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 US Navy City class gunboat - 1862

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vigo
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PostSubject: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 9:26 am

As promised, a build blog... with pictures!


The next project I alluded to in an earlier thread is a scratch built representation of one of the US Navy's seven City Class Ironclad gunboats from 1862.
Quote :
Potted history taken from Shipshub.com:
The City-class gunboats or Pook Turtles, were a class of seven vessels intended for service on the Mississippi River during the American Civil War.
Also sometimes referred to as Eads gunboats, the City-class gunboats were the United States' first ironclad warships. 
Positions were provided for 13 guns. Three gun ports faced forward, four were on each side, and two aft.
The gunboats produced by Eads shipyard in Missouri formed the core of the US Army's Western Gunboat Flotilla, which later was transferred to the US Navy and became the Mississippi River Squadron.
Eads gunboats took part in almost every significant action on the upper Mississippi and its tributaries from their first offensive use at the Battle of Fort Henry until the end of the war.

US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 Cincinnati

The model is not intended to be of any particular vessel in the class and will not be to any particular scale, although being roughly 1 metre in length it's probably about 1/50 - 1/55. The deciding factor for scale is that it needs to fit in the rather small boot of my car. 

It seems that anyone who models one of these boats builds a USS Cairo, probably because it's the only one left and it's currently a museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi, the wreck having been raised from the Yazoo River in 1962. 


I want to be different. 


Being almost identical in appearance, each vessel in the class was identified by different coloured bands on the funnels so this one will most likely be USS Cincinnati (ish) because it had blue bands and I happen to like blue.


US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 General-view

The model will be constructed entirely from wood and brass with a token nod to styrene here and there and whatever other bits and bobs I have lying about in the garage.
Propulsion will be by means of a single 120mm x 90mm 16 float paddle wheel (not strictly accurate but it can't be seen and it's easier to draw 16 than 17) mounted centrally within the vessel, driven via a chain & sprocket system by a single electric motor. Steering control will be a prototypical hit and miss affair consisting of twin ineffectual rudders controlled by a single servo connected by chains. 

According to contemporary reports, despite their measly 6' draft and 22' paddle, the City class boats were a bit slow (8kts) and difficult to handle so it sets the bar suitably low for me US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 1f60b 

I've done the majority of the CAD work already for this model so yesterday I took the first major step - the maiden cut.

US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 20211110-2


More later.

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vigo
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PostSubject: Re: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 6:04 pm

So yesterday was spent setting fire to various bits of wood in the garage. The laser cutter put in a sterling shift and all the frames are cut, along with a framework to hold the paddle and motor/gear assembly.

Today I took a trip to Wickes to be amazed at how much a small amount of timber actually costs  Shocked £35 for four bits of stripwood??? Still, I needed them and so I went home and started assembly.

It's looking good so far.

US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 20211112-1

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barriew
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PostSubject: Re: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptySat Nov 13, 2021 9:44 am

Vigo - not sure what the stripwood was, but checking Cornwall Model Boats website, 6mm square beech is £1.02 for a one metre length. Even allowing for postage you would have saved bigtime. I think you were done - maybe incorrectly priced.

Barrie
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vigo
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PostSubject: Re: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptySat Nov 13, 2021 10:57 am

I think you're right. Just looked on there and I could've done the lot for about 15 quid incl postage. Whatever. It's bought now and I can't take it back because it's all cut up.

Back to the build.
Today's jobs will include redesigning the motor/gear/paddle carriage so that it fits neatly inside the frames and mates cleanly with the waterway channel underneath the boat (all will become clearer in time) and drawing out the deck house that covers the paddle and the bloody big drive sprocket. Then I shall look at the armoured pilot house. If there's time I may even get some of these built.
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Swab
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PostSubject: Re: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptySat Nov 13, 2021 6:31 pm

I've not used Cornwall model boats for materials but I can recommend SLEC -excellent service.
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vigo
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PostSubject: Re: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptySat Nov 20, 2021 11:18 pm

Progress has been swift. The pilot house is done, the deck superstructure is done, the deck itself was done but then I spilt some black paint on it so it needs to be re-done. That will have to wait until my next load of plywood arrives - maybe tomorrow. I've got the front and rear 'walls' for want of a better word, complete with planking and gun ports. I hadn't realise just how much geometry and actual thinking goes into building something like this. Most of my builds tend to be a bit freelance but based on something, or I have proper plans. This one isn't. I have no authentic plans to speak of other than what I've drawn out myself but I'm trying to be as true to the original as I can given what I've recently discovered about the ship.

May 27 1863, USS Cincinnati was involved in a battle with shore based Confederate artillery which resulted in her sinking and six of her crew being awarded the Medal of Honor [sic] for their actions in saving the majority of the ship's crew, who surprisingly were mostly non-swimmers. She was raised in August 1863 and returned to active service.

Anyway, enough of that. This is the state of the build at the end of today's session.

US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 20211120-1
Although not strictly accurate, the anchors and cannon are some that I salvaged from another build. I remember they cost a fortune and I didn't want to waste them so....
Unfortunately I only have 11 cannons and I need 13 so my mini lathe has been out sort of making two more.

US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 20211120-2
Much head scratching scratch concerning how to mount the pathetically small rudders. Eventually I decided to 'wing it' with a cut up brass tube and hope for the best. Time will tell. The intention is to operate the rudders by a chain fed via pulleys through the blue polypropylene tubes* to a servo mounted somewhere within the middle of the hull. (* Sympathetic engineering crew at work Wink )

US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 20211120-3
As she sits right now in the High Peak dry dock.

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vigo
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PostSubject: Re: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptySun Nov 28, 2021 9:51 pm

Another momentous day in the boatyard, today the lower hull was finally completed  Very Happy

US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 20211128-2

I say completed, what I really mean is built. Completed would imply that I'm happy with that godawful colour... Obviously I'm not. It needs toning down somewhat but at least the building aspect of it is finished and I'm happy with it.

Onto more interesting things.
One of the problems that I've come across with this build is that certain things HAVE to be done in a certain order - no going off at tangents like I usually do.
Example. The paddle wheel has to be fitted at a certain stage because the way I've designed it, it cannot be fitted from below. It has to be fitted from above which in turn brings problems of it's own. My original intention was to have the entire wheel/motor/drive system completely removeable but then I realised that the wheel well needs to be waterproof, we don't want gallons of water sloshing around inside the boat so that needed addressing. The solution I came up brought up more issues. The axle for the wheel runs right across the full width of the boat so the sides cannot be fitted until that's in position, etc. etc. Which brings about the painting problem. Ideally I like to spray larger components but in this case I have to do that before they're fitted which means touching up any remedial fettling which I don't like doing because in my eyes it never looks quite 'right'.

What this boils down to really is that at this stage nothing more can be done without having the wheel fitted, tested and working properly because once it's in there's no going back.
If I was to do this build again, I'd design that section differently.

Ballasting has been a particular problem with this build. The waterline is roughly in line with the intersection of the upper and lower hulls. That means there's going to be a hell of a lot of weight involved. I've done some of it already with a fine sand and resin mixture but without doing a sink test I don't really know how much more I'm going to need and up until now the boat hasn't been in a floatworthy condition to check. Maybe tomorrow I'll sink test it and find out and hope that I've got enough spaces left to fill with weight without making it unstable.

US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 20211128-1

There are plenty of other things to occupy my mind other than structural things however. I have eight lifeboat davits to design and build, several superstructure items, I have yet to figure out how to replicate the lengths of rail that were added to the front sides of the upper casement as supplementary armour and I have yet to satisfactorily address the rudder mounting conundrum.

All things to mull over during the next two unexpected night shifts  Neutral


Thanks for looking.

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Swab
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PostSubject: Re: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptyWed Dec 01, 2021 9:33 pm

The paddle doesn't sit very low does it is that a deliberate thing for shallow water operation?
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vigo
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PostSubject: Re: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptyWed Dec 01, 2021 11:06 pm

It did have me wondering to start with. Originally I thought it might be raiseable but on examining other 'plans' and builds that I found, there's no evidence of this.
It does seem a bit high but given the 6' draft of the vessel, there's still a good 4' of wheel underwater.

US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 Front-view
(One of the better drawings I've come across)

Only time will tell when I finally sink test it and get the wheel running as to how effective (or not) it actually is.
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Swab
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PostSubject: Re: US Navy City class gunboat - 1862   US Navy City class gunboat - 1862 EmptyToday at 12:32 pm

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/59574/59574-h/59574-h.htm
I found this site if you haven't already seen it, I can see the point in having a bow shaped like it has for hitting chain booms and log obstacles but having a tunnel hull may have helped to up its turn of speed but you have to be accurate, personally I'm loving this build its really Interesting and different in the paddler world. Its an interesting bit of history as to what sunk it 'damn the torpedoes no wait oh bugger!' Very Happy
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