Wilhelmshaven 1:200 scale USS Constitution

Discussion in 'Ship & Watercraft Models' started by Jim Krauzlis, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    You folks are way too kind, thanks!

    I figured I'd post the process I am following to rig the carronades including how I make the eyebolts used in making up the tackles.

    The wire I am using is Nichron wire of 34 guage...not sure what that translates to in diameter but it's the smallest stuff I have come across. It's apparently the type of wire used for toasters, etc., but it's wonderfully flexible and easy to work into an eyebolt.

    The tools I use are a mandral fixed to a handle, the mandral having a diameter of 0.023" (at least that's what I'm told), a pair of pliers, scissors and a small clip used to hold the eyebolt at various stages.

    The first step is to wrap a length of wire around the mandral twice, this creates the eye of the eye bolt. I hold one end along the barrel of the mandral handle, and wrap the wire counter-clockwise around the shaft. I found going the other direction makes it difficult to later start the twists, for some reason. The next step is to trim the ends a bit and twist the two ends together around four times just to start things off...it's here that if I wrapped the eye clock-wise it seemed to take about six to eight twists to get it started...again, I have no clue why that would be. :? The next step is to use the pliers to continue to twist the ends until I get a nice, tight twist of around 2 - 3 mm long. This takes about eight to ten half twists with the pliers (since my wrist does not have a spindle joint I can only twist the wire a half twist before having to re-set the plier hold on the wire...others more talented can probably do better. :lol: ). The twisted stem is now trimmed up to about 1.5 mm. I found using the little copper clip is the best way to handle this small eye bolt, so it was then used to remove the bolt from the mandral...and there you have it! As it now stands I find I can whip out an eyebolt one every two minutes or so, give to take a bit if I have trouble getting the pliers to grip the stem for twisting. :wink:

    Pretty easy thing, I know, but I figured I would share the obvious with everyone anyway. :D Next, I will show how these eyebolts are used to rig the tackles.


  2. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    And the process continues....
  3. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Next, this is how I use those eye bolts to rig the gun tackles.

    I made up a jig from cardboard in which I punched holes spaced to meet the distance from the bulwark to the gun carriage. There are two jigs I made, one for the shorter tackles that go to the carronade slide and the other longer one for the tackle that runs to the rear of the carriage. I found using tan colored fly tying silk worked best and was the smallest "string" I could find for the job. I also found painting the jig a nice dark color helped my aging eyes see the end of the thread far better in threading the eye bolts...you should have seen me laboring to thread the eye before I stumbled across that idea! :lol: I also found this thread frays easily so I dabbed a bit of CA glue on one end to hold it together long enough to thread a few eye bolts.

    I put the two eye bolts used for the blocks into the jig and held them in place from underneath using those small clips. I then threaded the first eye and tied a knot, leaving a very short tail on the standing end and using the rest of the thread for rigging. I put a clip on the short end to sort of keep the first eye from turning too much as I proceeded to rig the "blocks." After I made two complete loops through the eyes, I again clipped the excess leaving a short tail which was also clipped to keep the rigged thread tight in the eye bolts. I then popped the eyebolts up off the card a bit and used PVA glue to fill the holes of the eye bolts...I applied just a tad more than needed so that the glue would dry with a slightly rounded surface. After the glue had dried I then removed the now raw gun tackle from the card and trimmed off the two excess tails. I then painted the "blocks" brown and finally trimmed the stems of the eye bolts. Now the tackle is ready to be installed.

    The carronades are pre-rigged with breech ropes using thread (a bit "thicker" than the fly tying silk, ordinary thread, actually, which I had pre-treated with PVA glue to stiffen up and remove any surface fuzz) by wrapping it through the eye on the back of the carronade and then down along the sides of the carriage. The ends are trimmed to a length which just goes beyond the muzzle of the barrel which gives the lines a bit of slack when they are finally glued to the bulwarks.

    The tackles we made using the eye bolts are first installed to the bulwarks at the gun port, the shorter tackles go right next to the gun port and the longer ones out on each side, with a hole for the breech rope in between.

    When the "tackles" are in place and the glue has dried, the carronade is glued in place and allowed to dry. Then, I first glue the tackle to the slide of the carronade on each side and allow it to dry. The breech ropes are glued into the small holes in the bulwark, and again allowed to dry. Finally, the longer tackles are glued to the rear end of the carriage on each side...and there you have it! I found it is really important to take your time in gluing up the tackles as you don't want to pull out the tackles from the bulwarks if the glue has not completely dried, and the part glued to the carriage might become loose if you try to rush to the next step since invariably I bump the still drying tackle in the process pushing it astray. :?

    Well, hopefully the way I described the process is clearer than mud. :lol: It does take a bit of time so the next post will be a while before I complete the installation of the other fourteen carronades. :roll: Hope you enjoy this session until I am able to post more updates.


  4. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    And more photos which I hope help illustrate the process....
  5. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    That certainly is a good way to make eyebolts. The jig part was particularly instructive. Strikes me that would be a good way of making shackles for aircraft rigging (biplanes). I will remember this.

    Can I recommend a surgical instrument? I think it's called a pair of peangs. Since the days when my partner in life made a living out of working as a nurse, I have retained a couple of them. Essentially they are a pair of self-locking [if that's the correct term] pliers, looking like a cross between a pair of scissors and pliers.

    The point is, you can lock them on to the wires, just hang them down, and then spin them around until the wire tightens up and the eyebolt is formed (and, of course, you should stop the moment before the wire breaks from too much twisting).

    I do adore your miniature work, Jim! Never got down to that scale myself, and it sure is a treat to follow your steady progress.

  6. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

  7. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Taa Daaa!

    Well, okay, maybe it's not all that a big deal, but it works better than rigging the blocks in place like I did for the forecastle guns. :roll: I usually also try and push the breech ropes snug against the carriage, like in the set up to the right in the picture below. Only fourteen more to go! :lol:

    Thanks for watching! :D


  8. bholderman

    bholderman Member

    Amazing, how many of those do you have to do?

  9. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Thanks, Brad... how many of which, the tackles or the carronades? :wink:

    There are fourteen carronades left...each has two short and two long tackles (28 short, 28 long) and each tackle uses two eyebolts (56 for the short and 56 for the long). Good news is I already made up the eyebolts on Friday and Saturday :) ; the not so good news is it took be all of yesterday afternoon to figure out the tackle jig and to make up the sets of tackles for the two carronades you see installed, as well as to install them both. :( Better news is that now that the jig is figured out making the tackles should go faster. :D Now, if only those darn eyebolts would stop flying out from the tweezers as I'm putting them into the clips and becoming lost on the floor, I'll do okay. :roll:

    Thanks Lief, I appreciate the kind words and the generous offer. I have something like what you call peangs...I believe they are also called locking forceps or hemostats. The ones I have are rather large and unfortunately have curved jaws, so if you use them to twist the offset might cause a problem, at least for someone like me who is lucky to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. I seem to have good control using the pliers and mandrel set up, although I have twisted one or two eyebolts too hard and broke the wire at the eye...boy I hate when that happens. :oops: I was hoping to use those little copper clips, but the pressure on the jaws are not enough to hold the ends of the wire secure enough to twist, they just pop right out. I will have to try it out, however, and see how they work...anyting that speeds the process along is a great idea! Thanks!


  10. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Dear Squinty,

    Nice work!

  11. bholderman

    bholderman Member


    To be honest (while still amazed at your work), I was being a bit sarcastic. Only by your reply did you make it sound even worse. In which, the work your doing is even that much more incredible.

  12. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Well, it's been a while since my last update...but I finally got a chance to do a bit more on Constitution. Now that things have quieted down a bit on the homefront I hope to get going again on a more regular basis...sorry for the long delay, folks. :roll:

    When we last left off I was working on the quarterdeck batteries. Thanks to Leif I have been able to make those wire eyebolts much faster...MUCH faster! It now takes only a few seconds to make each eyebolt. :D

    Anyway, I was finally able to find a bit of free time to make the eyebolts, fashion half of them into the gun tackles and then to finally install the carronades on the starboard quarterdeck. I learned a few more shortcuts along the way, so it didn't take as long for these last eight guns than it did for the first six! I found trimming the gun tackle assemblies before gluing them in place (no more trying to insert the eyebolt stud into the hull sides!) made the whole process faster, and hopefully a bit cleaner looking...you be the judge.

    I still have to make the remaining gun tackles for the port side guns, so the next update will hopefully show the last of the guns in place. :D


  13. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    And just a few more photos....
  14. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Jim

    Great to see her back on the go again, missed this a lot.
    It a fine bit of work there mate a real treat to look at 8)

    More ASAP.

    Keep at it and glad the home front has given you a bit of time to share this with use :D

    Keep at it mate.
    Oh and did ask for more :lol:

  15. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Good to see the old Constitution again. Kind of missed all those blocks and tackles. - L.
  16. Mindaugas

    Mindaugas Member

    Hello Jim,

    First of all I am sorry, that I have noticed this GREAT topic just now. I was surfing a bit in this forum and I've noticed this gorgeous ship. :shock:

    Superb and amazing build Jim. I bow my head before a work of a professional! After I revised your excellent topic, I left dumbstruck... :shock: :shock: :shock:

    I have quickly revised all pages, but I haven't read any comments, since there are tons of them :) :). Little by little I will read them all.

    I have noticed one thing. Is this ship a waterline model, or you're going to make full hull later (maybe you've mentioned this, but I haven't read everything... :roll: )?

    I wish you the best luck with this model! :wink:

    So that would be all.

  17. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Thanks, guys! :D

    Yeah, I missed working on her too. Felt good to do even just the one side of the quarterdeck battery, I have to admit. :wink:

    Thanks, Mindaugas, those are very kind words indeed, but I assure you I am just stumbling along with this model, sometimes reinventing the wheel, but hopefully she'll end up looking something like what she is supposed to when done.

    She is a waterline model, that's the way she was designed like most (if not all) of the Wilhelmshaven kits, and I am not all that good a paper modeler to modify her to add the underwater section. I have to admit, I did consider trying to do something like that nonetheless, but I had already gone past the point when I could have added the underwater part. I might mention there is a project in the back of my mind (that dusty, dark and musty place where I store my "plans for the future" :wink: ) where I use the actual ship's plans to build a full hulled version from scratch (probably in the same scale as this one) but in a configuration to show how she looked either when launched in 1797, or during the Barbary Wars (1804) or during the height of her career, during the War of 1812. Clearly, though, it's way, way in the future at the rate I'm going with this build.

    Thanks for watching! :D


  18. barry

    barry Active Member

    Great set of pics to come back to Jim look forward to more of this superb build.

  19. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Sorry, my hearing must be failing. I could have sworn I just heard you say '...and I am not all that good a paper modeler...'

    Must be my age.

    Tim P
  20. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Hi, Barry, and welcome back! :D

    Tim, you are much too kind, my friend, but I know my limitations...ever notice how I haven't tried to build one of those full hulled models yet? I need a bit more practice bending paper before I can try one of those. :roll:

    I was hoping to have a bit more finished this weekend and post another update but, alas, it was not meant to be. :( Well, I have a four day weekend coming up (yeah!) so hopefully I'll be able to spend a bit of that time working on Constitution.

    Thanks again for watching, guys! :wink:



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