Feature Kit: Artesania Latina’s French Privateer Cutter Le Renard, 1813

Looking for a beautiful ship model subject that’s big enough to display, easy enough to build, won’t takes years to complete, and at an affordable price? Take a look at the French privateer cutter, Le Rendard, 1813. 

Le Renard was a French privateer, launched in 1812, that was the eighth and final privateer owned by Robert Surcouf. She is most well known for her engagement with the British 10-gun schooner HMS Alphea, which resulted in the destruction of the Alphea, when her powder magazine exploded. Renard lost 5 men, with 31 wounded. Her captain lost his arm and later died of his injuries. HMS Alphea was lost with all hands.

Artesania Latina is a popular brand and this is one of the nicest looking kits we’ve seen them produce. This is a nice sized kit, measuring 24.2″ long when complete, and about 22″ tall. Unlike the old version , this kit is really meant to be painted, so emphasis on the product is on scale accuracy rather than the older wood and brass look.

Instructions these days are vastly improved over the old days, where you only received a couple sheets of plans and 6 pages of multi-lingual text. Then new instructions are bound in a 64-page, full-color booklet. Though still multi-lingual, they rely on large numbers of images to show you what to do.

Here’s an example of the instructions, taken right from Artesania Latina’s website. By the way, you can now download all instructions and parts list directly from their site. So, you can view them on your computer, or just download them if you lose yours. Take a look at a sample of the instructions included in the kit’s 64-page instruction booklet.

This is the kind of thing that makes these kits extremely popular here in the U.S. Kits from the other classic European manufacturers are really designed for those with more model building experience. But, even with such experience, these instructions certainly make the job a lot easier.

As for the kit itself, the structural parts are all laser-cut from what looks like birch ply, as well as the parts for the deck structures, such as the companionways, skylights, binnacle box, etc. Of course, you have all the wooden blocks and deadeyes, but you also have the ship’s boat, which makes for a mini-kit in itself, built up from frames and planking.

Metal parts in this kit includes the guns, all cast metal carronades, brass eyebolts, chainplates, brass wire, and cast metaal anchors.  Also, as is more common these days, the kit includes a sheet of photo-etched brass for a detailed transom. Of course, you’ll need to do the painting. But, the etched details will go a long way in helping you with this.

While the instructions are excellent, this model is complex enough that it should be attempted by those with some model building experience, particularly with wooden ship models. But, painting the details well on this model will also require some other model building experience – something that experienced plastic kit builders are probably well prepared for.

Check out Artesania Latina’s unboxing video on our Youtube channel: click here.

Overall, experienced ship modelers will probably find that this is an easy build, and a nice break from more complicated frigates, ships of the line and other square riggers. The pre-sewn sails included in the kit are a nice bonus – something seldom included in larger, more expensive kits. The sails also appear to be well done, though they skip some details, such as the reef points, cringles, and corner reinforcements. That is probably not an issue for most modelers. But, adding the reef points would be one way to upgrade the detail on them. Others may want the challenge of making their own detailed sails, possibly mounting them furled.

At 1:50 scale, this kit is close enough to the popular O-guage railroad model scale, that figures could easily be adapted. It also makes this model large enough to make for a significant display and to be detailed as the builder desires.

All of this comes at a very reasonable price tag of only $139.99 on the Ages of Sail website. This will make a wonderful gift for any ship modeler, including yourself.

Want to round out the purchase? Consider the book Planking Techniques for Model Ship Builders, by author Don Dressel of the Ship Modelers Association of Fullerton, who is also one of our regular customers. This classic ship modeling book will give you help making a perfect hull, and will give you lots of ideas on things you can do to upgrade the detail as well. This is a book that any experience ship modeling will want in his or her library.

Or, if you’re looking for more general ship modeling techniques, you might want a copy of the popular Ship Modeling Simplified, by Frank Mastini. This book will help guide you through every phase of ship modeling.

Looking for some of those cool-looking tools shown in the instructions? You’ll probably find them in one of Artesania Latina’s Tools Sets.

And when you’re done with this model, we hope you’ll send us some photos to post here on our blog. Then, when you’re looking for your next model, you’ll probably be ready to take on Le Hermione, La Fayette’s frigate of 1780, another wonderful kit by Artesania Latina.

Hermione, La Fayette’s frigate of 1780. Another beautiful Artesania Latina kit.

But, make sure you have built up enough ship modeling experience before you do! Watch for a similar write-up of this kit soon. Ω

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