Soleil Royal by Heller - an Extensive Modification and Partial Scratch-Build by Hubac’s Historian

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I managed to get the red sprayed before leaving for the Cape. We had a wonderful week in Hampton Bays with lot’s of family fun, good dinners, and plenty of medicinal scotch. I also managed to have a productive week laying down all of the primary colors:

BC881BE5-F3E6-4BA1-99C1-E491FB63E4B1.jpeg

Unfortunately, in my haste, I forgot to mask off the monogramed escutcheons between the main deck guns. The centers, which will be painted ultra-marine really require a white undercoat for the color to come out right. This now necessitated hand-priming of these little ovals.

5E72F575-18AE-40E6-A717-91C6078EBD98.jpeg

I deliberated, from the start of this whole project, whether the red should extend up into the amortisement. Ultimately, I decided that it made more sense to follow a continuous, banded approach to each of the three primary colors, with the yellow ocher serving as a unifier.

The impression of the amortisement is a bit skewed, at the moment, because I have yet to pick out the supporting dolphins in gold and silver. I took great care to hand-paint subtle edge borders, in yellow ocher, around the triangular panels of the upper section.

From here, it is the long, steady march of careful cutting-in, followed by rounds of re-touching:

F88F7CE4-D6C9-4543-AE9A-A13E3B182486.jpeg

Perhaps, above, it is more apparent how my idea to use ultra-marine along the lower band of fleurs, accentuates the scalloped design of the frieze. This is probably more ultra-marine than would have actually been applied, owing to the expense, nonetheless it is an artistic choice that highlights the effort of making the whole thing.

9203F1FF-E85B-41FB-8043-1D5C522694FC.jpeg
Slowly and surely, we are getting there! As ever, thank you for looking in.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
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Location
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Leading into Labor Day Weekend, I realized that I would need to cram-in a ton of hours, if I had any hope of getting where I wanted before the Joint Clubs meeting. And so, my wife and kids went off to CT to stay poolside, with family, and I got to work.

The primary objective of the weekend was to erect the forward bulwarks. I gave the lapping joint of each bulwark piece a third going-over to ensure absolutely the best fit possible. Unfortunately, it cannot be avoided that the part will always be under tension, as it must bend significantly to conform to the run of the hull.

Anticipating this, I had affixed a styrene tab at the point where tension is greatest. My glue plan was to cement a welded bond along the rabbet with liquid styrene cement, but also to apply CA to the additional tab for a contact bond that would assist the tweezer spring-clamps that I bought for this purpose.

Where the bulwark joins the beakhead bulkhead, I similarly used styrene cement below the forecastle deck ledge, and a spot of CA above the ledge. There was simply no good way to clamp this corner, owing to its extreme tumblehome, so I used a tape clamp to assist during drying.

First, I put some blue tape down to protect the deck from any errant glue drops:

94E8FD2C-FCC4-4A4B-9B7C-90933B08DB9D.jpeg

I also applied two layers of blue tape to the clamp jaws, as these particular spring clamps apply a really strong bite onto the material; I was hoping not to mar my paint.

42B4D6B5-1846-4DC8-A482-E5152DDB1E71.jpeg
B0CDE3DF-9B29-49C6-8ECC-F3804FF15E2E.jpeg

For better leverage with the smaller clamps, I made up small styrene clamping cauls that hooked beneath the wales to which they were taped in-place. As with any significant glue-up, a dry-run really helps steer you away from potential pit-falls; before making the cauls, I found that the small clamps only had a tenuous grip on what is really a very shallow lap-joint.

With only a few small gaps that touch-up paint will fill, I ended up with really tight-fitting joints and enough small squeeze-out to convince me that there is a strong welded bond along the part’s entire length:

9EC66ECC-9EBA-4CD4-BDBD-554F038E2483.jpeg
40307005-86D1-4855-86AF-D5EBB033FC17.jpeg

The relative mass of the model is becoming apparent now:

99712006-E5CE-41E5-B2D8-25AC277392AC.jpeg
E6EC8CAE-281E-44B9-A441-1594960AD704.jpeg

I will say that while the skid segments lined up near perfectly, I will still have to fill a few gaps, here and there, with sanded shims of styrene strip. This is not a big deal, and I prefer to use plastic, rather than putty, wherever possible. Also, the squeeze-out is not a major chore to clean away. I have a purpose-ground #11 blade that works like a semi-sharp glue chisel to scrape away the excess.

Now that the bulwarks were up, I could install the gusset pieces that serve a dual purpose: they re-enforce the lap-joint by increasing glue surface area between the deck and the bulwarks. Also, they will eventually serve as mounting points for my deck beams. After scribing-in and glueing, the bulwarks became notably stiffer:

AE485C4D-3259-4A86-A674-74DD80D6E455.jpeg

Unlike the lower decks, this time I thought to black-out these gusset pieces, as more light will penetrate below these upper decks.

Next, I wanted to final fit the open sheaves I made for the top corners of the beakhead bulkhead rail. I also wanted to make knees for these corners. While the sheaves are a contrivance, on my part, to cover for the height discrepancy between the bulwark top rails, these knees were an actual feature of real practice. Just as they do on a real ship, the knees I made increase surface area and do quite a lot to strengthen the area. Frankly, I just don’t trust CA to do the hevy lifting of holding these corners together, over time:

CE50675C-954C-4273-A3F7-0BD4C4756623.jpeg

Although it is not readily apparent in the picture above, I simulated the bolt heads that hold these knees in place. Also, above, I am holding in-place the forward beam ledge for the forecastle deck.

So, finally, I’m approaching the finish-line for painting of the aft port bulwark piece. There is still some gold work to do on the siren figures, as well as the quarter piece, but now the full color scheme comes into clear focus:

8F678088-D194-45E1-8FBB-34576F30A64F.jpeg

My objective with the paintwork, because I have chosen such a vivid scheme, is to identify areas where I can replicate the same colors and techniques, in order to create a sense of continuity. All throughout the ship, anything with a fishtail gets painted first with a grey enamel under-wash, and then top-coated with the ver-de-gris wash.

A7E6DD65-0E60-4C87-A6E1-0D5E0BAF7085.jpeg

I also really liked the use of silver metallic beneath a more natural green wash, that I used for the female Four Seasons figures, on the stern. The siren on the aft end of the amortisement received this particular treatment for her dress, and the wash-coat really highlights the sculpted folds of the dress very nicely.

For the face and neck of the quarter piece, I decided to use the same enamel grey wash and wipe-away technique that I applied to the horse-head of the figurehead. It’s subtle, but it really brings out the small facial features of these sculptures. The four Continental figures will also receive this treatment. I think it lends these statues a sense of aged neo-classicism.

So, soon I will make and fit the gusset pieces for the aft bulwark piece, and hopefully get the whole assembly glued-up and touched-up in time for the show. Thank you all for the likes, comments and for looking in!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 14, 2020
Messages
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Leading into Labor Day Weekend, I realized that I would need to cram-in a ton of hours, if I had any hope of getting where I wanted before the Joint Clubs meeting. And so, my wife and kids went off to CT to stay poolside, with family, and I got to work.

The primary objective of the weekend was to erect the forward bulwarks. I gave the lapping joint of each bulwark piece a third going-over to ensure absolutely the best fit possible. Unfortunately, it cannot be avoided that the part will always be under tension, as it must bend significantly to conform to the run of the hull.

Anticipating this, I had affixed a styrene tab at the point where tension is greatest. My glue plan was to cement a welded bond along the rabbet with liquid styrene cement, but also to apply CA to the additional tab for a contact bond that would assist the tweezer spring-clamps that I bought for this purpose.

Where the bulwark joins the beakhead bulkhead, I similarly used styrene cement below the forecastle deck ledge, and a spot of CA above the ledge. There was simply no good way to clamp this corner, owing to its extreme tumblehome, so I used a tape clamp to assist during drying.

First, I put some blue tape down to protect the deck from any errant glue drops:

View attachment 255888

I also applied two layers of blue tape to the clamp jaws, as these particular spring clamps apply a really strong bite onto the material; I was hoping not to mar my paint.

View attachment 255887
View attachment 255890

For better leverage with the smaller clamps, I made up small styrene clamping cauls that hooked beneath the wales to which they were taped in-place. As with any significant glue-up, a dry-run really helps steer you away from potential pit-falls; before making the cauls, I found that the small clamps only had a tenuous grip on what is really a very shallow lap-joint.

With only a few small gaps that touch-up paint will fill, I ended up with really tight-fitting joints and enough small squeeze-out to convince me that there is a strong welded bond along the part’s entire length:

View attachment 255885
View attachment 255884

The relative mass of the model is becoming apparent now:

View attachment 255883
View attachment 255886

I will say that while the skid segments lined up near perfectly, I will still have to fill a few gaps, here and there, with sanded shims of styrene strip. This is not a big deal, and I prefer to use plastic, rather than putty, wherever possible. Also, the squeeze-out is not a major chore to clean away. I have a purpose-ground #11 blade that works like a semi-sharp glue chisel to scrape away the excess.

Now that the bulwarks were up, I could install the gusset pieces that serve a dual purpose: they re-enforce the lap-joint by increasing glue surface area between the deck and the bulwarks. Also, they will eventually serve as mounting points for my deck beams. After scribing-in and glueing, the bulwarks became notably stiffer:

View attachment 255891

Unlike the lower decks, this time I thought to black-out these gusset pieces, as more light will penetrate below these upper decks.

Next, I wanted to final fit the open sheaves I made for the top corners of the beakhead bulkhead rail. I also wanted to make knees for these corners. While the sheaves are a contrivance, on my part, to cover for the height discrepancy between the bulwark top rails, these knees were an actual feature of real practice. Just as they do on a real ship, the knees I made increase surface area and do quite a lot to strengthen the area. Frankly, I just don’t trust CA to do the hevy lifting of holding these corners together, over time:

View attachment 255881

Although it is not readily apparent in the picture above, I simulated the bolt heads that hold these knees in place. Also, above, I am holding in-place the forward beam ledge for the forecastle deck.

So, finally, I’m approaching the finish-line for painting of the aft port bulwark piece. There is still some gold work to do on the siren figures, as well as the quarter piece, but now the full color scheme comes into clear focus:

View attachment 255882

My objective with the paintwork, because I have chosen such a vivid scheme, is to identify areas where I can replicate the same colors and techniques, in order to create a sense of continuity. All throughout the ship, anything with a fishtail gets painted first with a grey enamel under-wash, and then top-coated with the ver-de-gris wash.

View attachment 255889

I also really liked the use of silver metallic beneath a more natural green wash, that I used for the female Four Seasons figures, on the stern. The siren on the aft end of the amortisement received this particular treatment for her dress, and the wash-coat really highlights the sculpted folds of the dress very nicely.

For the face and neck of the quarter piece, I decided to use the same enamel grey wash and wipe-away technique that I applied to the horse-head of the figurehead. It’s subtle, but it really brings out the small facial features of these sculptures. The four Continental figures will also receive this treatment. I think it lends these statues a sense of aged neo-classicism.

So, soon I will make and fit the gusset pieces for the aft bulwark piece, and hopefully get the whole assembly glued-up and touched-up in time for the show. Thank you all for the likes, comments and for looking in!
Stunning work Marc,

Your work is a feast for the eyes.

Cheers,
Stephen.
 
Joined
May 30, 2020
Messages
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What a moment! After the long time for research and preparations, finally a sight that gives the viewer an idea of what an extraordinary and great job you have done so far. This will be a model that will have a major impact on all of our ideas about the historical SR. Take good care of it.
Schmidt
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
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Thank you Kirill and Schmidt! Funny you should remind me to “take care”. I finally got wise and made a plywood barrier to protect the bow as this is, by far, the most fragile part of the model. My daughter is like a moth to the flame, and whenever I have the model out on the kitchen table, working on it - whatever thing she’s looking for always seems to be within inches of my bow, and she swoops in and snatches the whatever and almost gives me a heart attack because I never see her coming.

Anyhow, prep work to erect the aft bulwark has been remarkably tedious. I’ll do a full post on it, later, but I’m finally close to the glue-up!
 
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