Jump to content

Constitution by Ageofsail - Revell - PLASTIC - Homage to Old Ironsides

Recommended Posts

Hello all, new to the forum community here at Model Ship World, but not to the world of modeling. I have been posting on another forum my progress on the U.S.S. Constitution and decided I need to start a log here to tap into the knowledge available on this forum. I've built everything from car, trucks, aircraft, to modern warships, including 3 1/96 Revell  sailing ships, Thermopylae in the mid 70's, USS United States in the early 80's, to recently finishing a very badly damaged Cutty Sark that sat for 18 years half finished while life got in the way.

I have been following Force9's build with great pleasure and decided to pay homage to the great Revell kit myself, found a 1976 release on Ebay in perfect unopened condition for $65.00 (with free shipping!) and agree with the consensus that her glory years in the early 1800's are the best way to represent her. Force9, Jtilley, and Bondomans insight have helped me to "plot a course", to borrow an appropriate nautical phrase, regarding the build. One thing I have always done which may seem counterintuitive to some, is to rig running rigging from the pin rails up and tie of in the mast and yards, basically reverse of instructions and cw. I feel I have far more control over tension up where I can actually see to work. I lay out rope coils on the deck and hang them from the pin rails before I ever mount a mast as it is easier for me to get the look right without masts and yards in the way. Any suggestion here to improve my technique would be appreciated, especially since not counting my completion of Cutty Sark last month, it has been over 18 years since my last build, and Cutty Sark required so much repair to broken top masts, bowsprit, and dolphin striker I very nearly gave up, and I am barely satisfied with the results.


I began this build in February 2015 so I will just post highlights here of my progress, hopefully posting photos will not be as difficult here as on the other forum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hull coppering done, will weather them mildly as I did Cutty Sark, but copper not exposed to oxygen will not look as deteriorated as some examples I have seen, so a light greenish black wash will suffice, obviously the above water line weathering will be a little more pronounced, the job Evan did on his hull was amazing but I do not have that kind of time (nor probably the skill)


Keel seams filled and scribed to represent hull plating, not possible to do corresponding scribes on both side of the hull so it will affect the way side of the ship I will display (starboard side)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The decks are turning into quite a challenge, horribly warped and simply not lining up correctly. I am not above considering scaledecks.com's superb alternative however were I to spend that money I would be inclined to go a little more extreme on other items as well. MEthinks after all the block sanding on the gun deck, the final spray and finish will decide for me but as can be seen here, the gun deck still needs some work.

I would like to follow Force9's design but I don't know if the deck here are salvageable, we shall see...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I finished the spar deck as a somewhat worn and weathered piece as is my wont and I must say, I am not too disappointed, the exception being the forward seam, I just could't seem to make it look right, but I like the way the weathering came out. The deck is a flat black base coat, wood tan top. I then layed on a rather heavy smear of undiluted leather to fill the seams and then washed it off with thinner SLIGHTLY tinted with flat black. I then poured a nice single malt scotch, (for me, not the deck) and proceeded to dot the butt ends with undiluted leather.

I left the gun deck somewhat weathered but didn't spend too much time on it. Unlike Evan I am not cutting viewing ports into the spar deck so no ned to get too extravagant with detail, but what is visible should be ok.









Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I know I will get grief for this and that's OK, at my age it's water off a duck's back, but I think clean unblackened brass eyebolts look kind of cool, and so I will leave them that way. I know it's not correct and I do want to capture the year 1812 as much as possible, however, if everyone is bent on that goal, then everything looks the same right? Besides, when I look at Force9 and Arnie60's work I realize I am not on their league and so I will do the build similarly but with a nod to what I think looks good, and I think the brass eyebolts look very cool.

This does not mean I will not attempt to make other  aspects of the build come as close as I can to the era I am trying to represent, but it is my take on what will make the build stand out.

That said, here is my latest work on this build, I decided the little "knobs" molded into the hull for the gun rigging on the gun deck are a joke and so I replaced them with the OOB eyebolts, no need for strength so I did not use the JoTika brass, better served where they're seen and needed, IE the spar deck.








Link to comment
Share on other sites

When this kit arrived, the box was more beat up than advertised and there was some damage which, based on following Froce9's build, really inspired me to think "outside the box" on this kit. The fore fife rail assembly was virtually shattered, to the point where only 4 of the stanchions were salvageable and so I rebuilt the whole thing including adding a pinrail on the fore crossrail and replacing the broken pinrails. I've already lamented the poor condition the decks were in, just happy I was able to make them somewhat serviceable.


The main fiferail had broken feet and so I flush mounted it to the deck, and the monkey rail was in 3 pieces so I built a new one


I also had at least 4 other broken pinrails so I decided to replace all of them, as well as adding 2 more. They are a work in progress but I did build them out of .80 Evergreen and planed down the belaying pin surfaces, this will allow me to use 1/4" belaying pins from Blue Jacket as well as have a substantial surface area at the attach point to the bulwarks and MUCH bigger tabs to go into the holes I drilled in the .40 reinforced and thickened  bulwarks.


As you can see, I still have a fair amount of touch up and clean up work to do and I will post pictures of my take on adding strength to the pinrails later but I suppose my main point is, without discovering forums such as this I never would have considered even this rudimentary amount of modification, the fact that now I am even planning on using non OOB deadeyes, shroud/ratlines and turned wood mastops and yards is giving my wife a headache Wink.

On a side note, I am curious what Force9 thinks about leaving the eyebolts un-blackened? Personally I like the look. As you can see I ordered the next size up, slightly out of scale but much easier to work with. I also bought the smaller size and will use some with rings attached as well

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

This post is from 2015 and 2016 on another forum, I've made some progress since then I will be posting soon, including a catastrophic development with stepping the bowsprit in place which will require fairly major surgery to repair, a repair I would be seriously distressed over had it not been for Dave, aka lambsbk, bailing me out with spare parts, work to begin on that repair soon I hope, as I am at a standstill until it is fixed.


As I had previously mentioned spring summer and early fall are mountain biking and Moab rock crawling season, so work on Connie has been on hiatus. However, prior to her being put up for the season I had completed some work by the end of April beginning of May I failed to post pics of, so here they are.

These were test fits of the Carronades and finally rigging of them as well as fitting the belaying pins. I did seriously consider the rigging Arnie added but lacked the time to make such a huge effort. I did sieze the cordage and like how they came out, more authentic in detail. Anyway here's what I accomplished late last spring, hoping to start up on her sometime this winter but I broke my rock crawler pretty bad and so will be spending time building my class 5 Blazer as well, looking forward to picking Evan's and Arnie's brain on the rigging to come.

Prefitting the Carronades:




Rigged and belaying pins installed:



With rope coils:



Repaired fore fife rail with brass pins:



I thought long and hard about what to do regarding the rather flimsy channels, ultimately going with a combination of Evan's and Randy's suggestion. I used the original channels but reinforced the underside with .80 sheet styrene, and further reinforcement where it attaches to the hull. Evan had suggested notching rather that drilling holes for the deadeyes and the logic of it dictated I follow said suggestion



Test fit:




Edited by Ageofsail
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Hello all, it's been 2 years since my last post, but I have been nibbling away at my Constitution nevertheless. Suffered 2 bad breaks on the bloody dolphin striker, the second one so bad it actually broke the bowsprit as well. If it weren't for Dave, aka lmbsk sending me a spare he had, I would have been in dutch big time, thanks Dave!
I wound up having to cut the damage bowsprit off just past the boards and using a cherrywood dowel as an internal splint, splice the replacement piece on, after adding more material to the end in order to pin the martingale in for added strength.


Next I bent a piece of steel wire to match the dolphin striker, hollowed out a bed for it, and layed a piece of .020 styrene over the repair, note the piece of doweling extending past the bowsprit to ensure a good attachment point for the matringale.


No photo description available.


Next was to trim down the sandwiched piece and prepare for paint

Next was brass re-enforcement of the lower dolphin strikers, out of scale now but breakage is now not a serious issue
This was way more work than it should have been. But in the end, there is nothing worse than breaking these delicate parts hanging out there for the whole world to bump against and reduce you to tears at the thought of having to repair!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The time finally arrived to replace the temporary 2x4 base I had been using due to the fact that soon the jib and flying jib will be installed and it would be too difficult to replace the base with those pieces in place. Blue Jacket's base is ridiculously long and since woodworking is one of my great passions, I decided to make my own base out of white oak that will only stretch the length of the hull.
2 light coats of Dark Walnut stain and 2 coats of satin finish urethane and I think it will work. BTW, the dining room table it is sitting on is also my creation [:D]
The Blue Jacket pedestals needed to be trimmed down to fit, fortunately my Revell kit had the bosses to mount it to a pedestal molded in so it wasn't too challenging
Final assemby looks pretty good, will have to remove the base one more time however, in order to spray the copper down with a weathering solution, as well as weather the rest of the hull

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really liked the way Evan's capstan he built for the spar deck turned out however I did think the base was a little too small diameter-wise even though it does match the Hull model. I decided to have a base equal in size to the drum cap, with a taper toward the whelps. I used Evan's method for creating the drum heads however I used pine for the whelps and cherry for the center spindle, and finished them with a diluted leather.

I also put a cross-wise sheet of styrene down and scribed planking in to represent a re-enforced base to handle the stresses the decking here was no doubt subjected to, for the bars, at this scale I simply snipped some of my spare boat oars down and likewise applied the diluted leather, my wont is to represent a ship months at sea and therefore a little more weathered, repainted, weathered again. I hope I am achieving this.

Professor Tilley was correct, cherrywood is the only way to go!
Stark contrast between the kit piece, the Blue Jacket piece (anyone need one?) and the wood/styrene one that will go on the ship

I filed the whelps down once the were in place, just seemed easier, next was diluted leather with an eye to weathering, same for the rods, and mount to the re-enforced deck


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to admit Evan has been a huge influence, it is further evident in the ship's bell, I merely copied what he built. There seems to be no super clear consensus regarding its location in 1812, but methinks close proximity to the helm and binnacles makes the most sense, especially for my purposes as I am rigging my ship with the boats placed according to the Revell plans which makes positioning the bell aft of the Charlie Noble impossible, plus there is ample room to mount it on the coming of the hatch just forward of the helm and binnacles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I decided to take a little break from detailing the spar deck and face the inevitable, the yards, spars studding sail booms, jibs, and spankers.

As I have stated, I re-enforced the lower yards and lower masts with dowel inserts so I plan on using them, the rest, for the most part not so much, simply too wimpy.

I will be using Blue Jackets superb template and turning pretty much everything from above the upper masts including the yards and studding sail booms, and adding the skys'l yard Revell omits from its kit using cherry doweling, Thanks Professor Tilley for the advise.

This will take a while but it will be a nice break from the work on the ship itself especially since it is still too cold here to spray the weathering solution on the copper hull, which must be done before I start rigging the jibs.

I took all the Revell pieces, labeled them and marked them according to the BJ plans, the ones I know will be subject to breakage will replaced with cherrywood pieces


I've already turned the jibs and spritsail yard as you can see the scale is quite different from between the 2


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having followed Evan (Force9) with great interest, I decided his approach to the Charlie Noble and capstan, as the kit provided ones are woefully inadequate. The Charlie Noble was a a breeze in terms of construction, getting it look aged and a little worse for wear involved a heavy, almost sticky flat black, tieing off the guy wires at this scale was a pain, a single malt night for sure!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

Hi guys, been a while since my last post. I thought retirement was supposed to free up all kinds of time for other pursuits! Oh well.

So making small amounts of progress on Constitution, for example, after my disastrous breakage of my Dolphin Strikers AND snapping the bowsprit in 2, I lost tons of time repairing the damage and while waiting for various glues and Milliput fillers to dry, I decided to address the gaping hole in the Spar Deck where the bowsprit makes its way down to the gun deck. no way I was going to use that ugly box ladder Revell provided. because I didn't use all the brass gratings that came with the photo-etched sheets from Blue Jacket, I figured a cut and shaped piece, surrounded by coming would suffice, easy peazy!

I began with filling from the underside with black styrene


Next was to build the grate/coming assembly


Installation was very straightforward came out pretty good I think, waaaay better than the Revell solution to this hole



Link to comment
Share on other sites

While all this was going on, I was still trying to figure out how the heads were going to come together, especially since the brass grating from Blue Jacket was no way to fitting, not without major mods to both the head timbers, the head well and the grating, something I somply did not want to deal with. My solution was to simply modify the grating from the Revell kit by cutting off the stupid "heads" and trimming to fit and accomodate the brass heads from BJ mounted on styrene troughs. Seeing as I intend to use the Boomkins, I will have to figure that mounting situation out later.




Not much of an update so sorry for that, this whole lifetime free flights from Delta Airlines retiree thingy is really soaking up a lot of time, hopefully more to come soon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...