Best USS Constitution Model Ship Kit

For model ship builders, the USS Constitution is a popular choice. The ship is beautiful, historic and, as the oldest warship in the world, very prestigious.

If you are building a USS Constitution model from a kit, you have a choice of plastic and wood models. The plastic model kits tend to be more affordable and look surprisingly similar in appearance to wood. Wood kits are more expensive but most closely resemble the actual ship.

Just be forewarned, USS Constitution model building is not for beginners. The ship is very detailed which makes it a very challenging build. If it is your first time building a model ship, the USS Constitution is probably not the best choice.

USS Constitution

USS Constitution

If you still want a USS Constitution but don’t want the hassle of having to build it yourself, you can also purchase a fully assembled USS Constitution Model Ship.

If you feel you are up for the challenge of building a USS Constitution model kit, I’ve created the following list of the best kits for sale:

(Disclaimer: purchases made through the links in this article help support the History of Massachusetts Blog)

Revell USS Constitution Model Kit 5404:

This USS Constitution Plastic Model kit 85-5404 by Revell is the manufacturer’s best-selling USS Constitution kit on Amazon.


In fact, Revell makes the most popular and best-selling plastic USS Constitution model kits in general.

Revell’s USS Constitution model kits are based on the detailed model built by the ship’s crew in 1812 for their captain Isaac Hull after his tour as commander was over.

This kit features pre-molded ratlines, individual cannons, textured plastic sails, three-piece hull & deck assembly and a display stand base with nameplate.

The skill level for the kit is listed as a level 5, which is the highest level of difficulty and requires some skill, time and patience.

The model measures 15-3/4 inches long, 2-3/8 inches wide and is 1:96 scale.

The kit comes with 159 parts and comes with step-by-step assembly and rigging instructions. Paint and glue are not included.

The kit has great reviews on Amazon, though many reviewers note that the model is not for beginners and requires some patience and skill:

“This is a great model. It is not for the novice, but someone with a little more experience will find the little challenges welcome. It has great detail for a model of this scale and price. The customer service at Revell was great to work with. One call to replace a part I damaged and they sent it out strait away. I am now a Revell customer for life. Great model, great staff, and great experience.”

Revell USS Constitution Model Kit 85-0398:

This USS Constitution plastic model kit 85-0398 by Revell features detailed captain’s quarters complete with bulkheads, a table and bunk beds, 20 miniature crew figures, 55 scaled cannons lifeboats with oars, anchors and anchor rope.

The model also features rigging and thread, 39 detailed plastic sails, molded deadeyes, blocks and pinrails, preformed rat lines and a colorful flag sheet. The model can be rigged with or without sails though.

The model measures 32 inches long and is 1:96 scale. The kit contains 1,223 parts and comes with step-by-step assembly and rigging instructions. Paint and glue are not included.

As it is a level 5, the kit is listed at the highest level of difficulty and requires some skill, time and patience. Many of the Amazon reviewers stated it is not a weekend project and took many of them at least six to eight weeks or longer to complete. The manufacturer’s assembly time on the listing states it takes 4 months to complete.

The kit has great reviews on Amazon. Many reviewers have noted that Revell kits are the best in the industry, such as this review from an experienced model ship builder:

“You can never go wrong with a Revell kit. I’ve been building them for over 50 years. This 1:96 model is very well made. The molds are getting on with age so expect a bit extra flashing here and there. Always have tons of sharp #11 Exacto blades on hand as well as ALL of your ‘TINY’ tools ready. TOOL-UP before hand if needed. Be sure to get some Beeswax for the rigging. High precision glue tips are a must. Micro drill bits and a pin vise are a must also. I use many different kinds of tweezers and clips to act as a third and fourth hands. Your work space should be at least 4’x6′ for this kit, well lit, and with movable intense lighting. Magnification of all kinds will make assembly a pleasure. Most important, keep your work space clean, and be very patient. Sometimes all you can do is glue two or three things, then you must wait for at least a day for the glue to set ‘hard’. Take advantage of your “Off Time” and read ahead in your instruction books. You can always paint something. Have fun, be professional, and proud.”

Many of the reviewers advise that you can build the ship as is or customize it by buying or making your own cloth sails, adding real copper foil to the hull, replacing the plastic belaying pins with turned brass ones and etc.

Revell USS Constitution Model Kit RG5472:

This USS Constitution Plastic Model kit 80-5472 by Revell of Germany is a more detailed USS Constitution model, which is why it costs more than the other Revell Constitution kits.


The model features four lifeboats, 24 guns, anchors, one piece shrouds (sails) with fabric texture, flags and a display stand.

The model is 435mm long and is 1:46 scale. The kit comes with 191 parts and comes with step-by-step assembly and rigging instructions. Paint and glue are not included.

The skill level for the kit is listed as a level 5, which is the highest level of difficulty and requires some skill, time and patience.

The kit has good reviews on Amazon although a number of reviewers stated that it was too difficult for a beginner and other reviewers didn’t like that it was plastic.

Bluejacket USS Constitution Model Kit K1018:

This USS Constitution Model Kit K1018 by Bluejacket is made of basswood and features over 2600 fittings, 20 different sizes of scaled rigging cord, photo etched brass sheets and resin deck boats.

The carved basswood hull is solid to the gundeck, which leaves two decks to fit out. Some spar deck planking may be left off, so the interior will be open to view.

The model is designed to look like the ship during her glory years from 1812-1815. The design of the kit is based on three years of research of the ship’s deck logs and maintenance records.

The manufacturer states that the kit has been named “The Official Kit of the U.S.S. Constitution Museum” but I have not been able to verify that claim.

The model measures 40 inches long and is 1/8 scale. The skill level for the kit is for expert modelers and is definitely not for beginners.

Bluejacket also offers options items such as a paint kit, baseboard, pedestal, planking set and copper plats.

The paint kit includes one ounce of thinner along with primer and the following colors: clear, flat black, flat white, ocean gray, British crimson, gold, copper and grun.

Model Shipways USS Constitution Kit:

This Model Shipways USS Constitution kit by Model Expo is made out of basswood and is a plank-on-bulkhead kit.


The kit features over 50 cannon, carronade and gun barrels, basswood planking strips, Britannia metal, brass and hardwood fittings, 400 yards of six diameter line rigging and 16 photo-etched brass sheets. Extra touches include laser cut gratings, wooden parts and engraved scrollwork.

The design of the model is based on the 1927 Navy drawings, photographs and documentation used during the 1993-1997 restoration. The model measures 48 inches long and is 1:76 scale.

The skill level for the kit is listed as intermediate. The kit includes eight sheets of detailed plans and 48 page step-by-step instruction manual.

The kit has great reviews on Amazon, although like most USS Constitution model kits, one reviewer in particular noted how complex the model is:

“much more complicated than I expected. Hopefully I will finish it or they will have to bury me with it !!!”

Sources:
“Revell 1/46 Scale U.S.S. Constitution Plastic Model Kit.” Revell.com, www.revell.com/germany/ships/80-5472.html
“Revell 1/96 Scale USS Constitution Plastic Model Kit.” Revell.com, www.revell.com/model-kits/ships/85-0398.html
“Revell 1/196 Scale USS Constitution Plastic Model Kit.” Revell.com, www.revell.com/model-kits/ships/85-5404.html
“Model Shipways – 1/76 USS Constitution.” Fine Scale Modeler, Kalmbach Publishing Co, 28 Jan. 2005, http://cs.finescale.com/fsm/modeling_subjects/f/7/t/34980.aspx
Force9. “Old Ironsides – Revisiting the classic Revell 1/96 kit.” Fine Scale Modeler, Kalmbach Publishing Co, 30 April. 2012, cs.finescale.com/fsm/modeling_subjects/f/7/t/146977.aspx
“A Model Ship.” USS Constitution Museum, 23 Nov. 2015, ussconstitutionmuseum.org/2015/11/23/a-model-ship/

Best USS Constitution Model Ship Kit

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the writer and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance writer and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.

4 thoughts on “Best USS Constitution Model Ship Kit

  1. Nino

    There are c couple of “Finger checks” on scale listings so I thought a few updates/corrections might be helpful.

    Revell USS Constitution Model Kit 5404: Listed scale: 1/196. Actual scale: approx 1/212.
    Kit measurement of 15 3/4″ is bowsprit tip to stern. Actual Hull part length is 11 3/4″.
    One re-issue listed as skill level 3. See http://www.scalemates.com/kits/111683-revell-85-5404-u-s-s-constitution-old-ironsides

    Revell USS Constitution Model Kit RG5472: Listed scale: 1/146, Actual scale is approx 1/212.
    Listed as 17.1″ This measurement of 17.1” is Bowsprit tip to Driver boom end. Actual Hull part length is 11 3/4″. It is same hull as the 1/196 kits .

    Reply
  2. Sal Signoretti

    I’m having trouble understanding how to assemble the rudder and tiller assembly . Please help or give me a place to go for advice. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Rebecca Beatrice Brooks Post author

      I don’t build models so I don’t know but I would suggest visiting FineScale Modeler magazine’s online forums. There’s tons of helpful information there.

      Reply

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