algeciras1801 Posted July 9, 2014 Share #1 Posted July 9, 2014 (edited) Having completed my first model ship (Airfix's HMS Victory) in 2013 I was eager to build a second, 74 gun ship as they were the mainstay of the Royal Navy. However it soon became apparent that none are available in the form of a plastic kit. But, after a bit of digging around i discovered that Heller do two versions of the French 74 gun ship, quite a few of which were captured in battle and re-commissioned into the Royal Navy. This meant i could build a British 74, but i would have to do quite a bit of kit bashing. Now all i had to do was decide what ship to base my model on. THE SHIP Launched at Rochefort on 29 April 1794 Lion was a 74-gun, third rate ship of the line -a member of the Téméraire class designed for the French Navy by Jacques-Noël Sané. In May 1795 the ship was renamed Formidable. Captained by Charles Alexandre Linois Formidable sailed as part of the fleet commanded by Admiral Villaret Joyeuse that fought against the British at the Battle of Groix on 3 June 1795. During the battle Formidable came under the sustained fire of two British ships. Her hull, masts, sails and rigging were badly cut up and a fire soon broke out on her poop. When her mizen mast fell over the side Linois finally hauled down his colours. Over 320 of his crew of 700 had either been killed or wounded in the action. Linois had lost an eye and all his lieutenants had been injured. The ship was taken to Portsmouth where Linois was exchanged. The Royal Navy already had a 90 gun second rate named Formidable and as it was mistakenly believed that the ship had been captured off Belle Ile, rather than the Ile de Groix, she was renamed Belleisle. In August 1798 Belleisle began fitting out at Portsmouth. Her hull was strengthened and much of her internal layout was altered to suit British tastes. The refit took fourteen months and cost £35842.0.0d (roughly two million pounds in todays money) In February 1803 she sailed for the Mediterranean, joining a fleet that would soon fall under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Captained by William Hargood, (her longest serving captain) she was the second ship in the British lee column at Trafalgar, sailing into battle astern of Collingwood’s flag-ship Royal Sovereign. She soon lost all her masts, her bowsprit, her anchors, even her figurehead in her bruising encounter with Fougueux and eight other ships of the combined fleet. The only place left to raise her ensign was at the end of a pike which she managed to keep flying until the ships following behind her in the British line finally came to her rescue. By the end of the battle thirty-three of her people had been killed and a further ninety-four injured. The next day the battered British ships and their French and Spanish prizes were hit by a terrifying storm which did not let go for four whole days. Sails were shredded, fragile masts brought crashing down. When the storm hit Belleisle was under the tow of the frigate Naiad. The tow had broken and as desperate attempts were made to reconnect the line in the heaving swells the two ships crashed into one another, staving in Naiad’s stern. Moments later Naiad’s topsail ripped apart in the howling wind and had to be hacked free; then she lost one of her staysails. By the time Naiad’s sails had been sorted out Belleisle had disappeared from view in the heaving seas and driving rain. Left to fend for themselves Hargood now attempted to take his ship around Cape Trafalgar and into the Straits of Gibraltar under a hastily lashed together jury rig. Around midnight Hargood summoned his officers and told them the ship was about to be wrecked and that they should prepare for the worst. Belleisle’s people, cold and exhausted, waited through the night for the end, but thankfully it never came. By the next morning, using the smallest scrap of sail, they had managed to turn the ship away from the dangerous shore. Naiad returned and as the wind eased was finally able to get a line across to Belleisle and tow her into Gibraltar. Belleisle returned to Portsmouth for a refit which took four months and cost £16384.0.0d. In September 1806 she took part in the capture and destruction of a crippled French 74, Impetueux. After almost four years in command Hargood left the ship a year later. Belleisle was present at the capture of Martinique in January 1809 and later that year she took part in expeditions to the Scheldt and Walcheren. She was finally laid up in ordinary in September 1809. In July 1814 she began a large repair at Portsmouth but a month later the decision was taken to have her broken up instead. THE KIT Copyright Heller The donor kit for this conversion will be Heller’s Le Superbe (80895), a Téméraire class 74 launched in 1784 but wrecked in a storm eleven years later. Here are some sprue shots. These white sprues are the fixtures and fittings for Superbe. Heller's other 74, Glorieux, has a different set of sprues The sprues on the right are for the long guns and carriages. There are five of each provided in the kit The kit also comes with three sheets of vacuformed sails, a chain for the rudder and a rigging machine. No rigging thread though (any provided with the kit would probably have needed replacing anyway.) The instructions are all in French but a page of translations is provided. Parts are both numbered and given a description i.e. 77 bowsprit cap THE BUILD I started things off by sanding down the hull and decks which all have a quite pronounced wood grain effect. I then attached the parts containing the hawse holes to the hull, filling and sanding the gap. As you can see the copper plates continue up to the lower wale rather than finishing at the waterline. This will need to be sorted out. Another area requiring attention are the rather poorly moulded gratings. These need tackling anyway as British and French 74's had different deck layouts. Edited November 1, 2014 by algeciras1801 mtaylor, foxy, docidle and 3 others 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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