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last revised 14/04/12

French 60-gun Frigate LA BELLE POULE (1834)

• A new modelling project under development •

History and context (from Wikipedia)

LA BELLE POULE was a 60-gun frigate of the French Navy, famous for bringing the remains of Napoléon from Saint Helena back to France. Although construction was started in 1828, the Belle-Poule was launched only in 1834. She was one of the first ships to be built in a covered shipyard, which allowed the builders to delay construction while the political and financial circumstances were not favourable. Her design was inspired by the USS Constitution cruiser class. She was commissioned in July 1835, and displayed very good sailing properties.

On 1 August 1839, under command of the Prince of Joinville, third son of King Louis-Philippe, she left Cherbourg to join the Eastern fleet of Admiral Lalande. She was back in Toulon on 21 December 1839. On 27 July 1840, she set sail with special equipment for Saint Helena to bring back the remains of Napoleon. She had been painted black for the occasion. On September 30, she arrived back in Cherbourg, where, on 8 December, the Emperor's remains were transferred to the steamship NORMANDIE. The NORMANDIE transported the remains to Le Havre and up the Seine to Rouen, for further transport to Paris.

In 1841,
LA BELLE POULE cruised along the Canadian coast, landing in Halifax, and visited New York, where the Prince of Joinville visited the President of the USA. LA BELLE POULE was back in Toulon on 14 July 1842. In 1844, Joinville, then vice-admiral, was sent to Morocco to support the action of General Thomas Robert Bugeaud in Algeria, with the Suffren, the Jemmapes, the Triton, and the frigate LA BELLE POULE. Tanger came under attack on August 6, and Mogador was taken on August 15. Afterwards, LA BELLE POULE cruised the Indian Ocean, where a cyclone left her with serious damage. She was repaired in Sainte-Marie de Madagascar, and returned to Brest. She took part in the Crimean War, mostly as a transport; she stayed in the East until August 1856, and sailed back to Toulon on September 1. In 1859, she was used to transport ammunition, and was decommissioned on 19 March 1861. She was still used to store gunpowder until 1888.

Main Data
Displacement: 2500 t
Length: 54 m
Beam: 14.10 m
Draught: 3.80 m
Complement: 300
32 30-pounders
4 80-pounders
24 30-pounder carronades

The Dockyard-Model in the Musèe de la Marine, Palais Chaillot, Paris 

The Project

The idea is to use the plastic kit produced by Heller to re-create the above dockyard model in a 1/200 scale, but the hull only, without the rigging. However, the kit has a number of shortcomings, as common with plastic kits. Very noticeable are the misguided efforts by the mouldmakers to put pronounced wood-grain on most hull surfaces. Neither on the original nor on the dockyard model one would be able to see such coarse grain. Another point is the coppering that looks more like a slated roof than the slick protective sheathing of both the prototype and the dockyard model. In addition, the copper is absent from the rudder, where again the wood-grain re-appears. There are probably many more 'faults'.

In summary, it has not yet been decided, whether the project will really go ahead.


AMIS DES MUSÉES DE LA MARINE (1953): La Belle Poule. Frégate de 1er Rang de 60 Bouches a Feu. 1834.- Monography and plan set: Paris (Amis des Musèes de la Marine).

BOUDRIOT, J., BERTI, H. (1992): La Frégate. Marine de France 1650-1850. Historique des frégates dans la Marine Française.- 350 p., Nice (Editions Ancre).

CASES, E.B. DE LA (1841): Journal écrite à bord del frégate LA BELLE POULE.- p., Paris (H.L. Delloye).

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Kieferorthopädin München
Kieferorthopädin München

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