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About mdesaxe

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    Caumont-sur-Durance, France

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  1. This image is a detail from an illustration in my copy of Das Buch von der Deutschen Flotte (Leipzig, 1884). This is the start of my latest project: a model of the Royal Prussian Navy’s ironclad ram Prinz Adalbert. This warship was laid down at Bordeaux by Arman Frères as one of a pair named Cheops and Sphinx, supposedly for the Egyptian government but, in reality, for the Confederate States of America. When the French government discovered the ruse, it insisted that the two ships should be sold to established governments. Sphinx was sold to Denmark, which declined to accept it and
  2. Thank you to everyone for your support. I have found that using the double sided tape on the base (the black foamcore) is important. If it is applied to the underside of the paper it creates ridges whereas if done the way I showed it creates smooth transitions. Also, I use a variety of materials depending upon how high i want the wave crests to be. I make tests after cutting out the recess for the hull by setting the model in it and trying out different 'risers' until I achieve the effect I find most realistic and only then start attaching them to the underside of the paper.
  3. Here is my finished model of the Imperial Russian Navy’s monitor Uragan as commissioned in 1865. It is a paper model built from a 1:250-scale kit for the United States Navy monitor Lehigh designed by the late Magnus Mörck and available as a free download from Models n’Moore (www.modelsnmooore.com). Russia purchased the design from the American government for the US Navy’s first production class of monitors (the Passaic class of which Lehigh was a member) and built ten near clones. I made quite a few changes to model the Russian ship which are detailed in my work in progress for this model. I a
  4. I have fixed Uragan in its sea base and added the final details: mast, jack staff, ensign staff, railings, and flags. The railings were laser-cut paper, the flags were made from tissue paper, and the rest from brass rod. I also scratch built a small local boat to add to the scene. A good friend in Riga sent me information about the local boats. It is sprit rigged and I have depicted it working as a long line fishing boat. I have put more photographs of the finished model in the ‘Ready for Inspection’ section. Thank you to everyone for looking,
  5. Thank you again for following this project. This is how I create the ‘water’ bases my models. I must start by emphasising that the basic method I use for making water bases for my models is not original to me but I have adapted it from a method used and described by Jim Baumann in England. The foundation is using heavy cold pressed watercolour paper for the water surface. My models are to 1:250 scale and I find the papers that give the best results are all-cotton papers advertised as ‘Indian hand-made’ even though some of them actually come from China. The paper weight
  6. Thank you all again for your friendly responses. The tackles to lower the boats themselves also are fine copper wire and punched card discs assembled on another jig. I took the opportunity of reviewing the flaws revealed by my photographs to tidy the boats somewhat. This model is now becoming so delicate that I will move on to making its base to protect it as I add the final details. (I notice that I already have knocked a funnel stay and an awning stanchion out of alignment - easy to fix, I hope.) Thank you again for looking at thi
  7. The davits on the Russian monitors were very different from those on their American equivalents. Davits on Russian ships at this time were not of the radial type but pivoted at the heel near the deck directly outboard with control coming from an inboard tackle. Furthermore, the davits on these monitors were much taller because the Russian designers had the idea that they should carry the boats above the level of the turret top so that the boats and davits would not obstruct the turret guns’ field of fire. I am very dubious about the efficacy of this concept because I think it highly likely th
  8. Thank you all for looking at this project's progress. The boats Magnus Mörck provides for USS Lehigh probably are appropriate for an American monitor but the Russian vessels embarked very different craft. Fortunately, I was able to replace them with the correct boats by taking them from a kit published by Paper Shipwright for the Russian monitor Smerch, an exact contemporary of Uragan but equipped with two Coles pattern turrets instead of the single Ericsson type. The challenge with making small boats from paper is to give them a proper boat-like shape. Often what is pr
  9. Thanks you again for your likes and comments. I had said that the next stage of this project would be to make up and fit the boats and their davits. Fortunately, before I had progressed much with this work, I remembered that I still had to finish working on the details on the turret top. If the boats and davits were in place, they would obstruct this work and also be virtually guaranteed to suffer damage, so I stopped building the boats and davits and turned back to the turret. I first had to carefully remove the ‘rifle proof’ palisade around the turret top because the
  10. Thank you all for your likes and comments. Now that I have completed two of the model projects--1:250 scale Imperial German Navy Monitor Mosel and 1:250 scale Imperial and Royal Navy Danube River monitor Leitha (both in Ready for Inspection)--that I had started before beginning Uragan I feel comfortable returning to it. (You may notice a subject theme now!) I suspect that cowl ventilators must be the bane of their existence for both paper model designers and builders. The overwhelming majority of cowl ventilators have bowl shaped cowls. There are a very few that functio
  11. As you will observe, my wife prevailed, so I finished another almost-complete project before moving forward with Uragan! This is my just completed model of the Imperial and Royal Navy’s Danube River monitor Leitha. Leitha was one of a pair of river monitors (the other was Maros) commissioned in 1872. After almost fifty years of front-line service conducting operations in most of Austria’s wars in the period (and participating in an attempted revolution), Leitha was ‘sold commercial’ (I think this is the correct English expression) and became an elevator gravel barge f
  12. Thanks again to all of you for your kind comments and likes. All members of the extended monitor family were wet ships. Low freeboard was a central element of Ericsson's design concept for the type. If anything, these German river monitors had more freeboard than many of their siblings, at least amidships at the casemate. I also imagine that people going for a jaunt might well wish to avoid becoming wet, especially considering the fashions of the time--wet long skirts would become very uncomfortable very quickly. Maurice
  13. Thank you all for the nice replies and likes! These monitors were designed with flooding tanks to sink them in action so that only part of the casemate was above water. I do not know if this was done ever except maybe during acceptance trials. Nevertheless, the design freeboard (with the tanks empty) was only about 50cm fore and aft. This idea is not original to me. I adapted it from the process used by a very fine miniature ship model builder in England, Jim Baumann. My method differs in details but broadly follows his idea. Thanks again.
  14. This is my just completed model of the Imperial German Navy’s river monitor Mosel. Mosel and a sister, Rhein, were designed and ordered to strengthen the river border defences of the new German Empire against France after the Franco-Prussian War. They entered service in 1874 but operated actively only for about two years and were disposed of within ten years. They were not very successful; they even were reputed to have considerable difficulty in making any headway upstream against the current at certain times of the year when the rivers were full.
  15. This brings up an interesting point about the differences between the dimensions of Glorious, Courageous and Furious. The former pair had a beam of 81 feet, the last a beam of 88 feet. Unfortunately, manufacturers of waterline kits of Furious have taken this to mean that the hull should be a scale 7 feet wider. In fact, all three had the same beam at deck level but Furious had deeper bulges, which is invisible unless one builds a full hull model. Maurice
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