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USS Constitution by Usgecko - Revell - Plastic 1/96

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I have built a variety of things over the years - starting off with aircraft, tanks etc.


I have however been bitten by the ship bug!


I have a part completed model of the Titanic (Minicraft 1/350 scale) to which I have added LED and fiber optic lighting, a lot of scratch building of smaller vents etc and photoetch - it's a work in progress at present.


Following the receipt of a shiny new Revell Constitution I have been bitten by the bug.  I have started owrk as follows (and I'll get pictures posted up soon):


  • Gluing and cleaning up all the cannons - this did take a long while! 
  • Cleaning up gun carriages (correct terminology? - if not please enlighten me).  Some of the wheels on these were rather poor and almost all had mold lines, or mold mismatch to a greater or lesses extent.  I decided to sam the outside of the wheels flat and replace the "axle" in the center of the wheel with plastic rod.
  • Gun deck - joined the three parts together using plastic on the underside, unsuring upper surface at joins is level across the joins.

At this stage I have some questions which I would love some thoughts on:


  • Decks - I have sanded the surface of the decks smooth and and contemplating what is the best way to replicate the deck.  The alternatives I have in mind are as follows:

               1. Scribing lines for the planks.

               2. Wood veneer (holly perhaps?) cut into planks

               3. Thin plastic sheet appropriately pained in slightly different shades cut into planks


           My inclination is towards the third option and I will maybe experiment with this and see what it looks like but I would 

           really like the thoughs/suggestions of others on here.  I am also curious on where I could put my hands on a plan of
           planking on the deck, any areas where planking was wider etc, Also what the width of planks on the decks was.

  • Planning on retaining the plastic masts only where they can be reinforced internally with metal to avoid future bending.  Smaller masts etc I plan on replacing with either brass tubing (sizes can be had which can be slid inside each other to represent taper - I Used this approach to replicate the masts on the Titanic), or alternatively with wood.  If wood - any suggestions on the best product to use, and where it could be purchased?

One of my general questions is where can I get a better understandign of sail ship terminology, especially as it relates to masts and rigging?


I have reviewed a lot of the builds I can see on here and I will be shamelessly applying some of their good works - imitation is the sicerest fom of flattery after all.  I especially like the approach take by force9 to his build.


I'll try to get some pictures of work do far pposted shortly.


Thanks for looking and for any comments of the questions I have above.



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Ok some pictures of my limited process so far.












The cannons really did need a lot of clean up.  The plastic appears to me slightly soft in consistency which made the clean up a little more difficult.  The have not been primed or painted yet.


The wheels on the gun carriages were often pretty poor.  The easist way for me to tidy them up was sand the "axle" off completely getting the wheel more flat, then I drilled a hole and used plastic rod for an axle.  The smaller carriages for the spar deck were especially poor and I ended up scratch building axles and wheels for all of them.






Here is the gun deck with the 3 parts joined togather:










As I mentioned in my first post - looking for suggestions on planking.


The two halves of the hull didn't match too closely along the keel (big gap).  I am hoping that by keeping the parts in tension like in this picture will make the eventual gluing of the parts easier with less stress on the join:



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Stuart, the Revell Connie makes into a terrific model. One of my club members took a gold at Manitowoc many years ago. Try a thin layer of holly for the planking. You can also make a test sheet and experiment with different stains to get the look you want.

David B

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Hi David,


Thanks for the response - I was thinking of cutting the holly into planks and attaching each sperately.  That would mean I could stain them individually and add a pencil line round the edge to simulate caulking between the planks.  I could also simulate joggling at the stern and aft.  My concern though is that I do not know how the planks would be sized (length and width, and also whether or not all lines of planks were the same width.  I cannot really find any clear guidance on the internet despite searching - any thoughts on:

  1. Cutting the holly into planks - is it feasible/sensible
  2. The questions of plank size and layout.




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Lots of builds on here show the deck planking cut into individual planks with the caulking.  Just go through the wooden Connie logs and find what you need and scale it properly to your build, and it should work out.


There is also a huge amount of information about this in the framing & planking subforum here, along with some really great tutorials in the pinned topics which would include the different patterns and typical lengths of the planks.


I think a wooden planked deck would really make your kit look sharp.


You might also consider scribing a line into the side of your gun carriages to simulate the two-piece construction of the carriages.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An update on progress so far.


Looking at the gun carriages for the gun deck I think I need to make a further adjustment to the shape of them.  From looking at photographs there seems to be an arc shape cut out betwwen the wheels of the gun carriage. 


On to progress.  I decided that the smaller ships boats were not to great in terms of detail so I decided to attempt to improve them.  I started with the 28 ft cutter (as it is described in Revell's instructions).  I found a couple of sources on the internet with plans and scratch built wood versions which is what I have attempted to replicate.


Here are the work in progress pictures as I tackled the work:










And here are some shots of the finished article:








I'm happy with the end result but I have created a lot of extra work for myself to do the other boats in a similar way.


I'm also not sure what to do at this stage about the pinnace (long boat) and the lack of it in the Revell kit.  I may have a go at scratch building it out of plastic.


All comments welcome!



Edited by Usgecko
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Hello Stuart!


Just catching up on your initial progress - great work!


Regarding the planking - Mine is an exercise in plastic modeling and I never really considered wood for the decks. I was worried about having to smear glue all over the place if I used styrene strips so I first tried scribing the decks.  If that had not turned out well, I would've fallen back on the styrene strip decking after first painting each strip in random tones.


Have a look at this build:




Your boats are wonderful.  I've only kitted out the small boat so far... I've got the thwarts and all the interior details cut and fitted, but not glued.  I need to figure out the sequencing for painting the interiors first.


Have a look at your boat plans again - there should be provision for fitting some masts that you may want to add before you finalize and paint.


You are very ambitious for lengthening the launch - you'll find examples of other modelers (more skilled than me!) doing this same exercise to adapt this boat to the Heller Victory on the Pete Coleman Victory Modellers site:




I will enjoy keeping up with your progress!


Welcome to the Connie club!



Edited by Force9
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Thanks for the words of support!


I had been thinking of using real wood veneer for planking.  I am now heading more toward plastic strip, painted in randon, but similar tones.  I need to experiment a bit with this but I suspect that's where I'll end up.


You're right on the fittings for masts - I had meant to do that but forgot on the cutters - thanks for pointing it out!



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Great start Stuart. I will be following with interest. Just a note...not all of the long boats inner wales will be seen, so you may want to detail the exposed ones only. It is still most of them but may save you a little bit of work.


I agree with Evan on the planking. If you do re-plank with plastic the paint would be troublesome. I.e. some chipping is evident in my built as I have worked the deck...and it is getting worse. I can't wait to seal the deck so it will not get to be too noticeable. This has occurred from scribing the caulk lines after painting the planks. I believe Evan re-scribed his planks BEFORE painting them. But before re-scribing the deck one touch with a fine grit sandpaper may restore a little wood grain to the plastic.


Good luck.



Edited by lambsbk
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Very nice work so far, Stuart.


Im also working (well, im not for the moment, but I keep telling that to myself) on the Revell's Connie. It's strange, but in my kit the pieces were actually pretty clean and well moulded. The masts were warped, by I intend to replace them with wooden ones anyway.

About the deck: I've glued thin strips of wood (maple, 0.5 mm in thickness) to the plastic deck. It's making a whole world of difference in my opinion. They were 7.5cm in length (as I've determined to be the real length in scale), and 2.5 mm in width. I will show a picture of it just for the fun of it, I don't intend to polute your topic.





Current build: Constructo's Union, 1:100 Brigantine

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Thank you all for the kind comments it's much appreciated!


Moflea - that deck does look great, and I keep going back and forth on whether to use wood planks, plastic planks, or scribing as Evan has done very successfully on his build. The simplicity of scribing and lack of additional cost is appealing, as I think there are some of Dafi's Victory photo etch parts I may get (generic hooks and rings) that may suck up my spare modelling cash, plus some decent belaying pins.


Thanks again guys,



Edited by Usgecko
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  • 3 weeks later...

Small update.


After procrastinating for a while on how to do the decking I decided to scribe it rather than add plastic or wood veneer planks.


Part of the reason was the fact that I thought Force9 build looked great with scribed deck and partly because I didn't see the value of buying the veneer or plastic strips for decking.  Will not be painting for a while but here is the nekkid scribed plastic.  Ignore the white lines - those are scribed lines with filler - some my mistakes, and some because of the method I used and the need to try and represent the interlocking planks that were on the gun deck.


The tools I used for the scribing are in the picture below.  The method I used was to very carefully mark one line from bow to stern uninterrupted by gratings etc.  I then scribed that line as a pilot line for the rest of the fore and aft lines.  I then used the small pin vise on the left of the picture into which I had placed the tips of two sewing needles.  The pilot line was used to one needle tip down, with the second creating a scribed line parallel to the first.  This process was continued until the deck was scribed all over.  After that I gently deepened each line using the scribing took and the back of a #11 blade where the tip had been broken off.  The bumps either side of each line were then carefully removed with the chisel blade.  I went for a repeating pattern every 5 lines of planks.  The interlocking planks I basically made up - no idea if that is what they actually would have looked like but they are interlocking!


Tools used:




Here's the end result:








This last picture shows the way I have attempted to represent the interlocked planks.




Thanks for looking!

Edited by Usgecko
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very nice scribe work

Current Build Log(s):

-Swift Virginia Pilot Boat 1805- Artesania Latina 1985 no sails kit.  My first wooden ship build.

Carrack - Woodkrafter Kits


Completed Build Log(s):

-Pirate Ship- Woodkrafter Kits Ship in a Bottle - First ship in a bottle kit build.

-The Secret Revealed Boat in a Bottle Kit- Authentic Models - Ship In Bottle


On the Shelf to build:

- Build a Ship in a Bottle Kit - Authentic Models

- The Chesapeake Bay Flattie - Midwest Products

- Armistad 1832 - Serial Modellbau

- San Gabriele 1497 - Serial Modellbau

- Clara May English Ketch - Artesania Latina

- Santa Maria - Scientific

- Margaretha - Tris Model

- Paranzella - Tris Model

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Having been working on the commodore's barge I was thinking of trying to get another Revell 30 foot barge and using that as a basis and extending it for the 34 foot launch.  Not having any success I decided to start work on building it from scratch.  Here's the progress so far.  I started with cutting the shapes of the keel, gunwale, and transom out of sheet plastic and assembling them together as a frame to start attaching the planking and framing to.


Here's a work in progress so far:






Thanks for looking

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Your deck looks great.  Many years ago when I had red hair I did a Revell Cutty Sark.  They supplied a scribed deck that could be modified.  After washing and drying I painted it with Testor's paint I forget the color.  The next day I gave a coat of light gray to simulate the color of Teak. I then lightly scraped the deck with a single edge blade. The under layer of paint showed through because of the imprinting on the deck.  The effect was a good simulated wooden deck.  

David B

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finished the scratch built 34 foot launch.  Not exactly as I had wanted - the hull is deeper than I had intended - it I'm happy enough with it.





Also finished off the Commodore's barge - this was the one I had lengthened from the Revel supplied launch.









That's the two cutters, the Commodore's barge, and the 34 ft launch completed now.





After spending this time on these I guess I had better get started to the hull of the Constitution itself!


Thanks for looking - all comments welcome.



Edited by Usgecko
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There may be easier ways! I went to the local hobby store and wanted to get some photo-etch grill to use. No luck. I ended up getting the thinnest strip plastic I could find (0.25mm * 0.5mm) and made the grating from that. Sounds more laborious than it was, I laid out strips side by side on some tape, then I removed every second one and then placed more strips perpendicular to the rows on the tape and carefully glued them.



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Thank you Lukas


Started work on the hull.


Closed off the gun port at the bow (will be modelling the Connie at the time of it's victory over HMS Guerriere, as depicted in the Corne paintings)




Work on thickening the bulwarks, starting first with framing in the gun ports.  Next step will be add a layer of plastic on the inside over this framing.










The horizontal lengths of plastic are to provide additional support for placing the gun deck.


Thanks for looking,



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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally got the scribing of the spar deck completed.  As with the gun deck this one got of to a false start - hence the white lines - Tamiya filler....










Thought about adding joggling of the planks but decided against it.  Not sure how obvious it will be anyway.


Thanks for looking.



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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 7 years later...

Well, after something of a break, and with colder weather I have resurrected my building efforts.

Wanted to get my head back into it by working on something fairly small so I decided to scratch build the Brodie stove.  Somewhat pointless maybe because I will never really see it when it's installed!IMG_0429.thumb.jpg.776a87dcbb54c6e11bcc864889e915b1.jpg

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