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USS Constitution by RadMan – Revell – PLASTIC – 1:96

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Below, I hand painted the layout-coat of "random" clean-copper plates.  I also experimented with shades of off-copper.   Sailcat is correct that the shading is critical, because adding too much green paint caused the copper to lose its metallic shine... and once the shine is lost, the contrast it too great.   You can see a few of the "experimental" plates where the shine is completely gone.  It will be a very delicate balance for me to get it just right.


Next step is tape off the plates to get good clean lines for the remaining two coats of copper and off-copper color.   I am amassing an enormous ball of Tamiya 6mm tape....it is a work of art in itself.


I am also no longer planning to tape off individual plates... per lambsbk advice, it's just too time consuming.







Edited by RadMan
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  • 3 weeks later...



Regarding the Spar deck.  I started to prep the Spar deck for eventual painting (btw..I am still only 40% done on the hull plates).  I noticed that the Spar deck pieces are warped and/or have a curvature to them.  I realize that they shouldn't have any warpage, but the curvature almost looks intended.   I also had some issues with the bow piece of the gun deck.   If anyone knows a good way to straighten these decks, I would appreciate your wisdom.  


Here is a photo of the warped aft Spar deck:




Below is a photo of the Spar bow piece with a slight curvature to it.  All the Spar deck pieces have this curvature which is why I am asking if they should be flat or not. 



Edited by RadMan
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Radman -


No need to panic... The curvature is intentional and represents a nice detail by the folks at Revell.  All sailing ship decks would have "camber" to allow the water to runoff.  In fact, the gun deck should also have this, but it was not added in the kit.  You'll also see this camber reflected in the fore fife rail/pin rack included in the kit and on the edges of the main hatch opening - another nice bit of attention to detail.



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I concur. It was one of the problems I wrestled with on the gun deck as well. As a result I went through a bit of a tedious exercise in trying to reestablish it. I am not sure how successful that venture was: I used a radius of arc method and worked it to 50". It was enough to get the camber back. I epoxied several pieces of cambered wood behind the gun deck but I wish I had scored the plastic before attaching them...epoxy does not hold on to the plastic that well and CA was used to repair the lost holds. A side benefit was the alignment of the deck pieces to get a close approximation for gluing. Just a note: the deck pieces are NOT the same thickness - at least on the gun deck - a careful consideration if you use tabs to join them.

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Thanks for the info!  I feel a little better now that I don't have to deal with the curvature, however, there is still the issue of warpage.  I have two ideas, the first is to run hot water of the pieces and gently bend back to the intended shape, or the second would be just to ignore it and let the glue take care of it when I cement the spar deck down (though this won't help with my warped gun deck bow piece because according to the Revell directions, you don't glue this anyway).


For the gun deck, I thought about just cementing some type of block or spacer to keep the bow piece from floating up (the warpage seemed to pull the bow up too high when I dry fitted it).


Dave, and Force9, thanks for the clarification on the camber.

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I think Revell did not want the deck glued for 2 reasons: 1)If you glue the gun deck it is very hard to tell how far to compress the hull around the gun deck to match the fit for the Spar deck and 2) (although I have not run into this yet) Andy says the masts need a little bit of float to get them aligned. Since the Spar deck does not move the gun deck is the giver here. Personally I plan on shaping the gun deck mast receiving supports to get the placement needed. The rigging will also alow the masts to be adjusted (eventually).


PS: My gun deck is joined at the seams but does still float laterally, at least in the forward section. I compressed the hull because I did not want my gun placement, breeching, and tackle to move when the spar deck is finally attached.

Edited by lambsbk
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  • 6 months later...


(1) The kit was missing a piece for one of the 33 Gun Deck cannons (I swear I didn't lose it! and yes I know
there are only 32 on the gun deck and one topside). Anyway, I started with 32.5 cannons.
(2) Gluing... there is a pin-and-hole arrangement which are suppose to align the two halves. However, in
many cases they misaligned the halves. I glued several together this way before deciding to just cut off the
pin and align the halves myself.
(3) Painting...I massively FUBAR'd some of the first cannons I painted. It took me probably 6 cannons
before I figured out how to paint them.
(4) Un-painting... I decided to use some brush cleaner and wipe off the botched paint job on my first 6
cannons... to my HORROR, the brush cleaner started to melt the plastic and broke off one of the trunions!!
(5) Re-painting: I repainted the 3 cannons I doused with brush cleaner, they still look crappy. I put a secondcoat
of black on the other 3...they too look crappy.
(6) Conclusion: I will hide the crappy cannons on one side of the ship.
The photo below shows the difference between the 'good' (right) and 'bad' (left) cannons (sorry for photo
quality because it really doesn't show how badly I painted the (left) cannon). Note on the left cannon how
the paint fills in the area between the knob and the base of the breech... its suppose to be round but mine
forms a 45 degree angle...  oh well.... what to do. Any suggestions??

i also have 32.5 cannons

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mulwee, sorry to hear you also have 32.5 cannons, though, I now must admit that I have found the other 1/2 cannon.... I have no idea where it was in the kit but must have come loose and then got caught on some other black piece in the kit...trust me, I looked hard and never saw it.  In any case, lambsbk came to my rescue by sending me some nice replacement cannons.


As a side note, I am still working on the ship but have spent some months away from home and just now really getting back on it.

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  • 7 years later...
Posted (edited)

Well, after a 7-year break I have resumed work on Constitution...LOL, yes its true look at the dates in this log.  I think my idea to shade the hull varying shades of copper was interesting in principal, but the shear enormity of the task and the relative little difference it makes overall was wasted effort.  In any case I finally finished the hull.  The photos are using light in a way to accentuate the difference in plate color, however, when looked at normally it is difficult to see much variation at all.IMG_0586.thumb.JPG.176d3d270d2feac635697372f1a70dc8.JPG



Edited by RadMan
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Well, one big problem I had was removing all the tape from the ship after laying around mothballed for 7-years.  You can see the pink tape in the previous photos.  I have some very bad tape residue to remove.  I got it all off except in one place by the stern.  The tape residue on the side I was able to get off but the residue on the stern just won't come out.  I tried removing residue with new tape, dish soap and rag, olive oil, and finally windex.  The combination of using new tape and then windex for the hard spots worked best.



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Next on to the decks.  I plan to use the same method as others here.  Deck is sprayed with black paint, then I sprayed a light coat of tan, next the individual deck boards will painted randomly with one of three shades of tan (tan; tan with a drop of black paint; tan with a drop of white or brown paint).  Once that is done, I will scored the deck to bring out the black underneath.  I know others have done this painting by hand, but I am just a bit to shaky, so I will tape it off.  Brings back nightmares for taping the hull but there isn't much curvature so seems much easier.  Perhaps won't take me seven years.



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hey there Radman.......so good to see your getting back on the Connie!  belated congratz on the birth of your son........about several years to be exact :D 

   during the time of your absence,  I bought another U.S.S. United States,  and bought {for real cheap money} another Connie kit.  I am well aware of the problem with these deck sections,  so I made wooden decks for the United States....there is a log for it in the archives somewhere.  with the Connie kit,  I plan to do something a bit different....no major news since I haven't started it yet  ;)     so WOW>........good to hear from you again and hope  you continue to to progress on this super model your building :) 

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