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USS Constitution by khauptfuehrer - Bluejacket - Scale 1:96 - First wood model build


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Hi everybody.  My name is Kurt Hauptfuehrer.  You can just call me Kurt H when replying.  I am new to this site, and, as you can see, new to the process of posting build logs.  The Bluejacket Constitution is my first build.  I chose this one because you can completely outfit the gun deck.  This kit is excellent in many respects, but it is a very challenging build, especially for a novice like me.  I wanted to share my build logs because, even though there are a multitude of sins,  there are some aspects of my build that you may merit your attention (I hope).  At any rate, my sharing of the experiences I had and the mistakes I made my benefit other novices who are doing this build.

 

 

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You have taken upon yourself a true challenge and it is my opinion that you have come to the right community to assist you in your endeavor . It will take time , research ,understanding , and patience .

 

Dan

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Ken as one who has struggled through building this BlueJacket model I commend you on an excellent job. I made many mistakes but it turned out a very nice model ship. Your work on the gun deck is impressive to me. I want follow your build. I could give many tips on this model but you are doing a better build than I did. I have built many model ships but this was the hardest for me.

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Kurt H, Most of my tips are on the hull. You have completed most of the hard part of your ships hull. Any tips I might have made on the hull are of no value to you. Your work is better than mine. If I was making the top masts I would make them out of brass tube and rod. I am currently making the 1/96 scale Sloop of War Kearsarge by BlueJacket and that is how they make the top masts. Made of wood they are so delicate they break off with the slightest brush of a shirt sleeve or while rigging. Your art work on the stern is impressive to me.  Instead of drilling out the canon barrels I painted barrel openings. After the stern the most difficult part for me was the bowsheads timbers. I never figured out how to make the timbers correctly . I did make them but was never satisfied. They ended up slightly slanted.  Since they are black and the ship is black I put vertical white stripes ( I paint decal paper white then spray clear coat on. I cut out fine lines of the painted decal and apply to the ship ) giving the effect of being vertical to the waterline. I can't paint fine lines so I use the decals I make and it this works real well. I put decal setting solution on and this makes the lines settle down to the ship and look painted on. It looks good so I moved on. I am sure yours will look much better. I hope you do a build log so everyone can see your fine work. I didn't find the photos in the BlueJacket Constitution instructions very helpful as they were of poor quality  at best. Their photos and drawings in the Kearsarge model I am building are very good.  BlueJacket may have improved the instructions for the USS Constitution model by now ?  For me the masts and yards was straight forward and easy. The rigging was also easy. Should you need blocks and deadeyes let me know, I have some left over from my Constitution build. Your work shows that you are a very detailed model builder and skilled craftsman. Study the rigging and knots used as everyone that views my ships always look at the rigging. They think it is the hard part but to me it is easy and fun. Also, I too sealed my copper sheathing and ended up painting over the copper. Big mistake on my part. The brilliant shine of copper is lost.

Edited by CPS_skybolt
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Thanks so much for the info!  I put up another post which as been combined with the one you saw in which I describe and illustrate my efforts to duplicate the ship' bowheads as they now appear.  You be the judge of how successful I was.  I also describe my building of the spar deck timbers which you may find of interest.  The masts and yards of Constitution has me thoroughly intimidated.  Getting the taper right  squaring and tapering the masthead worries me the most.  I think i have a plan for the construction of the paunch, cheeks, hounds and bibs.  Dowels that are not warped are very hard to come by, so if I do not get it right the first time, I may have lost my opportunity.  The topmast is square at the bottom, octagonal at the doublings, round until just below the crosstrees, the octagonal again flaring out, then square again above the crosstrees.  Yikes! What technique to you use to taper the masts and yards?  I am sorely tempted to use the ones in the Revell Constitution that I bought as a reference source. If i seal the seam and paint it with the same paint that I used for the rest of the model it will be very hard to tell that it is plastic.  I know this is anathema to many modelers, but for me the final appearance of the model is more important than bragging rights.  The lower yards likewise have an octagonal section in the middle.   I have some videos downloaded from YouTube which illustrate how to reeve deadeyes, seize blocks, and rig ratlines using the clove hitch.  That should help.  By the way, we are in good company when it comes to struggling with the Bowheads.  I have looked at a lot of photos of models of Constitution online, and very few of them did bowheads really well.  They are the very devil to do, especially on Constitution.

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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Kurt H. I made my BlueJacket Constitution in 2015. I called BlueJacket for help.  BlueJacket said a guy who has built this model for them many times takes calls about this kit. His name is Charlie Cook at 1 800 336 2795 9-4 Mon thru Friday. I tried to reach him a couple times  ( in 2015 ) but never received a phone answer from him. Maybe you will have better luck.

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To backtrack a bit to the cutting out of the gun ports - I forgot to mention another pitfall in the plans.  The measurements and placement of the spar deck gun ports in the elevation and the spar deck plan do not agree.  This can really trip up a novice as it did me.  My spar deck gun ports on the quarter deck are not correct.  I recommend that you use the Marquardt plans using a proportional divider (the scale is given in the Marquardt) or scanning it into a computer and scaling up in a drawing program such as Photoshop or Corel Draw, or simply copy them from the Revell model.

Another thing I forgot to mention: You may find that the shaping of the gun deck in the carved hull leaves a great deal to be desired. In this case, instead of a very shallow inverted "U", it was more like a lazy "S" turned on its side.  I did not put in the time and effort that I should have in correcting this. Lesson learned!  You may need to remove more wood from the interior of the hull so that you can install beams.

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Thank you so much Dave.  I knew what I had to do with the diagonal knees only because there are photos of these from the actual ship.  Different ships use different layouts and if the plans do not show you that, how can one know what to do?  I see you did the Revell model with fiber optic lighting.  I'll check that out.  Maybe it's not too late for me to do something like that.

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 Thanks so much, Dave, for the compliment.  Fortunately, the availability of photos plus a fold-out complete diagram of the spar deck timbers in the instructions gave me all the info I needed.  I came across some build photos of a scratch built plank on frame model by Herb Ebson of the Constitution using the same Campbell plans from the Smithsonian that Revell uses.  This model had details of every deck right down to the orlop.  There is nary a diagonal knee to be seen.  They are all hanging knees bolted to the forward sides of the beams.   There is one lodging knee for each beam attached to the aft side of the beam.  I checked out your Revell Constitution build.  It is amazing!  You do a great job with spar deck timbers yourself!  You even included ledges which I did not  because I thought that they would make it too hard to see the detail on the gun deck.  Before I joined MSW, I thought that one plastic kit build was pretty much like another.  Now I know better!!

 

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you for the compliment!  I glued the netting to the inner edges of the crane irons with contact cement.  I found it easier to work with than CA glue.  In places where the contact cement was insufficient, I supplemented it with CA gel.  Gluing them to the ropes was unnecessary in the quarter deck and forecastle areas due to the stiffness of the netting, but necessary at the waist.  I cut the strips of netting oversize, then trimmed them with small scissors.  Touch up with black paint was needed as I left the eyes of the irons unpainted so that the ropes would slide through easily, and the contact cement was not always invisible when dry.  Before gluing in the netting, I treated the ropes with CA liquid to stiffen them so that they could further stabilize the irons.  As I worked, my depth perception was challenged more than I expected.  I must have looked like the guy in that iconic "hanging chads" photo.

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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  • 2 weeks later...

It´s really a great job! I love this kit, actually I have the same one fron Bluejacket, but an old version without photoeched parts. So far it remains unasebled in my basement. It is amazing when I compare the raw solid hull with your one with all the details inside, my congratulations!

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