I asked some questions, earlier, about this 40+ year old Constructo kit. I've got emotional ties to this as it was a present from my wife and, I think, has been on my list of things I want to finish for the longest time.
After deciding this was the time to restart work, I realized that the model has some issues/ The plans and packaging described it as a scaled model but there was no actual scale provided, nor any reference name that would give me a clue as to scale, or size of the full sized ship.
The following is a picture of the model, as I left it years ago. This doesn’t show all the parts, but I do have them.
The instructions consist of one page, one side (English) and one side in Spanish. The plans are reasonable, but I have already gotten more out of reading some reference books, and specifically the build logs and helpful hint logs on this site.
Some of the members of this site suggested I look at the Bluenose, and/or use Chapelle’s “American Fishing Schooners” (AFS) to get a better idea of what it might be. These were great suggestions, and my understanding has really gotten better. I will apologize in advance for any terminology mistakes I make. I find much of it confusing, but I’m working on learning it.
Since my model doesn’t appear to be based on any actual ship, I decided I had freedom to see what actual schooner the model comes closest to, and what changes I might need to make to make it more realistic.
I’ve learned a great deal going over AFS, and have some ideas about my boat model, and what I’m thinking of doing to make it more accurate. I would appreciate any feedback about the kit bashing I’m thinking of doing, and if it is appropriate or not.
1. The Constructo Schooner doesn’t match the hull proportions of the Bluenose or America (which also had a tiller). It has a wider beam to its overall length (25%).
2. The actual hull shape seems to match some of the 1890 – 1910 vintage fishing schooners. The factors I compared were. (a) hull profile; (b) ratio of molded beam to molded length; (c) mast locations; and; (d) location/angle of rudder.
3. The boats that seemed to match better (from AFS) are Emily Cooney (AFS plate 99); Vigilant (AFS plate 82); and the Benjamin Latham (AFS plate 92). I added the Latham partly because there is so much info in the ongoing builds.
The dimensional comparisons look like this:
Constructo Schooner U-604
Vigilant; AFS, pp 195-6
Emily Cooney; AFS pp 231
Benjamin Latham; AFS 229
The hull comparisons look like this:
Quarterdeck break locations
All the boats that came closest to matching the Constructo model had several significant differences which I think I need to modify on the model.
The Constructo model does not provide an actual scale. But comparing the model to actual boats and looking at proportions of items such as bulwark height, etc., it appears a scale ratio of either 1:64, or 1:72 would work well. I’m leaning to using 1:64, partly because it would scale the bulwarks to an actual height of 2’-6”, which seems to match actual boats better.
Although the Constructo model has a monkey rail, it doesn’t have a quarter deck. All the actual boats had a quarter deck, so I think I need to add one. This will require extending the monkey rail and the quarterdeck about 3’ – 5’ past the main mast (1/2” to 1” in 1:64 scale). Using a quarterdeck height of 9” – 12” this would be 1/8” to 3/16” in 1:64 scale.
The Constructo model has a tiller. I couldn’t find any similar real boats that didn’t have a wheel/wheelhouse, so I will convert this also.
One area that I think needs work is the keel/false keel. My model doesn’t have one, and it seems like I should add one. I’m still going through AFS for more information, but I think I would need to add a 6” – 12” false keel on the bottom of the hull. I would have it about the same at the bow, similar to the Vigilant or Cooney. I am leaning to tapering it at the stern, and slightly reducing the rake on the rudder (like the Cooney). This would give me something to attach the rudder píntle and gudgeons to. Also, if I added the keel and then shrunk the model to match with the three real ships, I think the profiles and proportions would be more appropriate.
I would like to carve the outside of the bulwarks to make it look more like the bulwark profiles in AFS. Currently the model curves up in a smooth curve on the outside of the hull to where the bulwark top rail will be. In the Sultana build article by Chuck Passaro (Nautical Research Guild) he cut of the solid wood bulkhead and replanked the bulkheads. I’ve got to do some more thinking on this approach since I know I don’t want to carve away the sides of the hull to plank up to the bulkheads (I know my patience and carving skills would not be up to that).
Several less critical items I’m still researching include size and spacing of the stanchions. What I currently understand is they should be on about 2’ centers, and about 4” – 6” timbers. This would amount to about 39 stanchions per side (model size of about 3/8” spacing, for 1/16” to. 3/32” timbers. I’m leaning to cheating on this and going to the equivalent to 2-1/2’ or 3’ spacing. I could probably get the closer spacing in, but I think it would be beyond my painting abilities.
Scuppers sound like they most often are on one or both sides of the stanchions, but only 1” to 2” high. I’m guessing 2” to 4” long based on some pictures. I’m not sure if adding these would be feasible, or within my capabilities.
I have access, through my local library, to laser cutter, 3D printers, a Carvey (CNC wood carver), cameo cutters, etc. and I hope to be able to do some of the work using these devices.
I’m sure these items are just the tip of the iceberg, and I will be finding more as I start the actual model. I would appreciate any feedback, corrections or suggestions you might have.