I began writing about OcCre’s model kit of the Spanish 74-gun ship of the line Montañes a few months back, when I wrote about ordering one of several available “part kits” put out by the company. The others being the San Ildefonso, the Nuestra Señora del Pilar, and the Santisima Trinidad. I chose the Montañes because I like the type of ship, the size of the model, and the details of this particular kit the best.
I purchased the first of six Packs, as OcCre calls them, and plan on buying them as needed for the build. However, building from the packs is really no different in terms of materials, fittings, and instructions, as the full kit. You just don’t have to pay for it all at once, though it ends up costing you more, mostly due to the ship charges.
I wrote about the whole part kit thing already, and posted photos of the contents and all, so I won’t go into too much of that here. If you’re interested in knowing more about that aspect, you can find the old post here: An OcCre Part Kit Order
I will repeat here, some of the background on the Montañes, since it’s very relevant here and I found it to be quite interesting.
The Montañes is, according to some, a San Ildefonso class ship. However, according to other sources, the ship was the lead ship of a class of four ships, the last class of 74’s built by the Spanish. But, the design was based on the very successful San Ildefonso class. The Montañes was launched in 1794 at the Ferrol shipyards in northwestern Spain.
It was said that the construction of the ship was paid for by the people of Cantabria, a region in northern Spain that includes the Cantabrian Mountains, one of the main ranges of mountains in Spain, which is where the name Montañes comes from, meaning “Highlander”.
She was considered a fast ship for her type. In 1795, she was pursued by a group of French ships included 8 ship of the line and a pair of frigates, but her superior speed allowed her to get under the protection of short batteries, forcing the French to break off.
In 1805, she was one of the ships that fought the British at the Battle of Trafalgar. Though her captain and second in command were both killed, along with 20 crew, she survived the battle and was able to escape. The other three ships of her class were also at Trafalgar, but were all severely damaged and two were captured by the British. However, all three were lost in the major storm that hit shortly after the battle ended.
For those who want to dig up more information on the ship, there’s a very nice looking naval history site in Spanish. It appears to includes many interesting articles, including this one discussing the interior of a 74-gun ship of the line, specifically the Montañes.
The article includes many drawings of the Montañes that are apparently from the Madrid Naval Museum.
There’s a lot more where this came from. You can check it out on the website Todo A Babor, which I believe translates to something like the command “Hard to Port”. Todo A Babor
The OcCre Kit
OcCre’s kit a single-layered plank-on-bulkhead kit in 1:70 scale. This makes her a big model at just over 49″ long and nearly 3 feet tall. This is BIG model and I have no idea where I’m going to put it when I’m done. Fortunately, that’s a long ways off.
In fact, I should point out that my plan for this project is just one that I can work on in the background, in between other, smaller projects. I’m already resigned to the fact that this model will be years in the making. But, in order to keep from getting too bogged down, I’m planning to try to keep in check my penchant for wanting to make upgrades and modifications. Only thing is that I’m not sure how successful at that.
Already, I’ve decided that many of the OcCre kits are flawed in that the decks are made very flat. That is, they have an unnatural lack of deck camber – that rounded quality that causes water to roll off and out the scuppers rather than just pool on deck. This is something that I find very puzzling about the OcCre kit designers. Why can’t they make their kits with deck camber. Is it that difficult to do? Certainly, it doesn’t usually make kits any harder to build. So, deck camber is one thing that I’ve figured is something I should be able to fix without too much trouble.
Unfortunately, the OcCre kits are built with a fully planked gun deck, but with dummy cannon in most of the gun ports. This has me thinking that it shouldn’t be too hard to just add the full complement of cannons and carriages on the gun deck. However, the kit design does seem to get in the way a bit again. In looking at the instructions and parts, it’s clear that the bulkheads were designed without any thought given to the location of the gun ports.
Again, I find this rather odd, as it shouldn’t be that difficult to do. In fact, I’m looking at Mantua/Panart’s San Felipe, another big Spanish ship of the line kit, and I’ve noted that all of the bulkheads on that kit are positioned so that they run between gun ports. Montañes has a few gun port where the bulkhead runs right through the middle of it. These bulkheads had to be designed with a notch in them to accommodate the backing for the dummy cannon barrels.
Because of this, it might be a problem to try to populate the gun deck with the full complement of full cannons and carriages. So, I’m hoping I’ll be able to resist the temptation to spend a lot of time “fixing” this issues, and to just build the kit as designed. So, for now, I’ll put those ideas out of mind. Or, at least, most of those ideas.
Building the Model
I think I’ve written enough here for one post. I’ll start discussing the build in my next post. Now, I have warned that this is going to be a very casual build, and build log posts will probably be far apart. But, I’ve alreay made enough progress to write the next post, so it may happen very soon.