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USS Constitution build II - 35 years later

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  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Monday, June 17, 2019 12:00 PM

Nino & Steve,

Thanks for the kind words.  Adding the lighting is just my way of making things as complicated as possible.  Seriously, though, I really wanted this version of the ship to have all the bells and whistles that I couldn't even have imagined 35 years ago.  When I finally get her done, I may go back to some of my old sci fi kits that have been sitting in boxes for years for a change of pace.  I still have more boats to build, but going to all wood on the next one.  Got a great deal on the Niagara kit, and I have a Sovereign lying around as well.  Getting lots of experience on making wooden part with the Connie: masts, spars, railings, fife-rails, etc. will all be wood (mostly because many of my plastic parts are warped or missing pieces).

More pics when I get the spar deck completed.

 

Bob

 

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Philadelphia Pa
Posted by Nino on Sunday, June 16, 2019 4:09 PM

Bob, That is fantastic work and a beautiful Replica.  Thank you for creating this thread.

 

And a Happy very-belated Birthday.  I should have remembered. Mine is May 7 too.

    Jim.

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • From: North Carolina, USA
Posted by Model Monkey on Sunday, June 16, 2019 6:46 AM

Looks great, Bob!  The lighting is wonderful.

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 11:26 AM

Ron,

Thanks for the compliment.  I have some experience in this area from lighting my pinball mods. 

Since I beefed up the walls of the ship, I wasn't overly concerned about light bleeding through there.  Same can be said for the 3 layered deck I built.  Hardest part was the stern.  The one piece gallery doesn't fit very tight, and even minor errors with the hull halves can be multiplied back there.  I did a LOT of measuring before and after the hull was glued together, to get the deck widths correct so that everything would line up and be be "light tight."  I even added a very flexible extension (.010" styrene painted black) which flared out from the bottom of the gallery and extended into the hull an extra two inches.  I also added miniature kickboards around the cabin floors so that nothing could leak through the gaps between the walls and decks.  The only area left where light may leak through will be the masts, which I have rings for.

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    December 2012
Posted by rwiederrich on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 7:16 AM

Wonderful indeed.

The issue of providing enough light and keeping the light brightness to scale (flickering candles, that provide lots of shadows, NOT a well lit gymnazium) can be challenging I'm sure...not to mention the capturing of light leaks around cracks and joints and preventing light from creating that opaque bleed through the plastic hull/fittings.

You need a tight light box....controlled that is.

Great job for sure.

 

Rob

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 9:05 PM

lighting01

lighting02

lighting03

lighting04

lighting05

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 4:51 PM

Rob,

These are just the 3mm water clear LEDs rated for 30mA, and I am only pushing 20mA through them, so it is just a dim yellow glow from each.  Mounted them between every other cannon.  I also filed each LED flat and painted them to look like brass lanterns using brass enamel paint.  This further limits the light.  Nothing directly out of the end so it doesn't create a "hot spot" on the deck.  Also hit the clear lens with 400 grit sandpaper to soften the light a bit more.  Big deck - almost 24 inches from bow to stern - so the number of LEDs is about right for even lighting of the entire deck - plus a glow coming up through the open hatches and lattice.  My wife says it looks fabulous, so I guess it is okay.  Pics a bit later (maybe a video).

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    December 2012
Posted by rwiederrich on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 3:58 PM

Bob..fantastic report...I bet it looks magnificent for sure.

All that illumination.......mmmm.

Rob

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 3:10 PM

I finally completed the lighting mods on the underside of the spar deck, as well as all the cut-outs in the deck for masts, hatches, ladders and the main hatch.  I also added two additional cut-outs which will be removeable later on to view the commodore's war room and the cook's area on the gun deck.  I will just glue a guy to each of the cutouts so they can be easily removed.  Finally, I added all the ringbolts to the spar deck bulwarks for rigging the carronades and bowchaser guns (4 per gun).

There are 25 more lights added on 5 separate circuits to light the gun deck.  The wires to power them were hidden in the bulkheads or beams before the gun deck was installed.  These were powered by 20mA circuits from the power driver board.  Each lighting circuit was terminated with two pins which project downward from the deck at the appropriate points to match up with the 5 circuits.  The circuit to the captain's and commodore's cabins and the war room were run through the mizzen mast hole.  I then stripped the wires and wrapped them around the pins and soldered, leaving about an inch or so of play in the wires so I could tip and manuever the deck to get to them.

I also secured the galley windows to the stern and adjusted so it was "light tight" - no light sneaking out from the edges.  Also added the the stern bulwark, which had to be "adjusted" since it was about 1/8" too short on the starboard side.  I will add some pictures tonight showing how all this was done.  Last step is to glue the spar deck down to the underlying supports, then onto the deck furniture and masts.

 

Bob

 

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Monday, April 22, 2019 2:42 PM

Thanks Mark.  Fabulous job on the Bismarck.  Love the antenna rigging.  Your attention to detail is some of the finest I have seen.  One curious question perhaps you can answer:  Since those big lifeboats had to be craned into the water, and the cranes rested on the outer edges of the deck and super-structure, weren't the cranes vulnerable to both broadside hits and strafing attacks?  Perhaps that's why they carried liferafts as well.

Anyway, fine job as well.

Thanks again, Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    March 2009
  • From: brisbane australia
Posted by surfsup on Monday, April 22, 2019 2:10 AM

That is just some stunning work Bob. I am in awe.....Cheers mark

If i was your wife, i'd poison your tea! If Iwas your husband, I would drink it! WINSTON CHURCHILL

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Saturday, April 20, 2019 10:20 PM

Gundeck is finally completed.  All guns rigged, all ropes installed and secured, and crew is painted (drying as I type).  Images below.

gd01

gd02

gd03

gd04

gd05

Bob

Happy Easter !

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Thursday, March 28, 2019 12:52 PM

Thanks, Dan.  I know the photos don't show it well because of the flash, but I tried to do a darker stain down the middle, and a lighter stain under the carronades.  Looks good under natural light.  Inspired by the picture below:

spar deck staining

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: UT
Posted by ageofsail on Thursday, March 28, 2019 11:39 AM

Deck looks great Bob! I know it's not color correct but I love the dark finish, I likewise went for non color correct on my deck because I think it looks better, you really did a nice job

Dan

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 11:15 PM

After letting the curve in the spar deck cure for a few days, I marked the deck with the cardboard template I made and started cutting out the holes in the deck for the hatches, masts, capstan, etc.

I start by cutting only through the wood to the correct size for the hatchcoming.  When that fits well, I then mark and cut the hole through the plastic portion of the deck.  This then leaves space to glue/bond the plastic hatch to the styrene portion of the deck under the wood.  I am leaving the very large main hatch until I get all the wiring run for the spar deck.  This will hopefully prevent the deck from warping or twisting before it is glued in place.  Also checked fit of the masts to make sure they were plumb and level through the decks.  All good.

first cut

second cut

all hatches

mast test fit

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Saturday, March 16, 2019 3:31 PM

Glued up the spar deck with a fixed deck pitch or arch.  3 layers to the spar deck:

bottom layers are 2 .030 styrene sheets glued together

Top layer is the wood deck.  Process outlined below:

underlayment

top-layer

Now I kick back and wait 24 hours.

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:38 PM

LIVIT
I had played around with the idea of using fiber optics in the cannon barrels to make them appear to be firing using a sequencer like I have done on my RC planes guns. Was going to use a smoke generator from an electric train to make smoke flow out of gundeck. Found the cannon barrels were just too fragile and rather small to drill out for fiber installation. I am planning on doing this on a future larger wood ship.

Check out Model Monkey (Steve Larsen) on Shapeways.com.  He does 3D printing.  He has both the 24 and 32 pounders which are really good quality and drillable for fiber optics.  He has lots of other cannons in just about every scale possible.  Nice guy - just tell him what you need and he can print it up for you.

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:21 PM

AOS and LIVIT,

Thanks a lot for the compliments - means a lot.  I plan on ordering a set of BJ plans ASAP after both your comments.  Pretty much just working from the museum plans I got on CD and the AOTS book. I also have a lot of Syren rope - awesome looking stuff.  Their blocks are also the best I have found, bar none.  I acutally have the log book summary of every block used on the ship, and was planning to use that to start ordering blocks.  I may wait until I get the BJ plans now.

Started on the spar deck last night by getting the boards all glued up and the curve to the "underlayment" for the deck.  Using two sheets of .030 glued together with a 1/8" dowel under the bottom to get the curvature.  This way I can sand the deck boards flat, stain and varnish, then glue it to the already curved styrene underlayment.  Using the crappy plastic one supplied as a template for the cut-outs - with modifications of course.  Also using it to gauge where adjustments need to be made so that the spar deck fits correctly.  About 5/32" too short, and about 1/8" not wide enough.  Since everyone wants me to leave some way to see the gun deck, I am going to go with Force9's idea of making some cutouts in the spar deck that can be removed (stick an eyebolt in there so I can grab it).  One fore around the camboose, one just behind the main mast, and one aft by the captain's cabin & lounge.  Force's are permanent openings with the beams and knees, but mine will probably only have the main beams.

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    May 2017
  • From: Asheville, NC
Posted by LIVIT on Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:02 PM

Absolutely stunning Bob. I had played around with the idea of using fiber optics in the cannon barrels to make them appear to be firing using a sequencer like I have done on my RC planes guns. Was going to use a smoke generator from an electric train to make smoke flow out of gundeck. Found the cannon barrels were just too fragile and rather small to drill out for fiber installation. I am planning on doing this on a future larger wood ship. Your detail work is museum quality. I am jealous :) 

I believe it was Age of Sail who turned me onto the BJ manual and parts list. Not only do you get the manual, but you get the full size plans, rigging plans, parts list and a discount coupon to apply too the purchase of a wood kit. I personally think its a must have and has been a big help on my build. I am going to put metal rod in lower portion of masts, then I am ordering the upper mast bits, spars, booms etc. I really like the syrene rigging line, they have more colors and sizes than kit provides and the look/quality is impressive and its not expensive.

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: UT
Posted by ageofsail on Thursday, March 14, 2019 2:26 PM

Hi Bob!

Finally got a chance to peruse your build, one word, WOW! I am super impressed with the work you have done on the gun deck, it is amazing, especially the lighting plan at this scale. 'Tis a pity you cannot display such fine work without the spar deck in place, it is truly good work! Your deck work really appeals to a woodworker like myself, especially as I did not use my wood working skills to scratch build my own decks, primarily due to a serious lack of time. I had to settle for finding the time to repair my badly warped decks and hand scribe the deck planking using Evan's method. My build is here:

http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/modeling_subjects/f/7/t/164251.aspx

I am particularly impressed with the staining applied to the deck for a couple of reasons. 1, it seems to have a nicely weathered patina, and 2, it is not the traditional coloring that heart of yellow pine, the original decking of Constitution, would weather to, which to my mind adds an individuality that I like to add to my own builds. Your attention to detail however, is way out of my league!

I have a question for you, have you purchased Blue Jacket's build plans? Included in the plans are a full scale template for all of the masts, yards, spars and and studding sail booms for the ship as well as a more correct rigging plan. As you stated on my build log, you are a little further behind my build as well as Evans, the BJ plans may be a big help with regard to how to set up the channels, pin rails (Revell's kit has far fewer than required) and a more complete set of instructions for the rigging itself. I personally think they are the most valuable purchase I have made besides the kit itself. Plus if you go to the kit link on their website it has a full breakdown of all blocks, cleats, cordage, and so on needed to rig her according to their very accurate plans. Plus, there brass belaying pins are first rate, I scratch built all of my pin rails and used their pins, I love the way they came out.

I really like the templates, I am just starting to turn my jibs, spars, yards, studding booms, etc. I have re-enforced the lower and upper masts in addition to the lower yards so I will be using the kit pieces there but the top gallant pieces and and studding sail booms are a joke and so I will turn cherry wood to replace them, including the spanker and gaff, plus the skys'l yard is not even included in the Revell kit.

My resource for blocks and cordage is hands down Syren https://www.syrenshipmodelcompany.com/miniature-rope.php

I have never seen quality blocks quite like this, plus the cordage is first rate as well, Cottage Industries http://cottageindustrymodels.com/?page_id=153 also makes some pretty first rate cordage.

I wish I had used the 0.6 mm copper eyelets from Jotika instead of there 0.9 bass ones, cheaper and far closer to scale, but alas! The deed is done.

Again, now that I have found your log I will be following with great interest, you clearly do very good work!

 

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Thursday, March 14, 2019 2:07 PM

I say 30 hours because all I have left is the three boats to rig up and I'm procrastinating it.  I started this build in 2007 and wish I did not do two things, one was use the kits belaying pins, and two was to follow the instructions and rig the sheets and stays towards the end.  It put a lot of strain on the eyes and brain.

I used steel rod in the main and fore lower spars that were split.  The rest I turned on a Dremel lathe from square stock using the kits spars as a guide.

Gad, time flies, its has been ten years since I did this. 

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Thursday, March 14, 2019 1:35 PM

I don't have 3 cats, but I have 2 goldens, so I can empathize with your statement.  Not sure how you know that you have 30 hours left, since every task I set out to revise seems to take at least twice as long as I thought.  Not complaining - I am in no real hurry, and would rather do a job well rather than quickly.  I do remember back from my first crack at this years ago, that getting tension on the top lines WITHOUT bending the masts in all directions caused me quite a few headaches.

If I might ask, how did you do the spars?  The rest are relatively straight-forward, as they just taper from one end.  But the spars need to taper from the middle out.  Tough to do without a small lathe, I would think.  Any advice would be well received.

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Thursday, March 14, 2019 1:25 PM

Hi Bob,

I have been floowing your build and am in awe with what you are doing.  I am about 30 hours away from being done my build.  All the booms, upper masts, and most of the spars were relpace with wood and I used steel rod in the lower masts.  I  learned from earlier Revell builds that rigging plastic masts and spars is like trying to give three cats a bath at the same time. 

Scott

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 9:48 AM

GM,

I concur.  Looking at the sprues, all 3 of the topgallant masts are warped as well.  Will be a hybrid of plastic at the bottom of the masts, with wood at the tops. 

On a side note, met a guy at my last IPMS meeting who says he has "7 or 8 of those Heller plastic ship models" which he will never get a chance to build.  I told him I would gladly take them off his hands if he can let me know which ones he has.  Hopefully get a list from him in April.  Hoping for a Soleil Royal in there somewhere!

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 10:52 PM

I see you are on your way to a wood model. The plastic sailing ship model is a flawed concept when the windy parts are tackled (pun intended).

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 10:43 PM

Got tired of tying blocks for guns, so moved on to the bowsprit.  both the jib and flying jib plastic pieces were warped - the flying jib looked like a snake.  Dolphin strikers also a sore point for most of us as well, as they are quite flimsy and easily broken.  I started by doubling up the dolphins by bonding .040 styrene to the back, essentially doubling the thickness.  Can barely tell once its painted.  Holes were all wrong, so I filled the originals and redrilled the correct number (one short) and in the correct places.  Also added the stretcher bar and wrought iron stiffener at the top of the "Y".  Finally, I added the missing block/roller under the iron bar.

dolphins

Then I moved on to the jibs.  Got some hardwood dowels and marked out the areas for sanding and tapering.  Described below:

jibs

Once I was satisfied with how it all fits together, I stained the jibs and will give a coat or two of polyurethane before assembling.  Still need to do some paint touchups on the dolphin striker as well.  Also added stairs, blocks and a corrected fairlead with 9 holes for rigging the bowsprit.

I will say that overall EVERYTHING is much stiffer, and will be much stronger for rigging.  So I guess it was a good thing the flying jib was so ugly, or I might not have done the extra work.

Bob

 

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Monday, March 4, 2019 3:34 PM

Jim,

Might have overdone it with the inkwell, but you will be able to see it through the windows!  My philosophy: Go Big or Go Home!  

Finishing up rigging the port side cannons.  Still looking for a way to cover the LEDs so they look more like lanterns on the rest of the gun deck.  I am contemplating doing what Force 9 did to to open up his spar deck so that you could see more of the gun deck.  My wife also says it would be a shame to cover all this up.  Still have some time before I come to that bridge.

Bob

 

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Philadelphia Pa
Posted by Nino on Monday, March 4, 2019 1:17 PM

Geez Bob, where's the inkwell on the Commadores desk?

 

  Holy Smokes that is some detail.

Can you make the deck over the cabin removable? That is too good to hide

I love it. I could never do it, but I love this model ship. 

  THANKS BOB!

          Jim

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Sunday, March 3, 2019 11:44 PM

So I have been working on the details of the gun deck furniture.  Biggest headache was the messenger cable.  Had to add a pulley to the main timber in the manger.  That would have been no big deal if I hadn't already installed the chain stopper bits.  But I got it in there somehow.  Second headache was trying to keep the messenger cable close to the deck - kept wanting to ride up.  Finally got it all squared away.

gun deck furniture

Did some puddening on the first anchor while watching a bit of golf.

Shots of the Captain's quarters:

cabin

CABIN

anchor ring

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Monday, February 25, 2019 2:16 PM

Thanks Robert.  I truly appreciate the compliments.  This is really just my way of relaxing and "unwinding" my mind - and it keeps my hands busy as well. 

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

Current builds:  Revell 1/96 USS Constitution with extensive scratch building

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