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USS United States by popeye the sailor - Revell - PLASTIC - bash

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this is the Revell 1:96 scale kit.   I had built this kit some time ago.  the model was short lived though and met it's demise at my hand.   I had been looking for another one for quite a while.  I got a tip that there was one on E-bay........didn't think I would suceed......but I managed to get it.   it spent a long time in the closet, until one day,  when my curiosity got the best of me.  I had seen Daniel's build of the Victory here on the site,  and wondered if I could pull something like that off.   so here it is.....in it's infancy.


Now,  when Revell came out with this series of large scale models {there we several in the series},  quite a bit of evidence pointed towards the reasoning of the grouping in the series.  The Cutty Sark mimicked the thermoplyae.....the C.S.S. Alabama mimicked the U.S.S. Kersarge.....the U.S.S. Constitution mimicked the U.S.S. United States....the only one that didn't seem to have a clone,  was the Spanish Galleon.  these kis may have.....or probably were,  molded from the same molds.  whoever came up with this idea was a genius,  in my view.   outside of a few minor discrepancies....they came out with some of the best kits that revell had ever done.  sadly,  the Constitution was the only one to survive the discontinual chopping block.


my rebuild of this fine vessel is going to be a bit different.....I plan to replace all that I can do with wood.  I don't think I'll be able to go as far as Daniel did on his build {which is exsquisite, by the way},  but I'll do what I can.   the one thing I want to defeat.....are those nasty separation lines that cursed these decks.

     the decks on these particular kits are done in sections.  when put together in the build,  you can't help but see these section lines.  I have seen other folks try many ways to hide them.....some are pretty good, but I think doing the decks in wood will totally erraticate them once and for all!   what started this build sounds kinda silly......just playful banter on the site.   I decided to bring out the cannons to put on the Gothenborg......as a show of force,  and to defend the wharf.  It opened a can of worms.......it got me thinking of the deck idea again.....and so I went for it.








I spent quite a bit of time making the barrels for the cannons



I did manage to do a little painting on them.  the parts are in pretty good shape....not a lot of flash,  or deformaties.  there are some things that were not put into this kit,  that are in the Connie kit.  the aft quarters,  for one thing.   I'm going to try to add the parts for it in here.....I think it would make for a nice addition



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so,  the build kicked of in November of 2012.   right now,  I'm just doing small things,  until I can get some of the other builds out of the way.   the deck sections are the most important thing first off.  they need to be made so that when they are put together,  they will lock together without any lines or unevenness..the planking will cover all this over anyway.  for the moment,  I decided to put the hull together.




 I'm going to use the stand parts.....they do work quite well.  I also assembled the bow chaser cannon...I wish I had two of them.....I like them better than the other cannons.





I put the Gothenborg up next to it......I think the size difference in scale is cool.





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This should be interesting, Popeye.  I wasn't aware of the problem with the decking joints.  Your idea to replace the deck with wood sounds like a really viable upgrade and I'm looking forward to seeing it....I'll be following.


Oh, who is that kid working on your ship?

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I'm basically just assembling parts,  with no particular rhyme or reason










once the cannons were painted,  I packaged them to keep them from getting lost or damaged.  taking a look at the decking....there quite a task ahead







this was the gun deck........here is the spar deck








these parts were in a bag unrelated to the color in which they were molded.  it's my guess that these parts were added in.....found as an oversight on their part.




just a couple of other parts that will need either paint or assembly.





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thanks Patrick.......I had to put this one back in.   when the real work starts on it,  it's gonna get quite busy.   if everything I want to do works out......I think there will be others who want to try this.


who do you think Augie.........it's me!   I was a lot younger.....and I had thicker hair :)    I think I was about  35 when that picture was taken.

         I didn't do a lot of apinting on that build.....it comes in four different plactic colors,  very easy to sluff off on painting.   this was a complaint,  taken a look at by manufacturers.........folks who wanted to build models,  but were not adept with paint.   this was also aimed at young modelers,  whose parents didn't want a big mess, with paint.  thanks for the good word gentlemen......glad to see your going to follow along.  I'll try to get to it a.s.a.p. ;)

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At this point,  the gun deck sections are prepped and traced out.   I needed to cut out the grates in order to trace them,  so I'll have to make.....or even order grates for them.   I have one on order asa matter of fact.....haven't seen it as of yet.......I wondered if they mailed it.











I didn't bother to show the middle photos.......they just show the grates cut out anyway.   the stern section is going to be the interesting one for sure.  that tail piece isgoing to need to have some fine tuning done on it,  if it is to work out.   I did make all the marksas to where the aft quarters are to be located.   now to cut them out and assemble the frames for the grates and other bits of detail.

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the process continues with the cutting........







the grasting frames were cemented in place.   I cemented a couple of pieces of planking underneath the section to keep it from warping or curling.   tabs on the connection ends will aide in them in being cemented together flush.






the mid section was next.








the first two sections are done......the hardest one is yet to come.

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I told you Andy........I have manic constructive disorder.   I just wanted to get this one back on here for when I can finally get back to it.  I hope it will be soon,  but who knows,  I may be able to dabble with it from time to time.   I still have the other decks I have to make.  it is a good thing that I'm doing this anyway......some of these sections are really warped bad!  thanks for looking in Andy.....I will probably need some of your sage advice later on  ;)

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I drew the center lines on the sections......there was a mention on the old site that they appeared to be a bit off.  the hull is a bit disproportionate at the moment,  so the sections are not sitting in there the way they should be.  when the hull is pulled into shape,  it does tend to straighten out.........please bear with me.  :)


the aft section will take someadjustments to be correct.   it starts out like this





just for fun,  I took the bow cannon and placed it in one of the ports.









I need to raise the galley section,  so it will align with the hull. 




the line of the deck curves upward...to correct this,  the tail has to be cut off and shimmed with a 1/16 spacer.








the level is now corrected......from here,  it needs to be shaped.





as with the other  sections,  pieces of planking is cemented underneath to keep the section from doing anything wierd.   when it was ready,  it was dry fitted.







the deck line is much better.  when the time comes,  the major assembly can begin.


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I did a bit more......but not as much,  since I was running out of wood.  before I can make the spar deck,  I need to get more. 




I figured that I would paint the copper....I've never sprayed  a metallic paint through an airbrush before,  this should be interesting.  I did make a couple of parts for the spar deck, before I bundled them.





I bundled the gun deck up as well.....I  don't want them to get warped either.   I gave the hull a light prime.











the copper paint went very well......only two tiny imperfectiond to repair.  I was very happy to see that.

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Oh wow - a United States! I will follow very interested - looks very impressive so far. 


When - one day - I will have done one or two versions of my Consti .. I want to create a President or / and United States out of that cool kit! 


But until then I will admire your intersting work!

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Hi Popeye,


I'm gettin dizzy here, everwhere I look there seems to be a build log for Popeye the Sailer, this one is No 4 if I'm not mistaken, she is going to be one to follow my friend.


I like the modifications you are doing and no doubt you will have plenty of others up your sleeve.


I just hope you've told the Missus where her cloths pegs are.



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thanks Marcus......kinda quiet right now,  but when I can get caught up,  I can get working on it a lot steadier.   for now it's just a little here and there.  thanks for looking in.


I know Mobbsie......painted myself into a corner this time!   .....and I don't even have the Gothenborg in here yet....LOL!   never a dull moment at the Wharf.....I can tell you that...hee...hee.  it just looks scary.  about the clothes pins......I have to buy my own.   as a matter of fact,  I have to get after them......they grab them to keep their chip bags closed........yea......they watch me too....LOL  {and shake their heads}

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I do have one more bit of progress to pass on to you.   I would have posted this,  but this was when the site went down.....believe it on not.....so this is fairly recent.   I had ordered a grate kit from the place where I had ordered the 3.5mm deadeyes for the Gothenborg.  it was taking so long to get them,  I canceled the order.   while I was waiting though,  I thought about how many of those kits I would have to order...and the cost involved.  I decided to try and make them.  I bought two packages of 1/16 square stock and cut them into short lenghts.  with just a tiny bit of cement on the ends,  I cemented ten of them down onto a small piece of wood,  spacing them equally {1/16 wide}.   placing another layer on top of them, spacing them the same way,  they form a cross - thatch pattern.







third row




fourth row





fifth row




I was running out of the strips......and only half way as high as I want to go.   the only recourse at this time,  would be to cut this in half,  fit it together the best position possible,  and glue it together.   so, I finished with what I had and did just that.







when this was dry,  it was sliced into wafers.   they will be sanded flush,  making them thinner in the process.   there were some of the tiny pieces that broke free.   they were repaired and set aside to dry,  I would just pick up another one and work on thay one in the meantime.





for some reason,  I got eleven of them........I thought I'd only get ten.   a bonus.

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as you can see,  some of them need a little help.  I can fix them though.....I began the task of sanding them......lots of sanding.





keep an eye on that sawdust pile




I got six of them sanded down.....I could go a little more,  but I'll do that later,  when I go to install them.  I worked on getting the others done first.  I couldn't get a decent picture of them,  so I set them on a piece of flat stock,  to see if that would help.






I got a couple more of them.




.....until I got them all.....I didn't lose a single one!





the sawdust pile grew to be quite large......I'm saving some,  so I can make some home made filler.




I wouldn't suggest to anyone that they should do this......it took me a couple days to do this.   it was just an experiment to see if this would be a viable alternative.   the only thing I can see,  is that it might have been better to use smaller stock........1/32......or even 1/64.  these would be suited for the larger grates, the kit provides the smaller ones......it might be best if I used them......but you never know,  I might try it.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey Popeye, the build looks great.  I noticed that the Pres is almost identical to the Constitution.  Regarding your rear Gallery.  I have tried to dry-fit my rear gallery to the hull and notice that there seems to be a gap between the bottom of the gallery and the the two halves of the hull (or something just doesn't fit right).  Did you have a similar fit issue?  I will be getting to that part soon and need to fix it somehow... if you have an opinion, I am listening.

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hello Radman!   in the United States kit,  there are no galley walls.  for some reason,  these parts were omitted......I can't see why.   this is a spin-off from the Constitution kit......the hulls are basically the same,  it's just that this kit has an addition to the poopdeck.  I do plan on putting them in.....when I made up the wood gun deck sections,  the location holes were there on the plastic ones,  so I marked them out.


I did build the Constitution a long time ago.........did you try pulling the hull sides together?  if the gap won't be seen,  it probably isn't a big deal.  but if it does show,  perhaps you could get some styrene flat stock and build up the ends to fit.

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Hey Popeye, I guess maybe I mis-named the part I was talking about.  See your earlier pic below.  At the bottom of this piece is a small "V" and some slight curvature which doesn't seem to exactly match the hull curvature where its suppose to fit.  Then, when I fit it up (dry), there is a gap between the bottom of this piece and the hull.   Does yours fit perfectly? or did you need to do a lot of trimming?


I am thinking that before I trim this piece I should dry-fit the upper and lower decks as these may "stretch" the hull a little bit.  If I can't get rid of the gap, I'll use your advice regarding the styrene.



Edited by RadMan
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ohhhh......you mean that small apex at the base of the counter.   I did a dry fit when I got the hull together,  and I think there will be a bit of a problem there.   for something like that,  I would probably suggest some plastic filler.......and then sand to shape.  unfortunately,  I have this build on the back burner for the time being.  my thoughts of the wood decks got so intense,  I had to do something to get it out of my head.  for me....it means doing it!  but,  yea..........I remenber having this problem back when I did the Consitiution.......and again when I did the first build of this vessel.   the big thing to look out for,  is not to shave too much off either surface..the counter or the hull.....or it will just make this problem worse.   just get it so it will fit reasonably well and use putty.........wipe it with your finger to get the excess off the outside of the hull.......and try not to remove too much hull detail with sanding.


Revell would have done well to redo how they created these parts......design flaw.......I think so!  ;)

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Might I suggest an alternative to photo etch, one that I am pursuing for my build of USS President, which is HO scale windows

intended for model railroad work. An example would be those produced by a company like Tichy:




... a search on Walthers' website (www.walthers.com) reveals other choices as well. This is the one I am going to try to use on President, as Chappell's drawing shows 12-pane windows: http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/300-5278. I can cut them

away from their frames, and insert them in the Revell kit openings. The gallery windows with their angles will be much more challenging...




Edited by Decatur The Younger
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Thanks, I will be careful and take your advice... somehow it is more reassuring to know all the kits have the same defect.  LOL!  To get those "intense" thoughts of the wooden decks out of your head, I might advise a few pints of Guinness.  :)

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I would have done that.......but the thoughts of a drunken guy with an x-actor,  would probably have scared the crap out of the admiral!  LOL!  with me........if I over think something......I get a crappy job.  I'll look forward in seeing how this comes out for you.......you'll do fine,  I'm sure!


gee......I should have thought of that!   I seem to use a lot of HO stuff in my builds :)  I have the walther's website bookmarked,  so I'll take a look........thanks a lot for the info!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, I admit, a drunken hungover guy with an x-acto knife is bad, and painting with your hungover shaky hand is worse... but the Tamiya masking tape is so good that... nevermind... :)


How can you have so many builds going simultaneously? (i.e builds on "table" on "hold".  I bet you must have a nice workshop!  


In any case, I am patient and look forward to you finishing your United States build among others.  Thanks for you kind comments on my blog, its appreciated.

Edited by RadMan
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