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Constitution by dcbriski - Model Shipways - 1812

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Before the site was rebuilt I had posted the starting of my current project. I am attempting to build the model shipways constitution largely after the Isaac Hull Model. The plan is to have the gun deck gratings open for a view of the main gun deck. I will also be building complete stern quarters.  I decided to get back at it over the last day or two and I have posted the photos of my progress on the stern. As you can see I am going to have to do some touch up with the height of the uprights because i tried to bevel the deck of the counter by eyesight, in short im an idiot, but thats and easy fix. I will put some more photos of the whole ship up soon.



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I am looking to do a similiar window configuration with my Connie, also.


I really liked the look of her before that master tactician, Isaac Hull, took out the stern windows ... JUST so he could win a battle against overwhelming odds !!


Edited by CaptainSteve
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here is the cpts cabin. One thing to note is that I forgot about the overspray on the back of the bulkhead. So when I stained it I was extremely upset at the way it looked. BUT i noticed it lightened up the cabin wall nicely when looking through the windows. I have not decided if i want to fix it, but here are the pictures. I also etched doors in on the side panels.




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ya i cut out the uprights and will lay the deck in. It does use plugs but they make a cannon set for it which i got. Any suggestions on if I should paint the interior walls white. I want to make it in fighting form not museum and I am unsure if they would have had it painted at that time.

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I will definitely be interested to see the full gun deck. I am toying around with this idea as well as some lighting to be able to see into it. As far as the 1812 period goes I can't seem to find any definitive evidence on a figurehead for her. Do you have any plans for a figurehead? I know the original Hercules figurehead was lost to the seas by this time, but can't find what it may have been replaced with until Andrew Jackson appeared on her. Also, are you going to be installing the diagonal hanging knees? I'm really not trying to nit-pick; I'd just like to know what we're in store for and what ideas I may be able to steal down the road.

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The cabin looks great. These are some of the types of details I'd like to incorporate into my Connie when I get started on her. I'm guessing your build is representing Connie's time in around 1803-04? I answered my own question above with some reinvigorated web surfing today. Apparently the Hercules figurehead was never rebuilt and the area was built up as a billethead with similar scroll work as can be seen today until the Andrew Jackson figurehead was installed. Also, sorry to be mentioning things that might add to your work load. That was not my intention. Again, I am mainly looking to see what ideas I might be able to steal from you when my build begins. Your craftsmanship has been excellent and the six window configuration is unexpectedly exciting. With that statement in mind, will you also be following the similar color scheme as seen in Corne's painting?

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The figurehead was originally a figure of hercules and there was a neptune figurehead in there too prior to them both getting knocked off. I am not going to have a figurehead, instead im going to have the scroll work that is present on the hull model. The plan is to model it off the 1812 hull model mainly, but also off Ken Thomsens build that is at this link.....




As far as the painting is concerned it is going to be tough to decide. The revell scheme is much like the hull scheme which is naturally different from the MS scheme. The scroll work on the bow is similar between Hull and Revell and I plan to model it off those. In the end I am unsure what to do, The gold inlay Ken used is very tempting. In short, I have no idea what I want to do. Also do you think that is a dar blue as opposed to black in the link above for the main color.


Also, any suggestions you have for additional features feel free to mention, I am looking to add whatever detail pops to mind

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have several plastic Connies;  one each of the 3 known/different scales of Revell's offerings, an Aoshima/Imai/Monogram kit, and one of the small 1-pc-hull Monogram kits.


My hope is that one of them is suitable to backdate to the Barbary pirates duties, another for the 1812 period, and one for the post-war Percival days in the red/white livery.


In any event, FWIW, here are some notes on colors I took from reading the "A most fortunate ship” book by Tyrone G. Martin...  hth.



Page 45 – “blacking the yards and tarring the rigging”. “Above the yellow ochre gun streak the ship was painted black. Below it, it was smeared with a mixture of pitch and lamp black”.


Page 67 – “The earliest known artists rendering was about 1803 by Michel Felice Corne; the earliest model of the ship dates from 1812.”

“Constitution’s hull originally bore a broad yellow ocher band from the vicinity of the hawse pipes to the quarter galleries, the outer surfaces of the gun port lids being the same color. This band extended approximately from the level of the channels down to the top of the main wales.

Below, in the ‘bends”, the ship was tarred; above, including the quarterdeck bulwarks, she was painted black.

Whether or not there was decorative painting other than this on her sides is unknown, Corne shows a yellow ocher “pin stripe” on the moldings at the spar deck sill level.”


Topping the cutwater at the bowhead was a Heculean figure, Corne’s painting looks to have this in all white, and with possible white trim.


Page 68 - “The stern is more dimly seen. There is a general feel that there were 6 windows in the transom with pilasters separating them, but the Corne’s 1805 painting shows 8, including one in the after bulkhead of each quarter gallery. Decorations included a spread eagle high up in the center of the taffrail just above the shield of the USA. The shield was flanked by 2 figures, which in turn were flanked by a pair of unmounted cannon barrels. Above and on the outside of each outer window was a figure facing the center grouping and holding a wreath in extended arms towards the center.On each quarter gallery’s after outer section were the classical figures of Liberty and Justice. Framing the whole was an entwinement of rope. The name was below the windows probably in Roman Intaglio script. All this distinctive decoration was picked out in a distinctive color, probably yellow ocher, maybe white.”


“The guns were probably painted black, their carriages may also have been black, although red, brown and green were in common use. These colors were equally popular for deck fittings (coamings, etc.).”


Page 69 – “The Corne painting hints that the inner and outer thirds of the bowsprit were black or brown, while the middle third - together with the jib and flying jib booms – are yellow ocher.”

“The masts – lower, top, top-gallant – were yellow ocher with blackened doublings. Bands on fore and main masts are also black. The yards are brown or black.”

“The sails had a streaky, mottled tan appearance of woven flax. In the sun at full furl they appeared white.”


Page 70 - “The fighting tops of the masts for the Marine snipers were in natural wood, with brass swivel guns on each side for shooting at decks.”

“A number of boats were carried, possibly 6 to 8. One carried in davits astern, one on each quarter, and the rest nested on two sets of chocks across the main hatch. Most were painted white, but it was not uncommon to have several colors for identification from a distance. The belief is that one of the boats were painted in blue around this timeframe (pre-1812). “


Page 99 – The Barbary Wars period, 1804. “In Constitution, Preble had carpenters improve protection for his gunners on the spar deck by planking up the waist of the ship “from fore-chains to the main mast”. “Gun ports were then cut in these new bulwarks”.

(a painting by Corne’ that was done sometime between June and August of 1803 shows that there were no bulwarks forward of the main mast.)


Page 116 - The Barbary Wars period, 1804. After a collision with sister ship USS President, the Hercules figure head was destroyed and the remains removed to a plain figurehead.

The damaged/worn areas were repainted; black hull over a yellow gun-streak with the hull below the streak to the waterline was tarred black. The inner planking of the spar-deck bulwarks and the guns were painted a light yellow.    


Page 117 - The bow head area was repaired and the upper area planked off to give more protection to those using the toilet facilities there.

A new, plain billet head was added back on.

Also the topmost piece of decorative taffrail was removed from the top of the transom.


Page 132 – Hull has command, 1810; in September, Hull had crew paint one of the cutter boats green, along with the spar-deck ceiling planking. The bends were blackened and the berth deck and steerage bulkheads were whitewashed.  Air ports were cut in the berthing deck to improve ventilation.


Page 141 – The “split” dolphin striker was installed. A trysail mast was installed and skypoles were added to give more and taller sails.


Page 185 – Feb 11, 1814, Capt Stewart had the gun streak painted yellow to confuse the British.


Page 245 – Capt Elliot added the Andrew Jackson figure head in 1834 – which was beheaded by vandals.


Page 247 – The Andrew Jackson figure head installed by Capt Elliot in 1834 was repaired in 1835.


Page 270 – “Mad Jack Percival’s world cruise; in August 1844, he had the crew paint the hull white and the gun streak in red due to brutal sun and heat.


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  • 2 months later...

so I am home after three months of travel b/c of work. I had some warping of my keel while I was away thanks for new orleans weather or my lackluster storage of it. Either way I constructed a stand that has both fixed the minor warpage and will work well for construction.


Also, does anyone have any insight on the best way to get my main gun ports at the right height. I want to be extremely accurate with the placement and can figure it out, but tips are always welcome.


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  • 2 weeks later...

For the the few of you who have been following this topic I thank you. Today however, I will be abandoning my current build. I left the door to my model room open with the bow of my ship hanging off the edge. My pup, a 90 lbs german shepard, found her way in (as it doubles for food/treat storage area) and must have poked her nose at the model. In short, she likely poked her nose at it and caused it to fall, roll off and annihilate itself on the tiled floor. My dad has another constitution kit that he bought to try his hand at ship modelling and has decided to give it to me when I get home next. THEREFORE, I will eventually build the connie in the fashion I had started upon. I do not however have the heart to start rebuilding a connie now for obvious reasons. If anyone wishes to follow my diana build please do, its simply titled HMS diana 38 gun frigate. Thanks for all the advice from everyone.





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so i sat and stared at my broken constitution for the last hour, i realize i have been spouting off on here, but i have decided to get my dads kit and start over, anything else i do i will be thinking about the connie. estimated time to restart: 3 weeks. stay tuned.

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Oh no !!!

That's terrible news, DC !!

She was coming along so beautifully, too. I really liked what you were doing with the stern window configuration and am keen to follow your work when I get to that stage of my own Conny.

I guess I am fortunate in that my rottweiler has never shown the slightest interest in my ships.

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Hi Dave,


Sorry  about your misshap with the connie. I'm about to start mine over the fouth of July holiday, Just a thought, Do you have a scroll saw or band saw you could use? You allready have the hardware package,  The ship itself could be built off of the plans, the patterns are allready there, just copy or trace them out and cut new parts.  You could think of it as an intro to scatch building, your scrath building a kit...  LOL.... any way good luck and looking foward to connie take two. :cheers:



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hey richard,


i actually thought about that as i do have a scroll saw. BUT since I have a nice new kit sitting for me to take, i decided to save myself some time. I am going to use the wood from the destroyed connie to build my gun deck, as It will save me having to go buy supplies later since i have decided to put in the knees as well as everything else.As far as the other stock is concerned who knows. Either way i have been sitting around fuming over the loss and growing extremely anxious to start over

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