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Hello Everyone, Welcome to the beginning of my build log for my first scratch build model. I recently completed work on the 1884 Packet Steamer Chaperon, which was my first attempt at a build log, and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted have another go at it. The comments and suggestions and overall conversation on the build was way more than I had expected. There are so many people out there with so many great ideas that helped along the way. Not to mention the knowledge I gained from the research. For this build I will be taking on the City Class USS Cairo American Civil War Ironclad as she was shortly before her sinking in 1862. I have been in love with this particular ship since my first visit to Vicksburg NMP back in 1984. Something about the mystique of the recovery of a sunken ship and the history of those who lived aboard is just fascinating. And, since there are no large-scale wooden model kits out there for this particular ship, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to scratch build one. My plan is to build this model in 1:48 scale using the Bob Hill plans, the USS Cairo HSR documentation from the Vicksburg NMP, and several other builds, especially the build log for the Civil War Ironclad USS ST. LOUIS by the Gateway Model Shipcrafter's Guild. This is an exceptional build and their extensive research has found many discrepancies with the USS Cairo HSR and I hope to “borrow” some of their research findings to accurately build my representation of the USS Cairo. I won’t be building out a whole lot of interior details, with the exception of what can be see through the gun ports, skylights and deck vents. I will probably build out the tops of the boilers, flue, capstan, and possibly simulate the engines. I haven’t quite determined what material I will use for the iron plate cladding, but for the railroad irons on the forward and aft casements, I plan on using HO scale model railroad track to try and make it look as authentic as possible. Without boring you with too much of a detailed history of this ship, here is a little background info on it: The USS Cairo, along with her six sister ships (Carondelet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburg, and St. Louis) were commissioned by the U.S. Army (later transferred to the U.S. Navy), designed by Samuel M. Pook and built by James B. Eads at the Carondelet and Mound City Shipyards in 1861. USS Cairo was 175’ in length with a 52’ 2” beam and drew only 6’ of water. Not very deep for a 512-ton heavily armored ship. Ironically, she was sunk by a Confederate “torpedo” on December 12, 1862 in the Yazoo river while on a mine clearing mission. The USS Cairo wreckage was located in 1956 and finally raised from the mud in 1964. She sat in neglect at the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, MS for several years, until 1977 where she was transported, restored and placed on permanent display at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, MS. This will definitely be a learning experience for me, so if you would like to follow along, please pull up a chair and feel free to offer up any suggestions. I am always open to new ideas and constructive criticism. If you see something that I am doing wrong or see a better way to do something, by all means, please let me know. I welcome the input. As she sits today (well, six years ago when I took this picture): -Brian
Greetings all, This is my very first build log. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while and Nic, owner of Bluejacket Shipcrafters finally gave me the impetus by offering 10% my next purchase if I complete it! I've been a loyal customer of Bluejacket for years, and I've always wanted to build their Cairo model. I've been fascinated by the Cairo ever since I read "Hard Luck Ironclad" by Edwin C, Bearss many years ago. For those of you not familiar with her story, USS Cairo (pronounced 'Kay-ro') was a "City" class river ironclad, one of seven built by James Eads at Mound City Illinois for the US Army. She was commissioned in January of 1862 as part of the Western Gunboat Flotilla. She carried a mixed armament of whatever was available at the time. To start this was three 8" smoothbores, six 42 pounder rifles, six 32 pounder rifles and a 12 pounder rifle to ward off boarding parties. Later the 42 pounder rifles were reduced to 3 (probably because they had a tendency to explode) and a 30 pounder rifle was added. She took part in several operations including the capture of Fort Pillow, before being transferred to Navy control on 1 October 1862. On 12 December 1862 she was part of a flotilla attempting to clear Confederate forces out of the Yazoo River in support of Grant's Vicksburg Campaign when she became the first ship to be sunk by remotely detonated mines. She sank in 12 minutes without loss of life. The Union Navy knocked down her stacks to conceal the location from the Confederates and abandoned her. In 1964 the wreck was rediscovered by National Park Historian Edwin C. Bears and it was decided to raise her. Unfortunately little thought was given to her circumstances before they charged ahead, The best method would have been to build a cofferdam around the wreck, but it was decided to run cables underneath her and hoist her to the surface. This method failed to take into account that she weighed a considerable amount just on her own and was chock full of mud besides. The cables instead of lifting, sliced her apart. To make matters worse. the three section sat on a wharf in Pascagoula Mississippi from 1964 until 1977, rotting, shrinking and decaying before the Park Service took her over and did a partial reconstruction with what was left and 'ghost framed' the rest. As someone with an MA in Maritime History/Nautical Archaeology, her story always makes me cringe. On to the model! It's small, 1/16 to the foot, but, as with all of Bluejacket's offerings, nicely done with a well carved hull and casemate, laser and photoetched parts and Bluejacket's own Brittania metal fittings. More so I hope!
As I wrote here http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/11538-western-river-steamboat-heroine-by-ggrieco-scale-124-1838-as-she-appeared-before-hitting-a-snag-in-the-red-river/?p=401974I plan to build the USS Cairo, as all my modelships in 1:50 scale. The history of the ship is well known, there are so many pages in the internet, so I will not bore you with that. But there is a big question I have. I have a set of the plans from bob hill, and I am not sure, where to measure the length of the ship. Is the lenght of 175 feet measured at the hull, or includes this the rudders between the blue lines on the plan? I have marked the lines with red arrows. Would be happy to get some info about that, so I can scale the plans and start with the ship. Regards, and thank you all Gerhard