My Workbench

Saturday, April 21, 2018

GHQ 80 Gun French SOL Indomptable

I just finished another ship of the line for my growing French fleet, this time a GHQ Sane-Border class 80 gun ship Indomptable. Her sister ships were Bucentaure, Neptune and Formidable. She would also have been similar to the Tonnant which fought on the British side at Trafalgar. Designed by Jacques Noel Sane, Indomptable was laid down at Brest dockyard, launched in 1788 and completed in 1790.

In 1794, under command of Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse, Indomptable put to sea on May 16 with 24 other ships of the line, several frigates and corvettes. Their mission was to meet and escort a merchant fleet coming from America carrying much needed grain and other essentials vital to the French economy. On the way they captured a Dutch Lisbon convoy. British Rear-Admiral Montague pursued Villaret with a small fleet. Meanwhile Admiral Howe's larger British fleet was racing to join Montague for support and confronted Villaret first on May 28. Indomptable was not directly involved. There was a second action at 8 a.m. the following day, however it was not until 1:30 p.m. that Indomptable came under fire from Vice-Admiral Hood's Royal George (100) and Rear-Admiral Gardner's flagship Queen (98). During this engagement Indomptable and Tyrannicide suffered considerable damage. Indomptable was then engaged by Barfleur (98) and Orion (74). Despite suffering further damage and increasing casualties, Indomptable continued to fight on for over an hour with her colors flying until she and Terrible were rescued by Villaret's ships driving down to give assistance. Severely damaged she was sent home escorted by Monte Blanc.

Indomptable took part in the ill fated expedition to Ireland in 1796. On July 6, 1801 Indomptable, Formidable (80), Desaix (74), and Muiron (40)  had sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar and anchored off Algeciras. At that position they were attacked by Rear-Admiral Sir James Saumarez's squadron of five ships: Caesar (80), and 74's Audacious, Hannibal, Pompee and Spencer. During the action Indomptable ran aground trying to warp further in shore. For two hours the firing was heavy on both sides both Captains Moncousu of Indomptable and Lalonde of Formidable were killed. The attack was unsuccessful as the French ships were well supported by shore batteries.

Trafalgar: On October 21, 1805 Indomptable lay at the center, seventeenth from the van of Villeneuve's combined Spanish and French fleet. Ahead on her larboard bow lay Santa Ana (112), on her starboard bow San Justo (74) and astern on her larboard quarter Fogueux (74). Indomptable started firing her larboard broadside just before noon at Collingwood's approaching Leeward Division. As Collingwood's Royal Sovereign (100) crossed the stern of Santa Ana and ranged up on Santa Ana's starboard side, Indomptable raked Royal Sovereign and continued firing into her starboard quarter from a distance of 500 yards. After Belleisle (74) had crossed and raked the Santa Ana in turn she then ported her helm and turned across Indomptable's stern to rake her. Fougueux intervened and poured a couple of broadsides into Belleisle. Suffering few casualties, Captain Hubert chose to carry Indomptable away from the battle and made for Cadiz at close to 1 p.m.

On October 23 Indomptable took part in Commodore Cosmao-Kerjulien's rescue attempt of the damaged British prizes from the battle. In company were Neptune, Pluton, Rayo, and San Francisco de Asis, along with frigates Cornelie, Hemione, Hortense, Rhin, Themis, and the brigs Argus and Furet. After clearing the harbor the wind rose to gale force. As the French approached, ten British ships cast off their tow lines and formed line of battle. Kerjulien's ships were outnumbered and damaged, but the frigates managed to retake Santa Ana and Neptuno. Indomptable took on Bucentaure's 500 survivors before turning back for Cadiz. The next morning on October 24, Indomptable ran aground off Rota and, battered by the heavy seas, she quickly broke apart with terrible loss of life. Including those taken off Bucentaure, nearly 1,000 men perished.

Length of Gun Deck = 194'
Beam = 51'4-1/2"
Depth in Hold = 23'2"
Tons Burthen = 2231
Complement = 690

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 Howitzers
Single Broadside Weight = 1112 pounds

Here is the completed model. The foremast and mizzen with sails are GHQ with the lower masts replaced with music wire. The mainmast is scratch built with Davco sails. The bow sprit and stay sails are scratch built.

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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Langton French 74 Gun Algésiras

Since I am laid up with this back brace I have been able to spend a lot of time in the shop. I decided to build some more French ships. This one is Langton's French 74 gun model built as the Algésiras. I used GHQ sails and a Navwar jib sail set I had.

The Algésiras was Téméraire class 74-gun ship of the line built at Lorient in 1804. In 1805 she took part in the Battle of Trafalgar under Rear Admiral Charles Magon. She was engaged at point blank range by HMS Tonnant. Magon attempted a boarding but the entire boarding party was wiped out by British fire except one who was made a prisoner. Admiral Magon was killed. The fight continued for another hour with Tonnant's starboard guns dueling with Algésiras, her port battery with Pluton, and her forward guns aimed at the San Juan Nepomuceno. Algésiras finally surrendered to Tonnant around 14:30. During the storm after the battle, her crew rose up in rebellion against the British prize crew and recaptured the ship. They sailed her into Cadiz harbor flying French colors.

On June 14, 1808 Algésiras was captured by the Spanish, along with all of the other French ships in Cadiz.

Length at gun deck = 181'6"
Beam = 48'11"
Depth of Hold = 21'10"
Displacement = 1896 tons burthen
Compliment = 670

Lower Gun Deck - 28 x 36 pounders
Upper Gun Deck - 30 x 18 pounders
Quarter Deck - 14 x 8 pounders
Forecastle - 6 x 8 pounders
Single Broadside Weight = 854 pounds

Inspirational Picture
GHQ sail/mast set with lower masts cut away and replaced with .060 music wire. Base blank cut and coated with varnish. Hull drilled and primed.

Davco jib sail and sprit set. Bowsprit replaced with music wire. Dolphin striker and sprit sail with yard added.

If I do this again I will cut the sails apart so they lay with the stay lines better.

I reposted the pictures with Rear Admiral Magon's pennant on the mizzen.

This was a nice one to build

Friday, April 13, 2018

Making Sails for Wargaming Ship Models

I am going to divide this post into three parts

I: Making & Dressing Ship Sails
II: Making Brass Sails
III: Making Sails for a Cutter

The most important tool I use for starting scratch built masts or sails is the Mast Log I created.

In this Mast log I have recorded the lengths of masts from every size and type of ship I have purchased. In addition I have traced most of the sail sets from Langton Miniatures, GHQ and several from Davco.

When I want to make a set of sails I flip the log open to the sails for the size ship I want and use a small sheet of old fashioned carbon paper to trace the sails onto a sheet of heavy bond sketch paper.

I: Making & Dressing Ship Sails

For full sail rigs I like to cut the sails out in blocks so I can keep them straight. Sometimes, when I have to stop working and come back later, I will store them in small zip-lock  bags marked with what mast they go to.

Next step is cut the sails out then give them the proper shape. I do this by applying Elmers white glue (PVA) to a smooth surface cylindrical object like a marker pen or Xacto knife handle then press the sail onto the glue in the proper orientation to form a curve.

After the sails and glue dry they will pop off fairly easy as long as the marker surface was clean. And this is what you get:

At this point I measure across the top of the sails plus a bit of overhang on each side then mark it out on a length .015 or .020 gauge music wire I purchase at Hobby Lobby.

Super glue does a good job of affixing the new spars to the new sails. After the sails have been painted and dried, single rows of window screen mesh are cut and glued to the larger sails for reef points.

Then I start tying on the leech lines. These will be used later to tie onto the masts.

Sometimes I will just use a colored pen to add in the reefs and leeches. I will do it that way when I make single piece sail sets like the picture below.

After painting the spars it is time to attach the sails to the masts. I always start with the mizzen mast, working bottom to top, then forward to the next mast.

As shown the leech lines are wrapped around the mast and tied with a drop of super glue.

Ship with full sail compliment

II: Making Brass Sails

I use thin brass shim sheeting you can buy in rolls for about $4 to $6 just about anywhere from Walmart to Lowes. A little more expensive at auto shops. The sails are traced out the same way as with the paper, then cut out.

After shaping the sails over a marble, details like the reef points are added the same way with single rows of window screen.

Prime with black primer, measure and cut spars. Attach with super glue.

A finished ship with scratch brass sails

III: Making Sails for a Cutter

Sails traced for two cutters

Shaping the sails

Dressing the sails. Adding the reef points

That is all there is to it