by Gene Andes
The model was scratch built from plans obtained at the National Archives. The transom and stern are conjectural based on additional information from Howard Chapelle’s “The History of the American Sailing Navy”, c. 1949, Bonanza Books. Frames are maple, the hull is planked in oak. Deck beams, decking, details are largely of maple. Guns and deadeyes turned from lignam vitae. Cordage was made up of cotton using home built rope walk.
This model shows the ship as she might have appeared around launch, and includes a few old-fashioned touches, such as the sprit sail, which a master as traditional as the commander (see below) might have insisted on.
The first Vandalia was a sloop of the Boston class, 18 gun sloops designed by a committee (headed by Samuel Humphreys) to take advantage of improved larger guns being made by foundries of the time, and to build smaller, faster boats capable of operating in shallow water, to prepare to the new needs of the navy.
There were 6 authorized in 1825, each to be built in a different regional ship yard: Boston (1826) built in Boston; Vincennes (1826) built in New York; Vandalia (1818) built in Philadelphia; Fairfield (1828) built in New York; Concord (1827) built in Portsmouth, NH; St. Louis (1828) built in Washington. A later addition to the class, John Adams (1829) an old frigate rebuilt in Norfolk, VA.
The guns were too many and too heavy for the ships, and they were slow. Also, despite the standardized design, each yard varied the design as built. The period was the time of transition to the round stern, and the original design modified the after cant frames to create a stern more nearly of the round design. (see Chapelle, op.cit.) In the Vandalia’s case, the first commander insisted that the vessel have quarter galleries, so they were appended to a “half round” stern.
In 1848, the Vandalia was lengthened by 30 feet (added to the center), re-armed, and served in the Civil War. She was decommissioned 4 February 1863. She served as a receiving ship in Portsmouth NH until broken up between 1870 and 1872.
- 12 knots
- 24 x 24 pound long guns (1828); 16 x 32 pound long guns (1849); 4 x 8" shell guns added in 1863
- 150-190 officers and crew
Page for the Vandalia on the modeler's personal website
Model Subject » Type » Vessel » Naval and Privateer » Wooden Navy » Sloops/Corvettes/Escorts
Model Subject » Propulsion » Sail
Model » Modellers » Andes, Gene
Model » Scale » (0064) 1:64 or 3/16"=1'
Model Subject » Length » 125-200 feet (38-61m)
Model Subject » Nationality » America (USA)
Model » Type » Static
Model » Build Method » Scratch