My Workbench

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Ares Sails of Glory 1st class ship Orient

Well it has been seven months since my last post. There have been some major changes in that time. I retired after 41 years of service, the last 21 of those years commuting to Alaska from the Spokane area. I always thought I would have more time to spend on minis and modeling after I retired. It hasn't worked out that way. I am busier now than I have ever been. There are so many things that need doing, things I didn't have time for before when I was gone half the time. And a lot of things did not get done last summer when I was recuperating from a fractured vertebrae. Then there is the living document known as the "Honey-Do List" haha! Actually not a laughing matter. It grows exponentially it seems. I no sooner complete an item on the list and three more appear. My wife is determined not to let me become idle and sedentary in retirement. I have even lost 20 pounds since I quit "working". I used to be able to leave every month for two weeks to rest up. I have discovered when you retire you never get a day off.

Several years ago I modified a couple of Ares' Sails of Glory 1st rate ships for a friend ( and He was nice enough to gift me two more 1st rates that had broken masts. They have been sitting on a shelf all this time gathering dust. The one I chose to work on is the Orient 1791 / L'Austerlitz 1808. The masts were removed and the hull was drilled for rigging. Planking seams were carved into the deck. Grating was installed in three places. Skylight painted on the cabin and some color added to the stern and quarter galleries. The masts and top masts were replaced with music wire and the ugly plastic connecting the sails to the plastic masts was removed with a Dremel tool. I also made a sea base to fit the Ares stand for display.

Friday, February 15, 2019

GHQ French 74 Gun Redoubtable

This is another one of the GHQ #132 Temeraire hulls. This one is modeled as the French third rate ship Redoubtable. The paint scheme I used comes from the Langton Guide book example #7 on page 25: Quarterdeck gunwale stripe charcoal; upper deck stripe flat red; lower deck stripe black; basalt gray strakes; black hull.

Length of gun deck = 182 ft 6 in
Extreme breadth = 49 ft
Depth in hold = 21 ft 6 in
Tons burthen = 1929 tons
Complement = 550/650
Lower gun deck = 30 x 36 pounders
Upper gun deck = 30 x 18 pounders
Quarter deck = 14 x 8 pounders
Forecastle = 6 x 8 pounders
Poop = 4 or 6 x 36 pound howitzers or carronades
Single broadside weight = 890 to a maximum of 988 pounds

(History paraphrased from The Ships of Trafalgar by Peter Goodwin)
By virtue of her association with the Victory and the death of Lord Nelson, Redoubtable is perhaps the most acclaimed French ship to fight at the battle of Trafalgar. Designed by Jacques Noel Sane and launched at Brest in 1790, Redoubtable was the third oldest ship in Villeneuve's fleet.
In 1795 she took part in the Isle de Groix action on June 23 where the British took three prizes. On 15 December, 1796 Redoubtable sailed from Brest for Ireland with a large fleet of 44 warships and transports with 18,000 troops commanded by General Hoche, The intention was to land these forces and incite rebellion in Ireland, The expedition failed and Redoubtable, with Indomptable, Fogueux, Mucius, and Patriote returned to Brest on 1 January 1797.

Redoubtable did not join Villeneuve's combined fleet until it entered Ferrol on August 1, 1805. Eight days later she sailed with the squadron and entered Cadiz on August 20. The combined fleet sailed from Cadiz on 19 October. At 7 a.m. on the 21st VIlleneuve ordered the fleet to wear together and come to a starboard tack back towards Cadiz. Redoubtable's position was now 13th in line from the head of Villeneuve's line. Ahead of her starboard bow was Neptune (84), astern San Leandro (74), and just off her starboard quarter, the frigate Hortense (40).  When the battle opened Redoubtable's gunners concentrated their fire upon Victory as she made her approach. As Neptune veered off to leeward causing a large gap to open behind Villeneuve's flagship, Captain Lucas directed Redoubtable to move up to close the gap and prevent Victory from breaking through. In doing so her flying jib boom ran over Bucentaure's taffrail. Regardless Victory drove through, firing a devastating broadside through Bucentaure's stern and at the same time running aboard Redoubtable on her larboard bow. It was now about 1:10 p.m. and locked in combat the two ships drifted leeward. To prevent boarding through the lower deck, Captain Lucas ordered the lower gun deck port lids closed. He then concentrated fire into Victory  from his main deck guns. This, supported by a hail of musketry fire from Redoubtable's fore, main and mizzen tops took out most of Victory's upper deck guns. Besides showering Victory's deck with grenades, 200 in all, Lucas had brass cohorns mounted in his tops which, loaded with grape, inflicted high casualties within the British ship. At about 1:25 one of the sharpshooters stationed in Redoubtable's mizzen tops shot Lord Nelson from a distance of only 15 yards. Mortally wounded the Admiral was taken below decks. The unrelenting fire from Redoubtable killed most of those remaining on Victory's open decks. Victory's higher sides proved problematic to Redoubtable's boarding crews. Lucas ordered the main yard to be lowered to form a bridge for his men to cross. It was now about 1:40 p.m. and as his men massed themselves for a second boarding attempt, they received a murderous fire of grapeshot from the upper deck carronades of the Temeraire drawing up on Redoubtable's starboard side. More than two hundred crew were killed. Lucas sent the remainder back below to re-man the guns and engage Temeraire. Lucas tenaciously continued to fight the Temeraire to starboard and Victory, using whatever guns remained. Redoubtable's main and mizzen masts had gone by the board and fires had broken out on her bowsprit and forecastle. She was further hampered when Temeraire's main mast fell across her deck. Victory's gunners had depressed their guns to prevent firing through Redoubtable and hitting Temeraire. This fire ripped her lower gun and orlop decks to pieces. Out gunned by two three deck ships, Lucas struck his colours at 2:30 p.m. Of her 643 complement, there were 300 dead and 222 badly wounded among whom were all the senior and ten junior officers. Under tow during the storm on the 22nd, she started taking on water. The prize crew signaled distress and were taken off, with most of the prisoners that were mobile, by boats from HMS Swiftsure. At 10:13 Redoubtable went down with all of the wounded on board. Of the total compliment, 169 survived.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Davco 18-Gun French Saint-Malo Corsair

The second Davco xebec I had started has ended up as a Saint-Malo French corsair. Why Saint-Malo you ask? Because that is the only French corsair ensign I had available. There are 18 guns/ports on this model and I have no idea what size they are. Probably 8 to 12 pounders would be my guess. Hope you like it.

Navwar Duguay Trouin 74 with Davco Saint Malo 18 corsair 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Langton 80 Gun French Third Rate Le Bucentaure

This ship is one of Langton's French 80 gun at quarters models with topsail and jib sail set. Nothing is scratchbuilt on this one except the base and ratlines. The anchors and ship's boats are GHQ.

Brief History:
Le Bucentaure was the first ship in the French navy to bear this name. Designed by Jacques Noel Sane, her lines were virtually identical to the 80 gun ships Indomptable, Formidable, and Neptune, which also fought at Trafalgar, as well as the captured Tonnant that fought with the British fleet. The two decked 80 gun ships employed in the French navy were far superior to the cumbersome three decked 80 gun ships previously used in the Royal navy. Bucentaure was launched at Toulon in 1803. She was blockaded in Toulon by the British fleet for the next few years until, as flagship of Vice-Admiral Pierre Charles Jean Babtiste Silvestre de Villeneuve, she broke out with the French fleet on the 17th of January 1805. Villeneuve's squadron comprised 20 vessels. The fleet was sighted a 6:30 PM by frigates that had remained on station. As the fleet sailed westward the weather deteriorated and scattered the fleet, compelling Villeneuve to return to Toulon. On March 29 the fleet again evaded the British and sailed for Cartagena, arriving there on April 6, where Villeneuve joined six Spanish ships commanded by Admiral Salcedo. Villeneuve left Cartegena without the Spanish and sailed through the the Straits of Gibraltar. After taking on provisions at Cadiz the fleet proceeded to the West Indies as ordered. While there the French captured a British Merchant convoy of 15 ships on June 7. After receiving word that Nelson had arrived in the area, Villeneuve abandoned his plans and sailed for Europe. The fleet fell in with Rear Admiral Sir Robert Calder's squadron off Finisterre July 22. Fighting began at 3 PM and was sporadic for the next five hours in dense fog. Calder won a small victory but failed to take the initiative, allowing Villaneuve to escape and re-mobilize. He was recalled home to face a court-martial. Rather than moving to Brest as Napoleon ordered, Villeneuve instead made for Cadiz. While passing Cape St. Vincent on August 18, the fleet captured and burnt three British merchant vessels. Then they chased off Collingwood's blockading ships and entered Cadiz harbor. This ill fated decision caused Napoleon to cancel his plans to invade England. Villeneuve's new orders were to enter the Mediterranean. To achieve this he had to break out of Cadiz. Bucentaure and the combined fleet left Cadiz on 19 October and sailed toward Gibraltar in three divisions, shadowed by Nelson's ships.  That night the three divisions regrouped in into line ahead. By Monday the 21st action was inevitable. At 8:30 AM the combined fleet came around on a larboard tack northwards towards Cadiz, each ship clearing for action. This put Bucentaure in the center, lying eleventh in line from the head of the van. Ahead lay the Santisima Trinidad (136), astern Neptune (80) and on her larboard quarter Redoubtable. At about 12:20 PM Bucentaure, in unison with Santisima Trinidad, Neptune and Redoubtable, commenced firing on the fast approaching British column led by Nelson, concentrating their 185 guns on the lead ship Victory. Victory crossed Bucentaure's stern at barely 28 feet, firing her larboard batteries to rake her with double and treble shotted guns. Upwards of 1.5 tons of solid iron slammed through the entire length of Bucentaure's decks, up-turning guns, cutting through timber and scything down men. The entire stern was reduced to matchwood, 20 guns out of action and some 200 men killed and wounded in this one devastating salvo. Within 15 minutes the British Neptune (96) ranged up across Bucentaure's stern and raked her again with treble shotted guns. This volley, containing forty-two 32 lb balls, eighty-seven 18 lb balls and thirty 12 lb balls, brought a second wave of destruction taking every remaining 24 pounder gun off it's carriage and killing half of the remaining men manning the lower deck 36 pounders. turnkng to larboard, Neptune then poured another broadside into Bucentaure's starboard side before passing on to engage Santisima Trinidad. This last salvo wounded Captain Magendie, who was relieved by Lieutenant Daudignon. The few men remaining on Bucentaure's upper decks went below to reinforce the depleted gun crews. After a brief reprieve, Bucentaure was successively raked by Leviathan (74) and Conqueror (74), bringing down her main and mizzen masts, and a bit later her foremast fell. Conqueror came around to Bucentaure's starboard quarter and fired another broadside into her. Despite the fact Bucentaure had been reduced to a total wreck, she was fired upon again by Britannia. Seamen from Conqueror boarded to accept the surrender. Final casualties amounted to 40 per cent of her crew, comprising 197 dead and 85 wounded. On the following day a rising storm took it's toll on the British ships and their prizes and repairs were hastily made to Bucentaure to keep her seaworthy. On Wednesday morning October 23 Captain Cosmao-Kerjulien ventured out of Cadiz in a gallant attempt to recapture the prizes. Bucentaure was cast off her tow as Conqueror made preparation to counter the threat. Taking advantage of the opportunity, French prisoners abard the Bucentaure overwhelmed the prize crew and retook the ship. Unfortunately this victory was short lived. While attempting to get into Cadiz harbor in the storm, Bucentaure drifted onto the Puercos rocks near the harbor entrance and broke up. Barely 18 months old the ship was no more.

Length of gun deck 195'4"; Breadth 51'4"; Depth in Hold 23'2"; Tons Burthen 2231 tons; Compliment 690
Armament at 1803 launch: Single broadside weight of 1,112 pounds. Lower gun deck 30 x 36 pounders; Upper gun deck 32 x 24 pounders; Quarter deck & Forecastle 20 x 8 pounders; Poop deck 6 x 32 pound brass howitzers.
Armament at Trafalgar: Single broadside weight 1,112; Lower gun deck 30 x 36 pounders; Upper gun deck 32 x 24 pounders; Quarter deck 12 x 8 pounders; Forecastle 6 x 8 pounders; Poop deck 6 x 36 pound brass howitzers.

References: "The Ships of Trafalgar -The British, French and Spanish Fleets October 1805" by Peter Gooodwin - Keeper and Curator of HMS Victory

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Langton 28 Gun Frigate USS Adams

I was able to make some time amid all of the holiday activity to knock out another ship. This time I chose to add to my growing American fleet with Langton's 28 gun frigate USS Adams. This is a very nice hull and very easy to put together, taking almost no work at all to complete. Most of the work went into the base! For some bonehead reason I grabbed the wrong sized pre-cut base card and got all the way through sculpting, painting and mounting the ship before I realized I had the wrong size for a 28 gun sixth rate. I had to carefully remove the ship from the base and start over with the correct size base card.

Some Historical data: USS Adams laid down July 30, 1798 in New York. Launched August 6, 1799. Commissioned September 1799. Dimensions at launch: Length 113 ft.; Breadth 34 ft.; Depth of Hold 10 ft. 9 in.; Displacement 530 tons. Standard Compliment 480.
Initial armament: 24 x 12 lb long guns and 6 x 24 lb carronades.

Adams was the smallest frigate built for the US Navy under contract. Adams made two cruises in the Quasi-War with France, recapturing a dozen American or British ships from French prize crews, and capturing two French privateers and five French merchant vessels. During the Barbary wars she made one cruise to the Mediterranean in June 1802 with Commodore Richard Morris' squadron and participated in action against Tripoli. From 1805 to 1806 Adams patrolled the Atlantic coast of the United States. In 1809 she took commission to enforce the Embargo Act. After 1809 she was laid up at the Washington Navy Yard and served as a receiving ship.

In June of 1812 Adams was cut in half amidships and lengthened 15 feet. The purpose was to re-rate the ship as a 36 gun frigate, but the rebuild proved unsatisfactory so Adams was razeed to a 24 gun sloop of war. Blockaded in the Chesapeake, Adams finally escaped to sea in January 1814. On her first cruise she captured five British merchantmen. A second cruise in May covered the Newfoundland Banks to Ireland, during which she took five more British Merchant prizes. On her return she was trapped in the Penobscot River and was burned on 3 September 1814 during the Battle of Hampden to prevent capture by the British. (All of the above historical data paraphrased from "American Light and Medium Frigates 1794-1836" by Mark Lardas.

Dimensions after 1812 rebuild: Length 128 ft.; Breadth 34 ft.; Depth of Hold 10 ft. 9 in.; Compliment 220; Armament: 26 x 18 pdr Columbiads on the gun deck and 1 x 12 pdr long gun on the quarterdeck. (From Wikipedia).

So I am not exactly sure which Adams this Langton model is supposed to be since there are only 22 gun ports and only 4 guns on the quarterdeck, which doesn't match either historical configuration. Oh well, not uncommon with Langton models. Beautiful hulls for sure, but not that accurate.