Le Soleil Royal, vaisseau de 104 - De Agostini - by Jack Aubrey

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De Agostini Soleil Royal

This ship is a model kit that was supplied, on the Italian market, by De Agostini starting from the beginning of 2010 and lasting after 140 weeks . . .

Each issue contains some pieces to build the model, while the booklet contains two different sections: the most important section contains the building instructions, that drive the modeler, step by step, during the building of its own model. A sample is shown here below.

The front side of the instruction sheet (issue n° 1):



The rear side of the same:



The second section contains a very interesting Manual (or Treatise) of Naval Architecture. In total two sheets with a written explanation or introduction and many pictures. At the end of the collection, the resultant book is very, very interesting and covers all the architectural aspect of shipbuilding in the age of sail.

The cover of each issue is like the following:

 
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Sunday, April 18, 2010
The shipyard is officially open !!

Before starting any activity on this model I preferred to wait to have in my hands at least 8-10 issues. This in order to have more informations and materials to better decide how to proceed. In effect at this date I have the issues fron 1 to 9 and this Sunday I decided to start. I prepared in advance my individual plan, with the intention to follow in a customized way the instructions.

The main reason for this choice belongs to the fact that these instructions are prepared in a way to made the beginner shipmodeler to start, since the first issue, to "mount something". But this approach is not what I like, first of all because I am not a beginner and secondly, because there are some minor dangers or problems that can raise if you indiscrimitately follow this intricated approach.

For example I do not understand why I have to mount an anchor today, another within two months, the third after an year and so on. I prefer to build and finish them all togheter, I think it is a more efficient and reasonnable way of working. This is just an example of how the weekly issues approach makes you work . .

Finally, before definitely mounting any component I have "dry mounted" them, to see and test all the joints and to make proper adjustments.

First I would like to list two points about this model that it is worth to highlight:
  • The size of the ship hull, I'm building another model (Dolphyn from Corel) and if I look them together, the difference is very great. The Soleil Royal is fatty, potbellied, rounded. And this makes this ship pleasing to me . .
  • The precision of the pre-cutted material supplied by the kit manufacturer. Some pieces of the pre-cutted material were twisted and I had to spend some time to correct them but after they are very precise. Every joint is right and I didn't adjust anything. I made a lot of controls but everything was perfect. So I decided to definitely glue them. I imagine these pieces were cutted starting from CAD plans.
Now let's start to describe the process . . first, as I wrote, I didn't follow the instructions. This is an approach that I don't suggest to everybody, but only to shipmodelers with a minimum of experience. Personally I follow my instinct . .
  1. The keel is made of up to three segments. At the moment I have only two and I have mounted them together. Great care was made to obtain a perfect alignment. Anyway a simple task.
  2. There is a false deck made up of several pieces . . I have mounted the first two of them perfectly aligned. They will keep in place the bulkheads from number 2 to 7.
  3. Then I have installed all the bulkheads from number seven to three with the vinyl. After each bulkhead I put in place the false deck to keep right positioned the new bulkhead for some 10-15 minutes. Then I repeated the same process for another bulkhead until number 3.
  4. Then I have definitely fixed the false deck and . .
  5. As last task I have installed the bulkhead no. 2 without glueing it to the false deck. This because there was a small problem with the keel (a little twistly, +/- 1 mm) and I think to solve it when I will install the bulkhead number 1.
In this way I have achieved the goal to mount a structure that is perfectly aligned between the bulkhead 7 and 3, alignment that will become my "point of reference" to mount all the other elements. Last: The lower part of the keel has two protrusions that allow the keel to be inserted into an home made "keel clamp" made with two aluminum bars and two iron bolts.
Here follow four images of the work done today (remenber to consider the date on top of this message, not the date the message is published)

01 - P1060197.jpg
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02 - P1060198.jpg
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03 - P1060199.jpg
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04 - P1060200.jpg
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See you soon next message. Jack.Aubrey
 
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Regarding to some reinforcements to the ship structure: I previously had an interesting experience with the model of the Santìsima Trinidad, by De Agostini. That model had a keel-bulkhead-deck structure similar to the Soleil Royal and I learnt that the false deck, shown in my previous images and having the main function to make stronger the whole, was also a perfect point for seizing in my hands the model during the recurring manipulations I made during the planking tasks.
The experience was that, after many and many manipulations and with the growth of the structure weight, the false deck was beginning to unstick and crash . .

So I had the idea to strenghten this element by applying, as visible in the next two images, a wooden reinforcement. To do so I used a lath of 20 x 5mm, cut to pieces with my Proxxon circular saw, of the proper lenght and glued in the position shown in the pictures.

Result: I believe I will be able to manipulate the whole without any danger of crashing or unsticking and, once it will become unuseful, it will be totally invisible . . and it has also been used to glue definitely to the false deck the bulkhead number 2, that if you remember, wasn't not yet fixed because it wasn't perfectly aligned. With this trick I aligned it to the rest of the structure with complete satisfaction.

01 - P1060205.jpg
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02 - P1060206.jpg
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Then I moved forward and I prepared and installed the needed beams (5 x 5mm) to support the first visible deck. This deck should match exactly with the naval term of upper gun deck, in a three decker. After a preliminary test the alignment was regular and i fixed all of them with glue.

. . When the glue was dry I have then installed the elements of the upper gun deck (for the moment there are only three pieces available) and I have also mounted the number 1 bulkhead, having once again a lot of care to obtain the proper alignment.

03 - P1060209.jpg
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04 - P1060210.jpg
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As last step, I have installed the small, rounded deck in front of the number 1 bulkhead (i don't know the nautical term) very well visible in the above image. In the next message I will show additional details.

For now that's all. Cheers, Jack.Aubrey.

05 - P1060211.jpg
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Check the proper hull alignment

I'll try to explain the method I used: if the hull is well aligned, the four angles corresponding to the first and the last bulkhead should be totally parallel. So if I overturn the hull and I put it backwards on a perfect horizontal plate (i.e. a glass plate or something similar) the hull must be perfectly stable, without any unstability. In practice it is as you take a table or a chair and you check its stability: if it is stable and doesn't move it means the four legs a right.

01 - P1060218.jpg
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Now I check the support of the last bulkhead: there are no points of unstability on both sides . . .

02 - P1060216.jpg
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Now I do the same with the first bulkhead, Here too the alignments are right . . .

03 - P1060217.jpg
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In my mind this means that both are parallel and consequently the hull is aligned. And the other bulkheads ? Simple, I have taken measurements of their distance from the plate, on both sides, for each bulkhead and if it is the same (as they luckyly are) it should mean that they are parallel to the first and the last bulkhead . . .

04 - P1060208.jpg
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See you soon, Jack.Aubrey
 
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Saturday and Sunday, May 8-9, 2010 - Deck planking

New progresses: instead of using for planking the deck the material provided by the kit manufacturer, I have used some strips I had that have a thickness of 1mm instead of 0,5. The main difference resides in the kind of wood I used for this activity: these strips are of beechwood. I preferred its colour to the other, more yellow for my preferences.

Here below three images of the work done. There is a great part of the hull still missing so I had to leave the planking infinished until I will receive new material in the next weekly issues.

01 - P1060242.jpg
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02 - P1060243.jpg
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03 - P1060244.jpg
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I used the vinyl glue for this task and I cleaned the glue in excess with a wet microfiber cloth.

Cheers, Jack.Aubrey
 
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Thursday and Friday, May 13-14, 2010

Additional activities on the forecastle, now fully planked . . I spent 5-6 hours to plank the forecastle, to level it with sandpaper and to apply a coat of oil for wood to see the deck in its final appearance . .

01 - P1060245.jpg
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02 - P1060246.jpg
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I applied a coat of oil also on a half of the upper gun deck, just to show you the colour difference before and after the treatment with my oil.

03 - P1060247.jpg
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04 - P1060248.jpg
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I think this difference is perfectly visible in the next image . .

05 - P1060249.jpg
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Cheers, Jack.
 
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Saturday and Sunday, May 15-16, 2010

New pieces added to the hull: the last piece of the false keel and three new bulkheads.

01 - P1060250.jpg
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I connected together the three new bulkheads with some laths of hard wood to avoid crashes. They will stay in place until I will install the last piece of the upper gun deck

02 - P1060251.jpg
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A couple of views of the false deck from poop . .

03 - P1060254.jpg
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I have also checked the hull alignment after the installation of the three new bulkheads . . . it's right !!

04 - P1060256.jpg
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Last, a removable reinforcement of the keel with clamps, always with the objective to avoid crash problems during the handly manipulations . . note also a new keel clamper, provided by the kit manufacturer.
Simple but effective.

05 - P1060257.jpg
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Kind regards, Jack.Aubrey.
 
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Saturday July 24, 2010 - New updates

With the issue n° 14 were distributed new pieces to complete the upper gun deck.
The new components are pre-cutted without any defect.

Once installed, without problems at all, the ply pieces of the upper gun deck I completed the deck planking. I remember that for this planking I use laths of beechwood 4 x 1mm. A final refinement with sandpaper of different grain and the final coat of oil and the work is done.

Here are three new images of the first two decks completely planked.

01 P1060577.jpg
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02 P1060578.jpg
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03 P1060579.jpg
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Kind regards, Jack.Aubrey
 
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Tuesday July 27, 2010 - Another deck near poop

Within the 15° weekly issue there is another bulkhead to install (n° 11). I decided to reinforce a part of the keel near this bulkhead to avoid risks.

01 P1060588.jpg
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But the main task is the installation of another deck above the upper gun deck. This deck partially hides a portion of the upper deck.

Fisrt I have installed the ply pieces before planking them, installation made with some reinforcements where I judged useful.

02 P1060589.jpg
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03 P1060592.jpg
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Here below all of you can see some of these reinforcements.

04 P1060590.jpg
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05 P1060591.jpg
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Once finished this quite simple installation I began to apply the deck planking, using the same beechwood of the other decks. When the work related to this task will be finished I'll post new images.

That's all for today, Jack.
 
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Sunday, August 1st, 2010 - Again decks . .

After a pause due to lack of pieces to work on, I restarted by installing two new decks in the poop area. The quarterdeck is not yet 100% finished. All the other decks are treated with oil for wood. At every new coat of oil the colour of the wood becames better (at least this is my sensation).

01 P1060601R.jpg
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02 P1060602.jpg
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03 P1060603R.jpg
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04 P1060604R.jpg
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05 P1060605R.jpg
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Last image of the previous set . .

06 P1060606R.jpg
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Uwek

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Thanks for wetting my appetite, my SR is on the high seas from Australia to Thailand in a container with my workshop won't arrive till middle of May.
That is only two weeks more to wait - and than it is like Christmas when you arrange everything in your new workshop - Looking forward also to see yours...
 
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Friday August 6, 2010

This week was spent in the vain waiting of new material from the kit manufacturer. I have used all the material I have and, if nothing arrives, I will suspend this shipyard. I will not become an unemployed ship modeler because I have another model that I use to fill my dead time but . . .

I have made some enhancements to the original project, by using some boxwood as finishing of the decks, well visible in the images.

01 P1060609R.jpg
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02 P1060610.jpg
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03 P1060611R.jpg
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04 P1060608R.jpg
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05 P1060612R.jpg
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As you can imagine reading my last messages, there are some problems with the shipments of the weekly issues and the bad news are that it is not possible to understand who is the guilty party: italian mail service or De Agostini ? In doubt, the result is, anyway, that I'm not receiving what I need to continue . .

Cheers, Jack.Aubrey
 
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Friday October 15th, 2010 - Some new material is finally arrived, shipyard restarted

I finally received the no. 5 and 6 packages (issues from 18 to 25) and I immediately restarted the work on my Soleil Royal. I have put in an idle state my work on the dutch privateer Dolphyn (Corel). It may be I will open also for it a build log in the future.

With the new material I was able to complete che hull skeleton, by installing the last two bulkheads and the last poop deck. Again I have to recognize that the material distributed is of good quality, specifically regarding to the precision of design and cutting.

Again I followed my instinct of shipmodeler instead of following the building instructions, these instructions are good but it is possible to work better.

Here below some images of the poop area just finished . .

01 P1060973.jpg
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02 P1060974.jpg
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03 P1060968R.jpg
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04 P1060970.jpg
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05 P1060971.jpg
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Kind regards, Jack.Aubrey
 
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