Thursday, June 30, 2016
Mend a Gunboat!
A minor maritime mishap resulted when a book fell off one of my shelves and dropped square upon the upper deck of my river gunboat model. Crunch!
I've no idea where the smokestack went. Maybe I should go walking around the area in bare feet, that usually does the trick when seeking lost items, especially those with sharp bits...
Anyway, it makes for a good time to turn lemons into lemonade. I built the current model to be convertible from civilian to military use and back within seconds through swapping out the top deck and the guns. The military top deck is shown in place, the deceased civilian deck lies beside. This time, instead of repairing it, I'm going to turn the model into a permanent civilian version and yes, build a spanking new military vessel.
My plan is for a side-wheel paddle steamer, with guns on the fore and after deck and a Nordenfeldt on the upper. I'll retain the current upper military deck, perhaps with some modifications. The guns shown have steel nuts for bases and are held in place by thin magnetic strips attached to the decks. It works up to a point but has a weak grip and even a small knock will topple the guns. Needing something with a stronger grip, I sought for and found this pack of small magnets in Lowes hardware store.
They're the kind used to hold kitchen cabinet doors closed and will give a good magnetic hold on the gun bases. I plan to embed them in the decks of the new gunboat so they'll hold the deck guns in place while allowing me to traverse the weapons in any direction.
The guns are a 9-pounder breech loader, and a 5-barrel Nordenfeldt. I have a another gun which I think is a 4.7" with a curved shield knocking around somewhere in my lead pile. It may be too big for a riverine gunboat, as it was really a primary weapon for sea-going gunboats and light cruisers, and a secondary weapon aboard larger ships of the Colonial period.
I do have an idea for making a Coehorn-type mortar, something like the British 12-pounder version shown below.
The design was in use from 1674 through to the end of the First World War and saw plenty of use during the ACW. In this case it would sit on the rear deck of the gunboat to provide high-angle fire support against fortifications and earthworks.