Tuesday, September 18, 2012

USS Constellation - GHQ 1:1200

Below are some photos of USS Constellation in 1:1200 scale, from GHQ. This is the famous 38 gun American frigate of the Napoleonic War/ War of 1812 period, and should not be confused with the ship which lives down in Baltimore now - that one is a later construction, from the 1850s if memory serves, and supposedly contains some of the timbers from the ship depicted below. Or at least it did at the time of its construction.

I really like the incredibly crisp hull sculptings from GHQ, and especially the fact that the waist of the ship is properly recessed. This model even has details of steps leading down in to the waist, and hatches with gratings down there, as you can see best in the last photo.

I've added Langton ratlines and sea base, and raised the hull up on plastic sheet to give it more bulk, so it will fit in a little bit better with Langton models, which tend to be over-sized in comparison. Other than that a pretty straight forward job.

I omitted installing ship's boats in the waist, just because I like to be able to see the detail down there. I like the depth it gives the model, and it suggests an interior.


  1. Thanks Benglish, glad you like it!
    - James

  2. James, I have to say, your 1200s are the best I've ever seen. There's a subtlety to your paint jobs that eludes most people with these models. A couple questions:

    How did you do the Constellation boat davits?

    What are you using for sail paint? So many people grossly exaggerate sail shading/dirt and reef points, but yours are phenomenal.

    Are you actually gaming with these? If so, what are you playing?

  3. Carl,

    Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it. As for the davits, the ones on the rear of the ship are actually molded in to the stern piece, and you just have to glue the boat to it. For the side ones, they are molded on to the whale boats themselves, but I've actually cheated. They didn't project far enough to fit over the brass ratlines I've added, so I left them off and just glued the boats to the ratlines there. Hopefully it's not too noticeable!

    For the sails I use Floquil/ Poly Scale paints. First I paint them French Beige, and then I give them a light wash of Israeli Khaki. Then I go in and paint the reef lines with undiluted Israeli Khaki. To do the shading in the corners to simulate creases, I first paint the shadow lines using Citadel's Devlan Mud wash (well, they discontinued that color, sadly, so I switched to Army Painter's "Strong Tone" Quickshade, which is very similar) and then paint the highlight lines with Floquil's Dirty White. Hope that helps!

    I am actually starting to game with these pieces, though it's taken me a while to find other people to play with and to get enough ships done. The only rule set I've learned so far is "Kiss Me Hardy" from Too Fat Lardies. I like it, and am looking forward to putting on my first learning game for guys at the local club this Saturday. Do you have any recommendations for other rules I should check out?



    1. Thanks for the paint info. That's very helpful!

      I think I have older versions of the GHQ American 44s that didn't have the taffrail davits.

      As for rules, I'm a huge fan of Close Action, but it is much more focused on individual vessel management (plotted maneuvering under sail, assigning crew to tasks, etc.), whereas games like Kiss Me Hardy seem to simplify that stuff in order to focus more on fleet management and tactics. For advice and discussions on a ranges of sailing ship rules, visit the Age of Sail gaming yahoo group: