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  1. SS Edmund Fitzgerald - profile of 3D computer model I made I'm starting this build log as a motivator to start some work on this kit that has been sitting around for a year and a half. I apologize in advance for long periods with no updates; I'm going to be juggling this build with my scratch build Doll Boat, which has a target deadline of my daughter's third birthday in May, 2016. That said, I've been itching to build this kit for a LONG time - years before I even bought it. It is a ship that is very familiar to me at this point. Allow me to explain: When I was 4 years old, a babysitter brought over a video documentary about the Titanic shipwreck, called 'Secrets of the Titanic' from National Geographic. I fell in love with that documentary, and subsequently the ship, for reasons not entirely clear. But, my entire childhood (and, to be honest, life thus far) began to revolve around ships and shipwrecks. When I was a bit older, probably between 8 and 10 years old, I was introduced to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (the event; I was introduced to the song shortly thereafter). The drama surrounding her final voyage, and the mystery of her sudden sinking, captured my attention just as much as the Titanic ever had. Those two ships soon became the two I knew most about. Edmund Fitzgerald - 3D Rendering I made Flash forward several more years, and my interest in ships and shipwrecks lead me to pursuing a degree in Naval Architecture. I attended a school called Webb Institute; part of the graduation requirements is to perform a senior thesis related to maritime engineering or industry. My initial goal was to do something involving the Titanic; specifically to try to validate a claim regarding her breakup that I had read in a book that was (at the time) recent and popular. I approached a technical research committee affiliated with the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) that focused on marine accident forensic investigations, because I knew of several people that had done some extensive work on the Titanic sinking. However, when I pitched my idea to the chairmen (who was one of the individuals that had done Titanic work) he basically shot it down with a well argued case that my idea wouldn't really reveal anything new. But, he made me another offer: he had a couple people on his committee that were investigating the sinking of a great lakes bulk carrier, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald. I nearly fainted! I immediately agreed to get in touch with the two guys working that project, and took some time to understand what they were doing and where they needed support. I agreed to assist with developing a longitudinal weight distribution for the ship, assist with some other weights-relate tasks (such as determining some seakeeping coefficients, to enable accurate prediction of vessel motions), develop a mathematical model of how the ship may have flooded, and look at overall longitudinal structural strength. I worked on my thesis for just over a year, and in the process learned more about the Edmund Fitzgerald than I had ever known about the Titanic. Needless to say, as soon as I discovered there was a kit on the market for the Fitz, and in the same scale as my other two kits (Titanic and DKM Bismarck), I started thinking about how I could get it and build it. SS Edmund Fitzgerald hull (front), DKM Bismarck (center), RMS Titanic (back) - all 1:350 scale Which brings me to this log. I've been thinking about how to approach the build/build log, and I think, since this is a ship I am so familiar with, whose history is impressive, and whose sinking gained national, pop culture attention through Gordon Lightfoot's song, I want to mingle in with the progress of the build the background of the ship, the story of her sinking, and some of the interesting results I got from my forensics work, such that by the time the build is complete, the 'narrative' will be completed as well. I've seen several logs where the first several posts are just related to history, before any building begins. I like that idea too, and maybe it's better because it's all in one place. But I'm a rambler, and I fear that I'd write far too much up front (I probably already have). Rather, I'd like the story to follow the build - for example, discussing the conception of the idea, the design, and the construction in conjunction with discussing the parts of the kit and prepping the hull; discussing her career as a laker in conjunction with building details of the hatch crane and accommodations structures fore and aft; and discussing the final voyage and the drama being played out by the captain and crew while building the pilot house, etc. I'm not sure these correlations are locked in stone, but that's kind of the idea I want to shoot for - vessel history intertwined with build progress. So - what do you all think? Does the idea sound interesting? Or should I dump all the history-type narrative right up front? I'm open to suggestions. Either way, sometime in the near future I'll post the pictures I took of the kit, and introduce the various challenges I see to this build.

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