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USS Constitution by usedtosail - FINISHED - Model Shipways - scale 1/76

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Thanks guys. George, I find the adhesive very good on the copper tape. There is quite a bit of resistance when removing plates. I know it is not a definitive test, but I do have models that are seven years old with no sign of any plates coming loose. I usually burnish the plates down using a piece of wood, but because these plates have the raised bumps, I just use my fingers to smooth them down after they are applied.

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One more thing I forgot to include in my last up-date. Here is the most useful modeling tool I have been using lately.

 

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My old snow blower of 25 years died just before the blizzard last month and I was fortunate to find this one in Home Depot the next day. It has been the most useful modeling tool because it has gotten me back to modeling in half the time of the old snow blower.

 

I actually had to snow blow a path around the house yesterday so the oil delivery guy could get to the filler tube. First time I ever had to do that.

 

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Great work, Tom.

She is looking stunning.

 

I'm taking to heart your latest suggestion on power tools ... but I think I might forego that one in favour of an air-conditioner.

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One more thing I forgot to include in my last up-date. Here is the most useful modeling tool I have been using lately.

 

attachicon.gifDSC_0005(2).JPG

 

My old snow blower of 25 years died just before the blizzard last month and I was fortunate to find this one in Home Depot the next day. It has been the most useful modeling tool because it has gotten me back to modeling in half the time of the old snow blower.

 

I actually had to snow blow a path around the house yesterday so the oil delivery guy could get to the filler tube. First time I ever had to do that.

 

attachicon.gifDSC_0010-001.JPG

 

 

Tom,

 

Your Constitution is looking amazing! Here in Western NY, we have been getting walloped with snow. One of the drifts / piles of snow in my yard is almost 8' tall!

 

Ready for winter to go away, as I am sure you are.

 

- Tim

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Thanks everyone.

 

Well, I finished copper plating the starboard side, but something was not right. When I turned the hull over so it was right side up, it looked like the copper plates did not come up high enough in the second quarter of the hull.

 

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So, I remeasured the top of the copper plate line from the bottom of the gun ports and sure enough it was low in that area. I marked the correct line with masking tape then removed plates down to the top row of the second gore. There were partial plates here that I removed and replaced with full plates, then put the three dressing rows back in those areas.

 

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I turned the hull around and did the same on the other side

 

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Then completed the plates around the stem and stern post.

 

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I will copper plate the rudder tonight. I still have not decided how to represent the nail heads on the pintles and gudgeons. They look pretty small on the plans and I am not sure I could drill small enough holes through the brass strips to use real nails or wire. In the past I would just use small drops of CA to simulate the heads, but these were on P&Gs that were painted black. I want to leave these bright brass. I will be doing more experimentation before I decide, but any suggestions are welcome.

 

 

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.... I still have not decided how to represent the nail heads on the pintles and gudgeons. They look pretty small on the plans and I am not sure I could drill small enough holes through the brass strips to use real nails or wire. In the past I would just use small drops of CA to simulate the heads, but these were on P&Gs that were painted black. I want to leave these bright brass. I will be doing more experimentation before I decide, but any suggestions are welcome.

 

Just a thought, but how about putting the tiniest bit of flux paste into the nail holes (use the tip of a toothpick), followed by the tiniest drop of solder ??

Once it sets, you could shape the new solder "nail-head" with a flat file.

 

I haven't (deliberately) tried this myself, Tom ... but whilst trying to solder the pintles and gudgeons for my Launch, I noticed that tiny balls of solder were flowing into my nail holes. This happened with annoying frequency, even without applying flux.

 

(No doubt, if I were actually trying to replicate the effect, then it wouldn't happen !!)

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Thanks George, Nenad, Tim, and Captain Steve. Humm, that sounds like an interesting idea, Captain Steve. I may try that out. I was hoping to avoid drilling tiny holes in the brass, but I may have to try. I did try just putting spots of black paint on the brass strip last night, but I am not satisfied with that look.

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I have an idea I wanted to try at some point. Using Evergreen polystyrene to simulate the pintle and grungeons. A bit easier to drill and still malleable to fit the hull and rudder.

 

- Tim

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Tim - I like your idea of using Styrene too. I think that should work nicely.

 

Thanks everyone for the likes.

 

I did complete the rudder, for now, and attached it to the hull. I am going to wait to install the rudder chains until later so I don't catch anything on them while I am working on the transom.

 

Here are a couple of tests for simulating the bolt heads in the pintles and gudgeons. I tried dots of black paint and dots of CA. I ended up going with the CA after all, as it really did have the look I was going after - subtle but there. The black was much too pronounced to me.

 

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Here is the competed rudder with the pintles glued on and the simulated bolt heads added. I used medium CA to glue the pintles on and in a few of them I had to go back later and add more glue to get the ends to stay down. I found that I could use thin CA with a narrow tube on the bottle, and get just enough on the edge of the pintle to wick into the joint. I used metal binder clips as clamps for the pintles.

 

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Then it was time to add the gudgeons.  I added these one at a time from the bottom up, since the bottom three where pretty much straight, not crazy bent like the top two. I used the rudder to get them at the right height and angle, but I had to make sure that I could get the pintle to fit over the gudgeon with both the rudder and gedgeon held at the same angle as on the ship, otherwise I would not be able to remove the rudder after gluing each one on. Getting the top two gudgeons to fit nicely took a while and they are not exactly right, but I can live with them. These were especially hard because there is no good way to clamp them, so I mostly just did each side separately and held them with some piece of wood by hand until the (medium) CA dried. You can see in the picture below that I used a thin strip of masking tape to mark the height and angle of the gudgeon before I glued it on so that when I applied the glue I could get it in roughly the right place and still have time to place the rudder in this gudgeon and the previously added gudgeons to get the final location. A couple of times I had to go back and reapply the glue because I didn't get the rudder in place in time.

 

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And here is the final result, with the CA spots to simulate the bolt heads on the gudgeons and chain iron too. What is hard to see in these pictures is that I also added a piece of manila folder that I cut to fit over the rudder hole in the counter with a hole in it for the rudder post, to simulate a rudder coat. I slipped this over the rudder post before the rudder was installed and then slid it to the counter and glued it on with white glue, then painted it black. It covered the odd size rudder hole nicely. I tried other things to make the rudder coat out of, like foil and even Sculpey, but I liked the simple look of the folder material the best.

 

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Now it is time to work on the transom, so framing the windows will be next.

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Thanks guys. Luckily Captain it was only five pintles and gudgeons. The sixth strap is just on the rudder itself so it was breeze to install.

 

Onto the transom. I started by making the window frames and mullions (I think that is what the inner frames are called?). I decided to make the outer frames from 1/16" square wood, as I knew I would have problems using 1/32". I did use 1/32 by 1/16" for the mullions though. I hope the outer frames don't look too thick. I took pictures through the whole process to document how I made them which I will provide here.

 

Since I am completely going away from the plans for the transom, I started by making manila templates of each window opening. I made sure that these were a good fit and did not leave gaps in the openings.

 

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I then cut the four outer frames and fit them into the window opening.

 

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I then traced the template onto a piece of paper and cut it out to use as a plan for the window. I cut the top flush with the top edge so that I could push this up to the edge of the metal tray that I used to glue these up. This tray comes with magnets to hold parts while gluing and a lip all the way around to push parts up to. I like to use Lego pieces in the tray because they have nicer square edges than the magnets. I removed the outer frame pieces from the opening and put them in the tray on top of the plan. I then glued each piece to the next and to the paper itself. This helped me get the frames square and held them together better for the next steps.

 

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While that was drying, I made the mullions. I first traced the template of the window opening onto a piece of paper and divided the sides into thirds. (I bet a bunch of you are screaming at this point - Tom stop! That isn't right!).

 

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I then transferred those positions to four pieces of wood for the inner frames.

 

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For the first window. I filed notches half way through the strips at those locations, so that they would fit together like a grating. For the rest of the windows, I got brave and used the Brynes saw with a slitting disk to make the notches, which turned out to be a much better way to go. I am using that saw more and more now that I can see what it can do.

 

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I used a metal clip as a holder for the strips and held two at a time, which ensured that the notches would be the same for both pieces. I set the fence the correct distance from the blade and made sure the two ends were even to run along the fence. I also made sure the strips were flat to the saw table and not the clip riding on the table.

 

OK, here is how it came out after gluing them together.

 

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I put that aside to dry and took the outer frame off the gluing jig, trimmed the excess paper from edges, and fit it to the opening. I had to do a little sanding of the edges to get a nice fit, but this is where the paper backing really helped hold it together as I sanded. And here it is in the opening.

 

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And here is where all you guys screaming above were waiting for. I went to fit the mullions to the outer frame and said _ Oh s**t !

 

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I forgot to allow for the outer frame when dividing the window opening into thirds.

 

So, I added the size of the outer frames to the paper and then divided the remaining area into thirds and remade the mullions. Now, this would not be so bad, except I did the same thing on the second window! Duh!

 

Continued in the next post...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is the remade mullion of the correct size:

 

post-1072-0-25130500-1425318244_thumb.jpg

 

I trimmed the ends off the mullions and fit it into the window opening, then glued it in. After it dried, I removed the paper from the back of the window, which was easy because it was only glued to the outer frame and I could scrape off any excess glue with an X-Acto knife. I then sanded the front and back by sliding the window over a sheet of sand paper, medium on both sides and fine on the front. And here it is in the opening:

 

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Here is the first window I made:

 

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And the rest so far:

 

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I am finishing up the last window now. I am going to paint these white to match the white trim that I will be putting on the transom. I am pretty please with how these came out, as I have had trouble making similar pieces in the past. The paper backing was the trick for me for these, so I figured I'd share the technique.

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Thanks Tim. That gluing jig I got from Micro Mark a few years ago, which I find really useful. At first I was not too thrilled with it becuase the magnets are a pain to use, but then I started using the Lego blocks with it which made a huge difference.

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Tom,

Yet another brilliant tutorial showing us how it is done !!! 

Awesome work !!

(Although, I'd swap the positions of the second and third ones from your last pic ... which becomes the ones in positions 3 and 4 when I turn my lap-top upside down)

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Thanks everyone. Steve, I wish I had the precision for these to be interchangeable but alas they are not. Each one was custom built to the size of the specific opening. I'll get a picture of them right side up so you can leave your laptop on the table :)

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Good morning all. Work on the transom continues. By the way, I am adding the transom details now because I think it is easier to work on the transom with the hull upside down. When the transom is finished, I will work on the quarter galleries, but I am not sure if the hull needs to be upside down for them. They are next to make sure they flow into the transom correctly. Then I will be turning the hull right side up and rigging the guns on the gun deck. After that step, I will be very reluctant to turn the hull upside down again.

 

I looked at the supplied eagle stern decoration that came with the kit and decided I like it, so I have incorporated it into the transom design. Here is what I envision for the transom. The figures and stars I will try to make out of Sculpey. If that doesn't work, I don't have a back up plan yet. For the name, I will make a thin board that I will paint black, then use white dry transfer lettering for the name. If that proves too problematic, I will try printing out the name and gluing it to the board. We will see.

 

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BTW, I used the computer equivalent of cutting small bits of paper designs out and gluing them together to get the final design. It works for me but it sure doesn't stand up to graphic design standards.

 

I gave the window frames a few coats of thinned white paint. For the backing I would usually use clear acetate which I glue on with Hypo cement to prevent fogging. In another build log, and I really can't remember who's (so I apologize now if you are reading this log), to open up an old floppy disk and use the black, shiny material inside. This stuff is great. It blocks the view of the interior, which is good because there is none at the stern, is shiny to look like glass, and doesn't fog with CA glue. I cut oversize pieces of this material and glued them to the back of the window frames, then used a scalpel to trim the edges. It is thin enough so that it hardly pushed the frames out of the openings, so I could leave it go all the way to the edges of the window frames.

 

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I then glued the window frames into the openings, again using CA.

 

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And for the Captain, here is how it looks right side up at this point.

 

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I then started adding some of the trim strips. I am using white styrene strips for the trim, as others have done on their Connie builds. This stuff works great. I had to make two pretty extreme bends for trim behind the quarter galleries, so I used some push pins on a piece of balsa wood. I carefully bent the strips making sure the center was flush to the board, then gently heated the strips with a hair dryer until I could tell they where pliable, then let them cool overnight.

 

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When I removed them from the board, they held their shape nicely. One had a bit of a point at the top, so I put it back into the jig and reheated it to get the point out.

 

The first strip I glued on was across the bottom of the windows. I started at the middle and worked out toward the edges, gluing in sections. I wanted to make sure the strip was tight to the bottom of the window frames. I was happy to see this still came out to be a straight line. I then had to glue those two bent strips to the transom. I first put a strip of masking tape on the transom to mark the tops of these arches, then glued the top of each arch, holding the strip while the glue dried so that they stayed flush to the transom. I then worked on each side of the arch, making sure they were at the right angles and tried to keep both sides of the transom the same. I left the ends long while gluing then trimmed them to the lower strip when the glue dried. I then added the strip across the tops of the windows. I cut one end to flow into the arch, but left the other end long while gluing. I also added the strip under the name. I still have to trim the ends of a few of these strips but you can see what they look like so far.

 

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One observation I have using styrene is that you really have to wait for the CA to dry, as it seems to take longer than it does on wood for some reason. The styrene does present a nice crisp edge, though, and it is very easy to bend.

 

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If you are going to print the ship's name you might want to consider the method I used for my Rattlesnake using homemade decals:

 

Namplate (Comment 337)

 

Just remember, you cannot print white lettering! There is no white ink. You must print it as a negative with the background color matching the required color of the model area to receive the lettering. The area to receive the decal must be painted white, The printed white lettering will be transparent on the decal and the white area you paint will show through.

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Thanks J. I will try that if the dry transfer doesn't work out. What decaling kit did you use?

 

Your Rattlesnake looks great. I have to spend some time going through your log.

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Sounds like you have a good plan Tom! Can't wait to see the end result.  B)

 

Cheers

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I didn't actual buy a decal kit Per Se. I just bought a small pkg. of decal paper (for inkjet printer in my case) and a 3 oz spray can of Testors Decal Bonder. 

 

  1. I first print the image on regular paper so I know where it's going to print and to check for scale
  2. I then taped a piece of decal paper onto the regular piece of printer paper over where the image printed and run it through the printer again.
  3. Then I spray the bonder over the printed decal paper and let it dry
  4. I trim off as much of the excess decal paper as possible
  5. Dunk the decal in water, apply to the model surface, and adjust the position
  6. When dry, I apply a coat of Micro Sol Settting Solution for Decals to soften the decal so that it tightly conforms to the surface and it conceals the decal edges
  7. Finally I apply a clear non-gloss (glossy as applicable) coating (usually polyurithane) to the complete surface, not just the decal, which seals it permanently

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Thanks again, J. This looks like a straight forward procedure. I just wanted to make sure I had all the supplies I would need, but it is no problem getting them separately.

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Tom, the windows look great. The floppy disk idea is awesome. I've seen people use it before in model airplane applications for radar 'disco balls'. I'm following very closely on what you're accomplishing.

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