The Old Salt Joel Labow has been busy mastering the parts and men for a new diorama in 1:35 scale for the maintop of Old Ironsides, the frigate USS Constitution. Clearly the men of the maintop are busy going about the business of abusing one of His Majesty's wimpy British frigates. Sir Percy Fop and the dragooned serfs of German George cannot stand up to the manly freedom of these Yanks. The set was scheduled for production by Meteor Productions. (Clarifying point from the Grognard: I made the masters for the top and all associated equipment but the figurines were sculpted by the noted miniaturist Alan Ball and the ones on my top were painted by his wife Marion.)

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In the unlikely event that you have been wondering what the board grognard has been doing for the last 18 months these are photographs for the new Meteor Productions USF Constitution Maintop Diorama kit. As you probably know, Dave Klaus and Meteor productions specialize primarily in aircraft super-detail kits and decals but for the last 5 years or so I have been trying to show him the error of his ways! The first kit that I mastered for him was the HMD Diana Quarterdeck diorama which is already pictured on the site. Hopefully these kits will serve to break up the endless monotony of shelf upon shelf of nearly identical small grey shapes!

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USS Constitution Fighting Top Diorama
Project Approach

" Donkey…ogres are like ONIONS – they have LAYERS!" Shreck

It is our devout wish that the notion of layers is the only ogre-like aspect of this kit, but it is nonetheless the central concept of any complex model. To the unwary eye the pictures of the completed diorama look insanely complicated, but in fact they are the summation of a number of relatively uncomplicated steps which are added on top of each other in a systematic fashion working from the inner portions of the kit towards the exterior. The ‘Job orders’, each of which will take the average modeler 6 to 24 hours to complete, should be treated as independent ‘mini-kits’ which build on each other to produce the final ‘onion.’ The instructions that come with many resin kits can be rather sparse but we have provided (without false modesty!) the most complete assembly manual ever to accompany a diorama. It is profusely illustrated with over 160 photos of the model in progress and explains the assembly steps in detail with consideration given to the needs of newcomers both to resin and to sailing ship models. This is not an inexpensive kit but with reasonable care it will build into a truly unique representation of the ‘Age of Fighting Sail.’ Take a deep breath, rise above any "OMIGOD, I can’t possibly do this!" thoughts, and forge ahead!

(Instructions introduction)

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