Steamship Barbicane

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mbeels

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This is getting more and more intense!
 

Ted Cochran

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So Barbicane can land vertically or horizontally, it seems. That requires a landing gear on the nose which has to fold out for horizontal landings:

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And to keep the ship from smashing its nose as it transitions to horizontal, there have to be some pretty big pitch thrusters up front, as well as an exit hatch to use when the ship has landed that way.

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While I was at it, I added maneuvering thrusters. And of course the piping is never completely done. Here's a manual feed water drain.

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I'm looking forward to when all this stuff is one color, but when one is working with found parts from so many different places, one can't be picky! (The landing gear foot was made from a piece off of a broken window fan!)
 

mbeels

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oh wow, where did you find that miniature water drain?
 

Ted Cochran

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Left over from the oil refinery piping kit I bought over twenty years ago (and the Mars Lander I built a few years ago, too!). Still available here: https://www.walthers.com/piping-kit. On sale, even. There are 4 huge sprues with lots of pipes, eblows, flanges, etc. in that kit. Google image search it and you’ll see the contents better than on the Walthers site. The related “refinery piping kit” I mentioned on the previous page has also been helpful.
 

GuyNoir

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Left over from the oil refinery piping kit I bought over twenty years ago (and the Mars Lander I built a few years ago, too!). Still available here: https://www.walthers.com/piping-kit. On sale, even.
Man, every time I turn around and read this thread, you come up with something else to buy. I have hobby product lust and you're killing my hobby budget!
 

Ted Cochran

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Time for the ruddervator controls. There's a chainwheel in each fin connected to a drive inside each plasma drive nacelle. A chain runs from a control horn on the top of a ruddervator, around the chainwheel, and back to a control horn on the bottom of the same ruddervator. Small rotations of the chainwheel back and forth change the ruddervator angle.

Modeling this has been fun. The result isn't perfect, but it's close enough. I start with the bag o' gears from Michaels and use just the the small ones. See below left. The gear in the top row on the left gets cut down (center), then cut in half. The gear in the middle row gets cut in half. I cut some spacers out of [poly]styrene tubes, and use a half round [poly]styrene rod for the axle.

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These are glued to the half-axle in the order shown above right, to get the assembly shown below.

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I cut the axle down to size, and glue the assembly to one side of the fin. A similar assembly goes on the other side. The control horns are fashioned from plastic parts. I hand-drilled a hole in the end with a tiny Dremel bit so I could insert a piece of even tinier wire to attach the chain.

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I dangled an appropriate length of chain from a hook and let CA run down all but a few links. That makes the chain stiff, except at the end, which I wrap around the chainwheel and connect to the control horn. The chain is then CA'd into place.

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The opposite side of the same fin is done to match. The illusion of a single wheel going through the fin is apparent, although I perhaps could have used a larger axle and gears to make the wheel halves line up a little better--in this edge on view, an axle that size would be buried in the fin. But it'll do, especially since the details are not usually seen in a closeup, edge-on view.

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One fin down, three to go! Almost time to start the putting on the rivets.
 

jqavins

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The axle is hidden inside the fin. There are openings in the fin allowing access to the axle bearing, and what we see externally are the covers that go over access area.
 

Ted Cochran

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The axle is hidden inside the fin. There are openings in the fin allowing access to the axle bearing, and what we see externally are the covers that go over access area.
Perfect! I’ll add some access panels near the bearings.
 
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BABAR

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I see a light tan small 777 in your future. (Oops, wrong thread.)

Really, looks great! I am curious, what’s the ration of “imagination” hours (thinking about what you are going to use, how to get it, how to attach it) vs “building” time? I am guessing both are enjoyable.
 

Ted Cochran

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That's a terrific question.

You are correct that thinking about it, figuring out how to do something, and actually doing it are all equally enjoyable for me.

When I build functional rockets--multistage, contest, clusters, HPR, Level 3-- it's all about the build, and having them work as intended is the biggest goal.When I do most of my scratch built projects, it's all about the design and then the build is more straightforward, or at least the outcome is more or less known when I start, albeit subject to how well I do with whatever I'm learning to do that build--fiberglassing, non-cylindrical body construction, fin covering, etc. When I do scale projects, especially scratch built or scale details that are enhancements to kits, there's an element of creativity on how to do things, and a whole lot of OCD to get them to look as intended.

This build is more of an art project than a rocket project, although function is necessary since I intend to launch it. I started out thinking "steampunk, retro-sci-fi rocket inspired by Estes Silver Comet, riff off of Nautilus and the Mars Lander," and I pretty much knew how the main body would come together given the plans I drew. I planned on non-cylindrical bulkhead-and-stringer construction, panels, external stringers, rivets, a canopy, nacelles, pods, a hatch somewhere, some kind of piping. That's all I started with. Very few of the steampunky details were planned ahead of time. But, two months into the build, I've had lots of time to imagine the details, and I've also had time to look for inspiration to Jules Verne, the steampunk genre, the spaceship genre, and little odds and ends in buckets of parts I've accumulated over the years. Some things are easier than others. Access panels are easy, portholes are harder, but both are easier than some of the other inspirations, like the landing leg and the chainwheel ruddervator controls, which are doable, but there's an interesting challenge to figure out how. Others, like working navigation lights that are lanterns, and glowing plasma drives, are just too impractical. I try to understand my limitations, both on the build side and on the art side! Some things are pretty much unplanned, like the antiquing that is to come, which will be very much a seat-of-the-pants process.

Artists have said that many projects are never actually finished in their mind, but they do get tired of thinking about them or executing them or both, and the trick is to get them mostly done before that happens. This might be one of those projects!
 

jqavins

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This build is more of an art project than a rocket project, although function is necessary since I intend to launch it.
"Functional art" is most definitely a thing. I think people usually mean practical things like lamps, so I guess you're on to something with recreational functional art.

Artists have said that many projects are never actually finished in their mind, but they do get tired of thinking about them or executing them or both, and the trick is to get them mostly done before that happens. This might be one of those projects!
I've heard it said that art is never finished, but eventually it's done.
 

Ted Cochran

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"Functional art" is most definitely a thing. I think people usually mean practical things like lamps....
Heh, I have a parallel project underway to build a steampunk rocket lamp. Definitely functional. Definitely fun. Never had to build a dimmer switch controlled by a valve handle before....
 

BABAR

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Heh, I have a parallel project underway to build a steampunk rocket lamp. Definitely functional. Definitely fun. Never had to build a dimmer switch controlled by a valve handle before....
At least it won’t be hard to get the CG right on that project !
 

Ted Cochran

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All but two of the chainwheels have been installed.

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Some final(?) tidbits added to the airframe: Some gearing to deploy and spread the pectoral fins, the landing leg, and a few other bits and pieces you'll see as we go along.

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Oh, and a set of piping for the auxiliary drive. I needed to do riveting underneath them before attaching them, so I started with the puffy paint. I wasn't completely happy with the ease of application nor the fact that they don't dry hard, so I switched to the thick TB molding glue on the other side. The parts themselves are from one of those HO scale refinery piping kits I mentioned earlier.

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I put a blob of this stuff in a cup, and apply it with a pinhead (pin stuck into a dowel). It goes pretty fast: Dip, dab, dab, repeat. The size of the rivet is controlled by how much is on the pin, and how close you move the blob of glue to the airframe before backing off. If you put too little on, it'll dry flatter than is optimal, but you can "refresh" the rivets even easier than putting them on in the first place. If one is misapplied, it's easily wiped off while still wet. I brace my pinky against something solid and dip and dab rivets a quarter inch apart. Once started, it's easy to keep going, so I did! You do have to stop eventually, either because your eyes get tired or there's no place left to hold the part while you add rivets.

They start out looking a little big and goopy, but dry into nice solid shapes--see before and after below. I don't know if a very precise spacing and size would look somewhat better, but remember this steampunk genre is comic-booky and impressionistic, so I suspect that it might even hurt the appeal if I got too persnickety. Anyway, I'm doing it this way, and I think once painted and weathered and antiqued it will look fine.

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Ted Cochran

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II didn't mention how I've been bending plastic piping--basically a heat gun and a clamp is all you need. Doesn't take much heat to get it soft enough to bend. Most of the piping is bent 90 degrees and then sawed off flush with the pipe to simulate going into the ship, then cut to the required length.

I'm about a fourth of the way through riveting. The Titebond Molding and Trim glue (AKA No Run No Drip) is working very well. I squeeze out a blob and drip and dab from that with my pin-on-a-stick tool. The glue thickens fairly quickly in the pot, and when that happens it is harder to control the rivet size, so I've found that working with a little at a time is best. The process isn't as tedious as you'd think (especially compared to fitting panels!) and it goes quickly--the first quarter of the ship was done in maybe an hour spread over a couple of sessions. The rivets in this photo are new and will shrink a bit as they dry.

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Ted Cochran

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It turns out that there will be at least 2500 rivets on this ship. Good thing it goes quickly.... I only have a couple hundred left to go.

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After that it's over to the paint shop. First thing to do will be to apply a primer coat, more to help me see non-steampunkable imperfections, gaps, etc. and to make an even color before applying the finish coat(s).You'll probably see Barbicane in primer in the next post. I'll likely spend some time chasing down fuzzies from the cardboard, filling little gaps in the stringers, hiding wood grain better, and so on. Then it's on to finishing.

Yes, that is the steampunk rocket lamp in progress in the background, sitting on a temporary base getting wired. Now I have something to do while the rivets dry.

I found a Baltimore Gun Club Logo on the internet. Not sure of the provenance--it is similar to a sign at the Paris Disney World, but I'm not sure if Disney borrowed it or it got borrowed from Disney. There is also apparently a band by that name. Anyway, I'm thinking about using it, with a corrected motto, of course. Just have to decide between "Ad Mars..." and "Ad Astra...." . The actual decal will be tiny, since it has to fit between stringers, but it'll still be historically accurate, right? Shown below with the font I'll use for the name plate. I think I can print both of these on decal paper. I might have to experiment to make sure they'll survive antiquing.

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jqavins

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The lamp is one thing, but not what I noticed in the background. That would be the poster size print of Barbicane on tractor feed, fanfold, 11 by 17 paper. You actually have a wide carriage tractor feed printer? And you can get paper for it?
 

Ted Cochran

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Vitruvius

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Hi Ted! I didn't notice this in the thread, so I may have missed it, but DUDE, You simply HAVE write a book on how You are doing this design!!!!!! I don't normally get excited about Steampunk designs, but this one is THE BEST that I have EVER seen!!@!!!!!!!!. Cheers!!!!!!!!!
 

Ted Cochran

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Rivets all done. I guessed wrong on the number, closer to 3500. Still took less time to do the rivets than it did to do either the panels or the stringers. Dip, dab, dip, dab...

I had less lacquer primer in stock than I thought-- just enough to get a coat on. As I expected, the flat monochrome really shows both the features and the imperfections. The rivets look quite good, I think, and there is less work to do on imperfections than I feared. So, a light sanding, a little work with filler and putty, and then it's on to the paint. I'm thinking silver for the body with a bronze overcast to the aft end and red fin pods. After that there will be a lot of detailing, antiquing, and weathering. Kind of like doing Warhammer figures, except with rockets.

Here's a four-view. There are a few little details I may not have talked about at the time I added them--windows, panesl, and what not.

Current weight is 12.1 oz.

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kuririn

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Wow. Looking forward to seeing your final finish, as well as the lamp shade on your other steam punk project.
 
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