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USS Constitution by tdmongillo - Bluejacket Shipcrafters - 1:96


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From what I understand the USS Constitution is the most difficult model BlueJacket has to offer. As a novice model ship builder it appears that I am in for a real challenge! This model was given to me as a gift from my father when I was 11 or 12. I think he was tired of hearing that plastic model airplanes weren't difficult enough and wanted to give me a real challenge. He succeeded. I remember opening the manual and thinking, "Where's step one?"  I didn't get very far on the model as it was lost in storage after a move. I have always longed to continue working on my Connie. Over 15 years have passed and now the kit is back in my possession! Your help, advice, and patience through this forum would be greatly appreciated as I undertake this challenge.

 

Best,

 

Anthony Mongillo, A novice.

Edited by tdmongillo
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I've been looking forward to posting photos, but now that I look at them I am quite embarrassed. 90% of what you see was completed when I was in middle school. My time is now being spent trying to fix many issues: re-positioning the center and water lines, re-positioning the gundeck and spardeck ports, re-planking the hull where ports were re-positioned, thinning the bulwarks, leveling the gundeck floor, etc. The work is tedious and I feel like every two steps forward I take another step back. 

 

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Edited by tdmongillo
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Anthony, I'm looking forward to following your build log on here. I will be building the Connie as well soon, but it will be the Model Shipways kit. Regardless of what you think about your model and pictures, it's probably not as bad as you think. All of us on here are way more critical of our own work than others. It's just a result of sitting with something for so much time and knowing of your mistakes whereas the casual observer can only look on from a distance. There are many things about my current ship I would change if only I could find the keys to my Delorian time machine, but I have only gotten encouragement from the other members on the forum. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finished re-planking around re-positioned gun/spar deck ports. I didn't like the patchwork look. Problem is I don't know what to do next. I'd like to place birth deck ports, hawse pipes, and get the galleys and transom set, but I'm wondering when I should apply the black paint.

 

Compare this to the first photo I posted. Notice less plank patchwork around the port side gun deck window in the new photo. Also, reworked the wood around the keel.

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Edited by tdmongillo
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I did a trial fit of the cast britannia quarter galleries and brass transom. Houston, we have a problem. I've heard that every kit has its problems, but this is pretty egregious. The parts look good in 2D, but when you turn it to the side there are gaping spaces. The lower corners of the transom also hang out in the breeze. I think I need to lop off the machined galleries already on the hull AND abandon the britannia parts. Please, advice and comments welcome!

 

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Edited by tdmongillo
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Anthony, it wouldn't be a bad idea to build the quarter galleries from scratch to the specs of the transom/stern area. The other obvious way, course, would be to abandon the transom piece and build this from scratch to the quarter galleries. Either way, you are going to have some detail to replicate. The detail on that brass piece is just cleaner and more precise. My two cents...

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I agree Anthony. You are working with a very old kit and I was surprised to read that you had the gallery as a casting. That part is not easy to make, it is a challenge in itself, but certainly is worth doing it right from scratch.

The shape of the hull looks very good. You did right as a kid!!! Your father did give you a good challenge and I hope you will live up to it. Keep up the good work.
 

Are your plans in pretty good shape: detailed enough??? If not you might check here for more information and you can probably buy more recent plans if you want to. I am also doing the Conny. See below.

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One part confuses me, though. The gun deck and the upper deck are on the same level on your built. Have another look and think about adding another level on top of what you have. Those gun ports are all below the top deck and the hatches are above that. That should not be a hard thing to fix, but it does take more time.

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Thanks for the comments. I have yet to install the spar deck. I need to complete the gun deck first. I don't want to start detailing the gun deck until I get the outside shape right--and this includes the transom and galleries. Also, I think I'd like to paint the outside black prior to detailing the gun deck. 

 

No, my kit's instructions are not detailed enough to make galleries from scratch. All that are included in the plans of the galleries is the little photo that I uploaded in my last photo post--and those plans are inaccurate. I don't want to purchase an entire set of new plans. Maybe I could contact BlueJacket. Any other ideas?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you for the suggestions! After lopping off the machine carved wooden galleries so that I could better try on the metal transom and galleries supplied in the kit I've decided to keep those parts--with the exception of the window frames (the window frames are too squatty). With a bit of research I found a great article from the US Navy called, "USS Constitution Stern & Quarter Gallery Decorations." In the article is a great side elevation of the galleries. I used Paint and re-sized the diagram to scale, printed it out, and used it as a template. Turns out, the transom just needed to be moved aft about 1/8 inch, and voila! Problem solved. (Hopefully this doesn't ruin future construction.) I'm going to fabricate my own window frames for the galleries to be taller and accurate to the diagram the US Navy supplied. Here's the progress so far...

 

Carved galleries removed

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Try-on of supplied parts show that the gallery extends into the gun port

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Addition of 1/8 inch using transom template

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Using scaled diagram from US Navy document as template

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Fabrication of galleries

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With supplied parts

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Edited by tdmongillo
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Hi Anthony,

 

Just discovered your build. I will follow very closely. I have the kit and hope to build her one day. Where did you find and how can I get a copy of that article on the quarter galleries? I know I will need it when I work on my Connie.

 

Thanks,

Mort

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Whew! Made some major progress. I really wouldn't recommend fabricating the galleries like this--there has to be an easier way. Nevertheless, it's mostly done. Now I will just need to create window frames for the galleries, paint the details, and glue them on. The window frames will be very difficult to make by hand. We'll see how it goes.

 

Outlining framework for each of the metal pieces to be used in the galleries

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With lower stern windows prior to planking.

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Try-on of metal pieces

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Metal pieces, framework, and stern planking

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Edited by tdmongillo
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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 months later...

I am currently building the Bluejacket Constitution. I am taking pictures as I progress and will post them when I have made some significant progress. Right now I find the instructions confusing and lacking. I have constructed several Bluejacket models and this one is the only one I have found the instructions so confusing. I think for me it is a lack of knowledge on my part.

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  • 6 months later...

Thanks for all the interest in my build. I'm sorry to report that I have been unable to spend any time on this kit since my last post. I'm specializing in orthodontics and it has been a very busy program. I graduate in December, though, and hope to continue once again after the new year. Until then I need to spend my time on a thesis and find a job. 

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