Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum and the USS Maine

2015-11-25 12.40.50Recently I finally got some closure on a project from some years ago. I made it out to the museum in Building 92 of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Part of their collection is a large scale model of the famous battleship USS Maine. A model that I helped build.

Back in 2010 a friend of mine, ship modeler extraordinaire Gary Kingzett, asked me if I’d like to assist him on a build for a museum. My odd work schedules over a 5 or 6 year period allowed me the freedom to travel to his home and workshop in northern New Jersey. Material for the ship’s hull was a large sheet of poured urethane resin, known as butter board. I’ve put some photos in the set below to show the basics of the construction method, called “bread and butter”, where levels of the hull are cut to shape, those layers are stacked and glued, and then ground and sanded to shape. Beyond the hull cutting and shaping, Gary also turned the gun turrets on a lathe, and commissioned another artisan (the name escapes me) to fashion the gun barrels and screws (propellers) out of brass. My contribution to the project, besides helping Gary man-handle the bulky sheets of raw resin building materials around the saws and lathes, were the ship’s boats. Using scrap blocks of the resin, I made solid hulls that were then used to vacuum form the ship’s boats out of thin polystyrene. The project was a great learning experience for me. Once the hull had been shaped and the deck work started, the project was taken over by another modeler and taken to completion. By the looks of the results in the museum, he did a fantastic job.

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The rest of the photos below are of the museum at Bldg 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It’s a small museum, on three different floors in a converted warehouse, with each exhibit floor around 20 X 40 feet in size. Exhibits of note are the aforementioned USS Maine model, a large scale model of the USS Monitor (built by Dan Pariser, the modeler who finished the Maine), a section from the USS Arizona wreck, and a beautiful model of the sailing warship USS Ohio.

Overall it’s a nice little museum that makes a great visit for an hour or so if you’re in the area. The main draw for me was finally seeing something I’d help create in a museum setting; my name isn’t on it, but I know I helped build it.

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3 thoughts on “Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum and the USS Maine

  1. Joseph R Ornig

    Dear Friends: The USS MAINE model at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. If someone wanted to commission another model of the MAINE,on the same scale, with the extraordinary detail and fine finish of the model at Museum, what would it cost? Would I have to be a millionaire to afford to acquire it?


    Joseph R Ornig
    Lake Bluff, Ill.

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