Convoy Escort

A lot has been said on the job of being a convoy escort in previous newsletters and in the various forums. But for all the strategy and positioning and such that goes into it and there is a lot, the single biggest part of protecting a convoy is keeping your warship with the convoy. With apologies to Admiral Nelson – “A escorting Captain can do no wrong who puts his ship alongside the convoy.” Since I’ve been the designated convoy escort more times than not, I though I’d impart some “wisdom” learned over the years.

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Electronic Firing Circuit

Most captains equip their ships to fire using mechanical poppet valves (Clippard SMAV-3) as pilots for their MPA-7 or MPA-5 actuators. Opening the pilot valve with a servo allows pressurized CO2 to reach the actuator, which in turn pushes open the main firing valve in the turret body, firing the gun. This is a simple method, tried and true. The mechanical/pneumatic operation is easy to understand, easy to troubleshoot, and very reliable. An example of this system is documented in Safe, Effective CO2 Delivery.

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Safe, Effective CO2 Delivery

Special contribution from Phil Sensibaugh, of the Midwest Battle Group

Obviously, the whole point of warship combat is to be able to sink your opponents by firing ball bearings at their ships.  Hulls are designed specifically to allow penetration, and damage control countermeasures are restricted so as to make the threat of sinking a very real possibility for any combat ship.  Even so, a weapon system that is capable of punching a hole through thin balsa sheet is going to also have the potential to inflict harm on people or animals, or damage property if certain safeguards are not built in, and safe practices followed.  While part of the fun of building models – combat or not – is in the “tweaking”, experimenting, and learning while you try to make something work, there are some aspects of warship design where it’s best to go with a proven solution.  In particular, those areas of warship construction that involve safety – the prevention of injury or property damage – should not be built by “trial and error” methods.  It’s one thing to waste a bunch of your time, trying a new and clever method of building a hull, controlling motors, rotating guns, etc.  It’s quite another when the potential consequences of error can involve serious injury.  Working with gasses under pressure certainly has the potential for causing injury and/or damage if proper care is not taken in the design, construction, and operation of these systems.

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Quick, Easy Stuffing Tube Construction

One of the early problems I had to solve when I built my first ship was the construction of stuffing tubes for the propeller shafts.  Stuffing tubes (or stuffing boxes) are needed to allow the rotating shafts to exit through the hull, while keeping water outside where it belongs.  They also serve to stabilize the prop. shafts and position them solidly where they belong.

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Radio Basics

It’s a good idea to have a working knowledge of how Radio Control (R/C) systems work. One doesn’t need to be an Electrical Engineer (EE) or Radio Frequency (RF) guru to make off-the-shelf R/C systems work. Fortunately, most of the heavy lifting has been done for us. Still, most R/C systems need to be adapted in some ways so that they can be used to operate a fighting combat ship.

Most R/C systems with enough channels for model warship combat are designed to be used with aircraft or helicopters. This is just a simple fact of life in the R/C business – that’s what the greatest demand is for, so that’s what gets built. Limited angular motions are used to control ailerons, rudders, flaps, elevators, and throttles, while landing gear is always in 1 of 2 positions. That’s really all that a R/C system does, is to convert a range of motion on an input into a range of motion on a remote device (usually a control surface in aircraft). Almost all radio systems available today are 2.4ghz, which offers many more available frequencies (allowing for more RC vehicles to operate simultaneously). The challenge is to adapt this system to a use for which it was not designed, and is not necessarily optimum.

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February 2015 After Action Report

All Hands:
Six members attended a battle at the Star Brand Ranch on Saturday. We had a fun time sailing, shooting, BS’ing, planning, and checking out Hank Mill’s Yamato battleship and Michel’s new Go lo transport.

The weather started out tolerable and ended up beautiful, sunny and calm. It was overall a pleasant afternoon. The pond was very useable. The breeze made for rough seas, but it calmed down to almost glassy. The weeds had been blown off to one side and caused no problems. The dock needed only minor adjustment. More on the dock later. The john boat was available but was not made ready.

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So you want to build a warship – Part 6

Part 6 – Skinning the Hull; Decks, and Superstructure
There’s a lot of good material out there about how to skin a ship’s hull, so we won’t go into all the details of how to do it.  Instead, in keeping with the themes of this series, we’ll discuss what actually happened, including some false starts and mistakes.

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