Jeanne d’Arc (1899)

Completed in September 2012.
Primarily plastic.
1/475th scale.

Hi. As a break from movie reviews and old jets, I thought I'd built a model boat to keep my mind/hands occupied during these steamy dog days of summer.

My subject will be the French Armored Cruiser Jeanne d'Arc, a 11,000 ton, 475 foot long monster of a warship that seems to be nearly completely forgotten. Her prime service years were before WWI and by 1912 she was pretty much relegated to the unglamorous life of a school ship for cadets. While called up to active duty during WWI, she didn't see any action and was back to being a training hull by the end of the war before being decommissioned in 1928. As I tend to go for the more obscure subjects for my art projects, she seems perfect.

What scale? Well, my only available display/storage space is a shelf a hair over a foot long and six inches wide, so it has to fit in there. At 12 inches long, the model will be 1/475th scale then, big enough for some details but small enough not to be a hassle to deal with afterwards. Materials will primarily be plastic sheet cut from some cheap "for sale" signs that I bought at Walmart for a dollar each, plus bits of other stuff as needed. Glues will be plain old Testor's model glue, got a two-pack at K-Mart for four bucks! Paints will be from my existing stash of acrylic craft paints, have to use them up before they go dry. The goal, as with all my "prison art" pieces, is to bring it in as cheaply as humanly possible so I have more money left over for Dorito Tacos from Taco Bell, which are superassyummy.

So here is the Jeanne d'Arc (which is a Frenchy sloshing of "Joan of Ark") in real life. Photos of her are surprisingly hard to find online, and all that I can find are from some distance, meaning that I'll have to rely solely on deck plans for most of this build.

So let's get it going, shall we? I'm not going to post a lot of in-progress photos, mostly because no one actually cares, but I will put up a few of interest.

The ship went together pretty quickly, all things considered, and I only wanted to set it on fire six or seven times. I ended up only using one of the For Sale signs, save the other for later, and used up a fair amount of scrap plastic bits from my junk boxes. I also found use for all sorts of plastic salvaged from ink pens, a broken hairbrush, modeling clay, sewing thread, drinking straws, and broken toys, amongst other things, and I think it turned out ok. As always, my fit and finish on these models is poor, but that's mostly because I try and do them quick and cheap. Here are a few in-progress pics...

I'm going for a classic black-hulled Victorian peacetime color scheme, the usual look for warships of this era. Paints are simple acrylics applied with cheap Walmart brushes, but that works just fine in this small scale. The hull, masts, and funnel caps are Flat Black, the deckhouse sides and railing trims are Sky Gray, funnels are Cinnamon, and the decks are True Burgundy. Lifeboats are brown and white, giving the ship some much-needed color breaks. The decks are not wooden, by the way, but covered with a non-slip linoleum type of substance that was common on turn-of-the-century warships. The sea is blue paint.

And with that she's done. Total time to build was about a eight hours over the weekend, pretty quick. Total cost was about ten bucks, not bad. Here are the final pics of the Jeanne D'Arc...

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