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Colonial Sloop Providence by KenW - 1:48

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I’m moving along with work on the hull.  First I installed stairs leading from the quarter deck to the main deck.  The stairs are a little wide, but I think they would’ve been busy.

I also made a binacle.  It has the normal setup - in the middle is the lantern I made last summer, along with two compasses.  I tried to make sure both compasses are pointing in the same direction.  Please note that the binacle is not glued onto the deck yet.

And, finally, I installed the rudder using the Syren Pintles and Gudgeons kit.







Edited by KenW
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1 minute ago, Tim Feather said:


Your work is truly extraordinary. Having read "Valour Fore & Aft", Gilkerson's "Ships of John Paul Jones", and other brief references to "Providence, as well as noting the variations in depictions and models of her rig and hull colors, I congratulate you on your research, to  attention to detail, and your willingness  to pursue historical accuracy. In addition, I would like to know if any of your works are, or will be available for sale.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, KenW said:

They aren't really 'museum quality' by any means.

Depends on the museum! Some of them are stuck up and you might have some problems but any museum that can recognize quality and skill would grab this build up in a heartbeat. Look up the pictures of the Providence Model in the Boston Museum Of Fine Arts made by Charles Davis and then compare it to the Providence made from the same plans by Alfred Brownell in Mystic Seaport museum.




Your build is just as nice as either of them and much better than Davis's version. Possibly Brownell's as well.


Edited by lmagna
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Here are some quick links to a few of my notes. Sorry but it will take a little time to compile everything I collected on the Providence/Katy. I kept it all but sometimes it was a little disorganized and now it appears that I also have to go back at least a couple of computers to retrieve all the saved tidbits.


Here is most but not all of the Mystic Seaport photos. They have a very hard to research data base.

First off Brownell's Providence done from Davis's 193? plans. It appears that these plans were readily available back in the 30s but I cannot find a present day copy and very little reference to them. Even in the NRG archives. Scroll down for the Providence



 Next is a couple of better pictures of a model by Robert I Innis in 1932-33. What is nice besides the better pictures, is that they give the scale and measurements of the model.



Next is a model from an unknown source and supposedly at 1:100


He also has an article you can click on at the top of his blog that has a bit of history on the Providence but unless you read German will have to be translated. I did that at some point but I haven't located it yet either.


Here is an interesting history done by The Rhode Island Historical Society in 1943 that is in English. The last page has another picture of Brownell's Providence.



Here are a few pictures of another model. I didn't note who the builder was. There is a possibility that the information was not available. My suspicion is that they are the Coral HMS Resolution done as a Colonial Sloop. I am not certain if they were intending to represent the Providence or not but I thought there were enough ideas and the model was done well so I kept the pictures as part of my Providence research.






I will continue looking for my Davis Providence pictures, I only have a couple of more thumb drives and a hard drive to dig through. I think I spent a little over a year gathering what I could on the Providence with a few spurts now and then when the mood hit me.  




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WOW   Thanks Lou.  Lots of great stuff here.

There is a one day 'conference' here on the east coast called Joint Clubs held just outside Mystic, Ct. each year.  We missed last year, but we are, hopefully, on for this August.  I'll spend some time at the museum and check this out.

I like the Charles Davis model because it's all black (above the water line).  I'd really like to see more photos of it from other angles and some close-ups.

Really impressive.

Thanks again.

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When I was doing my research on the Providence it soon became clear that if one wants to do any credible work or interpretation on the ship that they would have to go to he east coast to do so. ALL of the information that is worth anything is located in the New England states. I envy you that ability.


Here is a little more I have been able to locate from my second thumb drive:

Brownell's Providence again, (I consider his model to possibly the best reference available that is based on his and Davis's research.)



This is Davis's model from the same plans:





If you enlarge the Davis model picture you can see that the quality is not as good as Brownell's effort. Plus it looks like it has not been as well cared for over the years. both of these models date from the 30s.



Again, not certain who did this one but it is obviously also from the Davis plans, (How I wish I could locate those plans!) and well done at that. Your build reminds me of this level of craftsmanship without being plank on frame.



Of course one can add a few pictures of the present day Providence, (The one you are using the plans from and before her refit after the storm damage) for reference.



John Paul Jones's escape from the Royal Navy frigate HMS Soleby on September 1, 1776. Executed by First Mate John Rathbun. Rathbun later took command of the Providence and more than matched Jones's reputation. He also later commanded the frigate Queen Of France came up with the idea of pretending to be a British frigate and over a couple of days along with the Ranger and Providence captured 10 ships under escort without firing a shot! Three of the ships were recaptured before reaching port but the prize money for the other eight amounted to over a million dollars!



Brownell's build again



My notes say this is another view of Brownell's build



This is the Innis model from Davis plans



My notes say Innis again but there are a number of subtle differences and I am not certain that is the case.



Back to the present day, (Well a few years ago anyway)




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Thanks again Lou.  I like the Bromnell model.  And you should come east; perhaps for our Joint Clubs meeting (assuming it will take place).

If you consider a trip, I'll give you updates on the final date.  It may not happen until October.

Any research/photos are welcome. 

John Rathbun is a true early American hero that very few people have ever heard of.


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5 hours ago, KenW said:

John Rathbun is a true early American hero that very few people have ever heard of.

I enjoy reading about his exploits far more than I liked learning about Jones. He didn't seem to have the ego or the temper of Jones and was much more liked by his crews. He was every bit as enterprising as Jones, and certainly contributed heavily to the Colonial cause, but for some reason, like you say, history seems to have largely ignored him. 


Probably not much chance of me getting out to the east coast any time soon. I used to be able to get out there once a years or so to visit our oldest son and family in Massachusetts and later Pennsylvania but they moved to California a few years ago and we don't go out that way anymore. I am still raising two grandchildren and that keeps me from pursuing many of the activities that normal 70+ year old people seem to be able to do like cruises and trips abroad. And then as you say there is the CORONA affect that keeps everything in limbo.


I am partial to the Brownell version as well. It is far better made, (In my opinion) than Davis's and even though it is the proper overall black color, still somehow shows enough subtle highlights to keep it visually interesting. The Innis model is also nice but the bare wood hull seems a little boring to me for some reason. I still think that the best workmanship is on the plank on frame version. It also is the only version that has sweeps, something that would seem common for a ship of Providence's size but is never mentioned or modeled by builders of her.


But back to what started all this. I think that the photos I have shown support my statement that your build is as good or better than what can be found in museums. It seems that at least in this case the fame of the builder is more important than the subject modeled. 

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Lou:  I'm a bit confused about the model photos/

The Davis and Brownell models are very similar.  I think that the Brownell has a yellow stripe on the hull and the Davis does not.

If that is true, I think some of your photos are labeled wrong. 

Can you please check and let me know which is which.


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Posted (edited)

Sorry Ken I was out for my wife's birthday celebration yesterday and didn't see this.


My posts in #110 are as follows:

#1 is color closeup of Brownell's model. It is noted as having black inner bulwarks and a deep barn red cap rail.

#2 is a color picture of Davis's model with the yellow side rail and blue trim on the quarterdeck, and red painted inner bulwark like on a British naval ship.

#3 is a black and white of Davis's model to show how simple and unrefined it is compared to Brownell's and how poorly maintained it is.

#4 is close up in color of Davis's model. (#2,3,and 4 are the only pictures of Davis's model)

#5 is an unknown modeler who chose to do a Admiralty plank on frame model based on Davis's plans using bare wood much like yours. It is also interesting, (At least to me) that he decided to add sweeps stored on the sides of the quarterdeck. This would have been a common feature of many small ships like Providence but seldom added.

#6 Is a picture of the current ship showing the size of their choice of cannon. It also shows how many alterations have been made that would not have been present on the original. Danforth anchor with chain, higher bulwarks to keep silly land lubbers from falling overboard, motorized winch with capstans, steel frames for the bulwarks, etc.

#7 Painting of the Providence escaping from the HMS Soleby but again using Davis's rendition as a source for the Providence.

#8 Colored deck view of Brownell's Providence primarily showing the 10 gun arrangement. (The ports and locations are present in Davis's model but the guns are missing. (See picture #4) It is my personal opinion that the arrangement was eight guns on the main deck with originally two more on the quarterdeck and another two added later, also on the quarterdeck. This opinion comes from the story about Whipple when he first took command of the Katy removing the guns at FT George, (Fort Island). A letter from Captain James Wallace of HMS Rose and a long time enemy or Whipple and Brown, accused Whipple of the theft and that some of the guns stolen from under his nose had been used to rearm the Katy even though he does not mention the Katy by name. It appears that the number of 4 pounder guns reported as missing matches the number of guns on the Katy at that time. I would again have to locate it in my notes but I believe the number of guns was eight, and were the same guns taken off of the Katy and installed in the fort at an earlier date. This was increased to 10 guns when the Katy was taken over by the Congenital Congress and renamed Providence and later increased to 12 guns, possibly under Jones.

#9 Brownell's model

#10 Robert Innis's model also done from Davis's plans.

#11 My notes say that this is also the Innis model but there are too many discrepancies between the two so I consider this to be an unknown, also based on Davis's plans.

#12 Present day Providence under full sail.


Hope that helps clarify the pictures. A little long winded but by now you should realize I am pretty much beyond help in that regard. 

Edited by lmagna
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Thanks Lou.

I got it wrong in that the Brownell does NOT have the yellow rail or stripe.  And the Davis does and is the model in the Mystic Seaport Museum.

Sorry about all the trouble I'm causing.  I absolutely am impressed by all the photos and the research you've done.

I can't wait to get back to Mystic.


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8 hours ago, KenW said:

I can't wait to get back to Mystic.

Like I said I envy you in that.


Unfortunately the proper modeling of the Providence takes a lot of research that mostly takes the form of verbal description, gleaning bits and pieces from a phrase here or there. I only wish I was better at it and was physically located where the real research  was possible. I personally think there is much that Davis and Millar both missed and in the case of Millar adulterated in their designs. I think you were wise in using Millar's design for your Providence though. Sometimes I wish that I had done the same.


It does not hurt that your skill level exhibited in this build is also right up there with any Providence models  I have seen up until now including Brownell's!

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Thanks Lou. 

I don't think there is really any more research out there.

I wasn't aware, but the model at the Rhode Island Historical Society was built by A.S. Brownell in 1926.  It is based on planes by C.G. Davis and Brownell.

If you accept personal messages I'll send the photos that the Society sent me.



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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

The hull is done and I’m ready for the formal launch.  The binnacle is put in place and tied down.  I made the windlass ratchet stopper from a 3/32 square piece which was carved to look like a square ‘C’.  Also, a 1/32 x 3/16 piece of basswood strip was shaped and sanded.  A small hole was drilled through the square carved piece and then a hole was made in the base of the strip.  I inserted a length of fishing wire so the stopper will move.  Then I carefully measured the necessary height and glued the stopper onto the bow sprint bit.  The result looks pretty good. I hope my description is clear; it's hard to see in the photo since it's all black.


YPfCjUYqm1CKMI2qwXqnriIQNnYqp6uPhY4qoJAMLp46GDgfruU5z8LcPxxu22qBlZtrFQDLo0NtvjfPzbVVqPpHqXoKxOJMacx0dWEF9hUp6QuDPA9CBuUpj5E7iAbt-o193Zme          8-RgoOxXWp6LgDioO3k1rShyk2zqW0TVuCAD42bvXZHST2_2SYs_GIRsQ3O0msJqR2_XlqxK0NDg3bm9NzVPYqBk1Eoyx_SJ8WgWnf5PR0WVJTvTkz3wLMbUCtJRkwtqnUakguPZ



Edited by KenW
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