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Brian Falke

USS CONSTITUTION by Brian Falke - BlueJacket Shipcrafters - Scale 1:96

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I purchased this model kit about a year ago while I was finishing up my second model, first scratch (USS ENGAGE).  Now that I am done with that model (with the exception of building the display base) I am moving on to something more challenging.  However, I am not a fan of the kits solid hull and only having the gun deck and main deck visible.  There is a lot more to the CONSTITUTION than those two decks.  My plan, therefore is to mix this as a kit and a scratch.  The hull is going to be plank on frame.  One side of the ship (probably the starboard) will be completely planked and painted; the other side (port side) will be open, so that someone can see all decks of this fine ship.  Additionally, I am going to be as true to the construction of this model as to the original.  I am going to use white oak and yellow pine through out the hull.  I recognize this will be a significant challenge and will consume years (USS ENGAGE took me 12 years to complete, granted it sat idle for significant portions of that period).  Everything else will be as per the model kit instructions.

 

My first step in this process is the framing.  Using the hull lines plan from the model instruction book I traced out one side of the frame and scanned the tracing into a PDF.  I have attached the tracing for Frame "7".   After scanning into my computer, I adjusted the scale to 100% (they were coming out at 139%) and took a screen shot of just the tracing from the centerline out just past the frame.  I then pasted that screen shot onto a Power Point slide, increased the size to 108% (I came to that percentage after trial and error of getting the print out accurate size).  I copied the half and flipped it to make the entire frame - port and starboard side (see the attached photo).

 

Once I have all the frames and keel complete, I will glue them onto white oak plank and commence cutting.  I have a concern about the strength of the frame, especially where it narrows at the top, above the main deck.  My gut tells me to glue two or three planks with their grains perpendicular to then one next to it and then plane that down to the thickness of the frame.  I am open to suggestions here, and welcome them as I am still tracing out the frames.

Frame 7.jpg

CCF07272019_00002.pdf

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WOW, very cool. I thought about doing the same thing however with the Revell kit and only half frames, maybe port. Will love to see your progress.

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I am going to jump ahead in the build, way ahead.  But, there is a reason.  If you will bear with me for a bit.  My reason for building this kit was to include my father in on the build.  You see, growing up, my father also built model ships and the one that I will always remember was the paddle boat ROBERT E. LEE.  It was absolutely incredible.  I was mesmerized by it. It now sits in my sister's house in Mississippi as my dad felt that it should reside as close to the paddle boat region as possible.  I will get pictures of it one day and post them to this build. 

When I first received the kit I went over to my parents house to kick it off, and get my dad involved.  It is unfortunate that now, in his old age he is not able to do this type of work.  So, I packed up the kit and brought it back to my house to build.  I still want to include my father in on the build, but with easier tasks.   So, I am jumping ahead to the guns.

I was already to grab the guns, the truck carriages, the trucks and the paint (thank you BlueJacket for delivering in time) and head down to my parents house to paint and build the guns.  But, once I opened the guns I noticed that they required a little prep work before painting.  The web between the gun and trunnions and seams along the barrel needed to be smoothed down.  Additionally, the gun required boring out.  So, I set my travel plans aside and commenced to prep the guns. Using my power Dremel tool I gently ground the web down rounding out the trunnion and barrel in those places.  Using the wire brush on the Dremel I wired smooth the seams along the barrel and all along the barrel, breach and trunnions.  My next dilemma was to bore the barrel in the center.  To do this I clamped a 3/4" scrap piece of plywood to my drill press and drilled a 7/16" hole through the board.  This allowed me to insert the gun into the hole with the muzzle swell up and centered.  Using a 1/16" drill bit, I then bored out the barrel to a depth of about 3/16".

1967466671_24PoundGunUnfinished.thumb.jpg.707d81041280b4b99a119cf8a5661f4f.jpg1102281358_Boring24PoundGun.thumb.jpg.b82eb116ce71b53a95a48c01b6c70581.jpg1979575685_Bored24PoundGun.thumb.jpg.79b612c29b58e4cf2a49d0602689249e.jpg

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After boring and smoothing the exterior of each cannon, I then focused on the carriages.  Being one for details, I noticed the gun tackle loops and breeching ringbolt on each side of the carriage required holes for the small brass eyebolts supplied with the kit.  I have scanned a few of the builds here and noticed that these were not included, so I am assuming that the kit does not come with enough eyebolts to do all the carriages and where needed throughout the ship - so I will have to order more.  The problem that I faced was now to drill holes in each of the carriages exactly (or dang close) to each other to achieve uniformity.  To do this I took a blob of JB Weld and mixed it together until it was starting to cure.  I then took the blob and pressed it onto the 3/4" plywood.  I then sprayed each side of the carriage with WD-40 so that the carriage would not stick and then pressed into the JB Weld each side of the gun carriage.  With the impression of each side of the carriage in the cured JB Weld blob, I let it cure until it was solid. This provided me with a stationary form where I could put one carriage into the impression, drill one hole, remove the carriage and put a new carriage in and drill in the same place until all carriages had the gun tackle loop drilled and in the same place.  Then I realigned the form on the drill press platform to drill the breeching ringbolt in the same place for each carriage.

20190902_131630.jpg

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Ooops..  Commented without reading all of your original comments..  You can request admin to delete this if you like..

Edited by Gregory

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Using the same jig process as I used above, I drilled a hole in the back of the Quoin for the handle for each of the gun carriages.  The BlueJacket kit does not come with a handle as the expectation is to not get down to this level of detail on the build (but, I am modifying the kit to some extent) and I felt a Belaying Pin would work perfectly as the handle.  The pins in the kit are 1/4", which are a little too long for this purpose.  So, I purchased 3/16" Belaying Pins from another supplier and they worked perfectly.  The handle part is about 3/32", which to scale is 9".  As a prototype, I finished one of the 32 guns.  Also, below the Quoin you will see the fitting for the Train Tackle.  I will have to drill that hole by hand on the carriages since it is located just above the rear truck.  Here is the prototype:

24lb_Prototype_1.jpg

24lb_Prototype_2.jpg

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