Wilhelmshaven 1:200 scale USS Constitution

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

  1. Ajax

    Ajax Member

    Excellent build, Jim! You'll have all the Guerriere models on the run in no time. ;) :D

  2. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Thanks, guys! :D

    You know, AJ, I wonder if there is a fair set of plans for Guerriere out there somewhere I might be able to work up a model from, would make for an interesting diorama...are you out there Maurice? :D Of course, I'd have to start over from scratch on Constitution to make her in the 1812 configuration, but that would be fun. I already started a rough design of the transom for 1797, when she was first launched. Scarce information, you have to go into the logs and archives to find good info, but that's whole other story for another time. :D

    Anyway, sorry if you tuned in to see some more photo updates and are disappointed to see nothing but my drivel. Just wanted to check in and let you know I've made great headway in working out the head rail set up and some of the details for the transom. I had to dig into my old photo archives from the early 1990's when I was let loose on and around Constitution with my camera and ten rolls of film...pre-digital camera age. :lol: Boy, was that expensive to have developed! :shock: I was happy to see I had the insanity to take lots of closeup shots of the head railings, from various angles, so I can now plan out how to transform that arrangement into paper...hopefully! :lol: I didn't get a chance to scan those old photos today but hope to sneak a few minutes during the day at the office tomorrow to get them done.

    It's a fairly complex set of compound curves and members of varying thickness, but I might be able to fudge it enough to at least resemble the original. Some of the problem is what I touched upon earlier, the kit has a lot of the railing printed on the hull, so it needs to receive a bit of 3d effect to give the right impression. There is also no part in the kit for any of the cap rails or the hammock netting head boards, nor the entry port, but, luckily, I have a great set of plans that shows the design...now to figure out how to transform that to an in-scale part for the build. :wink: Gonna be a lot of down sizing to hopefully get it right.

    Funny thing, the kit as I mentioned earlier is pretty simple in it's details, but, for crying out loud, they left out the heads! :eek: In a civilized world they are probably as important as the guns, so I have to scratch build them along the way. I also have to start thinking about the rigging points because it will probably be impossible to try and add them after the hull is completed. I'm talking about the lower bullseyes for the main stays at this point, they are attached below the bow pin rails and...you guessed it, the kit has no parts for the bullseye brackets or the bow pinrail either, not to mention the breast knees that go below the bow pin rails. Argh!

    Speaking of which, I hope you all enjoyed "Speak Like a Pirate" day on Sunday! What, you missed it? Well, maybe next year. :D

    Well, enough rambling for tonight. Hope to get something posted for your visual pleasure tomorrow night to keep the riotous mobs at bay for at least another day or two. :D

    Cheers to all!

  3. Maurice

    Maurice Member

    Build a Cleo and paint a different name on the back end.

    Constitution only won by cheating on the Rating Rules.

  4. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Rules??? What rules? :lol:

    Oh, the British rating system, oh yeah...well, I guess it just shows how you have to be flexible and to improvise a bit when you don't have a vast empire to fund a navy. :wink:

    If you can't afford to build many ships of the line (wouldn't have helped much in the task of patrolling the offshore waters of the East Coast, slipping in and out of the shallow waters, chasing down little raiders and protecting merchant shipping from pirates and privateers, too big, too slow) and want just enough umph in your batteries to take on ANY frigate or lesser sized man of war, and maybe even a higher rating in rough seas, but to then run like the wind when you have to, the 44 gun frigates really fit the bill nicely, thank you very much! Rather unique concept, and quite successful, I'd say. :D

    Oh, by the way, Constitution was really lucky, having defeated two British frigates one-on-one twice: Guerriere -"rated" a 38 she actually had on board at that time 49 guns (oh, the French, her original owners, had rated her at 50 guns)- and Java -"rated" a 38 she also actually carried on board at that time 47 guns (so much for the "rating" system :wink: ); and two British men at war at the same time (Cyane -34 and Levant -18 )... not to mention escaping a very sizable British force on one or two occassions. She also pounded the dinkens out of the troublesome pirates of Tripoli too. Quite a run of "luck" for a single warship, I'd say. :twisted:

    You realize, of course, that I'm just funning with you, Maurice. :wink:

    I guess I'll have to scale down Cleo to meet the scale of this Constitution kit...I could build the Fly model of Constitution, but that's getting too big for a diorama. My wife, who is very tolerant and loving (do you hear that Hon?), would probably object to a 6 foot square display in the living room.

    :twisted: (in a devilish mood this morning)
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Member

    The traditional internationally recognised rules.
    They were an excellent investment of available resources and of course human society only advances because of it's deviants. :twisted:
    Thought I might just manage to kick-start your metabolism for the day. :lol:
    The British razee frigates were an even bigger cheat and they then rewrote the rules in 1819 anyway to include carronades.
    Very interesting build, thanks.

  6. larrymax

    larrymax Member

    A fantastic build Jim (great picture of you at her wheel in the "pic of us" thread, too!). I've been lurking and enjoying your build! I can hardly wait to begin my MS Connie! Cleo and Connie in the same diorama, eh! I fear for poor Cleo's safety!!!!!! :shock:

    My Cleo is still in port.....been working on her little boats......sorry, not much progress, but you're motivating me to MAKE some more time to get back to work on her!

    Great Connie! Keep up the good work!

    P.S. A belated Happy Birthday, buddy!

    Captain, HMS Cleopatra
    Paper Navy of the Bear Flag Republic
  7. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Thanks so much, Max! :D
    I miss your Cleo and hope to see some updates as soon as you can.
    Have you seen the building thread Scorpio started on Cleo?

    Well, I'm still working out the bugs on the head rails, but I think I'm finally at the point that I can start cutting paper and gluing things up again. :lol:

    I came across an earlier photo I took in 1994 that shows the head rails and the complex curves fairly well, at least well enough I hope to try and build it up the same way. :wink:

    I think I mentioned some of the kit's build is a bit simplified, but I hope to be able to show how much more striking the open head rails are than the solid railing the kit uses. One thing they seem to have left out, however, are the hawse holes in the bow. While the ship today does not have the anchors and ground tackle set up, and the hawse holes are kept sealed with a cover, I think they should be included as one of the fundamental parts of the bow set up, particularly since they provide the final flow of the fiddleheads into the bow, as you can see in the photo below...well, point is I think they are such an intregal part of the bow appearance that it's important enough to include. Besides, it really isn't going to involve that much effort to add, as you will see.

    The kit also leaves out the fore tack bumpkin, that squarish pole that emerges from the head rails in the upper section. Not sure why it is missing, but, again, another little ditty that I need to install.

    One last thing, and that's it for tonight...the bridle port is the forwardmost gunport on the gun deck. It's not really being used today for much, at one time it was a gun station available to give a finer angle on the bow for chase shots. Today, however, it is similar to the other gunports, double hinged, but no cannon, just a round plate with a red star, similar to the star on the tampions used on the gun deck. Another item missing from the gun deck gun port lids are the lights/small portholes on the upper lids. I will have to do something to show them, as they are a very unique feature of her gun ports today and I just wouldn't feel right to leave them out. :lol:

    I hope to post some update construction photos next time...but I appreciate your patience while I work some of these details out. :D

  8. barry

    barry Active Member

    Hi Jim

    Good write up when you do the photos after all your additions I think I shall need one with a lot of arrows and notations, not to well up on sailing ships.

    Keep the thoughts coming.

  9. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Over the course of the weekend I played a bit with the head rails and bow area construction.

    The head rails are presenting quite a challenge using the kit parts as I mentioned before. :? I did a lot of measuring, checking the photos and cutting and trimming for fit, etc. I also tried a few ways of getting the head reals to flow the way they should using the pieces I had cut out earlier, and came to the conclusion to fit the right way I will need to modify the parts a bit more. The trouble is the vertical spacers are not quite right as you go aft. :? There are five of them each side, and counting from the forwardmost spacer, the first two are fine, the third is possibly workable, but the fourth and fifth have to take a substantial curve and the piece from the kit does not allow for this. It tends to make the middle and bottom rail skew too far down to meet the proper junction with the hull.

    What I am going to do is install the spacers pieces, at least the last three, first and then wrap the head rails around them. :idea: The spacer pieces themselves will have to be scratch built, and I have started them but not yet finished fitting so no photos of them yet. I will probably be using smaller braces behind the first two as well to help make the parts flow evenly.
    Sure would be a whole lot easier at a larger scale, but I like the challenge. :wink:

    Meanwhile, I needed to put in the head grating and add the bulwarks in the head area to help define the curve of the upper head rail. I added the cap rail along these bulkhead. I also worked on the bow area where the bowsprit enters the forward bulwark, and added the cap rail that flows from the sides across the bow, as well as joins in the caprails for the head area...what I had to do, in essence, is create the curved rail for the bow, work on making a smooth joint with the bulwark caprails as well as the caprails that go forward to the billet head. It was not possible to bend the rail piece because it was too severe curve to simply bend, so I cut it out using a template and transfering the curve to heavier card for the rail. I still need to add the additional bulwark and fairing pieces in the bow peak area, as well as the breat hook under which will go the bracket for the main mast stay bullseyes. On top of this will be the bow pin rail, but that's a bit down the road at this point, although that will probably be the first pin rail I install since I'm working back from the bow to the transom (which still has not been added since I spent a lot of time on the head rails :roll: ).

    I also added the inner bulwarks on the starboard side and started to add the caprails. I actually got a little bit further on this than the update photos show, but I will take more shots of this later to show the progress.

    Well that's about it for today. I really wanted to have some photos of the head rails, but it's taking longer than I had figured...but I need to try and get it right or it's going to ruin the whole appearance of the bow area. This version of Constitution doesn't have as much decoration as most ships of her original era, so I should spend the time to get what little ornamentation it has right, I figure. :lol:

  10. barry

    barry Active Member

    It's looking real good Jim, the head grating looks scratchbuilt. Am I right I wonder love the prose.

  11. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Thanks, Barry! :D

    No, it's the kit part, I just "washed" it using a little darker brown paint diluted quite a bit because the yellow this kit uses is just too bright for the gratings. I was surprised it came out the way it did, I was expecting a cursing session if I ended up with brown blots, but the acrylic paint is great to use watered down, it doesn't set that fast so I was able to spread it around before the color took to the paper. I'm going to try it on the other gratings, which are also yellow, but this time before I glue the piece in place...just in case! :lol:

    Fuso is looking superb! What busy weekend for all, it seems, a lot of updates popping up along the place on the ship building front. :D

  12. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Jim

    Very, very nice to see her coming along so well.
    Good fun the redesign work :roll:
    Are we going to have the heads set up on the grating :lol:
    Keep at it mate a great thread.


  13. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Thanks, Rob! :D

    Oh, yes, the heads will be there! :lol:
    One of the "finer" details...even if the kit designer decided not to include them. :roll:

  14. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Jim

    Maybe he could not work out where to put the lever :lol:
    Just as well it was always down wind :twisted:

    Look forward to more

  15. silverw

    silverw Member

    Darn, where'd I put my naval dictionary?

    Prarie boy thinks ship looks pretty fantastic, Jim! :!:

  16. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    Well, I was finally able to take a few photos and do a little more on the head rails tonight. Most of the work was done over the weekend, but I didn't have time to post any updates...sorry!

    As I mentioned I decided to enhance the head rails a bit from the flat closed-in head rail area the kit provides...boy what was I thinking? :? As a consequence I had to basically create head rail knees for both port and starboard and kit bash the head rail parts to fit. The head bulwarks went fairly easily, although I had to adjust the edges of the rails to give a smooth transition of the faux rail edge decorations. Quite a bit of cut and pasting, but it seems to have worked fairly well.

    The next was trying to figure out the correct dimensions of the head rail knees which support the head rails. This was strictly seat of the pants using my seaman's eye. :lol: After a lot of cutting, fitting and re-cutting (and re-fitting, re-cutting...well, you get the picture :roll: ), I finally came up with a set of knees for both sides. I'm still not sure as I sit here whether I captured the correct curves of each knee, but the head rails when applied seems to have the correct sweep that makes this a distinctive feature of the Constitution.

    Next, after applying a coat of flat black to the knees and the center template to replicate the tarred look she actually has in this area, I started to fit the head rails...and got fits doing it. I went through no less than five rail sets until I was somewhat satisfied the rails took the right curves and seemed evenly spaced as you go from the bow peak aft.

    Then I extended the head rails back to the hull proper, where it curves up in two spots, from the top head rail and the middle head rail. The middle curves up to the catheads. I added (read: "scratch built using card, glue, cussing and some luck) the two fairing/cathead supports on each side. The head rails continue aft and then up to the newly created cat head supports/knees. I think the slightly added thickness of the added headrails in this area give it just the right amount of depth so it looks a bit like the real thing, and is not just a flat printed feature.

    I also did a bit more on the inner bulwarks in the bow and worked on the starboard inner bulwarks. I cut out the gun and anchor ports during that same session. There is a spare anchor port on the starboard waist bulwark, which I had to cut out because the kit doesn't show this feature.

    Well, all in all, it's coming along, I suppose. I still have to add the head rails to the starboard side, but at least the port side is done and gave me an idea of how to fit the starboard side so it should come along a lot easier than the port side.

    Next I think I will start working on some of the other bow area details, like the head (I won't forget them, Rob! :lol: ) before adding the rest of the inner bulwarks and fitting the transom piece. I want to add a bit of thickness/relief to the transom decorations on the stern just like I did with the head rails to make it more interesting than simply a printed pattern. We'll see how that comes out later. :wink:

    For now, here's a few photos of where I am. As always, any constructive criticism is always welcome, just be gentle. :D
  17. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    And here's just a few more photos.

  18. barry

    barry Active Member


    Had to read that lot twice the photos helped a lot looking good as usual

  19. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Jim

    It does look good all the hard work is showing now.

    Look forward to the next set of photos

    Great stuff

  20. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

    I figured I would include two photos in which I have labeled some of the areas I discussed in my last post, just to help illustrate what I am talking about...hope this helps everyone follow the thread better. :D


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