June 6, 2010

Alexandria Lyceum Car Ferry Model

About 11 years ago I built a diorama depicting the USMRR railroad car ferry for the Lyceum, Alexandria's City Museum. This weekend I had a chance to stop by the Lyceum to check on the model. It seems to be holding up quite well. The glass case is doing a great job of protecting it.

If you are visiting Alexandria and are interested in railroad history, the Lyceum has a nice display and is worth a stop.

The photo shows the diorama in its setting at the museum. The shots were hand held with available light, so the images are quite grainy.

For more images and info about the model see this link.

Earlier in the day Alicia and I stopped by the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The last time I was there the nautical history display was closed, but it was open today.

The display was renovated and they have a nice selection of ship models, artifacts, etc. on display, though I think they cut back on the number of the ship models compared to the display that was there several years ago. Alicia found the cut-away model of the factory fishing ship very interesting. One thing that really struck me was how big ships in 1/4 inch scale are. I will have to be real careful in selecting ship models for my harbor scene.

In the Civil War section of the "Price of Freedom" display, they a 1/48th scale diorama of the Battle of Hampton Roads between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. The ironclad USS Monitor, at 172 feet is surprisingly long. The Virginia is 275 feet long so the model is about 5.7 feet in 1/48th scale! The models of these two ironclads were pretty basic, but in the nautical history display on the museum's lower level they had some very detailed models including one of the city class ironclads, "Carondelet. It's about 18 inches wide in 1/48 scale. There were several models of side wheel paddle steamers on display but none that would be a suitable prototype for my layout.

On Saturday night I discovered a 1/48th scale model of the Mt Washington side wheel paddle steamer available from Dumas Models. The kit is an impressive model designed for Radio Control but is detailed enough it could be used for display too. Unfortunately at 44 inches long, it is probably too big for my harbor scene, but this type of ship is perfect for Aquia Harbor.
For example see the picture below.

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