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L'Hermione by Spike1947 - Artesania Latina - Scale 1:89 - First wooden ship build

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I wanted to contribute my build log for the Astesania Latina L'Hermione. Unfortunately I didn't start taking pictures of my progress until the hull planking had been completed and much of the gun deck work was well underway.


This is my first attempt at wooden model ship building. I came to this hobby with some plastic kit modeling experience (mostly aircraft and armored vehicles) and some cabinet making and wood working skills. I chose the L'Hermione kit because it seemed to provide a wide variety of challenges that come with an warship of that era and because the price would keep the “Abort” option available.


As I started this kit I was completely ignorant of the various wooden model ship building networks and stumbled through the earliest phases of planking the hull on a trial and error basis. Needless to say some of that planking went through several iterations of application before I was happy with the outcome.


There were a few things that I cam across during this process that are worth highlighting. During the the finishing and shaping of the hull I found that a woodworking tool known as a cabinet scrapper was a very useful tool. For those of you not familiar with this tool it is a flat piece of mildly hardened steel on the edge of which a kind of burr is created. This burr acts as a nearly microscopic plane that scrapes a small amount of wood off the work as it is drawn across the surface. I found this tool made it easier to detect the highs a lows in the hull surface and to be able to quickly work those areas. The straight or consistent edge of the scrapper also eliminates much of the “following” that comes with sandpaper. Often sandpaper makes things smooth but not necessarily along a consistent arc or plane. The other process that took some time to master was the fill material to be used to span gaps in the planking. I started out using modelers putty (Squadron or Tamiya). These putties are difficult to apply consistently and smoothly and require considerable sanding to remove. I found I had to reapply repeatedly before I had an acceptable finish. So, I began experimenting with alternatives. The two option I found where drywall joint compound and water-based wood glue. The drywall compound is easy to apply and sands much easier but it adds moisture to the planking and this can and did result in many drying cracks. The wood glue does a great job of filling the finest of the cracks and I used it as a final step prior to painting.


A word on caution regarding the AL supplied gun port templates. The ports on the templates are of all shapes and sizes, most are rectangular but many are trapezoids or parallelograms.


Like I said, I was completely ignorant of all the great advice available to me and I'm sure many of you read the above discussion while nodding their head and saying “Yup, that's right”. My introduction to this group came as I was seeking advice about cannon rigging for the 12 pound gun deck cannons. From here on out there will be pictures to make this more interesting.



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As I was completing the planking of the gun deck I began to wonder if the AL instructions were correct. The instructions call for the deck planking to be laid out beginning on either side of the centerline of the deck. As you begin to lay out the stagger of the deck planking it becomes clear that this arrangement makes for an asymmetric layout. There is an inherent left and right side. It seems like the layout would be better if there where a single plank that overlaps the centerline. I can see that there are some practical drawbacks to this because that last plank cannot be installed until the two gun deck pieces are glued to the hull.


I was not happy with the way AL wanted the cannons to be rigged. The very short breeching lines do not look like anything seen on a real warship. In fact zu Mondfeld illustrates this arrangement as specifically the “Wrong!” rigging layout. So, I decided to use the “Correct!” rigging as illustrated by zu Mondfeld. In addition, I could see from many other illustrations that gun tackle was usually also attached an would have been used as a way to secure the cannon to the bulwark while under way. None of this gun tackle is part of the kit so it need to been fabricated. I used the smallest line available from Syren along with 2mm single and double blocks. I used a black enamel copper wire for the stropping on the blocks and the “Zip Seizing” technique as described and demonstrated on the “Wooden Ship Modeling for Dummies” website. A great website, by the way http://www.shipmodeling.ca/aaplandusite.html . Lastly, I decided to use the French coils for the gun tackle fall. I'm pretty happy with how this looks. I wasn't sure how to get the length of the gun tackle right so I tightened each one in place individually. I don't think I'll do that again.




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As I moved to the main deck the question of cannon rigging came up again. I am still happy with the breeching arrangement I used for the 12-pound gun deck cannon. As I worked my way up the learning curve I could see that the gun tackle for a cannon firmly secured to the bulwark is commonly frapped as a way of better securing the tackle and a better way to use some of the fall from that tackle. I used the same materials as were used for the gun deck cannons. Having the gun tackle frapped required that they be made to length and then installed. I made a simple alligator clip jig to replicate the required length. I think I like the looks of the frapped tackle better than the arrangement used for the gun deck cannon.






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Your deck planking looks great!

On the gun rigging I find it unsurprising that the kit may have a less than optimal approach, most manufacturers either simplify and sometimes re-use across models to keep costs down. I always find it more satisfying scratch building the correct way so good for you..

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  • 9 months later...

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