Category Archives: USS Chickasaw

USS Chickasaw Part 10: The Resurrection

It’s been a while, just over 7 years since the last update. With more free time as of late (furloughed due to the Covid-19 crisis), I’ve been tackling some shelved projects. USS Chickasaw was put aside those years ago because… hell, I don’t remember why. But now, with CAD experience, and an in-house 3D printer, I have everything I need to finish her.

So far, the major work has been on body work, repairing seams that have cracked over the years, and prepping the hull for paint. I’ve been drawing all of the other components in CAD, using Rhinoceros v6, as I don’t have the original files for the turret, stack, screw, etc., and the prints of those items that I purchased from Shapeways years ago have degraded significantly.

Here are a few photos of Chickasaw as she stands today.

USS Chickasaw Part 9: Stern-O-Plasty

I’d planned on the joining of the upper and lower hulls on Chickasaw to be an ordeal, but it wasn’t as bad in some respects as I’d expected, but was worse in other respects.  While Chickasaw doesn’t have the full “raft over a lower hull” arrangement of the original Monitor or her follow-on Passaic class ironclads, it does exist.  While building the lower hull, I exerted too Continue reading

USS Chickasaw Part 8: Final Sheeting

With power out for nearly a week and subsequent clean-up from Sandy, I haven’t done much modeling lately.  Yesterday evening I scheduled time to work on the remaining sheeting for Chickasaw, and today I trimmed and sanded the result.  A little filling and sanding is left, but then I believe I can prime the two hull halves, do a final check for blemishes, and then assemble the two and begin scribing.

USS Chickasaw Part 7: Cutting Holes

The sheeting continues, but with the sheet for the main deck, it gets tricky.  Holes for the turrets, the pilot house, and the stack have to be cut.  Initially I drove myself nuts for a day or two trying to figure out the center of the circles, then realized that the camber of the deck makes the circles not entirely of the perfectly-round variety.  An email to Dean, the designer, resulted in a template the the centers marked.  I glued that to styrene, and away I went…


USS Chickasaw Part 6: Sheeting

Little slow on the build lately.  Work got busy, came down with a cold, and my writing has taken an uptick lately as I work on some novel edits.  Another delay came from spending time in testing glues with styrene sheeting and the plywood/putty surface.  Gorilla Glue, surprisingly, didn’t work at all.  Plastic pulled off like it had been stuck on with Scotch tape.  The Gorilla Super Glue Impact-Tough (formulated with rubber particles for elasticity), worked the trick, though, and it holding like nobody’s business.  Progress photos below.  I hope to have everything sheeted and ready to prime and scribe within a week or so.

USS Chickasaw Part 5: Filling In

Once the ribs were filled in as much as I could with scrap wood, I switched to epoxy putty, Aves Apoxie Sculpt to be precise.  I used this at the extreme bow where shaping is crucial.  Apoxie Sculpt sands a lot like resin once set up, but a little more dense.  It sands well, takes an edge like crazy (I’m convinced you could make a knife blade with this stuff and get it razor sharp), and is great for shaping and detailing.  Once that was done, it was on to the wood putty.

I took delivery of styrene over the weekend, all the way down to .005″.  Not much thicker than paper.  It’s going to be fun figuring out what type of adhesive to attach this stuff with!

USS Chickasaw: Part 4 Testing Methods

One of the more interesting and enjoyable, and often frustrating, parts of trying something new is figuring out exactly how to do it.  Since I’ve got Chickasaw framed up, Dean and I have discussed it and I realized that I do not need to sheet the open structures.  The model was designed to have the voids filled and then detailed.  This is possibly a hold-over strategy from when we were going to have this cut out of styrene (neither of us can remember at this point!) and it would have worked well with that approach, but for plywood it doesn’t.  I need a layer of styrene to work with for scribing, detailing, etc.  Therefore, I’m going ahead with filling the open structures and I have ordered some .005 and .010 thick styrene from Evergreen to use for sheeting; that’s as thin as they make it.

So I need to test how to best fill the openings.  My initial thoughts were expanding foam.  A quick Google search of R/C and other modeling sites returned phrases like “exploded the rib assembly” and “still expanding after two weeks!” and talked me out of that real quick.  Below are some of my test pieces that I built from scrap to do some experiments:

USS Chickasaw: Part 3

I’ve all the framing done and the major sheeting applied.  I have had issues with wood warping, as annotated below, but I’ve mostly been able to work around it.  This is still going together very well, and even though this is the first wood model I’ve built… well, ever… it’s enjoyable.

The final photos show the mockup with the 3D printed turrets.  I’m still deciding if I want to use these as-is for this build, or if I want to try my hand at casting them in resin.

USS Chickasaw: Part 2

I’ve been sidetracked on another project (that I’ll post about next week) and Chickasaw has languished on the shelf.  I freed up some bench space, though, and here we go…

New Project: USS Chickasaw

This is a 1/200 scale scratch build.  I am cheating a lot on this one, though, as the bulk of the framing was done in a 3D CAD program by Dean Horvath.  He broke the 3D model down into kit components and we had it laser cut from thin plywood for me to assemble.  The process of the 3D design can be found on the website HERE.

At 1/200 scale the hull will be right at 14″ long.  We split the hull into upper and lower parts, so that it can be built full hull or waterline.  I still haven’t decided yet if I’ll just build this as-is, or seal it up and cast resin hulls for the actual detail and finishing portion.  I’m leaning towards the latter.

For this first post, Continue reading