August 28, 2011

Earthquake, hurricane, ...what's next?

This past week Northern Virginia, as well as much of the US East coast, experienced a pair of natural disasters. Fortunately for us, the events did not cause much damage. We came through pretty much unscathed, with just some electrical power flickering but no serious power outage. Others were not so lucky, and there were several fatalities including a child killed in his bedroom by a falling tree.

The earthquake at 5.8 Richter Scale strength was unnerving but did not cause much damage. Earthquakes are very rare in this part of the world. Hurricanes are not as rare. Hurricane Irene was at category 1 strength by the time it reached the Mid Atlantic Seaboard. In Alexandria we only received tropical storm winds. Trees down seem to be the biggest problem in my neighborhood, but there don't appear to be that many. Last summer we had a powerful localized thunderstorm that destroyed hundreds of old trees. That caused our power to go out for 24 hours. That storm may have acted like a natural pruning and left only healthy strong trees that were able to survive this storm.

I need to add the cable stays to the stack.
Work continued on the Passaic in between preparation for the storm and checking the weather.

I added about 800 rivets to the hull armor plates. That was a tedious job without much visual payback. I didn't have a good reference shot of the armor plates, so I went with an educated guess. It is interesting that Alvah Hunter never refers to rivets when discussing the armor plate. He always uses the term "bolted." I wonder if he is being literal or if "bolted" was used synonymously with "riveted" in the 19th century. In photos they clearly look like rivets.

 I scratch built the smoke stack using sections of PVC pipe, a PVC coupling, strip styrene and rivets. Hunter mentions an armored grating on the top of the stack to prevent projectiles from entering, so I cut one on the laser and added it to the stack. I have a reference painting that shows cable stays on the stack. So I need to add them.

The ship is so big that I cannot fit it in my spray booth to paint it. So I had to take it outside to paint. In the process of handling the hull with wet paint, I dropped it. That popped some of the armor panels and will require touch up putty and sanding. You can see some of the crack damage along the hull-deck edge in the photo.

Close up showing stanchions, bell and
other details on the Catskill, a sister of Passaic.
The Monitors were equipped with stanchions and rope railings for use when not in General Quarters. The stanchions were removable for combat. Alvah Hunter describes the stanchions as being 2.5 feet tall. I had ordered a batch of brass machined stanchions from Bluejacket models. The biggest ones they had were 7/16th inch, at nearly a dollar each they were expensive and alas too short.

The photo above shows how I extended the stanchion with a short section of 1/16th inch thin walled brass tubing. They look like they should match the stanchions in the prototype photo at the left.  The hole spacing should work as the rope lines were not evenly spaced on the stanchion.  Also note the bell and davits detail in the prototype photo.

I later discovered that Billings Boats has the multiple size stanchions. I'll see if I can order some of them, but I think the extended ones I have will work. I can also try laser cutting some as they do appear to have a flat profile in the photo.

I found an interesting site about Dahlgren guns with neat 3d renderings of the gun in the Monitor turret.

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