Le Soleil Royal Ship 1-100 by Heller

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Le Soleil Royal Ship 1-100 by Heller

  • Has any attempted this ship? It seems more complicated than the Hellers Victory.



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  • I am building it at the same time as the Victory.   It is roughly as complicated as the Victory.   The stern decoration is more involved, but everything else is comparable in complexity.   The main difference is Soleil Royal is far less well researched kit than the Victory, and contains a lot of elements which shows the designer of the kit not only didn't do too much research on what a 1690s French first rate's proportions would have been, he probably sketched the shape of the ship by eye from a photograph of a model in a Paris museum,  but that he had no real ideal of just what different parts of a large square rigged ship does.
  • I built the Heller Soleil Royal quite a few years ago.  I agree with Chuck Fan; in fact I'll go a little further.  The Heller Victory kit is a scale model.  The Soleil Royal kit isn't. 

    What we're talking about here is, from what I can gather, the work of two generations of kit designers.  Back in the early1970s, when the Soleil Royal was released, Heller was notorious for producing kits that demonstrated terrific artisanship and a near-total ignorance of how real sailing ships are built.  Some of the mistakes in that Soleil Royal kit (e.g., the perfectly flat decks and the sharp points on the belaying pins) are downright funny.  The modeling press (such as it was in those days) acknowledged the beauty and artistry of the "carvings," but lambasted the kit pretty thoroughly in terms of historical accuracy.  The Victory kit seems to have been the work of a completely different group of people.  (I have no idea who the actual individuals in question were in either case; it would be interesting to know how much turnover in personnel Heller actually experienced during the intervening period.)  It does contain some mistakes.  (The biggest - and most inexcusable - one, in my opinion, is the absence of any means of fastening the yards to the masts.  Apparently they're just supposed to hang there.  And some - though not all - of the belaying pins still have sharp points.)  But it's a thoroughly sound basis for a serious scale model.  The Soleil Royal kit is at best marginal in that respect.

    My personal opinion, for what little it's worth, is that the Heller Victory is an excellent kit - a good project for somebody who's got quite a few other sailing ship models under his or her belt, knows how to recognize (and fix) its inadequacies, and is willing and able to shell out a considerable sum on aftermarket parts (blocks, deadeyes, etc.).  But I can't recommend the Soleil Royal to anybody.

    Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.