Friday 9 June 2023

All at Sea - Bob's French Third Rates of Renown & Jack's British Third Rates of Renown

The naval arms race within the Devon Wargames Group continues apace as both Bob's French and Jack's British fleets are joined by three third rates of renown that floated out of the riggers yards this week, whilst the dockyard is geared up for several new projects to fill some gaps in my own line-ups as I get to grips with some of Warlord Games' newer creations that were purchased at the end of 2022; together with a dive into the dark arts of 3D printing and what it has to offer courtesy of my mate Jason, the Welsh Wargamer in Devon, see list of linked blogs in the right hand column, who kindly printed some new additions for some planned future games.

It was back in January 2022 that I set out to build collections for Bob and Jack, and if you haven't see these models coming together then I've linked the posts covering the build of these two collections below;

With a slight four month pause whilst I was away on my travels, work recommenced on my return in February this year with Bob's British Third-Rates of Renown and Jack's three generic third-rates done in British French and Spanish colours, link below;

Now another batch of six third rates join the respective fleets with Bob's French Third-Rates of Renown and Jack's British ones, seen below.

Formidable 80-guns

Argonaute 74-guns

Indomptable 80-guns

Jack’s collection are also joined by three very famous British third-rates.

Bellerophon 74-guns

Revenge 74-guns

Tonnant 80-guns

Finally I still have the Spanish box set to complete for Jack, but have decided to work on that in between a few models needed to complete my own collection and to provide a bit of novelty in my work with some of the more recent models released by Warlord, most of which I purchased just before I went away last year.

So below from left to right we have three of the 50-gun 4th-rate models, two of which will be British and one to join my Dutch Camperdown fleet.

In the centre front we have the British Ardent Class 64-gun Razee which will become my new HMS Indefatigable and a more suitable model for Sir Edward Pellew to do battle with in several new scenarios I plan to play test.

Behind Indefatigable is the 74-gun razee which will be an interpretation of HMS Majestic that fought as a 74-gun ship at the Battle of the Nile but in 1813 in response to the American super-frigate threat was razeed into a fast sailing 58-gun 4th-rate frigate with a gundeck of 28 x 32-pdrs and an upper-gundeck of 28 x 42-pdr carronades which should be a more than a fair-fight for Cousin Jonathan.

Finally at the back, and with an upcoming Battle of Trafalgar game not far off, I wanted to have ready to include Warlord's new model of Nelson's favourite ship, Agamemnon 64-guns.

On the extreme right and below I also have another model being worked up with my Trafalgar game in mind and brought vividly to life in Carlos Parilla Penegos' painting, namely the Spanish first-rate Santa Anna, seen here ready for priming and with a test-fit of the mast following a bit of work with the mini-drill.

The Santa-Anna was a peculiar first rate and I know the Spanish first-rate I built originally didn't really capture the look of this particular ship, but this new model will look much better and I am really looking forward to the build and paint.

The Warlord Santa Anna kit takes shape prior to getting her prime and paint job.

The three illustrations below capture the look of my razees and Agamemnon and provide much inspiration for these three important British ships to be added to the collection.

HMS Indefatigable, Sir Edward Pellew's famous ship - Derek Gardner

HMS Agamemnon 64-guns, Nelson's favourite - Geoff Hunt

A model of the 74-gun razee, Majestic 56-guns, with her formidable array of 32-pdr long guns and 42-pdr carronades.

The Agamemnon was a very easy build and with her plastic mast set will look fab when painted and rigged.

Equally the two razees will look great when finished with their plastic masts but require a bit more work constructing with obtrusive gaps, particularly around the metal bows that do need filling.

Close up of the razees and Agamemnon at the back

The HMS Romney and Dutch ship Delft provide the inspiration to get working on my three 4th-rates, which make an important addition to the Warlord's Black Seas range of models and fills a gap for another group of scenarios and my planned Camperdown game.

H.M.S. Romney 50-guns, capturing the French 44-gun Sybille and three merchantmen in the roads off Mykonos, Greece, 17th June, 1794

The Dutch 56-gun 4th-rate Delft, seen here battling away with HMS Monmouth will feature as one of my models

These models come with three different figureheads that again need filler to finish them off but are altogether very nice kits which will be complete with the plastic mast and card sail set from the plastic generic frigate.

Finally I have other gaps in my collection that I have a feeling only 3D printing is likely to be able to fill and so last week I met up with my pal Jason who kindly printed out some gunboats and other assorted small craft, plus some Danish, Copenhagen style floating gun-batteries whilst also introducing me to his printer and the dark arts of making these models.

The Gunboat War is a conflict I'm interested in playing with Danish gunboats attacking becalmed British escorts and their merchantmen in the approaches to the Baltic.

Likewise I reckon Nelson's other major battle success alongside the Nile and Trafalgar is Copenhagen which requires some careful thought to bring to the table successfully and the batteries below are part of that plan.

So without an end of year review to oversee the planning and work this year, I had to do a bit of preparation to structure my work for this year on the flight back from down-under this February, and there is quite a bit of stuff that I intend to get on with before now and the end of this year, with a bit of a hint here as to what you might see in future months here on JJ's as the fun continues.

Carolyn and I spent a very enjoyable evening out having dinner with a friend, down from London, the other evening and on our walk home happened to look up and see this chap looking down from above.

A Tawney Owl is quite a rare bird to see in the wild, being a nocturnal creature, and, despite hearing them often at night, have never seen one until now, with the summer evenings being longer and more daylight to be able to catch a glimpse of this beautiful creature.

With all the exotic birds pictured here on the blog on our recent trip down under it's nice to have the 'home-team' represented with such an unusual spot.

As I usually say - more anon



  1. Your ships are spectacular! Adding a bit of history and model building background adds that special touch.

    1. Hi William,
      Thank you, that's very kind and glad you are enjoying the blog.


  2. I agree with William, your ships are always amazing. Games with the gunboats sound like they will be interesting, looking forwards to that!

    In a side note, my daughter and I just spent a week in London as well as up east of Doncaster (visiting TWWs own editor Mike and family) and we had very close and and friendly encounters with red foxes in both places. Not only that, but we also saw an unidentified owl in the daylight that had been chasing small parrots (I believe they were Monk Parrots) right outside Kew gardens! Many onlookers were shocked by the action, and now I know how rare owls are in English urban environments. We are used to them all around our own house, having 3 different species nesting in our and our neighbors yards, but it was delightful to be able to share such a rare experience with the Londoner locals.

    1. Hi Darby,
      Thank you and yes I think managing to coordinate groups of gunboats to attack small warships like brigs, sloops and even armed merchants could prove interesting, with a need to keep an eye on escape routes should the wind suddenly pick up, and as well as the Danes I plan a Spanish contingent with the First Battle of Algeciras 1801 in mind.

      Great to hear your own owl, fox and parrot experience down in the 'Smoke'. Taking an interest in the wildlife and particularly birds makes getting out and about in town and country so much more of an interesting adventure and I find it combines well with visiting places with other aspects of interest that impact on the hobby.