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USS MAINE's 63-Foot Steam Torpedo Launch (paper scratchbuild)

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  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
USS MAINE's 63-Foot Steam Torpedo Launch (paper scratchbuild)
Posted by gregbale on Friday, July 31, 2020 1:00 PM

My earlier build of HMV's 1/250 USS Maine paper model led me to fall in love with the 63-foot Steam Torpedo Launch design that was originally intended to be a part of her fighting trim; a pair of these 'hornets' was to be shipped aboard the Maine and another contemporary to provide an extra tactical 'sting' in battle.

A single prototype was built at the NY Navy Yard...and proved a pretty dismal failure, missing her proposed top speed of 18 knots by a third. (Apparently the design was pretty bow-heavy even before the single torpedo was loaded. It tended to 'plow' more deeply than expected and wallow dangerously.) The torpedo-boats-aboard-capital-ships project was shelved...and the prototype ended her days as a utility and training hull at the Navy's Newport Torpedo Station.

But for all its faults, the design is sleek and elegant in appearance...and pretty archetypal of the host of similar designs built by navies world-wide in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. It has a sort of 'Jules Verne' look to it with its twin stacks (a coal-burning double boiler), its odd oval-shaped bridge cupola, and its American-designed 3.7cm Driggs-Schroeder rapid-firing cannon mounted aft of the engine 'whaleback.'

I was hooked. I found a great set of drawings online...and decided it was a perfect small project to do up in paper as well. The drawings scaled easily to a manageable 1/72 scale (while still fitting nicely on a legal-sized sheet for my printer).

I started with the profile- and plan-view drawings I found, but basically re-drew everything as I went along. I didn't have any hull sections so I had to reach back to my junior-high drafting class to 'loft' suitable lines; it took a bit of tweaking, but it wasn't as hard as I was expecting to get a workable shape. Materials were a variety of weights and thicknesses of paper, cardboard, and manila folder stock...sometimes laminated to multiple thicknesses using mostly CA. Colors and detail and were added in my old stand-by MS-Paint, with some additional textures captured from internet images.

In fact, she's all paper or cardboard except for the porthole rims, handrail and the torpedo-handling davit on the bridge cupola, the steam whistle on the whaleback, and the vent line on the port stack...all from copper wire. (And the support stay on the funnels, which are elastic EZ-Line.) I even experimented using paper for the stanchions and the railing cable...though this is one application -- a single-line railing -- where having the stanchions a bit more rigid would have helped keep the railing straighter. My error entirely: I may go back and coat the stanchions with CA, and re-tension the line a bit.

All in all a fun project...small enough not to be daunting, complicated enough to be challenging as a scratch-build...without the tedium of having to make two-dozen of anything. Big Smile

Enjoy the photos!































Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Friday, July 31, 2020 2:11 PM

Oh Boy, GREG!

 You got bit by the Terrible Paper bug din't ya? That is awesome looking .What's next?

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Friday, July 31, 2020 2:16 PM

Tanker-Builder

Oh Boy, GREG!

 You got bit by the Terrible Paper bug din't ya? That is awesome looking .What's next?

PLASTIC. Big Smile

I've got a backlog of projects piling up.

[Although I am contemplating a few paper a/c models....]

Thanks, TB!

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."

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