CSS Alabama plastic model build 2018-2019 (Revell 1/96)

Tut11

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#1
The Confederate blockade runner CSS Alabama build is starting up, here's a enhanced image of the only known image of the ship during it's life:
CSS Alabama known photo enhanced .jpg


Along with a excellent historical painting of her for reference:
s-l1600 alabama.jpg


This kit consists of the following parts:

20180507_141132.jpg 20180507_141220.jpg 20180507_141356.jpg 20180507_141406.jpg

20180507_141424.jpg

Plans I will be working from:

20180613_154008.jpg 20180613_154031.jpg 20180613_154042.jpg Plan 1.jpg

Plan 2.jpg

The color scheme I will be using for reference:
colcr scheme 1.jpg


The CSS Arkansas is also a 1/96 scale model as with the CSS Alabama 1/96th. Here's a comparison image of them on my dry dock:

20181110_213510.jpg


There are many excellent blogs on information about the CSS Alabama here on CWT, just do a search and you will find excellent reference material as I have found.
I will be starting with the hull for painting and copper tape work. As the smallest copper tape available is 1/4" wide, there is a definition problem for the hull as the molded lines are 4mm wide. Overlap won't work because of bulky looking hull, so I might have to go with either a good coat of copper paint or 1/4" lines if I decide to use the copper tape.
Members here have built this kit and hopefully will give their expertise to make this one a one of a kind representation as I am doing with the CSS Arkansas. Specialized parts and fittings will be used as with supplied parts from the kit. I might do the "rat lines" by hand knot tie's for a better definition and use real wooden blocks and tackles for details. Stay tuned for updates on the build and will take about 6 months I figure for the build. I should be able to incorporate lights for this one also, I have excellent space and placement areas to work with.
 

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#2
I used copper paint for the hull, can't remember if it was Tamiya acrylic or Testor's enamel. It did cover the black up nicely. Check out both to see which one you prefer if you go with paint. Try some on the bottom inside of the hull that won't be seen once the deck's installed. You could always apply a wash over the copper paint to give it a more weathered look. The deck is in three pieces, and will have two meeting points. I did the best I could to cover up the seams but they are still evident if you look closely. Hopefully your deck pieces are nice and straight without any bows to them. Same with the main masts. You have some great plans to work with!!! Keep in mind both pivot guns are the same in the kit unlike the original Alabama. The pics of the Alabama while in Cape Town South Africa are a good reference also, those are great of the deck and Semmes. My kit went together nicely, but I didn't spend enough time on the rigging, it's about half at best. The kit has plenty of different types of thread and chains for everything, you won't be in need for much more. The rigging is meticulous and exhausting. As I previously mentioned, I used a fine thin grade of muslin fabric for the rolled up sails. If you go that route, head to a fabric store to find some. About 2 sq. ft. will be plenty after sizing and cutting it up into pieces for each mast. There may be some ship model suppliers out there that offer fabric that's more suitable for the sails in 1/96th scale.

Have fun!!! keep us posted!!!
 

Tut11

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#3
I used copper paint for the hull, can't remember if it was Tamiya acrylic or Testor's enamel. It did cover the black up nicely. Check out both to see which one you prefer if you go with paint. Try some on the bottom inside of the hull that won't be seen once the deck's installed. You could always apply a wash over the copper paint to give it a more weathered look. The deck is in three pieces, and will have two meeting points. I did the best I could to cover up the seams but they are still evident if you look closely. Hopefully your deck pieces are nice and straight without any bows to them. Same with the main masts. You have some great plans to work with!!! Keep in mind both pivot guns are the same in the kit unlike the original Alabama. The pics of the Alabama while in Cape Town South Africa are a good reference also, those are great of the deck and Semmes. My kit went together nicely, but I didn't spend enough time on the rigging, it's about half at best. The kit has plenty of different types of thread and chains for everything, you won't be in need for much more. The rigging is meticulous and exhausting. As I previously mentioned, I used a fine thin grade of muslin fabric for the rolled up sails. If you go that route, head to a fabric store to find some. About 2 sq. ft. will be plenty after sizing and cutting it up into pieces for each mast. There may be some ship model suppliers out there that offer fabric that's more suitable for the sails in 1/96th scale.

Have fun!!! keep us posted!!!
Great info JP, thanks for the reference. Where can I find the South Africa image's? Searched and found one so far.

The deck will probably overlaid with planks and those cannons will probably be replaced along with the propeller also; see: http://cottageindustrymodels.com/?page_id=289. I have some extra's from "Williams" (Cottage Industries) Arkansas kit which I'm probably going to use along with ordering more.

I'll look closely at the paints as I do want the hull detail from the plastic to come threw, nice mold job from Revell as usual. Seems I see only two lights that the model actually represents, so adding a couple more to light up will be easy, clear and colored (red, green) lenses are easy to get for this one too. See: https://www.harbormodels.com/rb07205.html.

The foil copper tape can be cut to width, just have to decide which one and will do experiments with both for detailing. I have some more pics soon.
 
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#4
IIRC, a photographer boarded the Alabama while in port at Capetown and captured a few images. The period photography or Naval forum here on CWT might have these, you could post a topic question and see what replies you get. I think the Library of Congress has them also, along with the Navy Yard museum in Wash. D.C. There's more than just one. I looked at the link of the guns upgrade kit for the Alabama at Cottage industries. Go for it!!!! They look fantastic, wish that was available back when I put my mine together!!!! The lighting kits look great too!!!
 
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#6
Lindberg also made a 1/350th scale model of the Bismarck way back when. Nice kit but not as detailed as the Tamiya one. I have the Lindberg version here, it came out pretty nice. Not sure about the USS Cairo.....
 

Tut11

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#7
IIRC, a photographer boarded the Alabama while in port at Capetown and captured a few images. The period photography or Naval forum here on CWT might have these, you could post a topic question and see what replies you get. I think the Library of Congress has them also, along with the Navy Yard museum in Wash. D.C. There's more than just one. I looked at the link of the guns upgrade kit for the Alabama at Cottage industries. Go for it!!!! They look fantastic, wish that was available back when I put my mine together!!!! The lighting kits look great too!!!
Thanks I'll have a look.
 

Tut11

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#8
Great models, I am sure they were cheap. The Revell wasn't cheap the last time I saw one at a store. They also used to make the U.S.S. Kearsarge, same scale. Lindberg used to make The Monitor and The Merrimack as a single kit. Does anyone know who puts out this poster of the U.S.S. Cairo?

View attachment 210814
WOW! Nice! Sadly I don't know who put this out. mofederal, sometime on ebay you can find some old beat up box kits at a good price, the U.S.S. Kearsarge comes in many different kits also. Monitor and The Merrimack as a single kit is offered all the time on ebay if your interested. Thanks for the appreciation on the kits, as JP will verify I lucked out when I got this CSS Alabama kit, was brand new and still wrapped from the factory as her father had multiple kits in his storage lock up. I think she still has four more Alabama kits if you can believe it.

@mofederal I had a look at the poster enlarged and found this at the bottom:
0Y8RIbe2.jpg


So here is the contact. Also thought you might like these:
Cairo1.jpg Cairo2.jpg Cairo3.jpg Cairo4.jpg Cairo5.jpg Cairo6.jpg Cairo7.jpg Cairo8.jpg Cairo9.jpg

civil war USS Cairo.jpg
 
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Tut11

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Tut11

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#11
I need a decision on bottom hull color 1, 2 or 3? Whats yawls thoughts? Copper, antique copper, gold copper in order per image. I like them all that's why I'm asking. :happy:
20181115_111938.jpg
 
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#13
I need a decision on bottom hull color 1, 2 or 3? Whats yawls thoughts? Copper, antique copper, gold copper in order per image. I like them all that's why I'm asking. :happy: View attachment 211015
I'm more for the color in the middle, it would look neat-o if you decided to weatherize it with a thin wash, not sure if you want to do that however. The gold copper looks too gold. They all look real nice!! Hopefully others will chime in with opinions...Makes you wonder what the actual color of the copper plated hull was before the Alabama spent all its time at sea. What paints are those? They do cover up the black very well!!
 
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#14
Well Tut, I'm really looking forward to this build as much as I did your fantastic CSS Arkansas.

The CSS Alabama will require the dreaded ratlines . . . the bane of any novice (and experienced) model maker. :stomp:

While I know you won't use the molded plastic lines included in the box, will you make your own threaded ratlines or use photo etch ? A few companies are now making some great PE ratlines.

I might do the "rat lines" by hand knot tie's for a better definition and use real wooden blocks and tackles for details
Oops, I just saw you answer after I asked my question. :D

As far as the coppered hull, I can't give any advice.
I've only attempted to use the tape method once. That was a total failure on my part.
I gave up after three days, and started over with paint.

I need a decision on bottom hull color 1, 2 or 3? Whats yawls thoughts? Copper, antique copper, gold copper in order per image. I like them all that's why I'm asking. :happy:
I vote for the middle color, antique copper.

But then again I might choose to make a waterline model, so coppering the hull would be moot.

I know this one will take much longer, but so looking forward to your updates.

:thumbsup:
 

Tut11

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#15
I'm more for the color in the middle, it would look neat-o if you decided to weatherize it with a thin wash, not sure if you want to do that however. The gold copper looks too gold. They all look real nice!! Hopefully others will chime in with opinions...Makes you wonder what the actual color of the copper plated hull was before the Alabama spent all it's time at sea. What paints are those? They do cover up the black very well!!
Nice, I'm leaning also toward the antique copper. The first is enamel testors, the second is acrylic, water based. Folkart(walmart), third is testors enamel. Humbrol has some excellent paints also and will be getting a bunch of exact colors per plan instructions scheme. https://www.humbrol.com/us-en/catalogsearch/result/?q=Model+paints and a couple of more links for historical ship paints: https://modelexpo-online.com/Model-Shipways-Paint, https://seagifts.com/moshacpa.html for reference.

A green dry brush weatherize for the copper using wash is possible to give that patina look, I'll think about that one, good suggestion.
 

Tut11

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#16
Well Tut, I'm really looking forward to this build as much as I did your fantastic CSS Arkansas.

The CSS Alabama will require the dreaded ratlines . . . the bane of any novice (and experienced) model maker. :stomp:

While I know you won't use the molded plastic lines included in the box, will you make your own threaded ratlines or use photo etch ? A few companies are now making some great PE ratlines.



Oops, I just saw you answer after I asked my question. :D

As far as the coppered hull, I can't give any advice.
I've only attempted to use the tape method once. That was a total failure on my part.
I gave up after three days, and started over with paint.


I vote for the middle color, antique copper.

But then again I might choose to make a waterline model, so coppering the hull would be moot.

I know this one will take much longer, but so looking forward to your updates.

:thumbsup:
Thanks " 7th Mississippi Infantry", we have two for antique copper. Your right on the waterline, I have seen some beautiful work for those styles. But this one will be full hull. I decided to stay away from copper tape on this one as the paint will give much more detail from the hull mold.
 
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#17
I built a model of the U.S.S.Constitution way back before we had color TV and what you are doing is so cool.I would love to try this model but my age and unsteady hands I believe would stop me.keep it up,nice job.
 

Tut11

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#18
I built a model of the U.S.S.Constitution way back before we had color TV and what you are doing is so cool.I would love to try this model but my age and unsteady hands I believe would stop me.keep it up,nice job.
Thanks @nitrofd ! My hands aren't perfectly steady but slow movements building these is what works for me. plus magnification equipment!
The bigger models aren't so bad but the 1/700 scale are a nightmare that's for sure. The rat lines are the most tedious part of these sailing vessels and time consuming, but all those little knots really add realism to the model. Once you start them it gets easier duplicating the ties. There's some good video's on youtube for tying those if you wish to have a search.
 

Tut11

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#19
Yep...antique copper it is, I'll post the painted hull soon. thanks for the feedback and looking forward to putting this beauty together. Rat lines and wooden block and tackle also with metal rat line braces instead of the plastic ones. Luckily I have many spare ship parts, which I pick up on ebay all the time from lot sales. if your into models and need parts at great prices that's the spot I have found. My sweetie cringes each time I go on it. :sneaky:

Here's some I picked up recently: Posted this also in my CSS Arkansas blog for reference.
20180716_000051.jpg
 
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#20
Got down into the basement and looked at all my modeling paints just now. I'm sure what I used for the hull was the Tamiya acrylic "Copper" X-F6" in a 3/4 oz. bottle. Way more than enough for the hull, my bottle is like a little less than half full still (looks useable also) and that was over 20 years ago when I put my kit together. Although all acrylics can be thinned with tap water, I've always the Tamiya acrylic thinner with their paints, especially when using my airbrush. The X-F6 looks real close to your antique copper selection. Experiment with the green color if you decide to weatherize the copper plates. The possibilities are endless. You could build a pristine Alabama fresh from England or version that's been at sea for over a year!!! That may be my rum ration talking though......
 

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