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Continental sloop Providence by lmagna - Artesania Latina - kit-bashed colonial schooner Independence 1776 kit - First wooden POB ship build


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The Continental Sloop Providence 1775: Concept

 

Well I suppose I have procrastinated long enough and it is time for me to actually start doing some building.

 

I have not built a ship model in over twenty years and all of the models I have built before, not counting a lifetime of plastic ships dating from childhood, were  RC ships and were pretty much made form plans I found in magazines and using materials scrounged from almost everywhere. One ship was made from fold out plans much like the centerfold in Playboy and the wood started out life as a dog house and was filled in with Styrofoam packing blocks sanded to shape, smoothed out with Spackle and covered with fiberglass. More doghouse for the decks, and old realtor signs for the superstructure And to properly finish it off I found that a section of house drainpipe was perfect for the funnel! Most of my ships were done that way as I didn’t know better, (No internet for me back then) and it was not until I decided to build the USS Oahu that I actually obtained a real set of plans from the Smithsonian. Even then I pretty much used the bread and butter method for building the hull. Just flat boards from the hardware store with all the parts that didn’t look like a China River Gunboat cut away. My building style was a true case of ignorance is bliss in its purest form.

 

Fast forward to the present day. I started looking into period ships as a possibility to re-enter the hobby after my retirement as the body, even after a few surgeries in the last few years is not as comfortable in dragging 36 to 45” or more ships that weigh 35 or more pounds to the pond or lake getting them in and out of the car, lake, and house. They would still be fun to run but all the other stuff, not so much.

 

After locating this forum I was, and kind of still am, a little intimidated by the museum quality of so many of the models presented, and by the precise research that is put into getting them right. I know I can build, but can I build right and when using these methods achieve a presentable model? To compound the issue I feel a little like Harry Potter when he was in Ollivanders getting his first wand and being told that “it’s really the wand that chooses the wizard, of course.” In my case it is the ship that chose me rather than the other way around. I had been looking at scratch and kits for some time and even though there were several that interested me in both categories none of them reached out to me and said “That is THE one.” That is until Old Salt and Chuck Seiler both posted builds for the Continental Sloop Providence. I picked up the book that contained the plans used by Chuck and when I was done reading it I knew that I had been picked.

 

After some more research I became aware that the plans used by John and Chuck were of the replica sloop by John F. Millar and that in her construction a number of things had been changed from the original research to accommodate present day Coast Guard regulations, (Or to avoid them) and in some cases to meet the whims of the people building her. My desire was to build a model that was not constrained by these limitations and fit a little more closely my mental image of what the ship should look like.

(More to follow)

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Research

 

Now reality set in. In order to at least try and do justice to my concept of the Providence I had to try and uncover whatever information was used by Miller and others in determining the size and looks of the original Providence.

 

It became pretty clear early on that I was neither knowledgeable enough, nor in a position to do what could be major research throughout the colonial states to try to retrieve existing scraps of data or new original material. This made me start looking at research that had already been done, most of it about ninety years ago! After talking to Mr. John Millar I received very little that related to his sources, but quite a bit regarding the compromises on the replica Providence. I was finally able to determine that possibly the only research done on the Providence was done by Charles G. Davis back in the mid to late 20s! This brought up other names like Alfred F. Brownell, George C. Wales, and Hewitt R. Jackson. Also it appears that at least one period painting and possibly a few drawings of Providence and what are considered similar ships have also been used. The painting was done in England by Francis Holman in 1777 even though it is certain that he never actually saw the Providence first hand and was working from descriptions at best. At any rate it became apparent that what I think were plans created by Davis, Brownell, and Wales became the basis for virtually all the current models in collections all over the eastern states. This research was not only considered accurate enough at the time, but a number of years later was at least partly used by Jackson in his research for the replica Lady Washington and later for the sloop Union. He also used research produced by Chapelle and Chapman but his hull lines and many details of his plans clearly show a very strong reliance on Davis’s work. So that brings us around again to Millar who also told me he was the guiding influence behind the replica Lady Washington. I made an attempt at the Mystic Seaport museum, the curators of Davis’s papers, to obtain information on his Providence research if they exist, as well as a copy of his paper on Hudson Bay sloops, but unfortunately the request didn’t even elicit a reply and as I am not in a position to go there in person had to be regarded as a dead end.

 

A number of ships also came to light at this time, all supported by one degree of documentation or another, either in written or pictorial form and could be considered contemporaries or descendants of the Providence. The already mentioned Lady Washington and Union, and the Experiment by name. Jackson states that the Experiment was the basis for Davis’s research and that he produced plans based on that. Again another somewhat closed loop. All of these ships appear to have Hudson River sloop ancestry so I decided to follow the herd so to speak rather than try to reinvent the wheel.

At this time almost all I have to go on are some general dimensions, a few pictures of the better models of what is considered to be the Providence, and a couple of contemporary partial descriptions. It appears that everything present today outside of the contemporary information is based on Davis’s work, and therefore very similar.

 

It appears that the general consensus is that the Providence was built in the time period between 1768 and 1774 with most sources using the earlier date. Her statistics were about 75-90 tons with the higher number being preferred as it was common in colonial America to lie about the tonnage of a vessel in order to avoid taxes based on that tonnage. Her length was somewhere in the 60-65’ range on deck and virtually all accounts list 20’ as her beam, and her “depth of hold” about 7’6”- 8’. I personally think the 8’ mark was probably more of a draft measurement as it seems more in line with other known draft measurements for these vessel types and would have made her more able to navigate the waters of the eastern seaboard where she was designed and built. Virtually all accounts state that she was fast, and I take that to mean that she was fast even for vessels of her kind, otherwise why mention it at all. One writer even states that she was copper bottomed, but I do not hold the same opinion. The same holds for an off sided statement by Millar that she could of also had a slightly raised fore castle. He did not expound on his statement and I have also not done much with it at this point other than consider it only slightly possible. More on this later. It is clear that she was built as a trader or merchant ship not as a warship but one has to remember that she was also built by a man who had been involved in the privateers of the French and Indian Wars, was almost surly a smuggler when he felt he could get away with it, and lastly a known slaver. All of these things were better served by fast ships so I personally think her speed was more design than just copper plating.

 

So with that as my guidelines I approached construction methods.

 

(More to follow)

 

Lou

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Hello Louis, now that sounds interesting, a concept build of a 1775 ship and a sloop no less. That's one of my favorite ships to build.

Don't mind if I pull up a stump and have a front row place to watch your progress.

I have been in Everett several times but unfortunately no sight seeing. Government business at Boeing. Nice area when flying over it though.

 

Cheers,

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Hi Piet


You just made my day. I was beginning to think that I was the only person who could see this post.

I didn't think of using the term " Concept build" in my build title, maybe I should have.

 

You are more than welcome to pull up whatever you like, after all it is a pretty empty room, I hope that I can find something better than a stump though! Stumps are no way to treat a guest unless you are sitting in the woods next to a campfire. Hopefully I can keep it interesting, (Or possibly that should be MAKE it interesting) so that I can partly pay you back for all you have provided me with in following your Java build.

 

Lou

Edited by lmagna
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The model

 

With all the previous information and more in mind I settled on one set of plans that most represented my conclusions but even they didn’t match them all. I also was divided in that I could either alter the plans to suit my image or find a model hull that would provide the same base. I settled on the later method as #1 I already had the kit and #2 it would also provide most or all the required wood and fittings that would be needed in the build anyway. I went through my stash of kits and narrowed it down to two almost perfect matches, The Corel HM sloop Resolution and the Artesania Latina Colonial schooner Independence 1776. Both were of the right draft and beam with slightly longer decks than I needed, especially on the Resolution. To use that model I would have to make a new profile piece at 94% of the original and shorten the transom counter. On the Independence I would need to lower the fore castle to the level of the main deck, lower the main deck to a more proper depth of hold that would also make the bulwarks higher in relation to the deck, and then raise the quarter deck to match the poop deck. In addition to all this I would also have to alter the bow to a slightly more pointed plan shape and add a little more rake to the bow/cutwater area especially from the waterline down. This kit would also need to have almost an inch of the stern counter removed. The rigging of course would also need to be altered from a schooner to a sloop. At first glance it would seem that the Resolution would be the easier conversion, but I cannot help but feel that the Independence after alteration comes closer to the right shape and size. After this initial alteration there will be a number of other items that need to be dealt with, almost all of them somewhat minor in detail but important none the less.

 

(Next The build)

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Glad to see you both. Looks like I will need to find better lighting now as well! :D

 

Feel free to jump in with suggestions. If you were able to wade through all of the above stuff you will know that this is a VERY subjective build and as such is wide open to interpretation! Right now I am a few days ahead of what I am writing and for the most part it is pretty much in the alteration phase and I feel pretty comfortable with what I am doing. Like I said before I am pretty sure I have voided the kit warranty but I am feeling OK with the new look. I should be able to have a few pictures starting tomorrow. Hopefully they will be OK as that is completely new to me. Maybe They will all turn out fuzzy and I fool everyone that it is the camera not the builder! (That could be good to hide the quality of work as well)

 

Oh by the way, don't forget your hard hats. I can be a little dangerous when I get around tools!:huh:

 

Lou

 

By the way Chuck, as you have the plans for the replica Providence you can compare them with this build. I have the book also but my plans are book size and I didn't want to spend the money to blow them up as that is not really the ship I am building. 

 

Me again

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Hey hey the gangs all here! Glad you could stop by Mark. Later on you may regret it though when I get into the stuff I don't know much about, (Meaning almost everything!) and have to consult with my Sensei.

 

Better put a lock on the popcorn though, I don't provide much food for my dockyard crew and they might start helping themselves! That will distract them from their work and slow things down! 

 

Lou

 

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The wood dust already flew in secret! I have had my shipyard crew busy for days! The build does sound somewhat ambitious because of all the different deck levels involved with the original kit but I still think it is the best kit for this build. Time will tell.

 

The crew had to take the day off today as I was too cheap to pay them time-and-a-half for working Saturday, and tomorrow is a big surprise birthday party for our youngest. Hopefully I can get them back to work buy Monday and I can post a few pictures.

 

Thanks for dropping in, hope your chair was comfortable.  

 

Lou

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Thanks for the look in and likes donrobinson, and it is nice seeing you John.

 

This build is really not much more than modifying a few of the basic framing parts early in the build, most of which hopefully will be done over the next couple of weeks and from then on is just a build of a single masted sloop from the mid to late 1700s. Most people here would call it a beginners model suitable for anyone just starting out in wooden ship model building. Much like the Armed Virginia Sloop kit is considered. Hopefully I will be able to do a decent job of that part of the build and it won't end up looking like junk . When I get to the rigging I will mostly be using the sail/masting/rigging plan from the AVG. Again I will have to make some alterations to match some information from my "research" but the AVG will be the major source just like the Independence was the main source for the hull. I think in reality it would be better to call it a semi kit, not quite kit and not quite scratch. Not a big deal really like I said before. It still ends up a matter of if I have the skill sets required to build a nice model. If I fail at least I get to look at builds by others that do have the abilities!

 

Lou

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The build

I started by removing all of the hull bulkheads and profile piece from the laser cut sheet. This was quite easy and I was able to arrange everything onto the profile piece for location purposes. The fit was too tight to allow complete positioning until I hand fitted each piece with a file and sandpaper. Also it was slightly difficult to locate each bulkhead as none of them have numbers or letters but this is only a slight difficulty at best. I then placed the four deck sections in place and was impressed by how they fit and by the use of locating tabs and slots insured the proper alignment of the overall hull. The only problem here was that two of the decks have locating tabs that go into slots in bulkheads and those slots do not allow for the proper camber on the deck.  For anyone actually building this kit as the Independence they would have to deal with this before going further. This is how the hull pieces look assembled right out of the box before any alterations.

 

 

 

As a side note I cannot help but note that this hull/deck design is virtually identical to the Model Shipways Sultana!  If it was based on the Sultana, only in a bigger scale, why not just say so rather than call it the Independence? The slightly raised fore castle and the fact that the Sultana also dates from 1768 makes me wonder if this could be the reason Millar referred to the possibility that Providence also had a raised fore castle? It could be possible, but so far I have not found any other references of Hudson River sloops having this design feature.

 

Hope the pictures are OK and are interesting and informative to others I have never done this part before.

 

Lou

 

(Next: First alterations)

KIF_4020.JPG

KIF_4021.JPG

KIF_4022.JPG

Edited by lmagna
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Thanks John and donrobinson

 

The only problem with te pictures John was that they were supposed to be in the middle of the text where the big space was! I also have to take responsibilty for the 'not much to see aspect of the pictures. Not to sure what to do about that part either.

 

thanks for stopping in.

 

Lou

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when you write your explanation.......hit enter......then picture......then enter again........more explanation......hit enter.......then picture.......hit enter....and so on.

   you'll get the hang of it.  :)     I felt my ear burning..........someone was talking about me  ;)    in reality.......your PM alerted me that something was going on:ph34r:

 

   it's about time you started this project!  I'm proud of you!   as we discussed........there are plenty of folks that will help you fill in the blanks ;)   have fun and get this darn ball rolling!  I can't wait to see what you do with this project  ;) 

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Thanks Denis. Piet, and Mark

 

What do you mean Denis? My PM just talked about your M&M revival, I don't think I said anything about my starting on the Providence.

 

I did some more today I and am almost at the point of needing to do some much more serious stuff that will probably slow me down a bit, but it will need to be done. I am actually posting a few days behind my building but I don't know how long that will continue. At some point I will get to the stuff that I either have never done before, (a lot) or don't know much about, (A lot more). Then I will have to try and get some answers from you people before I can progress. Right now it doesn't look like much but hopefully it will improve.

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First alterations (Forecastle and Main deck)

 

Today I took everything apart again and started modifying the ship’s hull structure. I lowered the forecastle deck by three and a half scale feet and lowered the main deck to match so I now have one continuous 39.5’ main deck. I then had to notch both the forward and main-false deck pieces to fit in the new locations. This was mostly a test and fit, test and fit procedure until everything was properly located.

KIF_4023.JPG

KIF_4024.JPG

KIF_4025.JPG

KIF_4029.JPG

(Next step: Altering the quarter deck and poop decks)

Edited by lmagna
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Thanks Don

I personally think at this point it looks like scaffolding for a building, (Option B if this whole thing doesn't work out!)

Hopefully in the next week or two it will start to looks a little more like the ship I hope it will become and then will also become more interesting.

 

Thanks for the Complement it does make it a little easier to plug on, ever deeper into the dark side! I Can not help but wonder if I have what it takes to get back into the light.  

Edited by lmagna
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Poop deck and stern alterations

 

Today I shortened the Poop deck area in order to reduce the overall length, and raised the quarterdeck to match the height of the poop deck position. This is now one continuous quarterdeck. This gives me a 5’ rise of the quarter deck over the main deck. Just what I was looking for.

 

Over all at this stage, the main deck is 39 and a half feet long and the quarter deck another 28 feet, for a total of 67.5’, about the same as the replica Providence, but about 2 feet, (1/2”) longer than what I would consider my target of 65 feet.KIF_4034.thumb.JPG.9f37ae2bae9a76a4887eb990f651214c.JPGKIF_4036.thumb.JPG.21cd482a0fd22a8d224fcdbdd088c4fb.JPGKIF_4038.thumb.JPG.121ece612ca07b3f8c6009ea133a890c.JPG

 

 

I had to stop and do some  consulting with the work crew at this point. The assorted deviations in the described length of the Providence I suppose would allow me to keep it at this length if I wanted. This of course would be the simplest answer. Most references say the ideal length for sloops in general is about 60-65 feet. There were a few sloops built at about 70 feet but were not considered as successful as their shorter cousins as they required an even larger main sail that was correspondingly much harder for the crew to handle. One of the reasons for the schooner rig development was to still have a large sail area without overpowering the crew with a huge individual sail like the American sloops carried. Again I am forced to fall back on the description that the Providence was a fast and good sailing ship and that 65’ would be better. I could go 60’ but I can find no indications that the Providence was that small like so many sources describe the Hannah. Besides at ten cannon and later 12 cannon she needs all the deck she can get! Even now at sixty five feet it gets VERY crowded, even though I must admit that is also partly because of the larger cabin. I considered reducing the cabin length but again what few sources there are say she had a "prominent" quarterdeck that was almost half her length! KIF_4032.thumb.JPG.128284625876c0ddabec8a906263fc85.JPG

 

I can still remove a little in the stern with a couple of more alterations than I wanted to do. And there are still some modifications needed in the bow that could also involve a bit of shortening but that would possibly also involve alterations to the hull that I had not originally intended to make. Not entirely certain what way I will go. I never thought a half inch was all that much before!

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*quote*  What do you mean Denis? My PM just talked about your M&M revival, I don't think I said anything about my starting on the Providence.

 

we talked about it before you started the log ;)    looks like the modifications are agreeing with the Providence....if the decks become harder to line up,  you may want to trace the parts together on a fresh piece of flat stock and cut out a new deck platform.   this will also make it easier to find those tiny deficiencies where you trimmed out the bulkheads.   she's look'in good  ;)  

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Looks good,  Lou.   Keep going.  The problem with these serious kit bashes is you suddenly wake up one morning, and realize that "don't need no stinkin' kits"... and get sucked into the darkside.  It's not so back here....  good refreshments, warm buttered popcorn, and deep appreciation of what others go through but all in a good way.

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Denis

No need to worry about the way the decks look now. They are just sub decks and will be covered over by real planking that when the time comes YOU are going to instruct my shipyard crew on how to do!

 

No one is safe who hangs around here, anyone may be put to work at almost any time1

 

Hi John

Glad to see you as well. I was hoping you would stop by now and then. I still consider you the resident expert on building the model Providence. And YOURS is done, quite an accomplishment. Did you ever get your Marines made?

 

Hi Mark

I knew that I could have built from scratch, I have done it in the past, although never a period sailing ship. But the kits are just sitting up there and I hated to see them go to waste, especially when a couple of them were already so close to what i wanted anyway. Time to quit being a hoarder and put one of them to use. At least that is what I keep telling myself!

 

I must admit that some of this build so far is even surprising me on how well it is going. I expected much more bashing to be needed to even get it this far and so far all I have found is one kit discrepancy that would have been there even if I was building it as the Independence. 

 

No update today, life kind of got in the way of any real progress. 

 

I really do thank everyone for stopping be and commenting and the likes. Makes this more enjoyable.

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Lou congratulations on starting your Providence build log

I put one US enlisted Marine aboard. He's preparing the swivel gun to fire off a salute. There are more pix of my build in the scratch completed section. If you look close there is one dog aboard . Part of the prize crew the Providence took on one cruise.

 Here is one image with the US Marine, in the green uniform of that period.

 

SOS

Providence 18.jpg

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