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USS CONSTELLATION by Tschiller - Artesania Latina - Scale 1:85 - Kit Bashed back to 1797


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Hello All,

First of all I guess I should state this is my first time building a wood ship. I received my Artesania Latina USS Constellation kit as a gift and after looking it over and getting ready to start I did some Interweb searches and came across MSW. I've been lurking on this site for about a month now looking at tips and other builds posted here. I have to say there are some Talented Builders on this site. So, after researching the USS Constellation I soon discovered that the Artesania Latina kit is really more or less the 1854 Sloop of War and does not really resemble the 1797 USS Constellation. With $12 dollars and Amazon's help I received a copy of Chapelle's "The American Sailing Navy" which has Humphrey's Building Draught for the 38-gun Frigates Constellation and Congress, so armed with what little information is available on the 1797 Constitution I began my build..........

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First, with Humphrey's Draught as a reference and the help of drawing software I was able to make templates for the Fore and Aft bulkheads to replace what came with the kit. While mocking up the new bulkheads and trying to decide on how to proceed with the squared off stern of the 1797 ship vs. the rounded stern of the 1854 sloop of war, I decided that I would cut down all the bulkheads to the gun deck level so that I could build out a complete gun deck.....

 

So once I mocked up the False Keel and the newly cut down Bulkheads and measured, measured and measured. I determined that the False-Keel needed to be shortened and Bulkhead #12 needed to be removed. I then glued up the False-Keel and Bulkheads and made a template to cut out the Gun-Deck. After planking the 3 lower decks with 1/8" strips I glued them in after painting the exposed bulkheads black.

Then I attached and gun deck ( I also incorporated the Quarter Gallery decks with the gun deck to facilitate the building of the Quarter Gallery's, as the cast brass pieces that came with the kit are kind of pitiful....), built the bulwarks and gun ports, stern gallery and finished framing the Aft Spar deck bulwarks.

 

Next step is to continue forward working on the bulwarks and planking the gun deck.......20190308_104033.thumb.jpg.d590c861a3136a38c40dfeba4c1dedf4.jpg20190308_125311.thumb.jpg.9b28ad3e6c83ade792bb7c3c69069942.jpg20190308_104045.thumb.jpg.c31c06c73e62ff16948a8b94b6283bef.jpg20190308_125424.thumb.jpg.0c0495df010bc9cf3f5fa5c560087675.jpg20190308_125514.thumb.jpg.e1f708ba213ac652f94f5e80430ec14c.jpg

 

Edited by Tschiller
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Wow, for your first build at wooden ships she's looking wonderful!! Nice clean line for your adjustments in the decking also per your research.  I look forward to your build and following your work, Great start.

 

A interesting movie you might like:

 

Plus some plans which might help:

 

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Some reference images of one built:

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Plus the museum:

http://benjielayug.com/2017/06/uss-constellation-museum-baltimore-maryland-u-s-a.html

 

Edited by Jonathan11
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Jonathon, Thank you for the the encouraging words and the information on the ship. The photos come in handy as the Spar deck arrangement appears similar to the Constitution which is what I was assuming. I've ordered the USS Constitution AOTS book to use as reference for the details of building this ship.

 

Again, thank you, your reply is exactly what I was hoping would happen when I started this build log.

 

Todd

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Thank you for the comment, Jim.

 

I was able to finish framing up the Bulwarks from mid-ship forward. I decided to plank the spar deck bulwarks around the gun ports vs open rail all the way around. I plan on railing mid-ship similar to the 1812 Constitution and forward of the gun ports at the bow there will be the timber heads, cat heads and splash guards.  So she is planked from the Gun Deck up, I guess it's official, the AL USS Constellation is now a 38-Gun Frigate!

 

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Exquisite historical ship build. Keep up the fine work on her, if I ever have the time I will do the same for the Constellation. Been wanting to add it to my collection for awhile but have a few irons in the kettle for now and am enjoying your progress.

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I have made some more progress on the Constellation, I fitted the keel, stem and stern post along with a rabbit and drilled and studded with toothpicks. Then I began planking on the inner bulwarks of the gun deck and after getting most of that done, I realized that the spirketting planks below the gun ports should be thicker than the planks above...... Not wanting to remove and redo it all, I ripped some strips of basswood just shy of 1/32" and applied them below the gun ports for the spirketting planks. Once the deck is planked and the waterway is put in it probably won't noticeable, especially with paint.

 

 

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I have this kit in my closet for the future if i can ever get myself back into modelling. This kit is a bit odd as there are some major features that dont seem to belong to either version of the connie.  Since you are going back in time this might not be much use to you but i have a bunch of pics taken from a modellers perspective of interest of the late version down in baltimore.

https://modelshipworld.com/topic/15595-reference-photos-from-vist-to-uss-constellation-in-baltimore-md/?tab=comments#comment-484865

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Thanks for the link, stripehunter. Those photos have a lot of useful details and may come in handy.

 

So before I moved on to planking the hull I decided to take a break from planking and work on something a little different. So I cut some cherry strips and fashioned a Rudder Cover. I don't think it turned out too bad.........

 

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However, I wasn't really satisfied so I went for more detail.......

 

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There are 18 pieces of wood assembled to make this one.... I think I'll keep it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good Morning all. Well I was able to make some progress on the build in between spring yard work.....

 

I decided to plank the hull in 3 sections beginning at the waist then the bow and finally on to the stern. Have to admit that planking, although not that hard, is a little tedious to fit and glue a couple of planks then having to wait for those to dry before going on to the next plank.... But I'm coming to end of it and it seems to be coming out pretty well.

 

The center planks at the waist were easy and went pretty quick. I then measured out the bow area and divided by placing 3 strakes to make sure that I had the bulkheads fairing was good and symmetric.

 

 

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Nice work.   As a "heads up", the cannon barrels in this kit look more like ray guns than cannon.  They can be changed with a mill or if you don't have  a mill, a rotary tool and file.

 

On 3/17/2019 at 4:29 AM, stripehunter said:

I have this kit in my closet for the future if i can ever get myself back into modelling. This kit is a bit odd as there are some major features that dont seem to belong to either version of the connie.  Since you are going back in time this might not be much use to you but i have a bunch of pics taken from a modellers perspective of interest of the late version down in baltimore.

https://modelshipworld.com/topic/15595-reference-photos-from-vist-to-uss-constellation-in-baltimore-md/?tab=comments#comment-484865

 

This kit was designed based on the way the Constellation sat in Baltimore up until the 80's (I think).  It was a fraud as they were trying to pass it off as the original frigate.  

 

Reference:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Constellation_(1854)

and this report:  https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a241916.pdf   

a bit of Googling will get you more info.

 

So for this build, he appears to be using historical info on the original.  

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12 hours ago, mtaylor said:

Nice work.   As a "heads up", the cannon barrels in this kit look more like ray guns than cannon.  They can be changed with a mill or if you don't have  a mill, a rotary tool and file.

Mark, Thanks for the compliment. But what's wrong with the cannon barrels, if you squint your eyes until everything is fuzzy and take a quick peek of them they look fine..... I have been looking for new cannons because the ones with the kit do look goofy and there are only 22 of them (the rest are dummies). My plan is to have 28 of the 18lb cannons rigged on the gun deck leaving the bridle ports at the bow empty and rig 18 32lb carronades on the spar deck. Based on research it appears that the original frigates were most likely fitted with British cannons until a reliable American manufacturer came about in 1805/1808. The problem is finding the correct cannons in 1:85 scale....

 

I think I will do a sample order (only6) of these https://www.shapeways.com/product/CQH2XZ62Z/1-96-royal-navy-24-pounder-cannons to see what their quality is like. These best approximate the scale size of a 9' 18lb cannon. They also have the carriages and carronades that I may look at as well.

 

My intention with this build is to have a finished product that is "Historically Accurate" as possible with a level of craftsmanship to be proudly displayed...

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I finally finished the hull planking and I'm quite pleased with how my first planking effort turned out. It still needs some more sanding and then fill and final sanding, but I am really pleased at how the lines are straight and symmetrical.

 

I still need to add the wale planks but haven't decided if they should follow the curvature of the gun deck which would keep them in line the gun ports as seen on the 1812 Constitution, or if I should follow the 1794 Constellation draught which shows the wale planks having more of a curve rising above the gun deck on both the fore and aft of the ship, would this even be acceptable in ship building?

 

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