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USS Constitution by JSGerson - Model Shipways Kit No. MS2040

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The Syren cleats are really blanks and must be carve to their final shape. For each side, the three wooden ones were stained with Minwax Wood Finish Gunstock 231. The other two Syren cleats were painted black to simulate metal with one cleat to have a base plate made from painted cardstock when installed. Installation posts were added to provide connection and rigging strength. They also act as a fabrication handle. The posts will be trimmed just before installation.

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The large wooden cleat was made following the lead of xken’s Constitution build log which meant I made the two required (one for each side) plus four more to be used later. For these I used 1/8” x 3/32” boxwood. Boxwood holds its edge much better giving a sharper result, plus it going to be left as natural wood.

 

I marked off the required vertical cuts for all six cleats on the one piece of wood which were cut with the razor saw save for the cuts which would have separated the six pieces. The horizontal cuts were made carving out the wood with an X-actor knife. As seen in the image above of the actual bulwark, the large cleat has five bolt heads recessed on its face. Xken simulated the bolts by drilling holes and filling them in with “black” glue. I’ve not heard or seen “black” glue except as epoxy which I was not going to use for such tiny fills. I initially thought I would use bamboo tree nails stained black. As normal, I used a pin to make a starter hole for the drill. Then I thought, why make tree nails, a fine spot of black paint should do the trick, but I didn’t want the paint to soak into wood surrounding the bolt holes. To remedy that, I sealed the wood with the Minwax first. However, I noticed the stain accentuated the bolt holes and made them look black. My job was done. To the naked eye, you can’t tell the pinholes weren’t filled in due to the dark color. They looked perfect.

 

The cleats were then separated with the razor saw with final filing, trimming, sanding, and staining completing the cleats. The last touch was the addition of a metal installation post to provide added strength for potential rigging.

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The last items to be fabricated, were the three bulwark steps for each side. Close examination of the actual steps shows they are not simple pieces of wood but have three layers in descending lengths and widths stacked upon each other pyramid style. One step is about one half the width of a bulwark plank. This works out to 3/64” total thickness

 

Using my Byrne saw, I cut a strip of 1/32” x 3/32” boxwood down to 1/64” x 3/32”. Great saw, that Byrne saw. BTW, all these pieces of boxwood are leftovers from my Rattlesnake kitbash which didn’t use any basswood.

 

Using the razor saw and its miter box, three different lengths of boxwood were cut for each step. The first two pieces to be stacked upon one another were offset to create the first stepback. The third piece which was a bit narrower was the third stepback. Then, with a sanding block the excess wood from the back of the step was removed. Finally, two vertical channels were filed at the back of the step. What the purpose of these opening was, I don’t know, but they are there, so I made them. No metal installation post was needed as these pieces are not intended to take any load.

Now it’s a matter of attaching all this stuff to the bulwarks and the bulwarks to the hull frame.

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Finally, I attached all the bits and pieces to the bulwarks after removing some strategic bolt heads that were interfering. The second image shows the dry fitted bulwarks in place. For the most part, the remaining bulwarks will need the pin rails and like the gun deck, rigging eye bolts attached.

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I came late to this site and too late to this build log to do me any good. I have ‘finished’ my Model Shipways Constitution build and had the same problems with the transom as it seems everyone else has had.  I am afraid this will be a little long and perhaps boring. I hope not.  About 35 years ago I built the Mamoli USS Constitution. It took about a year and a half.  About 4 years later I built it again after the cat knocked it off the shelf and broke the first one beyond repair.  I started this one about a year ago. I casually mention to my son that there was a new, bigger and supposedly more accurate Constitution model being offered. He said I should build it. I said I was getting too old and stiff to build anything like that again. He said I was retired and had all the time in the world, so I started on it.  After a short while, I complained to him about how the model was almost a scratch build and how vague and unhelpful the plans were.  When he said he guessed it was just too hard for me, I knew I had to finish it no matter what.  I have only hand tools, except for a cordless drill but as a retired art teacher who did some wood carving, felt I could handle the job. It would just take longer.  I am not an experienced model builder but built some plastic square riggers as a kid and years ago did do the two builds mentioned earlier plus other wood models:  one of the HMS Beagle and a couple cross sections of US frigates. On this one, I noticed after assembling the bulkheads on the keel  frame, that some of the tops were not even and I’d have to figure out how to make the deck straight when I got to that point. After I assembled the transom section and saw that it was going to make the deck even more messed up, I quit and started over with a new kit.  Being forewarned of problems that could occur, I did my best to avoid errors I made on the first build and made sure the transom parts fit the rest of the model as shown on the plans but found that even so,  the deck and side walls of the ship were still going to be off.  I ended up modifying the kit so everything would fit even though I knew in my heart that the model would not be as true as I hoped it would be.  Now that I have read parts of your build and saw another on line build go astray, I realize that it must have been an error in the kit and not  completely to my ineptness.   

 

I hesitate to show a picture of my build after seeing how wonderful your build is going but here is the aft portion. At one point, I was determined to finish it even if I had to avoid calling it "The USS Constitution"

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So what's wrong with it? I am new to wood models and am currently working on the Rattlesnake and I can tell you yours looks better than mine. :) 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/20/2019 at 7:29 PM, poundemin59 said:

So what's wrong with it? I am new to wood models and am currently working on the Rattlesnake and I can tell you yours looks better than mine. :) 

It is OK but would never measure up to what I have seen done by JSGerson's work here. My main purpose of posting here was to accent the apparent flaw in this kit.

Edited by ArthurN

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Yes, I am slowly (what else is new?) continuing to make the spar deck bulwarks. I also had personal business, as well as visiting Mom in Florida who turned 101 early this month of June.

 

Most of the remaining bulwarks required pin rails. Continuing with my use of boxwood for any bare wood fabrication, the pin rails were made from 1/8” x 1/16” strips of boxwood. Because I know where the pin rails are going to be attached on the bulwarks, I left gaps devoid of simulated bolt heads where the pin rails were to be installed. Notice that the belay pin holes are close to the edge and not centered on the board. That is the way they are supposed to be as shown on the plans and as pointed out in Robert Hunt’s practicum.

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Just as a matter of note, when I purchased the MS model kit and the associated practicum by Bob Hunt, some years past, Jeff Hayes’ HobbyMills was Bob’s wood supplier of choice but Bill has since retired and closed shop. He had supplied the supplemental wood required or suggested by Bob’s many practicums. In this case, Bob Hunt did not kit-bash the Constitution, but he did modify it a bit by substituting boxwood for certain basswood and laser cut constructs, which I am trying to follow. Bob felt the laser cut parts were too fragile.

 

At that time, Jeff Hayes offered a wood supplement package for those substitutions, which I purchased. That is where I’m getting my pre-sized boxwood substitutions from. Anything, I initiated, like the gun deck and all its associated accoutrements, the supplemental wood package did not cover. Whether some other wood supplier is selling those wood supplement packages today, you will have to check with Bob Hunt, I don’t know.

 

I’ve completed the remaining bulwarks forward of the waist and shown here unpainted and dry fitted with the pin rails. I then painted the bulwarks and assembled and glued their associated parts. All the fabricated bulwarks are shown in the last image.

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Additional to the hardware and pin rails on the bulwarks, the opening for the bow anchors had a couple of eyebolts and rings fastened underneath opening. The kit plans show those bolts but not the board they are fastened to nor the fact that the eyebolts have a base plate, and that they are at opposing 45-degree angles as well. My attempt at duplicating them is shown below. Compare mine against the actual ship. Sorry for the poor image, but that was the best my camera would do.

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Finally, before I would fasten the bulwarks to the hull, I needed to add the cannon rigging eye bolts to both the bulwarks and the planking just above the waterway. I thought doing that now would be easier rather do doing it later. The blackened eyebolt openings are 3/32” dia. So, they may be difficult to see. Here are all the bulwarks so far (about 1/3) glued into place. The construct continues.

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