USS Constitution – Hull Part 3

When complete, the spar deck timbering looked like this:

The hanging knees are installed on the starboard side only. I have added capstans and various railings as well.

At this stage, the quarter gallery and transom in place, I had a change of plans.  I had intended to leave the starboard side un-planked below the wales, but it looked kinda stupid, so I decided to fully plank the starboard side.

Planking in progress:

Once the planking was done, I painted the entire starboard side.  The Constitution was launched without her copper bottom, and was probably coated with tar from the waterline down, so I painted the entire side black.

Then, another change of plans, and I decided to paint the stripe in yellow ochre, from the top of the wales to the channels.  From what I had been reading, this would have been more likely the original color scheme. Also, it is likely that at launch, the vessel did not have lids on the gun ports, other than temporary lids fitted to the most forward port on each side, when underway.  So I chose not to model the ship with gun ports.  With the addition of the rails on the starboard side, the rudder, deadeyes on the channels, and painting the trim, the hull was ready to be mounted on the base for the diorama.

The diorama base was built on a slant.  I recall visiting the sites of several New England shipyards from the early nineteenth century and  being impressed with the fact they were largely just gradually sloping land that ran down into shallow water.  One I visited had the remnants of a huge lathe used to turn masts and spars, which “machine” was simply a rugged pylon for one end, a movable stand for the other, and a tool rest similarly constructed.  Those memories, together with review of available photographs of shipyards in the latter nineteenth century, formed the basis for the design of the diorama base.

The hull was left mounted to the cherry board on the blocks as originally configured.  The base was constructed with an opening to allow the hull mounting board to slide in partially beneath the 1/8″ plywood forming the ground level of the base.

At the stern, I placed a few more blocks leading into shallow water.  The surface of the ground was detailed with latex based wood filler in multiple stages, as the diorama evolved.