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MS USS Constitution Mast Sequence and rope ladders

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After a >5 year lapse I resurrected my MS USS Conny kit and continued construction. I've had to relearn everything but it's been a good experience since much has changed.


Two issues aren't clear to me:


I'm building all the masts and yards off the ship and understand best way to mount is to begin with the foremast,  then main and mizzen followed by topmast, gallants, etc. What I'm not clear about (I read all 34 pages of the rigging forum!) is whether I mount the yards before mounting the masts or afterwards?


2nd issue is Bob Hunt's practicum: although all my builds have been with Bob's practicums as many have mentioned he did a poor job when it came to the rigging for the Conny. For some reason it appears he left out the foot ladders. Any thoughts as to why?


I appreciate your comments. You've helped me get back to a hobby which is great fun! I'm not a master by any chance of the imagination but as someone mentioned it's mine and I'm proud of my work.


Thanks for your help.


John Gilchrist

Rosenberg, TX

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Hi John,

I'm no expert, but I now have a few builds under my belt and I attach the yards to the masts after all the masts are in place. I pin the yards to the masts with those tiny nails, but I locate and pre-drill the holes in the masts before mounting them. I drill the yard, cut the head off the nail and glue it into the yard, then attach it to the mast after the mast was in place. I don't glue the pin into the mast though as I want some movement in the yard fore and aft and up and down as I tightened the various lines and get the yard positioned .


I used Bob Hunt's practicum on my Constitution too and I took his advice and attached as much rigging to the yards as possible prior to mounting them. It makes for quite a mess of lines hanging, but it's a lot easier seizing those lines and blocks on the bench than at the top of the mast. In my experience, while Bob's practicums are generally pretty good, he really drops the ball when it comes to the rigging stage. I suspect he hates that aspect of model building. I have all of his practicums, and in several of them it's quite clear that he hasn't even rigged the subject ship as he shows photos from other kits entirely and suggests that a certain aspect of the rigging will be similar to the photo. In the Constitution rigging section of the practicum there are many details left out. The foot ladders are one of them, he doesn't include the railings on the aft side of the mast tops and he omits the jackstays. I know there are other omissions too, but those are the ones that come to mind at the moment. I'm not sure why they're not included other than I suspect he gets impatient as he nears the end of the build and wants to get it done as quickly as possible. That's just a guess though. I really like Model Shipways plans, but there is a heck of a lot of information on each page and I have to go over the plans again and again to make sure I haven't missed anything. After a few MS builds I've learned how to read their plans effectively, but I was quite inexperienced when I built my Constitution and I know I missed a few things. I did notice the ladders and the rails on the mast tops and included those, but to be honest, I never even noticed the jacksays on the plans until it was way too late, so there are no jackstays on my model.


I hope you have a great time as you get back to your Constitution.


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Thanks David I appreciate your comments.  I did notice the railings and backstays as well. Geoff Matson's log and others have been especially helpful. These forums are a great help.

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