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Monday, April 17, 2017

CSS David

Here are some images of Cottage Industry Models 1/32 scale CSS David.

From Wikipedia"
CSS David was a Civil War-era torpedo boat. On October 5, 1863, she undertook a partially successful attack on the USS New Ironsides, then participating in the blockade of Charleston, South Carolina.
 Based upon a design by St. Julien Ravenel, the David was built as a private venture by T. Stoney at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1863, and was put under the control of the Confederate States Navy. Eventually over twenty torpedo boats of the David type were built for and operated by the CSN. The cigar-shaped boat carried a 32 by 10 inch (81 × 25 cm) explosive charge of 134 pounds (about 60 kilograms) gunpowder on the end of a spar projecting forward from her bow. CSS David operated as a semi-submersible: water was taken into ballast tanks so that only the length of the open-top conning tower and the stack for the boiler appeared above water. Designed to operate very low in the water, David resembled in general a submersible submarine; she was, however, strictly a surface vessel. Operating on dark nights, and using anthracite coal (which burns without smoke), David was nearly as hard to see as a true submarine.


On the night of October 5, 1863, David, commanded by Lieutenant William T. Glassell, CSN, left Charleston Harbor to attack the casemated ironclad steamer USS New Ironsides. The torpedo boat approached undetected until she was within 50 yards of the blockader. Hailed by the watch on board New Ironsides, Glassell replied with a blast from a shotgun and David plunged ahead to strike. Her spar torpedo detonated under the starboard quarter of the ironclad, throwing high a column of water which rained back upon the Confederate vessel and put out her boiler fires. Her engine dead, David hung under the quarter of New Ironsides while small arms fire from the Federal ship spattered the water around the torpedo boat.
Believing that their vessel was sinking, Glassell and two others abandoned her; the pilot, Walker Cannon, who could not swim, remained on board. A short time later, Assistant Engineer J. H. Tomb swam back to the craft and climbed on board. Rekindling the fires, Tomb succeeded in getting David's engine working again, and with Cannon at the wheel, the torpedo boat steamed up the channel to safety. Glassell and Seaman James Sullivan, David's fireman, were captured. New Ironsides, though not sunk, was damaged by the explosion. US Navy casualties were Acting Ensign C.W.Howard (died of gunshot wound), Seaman William L. Knox (legs broken) and Master at Arms Thomas Little (contusions).
Photograph of a captured David-class torpedo boat (possibly CSS David herself), taken after the fall of Charleston in 1865
The wreck of the CSS David
The next 4 months of David's existence are obscure. She or other torpedo boats tried more attacks on Union blockaders; reports from different ships claim three such attempts, all unsuccessful, during the remainder of October 1863. On March 6, 1864, David attacked USS Memphis in the North Edisto River. The torpedo boat struck the blockader first on the port quarter, but the torpedo did not explode. Memphis slipped her chain, at the same time firing ineffectively at David with small arms. Putting about, the torpedo boat struck Memphis again, this time a glancing blow on the starboard quarter; once more the torpedo misfired. Since Memphis had now opened up with her heavy guns, David, having lost part of her stack when rammed, retreated up the river out of range. Memphis, uninjured, resumed her blockading station.
David's last confirmed action came on April 18, 1864 when she tried to sink the screw frigate USS Wabash. Alert lookouts on board the blockader sighted David in time to permit the frigate to slip her chain, avoid the attack, and open fire on the torpedo boat. Neither side suffered any damage.
The ultimate fate of David is uncertain. Several torpedo boats of this type fell into Union hands when Charleston was captured in February 1865. David may well have been among them.
 January 20, 1998, underwater archaeologist Dr. E. Lee Spence led a Sea Research Society expedition, funded by philanthropist Stanley M. Fulton, to find the remains of the two Confederate torpedo boats shown in various photos taken shortly after the fall of Charleston. Spence's theory was that the two vessels had been abandoned where they lay and were simply filled over as the city expanded. Spence used still existing houses in the pictures to triangulate where they might be. Using a ground penetrating radar, operated by Claude E. "Pete" Petrone of National Geographic Magazine, the expedition located two radar anomalies consistent with what would be expected of the two wrecks. The anomalies were under present-day Tradd Street, so no excavation was done. A post-war letter written by David C. Ebaugh, who supervised the construction of the David, described it as abandoned at what was then the foot of Tradd Street.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Leonardo Da Vinci's Flying Pendulum Clock

Here are some images of Academy's Leonardo da Vinci's Flying Pendulum Clock.

From Wikipedia"
A flying pendulum clock is a clock that uses a flying pendulum escapement mechanism. A small metal ball, connected by string wraps around one brass post, then unwinds before repeating on the other brass post.
The flying pendulum clock was invented and patented in 1883 by Adler Christian Clausen and J. C. Slafter in Minneapolis. The clock was later called the Ignatz Flying pendulum clock after a character in the Krazy Kat comic. It has been called "the craziest clock in the world" due to the motion of the escapement.
 This clock was first designed by Leonardo di Vinci

Thursday, April 13, 2017

BMW Isetta 250

Here are some images of Revell's 1/16 scale BMW Isetta 250.

From Wikipedia"
The Isetta is an Italian-designed microcar built under license in a number of different countries, including Spain, Belgium, France, Brazil, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Because of its egg shape and bubble-like windows, it became known as a bubble car, a name later given to other similar vehicles.
In 1955, the BMW Isetta became the world's first mass-production car to achieve a fuel consumption of 3 L/100 km (94 mpg‑imp; 78 mpg‑US). It was the top-selling single-cylinder car in the world, with 161,728 units sold.
Initially manufactured by the Italian firm Iso SpA, the name Isetta is the Italian diminutive form of ISO, meaning little ISO.

BMW made the Isetta its own. They redesigned the powerplant around a BMW one-cylinder, four-stroke, 247 cc motorcycle engine which generated 10 kW (13 hp). Although the major elements of the Italian design remained intact, BMW re-engineered much of the car, so much so that none of the parts between a BMW Isetta Moto Coupe and an Iso Isetta are interchangeable. The first BMW Isetta appeared in April 1955.
1955 BMW Isetta 250, BMW Museum, Munich, Germany
In May 1962, three years after launching the conventionally modern-looking BMW 700, BMW ceased production of Isettas. A total of 161,728 units had been built.

While it retained the "Bubble Window" styling, it differed from the Italian model in that its headlamps were fixed separately to the sides of the bodywork and it carried the BMW badge below the windscreen. The car was also redesigned to take a modified version of the 250 cc four-stroke engine from the BMW R25/3 motorcycle and the front suspension was changed. The single-cylinder generated 9 kW (12 hp) at 5800 rpm. The crankcase and cylinder were made of cast iron, the cylinder head of aluminium. However, the head was rotated by 180° compared with the motorcycle engine. The twin-bearing crankshaft was also different in the Isetta power unit, being larger and featuring reinforced bearings. One of the reasons for this was the heavy Dynastart unit which combined the dynamo and self-starter. The fuel mixture was provided by a Bing sliding throttle side draft motorcycle carburetor. In addition to further changes of detail, the BMW engineers enlarged the sump for installation in the car and cooled the engine by means of a radial fan and shrouded ducting.
The power train from the four-speed gearbox to the two rear wheels was also unusual: fixed to the gearbox output drive was something called a Hardy disc, which was a cardan joint made of rubber. On the other side of it was a cardan shaft, and finally a second Hardy disc, which in turn was located at the entrance to a chain case. A duplex chain running in an oil bath led finally to a rigid shaft, at each end of which were the two rear wheels. Thanks to this elaborate power transfer, the engine-gearbox unit was both free of tension and well soundproofed in its linkage to the rear axle.
In Germany, the Isetta could even be driven with a motorcycle license. The top speed of the Isetta 250 was rated as 85 km/h (53 mph).
The first BMW Isetta rolled off the line in April 1955, and in the next eight months some 10,000 of the "bubblecars" were produced.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

USS Valley Forge NCC - 43305

Here are some images of AMT's 1/1000 scale USS Valley Forge from Star Trek Deep Space Nine.

From Memory Beta"
The USS Valley Forge (NCC-43305) was an Excelsior-class explorer in service during the 24th century.
During the Dominion War, the Valley Forge fought numerous engagements against the Dominion, and in 2374 was part of the Federation Alliance task force to invade the Chin'toka system. The Valley Forge was damaged during the First Battle of Chin'toka by the Cardassian orbital weapon platforms inside the system. Her starboard nacelle was damaged along with the primary hull. Which a beam tore thru the hull causing her to lose off axis balance control. The nacelles damage was due to the collision of an Akira Class starship.(DS9 episode: "Tears of the Prophets")
In 2376, Elizabeth Shelby confused the Valley Forge with Valhalla. (NF - Gateways novel: Death After Life)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Robert Fulton's Nautilus

Here are some images of Cottage Industry Models 1/32 scale Robert Fulton's Nautilus.

From Wikipedia"
Nautilus was a submarine first tested in 1800. Though preceded by Cornelius Drebbel's vessel of 1620, Nautilus is often considered to be the first practical submarine.
 The Nautilus was designed between 1793 and 1797  by the American inventor Robert Fulton, then living in the French First Republic. He unsuccessfully proposed to the Directory that they subsidize its construction as a means to balance British seapower. His second, also unsuccessful, proposal to them was that he be paid nothing until the Nautilus had sunk British shipping, and then only a small percentage of the prize money. Fulton directed his next proposal to the Minister of Marine, who granted him permission to build.

Fulton built the first Nautilus of copper sheets over iron ribs at the Perrier boatyard in Rouen. It was 21 ft 3 in (6.48 m) long and 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) in the beam. Propulsion was provided by a hand-cranked screw propeller. The hollow iron keel was the vessel's ballast tank, flooded and emptied to change buoyancy. Two horizontal fins, diving planes in modern terms, on the stubby horizontal rudder controlled angle of dive. Overall, Nautilus resembled a modern research submarine, such as the NR-1, having a long teardrop hull. The design included an observation dome, somewhat similar in appearance, if not function, to the conning tower of later submarines. When surfaced, a fan-shaped collapsible sail, reminiscent of those popular on Chinese ships, could be deployed. Air, beyond that enclosed within the vessel, could be provided by a snorkel constructed of waterproofed leather.
Nautilus was designed from the start to carry what Fulton called a "carcass", a naval mine intended to be dragged into contact with an enemy ship. A device on the top of the dome drove a spiked eye into the enemy's wooden hull. The submarine then released its mine on a line that went through the eye. The submarine sped away. When the long line had paid out, the mine would strike the target hull and explode by a detonator. These "carcasses" were variously sized copper cylinders carrying between ten and two hundred pounds of gunpowder. Contact with the hull triggered a gunlock mechanism.
Nautilus' first test dives were in the Seine at Rouen, in the Saint-Gervais dock, beginning July 29, 1800. These tests were all successful, but the river current interfered with some tests, so Fulton took the boat to Le Havre to work in the quiet salt water of the harbor. He tested endurance with a candle lit, and found the flame did not challenge the air capacity of the snorkel. He also tested the speed of his two men cranking against that of two men rowing on the surface. Nautilus covered the 360 ft (110 m) course two minutes faster than the rowing crew. During this time he changed the screw propeller to one with four vanes, like a windmill, and modified the rudder.
Through friends like Gaspard Monge and Pierre-Simon Laplace, Fulton obtained an interview with Napoleon, but was unable to garner support for his vessel; however, Fulton's friends pushed the Minister of Marine into appointing a scholarly panel, to consist of Volney, Monge, and Laplace, to assess the submarine,.
On July 3, 1801, at Le Havre, Fulton took the revised Nautilus down to the then-remarkable depth of 25 feet (7.6 m). With his three crewmen and two candles burning he remained for an hour without difficulty. Adding a copper "bomb" (globe) containing 200 ft3 (5.7m3) of air extended the time underwater for the crew for at least four and a half hours. One of the renovations included a 1.5-inch-diameter (38 mm) glass in the dome, whose light he found sufficient for reading a watch, making candles during daylight activities unnecessary. Speed trials put Nautilus at two knots on the surface, and covering 400 m in 7 minutes. He also discovered that compasses worked underwater exactly as on the surface.
The first trial of a "carcass" destroyed a 40-foot sloop provided by the Admiralty. Fulton suggested that not only should they be used against specific ships by submarines, but be set floating into harbors and into estuaries with the tide to wreak havoc at random.
The overseeing committee enthusiastically recommended the building of two brass subs, 36 ft (11 m) long, 12 ft (3.7 m) wide, with a crew of eight, and air for eight hours of submersion.
In September, Napoleon expressed interest in seeing the Nautilus, only to find that, as it had leaked badly, Fulton had her dismantled and the more important bits destroyed at the end of the tests. Despite the many reports of success by reliable witnesses, like the Prefect Marine of Brest, Napoleon decided Fulton was a swindler and charlatan. The French navy had no enthusiasm for a weapon they considered suicidal for the crews even though Fulton had had no problems and despite evidence it would be overwhelmingly destructive against conventional ships.

Though knowing the French had no further interest, the British preferred to keep a control on this dangerous device by paying Fulton £800 to come to England (his original planned destination before going to France) and develop a second Nautilus for them. The victory at Trafalgar made his work no longer a danger, and he was ignored until he left, in frustration, for America in October 1806. He left his papers on submarines with the American consul in London. He never asked for them, never referred to his Nautilus work, and the papers went unpublished until 1920.
These papers show that his British Nautilus was planned as a 35 ft (11 m) long, 10 ft (3.0 m) beam sea-going boat with a crew of six, to be provisioned for 20 days at sea. The upper surface was provided with 30 "carcass" compartments. The hull was to imitate a sea-going sloop with conventional-looking mast and sails that could be lowered and unstepped for submersion. Her two-bladed propeller, still hand-cranked, folded up out of the water when surfaced to reduce drag. When submerged, air came through two streamlined ventilation pipes, and light from the conning tower. However, none of this was actually constructed.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Oseberg Ship

Here are some images of Billings 1/25 scale Oseberg Ship.

From Wikipedia"
The Oseberg ship (Norwegian: Osebergskipet) is a well-preserved Viking ship discovered in a large burial mound at the Oseberg farm near Tønsberg in Vestfold county, Norway. This ship is commonly acknowledged to be among the finer artifacts to have survived from the Viking Era. The ship and some of its contents are displayed at the Viking Ship Museum at Bygdøy on the western side of Oslo, Norway.
 The Oseberg burial mound (Norwegian: Oseberghaugen ved Slagen from the Old Norse word haugr meaning kurgan mound or barrow) contained numerous grave goods and two female human skeletons. The ship's interment into its burial mound dates from 834 AD, but parts of the ship date from around 800, and the ship itself is thought to be older. It was excavated by Norwegian archaeologist Haakon Shetelig and Swedish archaeologist Gabriel Gustafson in 1904-1905. 

The ship is a Karve, clinker built almost entirely of oak. It is 21.58 m long and 5.10 m broad, with a mast of approximately 9–10 m. With a sail of c. 90 m², the ship could achieve a speed up to 10 knots. The ship has 15 pairs of oar holes, which means that 30 people could row the ship. Other fittings include a broad steering oar, iron anchor, gangplank, and a bailer. The bow and stern of the ship are elaborately decorated with complex woodcarvings in the characteristic "gripping beast" style, also known as the Oseberg style
During the debate on whether to move the original ship to a new proposed museum, thorough investigations were made into the possibilities of moving the ship without damaging it. During this process, very thorough photo scans and laser scans of both the outside and inside of the ship were made. 
In 2004, an attempt to build a copy of the Oseberg ship was launched. A collective effort of Norwegian and Danish professional builders, scientist and volunteers engaged in this new attempt with the photo scans and laser scans made available for free to the enthusiastic builders. During this new attempt it was discovered that during the initial restoration of the ship a breach in one of the beams was made and the ship was therefore inadvertently shortened. This fact had not been discovered prior. It is believed this is perhaps the prime reason why several earlier replicas sank: previous attempts at working replicas had failed due to lack of correct data. 
In 2010, a new reconstruction was started titled Saga Oseberg. Using timber from Denmark and Norway and utilizing traditional building methods from the Viking age, this newest Oseberg ship was successfully completed. On the 20th of June 2012 the new ship was launched from the city of Tønsberg. The ship floated very well and in March 2014 it was taken to open seas, with Færder as its destination, under full sail. A speed of 10 knots was achieved. The construction was a success, the ship performing very well. It demonstrated that the Oseberg ship really could sail and was not just a burial chamber on land.

The skeletons of two women were found in the grave with the ship. One, probably aged 60–70, suffered badly from arthritis and other maladies. The second was initially believed to be aged 25–30, but analysis of tooth-root translucency suggests she was older (aged 50–55). It is not clear which one was the more important in life or whether one was sacrificed to accompany the other in death. The younger woman had a broken collarbone, initially thought to be evidence that she was a human sacrifice, but closer examination showed that the bone had been healing for several weeks. The opulence of the burial rite and the grave-goods suggests that this was a burial of very high status. One woman wore a very fine red wool dress with a lozenge twill pattern (a luxury commodity) and a fine white linen veil in a gauze weave, while the other wore a plainer blue wool dress with a wool veil, possibly showing some stratification in their social status. Neither woman wore anything entirely made of silk, although small silk strips were appliqued onto a tunic worn under the red dress.
Dendrochronological analysis of timbers in the grave chamber dates the burial to the autumn of 834. Although the high-ranking woman's identity is unknown, it has been suggested that she is Queen Åsa of the Yngling clan, mother of Halfdan the Black and grandmother of Harald Fairhair. Recent tests of the women's remains suggest that they lived in Agder in Norway, as had Queen Åsa. This theory has been challenged, however, and some think that she may have been a völva. There were also the skeletal remains of 14 horses, an ox, and three dogs found on the ship.
According to Per Holck of Oslo University, the younger woman's mitochondrial haplogroup was discovered to be U7. Her ancestors came to Norway from the Pontic littoral, probably Iran. Three subsequent studies failed to confirm these results, however, and it is likely that the bone samples contain little (if any) original DNA or have been contaminated through handling. 
Examinations of fragments of the skeletons have provided more insight into their lives. The younger woman's teeth showed signs that she used a metal toothpick, a rare 9th century luxury. Both women had a diet composed mainly of meat, another luxury when most Vikings ate fish. However, there was not enough DNA to tell if they were related, for instance a queen and her daughter.
 The grave had been disturbed in antiquity, and precious metals were absent. Nevertheless, a great number of everyday items and artifacts were found during the 1904-1905 excavations. These included four elaborately decorated sleighs, a richly carved four-wheel wooden cart, bed-posts, and wooden chests, as well as the so-called "Buddha bucket" (Buddha-bøtte), a brass and cloisonné enamel ornament of a bucket (pail) handle in the shape of a figure sitting with crossed legs. The bucket is made from yew wood, held together with brass strips, and the handle is attached to two anthropomorphic figures compared to depictions of the Buddha in the lotus posture, although any connection is most uncertain. More relevant is the connection between the patterned enamel torso and similar human figures in the Gospel books of the Insular art of the British Isles, such as the Book of Durrow. More mundane items such as agricultural and household tools were also found. A series of textiles included woolen garments, imported silks, and narrow tapestries. The Oseberg burial is one of the few sources of Viking age textiles, and the wooden cart is the only complete Viking age cart found so far. A bedpost shows one of the few period examples of the use of what has been dubbed the valknut symbol.The conservation of the wooden artifacts is an ongoing problem. On May 3, 2011, thirteen years after debate began over the disposition of the ship, Norwegian Minister of Education Kristin Halvorsen stated that the ship will not be moved from Bygdøy.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hawker Typhoon Mk. 1B "Car Door"

Here are some images of Airfix's 1/24 scale Hawker Typhoon Mk.1B "Car Door'. With many of its panels removed.

From Wikipedia"
The Hawker Typhoon (Tiffy in RAF slang), was a British single-seat fighter-bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft. It was intended to be a medium–high altitude interceptor, as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane but several design problems were encountered and it never completely satisfied this requirement.
The Typhoon was originally designed to mount twelve .303 inch (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns and be powered by the latest 2000 hp engines. Its service introduction in mid-1941 was plagued with problems and for several months the aircraft faced a doubtful future. When the Luftwaffe brought the formidable Focke-Wulf Fw 190 into service in 1941, the Typhoon was the only RAF fighter capable of catching it at low altitudes; as a result it secured a new role as a low-altitude interceptor.
Through the support of pilots such as Roland Beamont it became established in roles such as night-time intruder and long-range fighter. From late 1942 the Typhoon was equipped with bombs and from late 1943 RP-3 ground attack rockets were added to its armoury. With those weapons and its four 20mm Hispano cannon, the Typhoon became one of the Second World War's most successful ground-attack aircraft.

The Typhoon was first produced with forward-opening "car door" style cockpit doors (complete with wind-down windows), with a transparent "roof" hinged to open to the left. The first 162 Typhoons featured a built-up metal-skinned dorsal fairing behind the pilot's armoured headrest; the mast for the radio aerial protruded through the fairing. From mid- to late 1941 the solid metal aft dorsal fairing was replaced with a transparent structure (later nicknamed "The Coffin Hood"), the pilot's head armour plate was modified to a triangular shape and the side cut-outs were fitted with armoured glass; the first production Typhoon to be fitted with this new structure was R7803. All earlier aircraft were quickly withdrawn and modified. From early 1942 a rear-view mirror was mounted in a perspex blister moulded into the later "car-door" canopy roofs. This modification was not very successful, because the mirror was subject to vibration. Despite the new canopy structure, the pilot's visibility was still restricted by the heavy frames and the clutter of equipment under the rear canopy; from August 1943, as an interim measure, pending the introduction of the new "bubble" canopy and cut-down dorsal fairing, the aerial mast and its associated bracing was removed and replaced with a whip aerial further back on the rear fuselage.
Starting in January 1943, R8809 was used to test a new, clear, one piece sliding "bubble" canopy and its associated new windscreen structure which had slimmer frames which, together with the "cut-down" rear dorsal fairing, provided a far superior all-around field of view to the car-door type. From November 1943 all production aircraft, starting with JR333, were to be so fitted. However, the complex modifications required to the fuselage and a long lead time for new components to reach the production line meant that it took some time before the new canopy became standard. In order to have as many Typhoons of 2nd TAF fitted before "Operation Overlord" conversion kits were produced and Gloster, Hawker and Cunliffe-Owen modified older Typhoons still fitted with the car-door canopy.