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Hello Hopefully this is where this question belongs.

 

I am in the process of kit bashing a Constructro Sentinel Brigantine into something that would possibly been used in the late American Colonial period.  I have come to the determination that the deck layout on this kit was established only for the fantasy of the kit makers so that they would not have to supply as many parts to make something more realistic.

 

So far I have reshaped the hull, altered the bulwarks to meet at the bow, not installed the raised forecastle, shortened the quarterdeck and raised the cabin slightly. I have also changed the angle and curve of the transom to what I think is a more realistic shape and angle.

 

After I figure out how I want to develop some camber in the spar deck, I will be planking it instead of using the Mahogany printed deck supplied in the kit and then start building the required deck furniture.

 

This is where some of my questions arise. First off I want to place a ships boat over the cargo hatch between the masts instead of hanging two boats from davits each side of the quarter deck as depicted in the kit design. This in its self is not really a huge problem as there is enough distance between the masts to allow this style of carry. The problem arises in the fact that the kit uses a capstan located just aft of the cargo hatch and forward of the main mast. This was in my opinion a poor location for a capstan in my opinion so at first I decided to relocate it behind the mainmast and shortened the quarterdeck to free up the space required.  This also allows me to place the ships boat at deck level instead of on elevated cradles that would allow access below the boat.

 

After some thought, (and already making the alterations of course) I now wonder if using a horizontal winch located just behind the bowsprit forward of the foremast would be a more proper design for a vessel of this size and design rather than having a capstan installed at all? At this point I could go either way without too much trouble.

 

Secondly, trying to think ahead a little better this time, is a question of the gun ports. Is there a formula for the size of the ports and the distance between ports depending on the size of the cannon carried or were they a kind of one size fits all? I was thinking that I would establish the initial distance and location of the cannon based on the location of the back stays and chain plates so that the cannons have a clear field of fire. From that point it looks like the gun ports are about equal to the width of the gun carriage and squared shape and that the distance between guns is about twice the distance as the gun port size, if that makes any sense. Does that seem about right? I do not want to cut the gun ports or finalized the top rail design until I figure out these issues.

Looking forward  to see what others more knowledgeable than I come up with.

 

Lou

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Charles G. Davis -  The Built-Up Ship Model

Provides a rule - but as usual he did not footnote it, so exactly when it applied = ?

" gun ports are spaced apart, center to center, 25 times the diameter of the shot.

The gun port's length, fore and aft, should be 6.5 diameters; the height, 6 diameters;

and the sill or lower edge of the port should be 3.5 diameters above the deck

 

Davis points out that the location of the backstays should be considered.

I think it was Deane ( not gonna look it up ) who essentially suggested that it

is unwise to locate ports even with the masts.  This was a time when all guns were on

rolling trucks.  Perhaps carronades were less of a problem.

 

A windlass would favor a smaller crew.  A lighter weight anchor would less force to

recover it.

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The gunport spacing has to be a general rule. Since frigate and ship designs of the same number of guns had gundeck lengths that varied by a foot or two from each other during any given time period, it can't be a hard rule as those differences are not going to be divisible by the size of the shot and the number of gunport spacings.

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Thank you Jaager and vossiewulf

 

I was also thinking that the use of the horizontal winch VS the capstan was a matter of number of crew available to both handle the rigging while at the same time hoisting the anchor. American ships of the Revolutionary War period carried very large crews for the size of the vessel but that was for prize crews and battle matters and I did not think the ship would be designed around the excess crews available when being used as a warship. By the same thought I was wondering if the capstan was primarily a navel device not often found on civilian vessels or was installed as you say primarily on larger vessels due to the weight of the gear but I could find no evidence to support this as I can find plenty of small ships in the schooner and brigantine size ranges with either winch method installed. I may just continue with a capstan as I have already made the alterations to the rest of the ship design to accommodate it and as the capstan head is already provided with the kit I will at least be able to use SOMETHING that comes out of the kit box!

 

As for the gun ports, I will have to see if I can understand better reading the formula and plugging in the numbers that match this hull. I decided that this ship will be 1/96 scale rather than the 1/100 that Constructo uses because it is a more common scale and after all what does it matter what scale they call it when it has no resemblance to anything that ever floated if built stock out of the box. I have a copy of Davis's Built up Ship Model somewhere in my stuff from years ago, before my last move. I am just now trying to get back into model building after about twenty years and am still looking for everything! I am surprised that the ports are not completely square with equal height and width. They have always looked that way to me in pictures and on plans I have studied, and I thought the height would be determined by the gun carriage and that the cannon barrel would be centered when at a neutral elevation. On this model as I am building it I will be able to carry up to 12 guns, (All I have of this size on hand! I wonder how many real ships were outfitted in this manner? More of a all I can get rather that all i can carry!) Not having the guns line up with the masts may also be an issue if I want to maintain equal spacing while still avoiding the back stays. I may have to work on this for a while, and as I already said find my book and do some reading.

Thanks again

 

Lou

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I'm not in immediate possession of the tables, but guns and carronades of each caliber had necessary 'room and space', if you will.  The port of a particular gun would be required to be 2 feet 8 inches tall X 3 feet wide and the distance between ports be 10 feet.  The size of port opening was obviously to allow for proper aiming and the spacing was to accommodate the size crew needed to operate the gun.  This was the second step in design of a warship, the first being that 30 guns of 24 lbs. were required on the gun deck.  Plug in the port size and spacing figures, add a percentage for the run and entrance of the hull and you knew how large a ship was required.  (Don't hold me to any of those figures, I just made them up.)

Within reason, the stays were moved to make room for the guns.  Broadside guns would probably not be interfered with by the masts.  They only need to recoil about a third the length of the barrel.

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Hello Joel

 

Thank you for the additional information.

I still have not located my copy of the Davis book but I know I own it so it is only a matter of time before I locate the box that it has been stored in all these years! With three stories, a basement and six bedrooms it has to be somewhere, the house is only so big after all! One of these days I have to kick the last of the kids out and take over a space that is only for ME and be able to have access to all the books, models and just plain stuff that the Admiral claims do not match the decor of the remainder of the house. I am trying to convince her that what would fit the decor of a 120 year old house better than a lot of books and a few period ships?

 

Anyway back to the subject at hand. I am trying to replicate or create if you will a realistically believable late 1700s American brigantine, possibly a privateer not originally constructed as a warship. Much like your model of the Lexington. In some ways I know that what I end up with will not truly fit this requirement as the hull is too fair for most merchant ships and other similar factors arising from the fact that it started life as a model kit that was designed to be more of a toy than anything else. All that aside I am a little impressed that the hull is even now taking on some believable lines and I would like to improve on that if possible. So the numbers I would be looking for would be for guns that are more in the line of four, six, or possibly nine pounders that I am almost certain could be placed, in fact would have to be placed, much closer together than 10 feet apart. On the other hand I will jump at the idea that the guns can be placed in conjunction with the masts with little fear of problems. The guns that came with the kit are a scale six foot barrel.

 

I have spent much of the day looking at as many drawings and pictures as I could to see if this was a closely adhered to rule, or if it was a suggestion in ship design that was desired when building a warship from the ground up. I found as many cases of guns lining up with the masts as I did cases where the back stays and chain plates had to be moved to accommodate the gun port.

 

So with no true numbers to plug in at this point I am leaning toward gun ports that are small enough to at least protect the crew from being completely exposed. With a sill that combined with the overall size, prevents the cannon from popping out the side when the ship does a hard roll, while still being large enough to allow the useful elevation, depression, and angling of the gun and carriage combination. If I use that kind of layman's formula it appears oddly enough that the kit plans supplied with the model are surprisingly not far off at all. Their height and width are the same though which at the scale I have decided to use would make them 24" to the side with each port being spaced eight feet apart. It looks like the ports could be slightly smaller and closer spaced but even at this size if I put two guns inside the great cabin just inside the forward bulkhead, I would have a broadside of seven guns! Reasonably respectable for a Brigantine with an eighty four foot hull length, even though two fewer guns than the Lexington. I am thinking though that twelve guns for this size ship would possibly be more balanced, especially if they were six or nine pounders. HMMMMMMMMMMM decisions decisions.

 

Kind of having fun though with a less than desirable kit. Since I cannot dream of the "Whatever Name" being recreated to give honer to the original I can never the less give considerable thought to the bits and pieces that made ships like 'Whatever Name' what they were. Hopefully it will also be tolerable to look at at ranges of less than across the room. That is the hope anyway!

 

Lou

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Joel, aren't those values again either guidelines or minimums? Just take a look at all the British 74s, go to ThreeDecks' search page and tell it to bring up all Great Britain ships that are Third Rate and 74 nominal guns then look at the ships and their gundeck lengths. All of them have 14 ports a side. I can't remember where but I remember reading a designer saying he was pleased he'd gotten an extra two inches between ports, that it doesn't sound like much but made a measurable difference in ease of working the guns.

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vossiewolf, yes, yes, and yes.  If you go too far away from them, things get crowded, the ship gets topheavy, doesn't sail well, hogs excessively, all sorts of bad things happen.  As one example, one of the smaller of the 'first frigates' was armed with 24 pdrs, to make her as powerful as the larger trio.  Turned out she sailed better and swam properly when she was re-armed with 18s.  Presumably the ports weren't changed, so there would have been larger ports at a larger spacing than the norm.

Lou, you've got a little of the opposite problem, trying to fit guns into an existing hull, much as if, as you say, like Lexington she was bought in and armed by the Navy from a merchant vessel.  In that case the tables would give guidelines as the guns would have to go in around stuff rather than the other stuff being arranged to suit the guns.

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Hello vossiewulf

 

When you first posted the size/spacing formula, I read it as minimums allowable for a given vessel and gun combination. So if you had a designed length of 'X' and under ideal conditions had to make no concessions for rigging or other factors, you would have the ability to pierce the hull for 'y' number of guns of a given size and still give them the required field of fire and operational area. If the hull was slightly longer but not long enough to accommodate another piercing/gun then you could either add additional spacing between ports and keep the same number of guns, or go to a smaller cannon and carry more guns. I would have to assume that hull design and displacement ability would also be a factor on gun size but I am trying to keep this just about port size and spacing not getting an engineering degree in ship building. A good thing as I am still struggling with the fact that design formulas say that the port is wider than its height and they still look square in all the pictures and plans I look at! Time for either new glasses or brain!

 

Joel

I did not say it before, but your build of the Lexington has been one of the guidelines I used when I started modifying this kit. I looked at the lines published by Davis for the Lexington and at first thought that his Lexington was close enough to use as the ship for this model and I would be able to build a 'real' ship with a history rather than a representation of a type. But then I saw your build and it is obvious that the two Lexington s don't have much in common other than they are both models. Unfortunately for me, the lines and documentation I have are for the Davis hull and it has been proven to not be accurate, your version is, or at least is according to more resent research. In addition the shape of the kit I am bashing has a closer resemblance to the Davis build. I do intend to continue using your build as reference though whenever possible, just because it is so well rendered and I know you will make every effort to insure it is 'right' historically and dimensionally.

 

Also a little off subject but in relation to your comment about recoil, I have a little experience in this area it so happens. In my younger somewhat misspent years I tended to hang out with a few slightly deranged individuals, (We were all police officers if you must know). One of them, along with several machine guns and other rather odd pastimes had managed to acquire what I remember as a three pound cannon barrel dated in the mid late 1800s, sometime after the Civil War. I could be wrong about the shot size but i do remember that it had the same bore as a beer can! This fact and the emptying of many said same and the navel bent of all concerned led to what I suppose was to be expected from those involved. it was decided that my friend, being single, needed to have the cannon displayed in his front room for all to admire and that this would require the building of a proper navel carriage, even though none of us had any idea if it was a navel barrel or field piece. Heck, for all we knew it was just a starting cannon for racing or something. Little matter, ignorance is bliss. We did build the carriage and it turned out fine, especially considering our state of soberness during much of the research, design, and construction. I do not know when it happened, or for that matter who brought the idea up, but somehow the bright idea to actually fire the silly thing was presented and no one was sober enough to counter the idea. The rest of the story is pretty much history as we proceeded make cannon 'balls' out of a surplus supply of beer cans partly filled with Plaster-Of-Paris. The purchase of lethal amounts of black powder, (I think we stayed a little more sober about this time) some configuring of lines we thought 'should' hold against the recoil that we had no inkling of how to anticipate and we were ready to mount the gun in my friend's pickup facing out over the tailgate 'gun port', that I am now almost certain was not within the guidelines we have established in this posting.We then headed out to a relatively safe place we used often when my friends went to shoot their machine guns. Safe being relative as being safe for others, was not quite the same as safe for us should anything go wrong. After all don't you want to be 45 minutes from help in the middle of nowhere when a cannon blows up in your face? So the 'gun port door' was lowered and the gestimated  amount of required powder, based on possibly faulty research, was tamped into place and the required deadly projectile inserted. The recoil line was set to stop the travel of the gun before it went through the rear of the truck cab bulkhead. We had no idea how violent the recoil would be. A fuse in the touch hole and a mad scramble to get as far away as possible in as short a time as possible resulted in a GREAT cloud of smoke and flame and a considerably smaller puff of dust in the backstop down range. After all that we wondered what we would see when the smoke cleared but much to our surprise the cannon only traveled a little over half the length of the truck bed and stopped on its own! From that point on we were able to play with the charge a bit and even tried our best at aiming somewhat until we were at last able to hit a single poor tree. The results were impressive. While it did not knock the tree down it did blow all the bark and part of the wood as well from an area of about a foot and a half! Pretty impressive for Plaster-Of-Paris!           

 

Lou     

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Looking at things logically, there would likely be very few actual ports on a merchant converted to privateer.  The hull and deck structures were not sturdy enough to handle the number of guns required for naval service, and a privateer would do everything possible to avoid contact with a military vessel.  Given the fact that the gun ports would be more for show than practicality on the privateer, the spacing could be somewhat arbitrary - to get the most present with the minimum compromise of structural integrity (remember, these were not built to the same scantlings as a naval vessel, so not nearly as many frames present, with more space between frames).

 

You may want to take a look at the Dutchess of Manchester (while actually a snow, it is a good exemplar of a documented American merchant vessel of the timeframe).  You may also be able to extract some useful information from Robinson, John, and George Francis Dow. 1922. The Sailing Ships of New England, 1607-1907. Salem, Mass. : Marine Research Society. http://archive.org/details/sailingshipsofne00robirich.

 

Salisbury, William. 1936. “Merchantmen in 1754.” The Mariner’s Mirror 22 (3): 346–55. doi:10.1080/00253359.1936.10657196  provides a good reconstruction of several samples from Mungo Murray (1754. A Treatise on Ship-Building and Navigation. In Three Parts, Wherein the Theory, Practice, and Application of All the Necessary Instruments Are Perspicuously Handled. With the Construction and Use of a New Invented Shipwright’s Sector ... Also Tables of the Sun’s Declination, of Meridional Parts ... To Which Is Added by Way of Appendix, an English Abridgment of Another Treatise on Naval Architecture, Lately Published at Paris by M. Duhamel. London, Printed for D. Henry and R. Cave, for the author. https://archive.org/details/treatiseonshipbu00murr.  )  There may also be some useful information in Chapman's Architectura Navalis, though I have not looked in there recently.


 

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Goodness, you guys have been wearing your fingertips to the bone typing all this.

For the moment, I'll address the Lexington questions, and try to come up with something on the rest a bit later.  After more coffee.

Davis' Lexington model seems to have begun life as his version of the well-known British Cruzer class brigs.  During the depression, when shipbuilding and design jobs were scarce, he wrote up this model, publishing a guide to its building, but changing the name to Lexington, perhaps in an effort to appeal to an American readership.  The model I built (am building.  I work intermittently and slowly) is the Clay Feldman/dlumberyard semi-kit version which was featured in Seaways' Ships in Scale.  This model is based on a contemporary painting of Lexington after her capture by the British.  As such, she should more resemble a merchant conversion than the 25 years newer war brig, Cruzer.

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Hello Joel

Doesn't take all that long to type up a short conversation here. Back when I was a gainfully employed contributor to society, I spent more time commuting to work! Now that I am retarded, my commute consists of getting up, showering and dressing taking the dog for her walk and then the rest of the day is mine, subject to the whims of the Admiral and resident crew.

 

I suppose one could say that all modeling attempts are a product of material on the real vessel available to the builder at the time of the attempted model build, combined with the interpretation of that material and how much you want to believe the interpretation of other researchers who provides the material in the first place. This seems to be especially true of the vessels we are choosing to build from this time period. It seems that for every person who states that the material presented is a true representation of the vessel in question, someone else says that there is something wrong with the research. I think I may agree with you on Davis's Lexington, that his model was 'close enough' in his eyes to be represented as the Lexington. Heck, if he had been right I may have done the same thing and used his rendition as a basis for my rendition and of course added my own misconceptions and short comings in ability and kit limitations to the build. If I wrote a book or was famous as a reliable source in some other way then my kit could also assist in passing along the 'look' of this type of Brigantine as being the Lexington and others would possibly accept it. I this case the Davis model seems to have been overthrown in favor of the Feldman model seems to be primarily based on a painting, (Which of course is another interpretation by yet another artist who obtained his information either personally from a hurriedly produced sketch that was taken back to a studio and rendered into a more completely detailed detailed painting or drawing. Or the painting could have been based on a sketch or description provided by a third party! Don't get me wrong I personally believe that the Feldman model is by far the more accurate or believable of the two, and will be the standard for years to come, if not indefinitely. But who is to say that sometime down the road some other material may show up, or someone researching the Lexington will present a better argument and the look will change yet again. You can be pretty sure it will not be me! I am within limits perfectly willing to let people who have better training, better access to sources, and more time do the research for me and all I need to do is agree with them that their take on the resources if correct, or that they are full of it. Or it could be like in many cases somewhere in the middle. I have only done primary research on a couple of vessels, and only one of them was to the detail we are discussing. I have been researching the schooner Lanikai off and on for probably twenty years and while I have enough to build her now in probably could be considered a stand off scale, (Standing WAY off)  I would not be happy or proud of the results enough to say that what I built was 'the Lanikai'. Hope that makes some sense to you. In any case the information has been so scarce and the need for interpretation so great on a twenty first century vessel that I have both narrative and pictures of, I can only guess how hard it is for people dealing with small vessels from almost two hundred and fifty years ago. I do not envy them, especially when there are people like me lined up twenty deep looking to see just how accurate their work is based on how they, (The viewer) feel!

 

Here I go again rambling on and on!

 

trippwj

 

While in essence I agree with you, I am not so sure that it is quite so black and white. Merchant ships were built to a different purpose true, and this influenced many things like the shape of the hull, rigging design, and deck layout, but were they so much different? It seems like time and time again ships of almost any given size short of a ship-of-the-line were purchased from civilian use and weaponized so to speak. I cannot say that I can find many discrepancies in the one or two masted smaller vessels of the time being better or worse armed depending on the vessels original use. It seems like how much the owners were willing to spend and what gunnery was available was far more an issue than construction. In fact I think that there were cases where after capturing an American converted Privateer the British cut down on the number of guns, size of guns, or both, and it is clear that their resources were far greater than the original owners and they could do pretty much as they desired.

 

It is obvious that I am nowhere near as well read as yourself and I could be completely full of it, but I can not help but think of ships like the Lexington who were able to hold their own against their naval built counterparts even though if possible in most cases they preferred to avoid personal damage by evasion. This can be seen even almost two hundred years later with the Graff Spee who's job was raiding merchant shipping of the enemy in 1939. When she engaged three British cruisers that on paper could have at least held their own. The Graf Spee almost sank the HMS Exeter and severally damaged the Ajax in a battle that lasted about an hour!. Most historical accounts I have read say that the Graf Spee handled with a different frame of mind would have had little trouble finishing off all three ships. There is some controversy about the few shells that did hit the Graf Spee and what possible damage they caused, but the result was the same in that the Captain decided he could no longer escape the British with the inevitable result of the loss of the ship.

 

Didn't the Bon Homme Richard get pierced for something like forty two or forty four guns on three decks? And she was worn out by the time John Paul Jones commanded her.

 

Thanks for the list of references. If possible I will be looking into at least some of them. It is always interesting what books other modelers find usefull.

 

Lou      

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Lou, the lines of Davis' model are taken from those for the British brig, of about 1800.  Lexington was built somewhat before 1775 as she was an existing merchant vessel bought in to serve in the Continental Navy.  The two types of vessels would not much resemble each other as the standards and practices of design had moved on a fair amount in the intervening 25 years.  (Conversation with Clay Feldman, 2 of Davis' grandsons and Art Herrick, a noted researcher, at the 2004 NGR conference in Portland Maine.)  If you have a copy of Brig Irene an example of one of those Cruzer class vessels that had a long life after the wars with the Netherlands Navy, the model being at one of their museums, you can compare.  There is also the pair, Cruzer class brig sloops and Snake class ship sloops, which use the same hull design.   All these correspond with Davis' Lexington

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In re putting ports in a merchant vessel:

They almost all had ports as merchant vessels, it may have been a simple matter of enlarging those a bit or adding a couple more.  They wouldn't have been terribly large, probably at most 9 pdrs.  Lexington had 6 pdrs., although 'reinforced' so a bit thicker metal in the barrel, which would have allowed a greater charge, but because of the heavier barrel, not much if any more recoil.  They could be rigged low down to the ship's side so the eye and ring bolts could get into solid structure.

The biggest difference between warship and merchant is the shape of the hull, tubby in most merchant ships, less so in warships, they usually sailed faster, and the warship had heavier framing, this second not showing much on the exterior.

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Joel

 

I do have the book on the Irene, along with the plans that were included in some of the editions. And yes I also could see that Davis's Lexington looked more related to that class of brigantine and others built for the Barbary war, 1812 war, and Napoleonic wars. That was why I changed my mind as to why my 'kit' could not be done as the Lexington just by leaving the forecastle but keeping the quarterdeck. I would need to remove the quarterdeck as well and do a few more hull alterations to make the bash believable as a Cruzer or similar era vessel but it would be possible. But I was looking for a Colonial Brigantine not a turn of the century ship. So the search continued and after the elimination of the Feldman Lexington I decided that this kit at least would have to be more generic and to try to be fair to the time period rather than a particular ship.

 

Lou 

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Apologies if I am missing something, but I haven't seen any reference in this discussion to Harold Hahn's book 'Ships of the American Revolution', and specifically to his chapter on Oliver Cromwell/Beaver's Prize.  She started out as a merchantman, converted to a privateer in 1777.  She was about 90ft OAL, marginally smaller than a Cruizer-class brig, and pierced for 18 guns (though the forward ports would rarely be filled).  Originally, the complement was 12 six-pounders, later increased to 14 and then 16. That description seems to fit fairly well with what Lou is trying to build.  Hahn's chapter on Oliver Cromwell also goes a long way to answering questions about the size, shape and spacing of gun ports, and the positioning of one (and later two) capstans.  He even mentions that his model was built as a substitute for a commission to build Davis' Lexington!

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John

 

Thanks for looking in and providing another source of information. Of course it turns out that I do not have Hahn's 'Ships of the American Revolution'. I have, in fact I am presently reading, his 'Colonial Schooner 1763-1175 and I have his plans for the Rattlesnake. That means I am unable to read your reference and make any comment on Hahn's description of the Lexington. I also would prefer not to discount to much on the research of people far more versed on ships of this time than I am unless I was able to obtain some very convincing undisclosed information. I do not think I was questioning length and number of guns in dismissing the Lexington as a possible subject of this model.

 

What I have done is take a kit that at best is kind of a representation of an early 1700s brigantine rigged ship with both a raised beaks head style forecastle and a fairly large great cabin and quarter deck. I think that the kit was designed that way so that they would not have to provide as many guns per kit because of the broken deck both fore and aft. All guns under the quarter deck and the forecastle are hidden. To me a small ship like a brigantine of less than 100' in the late 1700s would not have had an enclosed fore castle, merchant or purpose built warship. I know that there are ships that are an exception to this but I think they are uncommon. So I did not build the forecastle at all and shortened the quarter deck to what I thought was more proper for the time and type. I also extended the shear rail and enclosed the bow. By doing these things it turned out that the looks of the ship are considerably altered.

 

I started looking to see if the new looks could lead to a real ship that would be close enough to use as a pattern. I ran across the the above described book by Davis who used the 'Lexington' as a basis for his model. The pictures in the book looked very close to what I was building so for a short time I kind of ran with it so to speak. I had some doubts on the model in the book but who am I to question someone who writes a book about his 'scale' model? Looking elsewhere though it became almost instantly clear that whatever ship Davis had built, it was not the Lexington, in my opinion for what it is worth possibly not even the right war!

 

The Davis model is a fully open spar/gun deck ship with no quarterdeck or any cabin structure on the deck anywhere. It has more of the looks of a Cruzer class of Brigantine of the turn of the century as well as the brigantine Niagara of the war of 1812. Unfortunately this was not the period I wanted to do. I wanted the American Revolution, and I wanted to retain a ship with at least a quarterdeck. So for this reason I resigned myself to having to build somewhat of a fantasy ship that I have started to call the 'No Such'. Hopefully I am able to carry it off and it will at least look like a believable America brigantine of that period.

 

I will now have to get Hahn's book and read your references! I think I am doing as much, possibly more reading than I am building. This whole thing started as #1, I already own it. #2 my wife bought it for me something like twenty years ago, so I probably should build it. And #3 I thought I would give it to a friend of mine as a birthday present later this year. He likes ships but is not a modeler so I was pretty sure he would not pick it apart to badly and be able to enjoy it. As it is, it has turned into a full kit bash where the only wood from the kit that I have used is the carved hull, and that's been heavily modified! I need to quit changing and get on with the build! {:^) I still would like to do it right though.            

Lou 

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  • 9 months later...

Lou:

I came across your post when searching for discussions on “capstans”, and soon became interested in the discussion on gunports. Lots of info from several respondents on the sizing and location of them, which lead me to wonder ... which comes first: gunport sizing and location, or hull frame location? I’m thinking frames, then gunport size/location adjusted to fit. 

Also, I’m wondering if they gave any consideration to the port size vs. carriage size, in the event they might have to lose their guns overboard if being chased. 

 

Finally, how does your build progress?  I’ve not been able to find a log, if you’re posting one. 

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Hello Steve

I have come to think that gun port location and sizing was possibly dependent on the vessel being equipped. Warships designed from the ground up of course would have the required framing and rigging locations already incorporated into the design long before the first timber was cut and probably would have followed design standards set by the Admiralty or other governing body.

 

When it comes to merchant ships, converted merchant ships, privateers, and other riff raff it was probably a more eclectic operation. Some merchant ships like the Bonhomme Richard were already well armed in their original design, probably to some version of the above standard. Other ships like the Colonial schooner Hanna was a fishing vessel prior to being converted for military duties and who knows what method or formula if any was used to rig guns on her. But they also only had four 4 pounder carriage guns to deal with so I suspect they placed them anywhere they would fit and have a clear field of fire and room for loading and recoil. Then it is possible they would have reinforced that area of the bulwarks to handle the additional strain. I'm not all that sure about the last part to be honest. It was probably easier and less expensive to pick sturdy vessels right off. Of course there is the matter that in all probability at least some of the ships chosen for conversion to armed ship were chosen for who owned them rather than the ideal nature of the ship.

 

I could be VERY wrong but I would think that throwing the guns overboard would be one of the last things one would do in a chase. Without guns the ship would just have to sail back to port as just another unarmed vessel. I suppose there could be other reasons to consider this means of lightening ship, but not to many come readily to mind.

 

As for the Constructo build I never started a build log as after not having built anything in over twenty years, combined with the unbelievably impressive models people show here I did not feel that it would be impressive enough to be presented as a legitimate build. Then I went through a slowdown in the transom were I was not happy with the results and started over three times from the beginning. I am mostly done with the third attempt and if I can ever get back to it may end up being acceptable but not outstanding. Then there is the biggest, (Or smallest) deterrent to model building or for that matter almost any other hobby in the house. Our new kitten! She is an absolute terror that literally spends hours flying, (and I do mean flying) about the house seeing what kind of damage she can do. So far my wife has had to box up all of her craft supplies and has lost three or four finished projects. We had to remove some of her favorite dolls to remote locations of the house to save them from further destruction. We lost one collectible cookie jar in the kitchen when it went crashing onto the floor, and her bouquet of flowers for Valentines day had to finally be moved upstairs where the cat is not allowed to go for safety! A small ship like the Constructo kit would not stand a chance! 

 

One idea was tempting though. Yesterday after shopping we were putting away groceries and when I opened the refrigerator door the cat instantly ran into the lower shelf area as a new place she wanted to check out. I just closed the door and called my wife over and said "Should we have this for dinner?" and opened the door again. The cat came out and didn't even seem all that concerned, but seemed to have lost all interest when the whole place went dark. I was tempting to wonder how long it would take to make a kittycycal  though!

 

Hopefully in a few more months things will change. meanwhile I have become VERY interested in research on building a historically realistic model of the Continental Sloop Providence. At least I can do that to some degree even though she has on one occasion closed my computer lid by looking over the top to see what I was doing, walked across my keyboard a number of times causing all sorts of chaos with what was on the screen, and decided that the only place to lay down in the entire house was on the ship plans I had spread in front of me at the time. Kind of hard seeing details when you are looking in the face of a cat who is looking right back saying how dare you ignore me!

 

Hopefully #1 I will get back to the Constructo build soon, and #2 make enough research progress to start building the Providence. Might possibly have to do both at the same time. 

 

Thanks for both the input and the interest.


Lou    

Edited by lmagna
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