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Colosseum
Post subject: USS Constellation (1797)Posted: October 30th, 2020, 7:39 pm
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This is CONSTELLATION in February 1799 during the action against the French frigate L'INSURGENTE off Nevis during the Quasi War. CONSTELLATION is painted with a wide yellow ochre stripe applied to the early US Navy frigates during this period. The exact scheme carried by the ship at this time is unknown and this rendition is a best guess. A model of the ship held at the Smithsonian shows the hull painted in overall yellow ochre, but many paintings show the ship with the more familiar wide gun stripe and so I have chosen this version as a matter of personal preference.

CONSTELLATION was one of the original six frigates authorized for the early United States Navy by the Naval Act of 1794. Nominally rated at 38 guns, CONSTELLATION (and her sister CONGRESS) were built on smaller lines than the larger 44-gun CONSTITUTION, UNITED STATES, and PRESIDENT. The ship was built by David Stodder at the Joseph and Samuel Sterett shipyard in Baltimore. Launched on 7 September 1797, she sailed under the command of Captain Thomas Truxtun to the Caribbean in December 1798 to protect American commerce in the region. During this period, CONSTELLATION engaged and captured the French frigates L'INSURGENTE and LA VENGEANCE -- the first victories by a warship designed and built in the United States.

The illustration above depicts CONSTELLATION with a rig based on the sail/spar plans for CONGRESS and CONSTITUTION. No sail plan of CONSTELLATION herself is known to exist; this rendition is modified from aforementioned sail plans using CONSTELLATION's spar dimensions of 1801 from Howard I. Chapelle's The American Sailing Navy: The Ships and Their Development. Any errors in the illustration are mine alone. Thanks to CraigH for the lines of the American national ensign -- I recolored to better match Shipbucket standards, but the shape is his.

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eswube
Post subject: Re: USS Constellation (1797)Posted: October 30th, 2020, 9:24 pm
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Joined: June 15th, 2011, 8:31 am
WOW! Excellent work!
Wide departure from Your usual "working area", but as always top quality.


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signal
Post subject: Re: USS Constellation (1797)Posted: October 30th, 2020, 10:01 pm
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Beautiful - both your work, and the ship's design. The American
frigates were faster and more heavily armed than Royal Navy
ships of the same size. These ships were the probably the
best looking sail warships from 1790 to the introduction of
steam power.


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emperor_andreas
Post subject: Re: USS Constellation (1797)Posted: October 31st, 2020, 4:34 am
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And our resident WWII USN Camo Master proves he is a Master at tall ships as well! :D Excellent work, sir!

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Colosseum
Post subject: Re: USS Constellation (1797)Posted: October 31st, 2020, 4:57 pm
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Thanks all. This has been an interesting project that's taken me entirely out of my comfort zone :)

[ img ]

This is CONSTELLATION in January of 1813 as the ship appeared during the War of 1812. CONSTELLATION, like the rest of the US frigates of this time, was repainted into the familiar black with white (or yellow) gun stripe around 1809 as a deceptive measure to aid with her role as a raider. This scheme better matched the schemes used by the European navies. It's possible CONSTELLATION's gun stripe was a yellow ochre instead of white lead, but the exact configuration is lost to history. I have chosen to portray a white gun stripe again as a matter of personal preference.

CONSTELLATION was completely rebuilt at the Washington Navy Yard in 1811 and 1812. The ship's hull was strengthened and her beam increased by 13" -- it is likely as well that she was updated with planking and bulwarks fore and aft on the weather deck similar to the other frigates at this time. The elaborate figurehead (a female head representing Nature) was replaced by a fiddlehead around this time, and the headrails have been slightly reworked. Plans of this refit have never been found (most likely they were lost when the Washington Navy Yard was burned in 1814), so my drawing of the ship as refitted is conjectural and based on contemporary plans of CONGRESS and PRESIDENT. All errors are mine alone.

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Rodondo
Post subject: Re: USS Constellation (1797)Posted: November 1st, 2020, 11:03 am
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Ian, a timely reminder to delve into the age of sail and what reminder!!

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Hood
Post subject: Re: USS Constellation (1797)Posted: November 1st, 2020, 11:25 am
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Wow, that is impressive, which shows than even the best artists can operate out the comfort zone and still apply their skill well.

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erik_t
Post subject: Re: USS Constellation (1797)Posted: November 1st, 2020, 7:03 pm
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Excellent drawings. I don't feel within my comfort zone to say anything more than that.


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