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USS Oklahoma CIty CLG-5 (1971) 3D CAD model

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I have been working on a 3D CAD model of the USS Oklahoma City CLG-5 as configured in 1971 since 2004. It is just about complete now. I will try to describe the steps I followed to make a very accurate 1:1 scale model, including the problems I encountered and the research (which took most of the time) necessary.


I am a former Lieutenant in the US Naval Reserve, and I was the Nuclear/Special Weapons Officer on the Okie Boat from January 1970 through March of 1972, hence my interest in the ship. If you want to know more about the ship, it's history and a lot more, have a look at my web page at






To summarize, the OK City was commissioned in 1944, the 20th of 27 Cleveland class light cruisers. It entered the war in mid 1945 and earned two battle stars, one at Okinawa and one for attacks on the Japanese homeland. After the war it was mothballed, but was chosen in the 1950s to be converted into one of the first guided missile cruisers. It was to carry the Talos surface to air missile. Talos design was changed several times between 1945 and 1955, from a range of 20 nmi, to 60 nmi, and eventually 130 nmi. Meanwhile a Talos test missile was developed into the Terrier missile, and Terrier was the first missile to enter the fleet. The changes to Talos delayed introduction to the fleet until 1958.


The Oklahoma City was recommissioned as CLG-5 in 1960. It was a fleet flagship, and served as First and Seventh Fleet flagships for most of it's 19 year service. It was Flagship of the Seventh Fleet for most of the Vietnam War, where it earned 13 more battle stars, becoming the most decorated of all the Cleveland class ships. The OK City was the first ship in the US Navy to use a surface to surface missile in combat successfully, and the first to use an anti-radiation (ARM) missile against an enemy radar successfully. It was decommissioned in 1979 and expended as a target ship in 1999. It was one of the US Navy's historic ships.




In future posts I will describe the steps I took to research the design of the ship and how I proceeded to make the CAD model. Bear with me though. I am fairly busy with other things and there is a lot to tell.



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Edited by Dr PR
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This all started on Christmas of 2004 when my oldest son presented me with a 8"x8"x72" present. "They got me new skis?" I wondered. No, it was a 1:96 scale Cleveland class fiberglass hull, and one deck plan drawing. I began work on it immediately and soon realized I needed more information.


I had 281 high resolution photos I took while I was on board. I found a few hundred more on line, but these were all very low resolution. Over the years I have received a few hundred more high resolution pictures from people who contacted me through my web site, plus a dozen or more from Navy archives. I also studied pictures in the ship's cruise book, and eventually found good photos of almost all of the ship's exterior.


I wanted to make an accurate model worthy of a place in a museum. I have seen pictures of several so called "Oklahoma City" models and they were all highly inaccurate. For an accurate model I needed dimensioned blueprints. I found these in the US National Archives, and that was an adventure all in itself! I live in Oregon, and it would be very inconvenient tripping off to College Park, Maryland, every time I needed another drawing - especially with all the TSA hassles and the expense of flying across the continent. So I relied upon email contacts with the Archives.


When you email the archives you should expect a 3-6 week delay before you receive an answer - there are a lot of people contacting the archives and only a few Archivist to answer questions. These people cannot read your minds, so you have to be very specific about what you want to find. Ask about only one ship at a time, and give it's name and hull number, and describe what type of drawings you are looking for. Some Archivists really know little about ships, and can give only general answers. I lucked out on several occasions and worked with people who had good knowledge of Record Group 19 where ships' blueprints are kept. I got a lot of good information from these people. With a little patience (and about $1500) I eventually obtained 43 reels of 35mm microfilm with 7700 blueprints for the Cleveland class and another 2200 for the CLG Talos conversions. Everything I wanted to know (almost) and a lot more!


Note: Back in 2004 my only choice was microfilm reels. Today you can order scanned images on DVDs. Don't even think of trying to transfer bazillions of bytes of images via the Internet.


When you look for microfilm at the Archives you will find that each drawing set, such as the original USS Cleveland CL-55 drawings or the CLG Talos drawings, is listed as being on a "reel." But these "reels" are actually sets of several individual physical reels of microfilm. The Cleveland drawings are "reel" 5537, and there are 19 physical reels of 35mm microfilm. Each reel has an index of the contents of the reel. Later the Navy changed the way microfilm was archived and provided a single Index reel for each set of drawings. It is a lot cheaper to get just the Index reel (if it exists) to see if there are drawings you might want, rather than buying the entire set and then discovering it is only wiring diagrams!


The next step was to compile a complete printed index for the reels of microfilm. I scanned the index reels into Photoshop at our local library, and printed them. They make a stack about 6" high, single sided print, with about 25 single line entries for individual blueprints on each page. The problem was that most of the drawings were for internal wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and many frames listed furniture, doors, keys, and even the brass plates attached over each door. Not very useful for ship modelling!


But I eventually did scan about 400 blueprints into Photoshop. The detail on most of them is amazing. They used very fine grain film, and I can see the tiny pencil dots the draftsmen used to align rows of text and the centers of circles! But getting these images was a chore! The microfilm scanners at our library are fine for scanning images of pages of newsprint or typed documents. But a maximum resolution of 800 dpi was not good enough to scan a full film frame and be able to read the fine print. So I zoomed in and scanned each frame on the film with six overlapping images. For the largest drawings (36" high and 144" long) I had 36 separate images to paste together in Photoshop. Each frame on the microfilm had a bit of spherical (pincushion) distortion, and each scan from the microfilm scanner added even more distortion. I had to rotate, scale and "warp" each image to straighten things out and get them all to align. It could take an entire day to paste together one large drawing. But the resulting drawings show the tiniest details and the smallest print is very legible.


Are you beginning to understand why this has taken 14 years (so far)?


But a few key drawings were poorly exposed and almost illegible. Even the best scanner tricks and Photoshop magic couldn't resurrect some of them. Fortunately, some of the important drawings were repeated on two or more drawing sets on different microfilm reels, and I was able to find good drawings of most essential parts. Another problem was missing drawings. Each blueprint has a reference list naming other relevant drawings. But a few key drawings were missing from the microfilm. These might possibly be in collections of paper drawing sheets at the National Archives, but I will probably never know.


There is one other thing you should know about blueprints for ships - especially from the world War II period. The Cleveland class ships were built in four different shipyards. One yard was the initial builder, and this is where the original blueprints were hand drawn - pencil on paper. Each drawing was hand copied - traced with pencil on vellum - to produce another set for each of the other yards building the ships. But each yard had its own way of doing things, so they often made new copies with changes. And while the ships were being constructed the Navy promulgated additional changes for each yard based upon past experience building and operating the ships. There were some very noticeable differences between ships of the same class built in different yards. The result is several different versions of the same blueprint produced in chronological order. You need to know which yard your ship was built in and when.


I started out thinking it would be a simple job building the model after I got the blueprints. I am much wiser now!



Edited by Dr PR
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OK, so I had a good working set of blueprints that gave me accurate dimensions and positions for all parts of the ship, right? Wrong!


The USS Oklahoma City CLG-5/CG-5 may have been the worst possible ship to try to model. It was originally a "modified" Cleveland class - the square bridge version. Unfortunately, it appears that almost all blueprints for the square bridge version have been lost, or at least those of interest to modellers. There are a lot of wiring, plumbing and ventilation diagrams, but  none for the hull or superstructure. I had to figure out if there had been changes to the hull from the original USS Cleveland CL-55 that carried over to the USS Oklahoma City CL-91 and CLG-5 (almost everything from the main deck up was removed for the CLG conversion). I eventually discovered several by scrutinizing hundreds of photos.


Then there were some very obvious differences between the different CLGs. Three were Terrier ships and only superficially resembled the Talos ships. The USS Galveston CLG-3 was the first Talos ship, but it didn't have the flag conversions on the forward superstructure, and even the missile house had significant differences. That left the USS Little Rock CLG-4/CG-4, the sister ship to the Okie Boat. Fortunately, the Little Rock has been preserved at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park in Buffalo, New York. So I shuffled off to Buffalo to walk the decks of the last Cleveland class ship.


It was a weird experience - deja vu all over again. The Little Rock is still almost exactly like it was built in the 1950s - just like the blueprints. But the Oklahoma City had undergone hundreds of changes during it's 19 year service. Some of these were major changes, such as the removal of the Mk 34 main battery director and it's barbette extending down to the third deck (it was the only CLG to lose the Mk 34)! The superstructure had been modified to remove parts here and add parts there, mostly in efforts to reduce topside weight. The CLGs were very top heavy and unstable, and messing around in WESTPAC typhoons in an unstable ship was asking for trouble! So the Okie Boat was extensively modified to reduce topside weight. The Little Rock wasn't, and walking around on it was a strange experience. Even little things, like the location of the phone in the missile test cells, was different. The radar towers were built differently from the OK City's! And the bridge was very different. I got some good photos of winches and dimensioned drawings of the missile launcher, but there were a lot of unanswered questions when I got back home!


I began studying all the photos I had accumulated, making a list of changes that occurred and the approximate date. By this time I had all of the ship's histories from the Archives, so I knew when the ship was in the yards. I eventually compiled 24 pages of changes that I noticed and the dates of the changes. The ship was a chameleon, changing just about every time we went near a shipyard. I eventually decided to model it as it was in the summer of 1971. This was just before the FAST gear was removed, and was while I was aboard. I used the blueprints for the basic model structure, but then had to make changes that the photographs revealed.


That was the starting point for building the model, but I knew I would discover more changes as I progressed. So I stopped work on the 1:96 physical model and decided to model the entire ship in 3D CAD. It is a lot easier to make changes to a CAD model than to rip out parts of a real model and start over again. I did discover a lot more changes as I worked on the 3D model. Now that it is finished I can start again on the 1:96 model, confident that I won't have to rip out and start over much of it.


In following posts I will describe the steps for making the 3D CAD model. Sorry if this has been a long discussion, but I wanted to explain the steps for researching the model.



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I'll start the CAD model description with the ship's hull. I use the program DesignCAD 3D MAX, an inexpensive but very capable CAD program. I have been using it in my work and for hobbies since 1988.


First I need to introduce some terminology.


The Base Line is an imaginary line running the length of the hull on the center line - everything is referenced to the Base Line, especially vertical positions. The Base Line is often along the ship's keel, but sometimes with small boats it is drawn above the boat (actually, the boats are built upside down, so the base line is somewhere below the inverted boat). With the Cleveland class hull the Base Line was on top of some of the keel plating, 1 11/16 inch above the bottom of the keel. Why 1 11/16 inch? Just to make it harder to model I suppose.


The perpendiculars were vertical lines drawn through the points where the normal load water line intersected the bow and stern. The bow perpendicular was called the Fore Peak (FP), and the stern perpendicular was the After Peak (AP). Ship plans often refer to the length between the perpendiculars, or length at the water surface with a  normal load. With the Cleveland class hull the length between perpendiculars was 600 feet.


The hull was originally drawn based upon imaginary stations along the length of the hull. They were placed 15 feet apart between the perpendiculars,  so there were 40 stations. But there were also two stations "1/2" and "1/4" forward of the Fore Peak, and one "End" station after the Aft Peak. In the actual ship construction there were no features placed at the station positions. Stations were just a starting point for calculating the shape and volume of the hull.


Note: In US Navy drawings the Fore Peak is station zero, and the other stations are numbered from bow to stern. Some other navies place station zero at the After Peak and number from stern to bow.


Hull faired line drawings show station lines, water lines and buttock lines. Station lines are hull cross sections at each station, perpendicular to the Base Line. Water lines are where horizontal planes intersect the hull at different elevations. Think of different water depths in a dry dock when the dock is being filled. When the water level is two feet above the Base Line it would form a 2 foot water line around the hull. When you plank build (bread and butter) a hull with multiple horizontal boards stacked together, each junction between boards forms a water line. Buttock lines (butt lines) are lengthwise vertical slices through the hull at distances from the Base Line. If you plank build a hull with the boards oriented vertically, the join between boards form butt lines. In the drawing below the water lines are dark red and the butt lines are pale blue.


When drawing a 3D hull the idea is to draw the station lines and then stretch a surface over them to create the hull surface. So you draw a Base Line and position the station lines along it to form the rough shape of the hull. You can also include water lines and butt lines to check the accuracy of the hull surface. Each CAD program uses different terminologies and methods to accomplish this goal.




I obtained a drawing of the CL-55 station lines (see below).  The right half is the station lines forward of midships, and the left half is the after station lines. I traced these into the CAD program and started to fill in the hull surface. But I discovered that the hull width was different amidships for the forward and aft station lines! It created a nasty ripple in the hull surface. I tried to correct this in the CAD drawing and ended up with a mess! That was a waste of time!


On the blueprint for the faired hull lines was a "Table of Offsets." If you are building a 1:1 scale CAD model or large scale physical model the Table of Offsets is a far more accurate way to create the hull than working from a crude drawing of station lines. I have attached part of the table below showing "Water Line Half Breadths." These are the distances to points on the station lines outboard and vertical from the base line. Each row of numbers defines points along the associated station line. The table is a bunch of numbers of the format F-I-E, where F = foot, I = Inch, and E = eighths of an inch. So 4-10-7 is 4 feet, 10 and 7/8 inches. You will find this number at Station 2, Water Line 2'-0". The 4-10-7 number tells where one point is on the number 2 station line. Occasionally you will see a value like 5-1-6+. The "+" means more than 1/8 but less than 2/8.


For CAD modeling you must use a common unit of measurement for all parts. I decided to model the ship in inches because the original blueprints were dimensioned in foot/inch/fraction units, and it would be more convenient to model small parts in inches rather than fractions of a foot. The ship was about 7320 inches (610 feet) long.


I reduced each F-I-E value to a decimal inch number (4-10-7 = 58.875 inches). Where a table value ended in a "+" I added 1/16 inch (0.0625") to the number. The section line 2 water line 4'-0" entry 5-1-6+ translates to 5 feet, 1 inch and 13/16", or 61.8125 inches.


After translating the entire table I created a comma separated variable text file with the XYZ values for all points on all station lines where X is the longitudinal distance along the Base Line aft of the Fore Peak, Y is the elevation above the Base Line, and Z is the transverse offset from the Base Line (hull center line). For example, the station 2, 2'-0" water line point became the XYZ values 360,24,58.875. Then I imported these values into the CAD program and it magically created the entire set of station lines shown in the Station Line picture above.




One thing you should realize about these station lines is that they define the inner surface of the hull plating. After the initial calculations based upon station lines the engineers created a much larger Table of Offsets for the actual frames of the ship that the hull plating attached to (for the CL-55 hull there are 81 pages of mold loft offsets). Then these offsets were used in the shipyard Mold Loft to assemble the actual frames of the ship. So the generated surface is actually the outer surface of the frames. For the outer surface of the hull plating you must add the thickness of the plating - more about that later.


I was almost ready to start creating the hull surfaces. But there were a few problems. The original blueprints with the Table of Offsets were drawn by someone sitting at a drafting table and copying notes made by an engineer, one number at a time. There are lots of numbers, and either the engineer or the draftsman - or both - occasionally wrote the wrong number. This produced spikes on an otherwise smooth curved station line. But the errors were always in values of feet, inches or eighths, so it was easy to correct the lines when a spike appeared. Points that were off by a foot or two were very obvious, an inch or two less so, and I had to inspect each station line carefully to spot errors of 1/8 inch.


Eventually I had a corrected set of station lines to work with.



Edited by Dr PR
To add station line drawing.
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The steps to create a complex surface are different in each CAD program, so I will use the methods and terminology of the DesignCAD program. But the process is similar in all programs.279988982_surfacestretch.jpg.3110e189279c2c4dbac7d0647d5a90e2.jpg


The idea is to  select a collection of curves to serve as templates for the surface to be stretched over. In this case I selected station lines and used a function to create a fishnet grid over the lines. The program interpolates the spacing between individual station lines and fills in the grid between them to make the surface.


Here is an example. The template curves are shown in dark red. After they are selected and the surface generation function is executed you get the blue fishnet surface grid. It looks like a fishnet in the wireframe view shown here, but it renders as a smooth surface. Of course, it really isn't that easy!


The Okie Boat's hull was very complex, so I will start with a simpler example, the hull of a 40 foot utility or personnel boat,












The forward (green) station lines form a smooth hull surface top to keel from the bow back to the skeg. Here the port and starboard sides of the boat are mirror images so it is only necessary to create the surface for one side and then mirror it to make the other side. The after station lines (red) also form a smooth surface across the width of the hull. But at the skeg - the aft end of the keel - there is  a sudden sharp discontinuity in the hull surface. The end surface of the skeg is flat, and the forward and aft hull surfaces do not wrap around to it. If I tried to create the entire hull from one surface it would be badly twisted and wrinkled at this discontinuity.  The same is also true at the sharp knuckle between the after hull surface and the transom.


The solution is to create the hull from six different grid surfaces, as shown in the image. It can be tricky to get the forward and after surfaces to align and fit together with no wrinkles or leaks, but as you can see it can be done. Patience is a virtue.





Edited by Dr PR
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The Cleveland class hull was far more complex than the 40 foot boat hull. It had a skeg like the smaller boat, but it also had a fairwater on the aft end of the skeg to reduce turbulence as water flowed past the skeg. It had knuckles, or sharp breaks to the smooth curves, at the third deck level just above the armor belts (they were attached to the outside of the hull plating). It also had a bulbous bow and a very complex transom that was semicircular at the main deck level and almost square below the full load water line.



I used many different surface grids to cover the entire hull. Only the starboard half is shown - the port side was a mirror image of the starboard side. The hull was built up in three main groups, the upper hull, boot topping (water line), and lower hull.  The upper hull is three grids light blue and green. The boot topping is three grids dark green and dark blue. The lower hull was the most complex shape and is made up of three grids, orange, yellow and red, plus several more for the keel and skeg fairwater .


The yellow grid has a sharp knuckle near the top at the third deck level. The bow has some complex curvature to create the bulbous bow. The wireframe view of the grids is shown below.


Notice the different grid densities (grid line spacing). For long and fairly smooth surfaces you do  not need a lot of facets. But where surfaces are highly curved the grid must have many smaller facets. So why not just make all the grids with dense facets? This causes the file size to grow very large, and large files are much slower to work with.


After a few more modifications and details like the propellers and shafts, the rudder and bilge keel I finished the first pass at creating the ship's hull.  It was OK ...


But while I was working on this I was also following some other CAD model builds on line. One model in particular, a destroyer escort by a fellow in Perm, Russia, really impressed me. He was adding small details that I had not planned to model, such as nuts and bolts, wiring and external piping. I sent him drawings of the quick acting watertight door and he returned a working CAD model! When the handle turned the dogs rotated and the door opened!! A model of a battleship included threads on the turnbuckles in the rigging. Another fellow modeled the entire internal frame and deck structure of the INS Yamato! WOW! This was setting the mark pretty high.


I decided that if they could include such fine detail, so could I. That was a consequential decision! A 610 foot cruiser probably has five times as much external detailing as a 300 foot destroyer escort - I hadn't taken that into account. So my focus changed to including every visible detail on the ship's exterior, down to nuts, bolts, screws and rivets as small as 3/16 inch diameter. However, I did decide to leave out the threads on the bolts and screws - that would have made the file sizes ten times larger. After some preliminary work I decided to not model the internal frames of the ship.


This called for a lot more detailed research, close scrutiny of a lot of photos, and accumulation of drawings and data sheets for small parts like antennas, binoculars, searchlights, etc. Creation of the model slowed to a snails pace.



Edited by Dr PR
To correct spelling
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I decided to start over on the hull to build it up plate by plate like the real hull. I have the blueprints that show the general arrangement and plate thickness. My plan was to use the original smooth hull and project the plate outlines onto it. Then I created individual grids for each plate, and built up the thickness to what was shown in the drawings. This turned out to be very tricky!


Cleveland class hull plating was not the simple upper strake overlapping the strake below it that you see in many ships. Nor did it have alternating strakes with every other one on top of it's neighbors. One strake did overlap the strakes above and below. Some were overlapped by higher strakes and then overlapped the strake below it. Some were overlapped above and below. A few were just butted together edge to edge. And the plates were not all rectangular -  some had more than four sides! To make matters more complicated the blueprints did not give dimensions for any of the plates, and one important blueprint was missing!


I was pretty frustrated and thought about giving up on the hull plating. But then I fortuitously stumbled across the mold loft offsets in the microfilm set. There I found the Tables of Sight Edges, and that was the key. These were the familiar tables with hundreds of F-I-E numbers like the Table of Offsets. But these numbers told where the edges of every plate were to be positioned on the hull. Eureka!


While the ship was under construction the builders used surveying techniques to position the plates according to the elevations in the sight edges tables. I used the data to create the sight lines, as shown in the picture. Then I projected these lines onto the smooth hull. The blueprints showed where the fore-aft edges of the plates were located at specific frames. That was all I needed to know to create the template lines for the plating.


Below is a drawing of the hull plating configuration. Individual strakes are in light and dark shades of the same color. The two sides were mirror images except for the garboard strake (red) outboard of the keel and half siding. The garboard strake plates were different port and starboard to prevent alignment of seams on opposite sides of the keel. There were about 480 plates in 15 strakes.


Notice the bow - here the strakes were vertical up to the upper strake. I had never seen this before, but it makes sense. I guess the bow was assembled in the yards and then moved into position in the ways. At the thinnest part of the bow (at the full load water line) one of the starboard side plates was added in two pieces. This allowed a workman to reach inside and finish the internal welding. Then the additional plate was added to finish the job.


OK, so I knew where the plates were located, what their shapes were, and where the internal surfaces were on the hull. To finish the plating I had to build up each one to the proper thickness. Plate thickness varied a great deal, being thickest near midships and down low where water pressure was greatest.


Steel plate is measured by weight, in pounds per square foot - for example 1" thick plating weighed 40.8 pounds per square foot, and was marked 40#. At the bow the sheer strake (main deck level) was 10# (1/4 inch) and the plating for the bulbous bow was 30# (3/4 inch) just above the keel. Midships the sheer strake was 35# (7/8 inch) and at the keel it was 28# (11/16 inch). The keel midships was 68# (1 5/8 inch) and 35# (7/8 inch) at the bow. Since the internal surfaces aligned plate to plate, where the thickness varied there was a step in the hull exterior surface. The blueprints instructed that after welding was complete, where plates of different thicknesses came together below the full load water line the high edges were to be ground back at a 45 degree angle to reduce drag. This was getting complicated!



To add to the fun I wanted to model all of the hull openings (seachests). The microfilm contained lists of seachests telling the frames where they were located, but not giving the elevations. But the drawings showed where the openings were on each hull plate.  And finally, there were blueprints for each seachest showing the dimensions and how they were attached to the hull. There were 32 seachests in the engineering spaces and a half dozen more scattered about the hull.


Six months later I had the fully plated hull, complete with external backing plates above the water line, hull openings, rudder, propellers and shafts, stern light opening, armor belts, bolsters for the anchors, the eyes, boat booms, propeller guards, split pipe drain covers, and the odd doughnut shaped bolster on the stem for the WWII era minesweep paravane cables. Each of these features was a drawing in itself, based upon blueprints and photos.114450148_Platedhullbow2010.thumb.jpg.554dc5a24f11714488c7f828378c7c9f.jpg



































Edited by Dr PR
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The hull had a lot of details. Here are a few pictures.


I had blueprints for the rudder, propellers, prop shafts and struts, propeller guards and boat booms, so they were pretty easy to model. Well, the propellers tested my ability to model complex curved shapes. My goal is to use the 3D file to drive a NC milling machine to make the 1:96 scale props. There are four different propellers, two right hand rotation and two left hand. In addition, the blades of the outboard props are slightly wider than the inboard props because they were positioned higher (not as deep in the water) where water density and pressure were a bit less, so the wider blades gave them the same thrust at the same RPM as the inboard props.


The blueprints revealed something you don't see in photos - the propeller shafts entered the hull in recessed shaft alleys that had "portable" (removable) covers. The propeller struts were very interesting. The struts and hubs were single cast steel pieces. The after struts were about 12 feet long and the hubs were about 7 feet long and 2 1/2 feet diameter. After the struts and hubs were attached to the hull they were machined in place to be aligned with the propeller shafts! That would have been something to see. The inner diameter was about 2 feet and was machined to accommodate six cylindrical bearings that the shaft turned in.



Along the side of the hull were many split pipe drain covers, with curved steel pipe bumpers to protect them. These covered overboard discharges from showers, toilets, etc. They were absent on the original 1944 hull, and were added during the CLG conversion. They caused quite a bit of consternation because no two photos of the ship show the same configuration! There were from 14 to 24 on the starboard side, and more on the port side. Some photos clearly show weld marks on the hull where a pipe and bumpers had been. Apparently they were occasionally ripped off, perhaps by heavy seas or contact with piers. In any case, I had to make a best guess about how many were on the ship in the July 1971 period I was modelling.


The ship carried two accommodation ladders, one fore (officers) and the other aft (crew). They could be installed on either side of the ship. During the ship's career the ladders were changed at least twice. The blueprints showed the original CL ladders and the CLG ladders, but photos showed the 1971 ladders to be different from both. I had to piece together what they looked like from a combination of blueprints and photos.


I don't intend to show them rigged, but I had to construct them in order to get all the pieces to fit together correctly. Then I placed the disassembled parts in the stowed positions on the superstructure.




The 17665988_anchor2013.thumb.jpg.6a7593d05bd59ad140fc6c761dd4d2ce.jpghawse pipe and doughnut-shaped bolster were a challenge. The 2D blueprints tried to show the contours of the bolster but I had to scratch my head a while to figure out the 3D shape. Fortunately I had photos to work from, but it was still a challenge. I drew this in 2007 and learned a lot about drawing free form shapes! The surface is a single grid that wraps around into the hawse pipe.


The anchor was another tricky job, with lots of intersecting curves that were interesting to model. The anchor stock was drawn up into the hawse pipe when stowed. When the anchor was let go the anchor chain payed out through the hawse pipe. The ship actually had two slightly different US Navy 13,000 pound anchors. One of the original anchors was lost on the 1945 shakedown cruise and had to be replaced.


273292900_sternlights2010.thumb.jpg.b9aeabaf1ec4b710aaa05b0b28e865c9.jpgThe first two Cleveland class ships, USS Cleveland CL-55 and USS Columbia CL-56, had the stern lights attached to the outside of the hull plating.  The white stern light and blue formation lights were used for formation steaming, and the conical light was the wake light that illuminated the ship's wake.


All subsequent ships of the class carried these lights in a recess in the hull plating that provided better protection from following seas. You would think that these lights would have been positioned along the ship's center line, and it looked this way in some photos. But others seemed to show the opening off center to starboard. The hull plating blueprints showed the opening but gave no dimensions and the position was still ambiguous. But the drawing referenced the blueprint for the stern lights so I searched for it on the microfilm. No luck! That particular drawing was not in the blueprint set! Arrggh!


I eventually got the idea of looking at the blueprints for the hull framing, and sure enough the recess was offset to starboard. The reason was pretty obvious when I looked at the drawings - the original ships had a large airplane crane on the centerline at the stern, and the hull frame below it was a massive "I" beam. The recess fit up against that centerline frame. The drawings also gave the dimensions. Of course, after I did all that searching someone sent me a very nice photo of the stern that clearly showed where the opening was.




Edited by Dr PR
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I consider the main deck to be part of the hull, but it was constructed separately in the CAD model.


1960872015_wildcats2015.jpg.89a8e8c02d2f9d0764f18a0dec106af0.jpgMost of the equipment and fittings on the fo'c'sle were original 1940s Cleveland class parts. The two 20mm gun tubs had been removed and a large discone antenna took their place. Originally the OK City had the antenna mounted on a short open lattice tower, just like the configuration of the USS Little Rock CG-4 museum ship in Buffalo. But the tower was enclosed later in a cylindrical compartment that was used to stow anchor handling gear. The sailors called this cylindrical structure the "beer can." The original 1960 CLG discone antenna was replaced a few years later with a larger version with more elements.


The two "wildcats" were large sprockets that fed the anchor chain into and out of the chain pipes to the chain lockers below. These and the brake controls, plus the capstans and their controls, were original equipment. The blueprints showed all of the anchor equipment, above and below deck, in great detail, and even told how to operate it. Some ships painted the chain pipes red on the port side and green on the starboard, but they were deck gray on the Okieboat. The Captain said he didn't want his ship to look like a circus boat!


414276486_wooddeck2018.jpg.b2c8c355b927166da52340115f8995dd.jpgThe blueprints gave only a rough outline of the changes to the wooden decks for the CLG conversion. I had to depend upon a dozen or so high resolution photos to see how it was done. But the original CL blueprints told how the planks were fitted together, and the CLG photos showed that the new deck was assembled in the same way.


The deck planks were 2"x4" and 18 feet long originally. Most were cut to 16 foot or shorter lengths when they were installed. Plank ends aligned with the ship's frames at 4 foot intervals. The planks were a laminate of 1" of teak on top over 1" of Douglas fir on bottom. They were bolted down to threaded studs welded to the deck plates, with the nuts fitting into recessed cavities that were filled with white lead and then sealed with a teak plug. I didn't try to model the plugs!


On the original Clevelands the wood deck extended forward to just in front of the #1 turret. Perhaps this was to minimize flash burns from the firing of the 6" guns. On CLG-5 the wood deck was extended forward to just behind the wildcats and capstans. Some of the other CLGs also had some sort of wood deck extension, but not all were like the OK City's. On the CLGs the wood deck extended aft only to about midway down the side of the missile house. The Talos missile boosters produced a 60-70 foot flame that could flash up the side of the missile house if the shot was fired almost directly aft. This would have burned the wood deck. As it was we had to repaint a large portion of the metal deck after each shot.


Margin boards 9" wide were fitted around the deck edges, around the superstructure, and around hatches, vents and other deck fittings. The margin boards were 2 1/2" thick along edges next to deck house and hatch sides, and were trimmed to 2" where the deck planks joined - this caused water to flow away from the house sides. If the deck planks joined the margin boards with an angle between 45 degrees and 90 degrees the planks were trimmed to fit the margin boards. But if the join angle on the plank was less than 45 degrees the deck planks were notched into the margin boards so the planks didn't have sharp pointed ends that might break off easily. The nibs were cut perpendicular to the length of the planks, and were half the plank width. The minimum width of the margin board at the notches could not be less than 6". There were lots of planks and joins. It took a month or two to create the wooden deck. I'm not sure I look forward to repeating this on the real 1:96 model!



95618752_explodedstanchions2017.jpg.95003d506173a2ab8c2791658bf9d8e0.jpgThe stanchions along the edge of the main deck were articulated affairs that could be folded down to lower the life lines during underway replenishment. In practice during UNREPS the stanchions and lifelines were just removed to get them out of the way.


The ship had a 15" wide waterway between the wood deck and the hull side. The stanchion base was welded to the top of the  hull plating and to a 3/8" flat bar that bordered the wood deck. But the height of the hull plating above the main deck and the angle of the hull plating varied along the length of the ship. Consequently, no two stanchion bases were the same and I had to fit each one separately. At the bow and stern, where there was no wooden deck, some stanchion pipes fitted into cylindrical pipe sleeves welded to the deck. There were 20 different stanchion configurations. The stanchions were mostly the same type on opposite sides of the ship, but there were a few differences.


The bitts and chocks on the CLG were mostly in the same positions as for the original CL hull, but there was one interesting difference on the Okie Boat. The bitts were standard 14" bitts that were used on cruisers. But the USS Oklahoma City CLG-5 had two 10" bitts on the fo'c'sle outboard of the capstans. The wood deck was trimmed around them. The OK City was the only Cleveland class ship, CL or CLG, that had these smaller bitts.


Almost everything on the fantail was new after the CLG modification. The airplane hanger, aircraft crane and catapults were removed, as were the two aft 6"/47 turrets and 40mm gun tubs at the stern. These were replaced by the Talos missile launcher, a helo deck and several ventilators at the stern. The helo deck had fold down life nets at the deck edges - these were very tedious to model! The tall whip antennas also folded down for flight operations. They were originally on top of the large "D" shaped ventilators, but were later lowered and moved outboard.



T1530589547_Flagstaffraised2016.thumb.jpg.05c014c75f7741eb1c084958b2fc5f22.jpghe flagstaff on the stern was one of the most difficult parts to model. It was raised in port - except when we were conducting flight operations - and folded down and clamped in a fixture on one of the chocks when we were at sea. The ship had at least four different flagstaffs! The CL and CLG blueprints showed two configurations and early CLG photos showed a third. But I could see from photos that the flagstaff of 1971 was different, but the photos were too grainy to tell just how it was constructed.


One day I was looking through the cruise book and noticed a photo of a sailor standing stern lookout right beside the life ring that was attached to the electrical cabinet. The flagstaff was lowered and I could see details of the fixture on the chock and how the staff was fastened down. Then someone sent me a nice high resolution photo of a ship docked at a pier in the distance, with the stern of the OK City at the edge of the photo. There I could see the base of the flagstaff! That allowed me to finish the model of the flagstaff, and I think this configuration was still there at decommissioning in 1979. The staff itself was easy to model - the original USS Oklahoma City CG-5 flagstaff is outside the American Legion Center at Newport, Oregon, about a hour from my home.


There were a number of winches and smaller fittings on the main deck but I will discuss them in a post about the ship's boats and boat handling gear. The last large feature of the main deck was the triple 6"/47 turret.



The Clevelands had four of these turrets. Only the forward turret #1 remained after the CLG flagship conversions. The blueprints showed the construction of the turret gun house, barbette, and projectile and powder handling gear. But I have never found drawings of the 6" Mark 16 47 caliber guns. The early Clevelands had range finders on the #1 turret, but these were removed on later ships to reduce topside weight. The OK City never had the rangefinders on this turret. The Cleveland's #1 and #4 turrets had access doors on the rear. The superelevated turrets #2 and #3 had access doors on the bottom rear.


A tripod was stowed on the turret top. It could be assembled for highline transfers on either side of the ship. We normally took on ammunition on the starboard side. The highline cable passed over the top of the tripod and fastened to the main deck on the side opposite the transfer ship.




Edited by Dr PR
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this is just great, Phil! love the model, love the story accompanying the pictures. keep 'em coming. now this makes me wanna learn CAD modeling. :D




Current Build: HMS Pandora 3D modeling

                    Swan Class HMS Pegasus for Admiralty Models 3D Build

My other 3D work: Artstation

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Thanks for the comments. Actually, I'm glad you didn't say I am crazy for taking on such a lengthy project!



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Tell Vladimir his work is beautiful! Of course, I am not biased ...


I examine models of the Okie Boat with a very critical eye, and his details are spot on! I am glad he has painted the tops of the smoke pipes and towers black like they were on the real ship. I made them gray so the details would be visible in the CAD images, but eventually I need to make them black.


Several other fellows have said they were working on a model of the ship, but these are the first photos I have seen of a model built according to my drawings. Thank you very much for posting them! I hope my 1:96 model looks as good.


How long has he been working on this model?


If you or he (or any one else) have questions please contact me by email through my web page


https://www.okieboat.com/Contact page.html



Edited by Dr PR
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Phil, thanks for your feedback. Your opinion as a specialist is very valuable!

Vladimir has a question for you, I will write you on your web page.


The construction took about 2 years.

Some more detailed photos of the model.








Edited by Valeriy V
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The level of detail Vladimir has put into his 1:200 model is exceptional! I can see he is still working on a few details here and there.


One thing I did notice is that all of the whip antennas on the fore tower are long. In fact only the two at the top that project in a "V" from the top platform were the NT-66047 35 foot whip antennas. I think the rest were 10 foot AT-252/SR antennas.


Note: The "Antenna Group" for the 10 foot antennas was AN/SRA-17, and that is what is listed on some lists of ship's antennas. But the antenna was the AT-252/SR. It was mounted on top of a box containing an antenna tuner. Together they make up the SRA-17.


Also, the actual length of the antenna and insulator base was 10.5 feet.



Edited by Dr PR
Additional information and clarification about the 10 foot antenna.
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I have just looked through you Swan build and it is beautiful.


I have thought about learning Blender. It is more of a drawing tool for producing nice images, and your work certainly shows it off well. But your comments help to emphasize the differences between drawing programs like Blender and Rhino and CAD programs like DesignCAD and Solid Works.


Only the very expensive programs like Solid Works have any significant rendering capabilities. The inexpensive DesignCAD program has very poor rendering capabilities - basically just shadows with multiple lights. However, it can "map" textures onto surfaces, such as wood grain, concrete, etc. It can also "map" photos onto surfaces to make pictures hanging on walls of architectural designs. But without ray tracing we can't make mirrors, chrome metal, etc. I don't use texture mapping because it causes the program to run much slower, and really doesn't add anything useful for what I am doing.


CAD programs work with exact dimensions, and have extensive tool sets for this purpose. They are intended to produce either physical 2D engineering drawings or 3D parts from NC machines or 3D printers. The program will convert any 3D view on screen into a 2D drawing for printing on paper. One of the next steps for me is to use the 3D model to produce 2D dimensioned drawing sheets for all the parts of the ship. That will take a while!

Some fellows use DesignCAD to create mechanical drawings, architectural plans, etc. in 3D and then produce the 2D drawings. Then they export the 3D model to another program like SketchUp and use it to produce realistic renderings.


One of my long term goals is to use the CAD model to produce walk-around videos. I think I'll need a lot more computing power to accomplish that!



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Phil, indeed, Blender is very different from Solidworks or similar CAD software. former is an artistic tool while latter is technical precision tool. and they both fulfill they intended role like they should. Blender is generally speaking easier (and capable) for modeling almost anything, has support for dimensions and snapping polygons, but that's it when CAD is concerned. for any professional and precise mechanical stuff CAD software is a must.

I have some basic knowledge in Solidworks and Fusion360 and, while I do like them, I still find it easier to work within Blender. I would really, really like to model my next ship in Solidworks but constraints and history based approach are driving me nuts! for me it feels like trying to model using my feet with both hands tied behind my back. maybe some day...

regarding making of videos, like you said, you could always export geometry into some other software and only learn how to make awesome materials and let it render overnight. Blender has support for GPU rendering which is A LOT faster than traditional CPU rendering and with a good GPU (or three) you practically don't need anything else.





Current Build: HMS Pandora 3D modeling

                    Swan Class HMS Pegasus for Admiralty Models 3D Build

My other 3D work: Artstation

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When CL-91 was converted to CLG-5 most of the structure above the main deck was removed. For the forward superstructure only a narrow deck house remained from the main deck to the O5 level, including the original Mk 34 man battery director and Mk 37 secondary battery director. The original smoke pipe (funnel) and the O1/O2 level superstructure under it also remained. Then the huge new forward superstructure was built around this original core.



The forward deck house was the one of first parts of the CAD model that I started, and almost the last part to be finished. Initially I just wanted to see how all of the decks and house sides fit together, something that was hard to visualize from the blueprints alone. The initial 2008 models are shown here.


The OK City had many changes over the years. One of the most visible was the removal of the Mk 34 main battery director and its barbette from the top of the forward superstructure. When it was removed the O5 level deck house was cut back to a few frames forward of the Mk 37 secondary battery director barbette. But a few years later the O5 deck house was extended a bit. None of this was shown in the blueprints and I had to work from photographs to figure out these reconstructions.




Another significant change was the addition to the large ECM compartment at the O7 level, extending outboard of the O5/O6 deck house. The original CLG build did not have a deckhouse at the O7 level forward. Then a small ECM house was added between the pipes of the forward radar tower. Later this was expanded to the wider ECM compartment shown here. The Oklahoma City had a huge ECM array that allowed the ship to redirect incoming surface-to-surface missiles, detect and track radio and radar emitters, interrogate Soviet built IFF transponders and even detect enemy aircraft engines running while the planes were still on the runway.


Several smaller changes occurred over the years. At the port aft corner a new house extension was added at the main deck level. Then a few years later a similar house extension was built at the starboard rear main deck level. Some of the windows on the O2 level Flag Bridge were covered to create new office space inside, and then new compartments were added outboard on the O1 level below the Flag Bridge wings. Finally, the open bridge was enclosed shortly after the ship was commissioned. I had to piece together all of these details and the CAD model seemed to me to be the best way.







Eight years later I was putting the finishing touches on the forward deck house. At first it looked relatively simple compared to the aft and midships deck houses I had already finished. But there actually was a tremendous amount of detail on this structure.









One of the most difficult parts to model was the Forward Air Control station on the O5 level forward of the Mk 37 director barbette. The 1971 configuration bore little resemblance to the 1959 blueprints. After the Mk 34 director was removed Forward Air Control was completely rebuilt. And then the O5 deckhouse was extended Forward Air Control was rebuilt again. I had to work from photos, and that was a problem. I found several pictures taken from the O5 level - it was a high place with a good view. But no one took pictures of the O5 level! I had only a couple of fairly high resolution photos to work from. I had a few good pictures of the bridge wings and the forward O4 level for the 1971 period.



Here are pictures of some of the details on the forward superstructure. The Mk 32 dual 5"/38 gun mount #51 was a carry over from the WWII configuration. The Clevelands got a mixture of versions depending upon what was available at the time of construction. The Mk 32 has the internal training stop buffer. Other Marks had the buffer on the front exterior of the mount. Clevelands had gun house shields made of 3/4" thick Specially Treated Steel (STS) plating. Destroyer gun houses were made of 1/4" plating to reduce weight. Some battleships had 2 1/2" thick shields on the 5" mounts.


Mount #51 was removed when the original CL-91 superstructure was cut back. It was then repositioned on the O1 level of the new superstructure at approximately where the #2 6"/47 turret had been on CL-91.



The Mk 37 director and barbette had quite a lot of details to model.







The director originally had a perforated reflector dish, but this had been replaced with the solid dish shown here by 1971. I stood Director Officer watches in Vietnam, sitting in a chair under the folding canvas cover (it was folded back while the position was occupied). The inside of the director was like an oven, so the other three guys and I spent most of the time sitting on top and catching some rays. It was the highest manned position on the ship and we had a great view of the show. Getting into the director could be an adventure. We could enter the barbette through the door at the O5 level and climb a ladder inside to the director, but it could be pretty hot inside the barbette. Most of the time we climbed the ladders on the outside of the barbette, walked around the foot rings to reach the ladder on the side of the director, and climbed that. But if the ship was rolling a lot you really had to hang on, and if the director was rotating it was pretty tricky.







The saluting gun was another modeling problem. I found very few photos to work from. By looking at web sites for other ships and even publicity photos from John Wayne movies I found enough to work with. The saluting guns were positioned at different places on the forward superstructure of the different CLGs. Since we were a flagship and showed the colors in many ports, these guns got a lot of use. They fired 37 mm blank rounds that just made noise and smoke.


The searchlight and binnacle show more of the details on the superstructure. The image of the binnacle shows the transparent glass window with the compass card inside. However, on the whole superstructure model I removed the glass. If you put a transparent object in the file, when it is rendered every single part of the model has to be checked to see if it, or its shadow, can be seen through the glass. This increases the rendering time exponentially as the number of objects in the file increases. On one part, that normally took about 5 minutes to render, adding a single small transparent piece of glass increased the rendering time to about two hours! If I included the glass in the binnacle and the bridge windows I doubt that the universe would last long enough to complete a render of the forward superstructure!


The Mk 23 Mod 0 Target Designation Transmitter (TDT) was another mystery. The ship had two of these in the Forward Air Control station on the O5 level. However, they always had bags over them in every photo I found. For the longest time I didn't have a clue to what they were. Then a fellow who volunteers to work on the USS Little Rock CG-4 museum ship in Buffalo, New York, sent me some photos of the units on that ship. Thanks to him I could make a pretty detailed model of the TDT. These things were WWII era aircraft tracking devices. A pair of binoculars were mounted in front of the head rest. The operator turned the mount and raised the arm with the binoculars to point at a target. Then he pushed the button in the hand grip at the end of the arm to designate the target for the gunfire control computer. By the Vietnam era fast moving jets and missiles made these obsolete. I don't know if they were ever used while I was aboard.





















The images below are the ship's Kollmorgan 20x120 binoculars. We had lots of binoculars, but these huge "battleship" binoculars were the ship's binoculars. There were mounts on both the port and starboard sides of the O4 level, near the skivvy waver's (signalmen) stations. These were really good optical instruments. They were normally stored inside and brought out only when needed. However, sometimes when we were in a busy port like Hong Kong these would be mounted, and it was interesting to use them to watch all of the traffic coming and going in the harbor.


I had a few moderate resolution photos showing these devices in place on the ship, but I found some great photos on eBay!





The AN/SQM-6 antenna was used to receive weather satellite information.




Edited by Dr PR
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I think the first part of the ship I modeled in 3D was the forward radar tower, in 2007 and 2008. The blueprints showed side and front views, with elevations. But the main tubes were angled inward side to side and front to back, so they were longer than the 2D views showed. I could have used 3D trigonometry to calculate the actual lengths, but I realized it would be much quicker and more accurate to model the tower in 3D. Besides, the last time I studied 3D trig was in celestial navigation classes in Officer Candidate School, and that was a long time ago. I don't remember much, and I certainly wouldn't trust my navigation skills (or trig results) today!
















Counting the main structural members and additional support tubing, as many as a dozen pipes and associated gusset plates came together in some places. I could imagine wasting a lot of time and materials in frustrating attempts to get all the tube lengths right. The 3D CAD model made it easy to figure out the dimensions. And from the model I can determine the 3D angles that all of the parts fit together to make construction jigs.


Well, that's the plan. We'll see how I feel about it after I try to put all the pieces together. It looks like it might be a perfect job for 3D printing!


The most complex part was the "cloverleaf," a collection of platforms to support some of the electronics counter-measure (ECM) antennas. Again, the blueprints gave plan views, and I had many photos of this structure, but it really helped to be able to put the pieces together in the CAD model. This was especially true because there were many blueprint sheets for the different parts, but no single sheet showed how they all fit together. And, of course, there were some changes to the original 1959 configuration by 1971.


After my initial modeling efforts I discovered many additions and changes to the parts of the tower over the years. In 2015 I took up the task again. I included the O5 and O6 level compartments to the tower model because so many details of the tower continued down to these levels. Together they made a single module that was easily stacked upon the lower deck houses.


The real impact of my decision to model all of the wiring and plumbing on the ship really came home on this tower. There are 38 antennas on the tower itself, and another dozen on the ECM shack and the outboard platforms (I obtained data sheets with dimensions for nearly all of the antennas). Those 50 antennas all had cables or waveguides running up cable trays and fanning out to the individual antennas. In addition, the ship had a water washdown system designed to spray sheets of water from sprinkler heads to catch radioactive fallout and wash it overboard. The washdown system was shown in the blueprints, but I had to depend upon photos to show how the wiring was routed.



















The wiring and waveguide routing was very complex (left above). I spent hours scrutinizing many photos to figure it out. Fortunately, while I was aboard the ship I wandered around taking pictures of various parts of the ship in case I might someday want to build a model of it (I have been modeling ships since I was a kid). I also had some photos other crew members sent me over the years, and some off the Internet. Often these photos were of crew members working or lounging at various places on the ship, with really useful background information in them.


The washdown system piping (above right) wasn't as complex, but I had to assemble it with a collection of pipe fittings and mounting brackets as shown in the blueprints. As usual, there were a few minor changes in the configuration between the 1959 blueprints and the mid1971 period I was modelling. Otherwise it would have been far too easy!



The ECM platforms outboard of the O6 ECM compartment (left) were fairly complex, and because they were added later they were not shown in the blueprints. More "photoguestimation!" But I have several good high resolution images of these structures, often in the background of photos of other things.


At the top of the tower were the AN/SPS-43 long range air search radar antenna and the AN/SPS-10 surface search radars. I will discuss the ship's radars in detail in another post.




Edited by Dr PR
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The smoke pipes (funnels) should have been easy. The Cleveland blueprint set included many pages of drawings. Unfortunately, some parts were illegible due to poor exposure when creating the microfilm. Fortunately, I found duplicates of these drawings in the microfilm sets for later versions of the ships, built in other yards.


Forward Smoke Pipe



The left image (above) shows the CLG configuration of the forward smoke pipe, with the O4 level weather shelter for the signals crew. The right image shows the original WWII Cleveland configuration. The WWII ships had both a steam whistle and a steam siren on the platform on the forward smoke pipe, with the associated piping running up the sides of the structure. Hot steam flowed up one pipe and colder steam and condensed water drained back down the other. The blueprints show the whistle and siren in detail. The large boiler pressure relief pipe in the left CLG picture was the same on the original Cleveland ships.


The WWII configuration had a searchlight platform port and starboard at the rear edge of the forward smoke pipe at the O4 level.



The image on the left above shows the CLG configuration with only the whistle. The right image shows the WWII configuration with the whistle on the left, the siren on the right, and associated piping.



Early Clevelands had the hand rails around the top of the funnel running parallel to the catwalk. Later ships from different yards had the handrails as shown around the very top of the opening.


When in port we normally had only one boiler (out of four) fired, and the other three cold iron. Each boiler had an uptake  to either the forward or aft half of a funnel - a transverse separator plate ran down the length of the funnel to where the uptakes came together. The cold halves of the funnel tops were covered with canvas covers to keep out birds, bugs and the weather, and only the active boiler/uptake flue was left uncovered. The transverse bar running across the top of the funnel had several sets of "lady finger" hooks that the canvas covers fit over, and the outer edges of the covers were laced to the handrails. When another boiler was lighted the cover over that flue had to be removed, and when the former active boiler had cooled the cover was placed over its flue.


After Smoke Pipe


The aft smoke pipe was basically the same as the forward pipe, but with a few different details





The boiler pressure relief pipe was at the starboard rear on all Cleveland ships, including the CLGs. The contraption behind the smoke pipe on the O4 level was a vent exhaust for the radar room. The large pipe running up the forward edge of the funnel was the trash burner smoke pipe. We burned outdated classified documents in the trash burner.



The USS Cleveland CL-55 and subsequent ships had the trash burner pipe running up the aft port side of the funnel. Later ships constructed in different yards had the pipe running up the front edge as shown. However, ships built in one yard had the trash burner at a more forward position, with the smoke pipe curving forward over the midships deck house and then running up the aft port side of the forward funnel, along side the boiler relief pipe! This is an easy way to identify Cleveland class ships made in the Newport News Shipyard.


Original Clevelands did not have the ladder running up the forward starboard side of the funnel. Instead a ladder came up from the superstructure behind the funnel to the small triangular extension of the catwalk. Although the ladder was added to the forward side of the funnel in the CLG conversions the small catwalk extension was never removed.


The original Clevelands had a searchlight platform on forward port and starboard sides of the funnel at the O5 level, and some later ships had a 20mm gun tub on the aft port and starboard sides at the O3 level. The narrow platform at the O5 level is the remnant of the original searchlight platforms.




Edited by Dr PR
spelling correction
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Like the forward superstructure, almost everything from CL-91 was removed amidships, leaving the aft smoke pipe and its supporting structure. Then a new superstructure was built around it to support the new midships radar tower.


The blueprints for the original CLG conversion included a 3D radar on top of the tower and more antennas on a platform just below the top. It had large double level boat davits port and starboard midships that each housed a 28 foot personnel boat on the bottom level, and a 26 foot motor whale boat above that. It also included double nested boats on the boat decks, with two 40 foot utility boats on the port side and a 40 foot personnel boat nested over a 40 foot utility boat on the starboard boat deck.


The ship was very top heavy and rolled badly in even moderate seas. After a year or so in service the ship went back into the yards for a 15 month overhaul to reduce topside weight. The 3D radar was removed and replaced by the SPS-30 3D radar on the after tower. Most of the other antennas at the top were moved to lower places on the forward radar tower.


The double level boat davits were removed and replaced with one single level gravity davit on the starboard side that carried one motor whale boat. Two of the 40 foot utility boats were eliminated, and one 28 foot personnel boat (the Captain's gig) was nested over the remaining 40 foot utility boat on the port boat deck. Only the 40 foot personnel boat remained on the starboard boat deck. No other CLG was modified to this extent.









The forward part of this superstructure contained living quarters for the CPOs and the trash burner. The aft part was a collection of shops and offices. At the aft end of the deck house were two kingposts port and starboard. Each had a large boat boom that was stowed along side the deck house when not in use.  Between the kingposts, to the port of the ship's center line, was a small cabin to control the FAST crane (described later in the after superstructure section). Three winches were located on the O3 level aft of the compartment below the tower.






Two topping winches (left above) were used to raise and lower the boat booms. The burtoning winch (right above) was the heavy lifter that was used for highline transfers (described later in the after superstructure description).



The image above shows the starboard boat boom with rigging to the topping winch on the O3 level. Below the boat deck with the 40 foot personnel boat was the starboard boat winch on the main deck. Another boat winch was below the port boat deck. Cable from these winches was rigged to blocks at the end of the boat booms. Boom vangs (lines to swing the boom out and back) were rigged to the sides of the superstructure and to positions aft on the missile house. The boat winches raised and lowered the boats, but the booms could also be used to lift objects like vehicles, boats or supplies onto the top of the missile house. For in port missile transfers the boat booms lifted missiles and boosters from the pier or from barges and lowered them onto the missile house strike down elevators (described in the after superstructure section).





The boat winch (left above) and motor whaleboat winch (above right) were modelling projects in themselves, as were the other two winches. I found patent drawings for the whaleboat winch, but the other three winches were drawn from photos and dimensioned sketches I made on the USS Little Rock CG-4 museum ship. If I believed in conspiracy theories I would swear that the complex mass of piping on the valve block of the boat winch was designed by a diabolical engineer who knew that someday some ship modeller would try to replicate it!






The whaleboat davits were a mystery. They were single bank, double arm trackway gravity davits. They weren't on the original Clevelands or on the CLG conversions so they aren't in the blueprints. The Little Rock still has the original CLG two level davits, so my visit there was no help. I looked in all sorts of Navy training manuals and on line sources, and found no pictures or descriptions of these davits. Fortunately I had several good high resolution photos I made of the stowed whaleboat, so I could use photoguesstimation to figure out the dimensions.


The davits allowed the boats to be launched without power, using gravity to lower the boat. When stowed, the boat rested upon a strongback that was lowered prior to launching.





Launching the motor whaleboat proceeded in several steps. First the straps that tied the boat to the davits were removed to allow the boat to swing free. Next the strongback below the boat was lowered. Then the davit arms were released to slide down the trackways and into position over the side. Then the crew got in and grabbed the rope loops hanging above the boat - just in case something went wrong and they needed to get back aboard. Then the boat was lowered into the water, using the brake on the whaleboat winch to control descent. Recovering the boat was just the reverse procedure, but using the whaleboat winch to haul the boat and davits back into the stowage position.



The starboard boat deck (left above) was almost the same as shown on the blueprints, with minor changes. The 40 foot personnel boat rested in a cradle and was tied down when stowed. The port boat deck (right above) was modified significantly when the upper 40 foot boat was replaced by the 28 foot personnel boat. The 40 foot boat rested in a cradle similar to the one on the starboard side. The cradle for the 28 foot boat was hinged to the superstructure on the inboard side. After the 28 foot boat was removed the cradle could be swung up and latched to clear the way for lifting the 40 foot boat.




Edited by Dr PR
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