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USS Constitution Revell vs. Wood kit

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  • Member since
    January 2015
USS Constitution Revell vs. Wood kit
Posted by CaptainJack on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 9:52 PM

Hey all, I'm considering a Connie build but want to know if anyone has any thoughts or  experiences in the 1:96 Revell kit vs. the Model Shipways plank on bulkhead kit. I'd love a wooden model of the ship, but the revell kit looks great too and is smaller and cheaper. 

Any insight on one vs the other would be most appreciated.

Currently Working On - DeAgostini Millennium Falcon, 1/16 MPC General Lee, Moebius Bride of Frankenstein

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  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 12:56 AM

I'd say this.

The final answer is the wood kit.

But, you need to finish it.

How many wood ships have you built? I would be comfortable taking on that Constitution in wood at about #10. Myself, I'm at 7 so I don't think I could take it on yet.

That kit would take me about five years.

The plastic kit is in the top three or so great plastic model ship kits. I've built a few. It takes a year or so, and to compare with a wood kit; needs a rigging and mast assembly roughly comparable to the wood kit. Maybe a one or two year job.

 

Bill

 

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 7:08 AM

It depends on your experience.  Have you rigged a three master before?  if not, rigging will be a challenge with both kits.  If you have never built a plank on frame/bulkhead ship, that will be a challenge with the wooden kit.  For people who have never rigged a full ship, nor planked a ship, the dual challenges proves too much.  Even an experienced ship modeler would spend five or six months on a planked three-master.

A word on planking and why it is a challenge.  The planks supplied are simple rectangular strips.  While the width is correct amidships, each end must be cut to a taper- different for each plank.  The process of figuring out these curves is called spiling.  Plan on spending many hours on planking.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 9:15 AM

Hi;

 As Bill suggest the Wood Kit is the Pinnacle of any Ship Modelers Skills. Mine took me seven years. But when I gave her to the "Square Rigger" restaurant in Savannah,Ga. they loved her. The Model? I don't know where she is. The restaurant Has been closed, that I know of for ten years.

 When you do wood you get a feel for what the real "Masters" of the model world felt.

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 12:29 PM

The Revell kit is decent, but the topgallant masts and flying jibboom are extremely fragile and highly bendable.  Several of mine were warped.  Ditched it all and went to wood for just about everything except the hull.  But I am way off the reservation for someone who just wants to build it OOB. 

I would definitely consider the wood kit, but cut your teeth on something smaller first.  A sloop, or a brig.  See if you like it and have the skills.  Then decide on the big boy.

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

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

  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: Groton, CT
Posted by warshipguy on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 1:28 PM

Good advice here.  But, the version of the Constitution you choose might depend on the period that you would like to model her.  For example, the Revell kit was patterned after her 1924 refit while the Model Shipways version (I believe) shows her as she appeared after the bicentennial.  If you want to model her in her 1812 guise, go with the Bluejacket kit.  The 1/196 Revell kit depicts her in her 1830s appearance with the Jackson figurehead.  Do your research for all the kits to get a better feel for this.

I never bought into the argument that you need greater experience with three-masted ships before tackling one of the wood kits.  I believe that you should pick a ship that interests you, making it far more likely that you will put in the effort to learn as you go and far more likely to finish the model.  I have seen women and men take on the HMS Victory for their first model ship and do credibly, their medium being Plank on Bulkhead. I remember my first wood kit. It was the solid hull MS Phantom.  I have never finished her because I was never interested even though she was relatively easy.  I went next to HMS Diana.  I finished her in less than a year and sold her to a local restaurant for $10,000. Go with your interests!

Bill

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by CaptainJack on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 1:54 PM

Thanks for the replies. After considering and weighing the facts I've decided to go with the Revell 1/96 kit. I already have a kit from 1976 stored in my stash but wasn't sure if i wanted to tackle it or just go with an all wood kit. 

 

Questions for those who might have experience with the kit -

 

Would you go with a wood deck or keep it plastic?

What would you recommend as far as after market upgrades to make her more accurate and would you use anything in the hull to strengthen/add weight to the model?

 

Thanks in advance.

Currently Working On - DeAgostini Millennium Falcon, 1/16 MPC General Lee, Moebius Bride of Frankenstein

Next Up - Hobby Boss 1/350 USS Arizona, 1/24 Aoshima BTTF DeLorean, 1/25 Polar Lights BTTF part III DeLorean Mark IV

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, December 10, 2020 9:01 AM

CaptainJack

Thanks for the replies. After considering and weighing the facts I've decided to go with the Revell 1/96 kit. I already have a kit from 1976 stored in my stash but wasn't sure if i wanted to tackle it or just go with an all wood kit. 

 

Questions for those who might have experience with the kit -

 

Would you go with a wood deck or keep it plastic?

What would you recommend as far as after market upgrades to make her more accurate and would you use anything in the hull to strengthen/add weight to the model?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

I would stay away from aftermarket on this first sail build.  You can build a very nice looking model from the kit OOB.  Just paint the deck with flat finish, maybe mix a light gray with tan to reduce saturation, and it will be fine.  There is enough junk on that deck that the material is less important.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Thursday, December 10, 2020 9:26 AM

Tons of stuff out there, but unless you cut a bunch of holes in the deck, don't worry about the spar deck items, such as cannons and carriages.  Stick with stuff you can see.  Model monkey has some nice items which are still plastic but look much better than the original molds.  HIS models also has a nice wood deck, sails & period flags as well.  The deck is very thin, and can be glued directly to the plastic deck.  You could also go crazy buying rigging blocks and rope, but that can get expensive, depending on how much rigging you plan on doing (sails vs. no sails).  All a matter of choice.  As Don said, do your homework beforehand on how you want the ship to look.

And don't rush.  Shipbuilding is not a weekend project.  It is a labor of love.  (I just passed the 2 year mark on my Constitution).

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

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

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by CaptainJack on Thursday, December 10, 2020 11:51 AM

What about the rigging, ratlines, blocks etc.? The ratlines look terrible and I think is something id rather fix up front, even if it'll be a pain in the butt and tedious to tie and replace them.

Any recommendations on what products to use and maybe a reference guide to tying your own rigging? I do not plan to build her with sails btw. I think sails take away from the overall look of the model if I'm being totally honest.

Currently Working On - DeAgostini Millennium Falcon, 1/16 MPC General Lee, Moebius Bride of Frankenstein

Next Up - Hobby Boss 1/350 USS Arizona, 1/24 Aoshima BTTF DeLorean, 1/25 Polar Lights BTTF part III DeLorean Mark IV

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by CaptainJack on Thursday, December 10, 2020 11:54 AM

Also, the copper bottom. Should I paint it or use copper foil tape? Any recommendations here?

Currently Working On - DeAgostini Millennium Falcon, 1/16 MPC General Lee, Moebius Bride of Frankenstein

Next Up - Hobby Boss 1/350 USS Arizona, 1/24 Aoshima BTTF DeLorean, 1/25 Polar Lights BTTF part III DeLorean Mark IV

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: Formerly Bryan, now Arlington, Texas
Posted by CapnMac82 on Thursday, December 10, 2020 5:26 PM

CaptainJack
Also, the copper bottom. Should I paint it or use copper foil tape? Any recommendations here?

Copper paint by a long shot.

If only to avoid the week of sanding the rivet/nail detail off to give a flat surface the foil tape would want.

That being said, it's probably more "to scale" to sand down that detail to "barely visible" as the actual product was flush nailed.

Definitely go dig through Ships here thre or four pages back (the search function is junk) to find previous builds.

Out of the Box, the hull is both too thick and too thin.  The gun ports ought to be nearly 1/4" (6mm) thick if not 5/16" (8mm).

The aftermarket wood decks do help cure the issue of the seams in the plastic deck.

The best thing to get is a set of the Campbell plans.  Barrign that aset of the Bluejacket plans (which are in 1/8" (1/96) scale).
Whether you super detail to that level is entirely up to you,

Paint scheme?  This causes more arguments than asking about Arizona's.

Might be a good idea to start in with Revell's Yacht America (or the similar, if silly, USS America).  The schooner rig is simpler to build, and the slightly larger scale is a bit more first-timer friendly.

 

Now, the Bluejacket kit, for my 2¢, ia better kit than the MS one. 

Starting out with a smaller wooden kit is also a good idea, too.  MS's Pilot schoone is good.  Especially for learning about the way that, with wood kits, you build everything.  So, the cheeks at the top, the cross timbers, bolsters, all of it.  What is 3 or 4 parts in plastic is 8 or 10 in wood.

  • Member since
    April 2016
Posted by RacerToo on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 12:46 PM

I strongly recommend you build a sailing ship you're interested in. A ship that will keep your interest throughout the build. The 1/96 Revell Constitution was my first and only sailing ship I've built. And even though I built it thirteen years ago, its still my favorite model I own. Just remember, a ship model lives or dies on how well the rigging is done. Take your time and enjoy the learning process.  Screen Shot 2020-12-15 at 11.09.16 PM by steve hawley, on Flickr" alt="" />

  • Member since
    April 2016
Posted by RacerToo on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 12:53 PM
  • Member since
    April 2016
Posted by RacerToo on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 7:34 PM

  f by steve hawley, on Flickr" alt="" />

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by CaptainJack on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 1:47 AM

Well...I guess you can assume I took CapnMacs advice...I was all set to begin working on the Revell kit when I found a Bluejacket Bicentennial Connie kit on Ebay for under $150. I felt the $500+ off of the msrp discount was worth it a bit. I know its going to be an arduous task for someone with my limited wood kit experience, but I'm the kind of guy who doesn't build a specific subject twice, and I always wondered if I'd regret choosing the Revell kit over a strong wood kit of this particular ship. 

 

My question for those who might've built it is, any ideas on alternatives for the copper? Bluejacket wants to charge people $230 for the copper strips, but that seems awful high. Does anyone have any advice to render here? 

 

Thanks everyone.

Currently Working On - DeAgostini Millennium Falcon, 1/16 MPC General Lee, Moebius Bride of Frankenstein

Next Up - Hobby Boss 1/350 USS Arizona, 1/24 Aoshima BTTF DeLorean, 1/25 Polar Lights BTTF part III DeLorean Mark IV

  • Member since
    July 2013
Posted by steve5 on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 2:32 AM

forgot where I got it from , but , copper foil tape . is pretty inexpensive . try e bay . a whole roll for about $10 . make your own strips .

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 8:24 AM

Michaels craft stores have it.  I suspect HL and other craft stores do too.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by CaptainJack on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 1:16 PM

Is the foil tape the same as their copper strips? 

Currently Working On - DeAgostini Millennium Falcon, 1/16 MPC General Lee, Moebius Bride of Frankenstein

Next Up - Hobby Boss 1/350 USS Arizona, 1/24 Aoshima BTTF DeLorean, 1/25 Polar Lights BTTF part III DeLorean Mark IV

  • Member since
    March 2018
  • From: Chicago suburbs
Posted by Luvspinball on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 2:53 PM

Foil tape will (probably) not have the nail pattern.  You can use a pounce wheel or create a jig to emboss the nail pattern onto the tape.

Nice thing about the tape is that you can do the straight sections fairly quickly.  You will have to cut some unique tapered shapes at the bow & stern, but the majority of the hull is a lot of repetition.

Bob

Bob Frysztak

Luvspinball

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

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