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Hi everyone.

I'm gathering as much information as possible for a pending build of a 1/96 Revell USS Constitution.  There are a few excellent build logs on this website that I'm following closely for reference, details, and inspiration.


I don't want to distract further from those builds, so I hope you won't mind if I start this new thread.  My seafaring knowledge is practically non-existent.  Please forgive me if my questions are elementary.  I've spent a great deal of time lately on trying to research the internet without much success about the ship's boats circa 1812-1815.


Most of the sources I've read generally agree on 8 boats being carried:

One 36-ft. pinnace

Two 30-ft. cutters

Two 28-ft. whaleboats

One 28-ft. gig

One 22-ft. jolly boat

One 14-ft. punt


The paintings and ship models I've seen don't show boat rudders while on the davits, so I'm confused about when and how the rudders would have been mounted.  In my mind, for some reason the rudders are conspicuous by their absence. I presume the gudgeons would visible on the boats when the rudders are shipped.  This might be a very minor detail, but it nags at me until I can find out more about the subject.


I'd like to learn more about how the boat's rudders and tillers were mounted on each of the different types of boats listed above.  Were they all mounted with pintles and gudgeons to sternposts and transoms?  Would the rudders have been unshipped and the tillers lashed when the boats were hung from the davits ready for launching?  Were tools required to connect the pintles to the gudgeons? 


Would the punt even have a rudder and tiller?


How many pairs of oars would have been used on each of these types of boats?


Which types would have been capable of mounting sails?


Thanks very much for your interest, and for any suggestions or references you can provide.  Please feel free to offer your opinions.





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My current project doesn't have any boats to worry about but I will be moving onto the Constitution in a bit.  Will be interested in hearing peoples thoughts on this.  


I was able to pick up a copy of W E May's The Boats of Men-of-War a little while ago.  This is a nice little book which has a large amount of information in it.  What was very nice for me was that the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the book was all about the different types of boats (i.e. pinnace vs longboat vs jollyboat etc etc) also including slang common terms etc.  Lots of great pictures and charts of scantlings etc.  Also has rigging of boats and arming of the boats sections as well.


Here it is on AMAZON



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According to the AOS Constitution there were the following ships boats:

On Deck

34' Launch  7 sets of oars

32' Commodore's barge 6 sets of oars

32' Cutter  6 sets of oars

28' Cutter  5 sets of oars    


In Quarter davits

 whaleboat 5 sets of oars


In stern davits 

26' Cutter


All could be rigged with sails. Each would have a removable rudder stored in the boat when not in water.


Not sure about the color.

Hoe this helps


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Thank you Michael and Tom for your quick responses and information.


Michael: I just ordered a used copy of W. E. May's book via Alibris from the UK.  It could take almost a month to reach me in the US, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.  Thanks for the recommendation.


Tom:  Thanks for pointing out the AOS Constitution book.  I do have it, but didn't see the details about the number of oars per type of boat. There's so much to absorb for a newbie like me,  The subject is so fascinating I'm trying to cram too much too quickly.


I look forward to the information and opinions others might add to make this thread a useful reference for anyone interested in the Constitution's boats as we are.


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Welcome to the Connie builders! There is quite a few build logs here of those being built. Each modeler brings their own unique perspective to the build. If you have not figured this out yet, the exact configuration of the Connie is dependent on the year you are targeting. However, the material that informs us on how she looked is sometimes sparse and sometimes conflicting. This surprised me when I started working on the ship, but it something that allows you as your own researcher to decide what you want to include on the ship and why.


The specific number of boats on your model is really up to you. The Connie carried more boats than is typically shown in models. They did this by stacking the boats over the main hatch. You also have the three hanging on davits around the stern. Most modelers tend to only have 4 boats on the Connie, preferring to add more detail to those 4 than just stacking hulls on the deck. The number and type of ships boats could change while she was on a single voyage since these did not fare well with a cannonball. SO when one was destroyed, it would be replaced as time and budgets allowed. What it was replaced with was up to the captain.


How you rig the boats is also a personal choice. Most of these boats were designed so they could also sail. So in addition to the oars, they had a mast and spar. They also would have included an anchor, lines, sails, etc. The problem is if you put all of that in the boat you cannot see the inside of the boat at all. So choices are made on what will be included and how it will be arranged. The rudder being shipped or not is also up to the modeler.


There is also a question on which boats to include. There are any numbers of combinations you can include on the model. The number and type of boats aboard were at the depression of the captain. These also tended to get destroyed during battles so were being replenished as necessary. There is a basic list of the types of boats they had as well as the size of the oars for each. These came from the Anatomy of  Ship.

Constitution Ship's Boats and Oars.pdf

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The ship's boats would've varied thru the years and with different commanders. "Commodores", for example, (an honorific title in the American navy of 1812) would often carry an extra barge.


Here is the boat manifest from Bainbridge's notes according to Olof Eriksen:


1. Stern Davit: Gig (28ft)(WHITE)

2. Port Quarter Davit: Whaleboat (28 ft) (GREEN)

3. Strbrd Quarter Davit: Whaleboat (28 ft) (WHITE)

4. Port Skid beam: 1st Launch (34ft)(WHITE)

5. Strbrd Skid beam: 2nd Launch (31ft)(WHITE)

6. Stored in 1st Launch: 1st Cutter (28ft)(BLACK)

7. Stored in 2nd Launch: 2nd Cutter (28ft)(BLUE)


The 8th boat was likely a small punt used almost exclusively to paint the sides of the ship. This was stored keel up on the skid beams between the launches.


This is similar to the layout that I'll use in my build.


There is also a "white paper" on Constitution's boats on the official Navy Constitution website in the virtual tour documentation:






Edited by Force9
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Thanks for the great information robnbill and Evan.  I'll incorporate most of the details in my eventual build.  My inexperience with nautical matters has led me into numerous side-issues not specific to the model, but that can affect it.


For example, my fixation on mounting the various boat's rudders.  I understand that when unshipped, the rudder pintles slip into the sternpost/transom gudgeons.  (I intend to include representations of the pintles and gudgeons on the applicable boats in my build.)  What confuses me from an operational standpoint is how to prevent the pintles from slipping out of the gudgeons in a heavy sea.  Was there some kind of bracket on the stern/transom to prevent the rudder from sliding up?


I hope the "Boats of Men-of-War" book I ordered will answer questions like this.


I'm finding the comprehensive information everyone is sharing to be invaluable and increases my enjoyment of my build project.


Thanks for everyone's kind contribuitons and interest.  The more, the better.


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I have this snippet in my Constitution notes, but don't remember where I found it. It might have come from a post on this site:


"Both Michele Felice Cornè and his protégé George Ropes, Jr. depicted boats hanging from Constitution’s stern and quarter davits in their paintings of the August 19, 1812 battle with HMS Guerriere.  In both painting series, the quarter and stern boats are painted green with red interiors, but since they have flat hour-glass-shaped sterns, they cannot be whaleboats. They are probably meant to represent the gigs or cutters frequently mentioned in the ship’s logbook.  Since the whaleboats for Constitution were not delivered until October 1812, two months after the battle and a month after the ship’s return to Boston, it makes sense that Cornè and Ropes would not include them in their paintings of the battle."


So maybe not whaleboats before Oct 1812?

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