A Tour through my little model ship world

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Just a few words about myself. My youth fell into the heyday of plastic model making. At that time I built sailing ships in particular, including the classics from Airfix and Revell, which had just come onto the market at the time. My special love was the sailing ships of the French company Heller, some of which were designed after models from the Paris Naval Museum. (I was able to examine the originals only 45 years later.)

I have a long and eventful career as a model maker, which I do not want to describe in detail here. Just this much: about 10 years ago I returned to plastic model making, with the intention of building my favorites from back then, but with the knowledge and techniques that I had acquired in the meantime (especially through the Internet!).

Typically, one of my first models from this phase was the large Chebec from Heller (1:50). I didn't build it, however, just out of the box, but tried to tell a little story with the model. In Patrick O'Brien’s first marine history novel, Captain Jack Aubray hijacks a Spanish chebec frigate. He hopes in vain to get command of the ship. I've now built the Heller model as it could look after the Royal Navy adjusted it to their standards. The playful ornaments have largely been eliminated, the color scheme has been adapted to the Nelson Checker, the ship carries carronades instead of cannons. Here are a few photos.











When I built the model, I hadn't yet mastered the oil paint technique that Herbert Thomesen (Artitec, Amsterdam) developed for his resin models. In addition, the model looks a bit “cleaner” in the photos than in the original. Today I prefer stronger, darker colors with stronger shadows.

Schmidt

PS: Although I have a lot to do with language at work, my English is hardly trained and is slowly rusting away. A translator on the Internet helps me. If anything is still unclear, please ask.
 
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That's positively inspired, Schmidt! I like the "HMS Rose" style colors, the carronades make total sense in context of the period and the Royal Navy's presumed missions for this vessel. Someone should even write up some fan-fiction for some of her cruises.

What would you name her? "HMS Cadiz"?
 

Uwek

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A very good looking model - hope to see much more of your work, so do not stop with your tour .....
 
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Thanks for the comments!
Another possible name for the Chebec would be HMS Malta, a name that was later used in the Royal Navy.
The second model that I would like to introduce here also belongs in the Mediterranean and is only about 50 years older. I had my first contact with the galley “La Reale” around 1970. The model was not available in my hometown in Germany, but at that time my great-aunt Adele lived in Amsterdam and she bought the model for me in the then famous model shop Merkelbach on Kalverstraat to send it to me by post. That was globalization around 1970. However, I fear that as a boy I failed because of the model. 40 years later I wanted to do better. This included separating dozens of parts that are similar but slightly different from one another very well, because the whole architecture of the row benches depends on these parts being in exactly the right place. I've shown the model again without the sails to draw more attention to the hull. I made some changes, for example I made oars with correct handles. The hearth fire and stern light are lit, but the lighting is very delicat.













Schmidt
 
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The next model I would like to present is the French warship “Phenix” from the mid-seventeenth century. The model marks a milestone in the history of plastic models of sailing ships. The Heller company constructed it in 1968 on the basis of plans that were published by the Friends of the Paris Naval Museum and are still available today. These plans do not refer to a real existing ship, but to the images in the "Album Colbert", which was a kind of sample catalog for the new construction of the French fleet around 1660. The name "Phenix" refers to the figurehead. In the "Album Colbert" the construction of such a ship is shown in several detailed pictures step by step, so it made sense to draw a corresponding plan, which then led to the Heller model. In contrast to the galley “La Reale”, I was able to buy this model in a model shop in my hometown around 1970. The model has been kept by neighbors for many years and is now with me again. It was a role model and a challenge for the one I built a few decades later.
I used the "Album Colbertl as a guide to make some changes to the model. In the front in particular, both the draftsmen of the plans and the designers of the model did not interpret the “Album” quite correctly. But the web is now full of examples of the typical design of French ships of that time, and I was able to orientate myself. The “Phenix” was one of the first models in which I sanded the entire surface of the ship's side and deck in order to be able to show a true-to-scale grain and reasonably harmonious planks. The model was painted with the usual model paints (Humbrol etc) and treated with oil paint after a long drying time. I have shown the rigging in a reduced condition, with the top masts down, in order to draw more attention to the hull. The model is presented in a stand, for which I have seen models in several marine museums (Paris, Toulon). In this way you can create the impression of a waterline model and still keep the hull completely.
The last photo shows a comparison between the model from 1970 and the one from 2019. I have certainly not reinvented model making, but I think I was able to show the potential of the old kit.
















Schmidt
 
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It is so interesting to me how much this particular model is improved by setting it in a sea, on its waterline. I used to have this kit in my stash, but sold it when I moved into my, then, fiancé's studio. I liked the kit, but always felt the sheer was a little too flat. What you have done with it, though, is pretty remarkable. I especially like your treatment of the dark stuff, on the lower main wales. The use of red ocher on the upper works, according to most of what I’ve read, was more commonly the case than the blue we are accustomed to thinking of for these large French ships. I also love the ship’s boats. What Heller does a very good job of, in this kit, is re-creating the best of the stern drawings from the Album de Colbert. The early head arrangement is also well done. Very nicely done!
 
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