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USS Tennessee


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#1
Keith Black

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Greetings

 My name is Keith Black and I'm new to the NRG. My reason for joining is that I'm currently restoring a model of the steam frigate USS Tennessee; https://en.wikipedia...ennessee_(1865) I'm pretty confident the model was built between 1895 and 1905 by someone with first hand experience of the Tennessee (possible former crew member)

 I came to be caretaker of this model when I purchased it several years ago off eBay. As you can imagine all the rigging was shot (rigging has since been removed) and at some point the model had became a toy with the expected results (broken and missing pieces)

 I've not been a modeler till now but I'm getting lots of OJT. I'm desperately trying to do both the model and modeler justice by not putting too much of my stamp in the restoration process. I've spent the better part of three years looking and the model and doing research before starting restoration. But most importantly, I am saving it from the rubbish bin. 

 Pictures of the steam frigate Tennessee seem to be rare. The easy ones are at the two at the Navy docks in Florida and Brooklyn. The one at Brooklyn is during refitting and the one at Florida is so small, any detail is almost impossible to see.

 If anyone has a link to other photographs or information please provide, I'll be eternally grateful.  

I'll post a couple of pics if someone is interested though I'm somewhat hesitant to do so if fear of having done something wrong, as they say, ignorance is bliss. I think it will be about six months till I'm ready to start rigging.

 The period of combined sail and steam is fascinating to me and I look forward to striking up conversations with like minded folks. 

Thank you in advance for any suggestions and links...........KB


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#2
Keith Black

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Sorry, Wiki link is https://en.wikipedia...ennessee_(1865)somehow I corrupted during C&P.......KB


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#3
uss frolick

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Please share pictures of her with us! :)


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#4
mtaylor

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Indeed, what Frolick asked about pictures.  And do consider doing a restoration log in the Scratch Build area.  There's lots of good people here that might be able to help you with information, etc.


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Mark

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me


Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)


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#5
Keith Black

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DSCN0515.jpg I'll post pics shortly. I failed to mention the scale is 1:120. If there's fault with the original modeler it was his lack of maintaining scale which has lead me to think that that the model may have been created somewhere other than the US?? I'll leave that to discussion. I've tried to correct that by reducing the size of the cannon. I fought with this battle with myself for months. If all the original cannon and carriage had been there, I probably would have used them for the sake of originality. But because I would have had to make 50% of both for total complement I chose to go with smaller guns and off the shelf carriages (though I've had to modify them to make them work) As they say, pictures are worth a thousand words, shortly. Thank you for making me feel welcome......KB

Attached Thumbnails

  • DSCN0498.jpg
  • DSCN0521.jpg

Edited by Keith Black, 27 December 2016 - 12:30 PM.

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#6
Talos

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I have these few, and in much higher resolution than these pictures. An example of the full-size is located after the Imgur link the gallery is in. Lots of details of the deck fittings.

 

f05rHJQ.jpg

 

http://imgur.com/a/Rj7xn

 

https://www.history....dition=original


Edited by Talos, 27 December 2016 - 03:02 AM.

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#7
Keith Black

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 Talos, I can not thank you enough but, these images raise more questions than answers as far as the original modeler and what relationship he had with the Tennessee if any? The model I have is loose interpretation at best of the actual Tennessee. Is that a problem or just my head saying it is after years of searching for answers, drawing conclusions based on very limited information, and setting a course of restoration based on that data. 

 What a glorious ship the Tennessee was, I wish someone would build a model of her that would do justice to her, what I have does not.  

 Thank you again Talos, I can't emphasize enough how important these images are to me, you've opened these old eyes. 

 Trouble with camera, trouble attaching photos (my end, not a site issue) I wait on my dear wife to awaken and help guide me...........KB 


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#8
Keith Black

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Glad that trying to load a couple of stinking photos wasn't trying to disarm a nuclear devise or we would have all gone up in smoke. Sorry for the quality of the pictures posted, hopefully I'll be able to address that issue in the near future and I'll be able to post better..........KB


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#9
mtaylor

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Keith,

 

All the cannon would have been the same size as the armament list on Wikipedia shows what she carried.  

 

Armament:
2 × 8-inch (203-mm) rifles
2 × 100-pounder (45.5-kg) guns
1 × 60-pounder (27.2-kg) guns
18 × 9-inch (229-mm) smooth bore guns


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Mark

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me


Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)


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#10
Keith Black

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MT

 Not sure as I believe Wiki in this case as there were 18 cannon ports on the top deck and 20 on the second deck. This is what the model represents and is also what pictures of the Tennessee indicate. The gun information provided by Wiki maybe for the USS Madawaska which was refitted and renamed the Tennessee unless cannon were not designated permanent positions but shuttled to positions as action might require? 

 The top deck cannon barrel length made by the modeler are a little over two inches which at 1:120 would be 20 plus feet. My research indicates that the barrel length for the 9 inch guns would have approximately 13 feet. I used what barrels were salvageable from the lower guns ( right at 1.25 inches in length) to added with carriages to make the top deck guns. I have to make 5 barrels to give the upper deck it's full complement of 18 cannon. But pouring over the photos provided by Talos (thank you again) I don't see neat rows of cannon lining both rails. 

 I'm taking your advise and going over to the scratch build section and asking feedback as I've put further restoration on hold till I get input from those folks on their thoughts on going forward with the project, thanks.............KB  


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#11
mtaylor

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Keith,

 

From my 1854 Constellation build, it had 3 different size cannon so that was not unusual.  Considering that the most forward ports probably weren't filled and used as bridle ports, that still leaves a bunch of ports with what Wiki says.  Wikipedia isn't the most accurate source.. but a good starting point. 

 

During the refit, did they add ports?   There's also the problem that in that period, they often did not fill all ports with guns.  Also, they'd plan one setup and not finish it.  For example, Constellation was supposed to get 2 100-pounders midships so they opened up the area between the two center ports on each side.  Then, never installed the cannon.  Connie's armament changed out also during and after the Civil War.  

 

Interesting problems but it appears you're on top of it.


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Mark

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me


Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)


Member of the Nautical Research Guild


#12
Keith Black

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Mark

 During the refit they completed a whole new top deck.....KB


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#13
mtaylor

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Ah.... I see.  That probably explains the Wiki list then.   If I were a betting man, the 2 100-pounders were probably pivot guns as was the 60 pounder.  They did mix things up abit at times on the main gundeck so it's possible the 8" and 9" were in the ports.    

 

So after the refit?  <shrugs>  I'm not sure where to go for info...  A quick Google goes no where fast on this...

 

I wish I could be more help but I'm not sure where else there might be info.  


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Mark

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me


Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)


Member of the Nautical Research Guild


#14
Keith Black

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Mark

 One of my more valuable sources of information has been models built by folks like yourself. Where as those models may not be the Tennessee, they provide invaluable information on how things were done immediately before, during, and after the time period between 1869 and 1886. Also, those models provide a guide post for my efforts in the restoration process. 

 Going to the pictures Talos provided, one of the 100 pounders is seen forward of amidships. At least that's what I think it is? 

 Thank you Mark and all of you for your efforts telling the tale and preserving the history of sail and the first forays into mechanical propulsion.........KB 


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#15
Talos

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Tennessee, as refit, had a gundeck of 9" Dahlgrens. The two 8" rifles are converted smoothbore XI-inch Dahlgrens and were placed fore and aft on pivots. You can see the aft pivot rifled Dahlgren in the picture of the band mustered with their helmets on and the saber drill. Four 80-pdr converted breechloading Parrotts were in the broadside ports, two per side. She also carried four spar torpedoes and four Hotchkiss 1.5" breechloaders.


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#16
Keith Black

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 Thank you Talos.

 Because the scaling of the model is so mismatched, I'm just not sure a US modeler/former crew member would have done this taking into account the amount of time required for an individual to complete the build. Everything is hand carved including the single blocks and only single blocks were used, no deadheads or doubles. I'm thinking maybe this model was made in Hong Kong during a port visit? What think ye?...........KB


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#17
Talos

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 Thank you Talos.

 Because the scaling of the model is so mismatched, I'm just not sure a US modeler/former crew member would have done this taking into account the amount of time required for an individual to complete the build. Everything is hand carved including the single blocks and only single blocks were used, no deadheads or doubles. I'm thinking maybe this model was made in Hong Kong during a port visit? What think ye?...........KB

 

I could see that being the case, sure.

 

This might help with scaling the guns, it's a diagram of the space the different guns need. For your purposes, the IX-inch Dahlgrens are on the gun deck, the 8" converted rifles are the XI-inch iron carriages, and the 80-pdr Parrott breechloaders are the 100pdrs on this.

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#18
Talos

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I decided to annotate one of the pictures of Tennessee with the guns that are visible. This looks to be the armament configuration mtaylor gave, missing the two extra larger Parrotts it had at other times.

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  • USS Tennessee guns.jpg

Edited by Talos, 28 December 2016 - 01:53 AM.

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#19
Keith Black

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Talos 

 If in fact the the Tennessee model in my care is of Oriental origin it would possibly explain the following...

 1) Model's wheel is in the open, not under cover.

 2) Model provides neither binnacle nor telegraph engine controls. 

 3) Hatch arrangement and style not in accordance with pictorial evidence supplied by yourself.

 4) No top deck opening and ladder way to lower deck nor deck space to allow for said. 

 5) Model has a observation bridge greatly out of proportion to the actual.

 6) Afore mentioned cannon size and location.

 The above would explain an Oriental origin as only the crew would have knowledge of the actual layout between the railings of the ship where as the ship's hull and rigging are in plain view and would have been rendered with more accuracy. A generalized deck arrangement could/would have been used because of the lack of firsthand observation. 

 If in fact this model is a sailors souvenir from the Orient I feel I have much more latitude in the restoration process. I care for the model whatever it's origin. As I said before, steam frigates of that era fascinate me, funnel and sail are such a beautiful combination.

 The USS Tennessee was renamed on May 15th, 1869 just five days after the golden spike was driven home on May 10th, 1869. 1869 is special to my dear wife and I as our house was built in 1869. We live and breath that year in history everyday as we patter about. 

 I can not thank you enough Talos for your efforts in providing information, if ever I can return the favor, please ask........KB

 

PS....Deadeyes, not deadheads. Wasn't the Deadheads a band from the 70's  :champagne-2:


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#20
Talos

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That definitely sounds to me like someone from shore doing a model. The parts he'd be able to see would be pretty accurate, the parts he can't, including the deck fittings and birds-eye view of the bridge, would be much less or absent entirely, The guns make sense too, the gunports would be a lot more visible than the guns (or lack thereof) in them. Then of course the usual exaggeration in details and proportions from an amateur (as in not a naval architect)'s hands. It's a very neat model. :)

 

I'm glad I can help in any small way. I love the ships and the design and history of them, so doing the research was fun for me. I don't mind it!


Edited by Talos, 28 December 2016 - 07:07 AM.

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