Heavy Cruiser USN vs Germany

Discussion in 'Ship Comparison' started by JustinScott, Nov 8, 2022.

  1. JustinScott

    JustinScott Well-Known Member

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    With Surcouf’s finish line on the (distant) horizon; I’m starting to allow myself to dream of my next project. I want to make a pair of 3D printed surface ships, which are good for new captains to get started.

    Design Constraints:
    Small, but not Surcouf small. I dont want to use wood/fiberglass and I don’t want to wait forever for them to print. I’m thinking roughly 4’ in length overall.

    Fast (enough) - New captains don’t want a turtle.

    Not weak - they don’t need to be the nastiest thing on the water, but it should be fun for new captains too.

    Good for fast gun and big gun - with some tweaks, the ship could be competitive in either format. Like add/delete drag disks/bigger motors/etc. The cannon caliber is trickier, but I’ll figure that out later.

    One ship should be American, and the other should be German/Japanese. I’m thinking this would be the most popular choice for new Captains.

    The two ships should be evenly matched. Small gun ships of same class are usually pretty well-matched (other than screws/rudders/speed). Big Gun is different; so maybe one has more guns but of smaller guns caliber…

    ——

    I’m thinking Heavy Cruisers are a good choice.

    Deutschland “pocket battleships” are on the top of my list. 28kt, 6x 11” guns, single rudder, 2x props, 610’ long

    USN - I’m thinking Northampton, New Orleans, or Portland. All three ships are so similar, that I can’t choose. 32kts, 9x8” guns, single rudder, 4x props, 588-610’

    I haven’t really researched Japanese CAs yet; so I’m open for ideas.

    — Notes —-
    - Witchita is slightly faster, but I can’t find her plans.
    - Baltimore, Oregon, Des Moines jump to 650-700’ - extending the time to print and turning radius.

    —-

    Thoughts & recommendations? I’m not committed to ANYTHING yet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2022
  2. Mark41

    Mark41 Active Member

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    how about Italian RN Zara/ Pola/ Fiume?
     
  3. JustinScott

    JustinScott Well-Known Member

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    I’m trying to remember what I wanted when I first started.
     
  4. Beaver

    Beaver 2020 Rookie of the Year Admiral (Supporter)

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    Japanese Furutaka is probably one of the better duel stern platforms available to model based on specs. Probably not a good candidate for a newbie build but a good backup for an experienced captain.
     
  5. Commodore

    Commodore Well-Known Member

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    Couple of comments:

    Italian ships - don't sell, no one cares, aside from jokes/memes

    Furutaka - lightweight ships are difficult and not beginner friendly. Especially since in IRC rules, class 3+ don't get the added weight/volume bonus that class 2- get.

    New Orleans - Like, and nobody has done one yet. Hulls are/have been available for the others. I think I mentioned before that this is something I would like to see, even if I don't manage to make one. (But if there was a good 3D printable, I just might, because reasons)

    German wise, Lutzow types would be good. Nice weight/volume/firepower. Hulls are already available, though.

    One that I think would be potentially interesting (sort of) is Nurnberg. Being class 2, it gets the weight bonus, so it could be deepened (I'd suggest about 1/4-3/8"), and get to weigh a bit more. It also has the three shaft single rudder setup which turns very nicely, and can be run with a single motor for simplicity, especially for the brushless crowd.

    Anyway, just some food for thought - good luck with whatever you choose.
     
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  6. JustinScott

    JustinScott Well-Known Member

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    thanks! What do you like about the New Orleans vs other USN CAs? The three I listed are just SO damn close in my eyes.
     
  7. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    Remember that Justin is building for Big Gun, which has different design considerations than Fast Gun ships. Features like scale speed, armor thickness, and torpedoes are all important considerations that Fast Gun simply doesn't care about. With that said, here's a quick rundown of my thoughts. Cruisers in Big Gun come in a variety of flavors, depending on what you want to do with them. They can be mini-battleships, large destroyers, or something wholly unique. I'll talk about several I like, why I like them, and how I would arm and operate them.

    First on the list is, of course, the popular Deutschland class pocket battleship. In Big Gun it truly is a pocket battleship - big(ish) guns, heavy(ish) armor, and good(ish) speed. It also has torpedoes, although arming them could be awkward. It can out-turn anything it cannot out-run, and it has a very simple armament of two triple 7/32" turrets. In Fast Gun, you have a variety of armament choices as well, including 1.5 stern 1 bow 1 pump and triple 1 stern 0.5 pump. BTW if you want that triple stern, I recently printed and tested a pivoting triple Fast Gun cannon similar to the twins in my Deutschland class predreads. As far as Big Gun armament, you can go as complicated or simple as you like. I have seen ships armed with one rotating triple, one rotating and one fixed triple, two rotating triples, and a few combinations with torpedoes. The torpedoes compete with a stern gun for space though, and are only really useful for defense not attack. Great for keeping torpedo-boats off your butt, though. I have a very nice set of plans with lots of ribs, superstructure parts, etc. You could go wild modeling the torpedo bulges, armor belt, etc. but that is already available as a fiberglass hull. Since those hull features are a huge pain to sheet with Big Gun wood thicknesses, if you pick this one then please go slab-sided for simpler modeling and MUCH easier sheeting. Also if you pick this one, I will cheerfully design the rotating triple cannons for it. And then print several of my own, because this ship is great in Big Gun.

    Second is the Mogami. Of all the Japanese cruisers, the Mogami works out the best in Big Gun. They all have high speed, good armor, and torpedoes. But the Mogami gives you the choice between triple bb's and twin 3/16 while most other Jap cruisers only have the twin option. There is very little real difference between a bb and a 3/16 ball bearing in terms of penetrating power or flooding, so you're actually better off with the triple. Mogami also has twin rudders, unlike many of the other Jap CAs. I would run the Mogami as a super-cruiser - one rotating bow cannon for harassing and playing with your food, and reloading torpedoes for the killer punch. If building complicated multi-barrel Big Gun cannons is a problem,a rotating single MJV cannon with two dummy barrels will do the same job with a lot less complication. I am currently helping another forum-goer build a different Japanese heavy cruiser for Big Gun, and every day I wish it had triples instead of twins. single-barrel MJVs are just that much easier.

    As for American ships, pretty much any of the big cruisers will work. I have seen both an Oregon City and a San Francisco built and battled. They each acted like a shrunken battleship, with essentially the same complexity and expense but a smaller package with smaller guns and thinner armor. That is not to say a shrunken battleship cannot be successful. As long as the captain knows his limits and only picks on appropriate targets (convoys, cruisers, and other small ships) and runs for help when the big boys come to town, he can be very successful. I think it is telling, though, that both captains I know who built gun-cruisers switched back to battleships after just one year of battling their cruisers.

    What about British cruisers? The Town class seems like a good substitute for the American CAs. Triple turrets, good armor, similar speed, and torpedoes. You could go for a full gun armament of 12x bbs, which is a lot of steel. Or you could go with a mix, similar to the Mogami. Plenty of options there.

    The French CAs don't really do much. The Emile Bertin CL, on the other hand, is a delightfully weird little boat. It's a bit big to be a purely torpedo-armed vessel, it has insanely high speed, and it has triple turrets. And remember, you can very easily arm a triple turret with a single-barrel rotating MJV cannon with off-the-shelf parts. You can also arm torpedoes, and the end result is the smallest, fastest super-cruiser in all of Big Gun. If I wasn't so distracted with work and other battleships, this would be my preferred super-cruiser. One rotating bow cannon, a reloading torpedo cannon on each side, and a 5oz CO2 bottle in the middle. The convoys would NEVER be safe from me.

    There are other cruisers out there, like the Alaska, Prinz Eugen, and various Italian monstrosities, but they all fall short in some way or another. If I had to pick two opposing ships, my recommendation would be the Deutschland and Town class. Both have options for how to build, arm, and battle. They are a good matchup as well, with the Deutschland being nominally more powerful but the Town having speed and better torpedoes to even the playing field. The Deutschland is an ideal introduction to Big Gun in general, and would be my #1 pick by far.

    BTW have you considered predreadnoughts? Did you know that the battleship Mikasa is within 5% of dozens of predreadnought battleships from many different nations, and is already CAD modeled and ready for printing as a Big Gun battleship? There is also very nice printable CAD model of the Deutschland predread, which is also Big Gun legal and not too hard to arm. Just food for thought...
     
  8. Radioman

    Radioman Active Member

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    OK now! I have read this thread and now am confused. I am building the Deutschland. I have joined the Port Polar Bear club, so is the fast gun or big gun. I thought it is fast gun. Am I correct in this?
     
  9. JustinScott

    JustinScott Well-Known Member

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    I’m not sure about polar bear club. If you read your rules, and they allow for cannon calibers greater than BBs, then you are (probably) playing Big Gun.
     
  10. Kevin P.

    Kevin P. Well-Known Member

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    PBB is an IRCWCC club. IRCWCC is the primary and largest fast gun club in the hobby
     
  11. JustinScott

    JustinScott Well-Known Member

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    A lot of good info here. Ive re-read it a bunch of times. So I’ll lock in the pocket battleships as one of the ships.

    I’m really disappointed that USN doesn’t have any good choices. I think I need something American, especially here in Texas. Are there really NO good American options?
     
  12. Commodore

    Commodore Well-Known Member

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    Eh, pay no attention to me, I was just being selfish. Realistically, I should probably get that wooden Lutzow I picked up from the PPB guys a bit back together. It would make a good bote. That, and I should probably finish remixing and printing that convoy ship thingie.
     
  13. Z Boat

    Z Boat Well-Known Member

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    Not any I have seen in combat, plus you could arm a BB for the same cost. I have seen a Pocket sink an Iowa, not a common sight. I have both ships Katori mentioned and Mogami is very fast and better for a novice captain and the Pocket requires the captain to pay attention and keep out of trouble but has great firepower. But you should build what you like.
     
  14. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    The American heavy cruisers can be good, largely depending on how reliable the cannons are. Nine to twelve 3/16" rounds per volley is a lot of volleys, plus they are allowed to fire much faster than larger battleship-caliber guns. The smaller rounds struggle to penetrate heavy armor below the waterline, but they'll do just fine against unarmored targets and above the waterline on armored targets. You have to remember your limitations though, and retreating isn't always an option. And most importantly, the cannons HAVE to work well. One round per barrel per trigger pull, at a consistent strong velocity, every time. It took me six months and a number of prototypes before I was satisfied with the performance of my Mikasa cannons. While you can probably copy the basic design features, you would still need to modify it from twin to triple, change caliber, and significantly change the accumulator. That's a lot of effort to get a ship that will never go toe-to-toe with a battleship. Then again, the pocket battleship is similar in that regard. It cannot win against a battleship of similar build quality. The big advantage it has over the American cruisers is fewer guns in a larger size. As a result, it tends to be simpler and more reliable. But if a Deutschland and an American CA of similar quality face off, it could go either way. The German has better underwater penetration with those bigger guns, but the American has rate of fire plus speed to control the engagement.

    Of the American CAs, I rather like the New Orleans class the most. It is much more cruiser-ish than the others. It is just as fast as the others but shorter, and therefore more maneuverable. Since you won't be running away from fast battleships like Scharnhorst and Iowa, that maneuverability will be important. It's also easier to fit in your car or on a 3d-printer bed. Deck steps aside, it's a relatively simple hull shape which should be simple to CAD model and sheet. Laying out the propulsion around that rear turret will be tricky, but I've seen one built before so I know it is possible. I probably wouldn't even make the rear turret rotate. Not only is it mechanically simpler, it also lets you rotate the front cannons through a full 270 degree arc without breaking your brain. Due to limited centerline length, you would have to use a tandem cannon (one accumulator, two rotating magazines) for the front. It's a less gas-efficient design, but the space savings is worth it in this case. The larger cruisers like the Wichita do have more internal space, but at that point you're better off building a battleship.
     
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