My Workbench

Monday, December 28, 2015

Navwar French 74-gun third rate Duguay Trouin

This Navwar model is marketed as the HMS Implacable, which was the renamed French third rate 74-gun vessel Duguay Trouin. I have modeled it as the original French 74. As with all of the Navwar vessels I build, the ratline/shrouds, masts, spars and sails are scratch built.

The ship was named after the renowned French privateer M. Rene' Duguay-Trouin (1673-1736). The ship was designed by Jacques Noel Sane and launched at Rochefort in 1800. This ship that fought at Trafalgar should not be confused with the 74-gun Duguay Trouin that was launched in 1789. That ship was burned along with nine other vessels under Admiral Hood's orders when Toulon was evacuated in 1793.

Duguay Trouin put to sea out of Cadiz with the combined fleet on October 19, 1805. Initially she sailed in the rear division commanded by Rear Admiral Dumanoir. When the combined fleet turned north, reversing it's sailing order at 8 PM on October 21, Duguay Trouin lay fifth in line from the head of Villeneuve's fleet. Ahead lay Dumanoir's flagship Formidable (80), astern Mont Blanc, and to leeward the frigate Cornelie (40). Once the battle opened, Dumanoir's division of 10 ships became isolated from the ships brought to action by Nelson's division.With little wind to tack, six of his ships, Neptune, Scipion, Rayo, Formidable, Duguay Trouin, and Mont Blanc were unable to return and support Villeneuve's center. Some used their boats to get the ships turned back through the wind, so Dumanoir's ships eventually re-entered the battle. Duguay Trouin, following Formidable, came under raking fire from Minotaur (74) and Spartiate (74). By 4:30 PM Formidable, followed by Duguay Trouin, Mont Blanc, and Scipion sailed south of the battle, leaving the Spanish Neptuno closely engaged with Minotaur and Spartiate.

Sailing in company with Formidable, Mont Blanc and Scipion, Duguay Trouin was spotted by Phoenix (36), Captain Thomas Baker off Cape Finisterre on November 2. Baker informed Captain Sir Richard Strachan who was laying off Ferrol with his squadron of eight ships. The squadron consisted of the following ships: Caesar (80), Bellona (74), Couragious (74), Hero (74), Namur (74), Revolutionnaire (38), Santa Margarita (36), and AEolus (32). Joined by Phoenix (36), Strachan, flying his pendant in Caesar, set off in pursuit. The next afternoon Bellona, a poor sailer, parted company. By the morning of November 4 the squadron had closed to within six miles of Dumanoir's squadron. At around 11:45 AM Caesar, Courageous, and Hero formed line ahead and began running down upon the four French ships. Following orders, Duguay Trouin  took in her small sails and hauled up on a starboard tack, heading NE then formed line ahead, followed in order by Formidable, Mont Blanc, and Scipion. Signalling to Gardener in Hero that he intended to attack the center and rear of the French line, Strachen's ships commenced action at 12:15 PM, coming up on Dumanoir's windward side and opening fire from their larboard guns. At around 12:55 PM when Duguay Trouin luffed to cross and rake Caesar's bow, Strachan's ship counter-maneuvered by doing likewise. In her attempt to tack, Duguay Trouin unfortunately missed stays and losing way, for a short time came under considerable fire from Caesar and Hero. The action eased and when the French ships came onto a port tack at 1:20 PM the British gave chase. With Namur joining at 2:00 PM, battle was resumed and by 3:15 PM Formidable and Scipion had struck. Meanwhile Duguay Trouin and Mont Blanc attempted their escape but were soon overhauled by Caesar and Hero. After 20-minutes' close action both ships simultaneously struck at 3:35 PM. Total French casualties amounted to 750 killed and wounded; among her dead was Claude Touffet, Duguay Trouin's captain. British casualties were 14.8 per cent of the French. All four French ships were taken into Plymouth on November 10. Appropriately renamed Implacable and entered into the Royal Navy, the ship was laid up in the Hamoaz until 1807.
(Paraphrased from "The Ships of Trafalgar - The British, French and Spanish Fleets October 1805" by Peter Goodwin)

Stats: Length of gun deck - 181'6"; Breadth - 48'11"; Depth in hold - 22'; Tons burthen 1896.22; Complement - 670

Armament: Single broadside weight - 854 pounds, (later - 966 pounds);
Lower gun deck - 28 x 36 pounders (later 32 pounders)
Upper gun deck - 30 x 18 pounders
Quarter deck - 14 x 8 pounders (later 2 x 12 pounders & 12 x 32 pdr carronades)
Forecastle - 6 x 8 pounders (later 2 x 12 pounders & 2 x 32 pdr carronades)

Comparison - GHQ 74 (231) on the left

Comparison - Langton 74 (NS-22) on the left 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Heller 1/500 French East Indiaman

I have seen several posts on TMP by the virtualscratchbuilder and others about cutting down plastic models to waterline and using them for wargaming. over the last year or so I have purchased several of these small plastic ship models with this in mind. Here is my first attempt. It is the BonHomme Richard by Heller in 1/500 scale. This model actually comes out to 1/471 scale.

Kit Cons:

  • The masts are too short
  • There is just smooth blank plastic where the stern gallery should be (I had to make one)
  • The spanker sail is billowed in the opposite direction from the forestay and jib sails (this is a common error in all Davco 1/1200 models I have seen) 
  • The few deck cannon that were supplied are no where near the correct size for this model
So the only modifications I made to this model were the stern galleries and to cut it down to waterline, plus there are no deck guns.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Langton 1/1200 28-gun Schooner Meshuda (Betsy)

In 1784 corsairs attacked the Betsy, a 300 ton brig schooner that had sailed from Boston to Tenerife Island, about 100 miles off the North African coast, selling her crew as chattel on the markets of Morocco. Other vessels, such as the Dauphin and Maria, were also siezed, this time by Algiers, and the horrifying experiences of their captive passengers relayed back home were the cause for outrage.

The new U.S. government still sued for peace. The Betsy's release had been negotiated and to the accompaniment of America's first diplomatic accord, the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Ship-Signals, was signed with Morocco in 1786. But no sooner was the ship let go and its captives freed than it was recaptured by Tunis and renamed the Meshuda.

A Scot named Peter Lisle worked as a deckhand aboard the Betsy. Rather than become a slave he converted to Islam and took the name of an earlier corsair as his own - Murad Reis. The Bashaw of Tunis gave him command of Meshuda. The vessel now carried 28-guns and had a crew of 360 men. Reis liked to display the national flags of the vessels he took in the order of importance to which he regarded them. The American flag held the lowest rank. He eventually became admiral of Tripoli and married the daughter of Yusef, the Bashaw.

In 1803 Reis led the boarding party that captured the USS Philidelphia after it grounded on a sand bar in Tripoli's harbor. When he questioned the captured Americans, now slaves, about William Bainbridge, he wanted to know whether their captain was a coward or a traitor. The sailors defended Bainbridge, to which Murad Reis replied, "Who with a frigate of 44 guns and 300 men would strike his colours to one solitary gunboat, must surely be one or the other."

Six years earlier on May 16, 1797 Meshuda took part, along with two similarly sized xebecs and three smaller vessels, in an action against a small Danish fleet sent to attack Tripoli, consisting of the 40-gun frigate Najaden, an 18-gun brig Sarpen, and a hired 6-gun xebec.During the encounter the corsairs almost managed to board the frigate and although the smaller Danish vessels were more of a hindrance than help, the Tripolitans retreated after two hours and the Danish fleet blockaded the harbor. The Danes were commanded by then captain Steen Andersen Bille who went on to command a naval division in The Battle of Copenhagen.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tired of Square Riggers - Navwar Small Xebec/Felucca

This little boat from Navwar is either a small xebec or felucca. I received three unpackaged so I'm not sure what they were intended to be. I cannot find anything like it on Navwar's website so they may not even make them anymore. The prow is different from normal xebecs but the stern is the same. Most feluccas are two masts while this model has three. So I am leaning towards a small xebec. This little boat has 12 guns.

Langton Barque on left and GHQ Xebec on right

With Langton 38 gun Essex

Tired of Square Riggers - Langton's Chasse-Maree Lugger

The next non-square rigged vessel I built is Langton's chasse-maree lugger. An interesting appearance but the lugger sails just look weird to me. This little boat has only eight guns.