ZHL Soleil Royal - with some additions

Joined
Apr 10, 2018
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15
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
Yes that’s right, its another ZHL Soleil Royal Build Log!

Hi all, and welcome to my first build log here on SOS.

Time for a little backstory.

I’m primarily a plastic model builder, more specifically a sci-fi model builder but I bought the ZHL Black Pearl early last year to add to my stash of kits to build at some point in the future as I really like the ship (both from the movies and from the Kingdom Hearts video games) and really want to make a statement piece out of it.

Fast forward to this year and being in lockdown, I’ve had a bit more time to model but due to a few setbacks, I lost my drive for the couple of plastic kits I had been working on so they have gone back in their boxes for another day. I looked through my stash to see what else I could dedicate my time to and I saw the Black Pearl sitting there, but I knew that having not ever built a wooden ship model before, I didn’t want the Pearl to be my first. So I started looking at other wooden kits I could buy to be my ‘first’ build.

Knowing what I can be like, I had to make sure that the ship in question was one that I was drawn to and was of some interest to me. So this is where I stumbled upon the Soleil Royal. I know it is technically nowhere near a beginners kit, but if I’m honest, none of the beginner kits I looked at appealed to me. I just like the look and shape of the Soleil, along with its colours and decorations, and I like a challenge.

So I took the plunge and bought it. Max was great to deal with and the kit eventually arrived earlier this week.

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Looks like Australian customs decided to inspect inside the box, but thankfully they didn’t have to confiscate anything.

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After a quick inventory, everything was accounted for apart from the Instruction CD appearing blank when put into my PC. Sent an email to Max and haven’t heard anything back as yet, but luckily paulb was able to help me out and email me a copy of the instructions from his build. Thanks again Paul!

So after sitting down with the instructions and looking through the parts, I’ve decided that along with building the ship (which is a mammoth task in itself), I am also going to look into the possibility of replacing the metal decorations that come with the kit. Whilst the ones that come with the kit are not horrible by any means at all, I am guessing that over time the molds used to cast them have worn down a little so they have lost some definition. I recently bought a 3D printer to be able to create custom parts for other model kits and thought I could put it to use on this kit too. Now whilst I have some experience in creating things in a 3D software program, usually they are very boxy and are not carved or sculpted as such. Venturing into this new avenue of sculpting and carving things in 3D should be a bit of fun, and if it fails, then at least I still have the original metal ones to use!

If you want to see a full breakdown of box contents head over to the thread from Dematosdg linked below who has done a great unboxing of the kit.
ZHL- LE SOLEIL ROYAL 1:90 - Box Content

Anyways, I’ve already made a small start on sanding and gluing some pieces, so I’ll be posting again soon with my build updates.
I know I have a lot to learn (both about ship building and also all of the correct terminology) and will no doubt make mistakes along the way, but that is half the fun of it.

Hope you enjoy the build and my journey!
 
Joined
May 13, 2020
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Brenton, you will not have big issues. PaulB is a great log to follow and don’t ever hesitate in asking whatever you want, for simple it could look, there will be alway a member(s) willing to help.

Enjoy the building !!!!

Daniel
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Messages
15
Points
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
Hi all, thank you for the words of encouragement and support, and for those that are going to follow along with the build, welcome!

Looking at some of the other fantastic builds of the ZHL Soleil on here by paulb and BigMike and the Mantua version by GaryM are a little intimidating at first, but it has been great to see their differing and similar approaches to how they build and are a great source of information for a first time builder like myself.

Over the weekend I was able to get a bit of work done on the ship. Started with joining the 2 parts of the keel together. Had to temporarily slot in 2 of the bulkheads on either side of the join as the part that fit between them to strengthen the join was a bit of a tight fit, so wanted to make sure it was positioned well between the bulkheads.

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After this it was onto joining some of the multipart bulkheads together.

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And then finally time to install the bulkheads. I took some advice form other builders about marking the bottom/top of the cutouts on the bulkheads and keel so that you know when you had them fitted in the correct position. There was only one that was being a bit stubborn, but after a bit of sanding, it fit nicely. I also marked in some horizontal lines for where the lower desks should be sitting. After I had positioned them all I slotted in one of the lower decks temporarily to hold things in position while the glue dried, and to keep everything square.

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2 levels of support decks glued down and I’m glad I had my pencil lines in so that I could make sure everything was sitting nice and straight. A liberal amount of glue later, and I’m quite surprised at how solid it is feeling. I have seen other builders add in support blocks against joints, is this done just as a precautionary support or maybe to ensure things are square?

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Next up was installing the main deck. It slotted in very nicely and after some glue and few nails to ensure that the curves were holding, it was all set to dry.

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Last job for the weekend was to fit the tops of some of the bulkheads now that the main deck was in. The one at the stern went on very easily but the other one needed some persuasion to fit nicely along the curve of the deck, nothing a few clamps and some spare timber couldn’t fix!

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That about wraps up the weekends work. My partner was surprised at how much work I had achieved in a couple of days but I promptly told him that all of the big pieces are now together so don’t expect this much progress all the time!

I was hoping to get a coat of black paint on the inside structure of the ship so that when looking through grates or cannon portholes you didn’t just see raw timber, but when I went to my stash of acrylic paint, I was out of black! Unfortunately here in Victoria we are under Stage 4 Lockdown due to COVID which means we can only leave the house for 4 reasons which are work, medical care, 1hr of exercise and 1hr of essential shopping a day. Also we are only allowed to travel within 5km of our house for the shopping and exercise. All nonessential shops are now only online or click and collect and all of my local hobby stores are outside my 5km radius, so I really have to plan ahead with the build for the next little while in terms of any new tools I need to buy or if I need things like paint, glue or wood stain. Ah well, time for some online shopping to stock up on a few things and then wait for the delivery man to get them to me.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Messages
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
I haven’t had a huge amount of time to model over the last week, but I did get a couple of things done.

Firstly I set up a bit of a production line to glue all of the cannon box supports together. I cut out some cardboard strips to the correct width to be a template so that when the supports were clamped around them, they would dry square. Clamping each one of them while they dried may have been a bit of overkill, but at lest I knew that they wouldn’t fall apart when I walked away.

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After a few sessions of gluing, all 75 of them were together!

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I also had some black paint delivered so that I could paint the inside supports of the ship. I probably painted too much, but I couldn’t stand the sight of it with ragged paint edges everywhere. I thought best to do more now while its accessible rather than have to come in later and try and paint little bits when there’s very little access.

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The last thing I have been able to get done was a small test of deck planking. The top 2 strips were laid plain with nothing to simulate caulking or pegs. The 3 strips underneath had a permanent marker run along their edges for the caulking and then tiny holes drilled for the pegs. The holes on the left weren't touched after drilling and the holes in the centre had a dab of a very fine tipped marker in each hole. I’m still deciding if I like the look of the plain drilled hole or the drilled hole with the marker dab, or if I just go with a dab of the marker on the planks without drilling holes. Going to have a scour through some other build logs on here and see what others have done. Also the planks in this picture have been coated with one coat of Tung oil to see how I liked the finish, and I’m quite happy with it.

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The darker end of the planks on the right was a test of a technique I read from another log on here where a mix of PVA and black paint was painted onto the planks then scraped away when dry, so that only the paint/glue that seeped into the gaps and holes would be left behind. It gives a great weathered effect to the planks but I think due to the grain on this timber, its might be too overpowering...lots of things to ponder over and decide upon!
 
Joined
May 24, 2018
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Location
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts and progress. You won't regret painting the interior black even if it's overkill. I like the look of the weathered timber--could you point me to the log where you learned about that technique or give me the details on the mix of glue/paint and method? Thanks!
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
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A great way to do small plank nails (especially in small scale) is to just drill the holes and then lightly sand the deck. The sawdust will fill the holes quite well, and a light brush of oil or finish will darken them, making a crisp but quite small nail without a huge effort. Yours are looking great, but just offering one more option to consider. :)
 
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