I'm not certain, but the hull appears to be contemporary and simply pierced for sweeps. Some of those bizarre broadside guns appear to be about to carry away the shrouds when fired!

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Replacement parts that purposefully stand out on a restored item is not uncommon. It's usually in the case where the owner wants the percentage of originality to be unquestioned as they plan on selling the item at some point leaving a more cosmetic appealing restoration to the next owner. In this type of situation the owner is trying to show the items full potential without any question about the amount of originality. 

As to the cannon, how intrigued would we be if they were normal? I have no clue if  "imagined" makes this model more valuable??

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Posted (edited)

Looks like a special mission setup, the rest of the model would make one assume that the modeler was knowledgeable about ships and their weapons. Two men per gun, heavy barrel with elevation and swiveling abilities? Swivel Guns come to mind. A ship setup to go close to many would need such a setup firing canister. Light charges with quick reloading, wide range of aiming possibilities with mass heavy enough to absorb the recoil when small propelling charges behind a cloth bag of musket balls was used. Suspect she was intended to go close to shore to break up and push back a mass of people so small boats could land and their troops would have enough time to get into formation, or a trip up river occupied by many with canoes that need emptying so other ships can make the passage without being overwhelmed. This one's a mystery so far, don't think it represents a brain fart, suspect it represents a solution devised on site to overcome mass's of lightly armed people, probably nativies with little technology. River Patrol;                                                                                                   USS Harnett County LST 821 Tank Landing Ship Patch

 

 

 

Edited by jud

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No other info such as "name" or "year"????  

 

I did a Wikipedia search and French ensigns and found these but none that really look like the ensign flying on the model:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_ensigns

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_colonial_flags

 

If that's a faded yellow it could be the ensign of Annam which was part of French Indochina.

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Posted (edited)

The restoration looks as if it was intended to repair, not replicate. Like it, what is new is not hidden, provides a timeline of shorts. The quality of the repair work is profesional. Suspect it was done as requested. JerseyCity Frankie, Does your friend have some data or know where to look for more history of this model and what it represents?

 

Edited by jud

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1 hour ago, druxey said:

guns are a later addition

Druxey, the brown on the swivel mechanics below the carriages appears to be the same brown as that on the capstan and other areas of the model. Wouldn't a brighter red paint for the carriages be in keeping with the traditional color?

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Possibly, Keith. The only other rational explanation of this model is that all those guns were merely quakers - just dummies set up for show.

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59 minutes ago, druxey said:

just dummies set up for show.

Druxey, I agree with your assessment. The model is well executed and would easily stand alone without the fanciful guns. A ship this size would have operated with a pretty small crew,  nowhere near the number of men that would have been required to man the number of guns portrayed. Wouldn't the forecastle guns have been for defensive purposes when/if chased?  

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More like for chasing, Keith. You couldn't train them to point aft without blowing part of your own ship away! Besides, their arc of fire is only from straight ahead to abeam, as seen by the semicircular tracks on the deck.

 

Where is this model held and is there any other information on her?

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Sorry, confused bow and stern and typed forecastle, I had been looking at the stern where there are two guns pointing aft.............honest, I do know which end is up, please don't send me to the home!

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Look up La Marseille. Mamoli made a 1/64 kit by that name.

 

I don't know how authentic, but I knew I'd seen this kind of configuration before. Supposedly a French gunnery training schooner built in 1764, equipped with a bunch of 3pdr guns.

 

www.agesofsail.com-MV25-31.jpg.f07362dbda070c84c7c8321078d17f8b.jpg

This was the best image I could find. Hard to see the cannon configuration here, but I'm pretty sure it's the same ship as above. 

 

Clare

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By George, I think you've got it, Clare! Except for the lack of sweep ports and a less 'overhatted' rig, it looks very similar.

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I’m very curious now to know more about the ships history and I’d like to know a lot more about the odd carriages. I think a gunnary training vesal is very plausible, that makes sense. But the carriages still bother me because of the fact I’ve never seen reference to anything like what is depicted in the model or the kit. If you’ve got a gunnary training mission to fulfill you need a way to mimic real world conditions. If your only concern is the physics of the flying shot then you wouldn’t have to worry about gun caliber and you could use the sort of bulwark mounted swivel guns we’re  all familiar with. But if you want to train crews in the shipboard operation and handling of the guns, the loading and training ect, you would need (I think) a conventional gun with a conventional carriage-mimicking the guns to be found on a regular warship. Training on a gun that has a carriage not found on actual warships and which fires over the bulwarks in an odd manner would be strange, in my opinion. I’d like to see whatever reference material inspired or guided the designers at  Mamoli.

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Posted (edited)

I also questioned the intent was for gunnery training, Mounts, and guns do not appear to represent the norm required for worthwhile training. Suspect it was intended to be used to clear hoards of lightly armed natives, massed on a landing area or afloat in small craft, could be for river use or in a protected Bay against small craft, swimmers or troops on the shore. Expect there were more than one shallow water vesel armed this way for special short term use, crewed by assigned crew, filled out to work the guns using drafts of gunners from acompaining support vessels. The lower structure was probably reinforced with iron bars, bands and fitted with an iron swivel socket for the training pivot of the upper carriage. Pre-manufactured ammo designed for this use would avoid over charging. a cylinder of silk or linen, 'both requiring a wet swab', with a measured powder charge behind a container of balls would be be fast and easy to load by a 2 man crew. The mass of the gun would absorb much of the recoil energy, swivel guns did not seem to be a problem, no reason a heavier gun, properly loaded, would cause problems to a mounting fixture designed for that job. Suspect this represents a solution to a on site Commanders need to clear the way or protecting his main force from masses of enemy engulfing them.

 

 

Edited by jud

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Posted (edited)

Nice ideas, but is there any contemporary evidence, anywhere, of this style of mount?

Edited by druxey

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Clare posted a photo of a model ship, the Marseille and appears to be the same as the ship Frank posted photos of. Doesn't that infer that there is historical accuracy in the portrayal of the odd mounted cannon? If not, why would a model maker offer up a product that would possibly be met with ridicule? Frank, do you think the ship your friend sent you photos of is scratch built?

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