SEARCH FINESCALE.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

1/96 USS Constitution, is there a difference ?

1237 views
22 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    May, 2017
1/96 USS Constitution, is there a difference ?
Posted by LIVIT on Friday, May 19, 2017 12:51 PM

I am in process of buying the 1/96 Constitution. Have done alot of reading on the forum about the kit and I have no fears about building it, been a hobbyist in many different disciplines for 50ys or so and worked on and off in the hobby industry for 30yrs plus.

I do have alot of questions though. Since this kit has been around what seems like since the dawn of plastic kits, is one series of yrs it was made that is more preferable than others? 

Is one aftermarket wood deck better than others ?  Am I better off going with wood blocks and if so what sizes and link to a quality supplier please. Advantage to bronze cannons ? I did read some place about a better scale looking line to use for rigging but cant find it now, so link and what colors and sizes please. I seen a build thread that the builder ( Mr Toshi did an amazing job)  using PE on a one side see thru B-17. Is there such items for this kit ? Any other aftermarket must use addons ?

I want to say tks ahead of time. I almost made the mistake of buying the Revell 1/96 USS United States, but tks too a knowledgable folks here on the forum were pointing out its not a good kit far as historic accuracy and the lack of info on that ship makes it hard to get it right. This is going to be my first "Large" sailing ship and want to make it as nice as possible. Again thank you :)   Dale

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, May 19, 2017 2:01 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the kit has ever gotten better with time.

Whether or not yours has the pre-painted copper bottom, you will want to redo it.

Most if not all would probably suggest that the vac formed sails are not usable.

The kit originally came with a set of really fine figures, but I understand that those disappeared from later boxings. Those are desirable.

I personally would put the effort into improving the kit guns. They can be made to be quite nice. They are black painted iron, so brass barrels would be incorrect.

As far as rigging, the most immediate issue is the assemblies of shrouds and ratlines. Nothing that Revell ever provided, either soft plastic coated thread or rigid castings, is usable. In other words, not a determining factor.

I can offer no advice on wood decks. An alternative beyond just using the kit parts alone is to plank over them with strip wood. It's tedious, so if you can settle on a precut deck, go for it.

My last piece of advice is to buy your rigging supplies in at least three stages. 

Hull construction. You need anchor cable, messenger line and hatch lid lanyard. Also get a bag of wire eyebolts. The kit plastic ones are not very good.

Standing rigging. Three sizes of black. I suggest you not be tempted to replace the kit deadeyes and lanyards. Wrong time, wrong kit for now.

Running rigging. Three sizes of tan.

Lots and lots and lots of blocks (pulleys).

But don't buy it all now. You'll end up spending $ 100's in the end, and if for whatever reason you set the kit aside you will have to figure out what to do with it.

I suggest buying from Model Shipways, Bluejacket Ship Crafters and Syren.

 

  • Member since
    May, 2017
Posted by LIVIT on Friday, May 19, 2017 2:41 PM

Thank you, the kits I am looking and bidding on are the older kits with crew. So I was on the right track already without knowing it .  I have built numerous smaller tall ships and found a neat way to use the included vac formed sails as molds for silkspan sails. Once I get to that point I will show how to do that. I am ordering the BJ plans, been following the Arnie60  build and noticed how valuable they have been.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Friday, May 19, 2017 8:26 PM

Unlike almost every other sefment in plastic scale modeling, there is almost no after-market for ships.

Which is largely because ther eis great depth in the scratchbuilding supplies market.  So, rather than specific-to-kit, the supplies are specific-to-themselves.

Which becomes complicated.

A Model Shipways cast metal 3/16" (long) single sheave block is really scaled to be about a 12" block in their most used scale, 3/16" = 1'-0" (1/64).  But a Model Expo 5mm block from one of the European makers (corel, mamoli, et al) arent actually scaled at all, just vaguely whittled.

The blocks by Syren, and also Bluejacket are far, far better for detail.

The human eye can percieve, to scale, about 6 different sizes of line at typical home modeling scales (like 1/96--1/8"=1'-0").  A ship like Constittution used several dozen sizes of line,  measured in circumference, often at no more than 1" size difference.  The lines were laid upp either hawser-laid or shroud/cable laid--a distinction requiring a microspoe at 1/96.

You can buy white line and dye it to the finished color.  Standing rigging was tarred, and that tarring was a black coffee sort of brown black.  The running rigging should have as least a hint of khaki to it, as the best lines wer made up of hemp fibers.

Be advised that sometimes the best "line" is, in fact, black annealed steel wire (available from Bluejacket for one).

The Bluejacket plans will help immensely, for having line sizes and block sizes called out.

There is a convention that warships are not rigged with sails, and merchant vessels are.

Make sur to give some thought to how you are mounting the kit to a base--that kit builds up into a large construction.

The one most important thing to address, in my book, is in beffing up the hull thickness at the gunports and similar areas.  The hull should be about 7/64" thick at the gunports; several of the threads here address really good ways to achieve that.

  • Member since
    May, 2017
Posted by LIVIT on Saturday, May 20, 2017 12:15 AM

Capn, thank you. I was wondering why the only thing I could find kit specific was a wood deck. I had not thought about a solid base yet. I do appreciate all the info and heads up.

  • Member since
    September, 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Saturday, May 20, 2017 7:45 AM

There is one nicety about the older kits not found in the newer, post 1960's versions; an history of the ship in a small booklet.  Otherwise, except for the prepainted copper in the earlier kits, I have found no differences between the kits of different eras. There is one exception; the "museum" release in the 1990s with so-called cloth sails, a wood base and brass maunting pegs.  Ditch the sails.  The pre-painted copper is subdued and weathered, and it looks quite good. With a little work, it looks great.

If you want to use a wood deck, I strongly recommend looking at the Scaledecks set, then the deck manufactured by HiSModelsHiSModels is out of Czechoslovakia and they produce aftermarket materials for sailing ships.  I love their blocks and their cannon sets. Their flags are great as well.  Their decks are a little overdone for my tastes, but they still look good.  HiSModels has an EBay store, as does Scaledecks

Bill Morrison

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, May 20, 2017 9:43 AM

I can remember a discussion many years ago about a convention in building sailing ships. It claimed that it was more common to build naval vessels without sails, but more common to do merchant ships with sails.  Anyone else ever hear of such a convention?

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September, 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Saturday, May 20, 2017 1:19 PM

Don,

I have also heard that.  However, I have seen so many naval ship models with sails that look great, and HiSModels has realistically sewn sails for quite a few ships.

Bill

  • Member since
    May, 2017
Posted by LIVIT on Saturday, May 20, 2017 1:41 PM

Interesting,  maybe sails block deck/mast detailing. If not in a case, sails get dirtier easier than rigging ? A ship in full battle dress, should have some sails deployed.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Sunday, May 21, 2017 6:43 PM

Yes, but "in full battle dress" almost begs for waterlining, if only to get the heel (wind blowning on top hamper induced heel, rotational angle longitudinally; list is a condition of longitududinal angle as a result of flooding).  With a lot of wind from astern the bow will be down a bit.

Mind, that also means needing a few hundred crew figures--10 each ber gundeck cannon; 8 per carronade (one side only).  Then, about 10-12 per mast top, with a few dozen standing by to set sail and/or repel borders.

Or not, it's your model to build.

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, May 21, 2017 8:34 PM

On the question of sails, I'm with Don. I never heard of any such distinction before I joined this Forum. I'd be interested to learn of any serious reference work that contains it.

I don't know how many ship models (and pictures of them) I've seen over the past sixty years or so, but I've never seen any consistent distinction between warships and merchantmen when it comes to sails. Look at any major maritime museum'a collection and you'll see merchantmen with and without sails - and warships likewise.

My own opinion, for what it's worth, is that "set" sais only look convincing on very small scales (say 1/192 and smaller) and very large scales (say 1/48 and up). I could count on both hands the 1/96-scale models I've seen that have had set sails that looked halfway decent. 

I'm a big fan of furled sails. To my eye they give the model a look of latent power, and they demonstrate how the spars and rigging. I still like the method I used on my model of the Revolutioary War frigate Hancock  if  you're interested, a Forum search on "frigate Hancock" will bring up the thread.

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

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Sunday, May 21, 2017 9:23 PM

CapnMac82

Yes, but "in full battle dress" almost begs for waterlining, if only to get the heel (wind blowning on top hamper induced heel, rotational angle longitudinally; list is a condition of longitududinal angle as a result of flooding).  With a lot of wind from astern the bow will be down a bit.

Mind, that also means needing a few hundred crew figures--10 each ber gundeck cannon; 8 per carronade (one side only).  Then, about 10-12 per mast top, with a few dozen standing by to set sail and/or repel borders.

Or not, it's your model to build.

 

And it would be far from a full set, esp. if the gun ports are open and the guns gun out as is usually the case with this type of model.

It was usual I believe to furl the courses or main sails for battle as otherwise they'd get shot to hell, and seriously would impede a view of what was going on.

And the square sails really would not aid in maneuvering the ship unless it was a downwind chase.

Im a bare poles guy. Sails mean sailors and lots of them.

Also it's one thing to replicate all of the sheets etc on a schooner, but a completely different world on a fully rigged ship.

Now mind, many folks are quite happy to poke a hole in the lower corner of a sail, tie a line to it and run it back and tie it off. But to go beyond that seriously compounds the job.

My last sail rigged ship model.

  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • From: Jerome, Idaho, U.S.A.
Posted by crackers on Sunday, May 21, 2017 10:49 PM

From strickly personal viewpoint, adding sails to a model should be one of choice. I prefer sails, as it adds interest to the model and makes it more complete. My model of the FRIEDRICH WILHELM ZU PFRDE, flagship of the Brandenburg Navy from 1684 to 1693, did not require sails on this kit, but going the extra mile with silkspan sails made added interest to the  model.

Happy modeling    Crackers   Smile

Anthony V. Santos

  • Member since
    May, 2017
Posted by LIVIT on Monday, May 22, 2017 2:40 PM

Please excuse my lack of knowledge in proper nomenclatures.  In "Full battle dress" I was meaning and now wondering, exactly what sails did they leave unfurled during a battle ?  To me it does not make any sense that they would of furled all the sails to fight, how did they manuever to get the best broadside etc... ?

GMorrison & Crackers tks for posting the pics, very nice guys. I am enjoying and learning from this discussion, so tks for helping me to become more knowledgable. I am with jtilley in liking the looks of furled sails, but had thought of actually doing my Constitution with both, in maybe a battle configuration.  Dale

  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • From: Jerome, Idaho, U.S.A.
Posted by crackers on Monday, May 22, 2017 11:55 PM

 The talented British marine artist, Geoff Hunt portrayed this painting of British and French warships in the heat of battle during the epic Trafalgar engagement on October 21,1805. All of the vessels have their fore staysail, fourcourse, main staysail, maincourse and mizzen staysail furled. Since cannon fire was usually directed at the hull of the enemy combatant, these sails would suffer the most damage and therefore had to be protected if the ship ever hope to have sail power. Perhaps this sail arrangement could be termed "battle dress."

Happy modeling   Crackers   Surprise

Anthony V. Santos

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 9:48 AM

Lots of consideration determin what sails a ship sets in any circumstance. Everything from the wind force and direction to the state of the sea to the tactical situation. No one configuration can be labeled "full battle dress."

In any case, decisions about sails on a model don't need to be made at the beginning of the project. You haven't bought the kit yet. If you work at average speed, you wont need to worry about sails and rigging for Arles stadium six months.

Good luck.

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

  • Member since
    December, 2012
Posted by rwiederrich on Friday, May 26, 2017 8:47 AM

One thing I believe is that from conception and through its evolution..sail plans must be part of the beginning plan of the build...if not for appearance preference but for gun and crew placement.  If all sails are set, the vessel is most likely not battle ready, therefore the guns would be in their stowed configuration with ports closed.  If battle dress is prefered, then main courses would be furled, ports open and cannon at the ready.

But as it has already been mentioned...numerous configurations could be set dependant on the wind direction, the sea and the foe encountered.  Clearing the deck and opening up the sight line by furling the Fore/main courses helps the crew of the offensive crew...but also aids the defensive crew by giving them a clear view of the Fore/Main masts...which by the way would also be a target if disabeling the vessel was paramount before complete destruction.

By knowing your sail condition and configuration..you can plan deck activity and gun arrangement....which will aid in port gunnal thickness correction(Open ports), which ports to close, Are hammocks rolled and placed in boundary rail..etc..etc.

Also..knowing in advance will aid in kit mods that will or will not need to take place...saving time and frustration.

 

Good luck.

 

Rob

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, May 26, 2017 9:56 AM

I will suggest that almost all sailing warship models get built with all of the guns run out. Notable exceptions of course, like Longridge's Victory, but in the world of plastic models they're all out there.

But that would almost never happen. 

A gun won't be run out unless it's loaded, and it won't be loaded unless it has a crew.

A ship can't crew all of its guns at once.

So it's a modeling standard only.

Adding sails is the same thing, unless you are building a diorama. The purpose would be to show off her set in its entirety.

  • Member since
    May, 2017
Posted by LIVIT on Friday, May 26, 2017 1:18 PM

I am one to plan way ahead in builds. My yrs of building RC planes & boats has taught me to always do this. I have noticed on several build threads of builders mentioning that they "wished they had planned ahead on their rigging" because certain items already attached on deck were causing issues with getting access to do proper rigging done. Each to their own ways, I certainly am no expert in building a tall ship and doing rigging. My 1/196 Constitution is certainly teaching me that rigging can be a bit frustrating at times.... Dale

  • Member since
    December, 2012
Posted by rwiederrich on Friday, May 26, 2017 1:59 PM

I have developed the habit of configuring my vessels in real world situations.  A static model is great, however, most folks viewing it probably do not know its history...what significance may be relevant to it or what historical event it was involved in.

Most of my builds attempt to draw the viewer into an active past....to engage them and if at all possible encourage them to see not only the ship model..but what the actual vessel did or was involed in.  Bringing the experience of the viewer from merely a *half paying attention viewer* to one who's attention is captured and who's interest is gained.

*What is this ship doing* is a great question...and sometimes helps me entice new folks to the hobby and the love of Wooden sailing ships.

So from this short description of my agenda..it is very important to plan out the last details which may effect the first details.

Just look at rigging in a similar light as guy wires on a bi-plane.  Each line has a specific origin point and termination point and a purpose.

Good luck

Rob

  • Member since
    May, 2017
Posted by LIVIT on Friday, May 26, 2017 2:22 PM

Rob, thank you. I had not thought about all the planning I have done in doing all the wires on my RC Bi-planes. Your right, on several of my RC Bipes, it has been critical to get them right due to them actually being functional supports. I will eventually do a wood tallship, just want to get a few Plastic versions done to learn more by doing them. Some of Y'alls wood builds are absolutely inspiring !  Dale

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Sunday, May 28, 2017 8:38 AM

The "guns vs empty ports" question isn't quite so simple.

The vast majority of the great British Admiralty (or Navy Board) models don't have guns. It's easy to figure out why, given the models' purposes. Anybody studying the models surely knew what a cannon looked like.

Quite a few modern modelers (e.g., Donald Mcnarry and Philip Reed

The equally famous POW models push the matter to the other extreme, with guns (usually out of scale) pointing out in every direction.

The bottom line, as usual: build YOUR model the way YOU want it.

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

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Sunday, May 28, 2017 9:30 AM

Aha , I see where you're going here ;

 I have done that often . Now  , you have been given some good advice .I personally usually display Sailing Ships , ( warship or civilian ) in port configuration with  "Yards  Akimbo "

  This of course means Sails have been sent below after washing with fresh water and drying . That way the yards are bare , tilted to one side and any rain can run off readily and that way the yards live a long life .

 As far as crew on one rigged for sea .The model should , But , doesn't have enough sailors out and about . Holy stoning and mopping was always in gear as the decks must needs be clean . 

 God Forbid  , if the Captain stepped on a dirty plank ! . The hammocks are always brought up in fair weather and at battle . Extra protection from small shot and readiness to clean below decks in port . See , there are many ways to display .The choice is always yours .  T.B.           P.S. I use Irish Linen for furled sails .They seem to work very well .

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS

SUBSCRIBER-ONLY CONTENT
FREE NEWSLETTER