Sunday, March 18, 2018

Set Sails V: a French 74


What?  another post and another ship so quick!  I know what you're thinking; that I had this ship already done when I posted the British ship and now I'm posting this one in a blatant attempt to increase my post count....  as if those things mattered...

NOOOooo.  Actually when it comes to ships;  I've found that I can assemble and paint two ships at once, but when it comes to rigging it's easier to focus on one ship at a time so you don't get lost / confused on what you were doing and miss a piece.  Rigging actually goes pretty fast once you have all the materials prepared, but it goes in stages; Standing rigging-ratlines-shrouds and backstays-running rigging (basically you work from the center of the ship to the edge).  And if you do miss a part of one step it's very hard to work backward as now rigging is in the way....

How was that for an extra fascinating peek into the process of model ships huh?  I mean, you pay for the whole seat but you only need the edge.

So I finished the British 74 and started working on the rigging of  this French 3rd rate 74 gun Ship of the Line, and maybe it's because I'm in a groove or something but somehow I managed to get it done very quickly.    Also, I foresee being a little busy in the near future, so was motivated to get this posted up.

A French 74, properly rigged?

Now ALL THIS TIME I'v been rigging my French Ships of the Line wrong.  I've been rigging them the same as the British ones, thinking they were all basically the same.  WRONG!

Turns out, as I've read on HERE, that the French actually rigged the Mizzen mast forward to the main mast,  and not backwards to the Spanker sail like I was doing.  I'm sure you all noticed but were too polite to say anything.  

-The link is to one of BrianW's excellent posts on rigging.  BrianW's blog is a must for anyone interested in Age of Sail.  Big bonus, he actually knows what he's doing while I fake it.  here's a link to his HOME PAGE and check it out for more pics of ships and history.

So here we are: a French 74 properly rigged with the braces going forward.  This one is also decorated with  a single race-say red stripe across the center. 

My big fingers included in the pic for scale purposes...

Vive la France! 

And true to my pattern, the French ships just come out looking sexier than the British ships.
I think it' the rounded bow..

Enough pictures already!

Going Forward

Now that the replacement ratlines are here and I'm on a rigging roll, I think that I'll start re-rigging the ships that were damaged in the shipping disaster  (which will be a chance to do the French rigging right) so that the whole fleet will be complete and I can properly call myself Commodore.  Don't worry, I won't post a pic of each ship as it gets done.  That WOULD be cheating.

Then, being out of ships, I can focus on something else.

Thanks for reading!  Comments appreciated.  


  1. Most impressive and most detailed job, I'm jealous!

    1. Thanks Phil, I appreciate your positivity. πŸ˜€

  2. You're a nut job. Any rigging looks fine at this scale. Correct rigging is for .... sail counters? Rudder counters? Seaman counters? No, not seaman counters.

    1. No not those, but somebody’s got to do it I suppose. How bout righteous riggers? Supercilious sailors?

      One of those things that once you know you want to do it correctly, but it all still looks cool and provides a subtle difference from the British ships.

  3. Lovely work and of course you have to do the French ones differently, he says backing away to the exit!
    Best Iain

    1. Of course I do! Now get outta here!
      (That’s supposed to be funny). πŸ˜€


  4. Wow thats impressive looking considering the size! Bloody marvellous job Stew! I hadn't noticed the difference between British and French as I haven't got a clue about it all.

  5. Thanks Simon.

    Likely nobody would notice or care, but you know us historical gamers, we get into this sort of thing. πŸ˜€

  6. Wonderful job Stew and I have to say that I didnt have the vaguest idea that they had been completed arse about face...looked perfect to me as they were but now they are accurate. They look sensational. Im off to visit your friends Brian recommended blog now to continue drooling!

  7. Thanks for the kind words Carlo. I had no idea when I started either, but we learn as we go. πŸ˜€
    All in all, it’s a subtle difference.

  8. Wait until you start building Spaniards. The Mizzen rigging is even harder.😎

    1. Thanks Vol, and you just gave me a good reason to never do any Spanish ships....πŸ˜€