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CSS Alabama by Duffer - Bluejacket - scale 1:96

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Hi All, here is my first build log, of the excellent kit from Bluejacket Shipcrafters.  


My goal is to build this OOB (out of the box), no scratch building, evaluate the instruction booklet, the plans and the materials and post my comments as I progress.  There may be some typos in the booklet, some areas that may be confusing and some construction issues.  


However, as you can see from the pictures of the contents , this is a quality kit in all aspects.  


Thank you for viewing and I hope you will enjoy this journey with me. 




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Welcome  aboard every one~!


The scale is 1:96.  

Her actual dimensions:

      length 210 ft

      width   32 ft

      depth   17 ft 3 inches

      tonnage 1024 empty but with cannons; 1421 fully operational

draft when fully operational:   15 ft

estimated speed when in fair trim:  12 knots

Built by John Laird and Sons of Birkenhead, launched 14 May 1862


Thus, the model length is about 26" sans bowsprit. 


I started the build with the 8 cannons:

   one 7" Blackley rifle, 100 lb shot

   one  8" smooth bore pivot, 68 lb shot & shell

   six  32 pounders, smooth bore, in broadside 


I will post pictures and comments in the near future.  

Next up are the bulkheads for the hull construction.                                            Duff

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I'm subscribed.


The Alabama has a 'little' South African connection.


She made quite the impression on the folks in Cape Town when she visited in 1863. 


The song about her(There comes the Alabama) is still sung to this day, but most people have no idea where it comes from.



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I'll follow along!  Looks like an interesting and fun build.  I love the lines of these steam sloops-of-war.  I have my deposit in for the Bluejacket Kearsarge kit and am awaiting it's eminent release anytime now.  The two ships should be fairly similar in their builds.  What type wood did they supply for the hull planking, by the way? 

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Hi Barryww, the planking wood appears to be basswood (I haven't opened the bag yet).  Bluejacket kits usually supplies basswood.


Nice picture Crackers.........


She is a beautiful ship and she caused an enormous amount of damage to Union shipping.               Duff  

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Duffer, it was the greatest raider in history I believe. From the website where I obtained the image below:

"The sternpost of the USS Kearsarge on display with an unexploded 100 lb shell from the CSS Alabama lodged in it.  Had the shell exploded, the Kearsarge’s rudder would have been blown clean off and the ship disabled.  The fateful duel between those two ships would most likely have ended very differently.​"  A lucky, or unlucky, shot depending on your point of view.


Edited by barryww
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Laid “inner profile” (IP) on flat surface. Squared frame LAL 18S as shown. Note laser burn removed. Note broken off transom area of the IP. My bad!!!! Not Nics! Glued frame to IP and let dry.



I'm using a 1/4” x 1/2” squaring block between frames. This strengthens the hull bulkheads and assures a 90 degree bulkhead to frame position. Do not mass cut a bunch of these blocks to save time – the bulkhead-to-bulkhead distances varied.. Note building board as we go vertical.




A new transom piece was made from the “carrier stock” remaining. Note the starboard framing of the of the propeller box. Bracing is 3/32” sq on the horizontal and angled end piece as called for. The vertical in 3/32” x 1/8” (my scrap stock) to extend gluing surface to LAL 18S. The opening area was trimmed out after the bracing was adhered.





A view from the other side. Note the transom piece is firmly attached and the prop box starboard side piece is attached, but the port side of the prop box has not yet been completed.




Working forward – port side.




You can see that quick clamps and step blocks work wonders to assure alignment when gluing up and holding the IP at 90 degrees.





After LAL 11s and LAL 11p are installed, I noticed the “leg extensions” were very fragile and as this hull will be planked upside down, they need to be braced. Also note the prop box port side is being completed.




Duplicating the exact size of the lower frame spacer blocks, spacer blocks for the leg extensions have been installed. At this point I also test fit the subdeck halves. OK so far.





Another view. Note at the bow that sub-decks are flush with the top of the IP. More investigation need to determine LAL 2 and LAL 3 bulkheads to be shimmed upward.




Note that preceding forward we have hit the area of the main mast. Here, as with the mizzen previously, the spacer block will be inserted about a 1/4” under the lasered mast seat.





Proceeding forward to foremast.





Note: LAL2s/p and LAL3s/p were installed before LAL4 s/p to better keep the inner profile in proper alignment. According to the instructions, these two bulkheads were to seat “1/16” above the bottom of the hull profile.” I found them to seat as all the other bulkheads: 1/16” below the hull profile.




The framing now complete, the port sub-deck has been fitted, but not glued, to the port side. The sub-deck notches required some trimming to achieve the proper fit.

Edited by Duffer
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  • 2 years later...

Admiral Semmes home on Government Street Mobile has been restored, there's a nice statue of him on the waterfront. He was a sly old devil.

Have to research but I think they wanted to try him as a war criminal, but as noted he always gave notice to abandon before he sunk the vessels. He hurt them bad.

Edited by John Allen
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Two must have books both available on Amazon

CSS Alabama Builder, Captain, and Plans by Charles Grayson Summerall about construction of Alabama and a nice set of plans I think you could scratch build from $ 19.98 to $ 409.00 very nice book.


Must have- Memoirs of Service afloat during the war between the state  Admirlal Raphael Semmes CSN Captain of the CSS Alabama. Details all his encounters with Northern shipping extremely detailed book. Amazon $ 9.50 prime.


Brother gave me both knowing the Alabama is in the distant future for a scratch build when I attain more experience. Looking at the included plans in the first book I believe they can be used for a scratch. Following your build.:cheers:

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from what I see here,  they likely would.   if kept 1:1 with the plans,  I wonder what scale it would be in.   I'm not sure what the copyright stamp says...I wonder if it was wise to post pictures........but I feel that a moot point,  thinking "now what are folks gonna do with just pictures?"   I'm sure they could be blown up to 1:96 scale.   most of the kits I've gotten in the past has the parts panel diagrams included.......I've often wondered if a model could be done using them {not even blown up}.   


I haven't looked into BlueJacket....is the kit still being offered?   how much are the plans,  as opposed to buying the complete kit?   too bad this log fizzled out :( 


I built the Revell kit some years ago.........a very nice model :) 

Edited by popeye the sailor
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