From ‘The Dark Side’ – Wood – USS Constitution 1:93rd Scale Mamoli Cross-Section
April 11, 2014 in Ships
I purchased and built this kit about 7 years ago but thought I’d offer it up as a sample of the type of modeling that I do. I’m a ‘wood’ guy doing work in plank on frame and plank on bulkhead models with a couple of resin submarines thrown in to break up the pace. I’ve completed three wooden ship models; The Virginia Armed Sloop, The Constitution Cross-Section, and The Swift, a coastal trade ship. In progress includes the Model Shipways 1:76 scale U.S.S. Constitution (48″ overall length, 37″ tall, 16″ wide), the Ictineo (the first truly submersible ship) a wooden submarine built before the U.S. Civil War Hunley / Alligator submarines by a self-educated Spanish schoolteacher, a 1/4 scale 10-frame cross section of the Bohomme Richard, and finally, my latest start is a solid wood hull model of the Lackawanna, a coastal tug that pulled coal barges for the Lackawanna Railroad Company. Estimated build times on these individual models run from 2 months (solid hull Lackawanna) to 2 1/2 – 3 years (1:76 Constitution). I enjoy the build and am in no rush to complete any of them because due to their sizes, I’ll have to find homes for them outside my own once completed.
The cross-section was a quick build requiring only about 10-months of evenings and one day out of two each weekend. The instructions were translated from Italian and I’m sure the translator was taking out his anger toward the American jokes about the Italian military of WWII.
The build was completed by simply assembling the 5 frames (two easy pieces each) on a common keel and then aligning them with spacer blocks that you cut from a provided piece of wood stock. I elected to toss out the original keel wood to incorporate a piece of history. While the grain is clearly not to scale, the wood I obtained was from the actual U.S.S. Constitution in Boston, MA. I purchased it through the Marine Detachment that sells removed wood during maintenance and upkeep. So, this model is truly built from the ‘keel up’ on a piece of living history.
I placed the cannons / carronades in various positions from ‘just fired’ on recoil, to ‘ready to fire’ run-out positions and I placed two guns on the main gun deck in a ‘shipping’ position that you’d see them in while transiting.
With the exception of the provided frame pieces, brass / metal pieces, all other items were fabricated, all spars were tapered by hand and all rigging was hand run based on provided plans. I elected to copper-plate the hull. I used copper strips from the 1:76 scale full length Constitution kit and used a ponce wheel (a metal wheel with evenly spaced spikes that dress-makers use to transfer patterns to cloth) on the backside to simulate the bolts that held the copper plates in place. I wasn’t pleased with the off-scale blocks so I sanded every one of them down by hand before installing. All knots were tied by hand and at last count there were over 580 individually tied knots on this model.
I got into wood ship models because I simply couldn’t paint very well and found that the wood models are more forgiving of my lack of ability in that department.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge