Title: 1/96 USS Missouri BB-63

Hull Construction - Part I

This page documents some of the process involved in creating the internal structure of the hull.

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The first step was to add a 1/4" base plate to the center section of the hull. I used makrolon polycarbonate and Bondo. I then added the sheer strips. I made these from clear pine, cut from a 10-foot piece of 1x4. I sanded the hull contact surfaces to shape so that the upper surfaces are parallel with the base plane, and attached them to the (sanded) hull with Bondo.
Since the maindeck will be of 1/8" polycarb, I stood the sheer strips down into the hull 0.130", using standard jig techniques. The slots cut fore and aft allow the strips to conform to the hull with less induced stress. To support the maindeck, a network of lateral and longitudinal beams were installed. The beams are spaced 4-inches apart, and are present under all interior edges of the maindeck: very much like framing a wall in a house.
I used 1/4" polycarb. I drilled "lightening holes" mainly because they look cool and will provide nice raceways for cables and other control mechanisms to be installed later. The total amount of weight saved (as computed in the Solidworks model) is negligible when compared to the projected overall weight of 120-140lbs. Bow structure showing (as yet undrilled) supports for the two forward barbettes.
Next step was to fit the main deck. I traced the outline of the outside edge of the hull onto 1/8" sheets of polycarbonate. I then carefully drew another line inside this one by the thickness of the hull at the sheer - 0.10" in most cases. I marked this line with blue masking tape, then cut the three deck pieces out with a jigsaw. Finally, I sanded the edge to shape to match the contour of the hull. The process is not as bad as it sounds. After planning everything out, from start to finish it took less than five hours to get the main deck fitted to the hull.
Forecastle area. The deck sheet fits with a very minimal gap everywhere. Looking forward at the cutout for the main superstructure.
Aft view showing cutouts for stern 40mm tubs. Bow view showing hatch and barbette #1 and 2 openings.
And a final view of the forward barbette openings.
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