Jump to content

Le Superbe by Lukasvdb - Heller - 1/150 - PLASTIC - First ship of the line ever built

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone!


I have been stalking this site for a while now (when one looks at every post every day you can begin to call it stalking I guess) and I actually fell in love with sailingships, especially naval vessels from mid 18th to late 18th century.


I'm currently building (as the title of this topic already says it:) Le superbe from heller. The instructions are pretty unclear and in french so for my first ship of this kind, that's quite a setback. But nothing is forlorn! My deepest grattitude is extended to Blue Ensign for letting me base my model on his Le Praetorian. When I'm stuck with my model I spy a little bit off his buildlog since there are no buildlogs of this ship that has that level of detail and extensiveness.


So more about the build itself. I started the build in march 2013, almost a year further and not that much progression, because of a very big learning curve to overcome. I take my time to do and redo things when necessary. And a building break of 5 months also has something to do with it. Too much schoolwork and so on.


I have added some detail to the longboat because I don't like the look of an empty boat, and the setting of the shipsboats doesn't satisfy me. Other boats will be built later on to be incorporated in a diorama. I will try to add as much detail to the cannons as possible, which in this scale is pretty hard. I painted the cannons flat black but I also overdrawn them with pencil to add a metallic look. At the moment only the 30 32pndrs are painted and eyeletes have been attached to the trucks. As you will notice in my pictures, the ship is seaworthy, at least it can float like a real ship. I also built my previous models, Bismarck and Prinz Eugen this way, because it adds some realism. Nothing worse like a ship on dry land in my opinion... But with models it's harder said than done of course. The foremast is a bit warped but this is already fixed. 


I am planning to pick up the build again starting from june, because school will be over and I have a whole summerholiday to get some work done.


I know that I will never reach the quality and finesse all the models on this forum have but I am passionate about it and my goal is to make a ship that I like/love and will be proud of. My deepest respect for all you experienced shipbuilders on this forum, wood and plastic. Every time I look at a build I am symply awe-struck!


Enjoy and any comment/help is welcome!

















































Link to comment
Share on other sites

May I suggest that you have a look at the build log of the Superbe at http://pete-coleman.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=49&sid=00549a28577e31ae1ef0d406db1ca983.


I do not mean that you should reach the exceptional quality of this model (although I bet you could!) but there surely are quite a few tips to be found there.

But you'll have to register to this forum!


Happy building.  Also, Mr Tilley made a (very critical) review of this kit, but in my opinion, this is along with the Phenix, the Royal Louis and the Pourquoi Pas?, the best small scale ship kit Heller ever produced.


Have fun!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the link Jean-Pierre! I have found this forum quite a while back, it's very educational! 


The heller kits indeed have some rough edges, I have to admit, but with some creativity I think they can be turned into a very nice models.


Lucky for me I could buy a model of a 74-gun ship (for a very nice price), or I would be hoplessly lost! :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

    Very nice work for a beginner,actually its nice work for an intermediate builder. I was a little startled at first to see it sitting on the water.But then I grew interested to see how she floats and all and can imagine her as she was launched. I'll have to keep track of this build.   BILL

Bill, in Idaho

Completed Mamoli Halifax and Billings Viking ship in 2015

Next  Model Shipways Syren

Link to comment
Share on other sites



It looks like you are doing a good job on her, and it looks like she's going to be even better, but I do have to query somewhat the statement made in your title – that Le Superbe is 'first ship of the line ever built'. Are they your words of those from Heller? My guess is the latter, perhaps as a selling point.


Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. I believe the 'ship of the line' as a type came into existence approximately 100 years before Le Superbe, during the English wars with the Dutch, and when the idea of 'the line' was formulated.

Edited by Stockholm tar



Current builds: Sherbourne (Caldercraft) scale – 1/64th;


Statsraad Lehmkuhl (half model) 1/8th" – 1'.


Victory Bow Section (Panart/Mantua) scale – 1/78th  (on hold).


Previous build: Bluenose ll (Billings) scale – 1/100th.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great build so far! I'm thinking you meant that it was the first 'ship of the line' you have personally constructed. LOL





YouTube Channel for fun: Patrick's Scale Studio

Finished: Model Shipways US Brig Niagara

Current: I Love Kit USS Curtis Wilbur DDG-54


"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday"

- John Wayne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Bill! Well I put some balast in her hold (if that is the correct term?) I made two sections before & aft, put some gravel in plastic bags, tested the load and distribution until it was right and fixed them inside using plastic beams I took from some left over plastic frames from previous builds. She sits nicely doesn't she?


Patrick & Stockholm tar: I'm afraid there is indeed a little mix up here, for which I apologize. As you probably know it is a third rate ship of the line but I meant it was the first in perhaps many series of ships of the line I have ever built. Indeed the first "ship of the line" I personally constructed. I will adjust the title to prevent any further confusion!


I am currently working on the stern details and windows and such, some small painting as I don't have time to make big progress. When the moment comes, in a week or 3 I will finish up the lower gun deck, place al the cannons, do some rigging on them and put in the upper gun deck.


Pictures will follow!


Thank you for watching! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I have finished the glazing on the quartergalleries! The one on the left is not finished yet, it still needs some detailing and some touch ups but due to the lack of gold paint, it will have to wait some longer :) It looks horrible in such close view, but it looks better in real life, thank god! :P


I also added a small detail to the ships bell, a little rope to ring it :D, maybe in the future I will ad something more :) 







Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you are doing a splendid job. Heller kits can be rough at times but they make into fine models.

David B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some progress :D Some detailing of the forecastle, not finished, still needs touching up, a lot :P


The cheeks are also installed and I like it! I had to cut out the hole for the gammoning as this was not aligned but it all worked out pretty good! I like it :) At last some visual progress :P






Link to comment
Share on other sites

well some more progress, steadily but surely, another year or so and I will get somewhere :P


for the moment I'm working on the lower gun deck, the cannons, all 30 of the. My plan is to do some basic rigging and install them with breeching tackle :) To make the barrels more realistic I painted them flat black and gave them a metallic finish with some pencil. All done by hand :-o 20 done, 10 more to go!


I'm also experimenting with weathering the copper hull, giving it an oxidized look if you please :) will upload some pictures when I get it right!


Some pictures:




Link to comment
Share on other sites

They look great.  As for the hull experiment on a test piece and test out some washes.  Remember below the water line the copper will be either the color of a penny and above the water line will be the discoloration.  Or you can add the gunk and growth collected.  I saw this version years ago and it was the wierdest looking paint job I saw in years.  Make up some smaples and experiment.

David B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you dgbot! I have a little question though... What do you mean below the water line the copper will be the color of a penny? Because it is not in contact with oxigen it won't oxidize? And that the copper above the water line will oxidize because it is in contact with oxigen? I thought that the whole copper hull would look somewhat oxidized?


I made some big progress today :D finishing up all the guns and I have my first broadside: 15 32pounders ready to fire :D I can't tell you how long I've waited to see this! It looks awesome! :P










Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Lukas,  nice progress and I like what you did to the cannons !!  Hmmm, does this model come "with strings attached"??   ;)  ;)   Kidding of course - - but I was wondering what the function is for the strings.  If it serves a specific purpose for plastic models then when or if I start my Revel plastic Thermopile I could take advantage of it.  Right now I am much too busy with the model of my father's submarine to even think that far ahead.



Piet, The Flying Dutchman.


"Your greatest asset is not the quantity of your friends , rather the quality of your friends."  (old Chinese proverb)


Current Builds: Hr. Ms. Java 1925-1942

                       VOC Ship Surabaya


Planned Builds: Young America Diorama - scale 1:3000


Future Builds: KPM ship "MS Musi."  Zuiderzee Botter - scale 1:25. VOC Jacht in a 6" lamp,  Buginese fishing Prauw.  Hr. Ms. Java - Royal Navy Netherlands Cruiser.


Completed Builds:   Hr. Ms. O16 Submarine

                             Hr. Ms. O19 - Submarine Royal Navy Netherlands

                             Ship Yard Diorama with Topsail schooner -

                             Friendship Sloop Gwenfra

                           Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack    

                             Golden Hind - Cutte Sark (both not in this forum)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your kind comment piet! :D The strings are or will be the ropes to hold up the gunport lids of the lower gun deck. I had to install them early on in the building proces when the hull halves where not glued together yet, as I would not be able to drill holes when the halves were together. To ease working visibility and improve neatness a little bit I taped the ropes to the hull :) 


I don't think the Thermopylae has cannons? Or does it? In the first case you don't have to worry about the strings, they're only a pain in the derrière so to speak ;):P


Is there a build log to your submarine? I would very much like to see it :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

all cannons done, ready to install them :D I also decided to leave the copper paint as is... it looks good to me! 


Some pictures of the lower gun deck cannons dry fitted :)


in the first two pictures you can see my little jig so the cannons would be the same hight. It worked pretty good. First measured the correct height of one cannon [the cannonsbarrels according to heller are aimed too high up] with a noteblok as you can see. It is pretty accurate as you can add page by page or remove a page until you reach the correct angle. So then I taped a piece of tape upside down and when the gunbarrels are glued to the carriages, I just place the tip of the barrel on the piece of tape, let it stick until it's dry and you have 30 equal cannons :D feel free to use the same method if you please, it's pretty handy and fast!












Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some progress: I fitted the cannons with the breeching ropes, Soon to follow: eyelets to attach them to the hull. Also a general shot of the ship in current condition. I don't think that I can add something more in this state... Oh perhaps I can! I am still thinking about it...


the second and last pictures are a before and after shot of the front beams, I have no idea what to call them? Can anyone help me on this? I modified this using 0,5 mm round styrene rod, because I did not like the look heller provided. Contemporary models also show this beam to be straight, and I like it better that way :) I think it worked out well!







Edited by Lukasvdb
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lukas, I've been following but haven't commented.  First off, your 'Superbe' is looking great.  There has been a lot of dsicussion on this site about the gudgeons and pintles and the authentic colour.  These would typically be made of a copper alloy rather than iron (black) as this would react chemically with the copper plates.  Of course it an easthetic decision as well, black is a nice contrast and you've done such an excellent job on the painting.


"Which it will be ready when it is ready!"
In the shipyard:

HMS Jason (c.1794: Artois Class 38 gun frigate)

Queen Anne Royal Barge (c.1700)


HMS Snake (c.1797: Cruizer Class, ship rigged sloop)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your kind comment Jason! I could see why this would be different in reality indeed... But as you say it is a nice contrast against the copper, for easthetic reasons I will leave it this way (and not to make me go completely crazy :P ). But I have another model waiting to be put together and I will surely keep this fact in mind.


Currently installing the cannons!



Edited by Lukasvdb
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Woehoew :D starboard side of lower gun deck cannons finished :D I dare say it worked out pretty OK regarding this is my first time doing somethin like this. It required super glue, toothpicks, a little weight and a lot of patiencie :P will clean up later! I like it!


What do you guys think? Enjoy the pictures :)







Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Lukas,


Congratulations, that's a very nice model indeed. Heller plastic kits can make into very interesting models, only you have to be patient and careful with them. It seems to me that you are not certainly a novice, it's a clear thing that you know what you are doing up there! I particularly like the colour of the deck. In the first pictures it looked a bit too gray, yet in the latter you added some lighter coloured strakes... is that all paint over plastic or you remade the deck in wood? Looks very authentic, anyway! This on the light side.


Now on the dark side, it seems your masts are a bit curved, you must take your time to correct this. Either trying to straighten them (generally speaking I used a recipient filled with hot boiling water and a pair of pliers to make them straight, check first the correct temperature with a piece of plastic) or replace them in wood if you are not sure about straightening them in hot water.


Keep up the good work,. have fun and cheers! :)

Edited by Doreltomin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...