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With some trepidation, I've started the build on this kit.  I was going to wait until this winter (when I do most if not all my modeling) to begin but decided to get an early start.  This is a bucket list endeavor.  I built two of the Revell plastic kits back in the 60's and out of that experience dreamed of building a proper wooden model.  I'm just a beginner modeler so I'll be stretching my skills to do a good job.  I've completed three models :  U.S.S. constitution and H.M.S. Victory cross-sections and the H.M.S. Victory bow section.  I consider these to be practice in preparation for this model.  To assist me, I purchased Robert Hunt's practicum which really fills in the gaps left open by the MS instructions.  Also, I'm following about five build logs in this site.  So with them and all the other useful information on the forum, I just make a good go of it.

 

So far, I'm assembling the center keel, keel, stern and stem.  Pictures to following once I finished the clean-up.

 

Thanks,

 

Tidbinbilla

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Gidday Tidbinbilla and a warm welcome from the Land Downunder.

You have found a site where there is a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Most members will freely offer encouragement and practical advice.

I am looking forward to your photos and wish you all the best in your endeavours.

Mark.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I finally began building this model.  First thing I did was make a complete copy of all the plans.  I like to keep the originals intact and use the copy for templates, notes, etc.  Besides following what others have said in their logs, I'm also using Robert Hunts practicum.  Nothing too dramatic so far.  The keel went together easily.  There was one moment when I was going through the bulkheads.  On four of them the letters were clearly burnt into the wood but the rest where not to be found.  I set Sheet 1 on a table and tried to match up the bulkheads to their corresponding outline.  I thought I had them identified.  But a few days later when I was closely examining one of the bulkheads under a bright light, I could make out a faint impression of the missing letter!!  I only had two wrong!  The problem was now solved. 

Before gluing the bulkheads to the keel, I started my initial faring.  I used a sanding drum on my drill press to remove the material.  It worked just fine.  When gluing the bulkheads I used a small square to align it.  If it was off, I just clamped the square to the keel and left it there until the glue was set.

Next it is on the to filler blocks...

 

Pleas excuse the poor quality of the attached photos...

 

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  • 1 month later...

I thought an update is in order.  Found time this summer to spend on the model.   I've been following Bob Hunt's Practicum, along with various blogs on this site.  All have been very helpful!  This is an advanced model and by all considerations way above my skill level.  But with lots of help, I've been taking my time and plugging along.  No major drama so far.  I have determined that framing is similar to that I did working construction during summer vacation while in college.  I rather enjoy planking.  I'm going to give it a rest for a couple of weeks while I attend to domestic duties.

 

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Ah, the Connie.  What American does not love this ole gal.  I have a couple of times, started to order this kit and then think, hey you have the Marine Models version that is the same scale but with a solid hull, well 2 really, one is Bass Wood, the other Mahogany of which I will mount as a Lift Model on a Board.  I also lucked up and acquired a piece of wood from her during the last refit.  I still do not know exactly where I will use, but a part of the real will be apart of the build!  Your hull looks great.  As you already know, most of the kit is Bass Wood.  Might I make a suggestion, if you can, look at acquiring Box Wood.  You will love how the stuff works and does not split or crack.  I also like Holly and Pear.  I lucked up and several years placed a large order with sadly now, Hobby Mill.  I really miss that fella, he was a 1st class act.  Anyway, you will be surprised at just how clean and sharp the wood looks.  My plain was until I found out how hard and the dust can kill ya, use ebony, Box and Pear on mine if I ever get around to the build.  But please do not take what I am saying as neg against Model Shipways supplied wood, it is all good.  But if you every venture out from just what comes in a kit, you will see what I am talking about.  Looking forward to more of your build.

Rick😎

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  • 1 month later...

It is time for a little progress report.  Following Bob Hunt's Practicum, I've been working on the spar deck and lower gun ports.  It went fairly well.  No real drama.  I completed the chapter on one side as a a sort of learning guide before starting the other.  The masts are just sitting in the mast partners - final alignment is forth coming.

 

 

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Just discovered your build and it looks great. I too am using Mr. Hunt's practicum, as it is a valuable resource. I could not have built my first square rigged ship, Rattlesnake without it. Just be aware that he is not infallible, he makes mistakes, and he does simplify some of the detail which may or may not be to your liking. In my Connie build, I am using his practicum as a guide and not the bible as I did with the Rattlesnake. That's partially because I am adding as much detail as I can to the gun deck which he, and the Shipway instructions covered up with a fully planked spar deck.

 

I use a lot of reference photos of the actual ship to guide me and I assume you will too. The Shipway kit is based on the 1926 restoration which NOT how the ship looks today. So make sure when you are looking at a photo, it is reflecting the proper time frame of your model. A good example of this is the topgallant rail. It was installed in 1926 but has been subsequently removed.

 

I look forward to seeing future installments of your build log.

 

Jon

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a little update.  I've been having fun planking the spar deck.  I was intimidated by the need to taper the planks.  Several different methods are suggested on how to do this.  After several failed attempts, I ended up just making the taper with a straight edge and then used a sanding block to remove the excess wood.  It went fairly easy after that!  This kit did not have enough stock to finish the deck, so I'm waiting for the postman to bring me some more along with a few other items.  My next post hopefully will show a completely finished spar deck!

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I finished planking the spar deck.  I used that same procedure that will be used when planking the hull, so this was good practice for me.  

I gave a lot of thought as to how I wanted to finished the deck - to leave it natural or to stain it per Bob Hunts Practicum.  As you can see, I went for the latter.  The major factor in my decision was artistic.  I think all the deck details, esp. rigging is highlighted by the darker deck.  I spent time studying the USS Constitution's deck color via its website.  I saw gold highlights in there, so I gave the deck some golden oak stain before applying the grey and brown.  I may give it a black wash as a final touch-up.

 

Next up:  I choose not to do the main and topgallant rails per the BHP.  My hands are quite steady, so detail painting does not bother me.  I will install the two rails before moving on the planking the hull.

 

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  • 1 month later...

I've made some progress on the hull.  I planked one side without much drama.  I divided the planks into about 6 belts which made it easier for me to manage the work and make corrections as I went.  I had the usual tapering at the bow and stern.  My fairing was OK but ran into some low spots around the last two belts.  Nothing major so I just used some glazing putty from my body shop supplies to fill in the low spots.  Used 80 grit to shape hull.  Will finish with 220, 400 before applying Jesso.  I'm happy with my first attempt at planking a full hull (did a bow section earliler)

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, I finally finished planking the hull.  No real drama here, either!  My faring was a lot better on this side as I only had a couple small areas to sand down/build up.  Painted the outside flat black.  Experimented with a satin or semi-gloss finished - so far the latter looks best.  I did the galleries next.  I was intimidated by these but they proved to be easier than thought!  I used the window panes supplied in the kit.  I built the frames first and then just trimmed the openings to fit the panes.  Once I apply the white trim, any alignment issues should disappear.  I'm going to complete the stern, head and other hull details before copper plating the hull.  At this point, I'm thinking about not scribing those little idents into the copper plates.  For some reason the scale seems to be way off or they used some really big nails attaching them to the hull😁

 

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You are right that a lot of modelers have gotten the representation of the fasteners of the copper plates wrong. They look like boiler plate rivets sticking out off the plates. As you can see from the image below, the plates are attached with copper nails which results in fine dimples on the plates. I am going to attempt to simulate the effect on my build using a stamp with fine needle points embedded in it. I managed to simulate the bolt heads on the bulwarks somewhat successfully (using 0.6 mm rivets I made using a fine punch) although I still feel the scale is off.

1995 - Copper Plates 01.jpg

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Just for your info. The copper plates that are used on the Constitution are about 14” x 39”.

They are very thin and the plates  are preped for nailing by using a machine that goes back

to 1856. The operator puts the plate on a sliding tray uses a hand crank to pass the plate

down the tray. Nails on the roller punches the plate.

The copper nails used are the size of furniture brads. About 7/8’s long the head about a 1/4”.

When they attach the plate to the hull they place the plate over felt paper which covers the

area of the hull which will be coppered

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You are doing a great job. I know the Constitution is a big project. It is really two parts. All the construction, which you seem to be enjoying and the the Rigging part. Just be patient and enjoy the process. I look forward to you coming posts. Have fun making sawdust.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I finished up the galleries using styrene as outlined by Bob Hunt.  The really small trim was difficult to handle- even with a good pair of tweezers.  I ended up gluing a l longer than needed piece in place and then just trimmed it with a sharp xacto.  Some touch-up paint and they will finish up nicely.  The stern details were added.  I used the kit molding - it mated up well to the gallery styrene.  The stars gave me stars by the time I had made six good ones after "umpteen" attempts!  The "CONSTITUTION" was done free-hand.  I painted the entire piece white and then went in with a 6-hair paint brush to backfill the black.  I used the same technique on the bow - trailboard?

The main and topgallant rails were installed.  The kit provided bow main rail pieces worked well for me.  

After a little break, I'll move on to the head details before coppering the hull.  Lots of fun!!

 

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  • 1 month later...

I finished the head rails or the head rails finished me!  That was excruciating!  The third rail was the challenge.   I used two approaches:  build the rail first then the timbers and via versa!  The latter was a tad bit easier.  I used a piece of styrene as a mock rail when fitting the timbers and then used my wood bending tool to shape the rail.  To my surprise the top rail was the easiest.  Re the hawse pipes.  I added a filler piece between the knees to which I fit the pipes rather than directly into the hull.  I did not see this piece in the instructions buy knew of it from some photos I had taken of the Constitution.

 

Now it is on to coppering the hull.  I plan to use the technique created by rweiderrich which produces the exact look I want!  I just found another use for that old clothes wringer I've been using to press my chamois when washing the car!

 

Please excuse the photos fuzziness - still have not mastered the new digital camera.

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Absolutely beautiful work on such a magnificent subject. You are doing Old Ironsides proud. Model Shipways has one of the best Constitution kits on the market. I have built this model several years ago as well as a few other Constitution kits and this kit is by far my favorite.  

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Thanks for your empathy!  It is encouraging to know that even seasoned veterans like yourself will at times struggle with these models!  At 72 years, the hands, fingers and eyes are not what they once were.  This being my first - and last- advanced model, building it is a real challenge but enjoyable just the same.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finished applying the copper plating.  I used a technique developed by a fellow member to simulate the nail heads.  It was a simple combination of chicken wire, a drywall sand screen and an old clothes wringer.  I cut off 6 inch strips of tape and ran the tape, wire and screen through the wringer!  I got the precise look I wanted!  A little touch up is needed and then its on to the next step!!

 

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Oops!!  That did not go well.  Now I've got a problem to solve!!  Luckily, I am having the lids closes for one port, so whatever the solution it will be behind close doors.  Not so much for the other port!  Something will show up I just have hid it well.  I guess I should have used more glue!!

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