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CSS Manassas (as analyzed and drawn by Ward Shrake)

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  • CSS Manassas (as analyzed and drawn by Ward Shrake)

    I've been meaning to do this for a long while now, but I am finally making the time. Here are the various working drawings I came up with -- (cross sections and all; holding nothing back) -- when I built a static display model of the "CSS Manassas," a few years ago.

    (Edit -- Some pics of that static model are now up, in a builder's thread I just started. See link immediately below, to see the finished model.)

    For those who don't already know (which is almost everyone, I'd assume?) this stuff I'm gonna post below was all original analytical work that I did by myself; and drawing work I did myself; and so on. This was basically the "pre-build" work that had to be done, before I could build myself a static display model in 1:48 scale, of a delightfully obscure, not-quite-fully-submerged boat which took part in several naval battles during the American Civil War. The model was one that ended up being written up, for publication in the first volume of "Steampunk Modeller". (From the folks who put out the series of "Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller" publications, from England.) You can see more about the actual model that I built, in that article ... and a bunch of text, describing that build-up and/or the references I used ... but be warned that you'll probably have to search via eBay or whatever to obtain a copy of that publication; as that special issue has sold out a couple of times now, since its first publication around 2011. (It's still out there. As many copies as were sold over the last few years, it shouldn't be "Printed Unobtainium".)

    Anyway ... comments always welcome ... but keep in mind that if you wildly disagree with the analysis I've done, on the historical original, that (a) it'd be helpful if you read the article first, to know the why's behind what I did; and (b) the boat's shape and details, as described below, could always be used in "fictional form". The dive planes or fins, for instance, were tacked onto the drawings in just such a fictional way. The real boat may not have been able to submerge itself, fully, and then surface again ... but there's no reason an R/C boat couldn't do just that.

    I'm all for sharing stuff like this ... and will just say that if anyone builds an R/C boat from these drawings, be sure to post a builders thread!

    -- Ward Shrake --
    Last edited by Steampunk; 07-30-2014, 01:11 AM. Reason: adding a link to a builder's thread

  • #2
    First up -- the "plan" and "profile" view drawings.

    These are obviously cut-and-paste dealies ... since that should make printing them out a bit easier.

    Here's the three separate drawing pieces which make up the "plan view" drawing:

    ... and here are the three drawings which, when combined, should give you a usable enough "profile view" drawing ...


    • #3
      And here are some sectional drawings. (With these ones being all squished onto one drawing, to better show how shapes interact, etc.)

      First, here's a set of "in-between" drawings: meant to better describe the shape of the rather complicated, quickly changing "ram" contours.

      Next up, the (labelled via numbers) sectional drawings, which the drawings above "fit in between" ... (as implied in my plan/profile drawings).


      • #4
        Some charts for making prop blades ...

        (Which I'm probably including mainly just to show that I've tried to pay attention to Dave's great Cabal Reports, over the years! Not claiming to be any kind of an expert in prop-making! Just trying to show that I'm not sleeping through the lessons that others have offered to the masses!)


        • #5
          And finally, here are the nearly-all-important sectional drawings ... with each of them set up in single-drawing per image, "Spray glue me onto some foam or something, and then use my outlines to cut out slices of bread, to be assembled into a full loaf" easy model-building mode.

          My theory on such things being that if I document the as-built shapes well enough, I won't have to think too much, if I decide later to build a second copy in a completely different scale, or whatever! (During my apprenticeship-via-email period, Mister Merriman definitely made sure I learned how important cross section drawings were! That and many other lessons about model building, I definitely thank the master for!)

          (more coming!)


          • #6


            • #7


              • #8

                Last edited by Steampunk; 07-29-2014, 03:05 AM.


                • #9
                  ... and that's that, folks! I've run out of drawings to share, for this particular build.

                  Hopefully, one or more persons here will enjoy what they're seeing above; and will build themselves either a static display model, or the "more fun" kind! That's the whole point of sharing something like these drawings: to see others put them to some constructive use.

                  "Constructive" probably being the operative word. Having more of these suckers, patrolling ponds and swimming pools, would be a very nifty thing!

                  Because someone will probably want to put their model to uses the real thing might have been put to, I'll add this: I'm not sure what the current rules are for ramming one's fellow's boats, in mock combat situations? (But I once had a friend who felt a person wasn't trying hard enough, unless people were making special rules, "just for them" ... so, there's always that mindset as a possibility?!) If anyone tries to see how well B-B's will (or won't) try to penetrate that compound curvature as seen along the upper works, I hope any/all spectators nearby are all wearing eye / etc. protection, against any glancing shots!?!

                  With that said: I should note a few items, in passing -- of possible interest to potential builders. If you study the plan and profile view drawings, in particular, this next bit will probably be semi-obvious, but the "section numbers" or "slice numbers" aren't a direct "scale foot" indication. It's basically one "slice" for every two scale feet. Section number 10, as labeled in these drawings, would be 20 foot back from the tip of the craft's iron prow ... if that makes sense. And the little thingies I've drawn onto most of the sectional drawings, which look like an "L" with pointers on both ends, is just a personal thing I do, to indicate "up" and "out" ... so that I cut down the odds of doing something bone-headed (or at least, that's the theory) when I'm out in the shop working, but should have caught some Zzz's long ago. The idea being that if I keep all of my numbered, cut-out "slices of bread" pointing the same way, per each side of the model, as I line them up, one behind the other; and if I keep the marked centerlines (on each "slice") all neatly lined up, longitudinally, along some nice long straight line on a building board or table surface ... things go a lot better. And faster. And smoother. And give me a lot less worry, as I work on things!

                  As for where I got my start, on analyzing the historical boat: there's a once very-little-known drawing of the real thing, as drawn when it was first being converted from a surface skimmer to something more sinister. A first-person, "saw it with my own two eyes" drawing. Got that from the history dot navy dot mil web site; noted that it mainly consisted of a pretty well done "profile" view; noted that they had one cross section drawn up, as well ... and went from there, towards "filling out" those drawings with other sectional info, etc. Supplemented that with some newspaper reports, written up whilst some of the folks who had worked on the real thing were still alive. Again, those "as close to primary sources as I know how to obtain" resources are mentioned in my article -- but one I didn't get to mention, in print, was a series of journal entries that were discovered not too long ago. The real boat was very effective, in at least one big way: from the sound of it, the real thing had Northern ship's crews freaking out! Not something they wanted to admit, but something as radical as this thing must have been, back in its day, would likely have had the stress-causing reactions those Northern journal pages hinted at, but official sources did their best to downplay or make light of.

                  I'd love it if more research was done on seeing how much of the real thing still exists ... but time will tell, there. One can hope, though, that one day ...

                  Meanwhile or anyway ... for those who want to see more of the static display build I did, a few years ago, using these working drawings: remember that it was written up and talked about in some length and detail, in the first "Steampunk Modeller" special issue, once available from the folks at this web site:

                  They may or may not have any copies of that particular special issue available (check in their "shop" section, in case they ever do another print run of it?) ... but if they no longer have a copy when you check, other places should. Just check around at the usual places where "Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller" is sold.


                  -- Ward Shrake --
                  Last edited by Steampunk; 07-29-2014, 04:14 AM.