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La Belle - Hachette Partwork - 1/30 Scale Options
jack.aubrey
#1 Posted : 27 November 2023 12:21:14

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Tuesday 11 July 2023

A few years ago I collected all the issues of "La Belle", published by Hachette. At that time it was not my intention to build the model both because I had nowhere to build it and also because I wasn't interested in building an admiralty style model.
At the beginning of the year my wife and me moved to a new house, located in Colico, on Lake Como and in the new house I was able to create a new modeler workshop where to play my hobby.
At this point, having in the meantime finished the model of the Ragusian Carrack, I found myself in the situation of starting the construction of a new model.

I had three possibilities:

1) Finish the partially built model of the Brig HMS Guadeloupe, started and never completed years ago,
2) start the model of HMS Revenge (a kit by Amati),
3) the partwork of "La Belle" by Hachette.

The choice fell on the issues of La Belle.

The booklet number one, as usual, starts with having you build the house from the roof: in fact, it makes you assemble a gun, but from the second booklet you start assembling the mounting slip. Everything passes through a dozen issues but in the end the slip is ready.

Below are a few photos to give an idea of its appearance, which we will drag on for quite some time. All in MDF and I had absolutely no problem during its assembly.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230224180434.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230224180442.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230224180449.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230224180457.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230224180510.jpg


06 La Belle Photos/IMG20230225202114.jpg


07 La Belle Photos/IMG20230225202126.jpg


See you soon, in the next message we will see the assembly of the gun carriage.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#2 Posted : 27 November 2023 12:23:32

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Thursday, July 13th, 2023


Starting from the roof: the gun carriage assembled . . .

To become familiar with the materials provided, I decided to mount the gun carriage.
In this case we have very small pieces and I had to separate the various pieces and prepare them very carefully to avoid damages.
However, I didn't have any particular problems assembling them and the operation ended quite well. The only aspect to underline is the need to remove burns on the wood due to laser cutting . . .
I foresee that it will be a problem for the rest of the project: it requires a lot of attention and precision, the use of different tools according to the shape of the piece and . . even a lot of time.

Below are a series of images of the carriage of the first cannon.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230226160126.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230226160212.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230226160337.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230226160351.jpg


See you soon, in the next message we will see the assembly of the keel.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#3 Posted : 27 November 2023 12:26:11

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Saturday, July 15th, 2023

Having set aside the completion of the gun, which will be needed in months, I started to assemble the keel.
All the pieces are in laser pre-cut pear wood and are very precise.

Here the problem of burns, due to laser cutting, that must be removed is emerging with a certain seriousness. This removal is necessary to be able to safely glue the various elements and also for a purely aesthetic factor. The main problem in removing burnt wood consists in removing only the black without removing further wood, otherwise the shape of the piece could be changed and this, in some cases, is not really good.

Removing the scorch for all the keel pieces took a significant amount of time . . time certainly not dedicated to activities of great modeling value: just a lot of patience and attention. With the pieces cleaned up, the work was really simple and you can see the result in the following images.

When all the glue was dry, I smoothed it to even out the slightest differences in thickness between the many pieces and then the entire keel was parked in the mounting slip, to avoid the risk of breakage.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230310115024.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230310115031.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230310115036.jpg


See you soon, in the next message we will see the assembly of the first frames.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#4 Posted : 27 November 2023 17:47:19

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I have all the 140 issues of this model: I collected them when Hachette started this partwork in Italy in 2016.
I also have the Boudriot monograph but until now I did'nt need to use it too much because the building instructions are clear and quite accurate. Remember that the Hachette model is 1/30 scale while the monograph is 1/24 scale.


All the pear wood pieces are laser cut so I do not need to cut them by my own.
I have a special thought about ship model kits or partworks like this: normally the pre cut pieces are made with plywood and the number of this pieces is quite limited (keel, bulkheads, few other).
The usefulness is then related to the fact that all you need is in a box.
You do not save to much time in cutting pieces like +/- 15 bulkheads and +/- 3 parts of the keel. Let's say 1 o 2 days maximum.
This partwork, instead, is in admiralty style and each frame is made up with 9 precut pieces and there are +/- 40 frames, and so on.

And this is the great value of this kit !!!!
You save a lot of time by avoiding to cut pieces of wood !!


jack.aubrey
#5 Posted : 27 November 2023 17:50:26

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Monday, July 17th, 2023

The assembly of the frames now begins, a construction which, in theory, should reproduce in scale exactly the pieces used in the construction of the real sailing ship. Apart from some missing details such as the treenails and other smaller elements that are certainly described in many old naval architecture treatises.

In our case, each frame consists of nine individual pieces to be assembled together.

All the pieces are pre-cut with the laser and here the problem of removing the burns caused by the laser presents itself in an overwhelming way. At the end I have refined a relatively efficient process for removing burnt wood but it is still very "time consuming".

At the beginning I set myself the goal of preparing one frame per day (there are +/- forty frames to build), then I even managed to do two frames a day. So I spent more or less a month building all them (with the exception of the bevel which I decided to do in a later time).

Below are some images of some frames, its assembly is not complex but the instructions, in my opinion, were not such as to allow rigorous and precise assembly, so I proceeded to invent one of my own which I will illustrate better in the next post.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230310115129.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230310115138.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230310115145.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230310115150.jpg


See you soon, in the next message we will see the procedure I adopted for assembling the frames.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#6 Posted : 29 November 2023 13:18:31

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Wednesday, July 19, 2023

As promised, I'll go on to show the "method" I used to assemble the frames, which I want to remind you, are made up of nine pieces.

First I had to face the problem of removing the burn due to laser cutting. I immediately realized that using nail files and sandpaper didn't work: too much time and bad results.
So I mounted the mini-drill on the specific PROXXON bench vise and fixed it in a suitable position. On the spindle I applied the rubber drum with its supplied abrasive cylinder and I began to clean the nine pieces one by one with this tool.
Only in certain more problematic cases I had to provide a precision hand finishing. It is still a rather tedious job, but much better than the manual method.

Then I started thinking about assembly: I immediately understood that the main problem was to assemble the frame while maintaining perfect symmetry on both sides. The supplied MDF spacer is useful but by itself it does not solve the problem.

So I set up a base containing a clearly visible grid and reference points on which to place the pieces. First you have to join the five pieces of the first layer and to do this I used transparent double-sided tape (very thin) to hold them in place. In this case, the edges were glued using CA glue so that it gripped immediately.

After a few minutes I moved on to gluing the remaining four pieces on top of the first layer. Here I used Titebond aliphatic glue and fixed everything with clamps until completely dry.

In anticipation of mounting more frames at the same time, I fixed three grids to an old glass shelf. This also allowed me to mount the pieces on a perfectly flat surface. I am satisfied with the result as for me it guarantees the symmetry of the two halves of the frame with a good rate of precision.

Once the glue dried I was then able to refine the piece and set it aside for the next activity (bevel angle).

Below are some photos that should (I hope) explain the process.


01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230310150742.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230310150737.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230317114551.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230317114556.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230317114600.jpg


06 La Belle Photos/IMG20230317114606.jpg


See you soon, in the next message other frames mounted and set aside . .
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#7 Posted : 29 November 2023 13:52:40

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Friday, July 21st, 2023

The number of assembled frames is growing day by day . .

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230317171227.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230403105402.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230403105405.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230403105410.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230403105419.jpg


See you soon, in the next message some new pieces under construction for the square stern and so on . .
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#8 Posted : 30 November 2023 19:28:43

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Monday,July 24th, 2023

All the frames are ready.
Trying to imagine the final shape of the hull.
Now I need to start to create the bevel angle for most of the frames . . . a lot of work again.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230621150945.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230621151014.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230621151022.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230621151032.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230621150904.jpg


See you soon,
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#9 Posted : 30 November 2023 19:32:45

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Tuesday,July 26th, 2023

Once the assembly of the frames was finished, it was then time to work on a good part of them to prepare the famous "bevel angle".
This angle is particularly noticeable on the first fore and aft frames to then decreases more and more, but gradually, the closer the frame is to the center of the hull.
Below I propose a couple of images of frame number 17 located aft to show the work done both outside and inside the frame.
But I imagine that you are wondering how it was possible to do this . .


01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230525114734.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230525114742.jpg



The following image shows a card, supplied with the files, which is used to prepare the bevel for our frame number 17.
The image contains blue and red shapes which serve to determine the shape of the frame on the outside (blue shapes) and on the inside (red shapes).

Once the shapes have been precisely cut out with scissors, they must be glued in the correct position on the two sides of the frame with paper glue (so that it can then be easily removed). The part not covered by the card must then be removed at an angle, being careful not to remove material from the opposite side.

To facilitate understanding the process, I've attached the assembly instructions relating to the frame presented here. The instructions are in Italian but I think the images are self-explanatory and enough to understand the process.

The only but important variation to what was suggested in the instructions was the tools used: no files, nail files and sandpaper but the Proxxon mini-drill and the BS/E belt sander, also by Proxxon. However, the wood dust was absolutely not lacking.


03 La Belle Photos/Istruzioni di montaggio - sagome fascicoli 17, Dragante, Arcaccia.jpg


Finally, the next two images show a first important element of the stern under preparation. For the moment it is only a first step but the whole poop wasn't a very simple step. In the coming days we will see how the work on the transom ended.

04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230518120751.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230518120756.jpg


See you soon,
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#10 Posted : 01 December 2023 21:08:23

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Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023

I'm working to assemble the transom and some stern frames.
The starting points; first of all some tests to verify that everything is ok . .

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230606190110.jpg


01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230606190132.jpg


01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230606190141.jpg


Once the check has been passed, I proceed to glue the various elements, after having definitively finished them . .

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230625172454.jpg


Adding new items to the transom . .

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230629114147.jpg


01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230629114200.jpg


The transom practically finished, here for photographic reasons the model has been removed from the mounting slip . .

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230629182120.jpg


01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230629182135.jpg


Finally the addition of the last elements and everything is finished. I thought it was a complicated job but everything went quite well.
P.S. I applied some wood oil which amplified the color of the pear wood, anyway the main reason was to nourish the wood and avoiding it became too dry.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230702105653.jpg


See you soon,
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#11 Posted : 02 December 2023 16:55:27

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Thursday, August 3rd, 2023

Now that the work on the transom is finished, it's time to work on the bow frames and the preparation of the hawse locks (or stanchions, I'm not 100% sure of the term).

In this message I show the first three bow frames already installed.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230708121917.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230708121926.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230708121934.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230708131554B.jpg


See you soon, in the next message we will talk about the hawse locks.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#12 Posted : 03 December 2023 17:44:13

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Friday, August 4th, 2023

Let's now see the process of preparing the hawse locks, according to the method proposed by Hachette.
The procedure itself is quite simple: the files are supplied with templates on cardboard to be cut out and glued, as shown in the following two images. The utmost precision in cutting out the templates and gluing them on the piece to be worked is very important.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230717150110.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230717150118.jpg


At this point you are asked to remove from the piece thus prepared all the wood not covered by the two templates, applied to the thickness of the wood. The instructions propose a manual method through the use of files, rasps and abrasive blocks which, given the amount of wood to be removed, is at first sight a nightmare.

I solved the problem with an adequate use of the large Proxxon disk sander, after applying an abrasive disk of the proper grain and, above all, new.

With a little patience it is possible to complete this operation in a reasonable time and without superhuman efforts.
Only drawback is the dust that is produced. After the first piece I fell back on the intensive use of FFP2 anti COVID masks!!

Below the result on two elements prepared and already removed from the original tablet.

03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230804103909.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230804103922.jpg


See you soon, in the next message we will continue to talk about the hawse locks.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#13 Posted : 03 December 2023 17:45:35

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Saturday, August 5th, 2023

Once the first phase has been completed, which served to prepare the 6 elements that make up the hawse locks for one side of the hull, it is then necessary to assemble them (according to a method that I will not describe for the sake of brevity) by gluing them together.
At the end of this operation, a still rough piece is obtained which has the shape shown in the following two photos.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230717150034.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230717150350.jpg


This piece must now undergo further processing to obtain the final product. The following photos show the finished piece on the outside. Now it also has to be worked on the inside but, tired of eating dust, I decided to take a break and finish it in a few days.
Furthermore, I still have to repeat the same process from the beginning to also prepare the piece for the other side of the hull: everything postponed to a date to be defined.
In the meantime, I've started working on another front, deciding to resume this activity when I can't put it off any longer.

03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230720171738.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230720171758.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230720171807.jpg


See you soon, in the next message we will se the tasks of assembling the several frames on the keel.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#14 Posted : 04 December 2023 14:41:43

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Sunday, August 6th, 2023

Tired of making wood dust and seeing few results for such a job, I decided to give up the hawse locks for a while and to install the frames, starting from the stern and the bow and proceeding towards the center of the hull.

The work consists in positioning the frame to be glued in the keel and registering the width of the same on the shape of the mounting slip. To maintain the correct registration of the frame, I block it with a hard wood strip fixed with a drop of cyanoacrylate.

The subsequent fixing on the keel is then performed with aliphatic glue.
I proceed by gluing four/six frames at a time, partly aft and partly forward, then I wait for the glue to dry.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230717151342.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230717151351.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230717150815.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230717150826.jpg


See you soon, in the next message we will talk again of assembling new frames on the keel.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#15 Posted : 05 December 2023 09:47:00

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Monday, August 7th, 2023

The task to install new frames both aft and forward continues . .
In the following images you can see how the work proceeds quite quickly.

But at this point I changed the method used so far. As you can see from the pictures I removed the slats that went from starboard to port and which were used to keep the frame locked at the right width. Removing these temporary strips is a very simple task. I exploit a defect in the cyanoacrylate glue: a light tap with a small hammer is enough for the glue to come off without problems. Obviously it is then necessary to clean the wood from the glue but this is also simple.
Instead, I kept the slat on the last frame towards the center of the ship to avoid deformation.

Finally I applied a walnut strip horizontally: it starts from the first stern frame and reaches the one with the remaining slat and I fixed all the frames to it, again with cyanoacrylate glue. Being the frames flexible this trick aligned themselves according to the natural curve of the horizontal strip, forming a harmonious curve. This strip is temporary: it will subsequently be removed when the beam stringers and some internal planks will be installed inside the hull.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230727144520.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230727144531.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230727144550.jpg


Furthermore, in this phase I had to prepare the openings for the gun ports. In this ship there will be three gunports on each side. The following photo shows one of these gunports in detail.

04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230727150951.jpg


Finally, the same work carried out for the stern is also replicated on the bow.

05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230729142505.jpg


Now there are still a dozen frames amidships to be installed and then I will have finished this operation, which was very interesting and stimulating.

See you soon, in the next message we will see the last frames in place.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#16 Posted : 07 December 2023 16:39:32

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Tuesday, August 8th, 2023

I finally managed to fix all the frames to the keel and, thanks to a third horizontal stay rod strip, all the frames between them.
Now the whole structure, keel, frames and stern are connected and so there is no danger of a dangerous structure failure. Obviously I need to handle everything with great caution.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230731145726.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230731145736.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230731145749.jpg


To verify the correctness of my system of temporary reinforcements and stay rods, I've extracted the hull from the building slip.
The whole array seems stable and doesn't deform. Very good.
I tried to put it back in the slip and this operation was also successful, even if I need a lot of calm and precision, so everything returns to the correct position.

04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230801104717.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230801104725.jpg


See you soon, so I can consider this phase concluded and move on to the next phase.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#17 Posted : 08 December 2023 15:59:07

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Wednesday, August 9th, 2023

At this point I noticed that I can still postpone the activities for the construction of the hawse locks (an activity that is causing me some problems that I still have to discover the cause) and continue with the installation of some details inside the hull. More precisely the keelson, the beam stringers (shelfs? dead points?) and the stringers. All elements that now do not concern the extreme part of the bow.

The keelson is an element that I had no difficulty installing. You can see it in the last image of this message. The only problem is the usual need to remove burnt laser cutting.

Instead for the installation of the beam stringers I had to solve the problem of using suitable clamps. The standard ones, usually used, are in this case completely unusable, both for these elements and, in the future, for the stringers.
At the end I found useful to use clamps consisting of a 6mm diameter bolt, two washers and a butterfly nut.
Their use is easily understood in the following images.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230804172809.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230804172818.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230805151952.jpg


The whole matter sounds easy but required a significant amount of patience. But the goal was definitely achieved.
These "handcrafted" clamps will probably also be strategic for the next, plannes activities.

04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230805194102.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230805194114.jpg


See you soon.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#18 Posted : 09 December 2023 12:31:05

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Monday, August 21st, 2023

After the ritual mid-August break, I resumed work on the admiralty model "La Belle".
First I tried to postpone as much as possible the activities for the building of the hawse locks but, soon, I had to face the problem as it could no longer be postponed.

I had already anticipated that the realization of the hawse locks was creating problems for me and that I did not understand why the pieces necessary for these elements did not obtain, once assembled, the desired result.
During their construction I carefully followed the instructions which required the use of templates to generate the single pieces. Since there are two cubia oarlocks, one on the port side and the other on the starboard side, I put further attention into the preparation of the second, in the illusion of having done something wrong in the construction of the first. Sadly the second one also eventually proved to be a photocopy of the first one, so I've come to the conclusion that there must be (somewhere, but I don't know where) a design error in the single pieces.

I'll try now to explain what the problem is.
In the following photo I show that the trend of the hawse oarlocks in the lower part is illustrated by the template (which I have reproduced exactly here in wood marked with the letter "S", which I will then remove) to adapt to the lines of the hull at the bow. As you can see, the template shows a concave shape while the piece I made has an opposite shape, i.e. convex.
My mistake ?

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230821125016.jpg


Definitely, but motivated by the fact that there is absolutely no wood available inside, as you can see from the following photo.
Even if I wanted to, I could not have given a correct shape to the piece due to lack of raw material !!
So the solution is to add enough wood inside to allow for the desired shape to be achieved.
How to do ?

02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230821125031.jpg


After several nights spent thinking, I decided to use part of the waste material deriving from the preparation of the individual elements in order to glue it in the right place inside the hawse oarlocks.
For example I post a picture of one of the discarded pieces for a single item.

03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230821125053.jpg


Retrieving all the pieces I cut out as much wood as needed and glued it into the inside of the main piece, exactly where the corresponding piece fit. The photo below shows the new inside with the material added.

04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230821125103.jpg


From this last photo you can see that now there is all the wood needed to finish the piece as it should be.
All that remains is to properly remove the excess wood and finish all our piece. Not an easy job but, at least, possible.

05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230821125112.jpg


See you soon.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#19 Posted : 10 December 2023 18:34:01

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Joined: 28/05/2014
Posts: 938
Points: 2,823
Location: Milan (Italy)
Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023

Hawse locks:
after adding some material (pear wood) in the area inside the hawse locks, as explained in my previous message, today I proceeded to model the internal part of one of the two pieces.

All in all it wasn't a very demanding job, also thanks to the two power tools I used, very effective.

I then proceeded to finish the piece with gradually higher grade sandpaper and finally, after having carried out all the necessary checks, I proceeded to glue it definitively.

This element has proved to be a piece of incredible precision, which fits perfectly into its seat, as you can see in the attached images.
Incredible, I never imagined a similar result.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230822175653.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230822175700.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230822175706.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230822175716.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230822175733.jpg


See you soon.
Jack Aubrey
jack.aubrey
#20 Posted : 11 December 2023 13:30:21

Rank: Vice-Master

Active Service Medal: 500 post active service MedalBuild-Diary Medal: Build-Diary Medal of HonourRed Medal: Red Medal
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Joined: 28/05/2014
Posts: 938
Points: 2,823
Location: Milan (Italy)
Thursday, August 24rd, 2023

The second element of the hawse locks, the one on which I put the maximum effort in terms of precision, is also finished and, in the following images, you can see it permanently fixed with glue.

Unfortunately this second element, which should have been perfect in theory, was not at all and, in order to be able to insert it in the correct position, I had to make very slight adjustments which, upon close observation, are noticeable.

Apart from this aspect, finally a decidedly difficult task in the building of this model has finally finished and this now allows me to be able to work according to the order of the Hachette issues in a more structured way than I have done in recent past, where I have often worked to do works partially present on various issues.

However, I am satisfied with the result achieved.

01 La Belle Photos/IMG20230823100137.jpg


02 La Belle Photos/IMG20230823100154.jpg


03 La Belle Photos/IMG20230823100200.jpg


04 La Belle Photos/IMG20230823100210.jpg


05 La Belle Photos/IMG20230823100223.jpg


06 La Belle Photos/IMG20230823100227.jpg


07 La Belle Photos/IMG20230823100240.jpg


See you soon.
Jack Aubrey
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