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La Jacinthe (1823-1841)
A miniature sailing ship model by Kerry Jang
The schooner La Jacinthe is one of a series of Anenome class schooners designed by Assistant Shipwright Jean-Françoise Delamorinière. This ship is the focus of a monograph by Jean Boudriot (http://www.ancre.fr). The plans (1:48 scale) and iconographic material contained in this book was used as the basis of a model of a waterline model to 1:144 scale.
The model began with the deck planking. The deck planks were made from holly. Each plank was cut and tapered according to the plan. The edges of each deck plank were rubbed with the side of a pencil to represent the caulking. The deck planks were properly nibbed at the bow. The photo below shows all of the deck planks glued to a copy of the deck plan. The photo also shows the hull, which was carved out of a piece of jelutong.
The photo below shows the planked hull. Stem and sternpost was made of pear. On this model I decided to try something new. The ship was painted black and I wanted to show the run of planks through the paint. To accomplish this each plank (strips of pear wood) were cut to shape and then the edges rounded over with sandpaper. This produces a groove between the planks. It’s very easy to overdo this feature. Certainly on my model this is overstated, but it's my first try so you will have to forgive me. Despite the oversized groove, once the hull was painted black, the paint tended to de-emphasize the grooves and make them look a little more to scale. Nevertheless, the run of planking is readily seen and sets off the lines of this pretty little schooner off rather well.
The completed deck was then glued to the hull carcass. You have to be careful here to use glues that do not contain a lot of water. Water based glue tended to cause the deck planking to curl upwards. It was necessary to tack things in place with superglue and hold everything in place with lots of tape and elastic bands. The photo below also shows the waterways attached that have been notched out to accept the stanchions. The deck has also been sanded smooth and finished with a coat of tung oil. I used the tung oil sealer from Lee Valley Tools because it is tinted purple to counteract the amber colour of the tung oil that would turn the deck yellow.
Also seen in this picture are two strips of holly that had been painted ochre. This is the breast rail of the ship and they had to be finished before adding to the hull. I should add that I made another mistake. I assumed that the yellow used during 1825 would have been yellow ochre. I should have read Boudriot’s text more carefully — he says it should have been a lighter shade of straw yellow! Oh well, I will say that the paint has weathered…
The next photo shows the stanchions added as well as the stern counter and transom.
The next step was to add the rails and pierce the hull with hawseholes. The next photo shows the hull fully painted. The real ship was coppered and I replicated this by painting some paper strips green. These were cut into little rectangles and added to the hull at the waterline and just below.
With the hull basically complete it was time to make the deck fittings. On this little schooner the number of deckhouses, hatches and the like are few and very easy to make. For this model, they were all made out of scraps of holly and the two carronades turned in brass. The basic fittings (unpainted) are shown on the hull.
The next photo shows the deck fitting painted and glued to the deck. The anchors are made out of scrap holly as are the catheads. The ship’s boat was carved out of a solid chunk of holly and hollowed out. The boat was detailed with strips of plastic and holly. The blades of the oars are made of strips of holly with brass handles. The pinrails are again made of holly with the pins made of brass wire whose heads were dipped in medium thick CA glue to form rounded heads.
With the hull and fittings now complete it was time to work on the masts. For this model I used pear for the masts and the larger yards and booms, and brass rod for the smaller one. I used pear for the masts but in this small scale, this turned out to be a mistake. The grain on pear is very short. While making this ideal for planking, it makes small diameter masts very brittle. On two occasions I broke the mast and booms while rigging. Very frustrating!!!! The sails are made out of painted paper with seam lines drawn in with pencil. Ring bolts were made of nichrome wire and all rigging carried out in tinned copper wire painted tan or black. Blocks were faked using discs of brown painted paper. The photo below shows the rigging underway.
Another “first” for me was to add a bit of drama in the sails and flags. Boudriot reproduces an engraving by Baugean entitled “Goelette vent large”. The picture is of a schooner with a wind on the quarter, the fore and aft topsails brailed up, since it was likely to be blanketed by the mainsail and was likely to blanket the inner jib. The topgallant has been lowered tin the cap, and the gaff-topsail which is bent to a yard has been lowered, which suggests that the wind is too strong fir these upper sails, which tend to make the schooner heel excessively and reduce her speed through the water.
On my previous miniature, LE CERF, at a model competition someone had scoffed at my model saying the sails were set wrong and what not. He carried on ad nauseum. Some of his criticisms were valid I am sure, but a lot of it was petty and gratuitous. This year, I have based La Jacinthe’s rigging and set of sails on Baugean’s “Goelette vent large”. I hope to silence this person this year by showing where and how I decided to set the sails on my model.
The remaining pictures are of the finished model. I have placed the model on a seascape made from model-railway water textured plastic, and crewed La Jacinthe with N scale workmen from the Preiser model railway figure sets. I have converted some of their clothing to resemble French naval uniforms and added bicornes the to ships’ officers. The entire model was built over a three-month period (weekends and evenings). I have experimented with some different lighting effects to see how the ship looked during different times of the day.
As always, I welcome constructive criticism and comment. I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org