All donations are securely managed through PayPal. Amounts donated are not published online.
Many thanks for your kind support.
Model Boats Website Team
October 2018: 5 people September 2018: 13 people August 2018: 5 people July 2018: 8 people June 2018: 8 people May 2018: 7 people April 2018: 24 people March 2018: 13 people February 2018: 8 people January 2018: 9 people
Made the framed glass portion of the skylight. They're hinged so I can get a finger inside to flip the power switch on or off. They're made from clear plastic from some packaging, basswood, and brass wire.
Making a ship's wheel, specifically the turned spokes of a ship's wheel, and 20 of them all a-like, has been beyond me. So I gave up and got Model Monkey on Shapeways to scale his Constitution wheel up to 1:36 scale, and got 4 of them; 2 for Constellation, and 2 for Macedonian. The helm is made of mahogany. The curves braces laminated from some strips from an old kit; the uprights from some scrap left from a musical instrument build. The drum is some mahogany dowel, from a kit again, and a brass rod axle. Some paint and clear-coat and it's just about done. I was going to make it operate when the rudder servo moved, but a spoke handle fell off while painting, and I figure it's a bit fragile to be spinning at "non-scale" speeds, so it'll just get some line wrapped around the drum for show.
Trying to rig the main tops'l and mizzen tops'l braces, I found the winch servos seemed to rotate more than the 3.5 times I thought they did. Oddly, one rotated 4.5 times and the other 4.25 times. I plugged in other winch servos and got the same results, but my DX6 transmitter didn't have a servo-travel setting that I could find in the manual. So I made new winch drums - again - based on what the servos were doing. The fore tops'l brace was fine, but the main seemed to pull one side more than the other side. I mentioned this oddity on RCGroups and someone suggested the DX6 did have a servo travel setting, and I was sure I had looked for it years ago. My manual isn't where is usually is, so I found a PDF on line. Lo and behold, there's a Servo-Travel setting spelled out on page 42! So I set about adjusting my TX settings to the new drums and there you go, working as advertised! In the meantime I installed eyes in the mizzen for brace blocks to mount to, and made a brass wire ring for the main tops'l brace to tie to as noted on the original ship a few posts back in this thread. I apparently slopped some epoxy on the inside of one of the mizzen tops'l brace thru-deck fairleads and blocked it up. I need to pull it like a bad tooth, and replace it, so the mizzen braces are hooked up yet. Here's some exciting video of the separate bracing for the fore and main tops'ls. http://todd.mainecav.org/model/constellation/videos/con20180...
As the braces go on and off the winch drum, the go through a fairlead plate that's attached to, and moves with the winch, and guides the braces onto the correct drum so they don't get crossed. When the braces leave the fairlead they go off in various directions and angles which would actually prevent the winch servo from being able to slide fore-and-aft to maintain tension. A fairlead bar aft of the winches guides the braces straight to the winch fairleads to alleviate that problem. Originally this bar mounted on two knees and looking like a riding bit (or a hitching post for us horse folks) was wood with screw-eyes on top. These small eyes were to be replaced with larger ones when I found some. This was replaced with a metal bar with holes instead of eyes. This worked fine, but I was worried that it would unduly wear the brace lines over time and added too much friction to the system. Today I replaced the metal bar with a strip of plastic cut from a cutting board. This stuff looks like Teflon, but I don't think it actually is. My concern now is the line with saw into this thing. I think I will make one with sheaves instead of just holes that will cut the friction and ease my concerns about it damaging the lines or the lines damaging it. First I'll see how this one works out, and any wear that appears will tell me at what angle to install the sheaves in the new bar. If you're wondering why the new bar has so many fewer holes than the old one, it's because I reduced the braces from 5 pairs to 3 pairs. Only the tops'l yards are actively braced now.
I've been using some 6mm brass framed blocks (shown with some other brass items in one of the pics below) for brace blocks on the yards, they aren't the correct style for the ship, but I needed functional blocks on the braces. I also only have so many of them, so to free a few up for duty below deck, I made up 6 functional wood-shell blocks for the braces. They're ok, and they work, but I don't care for how they turned out. I used some white cedar for the shell, which is too soft and open-grained. I have some branches from a fruit tree, though I don't know what fruit, and I'm going to try and mill some of it to use for blocks. Till then, these will do.
I spent a couple of hours making a yoke or bow, for the fore tops'l yard. This is the thing that attaches to the yard and connects to the parrell. The main tops'l yard's and all three lower's were made from aluminum, but the last one took three tries to get and came out, well meh. I tried a different idea in their construction this time, since my soldering has gotten better. I cut some brass rod and hammered it square, or mostly square; then bent it to the right shape as my pattern. I hammered the ends a bit more to widen them and used files to shape them. I cut a notch down the middle of some rod about double the diameter of the first one, then cut off about an 1/8" giving me two half-round pieces. These got soldiered top and bottom to the center of the bow, forming the swell that the parrell pin goes through. After some filing and cleaning up, I drilled the hole in the swell and 1/16" holes in the ends. Then something happened with the drill press that startled me, I jumped, and the part flew off somewhere. I spent the day "cleaning" the shop trying to find it with no luck. So tonight I did it all again, but with some hope of finding the errant part eventually, I went about making the mizzen bow instead. when it came time to drill, I dug out the 2-direction sliding vice thing for the drill press, instead of holding it by hand with pliers, and everything came out fine with no unscheduled flights. The parrell shown is for the fore tops'l yard which is why I was making that bow, I haven't made the mizzen tops'l yard parrell yet. I do need to enlarge the hole slightly because the bow is supposed to go all the way on the post more than shown. Mounted on it's yard, the chain is the tye for the tops;l halyard, and the bit of line is the end of one of the main tops'l yard braces. The little nuts and bolts are 0-80 x 1" hex head bolts I bought 100 of years ago with some matching nuts, and some "scale nuts."
I think all of Jim's models are kits, and the Heuss is one that just caught his eye. He's got at least 4 more running models, maybe more, that he didn't bring that Sunday. Macedonian isn't much more than a bare hull right now, the sailing warship model in the pictures is Constellation. I was going to bring Pride and Mac, but my car will only fit me and one model. I actually probably could have fit Mac in, but I was too caught up into stuffing Constellation in without snapping anything off, that it didn't occur to me.
[Score: 5/10] 86" Macedonian Powered by Lead Acid (6v) 7Amp/h Batteries - Comments: Macedonian was a Lively class 38 gun frigate of the Royal Navy built in 1810. She fought and was captured by the American frigate United States in October of 1812, and taken into the US Navy where she served until 1829. This model is 1:36 (1"= 3'), built of white pine over 3/8" CDX plywood forms, covered with one layer of 4oz glass cloth outside and coated with poly resin inside. It will depict the ship as she was in 1812, before being re-rigged to American standards. Estimated specs: Beam: 13-1/2" Length of the hull: 59" Length over the rig: 85-3/4" Width over the rig: 36" ~ Main yard w/o stuns'l booms. Length on deck: 55" Draft: 6.7" w/o ballast keel, 10.2" w/ballast keel. Height bottom of keel to main truck, without ballast keel: 60.8", with ballast keel: 64.3"
I got tired of looking at that stump of a dowel sticking out of the deck and decided to put a proper capstan there. It's built on a 3/4" maple dowel drum, and the base, drum-head, and whelps are from scrap mahogany from that used to make the restored ship's hatch combings. The pawls, bar holes, and base plate are done.
A week of rain made CBMM cancel their outdoor activities and though I'm not adverse to sailing in a drizzle, it was forecast to pour off-and-on all day Saturday and it did. So I cancelled the trailer rental and didn't go to St Michaels. I planned on going to Baltimore, rain or shine, because I didn't plan to sail the model there anyway. Sunday turned out very nice and the White Rocks boys ran their boats, one of which got some special attention.
I've done a lot of renovation, reconstruction, and repair work on models for antique shops and such, and much of that experience went into Constellation and other models. As a working model, thing wear, need to be adjusted, repaired, and replaced much more often than a static model, and she's built with that in mind from access to how things are put together. The parrell bands from a post or two ago are a prime example. The real ones are hinged, but mine needed to also hinge not only to be authentic, but at some point I might need them to come off, and unless they hinge, I'd need to take half the rig apart to get them off. That ring-thing I mention in the last post is much the same, It won't really be a closed ring, but may be more like a hinged key-ring, like in this picture. For me, making a working model is 40% "how will I get it there and back," and 70% "how will I fix that if it breaks?"
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum moved their Model Boat Expo back to May and I'm getting Constellation ready to sail. It's a tradition now that I have some progress to show each time she sails, so this time I want to set the courses. Since her last sail the aft bulwark was added and new winch drums made, and a wedge added to the cart to keep her from sliding back. Putting her on and off her ballast was a pain by myself, so I ground off the threads on the rods for about a centimeter so they act like pins and hold the boat in place while I thread in the other rod. That little hack was much simpler than figuring out some sort of cradle to fit on the cart. I looked at all sorts of ways to control the courses, and the simplest method was sort of a yard at the bottom, but one that wasn't obvious. I used a length of vinyl coated clothes hanger and sew pocket onto the clews on the backside of the sails. In the center of the foot, I sewed a sleeve. The rod goes through the sleeve and onto the pockets. If I need to reduce sail, I can easily pull out the rods and bunt up the sail. I also figured I'll set the two gaff-headed Spencer sails. So far I sewed hoops on the forward one. Their a line on it to brail it up if I need to lose it. The t'gallants and royals will get hooks on the halyards, and some sort of easy release on their sheets, so I can take them off, yard and all, if it's too windy. If need be, I should be able to brail up the spencers, bunt up the courses, and remove the t'gallants and royals all in just a few minutes, and have her down to just tops'ls, spanker, and jibs. If THAT's too much sail, well, then it's just too windy to sail. Hopefully I'll get to sail her with all 17 sails set! The other bit of "progress" for this sail will be to use both winches. Previously I used one winch to control the main corse yard, and the fore and mizzen were slaved to it. Last time I controlled the fore tops'l yard and slaved the main and mizzen to the fore. This time the main and mizzen tops'l yard will be controlled together on their own winch, and the fore tops'l yard will be controlled separately on it's own winch. This way, when I come-about or tack, I can back the fore against the wind to push the bow across. So, I was looking at images of the real ship to refresh my memory of how the main and mizzen brace were led when I noticed the main tops'l brace was anchored in the rig in one place when sail was set, and another place without sails. Looking around I found there was some sort of ring or band that slide up and down the mizzen topmast pushed by the tops'l yard parrel when it was raised and lowered to set or take in sail. I'd never noticed that sort of thing before, but looking at images of ship contemporary to Constellation, I found it was actually pretty common place, and I even saw it done on a few British ships of the 1850's and later. Always learning something new.
Thank you. That's where she's meant to be, what I had in mind when I started. The battery failure from her first sail was haunting me the whole time. This battery is 5 years old now, and the Tx battery is older and original to the radio. Everything worked great though I was sweating bullets the whole time. I realize now I didn't even offer my friend Mark a chance to sail her, which in hindsight was quite rude - I'll make up for that.
As soon as the cutter was off the build-board, I started on the launch. The launch is the largest of the ship's boats and the only one of them that's carvel planked. The build board was cut narrower for the reason spoken of earlier. Since the frame spacing was the same, I could reuse most of the marks. The stem, keel, sternpost, and transom plus a sternpost knee, were assembled. The forms were cut from balsa again, sanded to the line and rough beveled, then glued to the board. The ribs are 1/16" thick x 1/8" wide bass again. This time I didn't glue them to the forms at all, they're only helg by the rubber bands. Once they were on the forms, the keel assembly was glued to the ribs and the build board and planking commenced. When the planking was done, the stem and transome were cut free and hull lifted off the forms. The ribs between the ribs were added. The drawings of Constellation's boat didn't show anything more than their lines. I had little information as to their interior and hardware details. For the launch, I did know she carried a 12 pound boat howitzer and some information on that which gave me a little more about the boat's interior. Using Ivan as a guide (He's a 1:35 scale WWII Russian sailor and the model's first of some 30-40 eventual crewmen) I determined there needed to be a deck in the boat so that went in, but first I painted the bilges of the boat as I'd never be able to get in there after the deck went on. The launch was coppered. I used peel-and-stick aluminum duct tape to "copper" the bottom, and painted it copper. I have a 1:36 scale British frigate in the works, and this is how I intend to "copper" her as it's less than 1/4 the cost of Constellation's real copper. The launch has special tracks and rails in her for handling the gun. The gun can be shifted fore and aft, and the field carriage can be tossed in the sheets, and rolled forward on tracks of it's own for taking ashore. We're still a long way from Higgins boats here folks. 😉 There's more details to add, to boat boats; hardware, water casks, thole pins, oars, sails, etc etc etc. There's also 4 more boats to build; the 2nd cutter, whaleboat, and two quarter-boats just alike.
Building a model ship often means actually building several models because most ships have boats. Constellation had six. My method for building boats is nearly the same as for building larger hulls and real boats - planks over forms. I have a 1:12th scale drawing of Constellation's boats in particular, from the National Archives. They not only printed me a paper copy, but gave me a .tif image which I could easily re-scale to 1:36. I reproduced the lines as forms extended to a baseline so the boat could be built upside down. I drew each boat's patterns and arranged each to fit on a sheet of copy paper. I printed this on full sheet label paper so I can rough cut them, stick them on the form material, and then cut the forms. I had a few sheets of 1/8" balsa that I cut the forms from. A pine plank was used for the building-board, and marked where each station would go, then the forms were glued on making sure each was 90° to the base and square to the center-line. A note on the build-board, it doesn't have to be as wide as the boat, and should, in fact, be narrower. Then you can access inside the sheer and planking, and later, removing the boat from the forms will be much easier. A small plank of 3/4" stock will let you get rubber bands completely around the model, and it will also fit in a vice which is very convenient. The edges of the forms are shaped so the planks will lie flat on the surface, and not teeter on the edges. Using balsa makes this easy work, though you have to be careful not to snap them off the build board. I sanded them nearly to shape before mounting them on the build board, then fine tuned them with a plank laid on the forms as a guide. The first boat I started with was the ship's 1st cutter, which is a lap-strake, or clinker-built boat. (Only the launch is carvel planked) It's frames are 1/16" thick bass strips 3/32" wide. Each frame is dipped in ammonia and bent over it's form. I put a dab of glue at the ends that would eventually be cut off to hold it to the form, but for the frames on the wine-glass and hollow forms at the ends I used rubber bands to pull them into shape. Once the ammonia dries, they will hold this shape. Part of the reasoning behind using balsa for the forms is if anything gets glued that shouldn't, it's the form and not the model that will give-way. So far, the forms used on both boats came through the process in usable condition, which is encouraging as I need to make two quarter boats just alike and will need to reuse the forms then. The stem, stern-post, and keel are 1/16" bass, assembled together while flat. First the top corners of the keel were planed off to make a sort of rabbet. The transom is also bass as it stays in the boat. The transom is cut taller to reach the build-board, and partially cut at what will be it's top to make it easier when it's time to detach the boat. It's glued to the stern post and the build-board, the keel is glued to each frame, and the stem is glued to the build-board. This pretty much forms the rigid skeleton of the boat. There's two ways to represent lapstrake planking on so small a model. One way is to sand each plank so it's half as thick at it's top edge as its bottom edge. The planks are butted on the boat, carvel style, thick against thin, giving the impression of overlapped planks. I chose to actually overlap the planks because the inside of the boat is open to view, and it's actually easier when dealing with wood only 1/32" thick. Since each plank of a lapstrake boat overlaps the one below it, each plank has to be spieled, or shaped to fit, and the boat must be planked from the keel to the sheer. I divide the length of the widest frame from the keel to the sheer into the number of planks I want, then divide the lengths of the stem and the stern by this number. You'll find the planks will get narrow forward, and flare wider back aft. You may have to experiment a bit with the number of planks to maintain at least 2 scale inches forward and not more than 5 scale inches aft, or the planking will look nonsensical and out-of-scale. I planked the cutter in 1/32" thick bass. The first planks are the garboards, next to the keel. For the next plank I placed a strip of card along side and used a piece of plank against the edge of the wood plank to mark the card. The marks are actually the bottom edge of the plank. Each plank is shaped on it's bottom edge to the plank before, and it's top edge is straight. Then I dip it in ammonia and clamp it in place, where the "clamps" are rubber bands, blocks of wood, pins, clothes pins, whatever works. Again, a narrow build-board allows the rubber bands to pull in as you reach the sheer rather than pulling them away from the boat. Once your brain gets wrapped around spieling, the planking will move along. But don't try to do too much too fast or you'll just get frustrated and ruin everything. Take lots of breaks. The planks need to be sanded thinner at their ends, almost to nothing, depending how much of a rabet was cut into the stem. At the stern they run right off the transom and are cut flush. You can notch the transom into steps for each plank to fit into, of fill the little gaps where they overlap with putty later. Since they're getting painted, I used putty. When the planking is done up to the sheer, it's best to add rub rails and strakes while the boat's still on the forms. I then finished the cut in the transom, cut off the stem near the build-board, and nipped off each frame where it was glued to the form. Then carefully lifted the boat off the forms. Some form may have come off with it, and some spots may need to be reglued. I installed frames in between each of the ones the boat was built on, putting a frame about every scale foot. Seat clamps, floor boards, seats, oar notches, lifting eyes, mast steps, etc, are all added bit-by-bit, before you know it, you've got another model boat. I'll get into the launch next.
I use basic enamel for plastics, fiberglass, metal, and wood. Typically Rustoleum, or a store brand like Ace Hardware, etc. If you're gonna clear-coat, check it on a test piece first. Rusoleum changed something a while back and their clear coat sometimes reacts with even their own paints.
After the sail, I added some hardware to the spars, namely jackstays. I also ordered some aircraft plywood and used it to make new winch drums. These are sized to my current plan of only bracing the tops'l yards. Hopefully, this is the last set I'll have to make. Seeing into the dark interior of the hull can be a pain, more so the brighter it is outside. Mark got some red LEDs to light up the dash of his old pick-up (ute for my Assie friends) and gave me a left-over section. It requires a 12 volt supply (I'm running 6) and red doesn't really help in daylight, but I like the idea. If I can find a white LED strip that'll run on 6 volts, this will definitely get put in. The stern also had folding bulwarks like the bow, but that wrapped all the way around. On the real ship these were replace with a fixed bulwark except for a couple of panels that allowed access to the stern boat. By the time the ship came to Baltimore in 1955, these too were gone, with all their hardware. Again, I'm not making them functional, and decided to built these on the model rather than as separate pieces like on the bow. The hinges are represented inboard by card stock and brass eyes. The barrel portion of the hinges outboard at the bottom of each panel will be a little section of 1/16" wood dowel. The forward bulwarks were epoxied in place and the support rods were installed all around. The tops are raw because they all get a bright cap rail (varnished natural wood) and I'll put that on when it won't get messed up with paint or glue. A friend sent me a box of stuff, among which was a nive little cat face perfect for my catheads. Only having one, I was going to cast a pair in resin. But I'm out of casting resin and epoxy glue didn't set up in a way I liked, so we'll come back to that. The tops'l yards on the ship are hinged iron bands, line with wood staves. I wanted to replicate that functionality not only because that's what the ship has, but because it would allow me to take them off the mast without unrigging half the ship. I cut some heavy copper I use for everything and bent it into two half circles; soldiered brass tubing to the ends, and sawed out the notches with a jewelers saw. If only it had been that easy. Soldiering here tended to un-soldier there, cold soldier joints wouldn't hold. I gave up in frustration. I changed the gun carriages based on some research I did, but I'll post separate entries dealing with them and the ship's boats. I went looking for information on soldiering little things, and took another whack at the parrels. This time it worked out much better. I reused the copper band and brass tubing for the main and made the fore the same way. I still have to make the mizzen tops'l yard parrel, but my soldiering has gotten much much better. Last May ('17) I took the boat to the Baltimore Port Expo for National Maritime Day again, surrounded by members of our newly formed White Rocks Model Boat Club. I didn't manage to get her controls set-up in time, so she didn't go in the pool, but sat on her cart and looked pretty. I put her courses and trys'ls on her for this. The trys'ls won't be used when she sails, but can be set for static displays. The courses will get used, but I'll be able to buntl them up as shown to reduce sail. Also to reduce sail, the t'gallants and royals will be easily removable, or replaceable, as the case may be, depending on what wind there is. That pretty much brings us up to date as of July 2017. I'll post something about the boats and guns in a bit, as well as any other progress that's made. There's far more detail, images, and notes at my website on this, and the other models I'm working on at: http://todd.mainecav.org/model/ There's a few items I skimmed, or skipped over, like her signal flags, that are covered in detail there; like the day she was almost dismasted by the garage door.
I wanted to use separate controls for fore and main+mizzen, but my "new" winch drums where crap, and I only had one drum, the wood disc and cardboard one I've been using. So, I linked all three masts together. It was very near the end of October, but the forecast was for light breezes and mid to high 50's (about 13°c). I rigged her royals for the first time, ran all the bracing through the tops'l yards instead of the courses. I redid the bracing plan to only use tops'l yard braces instead of both tops'l yards and courses. This simplifies everything, and hopefully it would be enough. I had a list of specific items to test, so based on that list, here's a report on the first time Constellation really sailed, under full control, in open water: First off, she was sailed in Rock Creek in Maryland USA. My friend Mark has access to the neighborhood boat-ramp three blocks down the street. He brought his "Son of Erin" along, rigged as a sloop (it's convertible) and his grand-kids who also lived nearby. So... 1. Test fit in car; she hasn't been in my Toyota Matrix yet. -It was tricky at first, but it worked. None or nothing else is getting in the car, so this isn't the preferred transport by any means - but it's nice to know it's there. Note in the photo, in the car on the left is the launch cart with the wheels removed, packed in nice and neat. 2. Test the new launch cart. -As noted, it broke down and packed away really nicely. The approach to the ramp was very steep, and I took her down head first so she wouldn't slide off the back of the cart. The bumpy ground made the model slide back a lot. I'm going to put a stop in the channel that will catch the edge of the PVC cap and should fix that problem. There's was also a lot of slop in the flag pole bracket, the hole for the bolt that holds the two parts is bigger than the bolt, making for too play in the handle. I replaces it with another pole bracket that fit more snugly. The wheels are hard and a bit jarring, especially on the ramp where there was broken concrete underwater so cars wouldn't sink into the silt. The handle was the bigger problem though, slopping up and down and flexing. Otherwise the cart performed as expected and I was really pleased with it. When I used it to one side of the ramp where there was hard sand, I had no problems at all. 3. With the royals set, she'll be sailing with the most sail so far. -The forecast was for Northerly winds up to 5 mph. Up in the creek that was variable in direction and speed, gusting at least to 15 now and then, sometimes from two directions! The model took it all very well, though my heart beat faster every time she heeled, I don't think she once got her gun-stripe wet. 4. Test fore tops'l yard brace routing. -No problems at all, everything worked are designed, for a change. 5. See how self-tending bowlines rigged on the main tops'l work out. -They seemed to function just fine. When the model was close enough to see them, they didn't snag or interfere with the sail or bracing. 6. Actually sail the model in open water instead of bumping the bottom in a shallow pool. -A combination of joy and terror. Every gust my heart raced, but she sailed great and went where I meant her to go from the beginning. 7. Get some pictures and video of the model sailing. -One thing that went wrong was my camera's batteries dying, so I didn't get all the pics and video I wanted. Fortunately, Mark was on hand and took some shots and video with his phone. In all, the day was a resounding success. Everything went well, nothing broke or failed. And she sailed! Not like her first sail where she barely made head way for more than a few seconds, but controllably, reliably, and fast too! I handled her by myself. Mark was there and offered his help, but part of my test was seeing if I could deal with it all 100% by myself. No problems. The awkward bit was sitting her on her ballast and lining the rods with their holes without her falling off. That's something I need to work out, otherwise no part of loading, unloading, launching, retrieving, etc, was more than one person could handle. In the end, what I though would work out back in 1999 did. Here's 16 minutes of that day's sailing... https://youtu.be/80b2au24rFQ
Fully set up, I'm guessing Constellation weights between 100 and 110 pounds (I haven't had the opportunity the get an accurate measurement yet). Taking her to events with pools requires lifting her into the pool. I haven't figured out a way to do that easily, or safely, or more importantly, alone. I built her to sail in open water, so the 2 or three times I have to ask for help at a pool isn't a big deal. I'm sure that most of the time I'll be launching her at a ramp or shoreline, and that I'll need to move her from the parking area to the shoreline, however far that may be. There's times I may be faced with a bulkhead, but like the pool, there's no easy fix for that with a model this size. My first plan was a hand-truck set-up like the picture of my friend Ray from RCGroups, and his SC&H model of Surprise, a very similarly sized model to mine. The hand-truck is plastic and the cradle is wood, and you can see it's pretty bulky to hold a 100 pound model. Ray said his issue with it was it floated. When launching he had to push it down to get the model clear, and when retrieving he had to hold on to it or it would fall over, while trying get hold of a big model with spars sticking out everywhere. If the water was choppy or boaters were making wakes, it was that much more difficult. He also didn't like that he had to go into knee-deep water, at least. Dan, also from RCGroups, and the fellow that developed the sliding-brace-winch, has an SC&H brig he's modeled as the US brig Syren. It also came with the same hand-truck Ray's Surprise did. Dan wasn't all that enamored with it either. He pointed out how when you lean it back to move the model, it put you in among the rigging risking damage or even injury. Dan altered his hand-truck into a cart and has not looked back. In my mind, it's a boat. I have a 16 foot sailboat, and to move it, and launch it, I use a boat-trailer, so it would make sense to make a boat-trailer for the model. I scribbled an idea on paper, but then turned to some old 3D modeling software so I could see it better. My model has a 4 foot long ballast tube bolted to the keel. So I figured a U shaped channel to cradle that tube and support the model would be the basis of the cart. While Dan's cart has worked great for him, I didn't care for his 3-wheeled arrangement. Like an actual boat trailer, I opted for a single axle right under the model. I figured this would be more easily maneuvered and handle terrain a little better. I figured on making the cart from angle steel I dould bolt together. I over-designed the thing a bit, drawing a framework that would cradle the model that the more I looked at, the less I thought I needed. Going back to my real boat trailer, It just had center support and a pair of carpet cover skids (bunkers) to hold the boat up-right. Simple is always the best approach - and I had just the right material to build this cart from - a steel bed-frame. This L-angled steel had the strength to easily carry the model while using a minimum of material, and it certainly wasn't going to float! Two girders would form a U shaped channel to cradle the ballast tube. I figured a rod axle would need support or it could bend with a 100 pound model bouncing on it, a third angle would be set across for the axle. A couple of upright posts with padding would hold the model upright. Nearly all the weight of the model rests in the channel, so there's not a lot of strain on the uprights. I didn't have a cutting wheel so tried cutting the bed frame with a reciprocating saw. Bed frame steel is hard, it ate both blades, and two more I bought before finally getting the three main pieces cut, though I had no trouble drilling it. I used the u-bolt portion of a set of wire-clamps to hold the axle. A bit of flat steel to brace the axle so it wouldn't try to twist. It's all held together with nuts and bolts. I wanted short pieces of steel for and aft to hold the loose ends of the channel, but I wasn't gonna try to cut that stuff again, so I just used some scrap 2x4. To hold the handle I tried mounting a wood block with a hole forward, but then I remembered I had a flag-pole mount from when I replaced a rotten post on the porch. It took some searching, but I found it and screwed it on. The wheels are shopping cart wheels bought new from Ace Hardware online for about $5 each. I looked into inflatable wheels to give a softer ride, but they were too expensive for me. I watch the local thrift shops though, and if something shows up with nice wheels, I'll grab it. A fender washer goes on the axle first, so the wheel doesn't rub against the axle support; then the wheel, another washer, and a hitch-pin holds it all on. I can pull the hitch pins and remove the wheels making it easier to stow the cart. The uprights are simple 3/4" pine with some pipe insulation for padding (as opposed to tennis balls in the 3D model). They're bolted to the axle support, but I want to alter that a little so they can be folded in to make the cart flatter for transport. The handle is an old wood closet pole I've had for a long time. A bit too old it would turn out, but that's a later story. I painted it white for visibility as it also serves as a guard to protect the model's bowsprit from cell-phone wielding idiots that seem to be the most common form of life on this planet now. I painted the cart blue, because it wasn't black, white, or red; the other colors I had. Unfortunately, I wasn't ready in time to the museum event, and didn't go, but I wanted to sail the model before it got cold, and see if this thing worked.
The maritime museum's event, scheduled for October instead of May, was cancelled as a hurricane blew up the coast and pushed water up the bay flooding a lot of coastal bay towns like St Michaels. I couldn't make the next Port Expo in 2016, but I tried to be ready for the maritime museum in October. I started making the forward bulwarks. The real ship had sections that folded down on bronze hinges a few of which still exist as she still had her forward bulwarks when she came to Baltimore. They could also be removed. I mad all the section as a single piece and I don't intend to make them functional, just something to snag and need to be repaired. As mentioned, the original winch drums warped and I made new ones with styrene drums instead of wood. These vanished around the time I moved and haven't been found yet, so I got some sheet plastic to take the place of the CDs and made a new pair. I have to say, I'm not happy with these at all. I did add a small block of Delrin to each winch to brace the drums against the pull of the braces/springs. Constellation's board at her entry port were carved. I took a photo of an original at the ship and traced it in PaintShopPro. Scaled it to the model and printed it. I glued this to some bass wood. I have some mahogany I can slice some thing slabs off of, and I may try using a rotary tool to carve a set for real, but till then, these will do. I tried to make the tops'l yard parrels which are iron hoops lined with wood. There's a pin for the yard's yoke to ride on, and the hoop can be opened and hinged to be removed. I wanted all that in case I need to remove a yard at some point without pulling down the whole rig. I tried it with some sheet brass, and again, I wasn't too hgappy with the result. We'll come back to that. So, I fiddled around with cutting combs to make hatch gratings, and actually managed to get something done, which led to making the main hatch cover. I had cut a bit of plywood as a cover, just to keep dust from going below while I was working - I based my hatch cover on this piece, framed the bottom; installed ledged for it to sit on inside the hatch coaming, and made gratings and fake beams on top. It's a bit simplified buy what the ship actually had, but it gets the point across. A couple of smaller gratings also got installed giving the deck a more finished appearance. I wasn't thrilled at bumping the bottom of a pool again, but the maritime museum is on the Miles River. I needed to be able to launch and retrieve the model at a boat-ramp or shore, so I started designing a launch-cart....
Constellation and Pride got stuffed into the van, and off we went. This year they had moved the pool down near the end of the dock and we got to be under the tent with the other exhibitors. I took Pride along this time as well. The director of Historic Ships Baltimore sailed on Pride when I did in 81. He was with the boat longer than me, and I think my model brought back some memories. The pool's still too shallow, but she sailed a little and looked good even aground. Pride got put in the pool for a moment, only the second time she's gotten wet. No sailing yet, her ballast fin isn't made yet. Here's a little video of Stella playing in the pool: https://youtu.be/Q9eBR-kax7k
I began laying the deck on April 5th. It had snowed as recently as the week before, but it finally warmed up enough to use glue. The strips were cut to 6-5/8" length, about 20' in 1:36 scale. I used a black marker on two opposite sides to represent the pitch in the seams. The deck was laid in a 5-plank pattern to mix up the butt-joints as much as I could. My research on her decking found she's had various styles and plank widths over her life. The earliest photo showing her deck that I could find, showed it straight planked with 7 or 8" wide boards based on the number of planks between her waterway and the main hatch coaming. Her waterway logs seem to be placed ON the decking, as there's no margin planks or joggling - even today. The planking was set with gel CA. Gorilla sells it in a nice bottle with a metal pin in the cap to keep the spout open. It would up taking 3 of these bottles to complete the deck. The planks are cut at a 45 on the ends along the fore and aft access hatches, to try and hide this seam as much as possible. Once the deck was down, I scraped it. The glue is more resistant than the basswood is, so sanding would have scalloped the wood between seams. Scraping makes everything level. Some lite sanding, more to polish than remove anything, was done last. I had planned to stain the deck a very light grayish tint, but an active naval vessel gets holy-stoned regularly and wouldn't be gray as the ships that sit at a dock today are. In all it took 455 pieces to complete the deck and there wasn't any scrap longer than 1 inch left over. In all I have 3/4" deck beams, 1/4" plywood, a layer of 4oz cloth and resin, and a 3/16" basswood deck - I don't recall why I designed it so heavy, but it certainly doesn't hurt the model at all, and I think the 3/16" square strip will prove to have been easier to set than the 1/16" x 1/4" planks Pride and Macedonian will get. The deck go a coat of water-based satin poly, and I stared working on hatch coamings, cap log, and waterways. The cabin skylight and two hatched forward of it, including the capstan, and all combined into one hatch where the battery is accessed, and which hides the aft ballast rod and main power switch. The cap logs Are 1/2" wide x 1/4" tall basswood that was tren'led, glued, and copper nailed, onto the deck, flush with the outside of the hull covering this seam completely. The the angled wood waterways were installed around the inside of the cap log, and the deck got a coat of oil-based satin poly. This actually leeched in and made the marker seams bleed a little. In hind sight, I think I'll go with paint over marker for seams in the future. The coamings got painted black. I'm not sure why the Navy painted deck fittings black. It was even common to paint to top surfaces of tops black. I wonder how many injuries and losses this cost the navy that white paint would have prevented. Anyway... Constellation didn't have "solid" bulwarks, but rather she had hammock irons bolted to her cap log. These were removed when Baltimore tried to pass her off as a frigate and tossed in the bilge. When the ship was restored as a sloop of war, they found all but one. These irons are designed to have wooden rails at their tops, inboard and out, and have holes so several lines can be run through them. The Navy in it's wisdom though, decided to wainscot them to appear as solid bulwarks, despite the additional splinter hazard that would be in battle. I wasn't making all those metal stanchions just to hide them under wood and tarps, so I made wood blocks sheathed in sheet bass, scribed to look like vertical wainscotting. It was the end of April by now, and the Baltimore Port Expo was in two weeks. I wanted to have hammocks in the bulwarks, as she appears in the portrait, but there was no time to figure this out, so I layered on some balsa and shaped it so it looked like tarps were laid over the hammocks. When I figure out how I'll represent the stowed hammocks, I can pull the balsa off easily enough. The bulwarks on, I made some fittings for the spencer masts; installed the eye bolts at the base of the masts; made some bollards (or whatever name they gave those posts), made and installed the catheads, which are laminated 1/16" basswood. I then started setting up a jury rig and her controls so she could sail at the Port Expo. I set her t'gallants and all three heads'ls this time around. By the night before the Expo, she was ready to go.