USS/HMS President

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USS/HMS President

  • When the British captured the heavy American Frigate USS President in January, 1815, they deemed her uneconomic to repair.  Instead, they copied her lines and built a replica of her, commissioning her as HMS President, rating her as a 44 gun frigate.  Later, she served under Admiral Codrington in the American station at a time of stressed relations between the Americans and the British.

    Given the similarities of the 1/96 scale Revell USS Constitution and the USS President, and with the detailed conversion of the Constitution into the President described in Kalmbach's old How to Build Plastic Ship Models, I believe that a further conversion is possible . . . converting the Constitution into HMS President.

    There is an Admiralty drawing showing the lines of the British-built HMS President that look almost exactly like the American ships.  The question, as usual, is in the details . . . armament, rig, "gingerbread", etc. Has anyone tried this conversion?  Are there pictures showing any of the details depicting the British ship?  What do you think of this as a project?  Politically, it would give us an excuse to buy the new release of this venerable kit to get a fourth variant, showing the manufacturers that we are interested.

    Bill Morrison

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  • There are certainly plenty of paintings of USS President, and I believe there is a plan of her as well, taken shortly after the British captured her.  This can be found in Gardiner's book 'Warships of the Napoleonic Era' on page 150.
  • At issue would be the details that the British-built HMS President had.  For example, we know that all the "gingerbread" of the USS President was different than that of the USS Constitution.  But, what was the "gingerbread" of HMS President?  What were her colors? Was her armament the same as that carried by USS President?  We know the general lines of the two ships were very similar, but, remember that HMS President was a different ship than the USS President they captured.  Although there are many paintings of USS President, HMS President was built from the lines taken from the captured American.  Details will therefore differ.  Do we know of any paintings of the British ship?

    Bill Morrison

  • Forgive me if I am not paying attention properly... Are you looking for information on USS President, or HMS President?  There is lots of info on USS President, but I don't know of anything definitive about HMS President....
  • No, forgive me for not being more clear.  I would love find information about HMS President.  I was intrigued when I saw her lines in a hull plan and would eventually like to try converting a 1/96 scale USS Constitution into an HMS President given that the hull lines are so remarkably similar.

    Bill Morrison

  • I'm getting somewhere.  Taken directly from the exact lines of the captured USS President,  HMS President was ordered in May of 1818, launched in 1819, as a 52-gun frigate with an unarmed spar deck.  She carried 32 32-pounders long guns on the gundeck, and 20 32-pounder carronades on the quarter deck and forecastle.  Another source lists her as carrying 32 24-pounders on the gundeck, and 16 32-pounder carronades and 6 24-pounder long guns on the quarterdeck.

    Displacement was 1,534 tons; length was 173ft, 5.5 inches; beam was 44 ft, 10.75 inches; and depth of hold was14 ft, 2 in.

    Although this is a beginning, I would love to find any paintings showing her details (gingerbread, colors, deck furniture, etc.)  Any help would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

    Bill Morrison

  •  

    Not what you are looking for - but I thought you might be interested in what a current HMS President looks like - I cannot see how to attach items to this message - but this HMS President had its 90th birthday celebrations last night and everyone was expressing an interest in the previous 8 ships that bore the name - Obviuosly great glee comes from the USA President experience - and any drawings would be quickly put on display here - if they came our way

  •  warshipguy wrote:

    I'm getting somewhere.  Taken directly from the exact lines of the captured USS President,  HMS President was ordered in May of 1818, launched in 1819, as a 52-gun frigate with an unarmed spar deck.  She carried 32 32-pounders long guns on the gundeck, and 20 32-pounder carronades on the quarter deck and forecastle.  Another source lists her as carrying 32 24-pounders on the gundeck, and 16 32-pounder carronades and 6 24-pounder long guns on the quarterdeck.

    Displacement was 1,534 tons; length was 173ft, 5.5 inches; beam was 44 ft, 10.75 inches; and depth of hold was14 ft, 2 in.

    Although this is a beginning, I would love to find any paintings showing her details (gingerbread, colors, deck furniture, etc.)  Any help would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

    Bill Morrison

    Sounds like a lot heavier build if it had 32 pounders on her gundeck, 24's are heavy enough for a frigate!  The 32's as carronades above makes sense though.....
  • Eric,

    That could account for the conflicting sources that I mentioned. One source states that she carried 32 pounders, another cites 24 pounders.

    Bill Morrison

  •  

    Oh wow - I missed this discussion!

    I love the idea of trying to convert the USS Constitution´s Kit into a USS or in a HMS President. We had a discussion concerning different paint-schemes for the big american Frigate in a German forum - and of course there was the idea of using british paint scheme for the captured USS President or for the rebuild HMS President. I was told that the british version had a round stern - according the the changed fashion when she was build - finally in 1829. But someone found photos of the ship showing a very similar stern (if you connive at the second "floor" of cabins on the spar-deck). It seems to be the same "six-window-configuration" which the Isaac-hull-Modell of the USS constitution shows. Here is the link:

    http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/images/president.jpg

    Here is another one - showing her bow:

    http://www.portcities.org.uk/london/server/show/ConNarrative.135/chapterId/2750/The-port-in-1901.html

    In my eyes, this easily could be mistaken as "USS Constitution" as recieving ship in 188x.

    So I tried to find out what´s available in good old Britain and asked the National Maritim Museum - here is their answer:

    Name Daten: President, 1815
    Class: ex American President 1800
    Type: 4th rate 60, ex 44g

    Plan ZAZ774 (J3607) - Lines/Profile (taken off, 1815) - Scale 1:48 Price 16,92 Pfund
    Collection MAS/A5i114 Price 16,92

    This must be the plan which is shown in literature such as Canneys "Sailing waships of the us Navy" - Page 40-41

    Name Date: President. 1829
    Class: President (1818)
    Type: 4th Rate 52 gun Frigate
    ZAZ7773(J4106) Lines, 1820 - Scale1:48 - Price 16,92 Pfund
    ZAZ1800(J4105) Inboard Profile, 1826 - 1:48 - 16,92
    ZAZ1801(J4101) Fore & Aft Platforms, c. 1829 - 1:48 - 16,92
    ZAZ1802(J4102) LowerDeck,c. 1829 - 1:48 - 16,92
    ZAZ1803(J4103) Upper Deckl c. 1829 - ...
    ZAZ1804(J4104) Quater Deck & Foc´s´le Deck ...

    Research Handling 11,75; Post Packing 17,63

     
    Will you try to do it? I´d love to follow your example. I already ordered the Wilkins Book "how to build ..." especailly to learn how to work with plastic models - but also to see, what is possible to do with the Revell-Kit of the Constitution. Please keep us informed about your project!
  • Marcus,

    Thank you for your interest!  I am planning to eventually do this conversion, but it will have to wait until sometime in early-mid 2009.  Thank you for those links to pictures!  I am trying to track down plans for the British built ship.  However, it does seem like a straight-forward task.

    Bill Morrison 

  •  

    Bill

    you can order the above mentioned plans (the second list are the plans of the british rebuild) at NMM - just e-mail to the Museum:

    http://www.nmm.ac.uk/explore/collections/by-type/ship-plans/

    You can tell them even their numbers for the plans - as mentioned above. I wanted them too - but since the hole bunch of papers for both (USS and HMS President) will cost about 150 GBP (about 175 Euro . about 230 $) I have to wait until after christmas and after January - until I can see whats left after all bills have been paid Blush [:I]
     
  • Marcus,

    Thank you! That is certainly a tremendous help. Yes, I will order plans, but it will have to wait until after Christmas.

    Bill Morrison

  • Those two photographs are fascinating; I'd never seen either of them before.  I just wish they showed up larger on my monitor.

    The first one (though it's awfully small) seems, to my eye, to establish that the ship in question did have a round stern.  The angle from which the photo was taken makes it a little difficult to see, but it looks like the transom does bulge out considerably between the quarter galleries.  In fact (making allowance for the second deck) this stern looks remarkably like that of the corvette Constellation, now preserved at Baltimore. 

    Perhaps it also gives us a slight hint of what the notorious "roundhouse" of the President's sister, the U.S.S. United States, might have looked like.  (I wouldn't want to carry that analogy very far though.  We're talking here about a British-designed ship built thirty years later - with a round stern.)

    Converting the Revell Constitution to this configuration would be a major project; it would entail rebuilding the entire after part of the hull.  On the other hand, it looks like the decorations of this ship were, by comparison to the ones in the kit, quite subdued and simplified.  The trickiest part of the job probably would be making the window frames, which would have to be curved and tapered in several planes.  And there are a lot of them. 

    Many thanks to Marcus for some really interesting and valuable information!

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

  • wow - you got me!

    I got those photos some days ago. I feared the information would be right -and the stern of the british rebuild might differ a lot from the american ship (and making it therefore more diffictult to convert the Revell-kit into the british ship.) But I expected to find a completly round stern - kind of halfe circled - and what I saw, looked much more as the stern of USS Constitution - even six windows. So I did not look very intenisve - my whish had come true....

    But you are correct - looking more intensive it is obvious that the stern IS in fact round! Another expample of the need to look very precise and not judge things in a hurry.

    So its not as easy as I hoped to use the Revell kit as brtish HMS President. But its possible. I will wait for Bill´s version - and one day I will try to do that myself. Its good that there are so experienced modellers out there, helping to keep the eyes open! Sign - With Stupid [#wstupid]