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Sailiing ships scales (and future choices)

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  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Portsmouth, RI
Posted by searat12 on Thursday, November 27, 2008 9:01 AM
 Russ39 wrote:

John:

Using Bill's measurement of the keel of the Prince kit, at 1/180 scale we get 165.9 ft. That is too large probably. If we use the same keel measurement at 1/160 scale, we get 147.5 ft which is more in the ball park when compared with McNarry's overall hull length measurement.

Russ 

 

Using Bill's measurement of the keel of the Airfix model of 'Prince' and comparing it with the known 'touch' measurement of the actual ship of 131', we end up with a scale keel 'touch' measurement of 10.9" (remember, 'touch' measurement is only to the rise of the rabbet, not to the heel of the stem).  Multiply 131 X 12 = 1572, and then divide by 10.9 gives you a scale of 1/144.22, which is pretty close......
DD1
  • Member since
    September 2008
Posted by DD1 on Thursday, November 27, 2008 3:22 AM
I have this particular kit. You are correct in your description, barrels are separate, and there is only a portion of the main deck.
Other than being an extremely simplified kit in terms of rigging, it's very nice actually, at least in terms of the hull detail.
The gun ports are somewhat larger than the ones of, lets say 'Prince', but I recall reading they grew in size from 17 to 18 century, so perhaps it's what to be expected.
dd
  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, November 27, 2008 3:10 AM

I gree with Russ:  the Airfix Prince is probably on about 1/160 scale.  And I think that's about as far as we can carry this particular discussion in the absence of a set of reliable plans.

Rcboater has corrected a goof in one of my earlier posts on this thread:  that "simplified" Revell Constitution had its gun carriages with the decks, but the barrels were separate pieces.  As I remember (maybe rcboater can correct me on this point as well) the spar deck was molded in one piece and the main deck only extended a little fore and aft of the big hatch in the spar deck.  Only the main deck gunports in the waist were molded open, with gun barrels pointing through them; the ports fore and aft were molded shut. Is that right? 

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Derry, New Hampshire, USA
Posted by rcboater on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:44 PM

 jtilley wrote:
That's all consistent with my recollection.  (I believe the yacht America, under her original name, was also part the "simplified" series originally.)  I have no idea where to find one of those old "simplified" Constitution kits.  Maybe e-bay....

 I have a copy of the old Constitution kit in my stash-- I got it on ebay a couple of years ago.  It had been started-- a couple of the guns were glued onto the molded-in carraiges on the deck. 

 

Webmaster, Marine Modelers Club of New England

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  • Member since
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  • From: Biloxi, Mississippi
Posted by Russ39 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 5:44 PM

John:

Using Bill's measurement of the keel of the Prince kit, at 1/180 scale we get 165.9 ft. That is too large probably. If we use the same keel measurement at 1/160 scale, we get 147.5 ft which is more in the ball park when compared with McNarry's overall hull length measurement.

Russ 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 5:31 PM

John,

You are right in that I have some obscure editions of these kits.  For example, the St. Louis and the Revenge are Japanese editions (complete with Japanese text instructions; thank God for Arabic parts numbers!)  The Wasa, Prince and the Royal Sovereign are in the white box "Special Editions" released in the 1990's.

It would be advantageous to have these kits in a standard scale if for no other reason than to compare their relative sizes against each other.  The aircraft, armor, and modern ship crowds do indeed have an advantage here.

Bill Morrison

  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 5:03 PM

Bill, it sounds like you've got some "editions" of those kits that I haven't seen.  The Prince kit I've got has no indication of the scale - on the box, the instruction sheet, or anywhere else.  (I don't know when it was actually produced, but the instruction sheet is a nice, old-fashioned one, with plenty of literate text - all in English.  It may, I suppose, be from the first release of the kit.  Unfortunately my halfzeimer's-afflicted brain is completely unable to remember where or when I bought it; it literally turned up unexpectedly in the attic a couple of years ago.) 

I think the 1/144 figure for the Wasa is probably about right.  I frankly have my doubts about the others - but I'd have to compare the kits with reliable plans to form a firm opinion.  I do think 1/180 is too small for the Prince.  Of the figures we've been talking about in this thread, I think the one from Donald McNarry is the most reliable; if we accept it, the Airfix kit works out to be on just about 1/160 scale.  Again, though, I wouldn't want to pretend that's definitive.  The only real way to resolve this problem is to compare the kits with reliable plans.

It's encouraging to hear that, at one time at least, Airfix was stating scales on so many of its sailing ship boxes.  All of the ones warshipguy quoted certainly sound like they are, at least, pretty close to reality.

It is, I suppose, worth asking how much difference any of this actually makes to the average modeler.  The precise scale of a model matters most, I guess (apart from sheer intellectual curiosity), if the modeler intends to add either scratchbuilt or aftermarket parts to the kit.  In order to establish the sizes of rigging blocks, for instance, the modeler needs to know at least a close approximation of the scale.  If, on the other hand, the modeler intends to build the kit "out of the box," the difference between 1/150 and 1/160 probably won't matter much - unless, like DD1, one is trying to put together a collection of models on a constant scale.

Aircraft, armor, and modern warship modelers - this thread ought to make you aware of how lucky you are.  The reviews of airplane, tank, and warship models often comment that the kits in question are "slightly over-scale" or "a scale foot too short," but you rarely have to contend with stuff like this.

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 4:42 PM

Okay, here goes.

The Airfix Royal Sovereign is stated to be 1/168 scale. Her keel measures 10  1/4 inches.

The Airfix Prince is stated to be 1/180 scale.  Her keel measures 11  1/16 inches.

The Airfix St. Louis does not state a scale.  Her keel measures 9  3/4 inches.

The Airfix Revenge does not state a scale.  her keel measures 8  5/16 inches.

The Airfix Wasa is stated to be 1/144 scale.  Her keel measures 10  13/16 inches.

The Airfix Victory is stated to be 1/180 scale.  Her keel measures 11  11/16 inches.

All measurements were taken from the after end of the keel to the rabbet curves to form the cutwater.  The stated scales were taken directly from the boxes.

I hope that it helps.

Bill Morrison

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  • From: Portsmouth, RI
Posted by searat12 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 4:35 PM
 jtilley wrote:

As I mentioned earlier, several methods of stating a ship's length were common in the seventeenth century - and several sets of dimensions for the Prince are floating around.  I've seen her original "length of keel" stated as 131' and 141'.  In any case, that dimension isn't of much help in this particular exercise because it can only be measured approximately on the Airfix kit.  The fore and aft ends of the keel - i.e., the points where the keel meets the stem and sternpost - aren't indicated on the kit parts.  (Usually the sternpost sat on top of the keel, but sometimes the keel butted into the sternpost.)  In my first effort to figure out the scale of the kit I took a guess at where those points were, and figured the kit must be between 1/150 and 1/165 scale.  The more useful measurement that Russ found confirmed that.  It looks like the kit is right about on 1/160.

Yes, measurements from that time period are tricky things, partly because they were changing measurement systems about that time!  There are two definitions of keel length (actually, three!), one being the 'touch' measurement, which is the actual length of the keel from the stern to where the rabbet of the stem rises to form the cutwater.  The other is the 'harping,' or 'calculated' keel which was adopted in the 1660's.  This is the perpendicular length of the lower wale, minus three fifths of the beam, which ordinarily means for large vessels would make the 'calculated' keel length from three to five feet longer than the 'touch' measurement.  131' for the keel of 'Prince' is the 'touch' measurement, and is referenced in a variety of sources, including the splendid books of Frank Fox.  Her 'calculated' keel is 136'.  Her 'calculated' tonnage was 1448 tons('touch' burthen is only 1395 tons).  For ease of measurement, I would say the 'touch' measurement is by far the easiest, though you are right, there may be a foot or so in variation that might creep in.  Looking at the contemporary model of 'Prince' in the Science Museum in London, the stern post rests directly on the keel, while the scarf for the the stem (where the rabbet begins to rise) begins a tad back from heel, say 1/2" in the Airfix model.  Then again, you could simply look up the scale for this model, which is referenced at 1/144  (see here:  http://www.modelingmadness.com/reviews/misc/ships/robertoprince.htm
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 4:03 PM
That's all consistent with my recollection.  (I believe the yacht America, under her original name, was also part the "simplified" series originally.)  I have no idea where to find one of those old "simplified" Constitution kits.  Maybe e-bay....

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Biloxi, Mississippi
Posted by Russ39 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 3:10 PM

John:

I have a 1970s Revell catalogue that lists that Constitution kit. It says its overall length is 22". Fully rigged, the Constitution is roughly 288 ft. If the kit is 22" overall rigged length, then the scale is 1/157. That is really really close to 1/150. The kit number was H 357.

In that collection of "build a legend in a weekend" kits they also had the Mayflower (H 366) at 20" long, the Cutty Sark (H 368) at 24" long, and the Civil War Blockade Runner (H 372) (really a reworked Yacht America kit) at 24" long.

Russ 

 

 

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Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 2:35 PM

Well, I know of two Constitution kits that might fit the requirements.  Unfortunately neither of them is on the market at the moment.

Back in the mid-seventies Revell, in one of several desperate efforts to recover from a financial crisis that was threatening to wreck the whole American plastic kit industry, issued a small series of medium-sized "simplified" sailing ship kits that were intended for beginners.  One of them was the Constitution.  I don't know the scale of it; Dr. Graham's book on the history of Revell probably includes it, but my copy of the book is at home and I'm at the office.  (I'll try to remember to check this evening.)  The kit was a scaled-down version of the big Revell 1/96 one, which attempts (largely successfully) to depict the ship in her War of 1812 configuration.  It's highly simplified ("Build a legend in a weekend!"), with such features as gun carriages molded integrally with the decks.  But it would still be a good newcomer's project, and with a good deal of work probably could be made into a reasonable scale model.

Then there was the Imai kit, which was on the market only briefly before that company went out of business in the early eighties.  I don't remember the scale of that one either, but it may have been 1/150.  It also appeared, very briefly, in a Monogram box.  (Monogram, according to Dr. Graham's book on that company, rented the molds for a few of the Imai ships for a short period.)  Imai kits are generally regarded as among the best plastic sailing ship kits ever.  I've never seen this one.  On the basis of photos it does look pretty good.  I think it represents the ship as she looked when the kit was released (i.e., in the late seventies).  I think (I'm not sure) it shares the biggest drawback of the old Revell 1/192 kit:  the big hatch in the middle of the spar deck is represented as a smooth surface, rather than an opening.  But I may be mistaken about that.  Any sailing ship kit produced by Imai certainly deserves to be taken seriously.

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

DD1
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Posted by DD1 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 12:51 PM

Wow

First off - thanx everyone, for replying. Apparently I am not the only one fixated on the uniform scale :). That's good.
Well, if the 'Prince' is ~1/160, then of course the smallish 1/192 'Constitution' is a bit off, BUT a largish 1/150 'Constitution' may be right on the spot (especially since somewhere in the forum someone had mentioned that the true scale is closer to 1/156). So, it seems that 'Prince', 'Le Phenix', 'Constitution' and 'Superbe/Glorieux' are all to the same scale, more or less - and that's enough to keep me busy for a lifetime. I will probably have to leave Airfix 'Victory' out, but 'Superbe/Glorieux' is good enough, as the mid-17 century SOL (I really wanted to go for a yellow/black SOL at some point).
It's funny how preception works - I imagine a ship like 'Prince' being MUCH MUCH bigger and more imposing than 'Constitution'. I guess that was not the case.
Now, that does not, at all mean that I will actually go for ALL of these :)
As to the footropes - darn! I had just gotten the main lower yard to look decent! Well - I will probably add them to the fore lower yard as well, and leave it at that. Still can't imagine how were the sails furled, without those.

d

 

 

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Posted by lenroberto on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 9:58 AM
My meager attempt at the Airfix Prince years ago- I agree a very nice kit...




-Len

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  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 8:50 AM

I have both kits. Unfortunately, I am at work right now but will measure them when I get home.

Bill Morrison

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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 8:49 AM

As I mentioned earlier, several methods of stating a ship's length were common in the seventeenth century - and several sets of dimensions for the Prince are floating around.  I've seen her original "length of keel" stated as 131' and 141'.  In any case, that dimension isn't of much help in this particular exercise because it can only be measured approximately on the Airfix kit.  The fore and aft ends of the keel - i.e., the points where the keel meets the stem and sternpost - aren't indicated on the kit parts.  (Usually the sternpost sat on top of the keel, but sometimes the keel butted into the sternpost.)  In my first effort to figure out the scale of the kit I took a guess at where those points were, and figured the kit must be between 1/150 and 1/165 scale.  The more useful measurement that Russ found confirmed that.  It looks like the kit is right about on 1/160.

m60a3 - you're being far too generous about what amounted to an exercise in insomnia prevention and a small workout with a calculator.  (By the way, a calculator that works in feet, inches, and fractions is a mighty handy thing to have around a modeling workshop - for working out problems of scale, among many other things.)

Here's a plaintive cry in the wilderness:  it sure would be nice if the plastic sailing ship kit manufacturers had (a) put their kits on commonly accepted scales, and (b) told the consumers what those scales were.  Well, come to think of it, in the early days of the hobby the airplane kit manufacturers didn't always tell us the scales of "fit-the-box" kits either.  But exercises like the one we've just been through - trying to figure out the scale of a kit on the basis of information gathered elsewhere - really shouldn't be necessary.  And if we can figure out the scales of old kits, the marketing people at Revell, Airfix, etc. ought to be able to do the same thing - or enlist the services of somebody who can.

Actually when I was spouting off in this thread during the wee hours this morning I missed something significant:  DD1's reference to the trouble he'd had rigging footropes.  I don't remember the exact date of the St. Louis, but she certainly dated from the early seventeenth century.  That was, in all probability, too early for footropes. 

Dr. R.C. Anderson's The Rigging of Ships in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast, 1600-1720 (a superb, low-priced little book that I highly recommend to anybody attempting a ship model of that period) says (pp. 152-153) that the earliest evidence for footropes he found in English sources dates to 1640 - and then only as "horses" on the lower yards.  The earliest French reference to footropes he cites dates to 1677, again only on the fore and main lower yards. Dr. Anderson was writing in 1927, but more recent sources say pretty much the same thing.  (James Lees's Masting and Rigging of English Ships of War, 1625-1860 says footropes appeared on the lower yards of English ships in about 1675, and on topsail yards about five years later.) 

In another thread recently DD1 and others posted some nice contemporary illustrations of the St. Louis and other French ships of the period.  None of those pictures shows footropes.

Several full-size modern replicas of seventeenth-century do have footropes - as a safety feature for the benefit of the modern human beings who operate the ships.  But it appears that, in the early and mid-seventeenth century, the sailors simply crawled out along the yards, hanging on for dear life.  (Several of the famous pictures by the Van de Veldes show people doing just that.  One wonders how the evolution of sailing ship rigging might have been different if navies and shipowners had had to worry about insurance companies.)  The seventeenth-century system of bundling up the topsails against the heels of the topmasts, rather than furling them along the length of the yards, made it possible to do most of the job of furling in the top, rather than making men crawl out on the yards.

There are plenty of challenges in rigging a seventeenth-century model, but when it comes to footropes the modeler gets a break.  It's perfectly accurate to leave 'em off.

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

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  • From: Portsmouth, RI
Posted by searat12 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 8:40 AM

First off, I would just like to add that the Airfix kit of 'Prince' is really one of the best kits (if you can find one!) of the ships of the Anglo-Dutch wars available, and really builds up into a splendid model (the lower gunports aside!).  It is also about the same size as the Airfix kit of HMS Victory (sold in the same sized box), though in a different scale.  A couple notes that might help you in scaling the Airfix 'Prince':

Ships of the period were generally measured not by overall length, but by keel length, which in the case of 'Prince' was 131'.  The beam was originally 44' 10", but this was later increased to 45' 2" to make the ship less tender.  In comparison, 'Royal Sovereign' had a keel-length of initially of 127' much later increased to 135' 6".  Most accounts indicate that 'Prince' was about 5' shorter in overall hull length to 'Royal Sovereign,' so perhaps this might be of help in scaling too.  If someone out there has a either a kit or built-up model of 'Prince' and can measure the length of the keel, that should sort out the actual scale of the kit, yes?

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  • From: I am at play in the fields of the Lord. (Texas)
Posted by m60a3 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 3:56 AM

jtilley, you are the best!! Thanks for always being there and sharing your knowledge! You are my Captain, my Captain. Myself and others appreciate you.

           Make a Toast [#toast]

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Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 3:27 AM

We've discussed those Heller French two-deckers several times here in the Forum; a search on either of their names will pull up quite a few comments.  I agree with George:  they're basically sound kits, and certainly capable of being turned into good models.  I do have some reservations about them - most significantly the lack of camber in their decks and the "wood grain" detail on the hull halves (which makes it look like the entire hull was hacked from one impossibly enormous tree).  But if you're looking for a plastic model of the classic two-decked ship of the line, these are indeed the only games in town - and they certainly aren't bad.

It occurred to me after I typed my previous post that the measurements of Mr. McNarry's H.M.S. Prince probably include the stern lanterns.  In the Airfix kit those lanterns stick out almost exactly 1/2" beyond the taffrail.  Adding 1/2" to the length of the Airfix kit's hull makes a total of 15 3/8", and puts the kit on 1/159 scale.  (Maybe the designers intended it to be 1/160.) We're getting closer and closer to the Heller 1/150 kits - but farther from the old Revell Constitution.

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

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  • From: The green shires of England
Posted by GeorgeW on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 3:10 AM

Hello dd,

If  it's a Seventy-four gun ship you are after then the Heller Le Superbe/ Glorieux offering is the only game in town. It is pretty close to 1:150 scale.

Overlaying the decks etc; to the drawings in Boudriot's book at 1:144 scale, they pretty well match, being only a fraction smaller, and scratch built parts made up from the drawings to 1:150 scale fit the kit.

 With a little work it can be made into a good representation of a French 74, and I don't hold with some opinions expressed that it is not worthy of the scale model definition; all plastic kits have their limitations and shortcomings, and for me part of the fun is bashing them about to create something better than the basic kit offering.

If you can get hold of these kits I would say they would make a worthy addition to your model series.

Ps; The overall length of the hull from taffrail to the head is 42cm.

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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 3:00 AM

If anybody reading this isn't familiar with the work of Donald McNarry, a good place to start is his website, http://www.donaldmcnarryshipmodels.com/ .  Be warned, though:  Mr. McNarry's work can be discouraging to normal, mortal ship modelers.  Pay particular attention to the extremely small scales of the models in the pictures - and contemplate the fact that they represent only a small fraction of the man's total output.  I don't like to use language like this, but if I had to give one individual with whom I'm familiar the title "world's best ship modeler," it would be Mr. McNarry.

His numbers are as reliable as anybody's.  The Airfix H.M.S. Prince measures just about 14 7/8" from the tip of the figurehead to the outside of the taffrail.  That puts the kit on a scale of 1/164.57142.  If we say 1/165, that's close enough for most civilized purposes.

If the kit were on 1/16" = 1', or 1/192, like the old Revell Constitution, the Prince's hull would be 12 3/4" long.  So in terms of hull length the Airfix Prince is 2 1/8" too long to be in scale with the Revell Constitution.  Whether that's a serious discrepancy is up to the individual modeler.  My personal inclination would be to think they'd look ok at opposite ends of a mantle, but not right alongside each other.

By the way - if you've got an Airfix Prince in hand, you're lucky.  It's a really nice kit, and it's been off the market for many years.  The "carved" detail on it perhaps isn't quite as crisp as that of the same company's Wasa and St. Louis, but it's mighty impressive; certainly better than I, for one, could achieve on my own at that scale.  My biggest complaint about the kit is the one I have about all the Airfix sailing warships:  the guns below the weather decks are "dummies."  They're stubs of barrels, plugged into holes in the middle of countersunk squares in the hull halves.  As time went by, the countersinking of the squares got deeper; those on the Wasa are deep enough that a casual glance might be deceived.  But those of the Prince are only about 1/32" deep. 

I can think of three solutions to this problem.  One - live with it.  Two - glue all the gunport lids shut.  Three - scrounge up some more full-length guns of the right size, cut out the ports, and mount the guns inside them. 

It's perhaps worth noting that the Calder/Jotika 1/72 H.M.S. Victory, which is generally regarded as one of the most accurate of scale wood sailing warship kits (and is certainly, at about $1,000, one of the most expensive), also uses "dummy" guns on its lower decks.  They're turned brass, and they plug into holes in pieces of wood positioned inboad of the gunports.  So maybe we shouldn't be too hard on Airfix. 

I sure would like to see that old Prince kit reappear.  Maybe it will.  The Airfix website at the moment is announcing the reissue of the old Endeavour, which, if I remember correctly (a dubious proposition these days), was the very first of the Airfix "Classic Ships" line.

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

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  • From: Biloxi, Mississippi
Posted by Russ39 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 1:26 AM

John:

Here is something to throw in the mix about the Prince. I dug out McNarry's Ship Models in Miniature and checked his model of the Prince. It was built at 1/32"=1' or 1/384 scale. It is unrigged and he gives the length of the model, figurehead to taffrail, at 6 3/8". At full size that comes out to 204 ft long for the hull. No rigging there, just the basic hull, figurehead to taffrail. I know that Constitution is about 205 ft figurehead to taffrail.  

I have to figure that McNarry's measurements are pretty reliable and he was working from the best available plans so it might be worth it to use his measurements for comparison.  

If one of you has the Prince kit in question, can you measure that length and see what you get for a comparison? I know this is still rather subjective, but it might be worth a try.  

Russ

DD1
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Posted by DD1 on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 11:19 PM

Thanx a lot Mr jtilly, I knew I was provoking a right person! :)
The more I am thinking about it, the more it seems either Constitution or Prince would be my next ship model. I am leaning towards Prince, since the painting tricks I have will really work on it (planking in high relief, mucho gold decorations), but Constitution has this unique appeal about her lines, that is hard to resist.
Well, for now, I need to finish the rigging of Saint Louis, and judging by the single foot rope I had installed yesterday (my first shot at rigging ever), it will be hell!
dd
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Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 7:23 PM

Unfortunately comparing the dimensions of old ships is a little more complicated than one might expect.  I just spent a few minutes trying to find out the length of H.M.S. Prince, and (as I rather suspected would happen) I got several sets of numbers.  One that I think is pretty reliable is a keel length of 141 feet.  (There were various ways of measuring ships' lengths.  Unfortunately the one that's most convenient for model builders - overall length including any projecting spars - was rarely if ever used in real life.) 

I'm lucky enough to have an Airfix Prince in my stash - one in an old, 1970s-vintage box.  There's no indication of scale on either the box or the instruction sheet - and, of course, determining the precise length of the keel on the model isn't easy.  (You have to subtract the stem and sternpost - and there's no certain way to figure out just how much of the length they take up.)  As best I can figure, though, the Airfix kit is somewhere between 1/150 and 1/165 scale. 

The only really sound way to figure it out would be to compare the kit parts with a set of reliable plans that were drawn to a known scale.  In this particular case that would be difficult, since, so far as I can tell, no contemporary plans of the Prince exist.  There are, however, a couple of commercially-available sets, based on the contemporary model in the Science Museum.

The Constitution has a "length of keel for tonnage" of 145'.  (That doesn't necessarily imply that the Prince was actually shorter overall.  But since she had a spritsail topmast, I imagine if the two of them were sitting side by side the Constitution's flying jibboom would make her considerably longer.)  Again, the only way to get a really accurate reading on this subject is to get hold of some accurate plans.

Bottom line:  in real life their hulls would be about the same length - but, of course, the Prince, with her three full-length gundecks to the Constitution's one, would tower considerably higher above the water.  Would the old Revell Constitution and the Airfix Prince look reasonable sitting next to each other?  I don't have a Revell Constitution in front of me, but my guess is that they'd look pretty good at opposite ends of a mantle.  I'd be a little uncomfortable setting them within a few inches of each other - but to each his/her own.

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

DD1
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Posted by DD1 on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 5:49 PM

Hmm
In your opinion, how would Constitution compare to let's say 'Prince', in terms of size? real ships, that is?

d

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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 5:12 PM
Well, the old original Revell Constitution is on 1/192 (1/16" = 1').  (Some sources list it as 1/196, but I'm pretty sure they're wrong.  That was Revell's very first sailing ship kit, and - I think - the designers did put it on a more-or-less accepted scale.  They thereby, knowingly or not, set the standard box size for two generations of additional Revell sailing ship kits.)  The old Revell H.M.S. Victory, according to our Forum friend Michelvrtg (who has a website devoted to models of that ship:  http://www.hmsvictoryscalemodels.be/HOME_EN.htm ), works out to about 1/220.  That's pretty close - and both those old Revell products actually are pretty nice kits, even by modern standards.  Certainly they're capable of being turned into serious scale models.

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

DD1
  • Member since
    September 2008
Posted by DD1 on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 4:54 PM

Thanx

Well, considering the 'Saint Louis' i already have, the 1/100 is out of the question for me.
I guess what I am trying to figure out is this: which scale do I pick, so that I can have at least one ship of the 'barocco' era (Prince, Le Phenix), 18 century ship-of the line (Airfix 'Voctory', heller 'Superbe'), and a 'USS Constitution' in either 1/150 or 1/196.

d

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 4:50 PM

Unfortunately the plastic sailing ship is such a scarce animal that it's virtually impossible to build up a collection on one scale.   About the most common one, I guess, is 1/96 (i.e., 1/8" = 1').  In that scale you can find about half a dozen sailing ship kits (not counting spurious knock-offs of other kits [like the Revell Thermopylae, which is a slightly modified Cutty Sark].  Off the top of my head I can think of the Revell Cutty Sark, Constitution, Kearsarge, and Golden Hind; a couple of the old Pyro kits (more recently appearing in Lindberg boxes), the Gertrude L. Thebaud and Roger B. Taney, are pretty close to that scale.  It's an old favorite scale among wood kit builders and scratchbuilders; there are quite a few nice wood kits from Model Shipways and Bluejacket in 1/96.

Heller made quite a few kits that claimed to be on 1/150 scale.  Many of them, unfortunately, can be called "scale models" only by stretching the definition of the term to extremes.

The late lamented Japanese company Imai issued a series of nice modern sail training ships in 1/350.  That's mighty small for sailing ships, but the kits were pretty good.  Quite a few of them can still be found under the Academy label.

Exacerbating the problem is the fact that the manufacturers frequently put incorrect scale designations on their kits.  In another Forum thread recently it was noted that the Revell H.M.S. Victory is advertised as being on 1/146 scale (or something like that), while the Airfix one says it's on 1/180 - yet the Airfix one is considerably bigger.  Back in the Good Olde Dayes most sailing ship kits were designed to fit standardized boxes.  The vast majority of sailing ship kits that are on the market now are reissues of those not-so-golden oldies.  It seems the manufacturers are, in many cases, incapable of doing the arithmetic necessary to figure out the scales of the old kits accurately.

Sorry to be so depressing.  It would be great if the sailing ship kit manufacturers would agree on one or two common scales, but it hasn't happened - and I'm not at all confident that it ever will.

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

DD1
  • Member since
    September 2008
Sailiing ships scales (and future choices)
Posted by DD1 on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 4:26 PM

Hi

As, my "Saint Louis" is progressing, and there is a fair chance I will actually complete it, I am trying to consider my future choices. The problem is - I want to stick to a single scale, having ships of a different scale somehow seems really wrong to me - hence these questions...

I have the Heller's 'Le Phenix' (listed as 1/150), and Airfix 'Prince' (1/180). Both ships are really nice, and both are about the same size (hull length being ~39cm), 'Phenix' being a tad shorter, a good deal lower, and more delicate. Could they actually be to the same scale?

HMS Victory - same size that 'HMS Prince'. Where they indeed of the same size?

USS Constitution(s): I have the simplified 'quick build' one, that is supposed to be more or less same scale as 'Le Phenix' - 1/150. In reality, it's quite a bit larger than 'Le Phenix', and in fact larger than both 'Prince' and 'Victory'. The smaller, 1/196 Constitution is good 8 cm shorter than the other ships. Which one will look more realistic next to them?

If I go with the larger 'Constitution', my choices are severely limited, as I can't think of any sailing vessel that will look reasonably to scale ...

One more question - to the lucky owners of Heller 'Superbe/Glorieux' - can someone tell me what is the max hull length (minus bowsprit). The 'quick-build' 'USS Constitution' is ~42cm, so, if the Heller ships are indeed 1/150, they should be a bit larger, correct?

Any ideas?

d

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