French Transport “La Renommée”


When I wrote my original post about the capture of HMS Hazard in Montrose Harbour in November 1745, I understood that the French ship involved was the 26 gun French Frigate “La Renommée”, which is what Christopher Duffy said on page 527 of his “Fight for a Throne”.

1 - La Renommee Tranport at Montrose

However, I have since had an online conversation with David Stockman, the author of the excellent (and free) PDF booklet on that famous French Frigate.   He kindly shared the original French report of the action at Montrose with me, which makes it clear that the vessel involved was a much smaller 12 gun chartered French merchant transport, also of that same name.  I therefore amended my original post and also needed a model for that merchant vessel.

I decided to modify my model of a Merchant Brig, which I had made earlier from a SMER model of the pirate ship “Black Falcon”.  I had originally made this without guns, but now cut out gunports and added three guns to each side.  My logic for that was that I count crew, not guns, when calculating the effect of fire, so my normal two man crew for three guns would give 6 per side which would be correct.  I could not have fitted more guns anyway, due to the size of my hold grating.

2 - Merchant Brig converted to have guns

The French text kindly provided by David Stockman describes the guns as 3 or 4 pounders, so I converted these from the original guns provided with this Brig.

3 - Naval Guns

For comparison, the largest gun above is from a Hät Napoleonic British gun crew, which I would use as 9 or 12 pounders. The next gun is a converted SMER Black Falcon gun on a scratch built carriage, which I used on the HMS Vulture/HMS Hazard model to represent 6 pounders.  The next gun is similar, but with the gun tube (barrel) slightly shortened and on a smaller scratch built carriage to represent a 3 or 4 pounder, which I have now used on this “La Renommée” transport model.  The last gun is the original SMER gun from the “Black Falcon” model.

As a chartered French merchantman, I decided to use similar figures for the transport “La Renommée” as I had for my British Merchant Brig, but modified to give them a French look.

4 - Captain Conversion

The Captain was converted from a Strelets Swedish Infantryman of Charles XII.  I removed his halberd but left his sword, since they would have known they were sailing into enemy waters.


5 - Helmsman conversion


The helmsman was converted from a Hät Napoleonic British sailor, but with a jacket and tricorne (as frequently worn by French sailors) welded on.




La Renommée was carrying a cargo of French siege artillery for the Jacobites and also 150 men of the Franco-Scottish Regiment Royal Ecossais.

6 - Royal Ecossais conversion

I modelled two of that Regiment in their original 1st Battalion uniform, as opposed to the version used by their 2nd Battalion in Scotland.  They are converted from Strelets infantry of Charles XII, by changing the position of the musket and converting the hat to a tricorne.


Here are the painted Quarterdeck figures of Captain, Helmsman and two Royal Ecossais.

7 - Quarterdeck crew

8 - Mate conversion


I modelled a Mate, to supervise the mast and gun crews, from a Strelets infantryman of Charles XII.  I removed his musket and sword, repositioned his left arm and swapped his grenadier mitre for a tricorne.  I will use the mitre for future grenadier conversions.


9 - Mast crew conversion


The mast crewmen are converted from Hät Napoleonic British sailors, with the axe removed as though they were pulling on ropes.  I have added jackets or waistcoats and tricornes.




10 - Gun crew conversion


The gun crewmen are also converted from Hät Napoleonic British sailors, with added jackets or waistcoats and tricornes.




Here are the rest of the completed crew, Mate, four mast crewmen (two per mast) and three gunners.  I have painted these merchant crewmen in drab trousers, as opposed to striped ones, to distinguish them from French warship crews.

11 - Mast & Gun crews

The guns really need six gunners, but I have assumed that a merchant ship was primarily crewed for sailing so would have less gun crews than a warship.  In action these gunners could be temporarily supplemented by two mast crewmen and one Royal Ecossais soldier (French marines and infantry on ships frequently helped to crew guns).  I would assume that reducing the mast crews to one man per mast would slow the ability of the vessel to manoeuvre, so would build that into any wargames rules.  That is the sort of trade-off decision which I like in wargames: firepower v manoeuvrability.

12 - French Merchant Flag.jpg


I modelled a French merchant ship ensign as a blue flag with a white cross, as several online sources give.

The flagpole is a cut down mast of a Zvezda Medieval Lifeboat.  I have eight  of these to use as Royal Navy ship’s boats, for amphibious operations, but did not need the masts as I am using them as rowing boats.  It fits into a tube on the stern of any of my model ships.


Here is the completed French transport “La Renommée”.

13 - La Renommee transport

Having given this Merchant Brig guns, I now need to increase the size of my original Scottish crew for use in the River Forth action in January 1746.

After that project I will model the Royal Navy 24 gun Frigate HMS Sheerness, which chased “Le Prince Charles” (the captured HMS Hazard) into the Kyle of Tongue in March 1746.


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