My Workbench

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Scratch Built 1/1200 USS Chesapeake 38 Gun Frigate

Back in October (2016) in my post "Plans for My American Fleet" http://volsminiatures.blogspot.com/2016/10/plans-for-my-american-fleet.html, I included plans for the USS Chesapeake, a ship no one seems to manufacture for some reason. Its famous foe HMS Shannon is easy to find, but not Chesapeake.

(Much of the following paragraph is paraphrased from Osprey's "American Light and Medium Frigates 1794-1836".)
One of the original six frigates designed by Humphreys, it was the last to be built. After the Quasi-War with France, Congress re-evaluated the large frigate design. The Navy let Josiah Fox redesign the sixth frigate authorized in 1794, Chesapeake, more along the lines of the European frigates. The result was much smaller than Humphrey's 44's - at 152'6" long with a beam of 40' it was even shorter and shallower than Humphrey's 36 gun frigates. It was redesigned to carry a main battery of 28 x 18 pdr guns, with 16 x 9 pdr guns on the upper works. The ship reemphasized the forecastle and quarterdeck, the spar deck over the waist was lighter than those on Humphrey's frigates. Fox followed up with designing and building the Philadelphia. It was slightly longer at 157' but narrower at 39', and displaced less tonnage than Chesapeake. Both ships were intended as 44 gun frigates and were carried on the US Navy lists as 44's through 1807. Chesapeake was the flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron in 1802-03, and was again sailing to the Mediterranean in 1807 at the time of the HMS Leopard Affair. Chesapeake was laid up in ordinary at the end of 1807 and reappeared on the Navy list as a 36 gun frigate in 1812. I won't go into the details of the Leopard Affair or her fateful meeting with HMS Shannon which can be easily Googled.

At the time of Chesapeake's meeting with Shannon her armament was as follows:

Gun deck = 29 x 18 pdr long guns
Quarterdeck and Forecastle = 18 x 32 pdr carronades, 2 x 12 pdr long guns, 1 x 12 pdr carronade

USS Chesapeake Inspiration Painting

Plan sized to 1/1200 scale
1st step is to glue the plan onto the wood. Bass wood this time.

After cutting out the decks

I ended up using only 3 of the decks

After sanding the sides I glued the left & right profiles to the hull

I used small bits of card for the quarter galleries under the profiles. I glued the stern gallery plan to thicker card and cut it out, then glued to the stern.

Bits of bond paper cut and glued on for gunport hatches.

Gun carriages mad from bits of card and cannon/carronades from monofilament fishing line 20 and 30 pound test respectively.  


Adding the paint scheme. The channels were made from bits of old plastic credit card. Stern davit made from brass sail sprue (I never throw anything away! Drives my wife mad.)


Cat heads and skid beams are made from common staples. 

Boats added to the skid beams and stern davits.



Sails traced out

Mast parts 

Masts put together and drying

Masts attached

Sails with spars attached

Lower shroud/ratlines made and attached

Upper shroud/ratlines attached and standing rigging started. Note the quarter davits and boats have been attached.

Closer view of the quarter davit/boat assembly.

These scratch built davits and boat came out better than the GHQ cast pieces that came with the Constellation model IMHO.

Standing rigging complete

My American ship labels

Completed base with label
Finished USS Chesapeake:










Comparison shot left to right: Langton Essex, Scratch Chesapeake, GHQ Constellation.
I hope anyone viewing this has enjoyed the post. I enjoyed sharing it. I did not include a lot of construction detail, as my methods have been covered in previous posts and can be easily found using the "How To" label search tag on this Blog. Any additional questions I will be happy to try to answer.
Ah....can anyone spot the glaring error I made? (I hope you only find the one.)

10 comments:

JTW said...

Amazing work Vol! I'm extremely impressed with the results!

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Thanks James, it was fun to build. I have started two more: 20-gun Massachusetts privateer Rattlesnake, and the 24-gun Continental frigate Raleigh.
Loved your French frigate.

Tony said...

Superb scratch-building skills.

This is a modelling subject that my late Father would have loved. He spent his free time putting boats in bottles and he was always complimentary of similar models.

Keep up the great work.

Tony

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Thanks Tony. I would have liked to talk to your dad. Regards,

Vol

Roy Williamson said...

An excellent blog post. Thank you for sharing it with us.

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Thank you Roy for all of the +1's you have given several of my posts.

John Andela said...

Excellent blog, excellent work. When I sometimes get frustrated with 'small stuff', I visit your blog and sanity returns ;)

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Thanks John, but you have no idea how much insanity is involved by the time I can post any of these 😲

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Well, I just went to your AOS Model site so I guess you do have a better notion of what's involved than I do! Amazing work you do John.

John Andela said...

Thanks so much :)