Can anyone offer advice on scratchbuilding?

I'm planning on working on a model of one of the Ironclads from the
Hampton Roads battle, and I was hoping someone could give me some
tips and ideas on planning and designing the parts. I intend to build
it from wood mostly, but I've not any idea how to go about drawing up
reasonable plans so that I can pre-plan out all the parts, instead
of just making them as I go.
Thanks
Reply to
The Evil Tessmacher
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You should be able to find copies of actual drawings/blueprints that you could use as your plans for this build. You could replicate the armour plating from heavy foil or printers tin.
Reply to
bluumule
There are two scratchbuilding books out by John Alcorn. The one I have is called "master scratchbuilder'; I don't recall if it's his first or second.
In any case, some of the techniques he uses could be transfered to ship building. For example, I know that he carves his wings from basswood, then covers them with sheet styrene. That may be something that is workable for your model.
Regarding blueprints/designs, I would start with the smithsonian. email them and ask what's the best way to get a set of detailed plans of either the Virginia or Monitor. Whatever scale the drawings are, go to a kinko's and photocopy them to the scale of the model you'll build. That way the drawings will be 1:1 templates for the various parts you'll need to fabricate.
Also..one more thing.. visit hyperscale discussion groups
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you will find them a very helpful group as well.
---Stephen
Reply to
Stephen Tontoni
I wrote an article for Ships in Scale a number of years ago on scratch building the USS Cairo. Building one of the Hampton Roads ironclads should not be that different. I'll look it up and let you know the issue Old issues are available as CD-ROM collections.
The hull on the Monitor is easier than the Merrimack. I would build the Merrimack as a standard bread-and-butter laminated hull. I think the Monitor could be a simple block.
Any books that cover bread-and-butter hull scratch building should work. There are a number. Check your local library. Such scratchbuilt solid wood hulls are quite common in the scratchbuilding game. Also, go to
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and join the model shipbuilders mailing list. Lots of folks there who can help you further.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
Don, that would be great! I am always interested in learning more.
I know what the Monitor is, but I think you've referred to the wrong ship. The other participant in the battle was not the Merrimack.
It was the Virginia.
The Merrimack was the Federal hull that was burned to the waterline that the Confederates built a new ship on. Lots of people make this error.
I don't want to build the Merrimack. What would the fun be in building a burned-to-the waterline hull?
I'm actually thinking that it would be easier to focus on the above-the-waterline parts, and then make a simple hull below, so that it rides at the correct draft. If I built the full hull then it would sit so high out of the water that it wouldn't look right.
My local library is REALLY small. as in a 2000 Sq Ft building.
They have to ILL everything.
Thanks for the suggestion. I appreciate it. I wasn't aware of that group, but I am now.
Reply to
The Evil Tessmacher
It is not an error. It was still called the Merrimac by the North. It was called Merrimac in an 1862 Federal Civil War song, and Currier and Ives made a lithograph in 1862 of the battle, calling it the Merrimac. In Utah, there are two buttes named Monitor and Merrimac. There are even two accepted spellings of Merrimac, one with a 'k' at the end and one without. The writers and artists of the day probably found it more poetic to call it the battle of the 'Monitor and Merrimac' rather than 'Monitor and Virginia'.
Reply to
willshak
That does not prove that it is an error, since the ship was renamed at the time of its Commissioning by the Naval Forces of the Confederacy as the C.S.S. Virginia. Period. You could call the QE II the "Baby Liz" but that does not mean that it is her actual name.
The ship, as used by the Naval Forces of the Confederacy was commisioned the C.S.S. Virginia:
"The Confederates, in desperate need of ships, raised MERRIMACK and rebuilt her as an ironclad ram, according to a design prepared by naval constructor Lt. J. M. Brooke, CSN. Commissioned on 17 February 1862, as CSS VIRGINIA, the ironclad was the hope of the Confederacy to wreak havoc among the wooden ships in Hampton Roads and end the blockade's strangulation." - From the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, Vol II.
Also, this great explanation from Mabry Tyson, the great grandson of Catesby ap Roger Jones, commander during the battle:
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And Lincoln called the conflict the "Great Civil War" but that doesn't make it what it was. He was wrong then, and everyone who has ever used the term since has been wrong too. The definition of a "civil war" is a war between populations within the same governmental form, fought for control of that governmental form. The conflict was most certainly NOT about that. To even call it "The War Between the States" would be wrong too. The one I really dislike is "The Second American Revolution" and all those other similar names used by rabid SCV types. The proper name for the conflict is "The War of the Confederacy".
Calling something by a wrong name is still wrong.
Irrelevant, Sir.
Even more irrelevant. And also incorrect.
Sir, I am not the least interested in what someone thinks is "poetic". I am interested in using the correct name for the ship. To call the Titanic the "Big Damn Ship" is not correct.
While I appreciate the offerance of your opinion, could we please get back to the questions at hand? As in, direction to other sources beyond those great ones that have been proferred to date?
Thank you kindly.
Reply to
The Evil Tessmacher
There wasn't much above the waterline anyway. But the bread and butter construction builds the hull. So whether you call it Merrimack or Virginia, it is the same hull and same hull lines. Upper structure can be done in any of a number of ways of construction, but I see no reason to use other than B&B up to main deck level (main deck of Virginia, not Merrimack). That is pretty close to waterline of Merrimack.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
You're very welcome, Sir. I don't wish to re-fight the Civil War,or whatever you want to call it, but I'm sorry, it is what it is.
Guess in what southern state the 'Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel' is located? Guess in what southern state where a town that supplied the iron for the Confederate ironclad was re-named 'Merrimac' is located?
I believe that you took the thread off scratchbuilding when you 'corrected' Don about the name of the ship when you knew exactly what he meant by Merrimac(k), as do a great many people.
Reply to
willshak
the victors write the histories.
Reply to
someone
That's correct. It is the Virginia. Used during the War of the Confederacy. I'm glad we can at least agree on that.
I give you citation, evidence, and more research links, and you give me finger-in-the-ears "la la la" response. Gotcha.
If I name you a nincompoop, does that make you one? I don't think so.
And it does not make them correct. Actually, it makes them misinformed and ignorant.
If you enjoy being in those groups, please do so with my blessings.
Reply to
The Evil Tessmacher
Which still does not make them either accurate, or correct.
Reply to
The Evil Tessmacher
You're right, of course, and I am thinking that 90% of the detail involved will center around the above-waterline appearance of the ship. The below-waterline will likely be almost a tub-shaped affair, to hold the RC gear, and drive system. No need to even model the whole hull, unless of course, it is going to be displayed anywhere. Which isn't likely. The superstructure is relatively easy, with regard to layout, but getting all the lines and angles correct is going to take some doing, because no two images of the thing are the same. I suppose it is going to have to be one of those "let's make it look right" projects. Problem is, I am hoping to get it as close to accurate as I can. I think I may need a time machine to do that, but I'm still going to try, even so.
Thanks for the reply, Don.
Oh, and one other thing... Any good links besides the one you gave already that outline some of these construction techniques?
Reply to
The Evil Tessmacher
I agree that the ship would be correctly called CSS Virginia. That's how it was commissioned.
Regarding "war between the states", "war of the confederacy", "civil war", etc... For most americans, most historians, etc, 'the american civil war' is usually used. Go to amazon and click up how many books there are about 'american civil war' vs 'war of the confederacy'. Similarly, what is usually heard as the 'battle of bull run' is called the 'battle of manassas' by southerners because of different naming conventions that the north and south were using. (one based on nearest moving water, other on nearest town). One is not more correct than the other, but shows a different perspective.
Or every time I talk about WWII, I should call it the 'great patriotic war' in case a russian is listening? Or should something be called what it is most known as.... in this case 'american civil war'.
FYI, the reason it's referred to as that (I'm sure you know, Tessmacher, as a civil war historian) is that the confederate states were never recognized by the US. Did any country officially recognize CSA as a country? I don't believe so. If I recall, Britain was on the verge of recognizing CSA until Vicksburg.
Anyway.... good luck on your model. It sounds like a worthy project. What scale?
-- Stephen
Reply to
Stephen Tontoni
wasn't my claim. the war of succession was unfair to everyone except big business.
Reply to
someone
Hey Don! Can I get the issue number of that magazine? The Cairo is in the Nat'l Military Park right here in my town! I think that's THE coolest thing in the park, now.
Reply to
frank
Who defines 'wrong'? It would seem that there is certainly no *moral* right or wrong here since I doubt that any religious group really cares. So we are left to law and politics. In law and politics, the United States won the conflict, so I would expect that their definitions are entitled to as much credence as any of the rest of their institutions, compared to those of the late Confederacy. United States currency continued to have the value attributed to it by the government that backed it, just as did the Confederacy's (thus becoming intrinsically worthless when the government collapsed). So, while it may have been styled a 'war of southern liberation' by the South, to the United States, it was simply a rebellion - a civil war. Viewed in that light, the rebels simply refurbished the USS Merrimac and used it, but didn't have the authority to rename it. In basic terms, when you lose a war, you also pretty much lose the ability - and the right - to have the history of that war written your way.
The south lost. Get over it. -- C.R. Krieger (Been there; done that)
Reply to
C.R. Krieger
I'm looking in the area of 1/26 or so. That would make the finished superstructure (above the waterline) just about nine feet long.
Reply to
The Evil Tessmacher
~I~ thought that that was "the Old Canoe"........
Reply to
The Old Man
Have you considered a model of the model? Consider the old Pyro CSS Virginia (called by them the Merrimac 8-P) and scaling the parts and enlarging them to your scale. I'm not sure what problems (if any) the old model had, but I'm sure that they could be overcome. There are also two movies that I'm aware of that show an ironclad of this type, "Sahara" has night shots and isn't very clear (and the premise is laughable - the Virgina-type ironclad actually sails across the Atlantic) and another one (whose name escapes me) that was produced by Ted Turner and was about that battle.
Reply to
The Old Man

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