Jump to content
Game-Labs Forum

French frigate Aréthuse (1792) - 3D Model


Recommended Posts


Not sure if there is anywhere specific to post work on 3D models but here goes.

I've been playing Naval Action for a little bit now and felt it was time to try and get back into 3D modelling after an 8 year break. The first plan I found in these forums was the French Frigate Arethuse so decided to give that a go to ease myself back in. Not sure what model resolution the game takes (or if it would ever be worthy) but this 'test' run will probably be of average resolution. Should be an interesting learning curve using Blender (after coming from Maya).


Early start. The first 2 were just using the picture plans as is. I had no idea how the rear was made so after this start had a look at a load of reference material and website where people were building models.

Pictures 3, 4, and 5 show progress after taking the plans and creating vertical reference image slices along the hull. I was surprisingly close in shape for most of it but was quite out at the front.

Oh and ignore the gun holes in the hull, they will be filled in for now - I just wondered how it might look so far

More progress when I get the time :)







Edited by T1ckL35
changing images to smaller jpgs to recover posting space
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One suggestion: don't cut gun ports till you finish the entire hull shell.

When hull is done, place the boxes (actually the copy of one box with exact width and length) along the sides where the gun ports should be on your blueprint and rotate every box to be perpendicular to the hull sides. Do the boolean operation (subtraction) or cut holes manually. When its done every gun port will be the same width and length. So it will looks accurate and nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a bad start :)

Hull shape on the second model looks pretty good, could use some cleaning up of the meshflow but getting there. You can afford to go almost as high resolution as you like on the base hull mesh, well worth the result and makes up only a few percent of the finished ship's polycount.

Here are some much more detailed plans for the Arethuse, should help with the stern and other details.


A link to more plans including upper deck details.


Best of luck with building this ship, looking forward to seeing your progress :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, nice to see someone building ships.

I am using Blender to do ships as well and after longlong progress and experience processes I feel capable to give you some thoughts and helps.


For one you should start by only doing the hullshape. No keel, no gunports no nothing. purely the hull. Begin by building it up to the waterline. Use a lot more subdivisions and finally: use the "smooth shading modifier" I made a screenshot where to find and how to adjust it. You get that menue by pressing "ctrl + f". The red box on the right is the angle at which the adges are appear hard again. Try to get that angle as low as possible but as high as you need. Once you understand that mod you will see very good progress. Make sure you get a nice flow for the hull. Get the best plans you can possibly have.

This is a hull I started from scratch yesterday (a big big frigate):

hull modeling.jpg

If you have questions, feel free to ask them. I am also willing to jump on teamspeak for a Q&A session.(but no skype! thats my privacy)


I hope you stay on it and make good progress!

Always good to see a new "3D member" in the community ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To maybe add to the great tip Bungee gave above;

Don't hesitate to use a few more vertical lines in your model. Over time i have noticed that the more vertical (and horizontal to an extend) lines you use, the easier it gets for you to create the shape you want. This is especially goes for the bow and stern of a ship. It helps you to capture the natural flow of the wood.




I have often come to regret a project when realizing that my hull wasn't detailed enough for what i was trying to make.


I hope this tip will help you a bit :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had to redo a whole lot of the hull I made yesterday. But now it looks a lot more like an actual ship hull:

heavy frigate_hull.jpg

The hull is definately not finished but about 90% ready for further work. You might notice there are loads of frames used. Which are going to get reduced in the mid-front and mid-stern section.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the friendly welcome guys and the great advice - it is much appreciated :)

Good call on using a box for the gun ports cgmax  - it was just a quick test to see if it was starting to look right but I'll use that method when I get there 

Thanks for the plans Alex, they are far more detailed than the low res ones I started with. Once I've sliced those it should help tie down the inner hull shape better 

Cheers for the blender tips bungeelemming and steelsandwich. I keep having to hit the docs and search online for how to do things in blender that I could do in no time in Maya so you are helping greatly :)

Nice hulls too! and showing some great lines guys I prefer to keep things lower res but will ramp it up a bit more when the shape is nailed.

I'd also forgotten how addictive the modelling, learning how things were made and trawling the Internet for reference material can be




  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doesn't that look much better already? :)


Near the bulwarks of the quarterdeck you had an ngon (5-sides or more poly). Try to prevent these to be present in your model.


As seen on the right side, try you can cut the plain back to the rear vertical line as shown above, or you can cut it towards the vertical line to the front.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good spot steelsandwich, I was concentrating more on the lower area and missed that one.

It does feel a lot better now. What do you usually move onto next? I was thinking of adding the outer layer (planking thickness) and then starting to add the deck layers in but any advice on the preferred/most straightforward order/approach from experience would be appreciated :)


Edited by T1ckL35
Spelling mistake
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mind you, the other guys that have replied here are likely much more experienced and might do stuff differently, but i do tend to finish the hull first, completely. For me this also means adding the keel to the model. When that is done, and you are quite certain no major adjustments need to be made, you can start cutting the gunports.


As max said, using boolean you can easily and correctly cut the gunports.



Next up i would start on adding the decks in, and work on the decks per level until you reach the top. You can do all the decks first and add detail later, but i personally found that quite a hassle.






As you can see, this one is far from done as well, yet its slowly coming together. :)

I think this will keep you occupied for a few days^^

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheers SteelSandwich - it's good to know how people are tackling the different stages of the ship. That one is coming along very nicely :)

Not too much added apart from a bit more tidying up, cutting the rear off (in preparation for the actual decorative rear) and adding the gunports. I don't think this will be a super polished first try but it will help me get into blender and help me to understand hull shapes better.

One blender question is - how do you turn off the rear facing geometry in these views. Now I've added the planking thickness it displays both sides and can look a bit confusing.



Link to comment
Share on other sites



As you can see, the poopdeck is a good example of the curvature of the deck.

In regarda to the hullthickness, mind you that its likely not as thick over the entire height

. Not sure how well you can see it, but the lower gundeck has the thickest hull, slightly thinner is the upper, and then it thins out gently towards the bulwarks.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good points about the hull thickness, at the minute there is no real difference so I'll sort that out.

I switched internet providers at the beginning of the week and it has been up and down lots hence the lack of updates. It *seems* to be staying on tonight so far... so I can post some updates with the camber and the start to the front (which I will need lots of reference for as it looks a bit confusing) :)






Edited by T1ckL35
adding image
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, if you look at the deck plans the hull lines are supposed to sweep cleanly to the bow. large.jpg

Arethuse seems to have quite an unusual bow/head, higher than most french frigates and quite different in shape. From the lack of vertical supports for the headrails I'm wondering if this a fully planked up bow?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes you are right, I revisited the plans and there seems to be a little discrepancy between the vertical hull sllices at the front and the curved top view. I must have offset the vertical plans and this along with too low a mesh has made it look strange. I've started revisiting that section by adding some more edge loops to see if I can fix it

I'm not sure of some of those terms that you have used but will have a look online and see :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Been trying to work out how Arethuse's bow looks. Quite different from usual french style, not least because the deck plans make it look like the platform of the head is at the same level as the weather deck. Seems to have a rail running from deckheight and attaching to the eagles wings that could be supporting the platform.

Most french frigates would look something like this...


From plans though, Arethuse's bow might be much higher and completely planked up, something like this.


Alternatively, might have the platform on the middle rail, a more conventional bow although I'm not sure what the upper rail is for then...


Anyway, hope this helps visualize what the bow looks like, probably one of the hardest parts to get right when you start building ships ;)


Edited by Alex Connor
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Alex - that is very informative as to how the bow area sits. I've had a look back at the plans and from what I can gather it appears to be a combination of the 1st and 3rd pictures you drew.

I believe that there is a vertical section of wood across (abeam? abrest?) of the wooden protrusions that the anchors hang from. I *think* it starts at the point that those wooden anchor beams exit the side of the ship (not before and not after). I found a couple of examples of what I mean last night but am not sure if I bookmarked them or not.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...