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dnl42

Flagship Models 1/72 USS ALLIGATOR - FINISHED

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I'm joining with Flagship Models' 1/72 USS ALLIGATOR. This was the US Navy's first submarine. The design by Brutus de Villeroi was unusual. It used oars for propulsion, had a snorkel with an air purification system, and an airlock for a diver.

 

800px-VilleroiSubmarine.jpg

 

She was launched in May 1862. Her first sorties were to take place in June 1862, but were cancelled when the conditions were judged unsuitable for operations. By July 1862 the oars were replaced with a hand-cranked screw, raising her speed to 4 knots.  Her next sorties were to take place in April 1863, but she foundered and sank during a storm off Cape Hatteras while being towed to Charleston, SC.

 

Here's the starting bits.

alligator-start0.jpg

 

22 resin parts, chain, brass wire, and plastic rod.

alligator-start1.jpg

 

Those are some serious rivets! But, they look appropriate to the era. 

alligator-start2.jpg

 

The model portrays ALLIGATOR in her as-launched oar-powered configuration. Some serious clean-up is in store...

alligator-start4.jpg

 

I built Flagship Models' 1/72 CSS HUNLEY some years ago. The kit built nicely

hunley0.jpg

 

Here's my interpretation of HUNLEY's spar torpedo:

hunley1.jpg

 

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Very Jules Verne.  Watching with interest.

 

AW

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Gidday, these new-fangled underwater machines! They'll never catch on, or amount to anything. 😀 Seriously, the Hunley I've heard of, but not the Alligator. Regards, Jeff.

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I like your CSS Huntley. Underlines that early submarining was a riskier-than-average venture. Looking forward to this. I guess with fully-submerged operation feathering your oars properly on the recovery stroke would be a pretty essential.

 

Regards,

Adrian

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3 hours ago, Andwil said:

Very Jules Verne.  Watching with interest.

I had that reaction too when reviewing that first close-up. Thanks for joining the show! 

 

36 minutes ago, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday, these new-fangled underwater machines! They'll never catch on, or amount to anything. 😀 Seriously, the Hunley I've heard of, but not the Alligator

Apparently her first USN captain thought the same. I discovered ALLIGATOR when I found the HUNLEY kit. Flagship also produced a 1/72 DAVID, a Confederate torpedo boat.

 

39 minutes ago, AdrianMF said:

I like your CSS Huntley. Underlines that early submarining was a riskier-than-average venture. Looking forward to this. I guess with fully-submerged operation feathering your oars properly on the recovery stroke would be a pretty essential.

Thanks! These were indeed risky vessels! And you're absolutely correct, feathering the oars would be essential to submerged operations. That's one of the features I'll need to improve. Looking more carefully, it's not clear the kit oars will survive... 

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I cleaned up the flash from the hull as well as the pour plug. There was some collateral rivet damage. I've no clue why there are pins at the ends of the oar shafts.

alligator-cleanedup.jpg

 

The oars are next. Before I spend time cleaning up the resin oars, I'll spend some time trying to figure out what that oars may have looked like. They self-feathered as they were swept forward--there's no hint of that in the resin bits. 

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Now that is quite an interesting looking machine, the C.S.S. Hunley looks quite good. If worse comes to worse, you could always do what the Navy did and convert it to a prop. 

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@Corsairfoxfouruncle, thanks! 

 

I did think about the converting it as you suggest, but I think the oars would look more interesting. We shall see... 

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Well this is something completely different! Great choice.

 

Rob

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20 hours ago, dnl42 said:

 

I did think about the converting it as you suggest, but I think the oars would look more interesting. We shall see... 

I find these early experiments fascinating. The history of the Hunley in particular. As for the Alligator its unique oar propulsion has to be the one to model. 

 

Colin 

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What an inspired choice :thumbsup2:

I'm intrigued by the bit shown dangling under the craft on the box art...….?

 

Cheers

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@rob85, @Colin W, and @CliffB, thanks!

 

20 hours ago, CliffB said:

What an inspired choice :thumbsup2:

I'm intrigued by the bit shown dangling under the craft on the box art...….?

That's supposed help maintain depth, perhaps when the diver was out attaching the battery-detonated limpet mines? I haven't found anything explicitly describing its use. I have a notion how it might have been used in combination with the boat's supposed air compressor. :shrug:

 

More clean-up. I filled the mold seams.

alligator-cleanedup1.jpg

 

And bored out the portholes.

alligator-cleanedup2.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I need some ideas on replacing the lost rivets. The existing rivets are about 0.03 in diameter. That puts them at 2 inches full scale, which is apparently consistent with the rivets on USS MONITOR.

 

I also need to think about the surface texture. Cleaning the seams resulted in the nearby surface being quite smooth, very different from the majority of the model's surface. I suppose I could try to orange-peel an enamel primer. :whistle:

alligator-cleanedup3.jpg

 

Edit: I think I solved my rivet problem. Turns out I have Archer Fine Transfers' Surface Details #9. Looks like it has the right diameter rivet.

Edited by dnl42

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Very original subject! 

 

I see you've got your rivet decals now, a possible  alternative is using thick superglue blobbed from a piece of wire - laborious but it works. 

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@Alan P, thanks! If the surface details don't work out, I may need to try glue droplets.

 

I've worked on the rough surface texture with a Spot Sanding Pen, which allowed me to smooth out the surface texture without damaging the remaining rivets and other details.

alligator-cleanedup5.jpg

I'll shoot some primer tomorrow to see if this is sufficient. If so, I'll proceed with the Archer Fine Details rivets.

 

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I've repaired the existing rivet pattern using the 2 larger sizes of fasteners from the Archer sheet. The look very prominent right now. I'm ambivalent about this rivet pattern. A single row of rivets is correct for lapped plate construction and the interior of any plate. For a flush plate construction, a double rows of rivets would be present along the joined plate edges. While I'm not aware of contemporaneous data suggesting either hull plating method, the model clearly doesn't show lapped plates. 

alligator-rivets0.jpgalligator-rivets1.jpg

 

The resin control surfaces are a tad thick. At 0.063 in, the rudder works out to a 4.5 in. scale thickness, while the dive plane's 0.0275 in. thickness works out to 2 in. That farthest part is the snorkel--I'll replace it with 1mm Albion tubing, about the same diameter.

alligator-controlsurfaces.jpg

 

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Gidday, she's an interesting and unusual project. Regarding the control surfaces, if you think they're too thick but don't want to replace them, have you considered 'sharpening' the edges? I sometimes do that with gun shields etc. It can give an appearance of thin but still retain it's strength through its thickness. Just a thought. Regards, Jeff.

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Its amazing that they got anyone to get in that at all! but what a brilliant subject, I'm looking forward to seeing it completed.

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On 4/7/2020 at 1:25 AM, Andwil said:

Very Jules Verne.  Watching with interest.

It turns out there's evidence that Verne may well have had de Villeroi as a math professor! So, perhaps the connection is more than coincidental?

 

On 4/11/2020 at 6:43 PM, ArnoldAmbrose said:

Gidday, she's an interesting and unusual project. Regarding the control surfaces, if you think they're too thick but don't want to replace them, have you considered 'sharpening' the edges? I sometimes do that with gun shields etc. It can give an appearance of thin but still retain it's strength through its thickness. Just a thought. Regards, Jeff.

@ArnoldAmbrose, thanks! I've done that in the past. This time I I'll replaced all. I went with the provided controls surfaces on the HUNLEY above, and I've regretted the decision since...

 

On 4/12/2020 at 10:13 AM, MarkSH said:

Its amazing that they got anyone to get in that at all! but what a brilliant subject, I'm looking forward to seeing it completed.

The crew for this oared version was at least 17! :blink:

 

On to the new control surfaces! The rudder. On the one hand, this is quite small considering the speed. On the other hand, this beast does have 16 individually powered oars.

alligator-controlsurfaces-new0.jpg

 

Dive planes

alligator-controlsurfaces-new1.jpg

 

And a comparison of old v. new. The skeg is also below.

alligator-controlsurfaces-new2.jpg

 

I still haven't figured out what the self feathering oars will look like. I won't attach any of these bits until I've built the oars and am ready to attach all.

 

Thanks for watching!

 

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Here's my first attempt at oars. I drew them in Inkscape and cut them onto 0.01 inch Evergreen sheet on my Silhouette Portrait using the inkscape-silhouette extension. As Portrait can only score plastic this thick, I need to complete the cuts with a knife. The vertical lines in the middle of the oar represent the feathering hinge line.

alligator-oars.png

 

Here are the new oars and the original resin part. I like the proportions and the thickness (scaled to 0.75 in for the plate and 1.5 in for the spine), but I'm not convinced it's large enough. :shrug:

alligator-oars-comp.jpg

The good thing about Inkscape is I can just scale them larger if needed.

 

I'm also considering the size of the oar shafts. They scale out to 7 in diameter, which seems Really Large(TM) to me...

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More thinking on the oars. The left oar and spines are 0.51 inches tall; the right oar is 0.46 inches tall. The right one is more appealing to me. I'm also thinking of a simpler spine, perhaps just "bar stock" attached to the actuating rod.

alligator-oars-new.png

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In preparation for the new oars, I used a JLC saw to remove the oar shafts. Files and Tamiya Putty finished off the surface prep.

alligator-oar-plates2.jpg

 

I drew up a template in Inkscape to position the replacement shafts and center-punched each location.

alligator-oar-plates1.jpg

 

Drilling and application of replacement rivets finished this part off.

alligator-oar-plates3.jpg

 

Thanks for watching! :bye:

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What a fascinating subject! You are doing a grand job with this vessel.

 

Ray

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Thanks @Ray S!

 

I cut shaft bosses from Evergreen tube with a JLC saw

alligator-oar-plates4.jpg

 

And now they're on!

alligator-oar-plates6.jpg

They scale out to 7.5 in diameter and 2.25 in thick; I may yet thin them down now...

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Working on the oars. Given their simple shape, rather than use a cutter, I cut rectangular blanks and then rounded the corners. I was able to use my JLC miter box with some shims as a sanding jig.

alligator-oars0.jpg

 

And here they are.

alligator-oars1.jpg

 

Here are my current thoughts on the oars using some rejected paddles.

alligator-oars2.jpg

 

alligator-oars3.jpg

 

And here's the rudder and skeg. Now that these are mounted, I made a temporary mount. The final mount will replace the board with some bright wood, like HUNLEY above.

alligator-rudder.jpg


Thanks for watching! :bye:

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