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


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I made a primitive thread coloring machine which is just a dowel with a crank on one side and a dowel to hold the thread spool on the other with a tray in the middle to dip the line in. I crank the line with one hand and hold it in the tray with a piece of styrofoam with the other. I can color a lot of line in a few minutes this way. I let it dry on the crank then wrap it back onto another spool. It does come out with a pretty consistent color this way. I use brown liquid shoe polish from a bottle and get a medium tan color.

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Sprits'l yard crossed, jib boom and flying jib boom horses installed, bowsprit horse attached at one end, jib boom and flying jib boom guys, and traveler guys attached.  Traveler guys will not be attached to the catheads until the upper stays are rigged and the traveler rings are in their final position.

 

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It is probably a good idea to install all fittings to the catheads and knight heads now, before I permanently glue in the bowsprit.

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Wire stropped 3/32" double blocks (a fiddly process to say the least), and wire stropped 3/32" bullseyes on left, and in situ along with 3/32" eyepins on the knight heads and cat heads on the right,  The instructions specify fiddle blocks on the knight heads, but, as I could not visualize exactly how to set those up, I went with all bullseyes as indicated in the other sources I looked at.

 

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Yeah, I know.  the bullseyes on the knight head should be oriented vertically, but then I would not be able to fit the seats of ease.  Touch up to be done tomorrow when the epoxy glue has cured.  Now to glue in the bowsprit.

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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  • 2 weeks later...

The bowsprit has been permanently installed using 24 hr epoxy.  Next job was the gammoning.  It turned out to be even more difficult than I anticipated.  Fortunately, I made the gammoning slot in the stem knee longer than called for in the plans, knowing that I did not know exactly where the corresponding slot in the grating would end

up owing to the extensive remodeling needed to make if fit.  It turns out that this was a good idea.  I could not see what I was doing under the grating and in between the bowhead timbers, but it is a safe bet that what I ended up with bears little resemblance to the illustration in the instruction book.  However, since I cannot see what I did, neither can anyone else.  I made an attempt at the frapping with less than museum quality results.  Again, this will not be visible, being hidden behind the seats of ease.  I had a choice regarding the gammoning cleats.  I could either make 5 large ones as in the AOS, or 7 small ones as in the instructions and in the Revell model.  I chose the latter, owing to the small space between the gammoning and the knightheads.

 

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Next, I permanently attached the lines that had previously set up on the bowsprit, jib boom, and flying jib boom.  The traveller rings are temporarily tied in place.  the aft end of the bowsprit horse has not been attached yet for obvious reasons.

 

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I had a choice between running lifts for the sprits'l yard (instructions, present setup) or standing ones (Marquardt AOS.  As you can see, I opted for the standing lifts, as this would stabilize the yard as I rigged it.  Now to begin rigging the lower foremast.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Kurt, you did an impressive job stropping those 3/32" blocks! They are Brittiania metal right?

Are they the same size as the blocks you used on rigging the cannons on the gun deck? I'm asking because that is the size supplied for the guns in my ALFRED kit and I'm a little unsure if they will be too big.

Thanks

Tim

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Thanks so much for the compliment,Tim.  They are indeed Britannia metal, and they are the same size as the ones I used for the guns.  In my book of photos of Constitution there is a photo of sailors working with one of the guns, and the block for the train tackle looks like it is 9" to me, so I think the scale is right.  Here is that photo.  What do you think?

 

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Actually, the block for the side tackle does look smaller, but 3/32" is the smallest the Bluejacket makes.  I think they look right.  Syren does make a 1/16" size.  My hat is off to you if you use those for the gun tackles.

 

 

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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  • 4 weeks later...

Rigging is proceeding, albeit quite slowly, as  I am working out how to do it as I go.  Much time is spent deliberating, looking at other builds,  and consulting sources.   I am attaching as many lines and fittings as possible to the mast off model as I can.

 

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1. Burton pendants and blocks for upper stays installed.

 

2. Shroud pairs installed.

 

3. Jeer pendants installed.  An advantage to using metal blocks is that  sheaves are molded in.  If left unpainted, they look quite realistic.  Unfortunately,

     they will not be seen once the jeers are rove.

 

  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Preparing lower mast fore and aft stays for installation.  From top to bottom - Main Stay & Preventer, Fore Stay and Preventer. Mizzen stay and Staysail stay at the bottom.  I have neither the skills nor the tools to turn a mouse core, so I just wound .005" line around the stay, layer upon layer, until I had something resembling a mouse, then fixed it with liquid CA.  I think the one on the mizzen stay came out the best.  I am becoming cognizant of line behavior when under tension, notably the tendency to unwind and spin the heart around as tension increases.  I expect that the shrouds will do the same.  We'll see.

 

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Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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On 3/11/2020 at 1:13 AM, KHauptfuehrer said:

I got the fore and mizzen tops done.  I did a better job cleaning up excess glue with a wet toothpick and cleaning up micro splinters and the fuzzy frizzies, so now my work is a step closer to standing up to macro photography.  I am learning.

 

 

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Here are all three tops dry fitted to their masts, which are in turn, dry fitted to the model.

 

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Now I need to decide whether to make the upper masts now, or rig what I have got and make them later.

Kurt, can you fill me in how you determined which of the four stropped deadeye sizes you chose for the fighting tops? I must be missing something in the notes...

 

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I used the 3/32" size, which, I believe, is the smallest of the three sizes of stropped deadeyes.  OOPS!  I just discovered that the rigging instructions specify the 1/8" size for the tops.  Too late for me to change it now.  I looked at photos of the ship and the deadeyes look quite small there, so maybe I did not make a fatal mistake.  I hope I have not messed things up for you!!

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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I thought that it might be hard to install the bentink shrouds after the shrouds are rigged, so I made them up in advance.  I also thought that lanyards would be hard to adjust when in situ, so I made them permanent, and plan to adjust tension at the mast top when rigging them to the top deadeye strops.

 

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The one on the right will look better when under tension.  Strops and lines which are to be glued in place need to contact bare metal in order to hold, so i am painting the hearts after stropping and before reeving.  This takes a steady hand at this scale.  I have stiffened the lanyards with diluted PVA.

 

I was planning to leave the masts unglued, but now I am thinking that if I glue them in that tensioning the shrouds and stays will be easier, and that the masts will be less likely to shift after rigging is completed.  I just have to be darn sure that they are properly aligned when I glue them in.

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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Hi all, I am presently building the Bluejacket model of the Constitution. I hope this site is still active. I bought it with a donation to a Fisherman’s museum. It seems like an older model but is complete. The book does not seem to always complement the actual kit. For example, the book describes vertically timbering the aft of the ship down to the gun deck before the placing of the transom. My model is solid and not cutout at the stern so I just glued on the metal transom after painting it. I presume newer? models have the stern cut out. My model also has the old original transom design with no gun ports. I am presently beginning the bow and bowheads and need some help. Bluejacket gave me Charlie’s # and I have talked with Charlie who lives nearby in Cape Cod but do not want to pester him. He seems like a very nice gentleman. I would appreciate any help I can get from members on this site. Also how can I post pictures of my ship on my posts? Thanks, Jerry 

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Hi Jerry,  So glad to see another BJ Connie build.  We belong to a very small club.  This is a challenging build, especially for novices like me, so it behooves us to help each other out.  Your description of your kit matches the one I got.  As far as I know, ours is the most recent one.  This kit purports to render Constitution as she appeared during the War of 1812, presumably before Hull cut out gun ports in the transom during the Great Chase.  The design of the transom incorporates elements from her appearance at launch, the Hull model, and God knows what.  Actually, for what it's worth I trust the Hull model the most, as it was made on board Constitution by sailors who must have known every inch of her.  That design matches the Campbell plans at the Smithsonian, from which the Revell model was designed.  I did cut out the stern as directed, so that the interior can be seen directly through the windows. 

 

At the risk of appearing immodest, I recommend that you look at my build, which points out the many pitfalls a builder can encounter, and alerts you to discrepancies contradictions, and omissions in the instructions and plans.  I feel your pain concerning the bowheads.  Bowheads, I believe, are one of the most challenging parts of any build, and this is particularly true of Constitution.  When looking at a Connie model, the first thing I look at is the Bowheads.  If that is well done, chances are that all other aspects of the model will be great.  The drawings of the bowhead timbers are in fact to scale, so you can copy those directly.  Fortunately, Britannia metal sticks are provided with which to make the rails.  This is great because you can bend them any which way to get the complex curves both lateral and vertical instead of having to bend or carve them out.  More detail can be found in my build log.

 

I do not claim to have arrived at the best solutions for all the problems - I am learning as I go as well.  However, you might find it a good starting point.  Do not hesitate to ask questions.

 

You will find instructions on how to create a build log and post entries on the home page of this site.  Tip - photos when posted to the site will go where the cursor is.

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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Dear Kurt H , Thank you for answering my post. You have helped me already!! I have been trying to figure out how to bend the wood (steam them) to make the rails not realizing that they are supplied in Britannia. There is no parts list in my kit so I downloaded and printed them up from Bluejacket so I now know what is supplied in the kit as well as their function. I have built several models over my 74 years but never one to this degree of detail. I am most proud of the Flying Cloud which I built over several decades from plans and not from a kit . I hand carved everything except for blocks and other small accessories which were impossible for me to do. I am not by any means an expert builder but enjoy the hobby especially following my retirement. I have enclosed a photo of the Flying Cloud as well as a small model I made recently from scratch of the Herman Melville Pequod which I modeled after a typical Nantucket Whaler of the 1800’s . I mounted it on a baseboard along with a whale’s tooth which I have had for decades. Thank you again for your information. Looking forward to corresponding with you. Regards, Jerry

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I thought I would spruce up the model for Xmas by temporarily attaching all the stays and shrouds of the lower masts to get an idea of what the model will look like.  It turns out that this was a good exercise for finding out which lines go slack while others are tightened.  The bentinck shrouds illustrated above have been installed at their lower ends.  Now to dive into gluing in the masts and permanently installing the deadeyes and lanyards which will complete the shrouds.  Hope I do not make a mess of it.  Wish me luck.

 

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Thank you so much for the compliment.  Treating the ends of lines with liquid CA is indeed a great way to stay sane when rigging.  I also find it useful to cut the end of the treated line at a sharp angle, especially with heavier rope.  I just realized that if I finish rigging the shrouds now, I will have a heckuva time attaching the upper mast stays to those ringbolts around the main and fore masts, so I had better do that first, being careful to leave the line long enough.  I guess I had better dry fit those upper masts again to be sure about that.  The loose line will be coiled and draped over the side.  Due to the lack of space around the fore mast, I have decided to rig the fore and main yard trusses to the mast cap as it currently is on the ship. 

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I have decided to attach all the lower mast fore and aft stays except the mizzen preventer (staysail) stay.  I have left the lanyards long so that  if, perish forbid, I need to redo them, I can do so.  They are secured with CA gel, but I have my trusty bottle of debonder should I need it.  They will be trimmed when I am confident that all is as it should be.  I have attached the stays for the upper main masts that connect to the deck.  They are coiled at the top.  I used simple eye splices rather than attempt a thimble and lanyard rig, discretion being the better part of valor in this case.

 

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The mizzen preventer is still loose because I saw that it will go slack if the main mast moves back at all.  My current thought is to rig the aft most main pair of shrouds first so that the tension is as close as possible to what it will ultimately be.  This will leave a space in which I can access the line and ringbolt at the foot of the main mast and do the eye splice without going crazy.  Speaking of which, I had better do the snaking for the main stays before rigging the fore shrouds.  I plan to set up a pair of lines off the model to practice doing the snaking.  I will use the Bluejacket .005" which I think will be sufficient at this scale.

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On 12/31/2020 at 12:58 AM, KHauptfuehrer said:

Thank you so much for the compliment.  Treating the ends of lines with liquid CA is indeed a great way to stay sane when rigging.  I also find it useful to cut the end of the treated line at a sharp angle, especially with heavier rope.  I just realized that if I finish rigging the shrouds now, I will have a heckuva time attaching the upper mast stays to those ringbolts around the main and fore masts, so I had better do that first, being careful to leave the line long enough.  I guess I had better dry fit those upper masts again to be sure about that.  The loose line will be coiled and draped over the side.  Due to the lack of space around the fore mast, I have decided to rig the fore and main yard trusses to the mast cap as it currently is on the ship

 

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Kurt H, I have a couple of questions about your gorgeous model. What paint color, stain and / or polyurethane did you use for the Caprails ? Also did you use the 24 small metal buckets supplied in the kit on the gun deck? Blue jacket does not supply grog or water barrels in the kit so I am going to order some. On a sad note while talking to the staff in Maine last week, they told me that Charlie past away recently. I had just spoken to him . He had made about 20 models of the Constitution for them. They told me it would take him about 5 months to complete a model. Very sad. Jerry

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Posted (edited)

Once again, thanks for your kind words.  I used Model Shipways Hull Umber acrylic paint.  I also used that for the furniture on both the spar and gun decks.  I decided not to use the buckets.  I look forward to seeing your grog barrels.  I remember seeing a grog tub on Larry Arnot's model when i looked at it at the Constitution Museum Gift Shop.  So sorry to hear about Charlie.  I had not interacted with him, but I have seen photos of one of his Constitution models.  Amazing time to complete a Connie model - 5 months!  I have been working on mine off and on since 2009.

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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Hello Kurt H, and all Reborn here.  I have not posted anything to my build for quite some time, due to many issues, and losing 2.5 months out of town and out of state on emergency family issues.  Kurt, your Connie is looking very impressive.  I keep hoping mine will look as good.  Regarding Charlie...earlier in 2020 his wife passed away.  Charlie was 86.  I last spoke with him about 1.5 months after his wife passed and I could tell from his voice it was like he lost as piece of his own heart.  Anyway, another tidbit, Charlie and Frank Mastini (book Ship Modeling Simplified) used to work together building model ships 'way back when'.  He told me that they were both good friends.  Also, Charlie was foremost in helping Larry Arnot build the Connie that is displayed in the Constitution Museum.  Charlie will definitely be missed.  

Jerry Berenson -- those ships you built from scratch really look good.

I hope to have updates to my build by late tomorrow.  

Keep up the good work Kurt.  You have provided great information to help me in my build.  I'll be looking for updates to help inspire me.

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HI Ron,  I was very sorry to hear about Charlie.  I had not had occasion to interact with him, but I have seen pics of his work on one of his Connie builds.  I did not know that he worked on the Arnot build that is in the Constitution Museum.  I saw that model when I was there to visit Constitution.  It looks like the same one you see in the photos in the instructions.

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.  I am proceeding with rigging which is going very slowly owing to my total lack of experience.  Right now I am grappling with the snaking, having made several unsuccessful attempts off model.  I think I am almost ready to try it on the model.

I look forward to seeing your work.  We BJ Connie builders are a small group, and we should help each other as much as possible.

Edited by KHauptfuehrer
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