USS Hornet under construction

With the basics of the hull done, it was time to start developing the portion of the hull that supports the 5” gun galleries.  Before I go any further, I would like to briefly digress with an explanation of my modeling “style.”  Primarily, my goal is to have a model look right when viewed at arm’s length.  That means it needs to be properly dimensioned, proportioned and contoured.  Those general qualities that distinguish the prototype need to be represented.  To my eye, no amount of dazzling detail can overcome that, “it just doesn’t look right” feeling when you see a model with an incorrect underlying shape.  I feel that scratch building affords you an uncompromised freedom to get the shape right.  The following sequence is just another example.

I used basswood and styrene to construct the basic building blocks that would form the forward 5” gallery deck and the aft forecastle and 5” gallery decks, Fig. 1.  It is easy to verify that the fore and aft gallery deck height is the same.  I took the dimension for the position of the forward gallery deck from the plans.  At first I thought perhaps the dimension was incorrect because it places the gallery deck much more forward than the Trumpeter hull, Fig. 2.  In actuality, Trumpeter has foreshortened the forecastle deck and incorrectly positioned the gallery deck.  In addition, the outboard profile of the gallery deck is incorrect.  This results in the angular line being straight as well and incorrectly placed.  As an aside, the Revell hull seen in a figure on the previous page represents these decks and their relationship to each other properly.  I attempted to indicate the proper lines in green.

USS Enterprise 1/350 Paul Budzik
USS Enterprise 1/350 Paul Budzik

The block that forms the forward 5” gallery deck was glued to place, Fig. 3.  The block that forms the aft forecastle and gallery decks was screwed in place.  A piece of styrene strip was cemented behind the block to keep it from moving, Fig. 4.  The aft block needs to be removable because the plan is to construct the sides from styrene and the block will serve as the form.

USS Enterprise 1/350 Paul Budzik
USS Enterprise 1/350 Paul Budzik

After attaching the blocks, the extension for the gallery deck needs to be laid out.  Analyzing the plans, I determined that the forward gallery deck extends slightly more outboard than the stern gallery deck.  In scale, I calculated out it to be .040”.  This is illustrated in the drawing below as the difference between the orange and yellow line.  In addition, I measured the distance of the extensions relative to area of the hull where the hull sides are parallel.  With this measurement, I was able to lay out the maximum extension of the fore and aft 5” gallery decks using a combination of a straight board and appropriate spacers, Fig. 5.  The difference between the fore and aft 5” gallery deck outboard extension can be seen in figure 6.  These lines are parallel to the hull sides while the actual aft gallery deck tapers 1.5° toward the stern.  So these lines represent the maximum gallery deck extension.

USS Enterprise 1/350 Paul Budzik Gallery Deck Drawing
USS Enterprise 1/350 Paul Budzik Gallery Deck Layout
USS Enterprise 1/350 Paul Budzik Gallery Deck Layout

After contouring the underside portion the forward 5” gallery deck to meet with the hull, the after corners of the gallery and forecastle decks need to be tapered back toward the edge of the hanger deck.  I first cut the corners by hand, removing more material than necessary.  To improve the alignment, I rigged up a piece of .015” styrene that was sticky taped to a wood block, Fig. 7.  Once in position, I flowed in gap filling cyanoacrylate cement between the hull and the styrene.  The excess styrene was removed and the final contouring was done.  Note that as you move abaft the outside of the gallery deck extension the contour turns more vertical forming a bit of a “knuckle.”  Figure 8 and 9 show the results after an initial coat of primer.

USS Enterprise 1/350 Paul Budzik shaping forward gallery deck
USS Enterprise 1/350 Paul Budzik shaping forward gallery deck

Before I attached the aft gallery deck, I wanted to work out the area where the shafts exit the hull because once the gallery deck is in place, I would lose the large flat reference surface of the main deck.  The first hurdle here is that neither the Floating Drydock nor the Webb drawings provide more than a side view.  The Maryland Silver book contains drawings that depict the shafting in great detail including a top view.  The difficulty here is that they are spread out over three pages and are poorly reproduced making the text unreadable.  I scanned in the three pages and pieced them together manually in Photoshop as best I could because there was not enough information on the sheets to make the photomerge function work.  The Maryland Silver drawing was then scaled to correspond to the Webb drawing.  Using the Maryland Silver drawing as a guide, I redrew the essential structures, Fig. 9.  The dashed line is the centerline of the hull bottom.  A scaled PDF of this scrap view is available here.  Note that both shafts angle down at about 2° and the outboard shaft angles out at 2°.

The dimensions, that I provided in the drawing, were worked out for the estimated centerline of the shaft structure as it passes through the hull.  The point at which the shaft begins to emerge from the hull depends on the diameter of the material; dimension “A” in figure 10.  The point at which the shaft appears through the hull would be dimension “B”.  In my case, I chose to use 3/32” rod.

USS Enterprise Shafting Paul Budzik
USS Enterprise Shafting Paul Budzik

A carpenter’s laser level can come in handy for laying out lines on irregular surfaces, Fig. 11.  A 3/32” hole was drilled at the point at which I wanted the shafts to emerge.  Relief for the shaft was carved in.  A piece of 3/32” rod was positioned in the slot and supported so that it was held at an angle of about 2°, Fig. 12.  I used a digital angle gauge to help me improve my guess.

A note here: As much as we try to create “accurately”, we still have to make numerous compromises.  From my point of view, we do our best to incorporate the key features that each of us deem necessary.  In the case of the shafting, I think it is important to have them emerge at about the right spot on the hull, continue at a slight downward angle, and finish so that they support the screws at the same horizontal elevation with the outside diameter level with the skeg.  So having the angle match the drawing exactly is not essential for me and when I finally position the shafts, it will be with the aid of the discs at the end of the shafts.  A mixture of gap filling cyanoacrylate and dental resin powder was flowed around the rod.

USS Enterprise Shafting Paul Budzik
USS Enterprise Shafting Paul Budzik

The excess dental resin\cyanoacrylate filler has been sanded flush, Fig. 13.  The alignment of the exit ports seems reasonable.  Blank rod stock in place to keep ports clean while priming, Fig. 14.

USS Enterprise Shafting Paul Budzik
USS Enterprise Shafting Paul Budzik

The block that forms the aft forecastle and gallery deck was shaped, Fig. 15.  Note that it has been shaped to be slightly narrower than the final contour. A piece of clear acrylic sheet was screwed to the top of the gallery deck block, Fig. 16.

USS Enterprise Aft Gallery Deck Paul Budzik
USS Enterprise Aft Gallery Deck Paul Budzik

The clear acrylic sheet was removed and the gallery deck block was sectioned, Fig. 17.  I used double sided tape to put the two ends together with a spacer in between.  I then vacuformed over the forms.  Two brass pins were placed through each side prior to trimming, Fig. 18.  The pins keep the styrene sides securely located against the forms during trimming and placement.

USS Enterprise Aft Gallery Deck Paul Budzik
USS Enterprise Aft Gallery Deck Paul Budzik

The excess styrene material was removed and the blocks reassembled using the acrylic sheet matrix.  The assembly was positioned and the fit of the styrene forming was verified, Fig 19.  The styrene formings were removed from the forms.  The forms (the outside sections) were cut back and the styrene sides replaced on the forms using the pins as locators.  The entire assembly was then screwed back to place and the styrene sides, along with the cut-back forms were cemented in place.  The final result is shown in figure 20.

USS Enterprise Aft Gallery Deck Paul Budzik
USS Enterprise Aft Gallery Deck Paul Budzik

The basic hull shape is complete.