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USS Constitution Cross Section by Tim I. - FINISHED - Mamoli - Scale 1: 93 (Second wooden ship build)

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Hello everyone.


Frankly, I must start out to say that I am humbled all of the models I have seen so far here, wonderful and masterful work!

I will admit that I am still of a novice when it comes to building with wood, but I have been building plastic models for fifteen years.  This is my second wood model.  I built a kit bashed Bluenose II for my wife a little over a decade ago.

Therefore, this is my first attempt in as many years at a wooden kit.


So the build begins:



The third frame:




The fifth frame:




I look forward to sharing my progress with you, and reading all of your tips and feedback.




Timothy Igoe

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Started to plank the hold, and installed the mast step according to the Mamoli directions. Realized that I had installed it incorectly, so after some deconstruction, began working on some of the tree-nail detail.


Holes drilled in the fore and aft frames for tree-nails:



Placing the tree-nails in the fore frames:



Fore tree-nails trimmed:



Fore tree-nails sanded:



More details to follow.





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Installation of the aft tree-nails, and the rivits on the diagonal riders, and tree-nails in the hold.


Holes drilled, with the former mast head removed:



A third coat of wash added:



Aft tree-nails placed:



Hold fasteners installed:



Hold fasteners trimmed:



** I should note that after I finished this I realized that the tree-nails placed along the planking in the hold would not be on every plank. So thankfully this error will be covered by the ballast. **





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Thank you for the comment.

I like the kit as a starting point as this is my first project of this type.  However, as with all Constitution models there are varied degrees of inaccuracy.  Short of having Humphrey's original plans I have been relying on Karl Heinz Marquardt’s book, Anatomy of the Ship: The 44-Gun Frigate USS Constitution “Old Ironsides,” and Howard Chapelle’s book, The History of the American Sailing Navy.

Each of these sources have some degree of variability, and I have found myself trying to make the best interpretive example as I can based on the information I have found.  If you are considering building it, I would at least purchase or check these books out of your local library.  At this point, I am building from Marquardt’s interpretation of the Constitutions fit in 1812.




Looks great, Tim. How do you like the Mamoli kit? I am contemplating a cross section down the road a piece.

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Hello all.


Here is tonight’s progress.  According to the USS Constitution museum the ballast of the ship was "beach rocks and pig iron" in 1812.  I have also read that when the ship launched it was cobblestones.  For the build I decided to go with the first option, and used some small brown gravel I had on hand.

  1. First, I painted it a light gray.
  2. Second a light dry-brushed darker gray.
  3. Lastly, I applied a dark gray wash, to call attention to the striations and texture of the stone.

The results of this are shown below (keep in mind when I took these pictures, the wash was still drying -- hence the sheen. After drying it will be a dull flat.


Side view:


Top down view:






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Hello all,


It has been a busy two weeks at work, so I have been unable to spend as much time in my workshop as I would like. Last night I began the rough assembly of the chain pump housings for the gun deck. I hope to do the finish work on them (filling gaps, refining the edges, painting and so forth), by week end. For now, listed below are the pictures of my progress.


Chain pump housings mostly assembled:



Planking the wire basket cylindars:



Fasteners added on the aft housing:



Fasteners added on the fore housing:



Rough finish completed:



Hope to post more pictures shortly.





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  • 2 weeks later...

After a long absence and a significant loss of in-process pictures on my iPad, here is my current status. The build is progressing nicely. I have had to scratch build a lot of items (the kit was purchased on eBay and a significant part of the kit was missing), and a lot of the materials that should have been in the kit are absent.


Overall, I have enjoyed the build and look forward to finishing the gun and spar decks here in the next several weeks.


So without more delay here is my progress since the last update:


The orlop deck begins to take shape.



Detailing the fasteners on the orlop deck.



Detailing the planks on the orlop deck.



Framing the berth deck.



View of the cabins on the berth deck.



Framing of the gun deck begins.



Chain pumps finally installed.




Planking begins with the strakes along the keel.



Strakes finished up to and including the wales on port and starboard.



Another view of the planking.



More exterior detail is added.



Fasteners are applied to the hull to provide for texture under the paint.



Fasteners placed and trimmed on port and starboard.



Copper plating begins with the strips included in the kit (per the owners request, who comissioned the build).



First coat of paint is applied to the hull.



A look at the finished copper plating using the strips.



A second coat of paint.



More updates to follow. I am currently working on the gun carriages, the tackle and other detail. I will post pictures of the ongoing work as soon as it is available.






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I'm starting this kit myself - completed the initial framing, so I'm watching yours with much interest.  Beautiful work.


Thanks for the updates!


If you have the time/inclination, could you perhaps describe in a little detail how you are doing the treenailing of the deck?  What materials you're using, etc?  I'm pretty new to wood building, but this seems like a good model to experiment/attempt it with.





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Thank you for the kind words.


The technique I am using is simply a small hole drilled with similliar guage pieces of wire inserted with a dab od CA glue. Once it cures, taking some wire cutters and cutting it flush to the deck. It is not really accurate as most decking was fastened with wood treenails, but it at least gives the deck a little more detail.

I am sure many of the more experiance members here could provide a better example of what to do in this respect. I too am new to building wood ships, and this model is only the second one I have worked on.

I will watch your build with great anticipation. I also found the Mamoli plans to be less than to be desired. They are filled with a considerable amount of inaccuracies. I would recomend Karl Heinz Marquardt’s book, Anatomy of the Ship: The 44-Gun Frigate USS Constitution “Old Ironsides” to assist with your build. It has the complete plans for the ship, and should give you more than enough detail for what you are looking for.






I'm starting this kit myself - completed the initial framing, so I'm watching yours with much interest.  Beautiful work.


Thanks for the updates!


If you have the time/inclination, could you perhaps describe in a little detail how you are doing the treenailing of the deck?  What materials you're using, etc?  I'm pretty new to wood building, but this seems like a good model to experiment/attempt it with.





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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Hi Tim,


I began my cross section build a few days ago and am following your detailed work with much interest. The Mamoli instructions are to say the least not for a novice like me. I like that you are building deck by deck and can't imagine doing it any other way. This is my forth wood build, Titanic lifeboat, Bounty Launch and Bluenose II have taught me a great deal of hands on. I'm grateful for your posts and those of other modelers without which I would not be able to enjoy this build.


Thanks for the great photos,



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Thank you for the kind words.


In all honesty this is my third wood build and has been a huge learning experience for me as well. I have taken more pictures of the cross-section and will post them shortly.

The Mamoli instructions are a good starting point, but I would recommend  Karl Heinz Marquardt's book, Anatomy of the Ship: The 44-Gun Frigate USS Constitution "Old Ironsides". It offers a lot more detail than the kit plans, and will assist greatly if your looking to improve the accuracy of the build.


I am looking forward to following your build!


Thank you,



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  • 1 month later...

An update long overdue.


Sorry for the limited pictures of the major progress that has occurred from the past update. Work has been very busy so I have not been able to document the build as thoroughly as I would of liked to this point.

Running in the 24 pounders.

Setting of the Mainmast.



Mainmast structure complete. Ratlines run up to the fighting top.



More updates to come shortly, once I have more time to work on the build closer to Christmas.


- Tim

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  • 2 months later...

Hello everyone,


The beginning of the year has been must busier than I had anticipated. However, the USS Constitution cross-section is now complete. Although it was a challenge I have found that working on wooden ships is much more fulfilling than working on plastic ones.


Total build time for this was just under six months with a three week break in November. Here are my updates to my build from my last update in early December 2013.

In process pictures:




The fighting top comes together.




More detail on the fighting top




Adding blocks to the spars.


Here are pictures from the cross-section once complete:




















Thank you,



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  • 5 years later...

Nice work!  I'm in the midst of building this model,although I'm not as concerned with historical accuracy as you obviously are (and with terrific results!). I'm just hoping to get a good looking display model.
Where did you get your crew members? I'd love to add some of those to give some idea of scale. I see that your build was 7 years ago,so those might not even be available anymore.

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57 minutes ago, SigEp Ziggy said:

Brewerpaul, you could build it as another ship that has only three decks.


This gentleman did just that, on another forum, 

Royal Navy ship of the line

Hmmm... that's an option although as I said, I don't really care all that much about it being historically correct. I already have the deck beams in place but not planked. Taking them out and stuffing an extra deck in there would probably more work than I want to do. I've toyed with the idea of throwing historicity to the wind and just build her as a generic sailing ship. Maybe even leave the exterior with just that clear coat on it, showing the wood (copper on bottom),

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I think DocBlake did not want to make the corrections so, he did not want to call her the Consititution.  I think you could use Royal Navy colors (paint) instead of American colors, an get away with it being more accurate.  Maybe a different name plate and you're good.

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