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USS Constitution by Force9 - Revell - PLASTIC - Revisiting the classic 1/96 kit


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....  My "hornlike" version was copied over from the USS President drawings that I used for a template (Chappelle).  I may have over-dramatized the shape and I might tone it down slightly before final fitting.  The rudder pendant chains were usually affixed to the spectacle plate which extends aft just below the hance.

 

Marcus - I am glad I did my homework first!  I should mention that the newer rudder type is also commonly called a "Snodgrass Rudder" - presumably after the inventor.  Karl Heinz Marquardt  in his AOTS book insists that the Constitution still had the old "Rule Joint" version during the war years.  He doesn't offer much reasoning beyond the fact that the newer type took years to become standard.  The European navies apparently didn't authorize use of the newer version until decades after the merchant services had employed them... Howard Chappelle was elbow deep in original ship plans and builder's notes in his role at the Smithsonian and would be in a great position to assert the early adoption by the American navy.  I've gone with his perspective and not Marquardt's.

...

Hy Evans

 

I very much enjoy to read back and forth in your wounderful report here ...

 

Where did you get all that information from concerning the Snodgrass Rudder? I found of course Marquardts remark, but Chapelles is from where? 

 

Anyway, while showing the 1803 Cornè (your avatar) to my son, to explain him some of my ideas I accidently picked a zoom onto the rudder and there it was : the hornlike USS Presidents detail !

 

Thanks for finding such beautiful tiny details, Evans - its such a fun !

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http://www.bruzelius.info/Nautica/Shipbuilding/NC-5(1801)_p129.html

 

Good old Gabriel Snoddergrass was very confident about his improvments on East Indiamen. A very interesting person I think. 

Gabriel did not only invent the rounded rudder head but also used much more iron in the ships skelelton and also modified dimensions for his ships. He seemed to be very proud about his success - but its interesting that it seemed to him he needs to push admiraltity make use  of his findings. 

 

Also interesting: he seem to have "invented" the process of not closing the holes of the outer and inner planks done for the treenails - until the very latest moment ... to give the ships hull another more time to "breath" ...

 

 

But in an other article I saw this afternoon (have to refind it) someone else did claim to be the inventor of rounded rudderheads .. So copyright was also in former times a problem. ... or as so often: the time was right for the next step - and maybe different people noticed that in about the same time ..?

Edited by Marcus.K.
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Gentlemen, I plead ignorance in the extreme. 

I am a total neophyte here having returned to ship modeling after the apostasy of making airplanes for the last 40 or so years. 

Will one of you please explain the difference in rudders?

I hope I can understand the difference.  (I do have doctoral degrees in two separate fields.  no bragging.  You guys are much better at this than I am.)

I have tried to research the topic, and I have come to a dead end.

Please explain it to this poor biomedical engineer.

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:D I do not believe you ;)

 

 

Well, the thing is described in Evan´s post #107 on page 6 of this building log.

 

Evan did a complete new rudder blade with its rudder post - since he compared the USS Presidents drawings with what he found on the Revell kit.

Marquardt - the author of the Anatomy of the Ship book "Constitution" mentioned the use of Snoddgrass-rudders - with a round rudder head - for later. Chapelle somewhere seems to have hinted out, that the Snoddgrass-rudders have been used earlier in the US Navy.

 

The difference? The former shape of the rudder post - which connects the rudder with the rudder head (and the pillar (right word?)) was squared or at least rectangular in cross section view. Maybe because its easier to create, maybe because it wasn´t even in the centerline of the hinges .. But the effect in any case: the "hole" for that post in the stern had to be wider than it had to be for an aligned and round rudder post.

 

Mr. Gabriel Snoddgrass seems to have "invented" the round rudderpost / rudder head - and therefore optimized the needed size of the hole which is needed to open for that piece of wood.

 

By the way: I refound the article - and was wrong. It describes that a Mr. Hookey claimed to have invented the round rudder head - but the author states, that this Invention was done by G. Snoddgrass and was used in merchantmen since years.

 

For some reason I do not understand I can not copy a link from this Google-book-article to here .. If you Google for "round rudder head Snoddgrass" you will find a link to a "mechanics Magazin, volume 8" .. and there it is.

 

 

Look in Evans post #107 - you will see the difference in pictures. Its another proof of Evans fine nose to detect and point on interesting details which are commonly not looked at.

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Jerry - Thanks for posting those more detailed photos of the McNarry model in the gallery.  It really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.

 

Markus - Chapelle has a nice overview of the rudder differences in his "History of the American Sailing Navy".  I'll look for the page references. As I've indicated in my earlier post, Chapelle thinks the US Navy was an early adopter of this new rudder type - much sooner than the European navies. 

 

I have not been working on my model lately - it is too hot in my garage work space for comfort.  We Californians are wimps in regard to summer heat waves...

 

I do think I'll be back in action this weekend as the weather begins to moderate.

 

Thanks all

Evan

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Marcus, thank you.  Your reference on much appreciated.  I failed to see it going through the topic.

Again, I plead ignorance due to the apostasy of modeling aircraft for so many years.

I do not know what you do not believe, but I am just getting back into sailing ship modelling after too long away.

My current project is an attempt at turning an old Pyro "Independence War Schooner" into a reasonably accurate model of the revenue cutter Alexander Hamilton.  Any advice or assistance would be a great help.

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Hy Matt,

 

well, I do not believe that a "poor biomedical engineer" with two doctor degrees and having a 40 years experience in building air plane models is not able to brag just as the rest of us may do  :dancetl6: C´mon - its so easy !  :D

 

Your Project sounds VERRRYY interesting to me. I am very much interested in this time period - and I am looking for any possible model kit which is available for future builds ...

 

If you start a building log I would instantly volonteer to become observer - and where I can I will help of course - although most of my readings was about Constitution.

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Hallo Evan, I finally found the pages. Thanks. And there is the sketch which inspired you. Its on page 170.

 

Edit: see last line (Compared with the British plans of USS President I think the hornlike thing is not visible.) in brackets is wrong ! see last line Edit-ende.

 

Chappell states he has his point of view because of so many correspondence indicating the early use of the round headed rudder and that its in use since about 1801. He shows this horn in nearly all drawings.

 

That its not visible in NMM plans is no prove that it wasn't there. Maybe this tiny detail was not of importance ...?

 

What I want to point out for you : look at the  number of the metal fixations of the rudder in President's NMM plan. Seems to be more...

 

Strange: it seems I can not paste copied text or links... only my problem?

 

Edit: just looked into my Canney for the british lines of President and have to admit : I was wrong. The horn is visible there too - very clearly. 

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

Frank -

 

I see you've started in on the sails for your Victory.  I like your initial effort with the spanker.

 

So sorry that I've neglected my log... I have a few updates to add and I will have a good few weeks to do some modeling during the holiday break.

 

I hope to have the hull halves glued together, the gun deck in place, and the false keel done.

 

Thanks for your continued interest!

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Work comes before pleasure, so look forward to some more on your build Evan.

 

I hope to start thinking about my Connie as soon as I am near finished on the Vic.

 

So your extensive build will be a great help for my 1812 build of this ship using the same material and scale ship as you.

 

Through you I contacted BlueJacket and got many of the items plus the maps which will be very useful for the rigging.

 

Great work and its nice to know your still working on it.  :)

 

Happy break  :D

 

Frank.  :piratebo5:

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  • 1 month later...

just beginning the revell build and once long ago completed the revell Cutty so I remember the rigging issues with kit parts.  I am not as concerned with historic accuracy but rather a beautiful display model that is easier for and older builder and wife to complete.  I am buying replacement blocks and pins along with various sizes of line and brass tube to hopefully strengthen the yards and masts.  I would like a realistic looking wood deck and am thinking of purchasing a laser cut from scale decks and build up the bulwarks per your recommend approach for greater realism.  

 

My skill sets are extensive but at our age the rigging will be a major challenge.  We think we want it in full sails and the kit supplied will be used since I can't find any premade after market.  We intend to stain them somewhat but the alternative would be to use silkspan and display sails reefed to the yards as in port would look.  Cant seem to find much guidance in this regard.  What is your opinion on sails and decking?  Also strengthing the yards and mast to prevent so much bending when rigging.  Any help would be appreciated we are also on a very tight budget so we cant afford to go all out otherwise I would have bought the Bluejacket wooden model. As it is I figure we will spend a couple hundred dollars in extras.

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Hi Taz.

 

On the yards and upper masts I have learnt its best to use wood/brass rod.

 

I have on my Victory(Heller 1/100) found it very ness to do this way.

Looking at my Connie has also persuaded me to do the same with wood and brass for the most flimsy parts.

 

With advice. that in a warm room yards become floppy.  

 

For decking I would suggest  using maple wood planks,but painting may also be a good option.

 

Sails is a tricky one, but with running rigging it will still look busy.

 

Your choice shipmate.

 

Foxy  :piratebo5:

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Taz - Welcome to the Connie club!

 

I recommend thickening the bulwarks and perhaps scratch building a replacement for the capstan.  Everything else is not critical... I think you are wise to want to replace the more fragile spars with something more substantial... Wood makes the most sense for the yardarms and thinner topmasts - easy to acquire a proper fine-grained wood that would suit the purpose.  I will, however, try to use styrene tube with brass rod inserts wherever possible.  Many of these spars need various cleats and attachments that might be best done with styrene at this small scale.

 

The sails will be done with silkspan on my build... I won't do full sails - just the sails set during battle.  I have seen good representations using the kit sails, but I don't prefer the billowing sail effect... If the sails are a bit intimidating, it is entirely acceptable to model the ship with bare poles and avoid all of the necessary running rigging associated with full sails.  It could save months of effort.

 

The decking can be done using the kit pieces - you'll see my method elsewhere within my log.  The scale decks version does, however, look to be a terrific alternative and I know Arnie over on fine scale modeler used these to good effect.

 

Foxy is well on his way with masts and rigging and I think we will both benefit from following his progress.

 

I look forward to seeing your build here on MSW and please don't hesitate to ping me with any questions... I can at least help you avoid any pitfalls that I encountered!

 

Evan

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  • 2 weeks later...

Glad to see that you are back at it,  Evan. Way back when you gave me some advice on putting the ill-fitting spar deck pieces together without the whole thing looking like Connie just left the battle. Things went forward fairly well until the winter time when I found out that CA doesn't dry well in low humidity. Any helps out there on this one? It really does take forever to solidify, then really dry. I am in Columbus, OH. 

 

Meanwhile, thanks for your excellent work as an example that is very motivating.

 

PeetGee

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Evan

 

I am new to tall ship building, have done  a lot of WWII models, tanks and planes but, I have always loved the Sailing War Ships 1700 and 1800 hundreds.

I started following your build about 16 months or so ago, reason is, I have found your build to be one of the best in detail and history to go along with it, which I love! This is my 3rd attempt at the Revell 1/96 scale model, believe it or not, made one big mistake on the last one and the first one looked like I used 50 pounds of glue. So, this is my (Hopefully) last attempt at this model so I can actually display the model with your build ideas because of the accuracy, with a few of my own little ideas. By the way, Force9 will be getting the credit! 

 

Very excited for your future posts and thank for going through the work, because I know it's a lot of work to post a build!

 

Steve

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  • 10 months later...

I did not know there was a scale deck version Evan.

 

Can you give me pointers please(who to contact), doe's sound like a good idea for the decking.

 

Following your build as ever.  :rolleyes:

 

foxy  :piratebo5:

 

If I may be so bold as to respond in Evan's stead, if you're looking for wooden veneer decking for the big Revell Constitution, try these folks:

http://www.scaledecks.com/our-story.html

Have a safe and healthy New Year, mate, and may all your builds be top class.

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  • 4 months later...

Force9 -

 

I followed your articles for the entire build - absolutely beautiful and the adjunct research advice by the members was first rate.  Question - did you stop at the hull or did you finish the entire model? I you took it to its completed stage, did you document that as well?

 

Thanks again for a terrific build and fabulous documentation,

Mark

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Hello Mark!

 

The timing of your note is impeccable... I've just now started to pull everything out to assess how to restart my project.  I've left off exactly where you last saw an update, so there is much yet to do.

 

Apologies to yourself and others who've been looking for new updates... My health has been fine and the family is good (thanks to those who've asked in the background) - it is the other culprit to blame for the project downtime - Work.  The company I work for was acquired almost exactly a year ago in a very public transaction involving gazillions of dollars... The new leadership offered me an expanded role with a bunch more money, but it required that I relocate my family to the east coast to be near the corporate headquarters.  My kids are early in their high school tenures and are absolutely thriving - great academically, great extracurricular activities, and great social circles.  It seemed like a tough time to rock their world, so I had to respectfully decline the opportunity - but I had the luxury of a very generous severance package.  In the intervening period, however, there was much travelling back to the corporate office and other locations and a concerted effort to help map out the necessary steps to combine various systems/platforms and define the future roadmap before I finally "off boarded" (the polite euphemism for such exits).  I'm only a few weeks into my freedom and have finally decompressed enough to reorganize my workshop and start to get Old Ironsides back on track. (I also had a jury duty stint in there somewhere!)

 

I'll be starting in again on the cannon and I have yet to finish the chains, but I hope to have some progress to share in the next few weeks.  Hopefully the ideas will begin to flow again and more of the "first rate adjunct research" from the other forum members will resurface.

 

Many thanks for the patience from you and others and I'm looking forward to setting sail again.

 

Regards,

Evan

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I am sure that I am not the only one to be very glad you are well and that you have taken up the Constitution again.  

 

I will take a moment to thank you for all you have done so far with your build.  Your build log has been most educational and informative.  I can tell you that I look forward with much anticipation and interest in just what you come up with next.

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your build with us.

 

Dan

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Evan,

I am so very glad you are well and back up on the net.  Your Constitution is an example of what can be done with a dose of passion and a bucketful of patience.  I look forward to your next posts as the pictures and interplay they engender are both a pleasure to read and thought provoking as well.

 

Welcome back,

 

Mark

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  • 1 month later...

Hello Evan, sounds like a lot going on in your life! I wish you the best in your future endeavors, as a Pasadena, California raised person, I can understand you not wanting to uproot your family, when we moved away some years ago the culture shock was rather dramatic.

 

Am I to take from this latest posting (June 2) that you are no longer updating your finescale.com blog? I've not seen a post from you there in some time and have been rather anxious to see your progress, so I can grab some more ideas from you regarding my own build. I ran into a major, and I do mean major problem with my build in that I stepped my bowsprit without making sure it was squared up and rotated correctly, then promptly snapped off the port side dolphin striker I had spent so much time reinforcing! So now I am trying to figure out how to correct a very stupid lapse of on my part that simply cannot be let go, I have to rotate the bowsprit to square it up and redo the dolphin strikers, with metal inserts to prevent such a disaster occurring again, I should note that every single 1/96 scale ship I've built I've had issues with breaking the dolphin striker off.

 

At any rate, glad to have found you again and looking forward to viewing your further progress, I suppose I should start a blog on this site, posting photos on the other site is, shall we say, and exercise in frustration.

 

Dan

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