Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Shipyard - The Monitor Begins

Having a spot of spare time at the moment I made a start on the USS Ozark project. As there's a lot of interest in it I'll post photos as the build progresses.

First up, I have a couple of these...

Snuff. It fits the general Victorian theme of the build, I suppose. I don't use the stuff, but I got hold of two empty containers from somewhere back when we lived in Missouri. Just goes to show, never throw anything out - you never know when it'll come in handy. This pot will make the classic Erikson-type turret. The label was stuck on with an exceptionally sticky glue, but I managed to scrape it off and remove most of the glue residue using a drop of vinegar mixed with dish detergent. Some still remains, but since the whole thing is going to be clad in card it's not a problem.

Next up, the hull. A piece of half-inch thick foamcore, cut to ship-shape using a card template. The overall length is 9 1/2 inches by three inches wide. Any longer than this and it becomes problematic to maneuver the model around the table. The turret to be is shown below, with the metal base it'll rotate on. This base is the bottom of a frozen orange juice container, and is the perfect size for the snuff can to fit into.

A test run to see where the turret will work best. The original Ozark's turret was sited further back along her hull, but the constraints of scale modelling means this one will have to sit here.

Ozark had a distinctive armoured conning tower situated on top of her turret. Quite how it worked in action I don't know. The location combined with the concussion of two massive Dahlgren guns going off under their feet must have made it difficult for the captain and officers to do their work and communicate with the rest of the ship. I'm going to say for the sake of the narrative the rebuild saw the tower relocated almost in the centre of the hull. A length of thick-walled cardboard tube makes the basis for the tower. More on this later. The white tube below the hull is a plastic candy/lollipop stick, one of a batch from the hoard of stuff left behind by the previous occupant of our house. It'll make up the mighty guns for the turret. Waste not, want not...

Ozark's deck house offered better accommodation than the conventional Monitor class. Of course, it went to the officers, but it must have offered more comfort in the sweaty climes of the Mississippi and Red Rivers. I've made a basic deck house out of 3/16th inch foamcore.

Next to be done is the planking. I found a packet of coffee stirrers in a Goodwill store a while back, and now they're getting used to plank the deck. All together now, Deck the hull with coffee stirrers, fala lala laaa...

The circle shows where the turret mounting will go. I'm cutting the stirrers to make a rough opening for it. That long spell in storage turned my Aileen's glue into a kind of thick paste, but it actually works better that way when it comes to sticking down the deck planking.

The black rectangle aft is a small bar magnet on which a gun will be mounted. The magnet allows the gun model to point in any direction, and it can be swapped out for another type of weapon if needed. Once the deck planking is thoroughly stuck in place, I'll Dremel the bejasus out of the circle so the mounting plate will fit.

That's it for now - more to come.


Martin said...

And so ... from bits and bobs; odds and ends, a mighty warship is built! Oddly enough, a lot like the original it is modeled after! Good job A.J.! I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

Michael Awdry said...

Off to a cracking start A.J. Wonderful stuff.


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