1/32 USS Keokuk, 1863
My Keokuk is five feet overall length and designed for radio control. I am building off the original factory drawings by Whitney, supplemented by the as-built engineering study by Corbett and steel engravings of the period. If you are not familiar with the ship, it was designed and named Moodna in 1862 as a "floating battery" made of wood. Note that she was NOT a monitor: the "turrets" were actually fixed casemates with three gun ports each. The guns were mounted on pivoting slide carriages, modified slightly to fit in the casemates. The original drawings have her configured as a purely wood ship with the pilothouse in the same structure as the funnel! That would have been some fun in the summer. Upon completion, she was cladded with 36" wide experimental armor belts of alternating layers of wood, rubber and iron. Commissioned in March 1863 and sent to the attack on Fort Sumter the next month. She was used for target practice by the Confederates, being hit over 95 times in half an hour, with most of the shots penetrating the armor. She withdrew and sank off Morris Island the following morning. The Confederates salvaged her two 11" Dahlgrens and used them in the defense of Charleston, where one of them is still on display. Interesting to note if you see the gun, apparently the casemate ports were originally designed for 9" Dahlgrens. When the 11" guns were installed, it was necessary to shave the muzzles slightly on each side for them to fit through the ports.
My model includes functioning .34 caliber black powder Dahlgrens, but I will probably only fire powder charges with them. It is also equipped with George Sitek props made from the original drawings. The rudder is too small to be effective by itself, so I have it coupled with the motor throttles. Also will include smoke for both main and galley stacks, oil lamps and twin cylinder steam engine sound coupled to speed controls (sounds like Darth Vader with asthma.)
I am posting pictures of my build at:
After planking comes fiberglass, then finish layers of .040 sheet styrene armor belts and 1/32 basswood hull planks. Then the detailing fun starts!
This is a test bed for a 10 foot, 1/16 live steam version I am working up. Because Keokuk is basically a powered barge hull, there is limited vertical space to work with, especially in 1/32. This one is powered by two Graupner Speed 500s running through 3:33 planetary reduction gears. Should give me a painfully slow top speed, just like the real thing, but without overheating or battery drain problems. Keokuk had a ram (not installed on model yet), but could barely go fast enough to make headway upstream in a strong current.
I also had the cannon barrel maker turn barrels in 1/16 while I was at it, along with all the machined parts for the carriage. The 1/16 guns will be completely functional, including the carriage slide friction clamps. The 1/32 guns will be fixed and fired using either rocket igniters or glow plugs. Not sure which yet.
Re: 132 USS Keokuk, 1863
Hello Glen --
Interesting project and nice work - keep the pics coming.
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