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USS/SS Leviathan 1914 by shipmodel - FINISHED - 1/200 - troop ship/ocean liner

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We both enjoyed meeting and having dinner with you too at the recent NRG Conference.


The Colegate Model is part of an exhibit at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center here in Duluth.  The Visitors Center is run by the Army Corps of Engineers who are responsible for maintaining harbor improvements around the Great Lakes.  I will try to stop by next week to take some photos but you might also wish to contact them directly.



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First, thanks to everyone for the compliments and likes.


Roger - a special thanks to you.  Photos of another model will be very welcome.

  I am still trying to piece together from photographs the exact details of the stern deckhouse and its roof.



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Roger - 


Thanks so much.  I will use the model to check against mine and the photographs that I have collected.


I will do a brief boat tour log once I have finished.



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Hi all –


I hope my countrymen all had a good Thanksgiving and everyone's favorite football team, whether round or oval, won.

Unfortunately, I root for the NY Giants.  Oh well . . .


Here is the next segment of the build.  As before, mostly photos with captions.


The final major components of the ship were the masts, which also acted as the cranes for the cargo booms.  Here they are in photographs.



And how they turned out.



The mast tops anchored the shrouds and stays, and the single and triple blocks of the boom tackle were secured here as well.


I could not fit any available triple blocks for the topping lift tackle so I used doubles.



The lift tackles reeve through double blocks at the deck just inboard of the shroud turnbuckles.


There are four shrouds, with ratlines only between the inner two, though there are swifters every fourth ratline that go across all four.


The bases of the booms have clevis joints that fit in a ring around the base of the mast.


There is a multi-headed steam winch for each boom, set in a circle on deck around the mast.


A large searchlight sits on a railed platform on the foremast.


On the troop ship a large lookout station was hung below the searchlight.


Its peculiar shape had to be pieced together from segments of plastic tube turned inside out.



The final few details to finish the ship will be covered in the next installment.


Till then, be well.








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Thanks, guys, for the compliments and likes.

Sorry I'm not giving a more complete explanation, but the techniques are pretty much the same as explained previously.

I'll go into a bit more detail when I get to making the ocean display base.

Keith - the blocks and winches are from Bluejacket.  Everything else is scratch-built.


More soon



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Thanks, everyone, as always.

One of the best things about our community is all the support we give each other.


Here are the finishing details for the ship. 


First, the 6 inch cannon.

The 3-D printed ones from Shapeways are little gems and match quite closely the photos.


On top of the flying bridge a square platform was built with angled sides.

The history of the ship identifies it as the large rangefinder for the guns.

This is the best photo, taken during the conversion to the troop ship.


I believe that the long thin box on top was a wooden cover for the rangefinder, but I have no definitive proof.

I did manage to locate a schematic for a contemporary rangefinder of the size that would fit the platform and which is just tall enough to rise above the platform sides.


And here is how it came out on the model. 

I am not sure about the metallic ends, but I reasoned that paint might interfere with its operations, and when not in use the wooden cover would hide them.

I cheated a bit by giving the rangefinder a complete base and pedestal rather than cutting it in half.

As before, the red edges indicate that the structures were cut along the centerline.



On the liner side the bridge deckhouse sported a wooden nameboard.

It was computer printed on acid free art paper.



The model sports several flags.

This is the house flag of the United States Lines from 1929


The signal halyard bears the flags of its radio call sign, LHGD  (thanks for this information go out to Richard Rabbett)

They are mounted on a wire halyard that is bent as if by the wind.


At the bow is the US ensign with 48 stars. 

Although this would not normally be flown at sea, I am picturing her moving 'slow ahead' and entering New York harbor.


And at the stern the Stars and Stripes.


This completed the model.

Next, making the ocean, and final photos.


A Healthy and Happy Holiday to one and all.



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Lovely progress Dan. The red does indeed accentuates the cutted edges, so ithose do not look like something partly finished.


Looking forward to the "under ground"


merry X-mas & all the best for the new year to you and yours

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Hi all – and Happy New Year.


Thanks as always for the comments and likes. 

I hope you will enjoy this final installment of the Leviathan build log.


With the completion of the model itself, I turned to its display.  Under the contract I was asked to set the waterline model in a seascape for exhibition in the museum.  Here is how I went about it –


The model was located on a board of ¾” furniture grade plywood that allowed about 4 to 6 inches all around.  To help show a bit of movement, there was just a bit more space allowed at the stern than at the bow.  The model was secured in place with several screws from underneath.


Before being screwed down a long strip of kitchen plastic wrap was laid between the model and the board.  The excess all around was folded up and lightly taped to the hull to protect it from the plaster sea.  Around the perimeter of the board a ¼” lip was created with wooden strips.


The space between the lip and the model was filled with premixed vinyl spackle from the hardware store.  The tub of product can be seen in the left of the above picture.  Three layers were needed to reach the full depth of ¼” since the plaster shrinks a bit and cracks when applied too thickly.


The plaster was shaped to illustrate a moderately calm sea.  In the middle layer a palette knife was used to impose some swells and waves, but nothing too choppy.   The final thin layer of plaster was textured with a damp sponge as it dried to show the random small peaks and valleys of a moving sea.  I used a piece cut from a large wallpaper sponge which has a lot more large open holes rather than a denser kitchen sponge. 


The texturing process was repeated several times until I was satisfied with the results and the plaster layers were fully built up.  This process can be continued as many times as desired, and even removed and redone, all without danger to the model itself.


When the sea was dry the model was removed, the plastic wrap discarded and the model replaced.  Any gaps were filled and the bow wave was laid in with a small spatula.  Now the coloring could begin. The first color was straight black, laid into the deepest hollows.  Although most were generally parallel, random spots and lines were painted on as well.  I took the opportunity to paint the lips and edges as well.


Medium blue was painted over the whole surface, followed by dark green.  The tops of wave peaks were left white, as was the wake around the ship.


These rough colors were tempered by multiple coats of gloss Liquitex medium tinted with color.  Dark blue was applied several times, and light green as well.  Flat white highlighted crests, and even some deeper foam.  These latter were ‘sunk’ into the sea with more transparent layers of blue and green.


Along the sides of the ship there was little in the way of wake, the ship moving slowly as it approached harbor.  There were some diagonal wakes shown where the pressure waves would have impacted the hull, but these were severely muted with green tinted gloss.  Similarly, the water alongside the hull was lightened to show its disturbance by the ship’s passage.


At the stern the chop from the four propellers was mottled with white, stippled with a dry brush and, again, toned down and ‘sunk’ with tinted glaze.


The beauty of this method is that the colors and tints, and even the white highlights, can be altered and adjusted almost indefinitely until the desired shape, color, tint and reflectance is reached.


With so many transparent and translucent layers, the water looks deep and changes hue with changes in light and viewing angles, just like the real sea.


So here she is.  Finished.  The troop ship, port side.


And the ocean liner with the photo reversed to show the same port side.


The model’s bow showing the contrasting presentations.


And the photo cropped and mirrored to show how each might have been seen as a whole ship.



So now I bid a fond farewell as she sails off to her permanent home in the museum of the American Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point, NY, on the shores of Long Island Sound. 


If you can, it is well worth a trip to this wonderful little museum.  You can also book a tour of the school where you can view many more excellent models and even take the helm in a bridge simulator.


Meanwhile, I have been working on the next project for the museum.  It is a Great Lakes whaleback steamer called the SS James B. Colgate.  It was a bulk grain and ore carrier launched in 1892 and sunk in a storm in 1916.  I will post photos soon.


Till then, thanks for following along.


Be well.





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Dan, thank you for your wonderful build log of this beautiful model.  It's been a reral pleasure to follow along as the model developed.



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