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USS Constitution by Captain Silver Beard Jones - Model Shipways - Scale 1:76 - 1812 Era


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Even though my actual build probably won't start for some time, I decided to go ahead and start my build log.

 

I purchased my MS Constitution kit a few days ago as what was anticipated to be a belated birthday present to myself. I say belated because I was quite certain the kit would not arrive until later this week. In fact, the expected delivery date was November 7th and my birthday was yesterday.

 

When I got home from work yesterday evening, my better half told me that a package had been delivered. I figured it was some books I had ordered for research on the Constitution. But amazingly, it was my Model Shipways kit. Quite honestly, I have no idea how it arrived so quickly. I didn't order it until Friday and it arrived on Monday - on my birthday. 

 

As the topic title indicates, I'll be bashing the Model Shipways kit and building it to 1812 Era specs. That being said, I'm going to attempt to use a single post as a one-stop location to document all of the necessary changes to bring the MS kit to 1812 Era specs. All posts after that will be used to document the build progress itself. As I identify changes that need to be made to the MS kit to bring it to 1812 Era specs, I'll come back and edit that post. Hopefully, it will help folks down the road who want to build the MS kit to 1812 specs but, don't have a lot of time to devote to research.

 

I assure you that I'm going to attempt to build this kit and remain as true to the 1812 Era specs as possible. However, given that there is so much that we DON'T know about this era, there will invariably be things that come down to a matter of personal preference. What I would ask of all the Constitution researchers out there is, if you see something in my modification log that is obviously wrong, please point me in the right direction. You folks have been doing this much longer than I have and are undoubtedly much more knowledgeable regarding her history and construction. So, please keep me on the right path.

 

Clark Fletcher (Fletch)

Edited by fletch944t
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USS Constitution - Model Shipways to 1812 Era Differences

 

Armament (Part of Original Post 11-04-14; Updated 11-12-14)

  1. Gun Deck - 30 Cecil Iron Works 24 lb. long cannons (9' 6" in length as opposed to the original 8' long 24 lb. made by Furnace Hope).
  2. Spar Deck - 24 Foxall 32 lb. carronades (approximately 4' long).
  3. Other - A single 18 lb. chase gun (still gathering more information on this)

Reference: "The Guns of Constitution" by Tyrone G. Martin

 

NOTE: The Model Shipways kit comes with 20 carronades, 30 dummies for the 24 lb. long cannons, and 2 - 24 lb. long cannons for chase guns. However, the carronades provided with the Model Shipways MS 2040 are not the same type of carronades the Constitution carried during the War of 1812. They are carriage mounted carronades (i.e. they have trunnions). The carronades carried by Constitution during the War of 1812 were slide mounted carronades (i.e. a lug on the bottom of the barrel to mount in a pivot) with a hole bored in the cascabel for a jacking screw to adjust elevation. The carriage mounted carronades did not have jacking screw elevation adjustment. I'm currently in the process of identifying a source for replacement carronades of appropriate type and scale. And again, 24 carronades are needed. Also working on identifying a source for the single 18 lb. chase gun. However, the two 24 lb. guns provided in the kit are close enough in size that they could be used in place of the 18 lb. gun. Additionally, it appears that the 18 lb. on Constitution may have been bored to accept 24 lb. shot to negate the need for carrying another different type of ammo.

 

Ship's Wheel (Added 11-05-14)

  1. Not really a huge difference here between MS Kit and 1812 Era specs. However, I thought it deserved discussion. Different Constitution models have wheels with different numbers of spokes (generally 8 or 10). It would appear that the 10 spoke wheel is appropriate for the 1812 Era (although it is apparent that she ended up with an 8 spoke wheel salvaged from the Java after her own wheel was shot away in the battle). Most wooden kits appear to be equipped with cast metal wheels which most folks aren't happy with. I may attempt to fabricate a wooden wheel. However, even at 1:76.8 scale, I think a wooden wheel will be too delicate to hold up. Hence the reason for most kits providing the cast metal wheel. By the way, the MS kit metal wheels measure slightly larger than scale (not enough to fuss over).

Reference: Extensive research and development done by Bill Edgin and a CAD drawing done by Bill based on US Navy drawings of pre-1927 USS Constitution equipment.

 

Captain's Skylight (Added 11-05-14)

  1. The Captain's skylight located at the rear of the spar deck is shown on the MS Kit plans. However, the skylight was NOT part of the 1812 Era configuration and should not be included if you wish to build to 1812 specs.

References: Multiple. Too many to quote. But included in USS Constitution You Tube video tour of the Captain's Quarters and the fact that is was not part of the early Constitution configuration.

 

Ship's Boats (Added 11-05-14 ; Updated 11-24-14)

  1. There always has been and always will be much debate the ship's boats of all eras including the 1812 Era. It seems that about the only thing that many modelers and historians seem to be in agreement about is that there were seven (7) or eight (8). The type, size, number of oars, equipment, and colors remain up for debate. However, based on research of user's posts, internet articles, and AOS, I'll share what I have learned. Based on information in AOS and an article titled "USS Constitution's Small Boats" published by the , the Constitution would have been allowed to carry up to eight boats. It is the belief of the author that the Constitution probably carried seven boats. However, there are two separate references to her carrying 8 boats during the battle with HMS Java. Assuming eight boats were being carried they would have most likely been of the following types:  
  • Launch (Up to 34 ft) - Carried in the waist.
  • Cutters (Of varying lengths) - Carried in the waist and stern areas
  • Whaleboat(s) - Carried in the quarter davits 
  • Captain's Gig - Most likely carried in the stern davit

 

Some references list a 36 ft. launch. However, according to references cited in AOS, even with an enlarged spar-deck waist opening, none of the Frigates could have carried a launch of greater than 34 ft. in length. There are also references to a "Commodore's Barge" of 32 ft. in length. This would have been carried in place of one of the Cutter's in the waist. However, since Constitution was NOT serving as a flagship at the beginning of the War of 1812, she would not have been carrying a Commodore's Barge. There are also mentions of a 14 foot Punt in some references. However, there are no references to a Punt in the Captain's logs from July of 1812 to the end of 1813.

 

Again, I have no doubt that there will always be dispute regarding the number and type of small boats Constitution carried. However, what is true based on ships records is that the type of small boats aboard changed frequently between July of 1812 and October of 1813. But, here are some things that can be taken as fact:

  • In July of 1812, there were five cutters and one gig aboard
  • On October 17, 1812, a single whaleboat for Constitution was paid for
  • On October 21, 1812 work was paid for which included "whaleboats" 
  • There were eight boats aboard in December of 1812, seven of which were damaged in the battle with HMS Java.
  • From Isaac Hull's log entries and journal entries of other members of the crew, there are many references to the use of the ship's boats, boats damaged, boats repaired, and new boats constructed, there is never any reference to whaleboats during Hull's command. There are only references to cutters and a gig.
  • There is also no reference to a launch during Hull's command (or during Bainbridge's command for that matter).
  • There are records of whaleboats being constructed for Constitution during Bainbridge's command and payments for repairs to whaleboats. So, we can conclude that there were at least two whaleboats during Bainbridge's command.

So, where does that leave us? Well, quite honestly, it leaves us with more questions than answers in my opinion. So, here are the questions we must ask ourselves.

 

     1) Did Constitution carry a full compliment of eight boats during the Hull command? (We know of at least 6)

     2) If Constitution carried more than 6 boats during Hull's command, were any of them whaleboats?

     3) Did Constitution carry a launch during either Hull's command or Bainbridge's command? Or was one of the cutters really what we typically refer to as the launch?

     4) What was the eighth boat carried during Bainbridge's command (We know there were eight of which there were 4 cutters, 2 whaleboats, and a gig)

 

To come up with a number for each command, we have to make some assumptions. The records during Bainbridge's command are more detailed (less muddy) so, let's start there. If we assume that the eighth boat carried during Bainbridge's command was a launch, we can say that there was a launch, 4 cutters, 2 whaleboats, and 1 gig during at least part of his command.

 

During Hull's command, we know that there were five cutters and one gig. If we assume that there was a launch on board, that would give us a launch, 5 cutters, and a gig (for a total of 7). If Constitution carried a full compliment of 8 boats at that time, that leaves one boat unaccounted. That would leave room for a whaleboat. However, it also means that there could have only been one whaleboat aboard during Hull's command.

 

During Bainbridge's command, there are records of a whaleboat being ordered and paid for. And, after that point, there's never any mention of the 5th cutter again. So, it is possible that the newly ordered whaleboat replaced the 5th cutter. This is supported by the fact that after that point there were repairs paid for to whaleboats (pl.). That would mean that there had to be at least one whaleboat aboard when the other whaleboat was ordered.

 

Finally, let's look at the fact that there's never any mention of the launch. Since the larger small boats were stored in a nested fashion on top of the main hatch with the largest boats on bottom, a launch of considerable size would be the least likely to be used (since it's the hardest to get to). Additionally, it would be one of the least likely to be damaged. This is because it would be offered some protection by the small boat above it and it would also be closer to the deck and offered a small amount (very small) of protection by the hammock netting in the waist area.

 

Based on all these assumptions, we might conclude that during Hull's command there was a launch, 5 cutters, 1 gig, and 1 whaleboat.

 

References:

"Anatomy of the Ship - The 44-Gun Frigate USS Constitution"  by Karl Heinz Marquardt

"USS Constitution's Small Boats" - Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston (Up-dated April 2012)

USS Constitution's Captain's Logbook

 

NOTE: Most folks who model the ship's boats of this era do NOT typically include all of the boats for the purpose of reducing clutter on the spar deck. Not to mention that it would be a huge amount of fabrication to produce all those boats. A typical number seems to be four including the Captain's Gig, Port and Starboard Quarter Davit boats, and a Single Launch (31 or 34 ft.) located over the Main Hatch. BTW, one of the reasons I have included this discussion is that the MS Kit instructions and manuals don't, in my opinion address the topic adequately.

 

Ship's Stem (Added 11-10-14)

 

Some of you who are new to ship building or are unfamiliar with nautical terms may not be familiar with the term gammon or gammoning. What this refers to is attaching the bowsprit to the stem (or bow) of a ship. In the later years of sailing ships it became common to attach the bowsprit of the ship to the stem using chains. However, when then Constitution was first built, the gammoning on the ship was rope instead of chain. The Model Shipways MS 2040 kit provides for chain gammoning as opposed to rope. Therefore, the two holes at the top of the stem piece are small drilled holes. If you wish to build the Constitution to 1812 era specs, you'll need to widen those holes into slots to provide for rope gammoning. Slightly larger than twice the width of each of the holes provided will be sufficient.

 

Reference: Don't know who first identified this difference. However, it is discussed in several build logs on the MSW forum.

 

Gun Deck Ports (Added 11-24-14)

 

As she sits today, Constitution has 16 ports on each side of the gun deck. However, the forward-most (16th) port was added during William Bainbridge's command sometime after September of 1812. So, for 1812 era modeling of the Constitution, if you wish to model how she appeared during Issac Hull's command, you would have 15 gun ports and during William Bainbridge's command 16 ports on the gun deck (the forward-most being primarily used as a bridle port but could be used for bow chasers).

 

At this point most of the updates and additions to this post will probably come after I've actually begun construction and identify things that need to be changed to bring the MS kit to 1812 Era specs. However, you may want to check back periodically for updates.

 

Fletch

Edited by fletch944t
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Well, I actually started my build yesterday. It took me several days to get my work area set up. I'm not really happy with my work area but, it's the best I can do for now.

 

Like everyone who's done this build before me, I started by cutting out the bulkhead support pieces, keel, stem, and stern pieces and glued the halves together. Of course, I ran out of clamps and had to run out to the office supply store for binder clips.

 

Today, when I went back to work again, I decided I'd set up a jig to hold the keel as so many have recommended. My initial thought was that I'd only put down one of jig pieces initially and use that as a guide to put the bulkhead supports against when I glued them together. I suddenly realized that both the table on which I was working and my build board were bowed. The table was 3/8" - 1/2"  lower in the middle than it was on the ends. And, my build board had apparently gotten wet on one end because 1/3 of one end of the board was thicker than the other. Had I started working with things the way they were, I'd have ended up with a real mess. So, I ended up cutting a support leg for the center of the table and swapped out to a slightly smaller build board (which is actually the board I had intended to use in the beginning).

 

Once I got all that straightened out, I put down one piece of the keel jig and put down wax paper next to the jig for gluing the bulkhead pieces. After I cleaned up the bulkhead support pieces, I put the first bulkhead piece down against the edge of the jig and puts brads in the alignment holes to hold the piece in position horizontally. I put glue on the middle support piece and put it into position again using brads to hold it in position. And, likewise with the back piece. Then of course, I put weights on top of the entire thing to hold it in position. I had not seen anyone do it quite this way but, I thought I'd give it a try just to see.

 

I've done wooden ship model builds before. However, I'm a novice to POB builds. So, I've come to realize just how different it is and how steep a learning curve I'm on. Consequently, in addition to this build log, I'm going to maintain a more detailed journal that will be more of a guide for POB novices like myself in future.

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Worked some more on the build over the last few days and thought I'd provide and update and possibly a few insights.

 

Being a novice to POB ship construction, this is a huge learning experience for me. It seems that I may have made somewhat of a mistake with my build in that I probably should have marked the reference lines and bearding lines on the false keel pieces BEFORE I assembled them. Apparently, that allows you to verify the that false keel pieces alight properly when you actually glue them together.

 

Well, I don't know if I just got lucky but, when I transferred the reference lines and bearding lines from the plans to the already assembled false keel, they all lined up perfectly. I may have been due to the way I assembled the false keel using my keel jig to align the piece. But, at the end of the day, all is well and I won't have to make any adjustments.

 

So, my next step was to cut the rabbet in the false keel. I know a lot of folks use a chisel. But, I just felt much more comfortable using my hobby knife. I have a No. 2 and a No. 11 knife. I decided to work with the No. 11 as the blade isn't quite as broad and has a little more flex to it. But, I think a No. 2 would have worked just as well. I used the knife taking off small slivers of wood at a time and worked alternately with the knife and a small sanding block to slowly form the rabbet.

 

When I finished cutting the rabbet, I went ahead and attached the stem and stern pieces to the false keel. I know this is probably out of the norm but, there's method to my madness. I am anticipating receiving some wood from the Constitution. If so, and if there is enough of it, I plan to fabricate the keel for my model of wood from the Constitution. In the interim, I test fit the keel pieces from the kit and made adjustments as necessary so that I can glue them up if Plan A falls through. I'll post a picture below of what it looks like at the moment.

 

After talking to Jeff at HobbyMill, I decided to place an order after all. I may be biting off more than I can chew but, I've decided to model a full gun deck. So, I order enough boxwood to do the gun deck and spar deck. I also ordered enough holly to plank the hull. It may sound crazy since the hull is going to be black and a good portion of it covered with copper. But, I think the holly has better bending properties than the basswood and I think it takes finish better than basswood. Only time will tell at this point.

 

So, I spent a lot of today finishing up my keel jig. Again, I'll post pictures below. I decide to construct a vertical support with a slot in it for the stem to slide in to. I built it so that when the false keel sits in it, it will be at a perfect 90° angle to the build board. I also install a couple of triangular pieces for the stern to sit in to keep the entire false keel in the same geometry.

 

I also started cleaning a few of the 24 lb. long guns that will go on the gun deck while killing some time today. I'm also waiting for some a carronade to come in that I hope will be an acceptable replacement for the carronades provided in the kit. As I pointed out in the update to my "era differences" post, there's nothing wrong with the carronades provided in the kit other than there aren't enough of them and more importantly, they aren't of the 1812 era.

 

Well, that's about all for today. Thanks for following. Oh, and by the way, everything contained in my posts (and more) is going into a detailed build journal which I will provide to the admins for posting at the end of the build. I think it should be very useful for POB novices like myself.

 

Fletch

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Edited by fletch944t
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That would be pretty cool if you were able to build the keel out of actual Connie wood.

 

By the way - HobbyMill = Jeff, not sure who Tom is.  :)  You'll love his wood, although I've never heard of using holly for the hull.  I would think boxwood would be a better choice for that since it's going to be painted over.  Boxwood is much nicer to work with than basswood, I used some for my wales and in the future will probably use it for planking when I can and am not planning to leave a natural finish.

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Thanks Brian. I don't know what the heck I was thinking when I said "Tom". I made the editorial correction in the post to say "Jeff". As part of my job, I do a lot of technical writing and editorial errors drive me insane, especially my own. So, I really do appreciate it when someone helps keep me straight on the editorial stuff.

 

Anyway, in addition to being easy to bend, another reason I've chosen holly for the hull is that I don't plan to paint it. After reading Cookster's build log, I think I'm going to use aniline dye instead. I really like the look that Wes achieved using dye instead of paint. Based on what I've read, holly takes both stains and dyes very well. And, I think it is a bit more flexible than boxwood. Now, having said that, I'll be doing some tests on both the holly, boxwood, and basswood to see which I like best.

 

Once all is said and done, I may end up using holly on the deck planking and boxwood on the hull. Or I may end up saving the holly for another project. Heck, I may even end up just using the basswood on the hull and painting it.

 

But, you're right about painting the hull. If I was going to simply paint the hull, I wouldn't waste the money on boxwood or holly.

 

Fletch

Edited by fletch944t
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Thanks Captain Steve. I have no doubt that, at the end of this build, I'll have significantly more time invested in research than I will in the build itself.

 

And, there's a lot of stuff that I haven't put into the "era differences" post yet that I'm still mulling over in my head. For example, when most folks do a Connie build and they start modeling the small boats, they almost always model whaleboats in the quarter davits. However, going through the Captain's logs, you never find any mention of whaleboats until after Bainbridge took command. Since I'm trying to model the Constitution as she appeared during Hull's command, I'm not exactly sure what to do with that.

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Thanks Captain Steve. I have no doubt that, at the end of this build, I'll have significantly more time invested in research than I will in the build itself.

 

 

Fletch,

 

I should remind you that it is almost two years since I purchased my Connie kit ... and so far I have only done the boats !!!

(And now you are telling me that I need to build another 3 boats ?!?!?)

 

:pirate41:

Edited by CaptainSteve
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Hi Fletch, 

Nice to see another Conny log in the making. I will be following along with you and the others and if you don't mind, I will be glom-bombing your research as I for one do not have enough patience and diligence to both build and research. I am at the deck planking stage and my limitations are such my MS kit is already a stretch for me. I envy those of you who chose the 1812 version however although the purest version is your goal, I for one have decided to bash the kit to my own liking. As if I were some fleet admiral or something. I have chosen to use the five window configuration on the stern because I like it. I will also use the cannons from the kit because I don't know any better. I will cop a few good ideas from all of the logs and yours too if you don't mind. I have chosen not to log my build because I am not young enough to do both, I'm sorry to say. I need all the time and concentration I can muster for the build. I appreciate your time and effort to document your build to share your experience with others. I would not attempt this build without stumbling across this website. My thanks to all of you for your contributions.

Best regards, Warren

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Actually Steve, boats may be the next thing I work on.

 

As far as the boats go, it's clear that there were at least two whaleboats on the Connie during some period of time. What's not clear is whether they were always on there and if they weren't, at what point they were actually put on.

 

Right now what I'm inclined to believe is that there were 7 boats when Hull took command. It's clear that of the boats that were there, five of them were cutters (one of those being green) and one was a gig (presumably the Captain's Gig). It isn't clear what the seventh boat was. I'm inclined to believe a launch. If there was an eighth boat, it could have been a whaleboat. But again, of all the log entries related to boats that were lost, boats that were repaired, and new boats ordered during Hull's command, there was never any mention of whaleboats.

 

After Bainbridge took command, there's never any mention of the 5th cutter again. However, Bainbridge ordered one whaleboat and later paid for repairs to whaleboat(s). So, with 4 cutters, two whaleboats, and a Captain's Gig, that leaves room for one more boat (presumably a launch).

 

At any rate, IF I decide to model a full compliment of boats (don't know that I will), I will only model seven. Reason being that it's a good number for arrangement. With 2 boats nested on either side of the main hatch (4 total), one in each quarter davit, and one in the stern davit, it works out well. If you add an eight boat, it has to go on the main hatch between and forward of the nested boats with the stem facing aft. Since I'm planning on leaving the two forward hatch covers off (with ladders going down to the gun deck), an eight boat located there would interfere with that.

 

All that being said, there's a good chance that I may just do four boats. But, they may be all cutters with one being green. Only time will tell.

 

Fletch

Edited by fletch944t
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Instead of using the sandwich construction method for the ship's boats provided with the Model Shipways kit, I decided to try their plank-on-frame small boat kits.

 

Well, they arrived today and I decided to start working on one of them. Now, I'm not one to brag but, I'm normally pretty good at following an intelligently written set of instructions to achieve a desired outcome. However, today I have discovered one of two things:

 

    #1: I have grossly over-estimated my ability to follow a set of instructions.

 

OR

 

     #2: The instructions provided with the Model Shipways Small Boat kit are utter nonsense and quite possibly the worse set of instructions ever written.

 

So, if someone has experience with one of these kits, PLEASE tell me, am I an idiot or are these instructions as horrible as I'm imagining? And, if so, how do I make sense of them?

 

Fletch

Edited by fletch944t
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I'll guess Option2.

 

I am no drafts-person, but I have built many kits over many years. To put it bluntly, I was less than impressed with the written instructions provided with the MS Bounty Launch (I put it a little less bluntly in my Build Log).

 

At least Constructo & Occre both provided an excellent step-by-step photo-book. 

 

As for making sense of the Launch plans, for me it came down to three things: (i) trial-and-error, (ii) experience gleaned from earlier ship builds, (iii) the living, breathing encyclopedia of maritime modelling know-how that is MSW !!

 

To be honest, I would be terrified of attempting something as complex as Connie without this place.

Edited by CaptainSteve
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Well Steve. I think you're correct on all counts. After I started on the small boat kit and realized I was in trouble, I started searching MSW and found your post on the MS Bounty Launch build.

 

One thing I do know for sure is that if you follow the MS instructions to the letter, you'll end up with a mess and a lot of rework. Even the drawings they provide don't agree with their verbal instructions. The biggest thing I've noticed thus far is that if you follow the instructions as written, the bow former would be completely useless.

 

Honestly, I think I can make the kit work but, it's going to take a lot of improvisation and, as you've already found out, a lot of trial-and-error. Maybe I can come up with a better set of instructions and a better set of pictures and drawings.

 

I couldn't agree more regarding the value of MSW and the folks who follow this forum. I'd be completely lost in this build and I have no doubt my build would end up a huge disaster without the folks here. As I pointed out to someone recently, I've actually been petrified at the prospect of starting this build and thought I'd made a huge mistake in purchasing this kit. But, by reading the build logs of other folks here, I came to believe that I might actually be able to pull it off.

 

Fletch

Edited by fletch944t
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It's been a while since I've posted anything on my build. So, I thought I'd provide an update. This is probably more to gather my thoughts than anything else. However, maybe someone will find this useful.

 

I've completed construction of the false keel with the exception of installing the three keel pieces themselves. For those of you who plan on doing this build, you'll most likely discover that the three keel pieces are longer than needed to fit between the stem post and stern post. That's actually not a bad thing as it's better for them to be too long than too short. The reason that I haven't installed them yet is that I'm waiting for the 1812 Marine Guard to send me some wood from the Constitution. If I receive a large enough piece, I'll be using that to construct the keel on my model.

 

In the interim, I've been working on other things like getting better organized, setting up my tools and work area, ordering some replacement wood for decking and planking, ordering replacement armament, and lastly starting to build the small boats.

 

My last post was related to the small boats and the MS small boats kits. And, that is what I'd like to specifically address here as I think this is what folks will find most useful.

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I was having great difficulty with the instructions for the MS POF small boats kits. I decided to try them as I'm not a huge fan of the sandwich or wafer small boat construction provided with the MS Constitution kit. However, I do appreciate that the reason they do it that way is because it's simple and effective and just about anyone can handle it. In all likelihood, I'll put some boats together using the materials provided in the kit just to compare those boats to the MS small boats POF kits.

 

I will provide detailed instructions at a later date on the MS POF small boat kit construction, possibly a separate build log (although it's already been done on MSB). However, for now I'm just going to provide some overview comments related to the kits. What I've discovered thus far:

 

  1. All of the MS small boat kits are of the cutter style. They do not offer any whaleboats. So, if you want whaleboats for your Connie build, you have to use the materials provided in the MS Constitution kit or come up with your own design for a POF build. That being said, I don't think it would be too difficult to come up with a whaleboat design based on construction techniques used in the MS small boat kits.
  2. The MS small boat kits (at least the 5-3/16" kit thus far) cannot be built as provided without significant modification (IMHO).
  3. The laser-cut transom provided in my kit was the wrong size and shape. First, it wasn't tall enough. Second, for the planking to flow back and mate with the transom correctly, instead of the transom coming to a point at the bottom, it should have had a 3/16" wide flat section at the bottom. I ended up making a new transom.
  4. The bow former is completely useless. Due to where it is located in front of the frame former, when you bend the planking around the #1 frame and attaching it to the stem post, it will NOT end up touching the bow former at all.
  5. The design of all of the frame formers is poor. The tabs that hold the frames in place WILL break off - period. I would recommend reinforcing them prior to construction (i.e. cut some small shapes (╚  ╝ ) out of harder material to glue on either side of the tabs) or cutting entirely new frame formers out of harder wood.
  6. The #1 frame former seems (IMHO) to be wrong in relation to the other (#2, #3, #4) frame formers. It seems to be too short and needs to be approximately 1/8" taller along the bottom edge (the edge that gets glued to the build board. I ended up cutting an entirely new #1 frame former as I had to destroy the original trying to remove it from the build board.
  7. If you build this cutter as designed it is NOT of the same design as the cutters used on the Constitution. That's because the bow former remains as part of the boat as a bulkhead between the stern post and the #1 frame. I realized this early in the build and decided it was unacceptable. I'm still working on this but I decided to remove the squared off part of the keel next to the bow to which the bow former/bulkhead gets glued. I'm currently in the process of carving a "bow filler" which will get glued to the build board and become part of the jig as opposed to part of the boat. As planks are applied to the boat, they will get glued to the stem post, stern post, and each of the four frames. However, they will NOT get glued to the bow filler. So, when the boat is cut from the jig, the bow former will remain on the jig and the boat will be completely open.
  8. I've also decided that, since the inside of the boat will be painted (for the most part), instead of forming the additional "false frames" from the 1/16" square basswood provided, I'm going to use styrene strips of similar size.

Well, that's about all I have to offer at this point. Again, I'll provide more detail on the small boats as I progress along with pictures of the actual construction. Needless to say, is been a lot of trial-and-error, improvisation, and frustration but, I think it's going to eventually work out. All that being said, since I'll be doing other builds down the road, it's been invaluable experience as I know I'll need to build additional small boats in the future. However, I suspect that I will try to come up with a more permanent jig of my own design before then.

 

Fletch 

Edited by fletch944t
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Hi Fletch:

   Hope you don't mind my pulling up a chair since I'll be building this one as well. 

   When I first looked at the plans for the boats, I noticed on the bow and stern views, the waterlines were put there for making templates for different locations on the hulls to get your outside form, then using proportional calipers while carving the inside. No matter how you approach it though, it will be a time-consuming ordeal. I did come away with pretty much the same idea for the frames and using styrene for them. There is of course the POF option, but for me, that will be a fall-back position. I think, with all the planning you're approaching this with, she'll turn out just fine. Good luck.

 

Cheers  :cheers: 

Edited by GLakie
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With the Mamoli kits, they supplied roughly carved hulls. I ditched these and went with a custom plank on frame boat based upon the dimensions in the AOS. I have built the boat over the main hatch and will be building the whale boats as bit later in the build. I also plan on using some of the wood I received from the real Connie in the ship's boats. I played with carving out the supplied forms from Mamoli but just felt I liked the POF better.

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One of the other things about the MS POF kits is that, while they are of the cutter style, they don't even come close to matching the loft and lines of the cutters used on the Constitution.

 

I do have what I think is an interesting idea for producing the small boats that could be employed with both cutters and whaleboats. However, instead of the 4 frame formers, bow former, and transom used by the MS kits, it would use a transom and more like 12 formers where the frames were actually an integral part of the jig. Much like the MS kit, the boat would be constructed upside down. The frames would extend beyond the gunwales and once the boat was planked you'd simply cut the frames at the gunwales to remove the boat from the build board (or slightly beyond the gunwales if you wanted to use the frames to support a trim piece on top of the gunwales). Unlike the MS kits it would not require you to form frames on top of frame formers. If I had a laser cutter, I could set it up so that the frames/jig could be laser cut from a sheet (preferably something better than basswood).

 

To me, the most time consuming part of the MS small boat kits is forming the frames for the build. Using laser cut frames, that step would be eliminated and the build time would be cut in half.

 

But, that is a project for the future. Even though I've already produced hand drawings of individual frames for a 32' foot cutter (at 1:76 scale), they still need a lot of work and I haven't even begun work on the keel design. And, I'm not willing to invest the time needed to bring this to fruition right now.

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I did something similar with mine. I cut formers that were much taller then the boat. I then bent strips to fit each former. Then I glued the formers down to a flat piece of plywood. Then I glued the keel, stem and stern pieces and planked it. Once dried, I cut the formers from the plywood based then broke them from the strips. The tips had only been glued on the ends so they did not stick to the formers where the boat would be.

 

Once I have the formers removed, I added more bent strips for the remaining frames. Then It was just adding the remaining boat features.

 

Certainly more work than carving the blanks out, but I liked it much better.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been working mostly on small boats and cannons. I'll be posting more on those later.

 

After receiving some wood from the Constitution (thanks Henry), I started cutting and dimensioning pieces to construct a keel for my build. The wood from the Constitution was cut from frame timbers and oddly shaped so, it required a lot of work to get to the correct dimensions. Also, due to the length of the wood, it will require doing it in four pieces instead of three (as with the kit). But, instead of sandwiching 1/8" piece together to come up with the 1/4" thick keel, I was able to make each of the pieces 1/4" thick.

 

I went ahead and put together the keel pieces provided in the kit and will use them as a pattern for final sizing of the new keel.

 

In the pictures below you'll see a couple of pictures of the piece of wood I started with and the four pieces I've put together for the new keel along with the keel provided in the kit. My next post will be of the completed keel.

 

Fletch

post-16296-0-85009400-1418595060_thumb.jpg

post-16296-0-08425400-1418595093_thumb.jpg

post-16296-0-90498500-1418595120_thumb.jpg

Edited by fletch944t
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Well. It seems that I may have run across an interesting problem.

 

I was reading through some build logs yesterday and I started reading though an MS Constitution build log by "patrickmil". It seems that during his bulkhead assembly, Patrick discovered that a number of the bulkheads were not symmetrical. He ended up having to add material to a large number of his bulkheads to get them to be symmetrical on both sides of the false keel. He also discovered that the bulkhead patterns on his prints were off as well.

 

As it turns out, I recently made copies of all the bulkhead patterns from the prints to check my own bulkheads when I cut them out. Not being one to simply let something like this pass, I decided to check my own prints for symmetry. Turns out that of the eighteen bulkhead patterns, nine of them are off to some degree. Most of them aren't bad but, bulkhead "M" isn't even close. In fact, it's so far off, it laughable.

 

I've yet to cut the bulkheads out and check them. However, I'd actually be surprised if they weren't off. As I pointed out to Patrick, I have this really bad feeling that I'm going to end up cutting at least nine new bulkheads. If that's the case, I am not going to be a happy camper.

 

Fletch

Edited by fletch944t
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Clark:  During my preliminary check of the bulkhead plans, I found BHD's B, H, and M were the worst of the lot and need to have strips added and material removed. The others can be just sanded to match symmetrically. And, like you, I haven't cut them loose yet to check them against the plans, but other builds have confirmed that they're off as well. I think we'll be able to just make templates of each one, and fold them in half, matching bulkhead extensions, then just make the adjustments in the center-keel slot, and the outsides of the lower BHD's.  Either way, it's going to be an unnecessary amount of extra work, when just a little better quality control could fix it.  :rolleyes:

 

Cheers  :cheers:

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Thanks GLakie. Do you know if anyone has brought this to Model Shipway's attention? And, if they have, I wonder why it hasn't been fixed?

 

BTW, in my patterns, bulkheads B, C, G, H, I, L, M, N, and O are off. Interesting that the ones that are off are grouped together. It may be possible to modify all of the bulkheads except M. It's way too far off. As a minimum, I'll end up cutting a new bulkhead for it.

 

Fletch

Edited by fletch944t
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