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Posts posted by KHauptfuehrer

  1. I ordered another casting of the pinnace from Bluejacket in the hopes that the deviating inboard gunwale strake described above was an anomaly.  As always, I found the folks at Bluejacket to be both accessible and friendly.  I appreciated the fact that they made several castings to select the best one for me.

    934518138_BJPINNACENEW1S.thumb.JPG.03aaf111d459187fae03db85e36bffc5.JPGUnfortunately, as you can see, the gunwale strake deviates up and down as before.  This would not be a problem if the strake was 1/32" wide as it is in the plan.  However, the width of the strake (1/8") puts its bottom edge at the level that the thwarts are to be installed.  If the plan is to be followed,  these thwarts must therefore butt up against the bottom of the gunwale strake.  Consequently, the deviation seriously interferes with the proper installation of the thwarts.


    I therefore ordered a boat shell casting of comparable size from Caldercraft.

    72329483_CALDERCRAFTPINNACE1S.thumb.JPG.2d8b7c31c29a1aaef300097a9eb21d69.JPGAs you can see, this is a clean cast.  No filing, filling, shaping, or sanding needed here.  The obvious disadvantage is that now I will have to do the ribs, keelson, stemson, and sternpost knee myself.   Also, the boat is cast to a different scale, and is 1/8" too short, so, if I use it, my Constitution will have a 35' pinnace instead of a 36' pinnace.  Comparing the shape of each casting with the plans, I see that neither casting matches the plan exactly, but I think that the Caldercraft is a bit closer.  It looks like I will have a bit more room to install the foot waling strakes to get the proper number. 


    The obvious disadvantage is that I will have to do the rib, keelson, stemson, and sternpost myself if I use the Caldercraft.  If I continue with my modeling, I will need to acquire these skills at some point anyway, so I might as well have a go at it.  The plan is to do these details and see which pinnace looks the best.  Accordingly, I ordered .020" by .030" by 14" styrene strips from Evergreen scale models.  Here goes...


    I am almost done with the ribs.  I will post the results when I complete them.

  2. I have only recently realized that the three smaller boats that I have been working on are not whaleboats.  They are captain's gigs.  Although both types of boats are double ended, they are shaped differently, and whale boats do not have splash strakes fore and aft as the gigs do.  The  planking pattern of the stern benches and the bow decking are also different.  The pattern I have reproduced here are for whale boats.  Too late to change one of them to the gig configuration now.  Oh well... Also, whale boats have a bent sternpost essentially identical to the stem, and gigs have a straight stern post.  The cast gigs supplied by Bluejacket most closely resemble gigs, but their stern posts are only mostly straight.


    1209162777_BOATSTERNS.thumb.jpg.8ffe95e1a856ad4222e40068b7769c5f.jpgAnd so the question arises - which type of rudder to use: the one pictured above for a straight stern post, or a paddle shaped one suitable for a bent stern post?  I opted for the design pictured above which is scanned from the Marquardt, imported into Corel Draw, and sized to scale, then printed out on card stock to make a template.  This design is to be used for all four boats. Mounting the rudders on the boats is problematic, because their stern posts are "neither fish nor fowl".  Fortunately, it was customary to stow the rudders inside the boats, so this is what I will do.  

    Four rudders were cut out of 1/64" birch plywood, and notched to accommodate the pintles.  1/16" lengths of .020 brass rod were cut for pins and glued to the forward edges of the rudders so that 1/32" would protrude downward into the notch.  Pintle straps were made from brochure paper which had been printed black on the computer, then coated with satin varnish.  The rudder post was cut into sections and a piece of card stock painted black and cut into 1/16" strips glued to either side so that a 1/32" gap would be created into which the tiller would be inserted.  I wanted to make them so that I can either insert the tiller(s) into the rudders, or display them side by side.  The tillers were made form 1/32" x 1/32" basswood stock rounded at one end by twirling it with one hand and  holding the other end against sandpaper with the other hand.





  3. I tried the decals, and I prefer the method shown above.  The decal darkened the items on which it was applied slightly making a color match difficult.  With several trials and errors, I did manage to match the color of the printed design to the painted wood pretty well.

    The nice thing about the whale boat castings is that the raised floor made it easy to install thwart stanchions.  Just drill the hole, insert brass rod, and paint.


    1775309296_WHALEBOATCONSTR_5B.thumb.JPG.454f92b2c868190db4849c796a6b7e5b.JPGGetting the thwarts done was more challenging.  I used 3/32" by .020" planking stock from Bluejacket.



    Here is another shot which shows the thwart stanchions.



  4. While waiting for the decal supplies to arrive from Micromark, I have gone ahead with the plan to print out the design on brochure paper, then glue it onto a 1/64" birch plywood backing to see if I could implement the plan effectively.  I made up the stern sheet foot waling, the stern sheet bench, and the breast decking and placed them into the boat casting.



    I will do the same when I get the decal supplies to see which looks the best.  Incidentally, I did try to cut up a stern bench into planks, paint them, blacken the edges, then glue them back together onto a plywood backing, to see if I could pull it off at this scale.  I couldn't.  Perhaps, as my skills improve, I will be able to do that sometime in the future.  Now to do the thwarts...



  5. Illustrated here is my scheme for getting the detail I want for the stern foot waling, the stern bench, and the breast decking.  Scans of the plans from the instruction manual, and a photo of the boat are imported into Corel Draw and sized appropriately.  Using drawing tools, the lines in the plans are duplicated (1), then transferred to the photo (2) for  adjustments if needed.  That done, I transfer the drawing onto a background colored to match MS Bulwarks Brown (3).  This is printed out on brochure paper.  The plan is to cut them out and glue them to 1/64" birch plywood.  I have also ordered a decal making kit from Micromark.  The designs would be printed out on the decal sheet, which would be applied to the plywood which has been painted with MS Bulwarks brown.  Let's see which looks better.



  6. Work on the whale boats continues.  Interior of the boat is painted.  Unfortunately this process reveals a plethora of little anomalies and irregularities in the casting process which I have neither the tools nor the skills to smooth out.  I have done some cleaning up with the metal castings, but resin is a different animal altogether.  The exterior will be painted just before installation on the ship.  Two of the boats will be white, and one green as is currently the case on Constitution.



  7. Thanks so much, Jim, for your kind words.  I left them out on the gun deck because I could not find space for them because of the knee details, and because of the manner in which I rigged the guns.  Nor did I see space for them on the spar deck because of the pinrails, and, again, because of the gun rigging.   I could not imagine fitting them under the pinrails, and still having room to belay the lines.  Also, because I am a novice, I shied away from tackling that challenge.  My hat is off to you if you pull that off.   I saw Lawrence Arnot's model when I visited the Constitution museum.  He glued them directly onto the deck.  I am following your build with great interest to see how you deal with the unique challenges posed by this kit.  I see you have completed the coppering.  It is excellent!

  8. The boats provided by Bluejacket are resin castings.  Details include inner bulwark molding, ribs, stemson, keelson, and sternson knee.  As far as I know, Bluejacket is the only company that does this.  It save a whole lot of time.  The builder makes open waling, stern foot waling, breast foot waling, stern bench, and breast decking, thwarts and their knees, and rudder from scratch.



    The whale boat castings are different in that they have a raised flooring.  This means that the thwarts, stern bench, and breast deck must be located closer to the top of the gunwales than is the case with the real boats.  I do not see how I can include thwart knees.




    The boats provided in the kit originally were full of holes, presumably caused by bubbles.  Bluejacket graciously agreed to replace them.  I subsequently saw a notification on their website that it will be up to be builder to fill in holes with putty.  The whaleboat castings are great, but the pinnace was severely misshapen upon arrival.  I ran it under hot water and was able to bend it back to a reasonable shape.  I decided to attempt completion of the interior details.  The thickness of the inner components of the real boat is no more than an inch.  1/64"  plywood is thinnest wood stock I know of which, at this scale translates to 1 1/2" so some of these elements are made of 67 lb card stock, printed in the right color by a laser printer, and sprayed with fixative.  Such is the case for the open foot waling of the pinnace.




    To get the details of the stern and breast foot waling, the boat plans in the instructions, which are detailed, but not to scale, were imported into Corel Draw and sized to match the casting.  Lines were drawn over the ones in the plans, then separated as a unit from the plans and superimposed over a rectangle filled with the appropriate color (to match MS bulwarks brown).  These were then printed, sprayed, and cut out to get this result:



    Edges of these elements were painted bulwarks brown.  The long open foot waling strakes are to be added after the rising is in place.  


    3/64" wide by .020" thick planking strips from Bluejacket are to be used to construct the rising.  The plan is to install the thwarts just below the inner bulwarks molding, with the rising just underneath.  In attempting this, a possible fatal flaw in the casting became evident.   On the starboard side, the molding deviates up and down.  It also joins the stemson at a different level than the port molding does.


    1839935515_PINNACE4.thumb.JPG.74c672f1fb3225d9a812540950358db4.JPG1436007452_PINNACE5.thumb.JPG.fee6825541da464bc1a8eb95a5413622.JPG Oops!  What to do?  I have ordered another Pinnace from Bluejacket.  If that does not work out, perhaps one of the lifeboat kits from MS might work.  One of them is approximately the same size.


    Meanwhile, I might as well start work on the whaleboats.  I soaked the above described planking strips in water then clamped them to be boat to get the curve.



    They were subsequently trimmed and glued in place.




  9. The construction of the quarter davits also involves use of the the layering procedure here to fore described.  The outer layers are 1/64" birch plywood, and the center layer is 1/16" basswood.  This gives the required 3/32" (9") width.  Two sheaves glued together provide the double block effect.  The bracket allows the davit to pivot, allowing the right angle to be achieved upon final installation.  They will be temporarily installed on the model with rubber cement, allowing their removal for rigging.


    QDAVIT.thumb.jpg.4441cbad4073b2865ad0be0242e5b460.jpgthe yoke is permanently installed on the ship.  It replicates the one currently installed on Constitution.



  10. The  plans do indicate the presence of knightheads in the vertical elevation, but do not give much detail.  Therefore, I fashioned these after Constitution's present appearance.  Luckily, online searching for photos yielded a view of these with a sailor standing between them.  Using a figure from the Revell model, a reasonable approximation of the height could be determined.  The fairleads are strips of britannia ordered from Bluejacket with metal with holes drilled.



    What looks like spots left unpainted are really blown-out highlights, honest!


    The previously described layering technique was used for the stern davits.  The cleats are photo-etched brass ones provided in the kit.




    The spanker boom rest was my best approximation based on photos found online.


    The instructions recommend that the hammock cranes and netting be the last step in the build.  This would have meant doing these behind the shrouds, which would be extremely difficult, so I elected to do them at this time.   The cranes are photo-etched brass.



    Initial painting of these was done on the sprue, with the eyes at the tops left natural so as not to impede reaving the hammock netting line through them.  The instructions suggest cutting slots in the caprail to receive these, but I chose to drill holes to receive the pins instead.  If I had been smart, I would have done this before installing the caprails.  The cranes were inserted into these holes along with wood filler, and fixed with liquid CA.  I am sure there is a better way of doing this, which I hope to discover before doing this task on a future build.



    The afore mentioned box which protects the helm is visible here.  Black line provided by Bluejacket (R1654 0.020") was used for the hammock netting ropes.  It is the ideal size, big enough to be seen, yet small enough to pass through the eyes of the cranes easily. The smooth "served" appearance of the line was great.  Once in place, CA liquid was used to stiffen them and glue them to the cranes to provide much needed stability.  Bluejacket provides excellent netting which is will designed and to scale, but it is a bright white.  As the color of the netting is black in every photo of Constitution that I have seen, I went to Joann's fabric store to see if a more suitable netting was available there.  Luckily, there was a very nice netting with a 1/16" mesh which is perfect for this scale.  Constitution has used both square and rhomboid netting at one time or another.  I chose the latter.  Using a metal ruler I cut the netting into strips with a curved exacto blade, being careful to hold down the ruler very firmly so that the netting would not move while cutting was being done.  The strips were over sized, so that they could be cut to size after installation.  The strips were installed by gluing them to the inside edges of the cranes with contact cement, supplemented as needed with CA gel.  The stiffness of the netting made gluing to the ropes unnecessary except at the waist, where CA gel was used to secure the tops.  Touch up with black paint was done where needed, mainly at the eyes of the cranes, and in places where the contact cement was visible.  Here is a photo showing both the hammock nets and the chains described below.




    The method used to make the chains is illustrated in the scan from the instruction manual.




    The backlinks were  photo-etched brass. the mid links and toe links were fashioned from brass wire provided in the kit.  The deadeye/strop pieces are britannia metal castings.



    The chainplate associated with the swifter shroud had to be bent at sharp angles.  I was at a loss as to how to do this until I noticed that jaws of one of my cutters did not close properly.  There was a small gap at the rear.  This made the perfect tool for making sharp bends in the photo-etched brass chainplate.  Pins ordered from Bluejacket (#0040) were great for simulating the bolts and for securing the back links.  Their heads fit the eyes in the back links perfectly.

  11. Thank you so much Tim.  As a matter of fact, the idea of making an admiralty model of my build did cross my mind.  I have the components of a display case big enough to display the fully rigged model, but what if I could make it a two-tiered display with Constitution and Confederacy in the same case?  Being a renter instead of a home owner, I also deal with limited space.  Less admirable motivations for this include the fact that I have been working on this build for almost 10 years, and that, as a novice, I am thoroughly intimidated by the prospect of making masts that have round, square, and octagonal sections.

  12. The decking was carefully measured to just barely accommodate the carronades, so that the maximum view of the gun deck would be retained.

    The gun castings are very good, except that, as is, the gun barrel is too high, and, in my model at least, is even with the caprail.  Some creative surgery was necessary to lower the gun to suit.  The muzzle has an indentation which made accurate drilling out of the hole therein easy.  It was also necessary to remove material from in front of the trucks, which was not that difficult.  The breeching rope had to be thinner than it should be owing to the small inner diameter of the breeching rings.  Rope for the skeet and carriage tackles were likewise thinner than they should be to make a contrast with the breeching ropes.



    The small scale discouraged me from attempting the full compliment of seizings and hooks, resulting in a simplified rig.



    The pinrails are of 1/16" basswood stock, with a reinforcing piece underneath, out of sight.  Bluejacket's pins are of turned brass, and are excellent if you do not mind the flat rather than round tops (I don't).



    I was much relieved to see that careful planking of the hull interior provided a reliable guideline for the installation of the knees, so that the decking would lie flat against the beams.  Incidentally, the long lines you see issuing from the gun deck will become wheel ropes for the helm later.


    The foremast fife rail and the associated stanchions are castings by Bluejacket.  My hat is off to those modelers which show the slot/sheave detail on those stanchions.  I chickened out on that one.  The topsail sheet bitts and their associated knees are scratch.  At least I could show slot/sheave detail here using the layering technique described above.




    For the main fiferail, three rails and their associated stanchions came with the kit.  These rails were cast with depressions to receive the stanchions.  Unfortunately, these indicators did not line up.  I traced the oultine of the second rail onto 1/16" basswood stock, cut out two new rails, glued these plus the top rail together with rubber cement, then drilled holes through all three to correct the situation.  The top  rail is a casting, and the lower two are scratch.



    The fairleads between the second and third rails are 1/8" blocks.  The advantage to metal cast blocks are that they can show detail that the wooden ones cannot.  In this case, it was just a matter of leaving the sheave detail unpainted. 

    The main topsail sheet bitts are castings.  The monkey rail is scratch.



    Both the fore and main fiferails are removable to facilitate the rigging of stays.  They will be glued in only after all standing rigging is completed.

    I really like the capstan castings Bluejacket makes.


    I considered using the Revell model's steering wheels, which are better designed and less vulnerable to damage than the Bluejacket, the hubs being the same diameter as the drum.  At the same time the wheel stands provided by Bluejacket are nicer than the Revell.  Unfortunately, the Revell wheels are a lot bigger than the Bluejacket, so I could not mix and match.  The cast metal binnacles are lovely to have as complete units.



    The afore mentioned wheel ropes were glued into the gun deck, emerging from a brass fitting (actually a Britannia metal strip with brass Liquid Leaf) and passed through similar fittings on the spar deck before being wound around the drum.  This was a bit tricky as alignments had to be precise.




    The handles of the wheel bend at the slightest touch, and when you bend them back, they break off.  A box was constructed to protect them while work continues on the model.

    Here are two views of the spar deck fittings.







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