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


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Just a small update from the weekend's activities. To add the large arches to the transom, I first glued a copy of the transom plan to some manilla folder, then cut it out along the top arch to use as a template. I taped this to the transom, then glued down the trim piece, starting at the middle and working outward. When I had most of it glued down, I removed the template and cut the ends to fit into the side trim.

 

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When this was dry, I cut the template back to the lower arch and did the same thing for that trim piece.

 

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I then made up the columns that I put along and between the windows. These were made from three separate pieces of wood that I primed and painted white. The two end piece were cut and the inside corners rounded off with a sanding block. The thinner center pieces were scored with a razor blade scraper before I painted them. I glued the end pieces on first, then cut the middle pieces to fit tight to them.

 

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I have primed and painted the eagle, including the shield, but forgot to take a picture of it. I have also started working with the Sculpey to create the stars and figures. So far, I think I can get that technique to work.

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I can see it now. 300 hundred years in the future, an archivists is carefully restoring a model of the Constitution and they find the magnetic media hidden behind the windows. So carefully they extract the delicate plastic and analyze it and wonder what an Excel file is, and what religious connotations the numbers meant to the builder.

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Ha ha ha Bill. In this case they would find some old teacher papers of my wife's. But that would have been kind of interesting to put some relevant info on the floppy before I cut it up. I like the way you included your build log and plans in the table that holds your Constitution.

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Thanks Patrick. I am continuing to work on individual details for the transom decorations, but my Sculpey skills are no where near where they should be. I did manage to get one figure to come out half way decent and when I painted it with gold it covered a multitude of sins, so to speak. I am still not convinced I can get this glued to the transom without breaking it though.

 

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You can also see the eagle that came with the kit, cleaned up and painted, and one star that I am not completely happy with. I have made new starts and figures, but have not cooked them yet. I am going to do that tonight.

 

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I am hoping to get at least one other star from this batch and a few usable figures. We will see.

 

I was able to get a name board made using the dry transfer lettering. My first attempt was to use the spacing of the letters on the template I made, but after a few I could tell they were going to be too far apart and not spaced right, as the font was quite different. I then made a new template on the computer using a font much closer to the dry lettering font. I adjusted the spacing in Powerpoint until it looked good to me, which was 3 or 4 times the normal spacing. The thing that looks like a name plate just under the transom image is actually an image of what I wanted it to look like:

 

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I then taped the actual wood that I had painted black (after scraping off the few letters I put on in my first attempt and touched up the black paint) under the image. I then used the image of the name board to line the letters up horizontally, and made sure that each letter was aligned vertically on the board, using the rows of letters on the dry transfer sheet. I started with the middle letters and worked toward each end. After every 4 or so letters, I burnished them using the cover sheet provided so that they were well stuck down and would not get damaged as the did the rest of the letters. When all the letters were on, I gave it a final burnishing and a coat of Dullcote lacquer. I trimmed the ends of the name board using a hole punch to cut out each corner, then touched up the black paint.

 

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There is some waviness of the letters that I can see in that image, but it really doesn't look bad from even a little further away. I have a lot of letters left, so I may try making another one. We will see.

 

I am always trying to think many moves ahead and adding the details for the gun deck will be coming soon. I have been reading The Fully Framed Model Vol 1 book and just got to the part where he shows the main bits coming down from the upper deck to the gun deck. It made me stop and think that maybe I need to add this detail, so I looked at the MS plans and in the AOS book but neither showed the bits, which are really part of the main fife rail, extending down into the gun deck. I was thinking about the ship today and remembered that Google maps has the ship mapped out, so I went to that site and looked. Sure enough, the two front supports for the main fife rail are extended to the gun deck, so that is what I will do when I get to that part. I am glad I realized this now before I finished up the gun deck. The fore bits also extend down, but that is outside the part of the gun deck that I am modeling.

 

 

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I added the decorations to the transom. I used CA glue for the metal eagle and wood glue for the Sculpey stars and figures. I was surprised how well the figures held up in handling them. I did bake these for 2 hours instead of 90 minutes, which did seem to make them stronger and I think the gold paint also helped. I was afraid of breaking off those thin arms, especially when holding them down until the glue dried, but they all stayed together. I decided not to add the small star under the eagle as it looked to big and crowded. I like the level of decoration on the hull now.

 

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I have one side of the rudder chain installed and still need to do the other side. I have to add these as separate pieces of chain because the links are so small I can't get the wire to fit between them when linked, so I have  to have open links on the ends of each piece. it is a bit fiddly but after about an hour I got the one side done. I had to get out the big magnifiers to see the ends of those chain pieces.

 

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I have to put the three eye bolts on the other side of the transom for the rudder chain, which I will do tonight, but I will have to finish the chain later in the week. That means I get to start the quarter galleries tonight too.

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Thanks Steve, Tim and George, and the likes.

 

I finished the rudder chains on the other side, which went a lot faster.

 

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I was going to fill the air ports with white glue to make the clear plugs, but found this Micro Klear stuff, so I filled them from the back using a small paint brush that has some sort of swab on the end. I let these sit upside down while the stuff dried. It is a bit runny, so if I put them right side up the stuff would ooze out. Since I put it in the back, it would harden enough before it traversed the length of the port.

 

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I let them dry overnight and they were nice an clear the next day.

 

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So then I had to make the two strips that cover the ends of the quarter gallery backs. I should have made these at lot earlier, like the instructions say, and certainly before I added the stern decorations. I am really concerned about messing them up now. Oh well. I had to trim larger strips down to size for these trim pieces and then soak and bend them to fit. The upper bend is really tight, so I worked on that one first, which took about three resoakings to finally get it so I could fit the strip all the way inside the curve. Then I bent the second curve, which goes the other way, which was a bit challenging to not take out the too much of the first curve in the process. I finally got each piece close and while they were still supple, I glued the top curve in place with CA and held it until it dried. I could not use clamps because of the stern decorations. I then added CA to the bottom curve and held that part in place. Overall I think they came out well, but I still need to trim them and add the bottom pieces, which are straight. Then I have to sand the edges of these to be flush with the transom without hitting any of the stern decorations. We shall see how successful that will be.

 

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I guess I haven't said this in a while, but any feedback, especially criticisms are always welcome. Thanks.

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Thanks George, Steve, Jay, and Gerty, and the likes. I really appreciate the feedback. I does make this more fun knowing people are watching, but it is a bit terrifying at times too  :(

 

I was able to get the top strips trimmed and the bottom strips made and glued on. These had to be curved too to fit the bottom of the quarter gallery backs and joined to the top strips at the ends. A little wood filler was used at the joints and inside one of the top strips, but I was able to sand it all out without too much damage to the stern decorations. In fact, the only damage inflicted was at one point I noticed one of the points of a star sitting on the very edge of the workbench. I knew if it fell on the floor I would never find it and would have to make a new star to match the other one. I put a small drop of glue where the point should be and VERY gingerly picked up the point and managed to get it back into position without dropping it.  :P Whew!  :rolleyes: It blended back into the rest of the star too. I will prime and paint these strips before adding the quarter galleries.

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I painted the strips on the backs of the quarter galleries then started making the blocks that make them up. I made extra copies of the plans for these and glued them to some manilla folder material, then cut them out to use as templates. 

 

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I made these blocks pretty much the same way as I made the filler blocks at the beginning of this build. I used the jig saw to roughly cut them out then the disk and belt sander to get them close to the final shape. Then some sanding blocks to finish them up.

 

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For the inside curve on the top pieces, I used these sanding blocks, whose radius was just about exactly what I needed:

 

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I also made some flat pieces that go under the roof blocks. I made these oversize, then glued them to the roof blocks and gave them a final sanding to blend together. I then soaked the blocks in Isoporpyl alcohol and separated them. After the alcohol dried, I gave them a light sanding them primed and painted these pieces. Here they are right after I separated them:

 

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I still have a few more coats of paint then I can start installing them. I still have to make the fairing blocks, which you can see at the top of the last picture. I will get them very rough and do the final sanding after I fit them in place when the bottom block is installed. I will do the same with the caps for the roof block. I also cleaned up the supplied window frames, as I am going to try to use them, but will make my own if they prove too hard to work with. They look pretty nice, though so I am hoping to use them.

 

Thanks again everyone for all the kind words and encouragement.

 

 

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More progress on the quarter galleries, but first - I knew it was going to happen!

 

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The Sculpey stars were just too fragile. So, I experimented with some 1/16" sheet walnut that I had and was able to make two new stars using wood, which I like much better. I was able to taper the legs like they should be and thin them down to about 3/64".

 

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One of the figure's heads also went missing, but I was able to replace it with a small piece of wood I had left over from the transom trim, after painting it gold.

 

I installed the roof and bottom blocks after giving them a few coats of primer and black paint. After they were installed I started measuring for the headers and sills, and realized the angle at the front between them was too severe. This was caused by the transom being more angled then shown on the plans. Well, I am not going to redo the transom at this point, so I trimmed back the bottom block. I first tried removing it with alcohol, but it would not budge and I didn't want to ruin other pieces in the process, so I took a very sharp scalpel and carved them back in the front. I then used a sanding stick to clean them up.

 

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You can see there was a little collateral damage to the hull where the front of this piece used to be, but a little filler and paint will take care of that. Now two of the three the supplied windows will work in the opening. The front window is still off in terms of angle, so I will most likely make up new windows to use instead for those.

 

I made up the header and sills for the windows and one trim piece of the top. There should be another trim piece for the bottom. but there is not room for it, so I am leaving it out. I think the gap between the roof block and bottom block is a little too small, but the pieces had to line up with the knuckle in the transom at the bottom and the back of the quarter gallery at the top. I painted the headers, sills, and trim piece and glued them in place, and cleaned up the paint on the bottom block and hull.

 

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I also filed and sanded the fairing pieces into shape, but don't have a picture of them yet. I made them more angled than the current ship has, but they are more like the picture in Chapelle’s book of the 44 gun frigate plans. I painted these last night so I will glue them next. After that I will make the pilasters between the windows and fit the supplied windows, then make the new ones. I am also going to try to adjust the location of the white stripe in front of the quarter galleries.

 

 

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Thanks Tim, George, Rich and Steve, and the likes.

 

We were away last weekend and a few work related activities this week, so only a small amount of progress this week. I added all the pilasters to both quarter galleries, then focused on the port side gallery. I was able to use the supplied middle window, but I ended up making a new window for the rear one. I used the same method I used for the transom windows, first gluing the window frame strips to some paper, then making the mullions on the table saw and gluing them to the outer frame, then sanding off the paper when it was all dry. Here are the two windows dry fit in place before painting.

 

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I painted  them white and also painted the roof caps black with white sides. I first tried doing this free hand, but ended up cutting masking tape to the curve and using it to paint the white portion. Here are the windows and the cap in place on the port side, after gluing and trimming the floppy disk material to the backs of the windows.

 

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I started adding some styrene strips for trim on the pilasters and underneath between the bottom block and the faring piece. I am matching these up to the two trim strips on the transom. I am also going to try adding a strip along the tops and bottoms of the windows after they are all installed. I started making the front window using the same method.

 

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Finally, I made up a ladder to go into the hatch on the gun deck. I usually make these by hand by marking the locations of the stairs on the sides then filing out the slots for them. This time, I used the Byrnes saw to make the slots, using the miter gauge to change the angles very precisely from one side to the other. I made this task much easier and the ladder went together very easily.

 

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I have to do a little work on my daughters car, but then I can get back to the workshop later today, so more progress coming soon.

 

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