USS Pennsylvania 120 gun ship of the line

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USS Pennsylvania 120 gun ship of the line

  • Greetings:

    I asked this question on some of the other ship forums so I thought I'd ask it here too. A couple of years ago there was a scratch build of the USS Pennsylvania on one of the ship forums. I was looking the other day for the build log but to no avail. Does anyone have any info relating to this build? I've been thinking about trying to build this ship using the Revell 1/96 USS Constitution's hull as a starting point. Several years ago I bought off of ebay a bunch of parts that included 3 sets of Constitution hulls, sails, guns, everything in the original model kit except for decks and masts. I know that Humphrey designed both and you can clearly see this in the two designs (note, I have Chappels History of the American Sailing navy which shows the Pennsy's plan). I was thinking I could use the bottom half of the constitution and build new hull sides from there. I'd have to lengthen the hull (210' vs 204) and widen it (56' 9" vs 43' 6") but this could be done with styrene stock and perhaps pieces from the other hull halves I have. I figure I've got plenty of guns from the Constitution kits and could make copies of the 32 pounders supplied in the Kearsare/Alabama Revell kits. I'd also need some 8" or 9" guns which I could also copy/modify from the previous kits. It would greatly help if I could find this old thread I previously mentioned as this build was done in wood. Any help is appreciated!

     

    Michael Lacey  

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  • Good morning

    Have you tried the ModelWarships.com site  in your search regarding the Pennsylvania ?  There is a thread in their "calling all ship fans" section, under the 'sailing ships' category, which has links to photos of a wooden model of this beautiful ship. ( ** see below)

    Good luck with your project !

    Cheers

    Rob Mills 

    'Seafarer' 

     **Please note - photos are of the USS  North Carolina,  not  USS Pennsylvania  !  Sorry for the confusion.

  •  Seafarer wrote:

    Good morning

    Have you tried the ModelWarships.com site  in your search regarding the Pennsylvania ?  There is a thread in their "calling all ship fans" section, under the 'sailing ships' category, which has links to photos of a wooden model of this beautiful ship. ( ** see below)

    Good luck with your project !

    Cheers

    Rob Mills 

    'Seafarer' 

     **Please note - photos are of the USS  North Carolina,  not  USS Pennsylvania  !  Sorry for the confusion.

    The ships referenced in this website are only rated as 74 gun Ships-of-the-Line.  It states they carried as many as 94 guns.  Wasn't the one Caramonraistlin is refering to a later Pennsylvania?  About the time of the Civil War?

  • Hello Tucchase

    I'd forgotten that the North Carolina was a 74.  They were often over-gunned for sure !

    The USS Pennsylvania that Michael is interested in is the 1822 version, designed by Samuel Humphreys. She carried 120 guns and was inspired by the Spanish 'Santisima Trinidad', according to Howard Chapelle on pg.339 of his book, the History of the American Sailing Navy.

    Perhaps the wooden model kit of the Santisima Trinidad, which I believe Model Shipways sells, could be adapted or 'kit-bashed' to resemble the Pennsylvania. 

     

    Cheers

    Rob Mills

    'Seafarer' 

  • Rob:

    Thank you for your response! I got a suggestion from a member on model ship world to try the Maryland Silver Co. as they had plans for this ship. I checked and for $17 dollars they have a set for her and for $42 they have a larger set for ships of the line (N. Carolina/Ohio). I think before I do anything I'll get one or both of these sets and go from there. I believe the original forum I saw the build I'm referring to was shipmodeling.net. I checked through all of their general threads going back to 2005 and found no references. The few pictures I've seen of these ships are impressive to say the least. However I did find a comment that they didn't sail all that well but I guess at this size what would one expect.

    Michael Lacey 

     

  • This site has a series of photos showing the construction of a 1/72 model of the USS Ohio which you may find interesting:

    http://www.ussohio.org/

    There is also a dedicated message board for US ships of the line moderated by PC Coker:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/usshipsoftheline/messages

     

    Steve Sobieralski, Tampa Bay Ship Model Society

  •  Seafarer wrote:

    Hello Tucchase

    I'd forgotten that the North Carolina was a 74.  They were often over-gunned for sure !

    The USS Pennsylvania that Michael is interested in is the 1822 version, designed by Samuel Humphreys. She carried 120 guns and was inspired by the Spanish 'Santisima Trinidad', according to Howard Chapelle on pg.339 of his book, the History of the American Sailing Navy.

    Perhaps the wooden model kit of the Santisima Trinidad, which I believe Model Shipways sells, could be adapted or 'kit-bashed' to resemble the Pennsylvania. 

     

    Cheers

    Rob Mills

    'Seafarer' 

    So, was the Pennsylvania the same class as the Ohio and North Carolina, but just enlarged enough for the 120 guns?  Or was she built as a seperate class herself? Confused [%-)]

     

  • We had an interesting discussion about American ships of the line here in the Forum last year: /forums/1/979181/ShowPost.aspx#979181 .

    The Pennsylvania, rated at 120 guns was a unique ship.  She was designed by Samuel Humphreys (the son of Joshua Humphreys, designer of the Constitution).  As I understand it she made only one "voyage" under her own power - for a few miles in the Delaware River - before being towed to Norfolk to start her career as a receiving ship.

    I've seen several models of her; she does make an impressive modeling subject.  Making a reasonable model of her starting with a plastic Constitution hull, though, would be...well, quite a project.  The Chapelle plans make it clear that the two ships were quite different from each other below the waterline.  (The bow of the Constitution isn't exactly sharply-pointed, but that of the Pennsylvania is almost oblong.)  I'm sure the "kit-bash" could be done, but I frankly question whether it would be any easier than starting from scratch.  Scratchbuilding a sailing ship's hull is not the form of witchcraft that lots of novices seem to think - though I wouldn't recommend a ship-of-the-line as the subject for a first effort. 

    Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Greetings:

    I was simply exploring the possibility of using the existing hulls that I have. Either way I understand this would be a large undertaking and as previously stated I plan to wait until I order a set of plans on this ship.

    Sincerely

     

    Michael Lacey

  • Greetings:

    Thank you for the supplied link of the Ohio. I bookmarked that for further reference. It is to say the least an impressive build.

     

    Michael Lacey

  • Good morning , Michael

    Wow.....this has turned into an interesting thread for sure !

    Firstly, I think you are wise to wait for the plan sheets from Maryland Silver Co. before making your final decision about whether to build the USS Pennsylvania (or not :-)

    Dr.Tilly has mentioned a consideration that would concern me : it would be an extremely ambitious, long term project to build her.  She was pierced for 136 guns !   (I'd need a padded cell after rigging these out, lol :-)

    Secondly, have you found any photos of the model of Pennsylvania yet ?  

    There are some pictures of a model of her by a Mr. Leaf (?)  in the photo section of the Yahoo groups site  'usshipsoftheline', (link provided yesterday by 'Steves' ).

    Hope this helps.......

    Cheers 

    Rob Mills

    'Seafarer' 

     

  • Seafarer:

    I looked at the Yahoo site but couldn't find a picture readily displayed. I think you have to join the group to view their gallery and I belong to too many already. I know what you mean about the guns! When I built Revell's 1/96 scale constitution I felt like I really accomplished something rigging the guns. However, it might not be that bad as you won't be able to see the lower 2 decks so I'll probably not rig those. This leaves one full deck and probably only part of the deck underneath it (what you could see upon viewing through the top deck's openings). Chappell's book lists in the Appendix the lengths for the masts and spars so a little while ago I converted these to 1/96 scale and also the Constitutions (1815 version) for a comparison. Her masts where a lot taller. In a little while I'm going to copy/enlarge the plans Chappell shows to get a better idea of the hull dimensions. I'm pretty sure after looking closer at this ship that I'll have to scratch build the hull. I did notice that the bow of these plans supposedly as launched is rather smoother in shape than some of the pictures I've seen on the net. Professor Tilley commented that it was oblong/beaky in shape as these pictures portray. I'm going to use Chappell's lines to depict her as launched in 1837. I'm sure changes were later made. Right now I have the time to contemplate a project like this as where I worked for the last 11 years closed at the end of September so I am presently unemployed. Once again thank you for your help.

     

    Michael Lacey  

  • As such things go, the hull of the Pennsylviana might actually be relatively easy to scratch build.  In addition to her extremely boxy overal shape, she had hardly any sheer - which I find one of the most difficult aspects of a hull to reproduce.  The Pennsylvania was almost flat on top.

    As for the gun tackles - I'd have to do some digging to find out for sure, but I wonder whether she ever actually had anywhere near her full complement of guns installed.  That's one of the interesting problems that would have to be dealt with in planning a serious scale model of her.

    Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • The following is a link to a page at the Naval Histirical Center which has photos of a model of the Pennsylvania:

    http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-p/penna-m.htm

    This information is from America's Line of Battle by TD Shiflett:

    The ship was authorized as a 74, but was pierced for 132 guns.

    In 1842 her armament was 90x32 pdrs and 12x8" shell guns, a total of 102.

    In 1846 her armament was listed as 2x9 pdrs and 1xsmall brass swivel on the spar deck, 4x8" chambered cannons and 32x32 pdrs on the main deck, 4x8" chambered cannons and 30x32 pdrs on the middle deck, 4x8" chambered cannons and 28x32 pdrs on the lower deck, a total of 105.  Of these, only the cannon on the spar deck would be visible on a model and require rigging.  Apparently the ship was never equipped with guns for all her gun ports and never carried more than a few exposed on the spar deck. She also didn't have much of a career as she was commissioned in 1837, placed in ordinary in 1838, and became a depot ship at Norfolk in 1842, where she was burned in 1861.

     

    Steve Sobieralski, Tampa Bay Ship Model Society

  • Greetings:

    I too found those photos of that model which is quite interesting. The one thing I was wondering is how they spaced the 8 inch guns vs the 32 punders. Were they evenly spaced such as on the lower deck would every eighth gun be an 8 inch or were they grouped together? I couldn't ascertain from the pictures. Would anyone have a clue? 

    Thank you

     

    Michael Lacey