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SS Michelangelo 1962 by shipmodel - FINISHED - 1/350 scale

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Hello all - 


Welcome to those of you who followed my build log of my previous ocean liner, the SS Andrea Doria.  If you have not seen it, you can reach it by clicking the link below my profile, below.


The Michelangelo was a slightly newer ship and sleeker in appearance. 58c41b90dfba9_a-overallport.jpg.9b2643b15db6a0a4926d301ab03751d4.jpg



To give myself a bit more of a challenge, the model is being built to the scale of 1/350 rather than 1/200 as were my previous liner models.  This means that the model's overall length is just over 31", which is a reasonable size for home display.  I hope to still incorporate the same level of detail as at the larger scale, with some windows laser cut and others done with custom decals.  Railings, ladders, etc. will be done in photoetched brass, and let me tell you, those pieces are tiny!   


The primary challenge of the build will be to replicate the cages around the funnels at this scale.  The cages are one of the most visually appealing aspects of the ship, and were magnets for publicity photographs and even made it to the cover of the New York Times Magazine section.  Nice shape, don't you think?



As usual, my research began with trolling the internet, various books and other publications for images of the ship that would confirm and supplement the engineering drawings that would be ordered from the Italian naval archives.  Out of about a thousand images some 200 were selected that were of such sufficient clarity and resolution to be useful.  The covered almost every aspect of the ship, from her construction in the Anseldo Shipyards in Genoa58c41c39d1c6c_e-hullunderconstruction.jpg.f4138c1a9ca4241c2eb25fc7ceaa8b2f.jpg


to her ultimate end in the Pakistani breakers yard in 199158c41c3a3ba26_f-atthebreakersinPakistan.jpg.377b1b2d18256b3776cada22d7f56545.jpg


Next time I will go into the process that I used to go from the plans to a laid-up basswood hull.


Until then, be well



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Hi Dan,

now thats a challenge in 1:350 !!

I remember when the "Michelangelo" together with her sister "Raffaello" set the Italian elegance bar for design of fast Atlantic liners, and what a sight in those days !

Congrats to your choise, a very ambitious project you are preparing for, but I know you can do it, and I wish you all the best with this lovely build...



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Hi all - 


Nice to see so many familiar faces in the audience.  Thanks for the interest.


This performance will be at a more relaxed tempo than the 4-page Doria sprint.  Michelangelo is at the weekend house which I do not visit much in the winter, so progress is episodic and irregular.  Also, my club, the New York Shipcraft Guild, is hosting the Northeast Joint Clubs Ship Model Conference and Show at the end of April.  Lots to do and organize.


Druxey, I only wish that I could figure out how to make them with photoetch techniques.  The first problem is that the cages are not cylinders.  They are ovoid, and the top oval is smaller than the base. These are then divided into 16 segments for the points where the vertical staves meet and are secured.  Flattening this web has to require curves top and bottom which are joined by a very precise pattern of staves.  I don't know that I have the skill or mathematics to make the pattern to be etched.  The second problem is that once it is made, I am pretty certain that I could not roll it into the smooth oval cylinder shape needed without messing it up.


My current thinking is along the lines of building an internal framework and hand applying the staves made from styrene strips.  But I am completely open to suggestions.  Fortunately, it will be quite a while before I get to them, so there is plenty of time for experimentation.





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Dan, I'll tag along, too. You might check the Shapeways folks. The warships guys have done up some of the early US dreadnoughts with those lattice masts. Don't know if any liner folks have done up drawings for the Shapeways folks to print up, but I've seen those battleship lattice masts and they are sweet.

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Hi all –


The plans were obtained through the good graces of fellow modeler and good guy, Bill Zebb in Connecticut.  He is an ocean liner enthusiast, and we got to talking at the NRG Conference in Mystic.  He said that he had exactly the plans that I was considering ordering from Italy.  They were in his basement somewhere but he would dig them out for me.  He did, and they were.


Published by the Associazione Navimodellisti Bolognesi at the stated scale of 1:200 they came in two very long paper rolls.  Fortunately, this did not phase my blueprint company, who digitized them at 300 px/in.  Unfortunately, this made for one huge file which was too large for my Photoshop Elements program to work with.   I had to get a friend with a more powerful program to cut the file in segments that I could deal with.


The first segment was the overall profile and plan.  I wanted them to be printable at the exact size of the model.  This was not as simple as reducing by 200/350 since the plans must have been copied a bit off size along the way from the draftsman to my hands. From the usual sources I found that the LOA of the ship was 276.2 m (906 ft 2 in).  Reduced to 1/350 this is 78.9 cm or 31.06”.  Using the rulers in the program I resized the image until it matched those dimensions.  




This segment, like all the others, also had some distortion.  For example, you can see the vertical lines where the plans were folded at some point.  The plan visibly nods down to the right of the right crease, making a bend in the waterline stripe.  There are other, smaller defects, all of which were corrected on the final working plans.  But these views were used only as guides, so they only needed to be resized.  This let me take the photograph of the ship in profile and set them alongside each other as a very handy comparison tool.




The first segment to be properly adjusted was the interior cross section and station lines.  The cross section is labeled for the various decks, which were all straightened out, piece by piece, using the rotate, skew and transform functions of the program.  The plan is also numbered at the keel starting from 0 at the hinge of the rudder.  Why this location was used is a mystery to me.  These station lines run from 300 at the bow to -25 at the stern.




The station lines plan was taken off and straightened separately.  When I was happy with the result I cut it apart at the centerline, copied and mirrored each section, then merged it to its partner.  Having these views makes it much easier for me to visualize the forward and aft shapes, although the letters and numbers on one side are reversed.




Each deck plan was treated similarly.  First it was straightened along the centerline.  The starboard side, with the station numbers, was separated, mirrored and joined to its partner.  This ensured that the decks were symmetrical.  Using the station line numbers the size of each was checked and corrected as needed.  Here are the plans for decks A, B, and Main.




With all the deck plans set, the corrected cross section was divided into horizontal lifts which matched, as much as possible, the deck heights.  They were also selected to match basswood plank thicknesses available from National Balsa Co.  Each was numbered for reference with thicknesses noted. 




The rising sheer meant that the line of the lifts does not match the line of the decks, especially at the bow.  The first 5 lifts could be flat, but to get the curve of the sheer, lifts 6 and 7 had to be broken up into segments.  In fact, lift 6 had to be broken into 5 segments, with 6A being a wedge that tapers from ¼” at the bow to nothing at station line 265.




At the stern the problem is similar, but smaller.  I could have added a 1/16” wedge on top of lift 5, but it became easier to start with a thicker piece and taper it.  I could not make the wedge at the level of lift 6 because this deck has open windows and hawse holes where the interior will be visible.




The rising sheer also meant that even flat lifts did not match the deck plans.  If the plans had been used without modifications the shapes would have been wrong – sometimes too narrow, sometimes too wide.  Each lift was studied to see which deck plan was the best fit for the top of the lift.  From lifts 3 and up I had to use the plan from one deck for the stern and another for the bow.  Here is lift #4, with the stern of deck C and the bow of deck D.




After all of the lifts were laid out, the superstructure decks were sized, adjusted, and lined up matching their locations above the hull plans.  It was easiest to work with them in this configuration, but when they were all set it became easier to turn them sideways and print them out on a 36” paper roll.  The blueprint company made several copies for very little money, and even redid it free when the first printing proved to be slightly small.




Next time, the wood starts flying.


Be well



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Hi Michael - glad to have you along.


I am thinking along the same channels at the moment, but then what can be done at all of the overlaps, where the staves cross?  If I use brass rod the double thickness will make for a very visible lumpy surface, rather than the smooth surface that photoetching would give me.  And now I am leaning towards Druxey . . . 


This sort of thing keeps me up at night - in a good way.  For me, it is one of the best parts of ship modeling.


Be well



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On 3/13/2017 at 11:58 PM, shipmodel said:

But if you can half lap 80 interlocking intersections in brass rod of .03"


.03" why that's a full 1/32nd and here I was thinking that it was much smaller.


Seriously if you developed the funnel out to a flat surface like a flat grid I think there is a good prospect that you can do it. The compound curve is a  more apparent one that real because of the geometry. Then again an etch loaded with paint would give the illusion of rods.


Regards michael

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The lattice sounds like a perfect application for a 3d printed part.  When the time comes I'd be glad to do the cad work (these are fairly simple forms) to make an stl file to send to Shapeways or a service bureau.  It's the only way I can think of off the top of my head to replicate an ovoid cross-section for the lattice struts...

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Hi Michael, Bob - 


Thanks for your input.  Yes, it should be possible to lay out the framework mathematically, but it is beyond my capabilities.  It is not as simple as doing a flat expansion.  


I can determine the circumferences of the base and top ovals.  The base is 37mm on the long axis and 22mm on the short one.  Using the :  Pi x (square root of 2) x ((1/2 long axis)squared + (1/2 short axis)squared) - this results in a circumference of 96mm, or 6mm between each of the 16 joinder points around the base.   Similarly, the top oval is 31 x 19, giving a circumference of 80mm, or 5mm between points.  I can lay out the grid as a trapezoid with those lengths and a height of 34mm as taken from the plans.  58caa0963a6d5_k2-funneltrapezoid.thumb.jpg.d3772ec4b1244e29015b640d6200a8a6.jpg


But when I pull the sides around to form a tapered cylinder, much less a tapered ovoid, the top and bottom edges deform and do not remain flat and horizontal.  As you can see, there is a point developed at the lower bow, matched by a dip at the top.  It also makes the funnel lean back aft.58ca9fa24e074_l-funnelmock-up1.jpg.8e31a663bfc93f55df84df539116431a.jpg


If I straighten up the aft edge, as on the ship, the problem is more pronounced.58ca9fa3194a7_m-funnelmock-up2.jpg.2db855bb8d2b4c49c0fc9efb2d59d231.jpg


To correct these issues, the top and bottom of the layout have to be curved.  If this were a tapered cylinder, the curve would be smooth and continuous.  But this is an oval, and the curve will be tighter at the ends than in the middle.  Deriving these lines, top and bottom, is what is out of my reach.


So, at the moment I am still working on some sort of lattice built up over a form.  I will test Michael’s idea of using flat strips that are rounded by loading them with paint.  I am sure that numerous failures will be required before two acceptable ones are produced.


Bob, I would love to work with you on doing it with 3-D printing.  I have no experience with it, but it looks cool.  Let’s talk when I get closer to needing them.


Be well



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OK, try this. Make a shaped mandrel to the form that you want, but at a much larger scale. Then wrap a paper strip near the bottom of the form and run a pencil around to give you the lower curve. Develop the top curve in a similar manner. Take vertical measurements at known intervals  (say, every 30 degrees) and join them to the top and bottom curves. The top curve will need to be deformed in this process so the verticals meet at the correct heights.  Take a circumference halfway up to see if the ends of the shape need to be curved inward. This will give you a flattened projection of the space you need to construct the lattice on. It will not be like the simple trapezoid shape you posted. Once you've filled in the lattice, the drawing can be reduced to scale size.

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