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Jonathan11

CSS Alabama by Jonathan11 - Revell - 1/96 scale - kit bash 90% historical accuracy

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Here's what I'm doing for the mast changes from the plastic kit. Kinda cheating to keep everything the same scale without driving myself crazy scaling all the scratch built parts. Dead eyes are 3 mm and will paint the mount black when I finish adding the other dead eyes before final assembly. Also drilling the small parts for adding the brass eyes for block tie downs.

 

The added square wood extensions are 1/32" square basswood as I knew I was going to have to fine drill each one and wanted as much strength as possible for them. I will be cheating a little for these but they will look close to what the knots should for the dead eye mounts. 

 

Black walnut dowel, shaped for the upper extension of the mizzen main mast is above the small ruler. I'll have to make a few of these for added strength for extensions and masts.

 

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6 hours ago, Hubac's Historian said:

Awesome scratch work, so far!  What bonding epoxy are you using?

Loctight plastic adhesive epoxy and very small amount, will burn soft plastic if not used sparingly on a plastic model kit.

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1 hour ago, Jonathan11 said:

Loctight plastic adhesive epoxy and very small amount, will burn soft plastic if not used sparingly on a plastic model kit.

Is the burn caused by the catalytic action of the epoxy, or is it something else?

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12 hours ago, Hubac's Historian said:

Oh, okay.  Good to know.  I’ve been thinking about what I might use to bond wood to styrene.  I’ll be scratch-building all my masts and spars in wood, but stepping them into a plastic hull; in certain applications, I need strength.

Since I have not used the epoxy on styrene, I would do a test first with a small amount to see the bonding reaction to it.

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12 hours ago, CDW said:

Is the burn caused by the catalytic action of the epoxy, or is it something else?

I figured it's the type of plastic used as other types from the instructions are not effected, so probably has something to do with molecular bond of the plastic in these kits. I would do a test on any item with this product first just to gauge the reaction, I had tested first before I started to apply this bond epoxy, main reason was to see if it would caused a problem. Plus I have not seen a reaction yet with the CA either, which I was concerned with too.

Also it is a pain because it take at least 24 hrs to dry, but I am allowing 48 hrs, I am first gluing with CA and the with a toothpick mixing the bond and applying very small amounts along the edges of the strops for more strength. I feel it's working but really won't know till I start gently drilling these, it's a trial and error process as I felt this was the best way to solve me strength problem for these. Will keep the blog posted on these and post images soon.

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1 hour ago, Jonathan11 said:

I figured it's the type of plastic used as other types from the instructions are not effected, so probably has something to do with molecular bond of the plastic in these kits.

That's odd. I have used epoxy many times on plastic models in the past and never had an issue, although I generally use Sig epoxy and have never used Loctight epoxy. In addition, I like to use one of the faster setting epoxy that Sig makes, like the 10 or 30 minute set variety.

It suppose it could be just as you suspect, that there is something in the composition of that particular plastic that has a reaction to the epoxy you are using. 

I bought some high strength CA from an auto body supply shop that uses as an add-in, metal fillings. That CA gets so hot when it's curing, it would completely melt plastic.

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I think that's where a lot of folks run into trouble with the dead eyes, eye bolts and blocks.  I always use white glue for the ties and lashings.  other cements will tend to weaken the eyelets and they end up breaking.  I have never substituted them......haven't had much trouble at all with 'em.  haven't tried epoxy......just good 'ole CA :) very nice progress.

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Popeye I will try the white the white glue as I do know it dries a lot clearer than CA, but so far I haven't had any trouble with the CA. Good old Elmers has come in handy in the past but didn't think about using it for rigging. Thanks ya'll been trying to scan some of the how to do files here, wow got a bunch and have already learned some new tricks for the wood ship builds which I'll probably start my La Couronne in between my other CW ships I want to complete.

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21 minutes ago, Jonathan11 said:

CDW, I haven't heard of Sig epoxy and appreciate the info on that. Be looking for some real soon also.

Sig epoxy has become harder to find  but can be bought on line directly from Sig.

 

Here is an on line shop I order from a lot. Excellent service and lightning fast turn around time to receive orders from them. Best thing is, they only charge $3 for postage and that's real hard to beat. This epoxy is not Sig, but I've used it a lot in the past with very good results. I recommend the 30 minute epoxy rather than the 5 minute as it gives you extra working time before it kicks off.

https://www.headsuphobby.com/search.asp?keyword=epoxy&search=Search

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11 hours ago, CDW said:

Sig epoxy has become harder to find  but can be bought on line directly from Sig.

 

Here is an on line shop I order from a lot. Excellent service and lightning fast turn around time to receive orders from them. Best thing is, they only charge $3 for postage and that's real hard to beat. This epoxy is not Sig, but I've used it a lot in the past with very good results. I recommend the 30 minute epoxy rather than the 5 minute as it gives you extra working time before it kicks off.

https://www.headsuphobby.com/search.asp?keyword=epoxy&search=Search

Excellent, many thanks for this site info. 

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Posted (edited)

Some more images of the dead eyes being worked on as I will have to rig some of this backwards so not to break these fragile guys. Working out the procedures now to rig her and parts starting to come in. Love the Syren wooden blocks they offer and ordered a bunch. Thanks all for the info to find them too, really appreciate it which helps in a better quality model. Now for all my rigging I will only use Syrens blocks and other fittings they offer.

 

Top Dead eyes prepped: Mizzen mast

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Parts and pieces with tools, note the small amber brush cleaning bottle. It dates from CW America 1862 and works wonderful for paint brush cleaner and holder as I work. The smaller glass bowls are from wally world which are very cheap .50 each and work great for dropping paint into and working from.

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Also a full view of the deck with all the completed tie downs on the hammocks done.

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Plus my cheat trick for painting many parts at once using just tooth picks and hair clips with a Styrofoam block. 

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Here's the propeller chain which works to pull the propeller up and down when it was needed. This was a very innovative device for the period.

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Edited by Jonathan11

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Beautiful work. I've been waiting a long time to see someone make a detailed build thread for the Revell CSS Alabama and you have certainly filled that void. My copy has been on my shelf for lots of years, waiting to be built. Your thread will serve as an inspiration to start mine.

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4 hours ago, CDW said:

Beautiful work. I've been waiting a long time to see someone make a detailed build thread for the Revell CSS Alabama and you have certainly filled that void. My copy has been on my shelf for lots of years, waiting to be built. Your thread will serve as an inspiration to start mine.

Thank you, I was amazed at how the Revell model was still around considering the last run of it was in the late 70's. I had picked mine up on Ebay and was 100 + dollars just for the model and now I'm seeing them go for even higher than what I paid for it. It was a hard decision as to even build this antique kit, but I broke the wrapper and went for it.

Glad it has inspired you to start yours, if I could change one thing it is the dead eye stomps, try to find some already built as the scratch built one's I have done are really a pain.  Look forward to your possible build blog.

 

Here's the stomps almost finished as more painting has to be done but gives a good idea how these are turning out. But they are breaking and a real pain.

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Not to shabby, just wish I could have gotten them more even. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I’m really interested in your build-  fabulous work so far!  

 

I’m curious- how well do the BlueJacket plans match up with the Revell hull?  The reason I ask is that on some of the plastic modeling sites, the Revell Alabama is rather poorly regarded in terms of accuracy.  They say the Revell Alabama was just the Revell  Kearsarge hull, with some different topside parts, and the two ships were not the same length. (Bluejacket’s kit is much more accurate, I understand.)

But I don’t think many of the critics had access to the BJ plans, because the BJ kit was released long after most  of the reviews of the Revell kit were written....

 

-Bill

 

Edited by Rcboater Bill

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2 hours ago, Rcboater Bill said:

I’m really interested in your build-  fabulous work so far!  

 

I’m curious- how well do the BlueJacket plans match up with the Revell hull?  The reason I ask is that on some of the plastic modeling sites, the Revell Alabama is rather poorly regarded in terms of accuracy.  They say the Revell Alabama was just the Revell  Kearsarge hull, with some different topside parts, and the two ships were not the same length. (Bluejacket’s kit is much more accurate, I understand.)

But I don’t think many of the critics had access to the BJ plans, because the BJ kit was released long after most  of the reviews of the Revell kit were written....

 

-Bill

 

Thanks Bill, and as you have stated the Revell plans are off considerably as I also fully recommend "Blue Jackets Plans" which can be purchased by themselves from their website under the CSS Alabama model.  For courtesy and copyrights I won't post images of the BJ plans as I do have them, and without them couldn't have gotten close to the 90% accuracy that I am at for the build.

 

The bow on the model is wrong for the anchors, chains too, and the front spar, but is easily fixed along with the cannon's on the kit. To solve the cannon problem I picked up "Cottage Industries" upgrades William offers on his site and also had gotten some extra cannon tools and boats. There are four different types of long boats on the Alabama and the models representation on them are wrong also.

 

The masts are wrong as the Alabama had 4 sail masts instead of the 3 on the model, also the metal cannon tread on the model is incorrect too, but I kept them the same so not to destroy the deck modeling detail. As to the length it's very close to the Alabama should be and seems to be close to the Kearsarge, so yes I would say it's probably the same mold but not far off. The hull is wrong as the bulwarks needed to be extended for the added detail. 

 

I have combined multiple images of the BJ model which is posted under a BJ built blog:  http://modelshipwrights.kitmaker.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=features&file=view&artid=6397 along with three separate sets of prints. The BJ plans along with the Plans from the CSS Alabama: Builder, Captain, and plans by Summersell and some historical plans from the naval archive. Along with this reference site: https://mds.marshall.edu/css_al/. Plus consulting with some quality naval experts on Civil War talk which have been of immense help. Along with the original builders model:

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That's the reason I have said in the title of the blog 90% accuracy, I feel that's as close I can get to the real ship without spending $1000.00 on BJ's kit and extra parts and pieces for her. My data files on her are at 1.5 gig's and my extensive research has gone on for months and will continue till she's finished.

 

I have changed some colors on her to make her a better show model and will be evident when I am finally finished. IMHO I would say that BJ's is the best and to upgrade the cannon's and add the hammock detail better for that kit. The nice thing about the Revell kit is it is out of production and a antique kit so I am enjoying working with it and producing a good representation as close as possible. Also please understand that there are discrepancies; it seems in all the prints. So I had to get as much information as was possible and was fortunate to be able to because of the web. Without the web I couldn't have gotten all the info I have correlated. It's been a search and interesting learning exercise from the build. 

 

I feel I will have her done in four more months but working out some procedures on building her is what really slows me down as the model is so fragile with the combination of plastic, wood, metal parts. But that's the fun and challenge that us model builders like.

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the Revell Alabama is a spin off from the Kearsarge........same with the Cutty Sark and the Thermopylae.........and yet again with the Constitution and the United States.  as a matter of fact,  I was always under the impression that there were seven kits in the 1:96 series.......there are others.   I saw a couple of them on the old model kits site.......I wanted to cry { I bought my quota for the year already...admiral said :( }   there is an Alabama for sale there too,  that has some upgrade kits included with it.......they want over #300 bucks for it.  these kit are rare.  I recall back when I built mine back in the '90s.....now that I have reflected on it.....I did a poor job on her......didn't paint half the stuff I shoulda.

 

at the moment,  I have the Connie and United States.........second time build for them both ;)    there are very few kits that are a good representation of the vessel they are the subject of........a lot more are fictitious.  they were cutting edge back in the day they were produced.......but today there's more information on them and model companies fail to upgrade their kits accordingly.  the research is now left up to the folks willing to build their models as accurate as possible.

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Posted (edited)

Interesting information I didn't know about the kits. I will probably hunt down another CSS Alabama kit for putting back for my Grand children to enjoy as these are becoming rarer.

 

Springtime chores and responsibilities are keeping me very busy and sorry for not updating this blog. I will have some images soon as the work on her is starting again. Appreciate all the response and likes on this build, it's been a challenge to try to get her as close to historical accuracy as possible and the rigging phase is very delicate for this model. Been working on a plan of installation of them which has to be the correct size of rope as to not overwhelm and distort the model. I have all the right sizes and feel I can represent it properly.  Advise or suggestions for this is welcomed.

Edited by Jonathan11

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I wish you luck on finding one.......they are about as rare as the Kearsarge.  I was under the impression that there were only seven kit in this series......I recently found out that there were others.   I'm trying to get the budget director to let me get the Spanish Galleon.   they did have one on oldmodelkits.com

 

the price they are asking for it is almost $300.00.   you truly have a wonderful project here.........now I wish I wasn't so stupid in my younger years.......I wasted that one  ;) 

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I agree, they are expensive but ebay has one a month pop up and they are in different conditions. Price is going up on them as being a rare historical model. There are two  Revell Alabama models also, one from the 60's and one from the 70's. You can tell the difference from the box art work. The 60's one has better art work I feel than the 70's one for the box, but mine was pristine condition when I bought her and was lucky to find one in such perfect condition.

Here's a gold mine which I didn't have the $1500 dollars to get them all and was crying for weeks. :(

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The stomp work is progressing and touch up painting will be next one I have all the nails in place. Then I have to work on the boom extensions for the main and fore mast. I will be making the metal hinge from scratch using wood and painted metal, ie brass. Also will be making the booms by scratch using black walnut dowels and sanding them to shape. I'll have more images in a couple of days as work progresses.

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My print holder which works with my mobile table.

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Progressing nicely and all the stomps are done and touch up painting is finished also completed one of the extension booms, working on others and hope to have them all completed by tomorrow. Then finally start concentrating on the rigging and mast work. I had found a small brass flat piece which I have used before for special scratch built parts and it worked wonderful for the extension mount hardware, I will leave it brass in color as it gives nice definition and detail to the boom.

 

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Going threw all my plans and knowing that blocks and rigging should be added to the extensions, just the BlueJackets plan actually show the blocks and rigging associated with them. So I will be adding these to the extensions. I'm seriously considering adding the sails to her also, but will have to make some from scratch. Never tackled the sails before so I will consider this carefully for this model. Might just do roll ups as to show off the rigging better. Something to contemplate for awhile.

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Thanks gentlemen for the admiration, I'll have some more progress images soon. Here's a small set of the Civil war's batteries at a 1/600 scale approximately. They are scratch built and will be under glass soon with their nameplates. Thought ya'll would like them for a project for our young ones as they are easy to build as you can see.

 

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Jonathan11
 

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