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HMS Macedonian 1812 Frigate by Jerry Todd - 1:36 scale - RADIO

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I first set foot on board the Constitution when I was 7 years old, and I was hooked on sailing ships ever since.  My elementary school library had C S Forester's The Captain From Connecticut which I loved and led me to Forester's other work, namely Hornblower.  In fact, the 16 foot daysailer I've had since 1979 is named Lydia.  I spent my teens and twenties working under sail and power, from barkentines to tugs.


I've built several of the 1:96 scale Constitution/United States Revell kits, two of them were RCed; but I always wanted a sailing model of the ubiquitous British frigate, and no one made that kit.


I finally decided to build one.  Already deep into building an 1850's American sloop-of-war, and with a Baltimore Clipper schooner already planked up, I began a third model of the HMS Macedonian.  I chose Macedonian because I could easily get Chapelle's drawing of her from The American Sailing Navy from the Smithsonian, and she was interesting.


post-961-0-49007200-1378106159_thumb.jpg  Macedonian by Gardner


Macedonian was a Lively class frigate rated at 38 guns, another of Sir William Rule's designs.  Launched in 1810, during the War of 1812 she had the misfortune to meet the American frigate United States, a Constitution class 44 and was captured.  She was taken into the American Navy and served until 1828 when she was broken up and replaced by a new ship.


post-961-0-76750900-1378107254_thumb.jpg Lively   post-961-0-87853300-1378107253_thumb.jpg  Bacchante


The story of Macedonian is well told in  Chronicles of the Frigate Macedonian, 1809-1922 by James T deKay  and I've posted a fair history of the ship on my page



There's lots of data available on how the British built and out-fitted their frigates, and even Macedonian's figurehead still exists, but I never have found any reliable information on what her stern looked like.



What I've come up with is my own conjecture based on the sterns of other Lively class frigates.  The mounted figure is from a statue of Alexander that existed when Macedonian was built.  The round object is the "Vergina Sun" found at ancient Macedonian sites and dating from the time of Alexander's father.  Symbology available when Macedonian was built and while this is my own guess, it's at least a logical guess.  I considered using Alexander's profile from a coin in place of the mounted figure, but his face is already on the bow - given the choice, I'd think an English builder would choose the horse.  :)

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When the drawings came in from the Smithsonian, the first thing I did was have them digitally scanned.  I then rescaled them from 1:48 up to 1:36 mostly so this model would be the same scale as my Constellation.  That done, I made up a sheet with each station drawn full-sized, and printed that on my plotter.



At this scale, the model should be;

Length: 59" taffrail to Alexander's nose
Beam molded: 13.3"
Draught: 6.87" without the removable ballast keel

Her length over the rig will be about 7'

and she will stand from keel to truck, about 4'.

(I'll update this with more accurate numbers and metric equivalents at a later date)



These paper patterns were used to rough cut the wooden stations from 3/8" plywood.  Each paper pattern was then glued onto it's station

post-961-0-24906800-1378108619_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-56645800-1378108619_thumb.jpg


close cut on the bandsaw, and then fined up on the beltsander where some bevel was put into the forward and after stations.

post-961-0-95014000-1378108619_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-28369000-1378108620_thumb.jpg



Edited by JerryTodd
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The lady I'm with comes from the land-locked country of Oklahoma, and doesn't really get things maritime.  I did have to take up square-dancing though, but then those are the sacrifices we make for our hobby.


I wanted to do the Baltimore Clipper in 1:36, but there just wasn't enough room in the hull for the controls, or much else, so I went with 1:20 scale, which makes the overall model about the same size as Constellation and Macedonian.  This is about as large a model as will fit in a van or SUV with the rig lowered, though I hope to eventually make a trailer for them so I can keep them fully rigged in transport.

Edited by JerryTodd
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The building board that Constellation had been attached to since 1999 and the Pride of Baltimore was built on, was showing it's age.  It had it chips and dings repaired, holes filled, was sanded, and given a couple of coats of flat white paint.  It was then marked with a center-line and lines for each of Macedonian's stations.



Each plywood form was attached to a strip of wood to allow it to be stood up and attached to the build board at it's station line.



It wasn't really clear to me how the stern came together based on the drawing, but studying several of the fully framed models here on MSW helped me figure it out, and how to deal with it in my particular, and peculiar construction method.  Forms were devised for the construction of the stern and the aft perpendicular form was discarded.

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A keelson was cut from 1/4" plywood and corresponding notches were cut in each form to receive it.  It isn't glued or fastened to any of the forms as it will become part of the model where the forms will be removed.



The edge of the forms are taped to prevent the planking from being glued to them, and a batten was nailed to the lower diagonal to steady everything.  Planking then began with 1/8" x 3/8" pine strips starting at the sheer strake.  I used 3/8" common nails to hold things in place.  I used smaller nails on Pride of Baltimore that were almost like straight-pins, but these bent so easily they became quite frustrating.  The next strake was glued to the sheer strake, and pinned and clamped in place.  This, basically, is how all the planking was installed; each strake glued to it's predecessor and finally to the keelson, stem, sternpost, and counter forming a wooden shell of a hull.




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Some blocking was added forward to reenforce and brace the stem



The counters were planked and as the side planking proceeded, the counters were trimmed.

post-961-0-12067900-1378237413_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-52889600-1378237413_thumb.jpg


Planking continued until it reached the counters and could be attached then the transom was planked.  Blocking was added to the bottom of the counter to catch the plank ends.

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At the bow, blocking was added to give more surface for attaching the plank ends here.



Planking continued around the turn of the bilge.  Now the planks had to make a hard bend up to tuck onto the counter.  To prebend tthe planks I wet them and clamped them into a jig.

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A brace was added to support the top of the transom and prevent it's loosing it's curve.



A set of wide garboard planks was also installed to rigidify everything a bit.

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As the planking continued on up to the sternpost, and with the garboards in place, the keel and sternpost were fitted.



A template for the forefoot and stem were made and the forefoot fitted.

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The hull was rigid enough to remove from the build board, see it right-side up, and look inside.

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A stem and gammon knee were cut out and fitted



and before long it was time to put in the shutter plank.



The hull was completely planked.  It took from November 12th, to December 19th to plank the five foot hull, 37 days.



A couple of days later the stem head and stern post were permanently attached with 6p finish nails reenforcing all of it to the hull.  Some of the forms were removed as well; they require a light tap with a block of wood to be knocked loose.  Some of them would be cut down and reinstalled as permanent frames.  A stand was built to hold the model as she's being worked on.

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The entire surface of the hull was filled with Water Putty and sanding commenced.


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A brace was installed under the quarterdeck level to hold the curve in the transom.



On Christmas day I found that St Nick hadn't sanded and resined the interior of the hull as I had hoped, so it fell to me to do it.  It  was sanded, cleaned, and given a couple of coats of poly resin.  Excess resin was poured into the bilges to fill any nooks and crannies so small parts, dirt, and water would have no where to hide.

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A full size paper pattern of the gun ports, moldings, and other such hull details was made.  Care was taken to use the plan to make sure items that were on surfaces curved away on the profile were in their proper place, such as the bridle ports.  As I was cutting out the gunports on the pattern I realized I had formed a gunport lid; I couldn't resist doing them all that way.  :)



Macedonian is a little shorter than ConstellationConstellation compares in length to the frigate United States so you get a little bit of an idea of the size relation between Macedonian and United States.



The build table was leveled, then the hull placed on it level port and starboard, and with the waterline marks  fore-n-aft at the same height from the table.  A pencil resting on a block of wood cut to the right length was used to mark the waterline.



Approximately every-other station used to make the hull was cut down to scale framing dimensions and reinstalled into the hull.  The reason for this is because the complex shape of the hull with it's tumble-home and counter tumble-home, was trying to flatten out.  These frames are glued into the hull with epoxy mixed with wood dust..  The rest of the interior from the gun deck up, will get framing and ceiling planking to make the hull the proper thickness.

post-961-0-00459600-1378321906_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-60173800-1378321906_thumb.jpg


Some idea of the size of the thing - 5 foot from tip-to-tip.



Next: Fiberglass!

Edited by JerryTodd
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With frames set in and the hull's shape stable, it was time to glass the outside.


I started with the transom



Then the portside

post-961-0-69712000-1378382509_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-05884800-1378382510_thumb.jpg


Once that had set-up, it was on to the starboard side



There, that wasn't so bad



Excess resin went into the bilges and on the lower frames.

post-961-0-76333100-1378382511_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-15151600-1378382512_thumb.jpg


After the glass set-up and was sanded, there were some blisters where the glass didn't lay and bond to the hull, these came off while sanding and were filled with auto-body putty.  More sanding and another coat of resin brushed on, then sanding again.  Some clean up and degreasing and it's...


Wale Ho!


On this model the wale isn't the structural member it is on a real ship, but I did want it done in an anchor-stock pattern as it would be visible on close inspection.

I started by cutting a block of white pine, as used for the rest of the planking, to the offset anchor-stock shape, then slicing off 1/8" thick planks.

post-961-0-96520100-1378385334_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-30446600-1378385335_thumb.jpg


I started on the starboard side by marking the positions of each plank on the hull from the bow aft, and actually started gluing them on amidships.  I used CA to attach them to the hull, and Titebond III to glue them to each other.

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Clamping them to the hull took some thinking at places, as did clamping them to each other without lifting them off the hull.

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At the bow the pieces needed to be precurved, so the SBJ (Sophisticated Bending Jig) was employed.  The pieces were wet, clamped in the jig, and left overnight.

post-961-0-43779200-1378385337_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-06900400-1378385337_thumb.jpg


It took a little over a week, but the starboard wale was done.  Now to the port side!



I took a slightly different approach this time.  Clamping the pieces to the hull was quite tedious, so I used the nails I used to hold the planking with during construction to hold the pieces onto the hull here.  This made things go much quicker and smoother.

Before starting though, I cut out a gunport just for fun.  I was afraid the hull would flex with the ports cut out, but I need them cut before I frame up the hull thickness behind them, because that framing sets into the gunport opening a bit.  Actually, the planking is set back creating a rabbet for the lid to close against.

post-961-0-62841500-1378386518_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-06407900-1378386519_thumb.jpg




My friend Mark was building a crabbing skiff at my place, and while he had the epoxy out, I stole a bit to give the wales a couple of coats

post-961-0-69691400-1378386519_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-02989300-1378386520_thumb.jpg


I then started carefully cutting out each gunport opening.  Once all the gun ports are cut out along the gun deck, the internal framing will go in around each one, making the hull the right thickness as seen through the gunports.  The focs'le and quarterdeck ports will be cut after they're framed and the external moldings have been installed.

post-961-0-32998700-1378386520_thumb.jpg  post-961-0-63864300-1378386520_thumb.jpg

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A few more gunports were cut out, some stern windows, and holes drilled in the rest of the ports (I cut them starting with a drilled hole).  I'm real careful cutting out these gunports as what's left will be the finished product and I don't want to screw it up - that's why it's been a bit slow - I only do maybe 4 at a time.


My situation hasn't changed, I'm still trying to stuff 20 pounds into two 5 pound bags, but I have made some progress.  Then a pipe broke in the house I'm moving out of and it rained into my basement, which was my "office" and living room.  I had already moved a lot out, like my wargames and books, but some things got damaged, and few things destroyed.

post-961-0-62175000-1378576246_thumb.jpg  and this is after some clean-up took place.


The models had been moved some time before, along with supplies, tools, etc.  Some of my plans got wet, but I managed to save them.  A couple I had printed on the plotter were lost, but I can reprint those.

post-961-0-79607100-1378576335_thumb.jpg safe in their new home


My shop, which is officially known as post-961-0-03568400-1378576830.jpg has been moved to a 13 x 20 garage and needs to be organized and set up, which will mostly involve running adequet electricity.  There's 88 square feet less floor space in the new place, but it's got a good concrete floor and all my tools and benches are, or will be on wheels.  The first project will be a proper dust collection system since the place is attached to the house, my lady would appreciate it if I didn't track sawdust everywhere.  It'll be nice this winter when I won't have to trudge 20 feet through the snow to go the the loo, just go in the door and there it is.  :)



So, this brings the log up to current, as of the first week of September 2013.  When work resumes, Macedonian will get her remaining gunports cut out, and then internal framing around each will be installed.  Moldings will be applied to the hull and the quarter deck and focs'l ports will be cut out.  Then, I think, she'll be ready for some paint.



In the mean time, I'll edit some of the posts above to fix omissions, and my fat-fingering of the keyboard, to try to get it as complete as possible.  I would appreciate any questions or advice any one might have about my approach to a large scale remote-controlled square-rigger, up to this point, at least.  There's a lot of challenges ahead on this thing and controlling the squares is actually the least of them.  The fore-n-aft sails that over-lap and cross over stays are more of a challenge.  The figurehead and other ornamental items will, for me, be as much of a challenge.  I'm completely broke, so getting fancy tools, photo-etching, 3d printing, and quality woods like boxwood, is pretty much out of the question, so I have to make do with what I have at hand and the skills I can muster.

Edited by JerryTodd
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  • 3 weeks later...

A fellow on the left coast, Tom Bowman, got wind of my Macedonian project and contacted me a while back.  He's another big Hornblower fan and a fan of the British frigate as I am.  He's also a builder of large scale working tanks from scratch - armored fighting vehicles that operate and are beautifully detailed.



I shared my Mac plans with him and he plans to build another Lively class boat, the Spartan for RC, but in 1:24 scale.  Until then he's purchased and is detailing one of SC&H's Crusier class kits, also in 1:24 so Spartan will have a play-mate.

post-961-0-99385500-1380464783_thumb.jpg  How the kit hull comes; note the tank pictured above in the upper left for scale  :)

post-961-0-71475100-1380391495_thumb.jpg  Where it is as of this posting; it's already becoming a beautiful model.


Since Tom's  modeling the guns for Spartan in SolidWorks to be 3D printed and used as masters to cast the rest, he's actually doing a set of masters in 1:36 for me to produce Macedonian's batter from; Blomefield pattern 9 pounders, 18 pounders, and 32 pounder Carronades.

post-961-0-63570100-1380390967_thumb.jpg  These are gonna be great :)


Edited by JerryTodd
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  • 1 month later...

The 3D printed guns arrived in the post; 5 32 pdr carronades and 5 Blomfield pattern 18 pounders.  These I'll make a mold from and cast the model's guns in resin - 5 at a time.  4 extra long guns will be modified a little to serve as Pride's six pounder tubes.


Be sure to click on the image for the larger version where you can see the details!


Constellation's pivot 10" shell gun and Ivan for scale (Ivan is 2" (50mm) tall)

Wooden turned tube and carriage for Pride.



HM's crest on the 18 pounders:



Ivan and the Macedonian's guns:


Edited by JerryTodd
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  • 6 months later...

Macedonian got out of the house for a bit along with Pride and  Constellation, being displayed at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Model Expo.  She got a lot of attention for an unfinished hull.  A lot of comments about her size, but most were about her construction.  It seemed to surprise a lot of folks that she was scratch-built from common materials obtainable from most hardware/lumber stores.



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There was when I was there. 2 yrs ago My wife and I spent 2 weeks staying with friends in that area. We went to St. Michaels quite a bit. There were several classes of racing going on almost every day. We were there at the end of May. For me it was a wonderful vacation. I got the see the Robert's collection in the new hall at the academy, I spent several days sailing on a full size boat, And I was at St. Michaels.

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Considering that today is the 70th anniversary of D day. For anyone living in the DC area you should go to the capital mall on Memorial weekend. I know it will be crowded and a bit of a hassle but I think it is worth it for at least one visit. On the trip I describe above. We spent a 4 day weekend at the end of our vacation doing the tourist thing in DC. The most impressive part of it was Rolling Thunder. 80,000 Motorcycles paraded 5 abreast from the pentagon to the capital. All in honor of those who have Died for our country.

Edited by Floyd Kershner
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  • 4 weeks later...

If you've been following my Constellation log, you'll recognize the servo tray set-up that Macedonian will carry.  Two Hitec HS-785HB winch servos will slide on rods with springs mounted to maintain tension in the yard braces.  One servo will operate the main and mizzen mast yards, the other will operate the fore mast yards.  The Hitec HS-815BB sail-arm servo will operate the heads'ls and driver.  The tray is 7" wide and 8" long, and will easily fit through Macedonian's main hatch.


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A Hitec HS-645MG high-torque servo will handle the rudder. which will be constructed in a similar manner as Constellation's





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Mac's winches got mounting blocks and springs today, as did Constellation's.


The drum seen on the winch servo won't be used.  Mac will get a set of custom drums like Constellation's to handle the main and mizzen on one winch, and the fore mast on the other.



Edited by JerryTodd
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A big WOW!  great log, I have a friend that builds ships that really sail and it is facinating to see the type of material he uses to construct his models compared to what I use for static models. will definately continue to follow your log.




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  • 1 month later...

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