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

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I so admire anyone who can do human figures sculpture on a ship model.  That aspect, more than any other is what stops me from attempting a scratch built model.  I am also struck by your making diagonal knees.  This is an aspect I have not seen in the build photos I have seen thus far.  I wonder if you and I are the only ones who have done this on a Constitution model.  All in all, really beautiful work.  I am learning a lot by looking at your build photos!


When going though your posts, I came upon your planking of the spar deck and saw that you have tapered the planks as they go aft.  Wow!  I have seen a lot of photos by master modelers in "how to" books in which this was not done.  Amazing!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Popeye, Dave and K. I just followed the planking as shown on the plans, which showed the tapering.


I ended up going with the clew lines tied to the lower yards, so I finished installing the fore and main sheets and tacks. I added all of the rope coils to the belaying pins and cleats for the new lines, which was a bit challenging around the main mast because of all of the lines there. For the large cleats, I just added rope coils to the deck after gluing the loose ends of the actual lines to the deck.DSC_0002-199.JPG.72405592b52603f3dc66d7aac7045af3.JPG

I am now in the process of adding the details and rigging to the quarter davits. I lashed the davit rails to the davits using the lashing shown on the plans.


I also made brackets from brass strip to hold the davits up, and blackened them. I am going to wait until the davits are rigged before adding them, as I am not sure of the exact angle yet, which changes the size needed. I am also not sure the best way to attach them, as I think if I just glue them on they will come off easily if the davit its moved. I may just wait until I am ready to put the model in the case before adding them.


I have been stropping the blocks needed for all of the davit rigging and will be adding the lines to the model next.

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I am getting close to completion now. I am still rigging the quarter davits, but I have also started rigging the whaleboat on the aft davits and the three anchors - two at the cat heads and one on the starboard anchor brackets. I have the starboard quarter davit completely rigged, and just need to add the metal brackets to the top davit brackets. I have the port quarter davit mostly rigged, but still need to add the davit blocks and lines, and the rope coils and metal brackets.




For the aft davits, I first added the davit blocks and tackle lines through the sieves on the davits, then hung the whaleboat on them using the ring bolts in the boat. I made gripes from some black thread I had, as these are straps, not ropes. This was the closest thing I had on hand to simulate these. I made larger hooks and seized them to one end of the gripes, then measured the lengths and seized a thimble to the other end. I tied a smaller line through the thimble, which I tied to cleats on the davits.



I still need to tie off the davit lines to their cleats, which I am keeping pressure on with the alligator clips. In the process of doing this, I hit the boom a little too hard and popped the seizings on the topping lifts and boom sheet block. I was able to re-seize the starboard lift line around the boom, and I think I will be able to do the same with the port one. I had to re-strop the boom sheet block, which I will tie around the boom, so overall not too much rework. I may still end up re-rigging the topping lifts depend on how the repaired ones look.

The two bow anchors are installed using a line that runs through the anchor ring and is tied to a cleat on the bulwarks. Inside the bulwarks, there is a line that wraps around the fluke of the anchor and is tied to two ring bolts on the waterway.


The starboard side anchor has a bracket with eye bolts that the anchor will be tied to. I seized two lines to these eyebolts to tie around the anchor, and a similar line will be used inside the hull to hold the anchor fluke in place. I have the anchor hanging off the hull until I can tie it to the bracket.


After these items are installed, all that is left is to make and add an 1812 US flag and do a final clean up of the model. Of course, there is still the case to make too.

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Thanks Captain and Jon and the likes. It will be 5 years in January that I have been working on this model and I am ready to complete it and move on to a new one. It is a good thing that there are others like you Jon that are continuing to build this great model. There will always be new challenges or new ways to solve old ones. Captain I just found your barge log and will be following along with it.


I was able to re-strop both boom topping lift lines and the sheet block on the boom, so no need to replace any of those lines. I do have to replace the spanker outhaul since it ended up underneath the topping lift loops around the boom. I glued the metal brackets on the starboard quarter davits and it looks like they are holding well just being glued on. The rest of the rigging on the davits hold them pretty well so they don't move hardly at all. I just have to not knock into them as I finish things up.

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Thanks Popeye. I really enjoyed the rigging as there was so much to do, but it was very satisfying. Overall I am very happy with how she came out.


The davits are all rigged and the anchors are all attached, so the last step was to make and install the flags. I am putting a large US flag from 1812 on the flag halyard on the mizzen gaff, and a blue commodore's pennant on the main mast flag halyard. I made these using white tissue wrapping paper (the kind inside present boxes) which I printed on using an ink jet printer. This is the method that Chuck uses and it works really well.


After shaping them I tied them to the halyards.


You can also see that I finally took the model out of the ugly but effective working stand and put it on the display stand I made a few years ago, I think. It has been stored in a plastic bag to keep the dust off it.

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After nearly 5 years and many hours in the workshop, my Constitution is completed. In the course of building her I lost my brother and my father, so this build has been dedicated to them. I hope they were following along wherever they are. I really had fun building this kit and for $300 or so that I spent on it I sure got my money's worth. I am going to leave this build log open, as I plan to take some glamor shots of the model soon, as well as build a case for it when the weather warms up again next year. In the mean time I will build a poster board cover to keep the dust off it. Here are some quick shots I took of the completed model.






I really appreciate those of you who have been following this build, especially the comments and advice. I could not have built this without the logs of those who came before me or started after me and finished before me (yes, I'm talking to you Ken). I hope this build log will be helpful for current and future builders of this great kit. Thank you all.


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Congratulations, Tom. I have been impressed with your modelling skills throughout. Perhaps even more to the point, for me, is my appreciation for your excellent work in constructing and maintaining this Build Log. I am working away on my Connie, and this log is my go-to resource when I get lost or confused. My Constitution does not hold a candle to yours, but she is infinitely better than she would have otherwise been. I do hope the Administrators leave this log available as I anticipate another 2 years of work at least (I am currently planking the spar deck and building fife rails). Thank you so much, Tom, and Congrats again.

Maturin (Mike McMullon, St. Louis, MO - late of Halifax, NS)


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Thank you  very much Chris, Michael, Steve, Fright, Geoff, Popeye, Henry, Captain Steve, Rob, Jay, Maturin, Kenneth, Tom, KMart, and Bill, and those who hit the like button. I really appreciate the comments. I have not had time yet to take good pictures but I am hoping to be able to do that this week.

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Magnificent, This model is not an easy build, so my hat is off to you. I have built three Constitution kits and the model Shipways kit to me is the best hands down. On the three I built, I would contact the Constitution museum gift shop and order several pieces of wood that they had replaced on the Connie during some of her repairs. I would use this wood to make several pieces on the ship.

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