FastGun U.S.S. Texas

Discussion in 'From Stem to Stern: Warships In Detail' started by Anvil_x, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

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    (Launch day, 25 May 2018)

    *EDIT*
    This starts with the FRAG 0 stem-to-stern, originally conducted on 9/29/18. The FRAG 1 refit pics will be posted below just before Valentine's day 2019. The Boat has received about a 60% rebuild. Details, and assessments will be attached following trials.
    *END EDIT*

    9/29/18:
    Here's the Texas I've Managed to slap together from one of Mark Jenk's lasercut kits. She has 5.5 units, which I have distributed in the conventional fashion with dual sterns in E turret, a 1.5 unit port sidemount in D Turret, and a 1 unit starboard sidemount in B turret with a 1 unit Strike pump spun by a Johnson 550 motor. She can take a fair amount of punishment, but the current configuration remains untested, as Port Polar Bear's latest attempts to put her under were conducted mainly by a NC and several cruisers, resulting in several hundred aboves, but very few below the belt.

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    Here's what she looks like today, flying her home colors at Fort Couch. The cotter pin on the bow sidemount was shot off in her last sortie, but it's usually fixed to the deck with that steel ring next to the gun
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    Her main superstructure is the rescue float, constructed of 1/4" Balsa and basswood sticks with a center keel to which the rescue line is affixed. Two Neodymium magnets hold the superstructure in place, along with the B turret Barbette and the two L-hangers I use to pull up the deck on the back. Once I was finished constructing the superstructure, I tapped 1/4" holes into the voids and filled each chamber with spray foam. After that, I glassed it over on the areas I determined would be receiving fire, and it has managed to hold up to at least half a dozen direct hits with minimal damage. it has never failed to deploy, and only jostled slightly out of place when shot four or five times in rapid succession last week. Note the reflective tape on the underside of the superstructure and the top of the deck. There are also two strips of reflective tape on the bottom of the hull.

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    The Bow's mostly been taken up by the 5 Oz BC Tank and BC regulator. it has more than enough hose to facilitate complete removal from the hull for recharge. Note it is canted off to starboard due to the bow sidemount. I compensated for the weight shift by adding more ballast to the port side, which I will show later. Underneath the removable padding I use to maintain the CO2 regulator in an upright position, I have several ballast blocks made of 150 grain .308 bullets. A total of twenty are needed to maintain trim in the bow.
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    The B turret sidemount (Tubing armor removed from the magazine to enhance visibility). Note that I have removed the solder joints from the sidemounts on these Strike guns and replaced them with compression fittings. this allows for better seating and maintenance. there are neodymium magnets on the breaches of all of my guns.

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    The boat is powered by two 3.2V 20 Ah LiFePO cells in series, which are retained using a removable battery mount and velcro straps. When the rescue float is in place, there is about 1/2" clearance between the top of the batteries and the bottom of the coil box. the coil is connected to the steel rings to which the velcro straps are fastened, and is capable of hauling the boat up from 16 feet; a capability I hope to never need. Wiring from the batteries to the board is 12 Gauge noodle with deans connectors and an XT to connect to the BC board. From the board, I have a Hobbywing Quicrun 60 Amp ESC (key point: battery failsafe setting switched to "NiMH") and a Taranis X8 receiver. all wiring from the board and ESC to the solenoids and motors is 16 Gauge noodle wire, with deans connectors. Waterproofing of electronics was done using E6000.
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    The view into the midships from the stern. As you can see, the deckplate layout offers quite a challenge to work around, yet simultaneously provides excellent mounting options for wiring and pneumatic lines. Removing the 550 Johnson motors from the BC GB500 gearboxes (2.5:1 gear ratio) necessitates removing the Pump, ballast blocks, and the Strike Solenoids, but the setup generally works without difficulty. Port side Ballast block consists of ten more bullets than the starboard, and this compensates for the offset CO2 Tank. The boat's trim will shift depending on her weapon load, but the change is minimal, and by the time it has happened, she is on Five.

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    Wiring is run behind her Lexan armor in order to clean up the jumbled mess of wires and prevent handling damage when changing batteries, which had been a problem. While this may leave them vulnerable to strikes, I intend to add a small second layer of lexan to sandwich them once the season is over and I've re-sheeted. The integral ballast consists of Kenai glacier sand, covered over with self-leveling cement sealant. this will not be repeated in future models as the sealant is difficult to secure things to without causing some sort of fussy mess. Pneumatic line on left is secured out of the way by that single piece of 1/8" plywood. Neatness has been the goal for wiring and lines, as the electronics are all located under B turret and the majority of systems are in the stern under C turret.

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    The cannons are protected below deck with plastic tubing and all lines are deliberately long to facilitate reloads while eliminating the need to disconnect them from the solenoids.

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    A view of the stern sidemount. Of note, the 2 inch PVC pipe used to make the Barbettes (ABS was NOT available in reasonable quantity in Alaska) was coated with segments of 1/4" balsa, and glassed over to generate a shock-absorbing laminate armor to prevent the PVC from cracking under fire. This system has produced excellent results so far, and will be implemented elsewhere as needed.
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    I've snatched a turret mounting technique from @Kevin P. and it has produced mixed results due to poor materials and BB intervention. The most successful location being the dual sterns. Turrets are retained using 550 cord guts. it's not fantastic, but it works. Shrink wrap was secured to the barrels in order to keep the tubing armor from slipping off easily while still allowing for removal, tweaking, and other such tasks.

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    The stern compartment is the least cluttered of them all. the Solenoid for the stern sidemount is placed along the centerline, and the stern solenoids are the outboard. The rudder servo is a waterproof HiTec HS-646 WP. This servo has less travel than the 625 MG and is slightly slower off the mark, but it is reliable, effective, and has just the right amount of throw for what I need. Impact to Maneuver is minimal, and the boat's combat radius is slightly tighter than the Texas' 620 yard combat radius in 1:1 scale. As with the rest of the wiring, all is run behind the Lexan armor for cleanliness.

    Due to the stern rudder tray, armor in the stern is frame-to frame, using an old Jellybean container. due to small gaps in the armor plates under the rudder tray, the white armor segment was added as a secondary internal layer with channels cut to allow water flow out of the stern.

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    the boat is propelled by BC 1.75 40 pitch props. they cavitate like crazy, and I occasionally switch out to BC 1.5 15 pitch props to resolve the issue. But if I go to 1.5 props on a permanent basis, I will change the gear ratio in the gearbox to something around 2:1, and trim the shafts by about 3/4" to bring them closer to the hull and allow for more rudder actuation. The rudder is a prototype I fabricated after the original rudder proved to be entirely ineffective. width is 3/4" at the widest, well within tolerance of the IRCWCC rule set. the dark marks on the rudder are due to some shaft vibration. Funny story-- if you don't trim the throttle down, the 60 amp ESC will drive the props so fast that the unbalanced props will shake like leaves. same as if you drive over 20 mph on unbalanced tires.
    I suggest not testing this. The gears in the port side gearbox shook themselves apart when I hit some pond weeds at "Ludicrous speed" this morning.

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    The Bow and stern hardpoints were filled in using Balsa, and glassed over. this is NOT BB-proof. But it will produce some comical BB damage, as best seen on the starboard side about an inch below her name.

    Overall, it's not a bad first boat. I have a laundry list of things that I intend to do in future endeavors, and a laundry list of don'ts. My intent is to make her as rugged and reliable as possible, so that she'll be as annoying as possible to the Axis in next year's NATS.
    I'd imagine with a good captain on the stick that she'd acquit herself well against similarly configured boats, but her lack of maneuver, as with many single rudder battleships, has been a sore spot. This can be partially mitigated by "toeing in" the shafts instead of using the kit's provided shaft slots, but there's only so much you can do.

    As of now, I fight her on the edges of the battle, and make opportunistic attacks. In this role, she'll do pretty well.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
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  2. djranier

    djranier Well-Known Member

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    Have you tried reversing the props, and motor direction, so the props turn in at the top, instead of out. Ring K had bad cavitation in his Sheer, after he did that, no cavitation.
     
  3. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

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    No. But I guess I know what I'll be trying tomorrow morning. Thanks dude.
     
  4. djranier

    djranier Well-Known Member

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    Same kind of prop, and rudder setup as the Scheer, a easy quick swap.
     
  5. Panzer

    Panzer Iron Dog Shipwerks and CiderHaus Admiral (Supporter)

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    Try adding struts to your prop shafts close to the props. It will support the shaft and that will help stop the shafts shaking as badly from being unbalanced. Also it will eliminate the flexing of your shafts as well when they are under load.:woot:
    Hope to see you on the water.:)
    Craig
     
  6. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

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    switching fixed the problem. now the thing runs like a powerboat with jaw-dropping acceleration. it's about 24 seconds with the 1.5 props on, and would probably beat a cruiser in a race with the 1.75 props. Thanks for the heads up

    Struts are on thee winter refit list. See you out there, Craig!
     
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  7. djranier

    djranier Well-Known Member

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    Great, same thing we saw on Rick's Scheer. Not sure why it works, but it does in the twin prop ships.
     
  8. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

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    likely due to suction dynamics. it'd take a pool with different temperature strata dyed different colors to parse it out, but I'll just roll with it.
     
  9. djranier

    djranier Well-Known Member

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    When the prop turns in at the top against the hull, I think the hull acts like a shroud, keeping most the thrust thrusting backwards, instead off the sides of the prop, when turning away from the hull, would be my guess. Chris K could tell us what is happening is he see these posts.
     
  10. SnipeHunter

    SnipeHunter Well-Known Member

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    It's probably not cavitation, it's probably just sucking in air from the surface, especially if reversing the prop rotation directions gets rid of it. Smaller props sit deeper in the water (blade tip to water surface distance) so are less susceptible to that. While I wouldn't bet my life on it what I suspect is happening is that when the props turn out at the top they cant pull in enough water at the top of the rotation since the hull is in the way and so they end up sucking in some surface air. When they turn in at the top they can suck water in easier so air doesnt get mixed in. The area on the inside middle (right in front of the rudder) would be dealing with the blockage from the hull but that is far enough under water that you dont entrain air there.

    Nice build, thanks for the pictures!

    Be careful with some of the glassed over but not BB-proof balsa, once a BB hits it and breaks through the fiberglass water will get in and the balsa can sometimes start to rot.
     
  11. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

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    As promised, here's the FRAG 1 Refit (3/31/19).
    FRAG 2 may be required in the beginning of FY 20, depending on how NATS and the regional battles go.

    The FRAG 1 managed to change up all of the systems within the boat. See the "Fastgun Texas" thread for build and details.
    Internally and externally, this is a completely different boat from the FRAG 0 launched in may 2018, and still markedly different from the above Interim refit before the Saranac fall battle.

    Design Philosophy:
    The boat has become a test bed of sorts for the Idaho I'm building with regard to arming and tactical application. Since my personal tactics on the water are those of harassment, interdiction, and fire support due to my upbringing in the Armored and Light Cavalry, I'm not one for out-and-out close range slugfests. As such, I've placed her duals off the bow with a relatively shallow down angle of about eight degrees. The stern has the sidemount arrangement typical of the "Brawler" configuration with down angles of approximately ten degrees.

    This is the Baseline for the "Raider" concept. Gun mounts are liberal enough to allow for steeper down angle, and change in angle relative to the hull. So if an offset dual bow with steeper angle works better, or the sidemounts need a steeper angle/angle of attack, then I can shift the guns without major modification. Again, this is a test bed. The fun is in the exploration of the concept.

    She's not built to prevail in peer or near-peer engagements. I'm still not good enough at boat handling for that, and after 27 months in Afghanistan, I am not a "Lone Warrior" boat driver, so there's no point in building a Lone Warrior boat.

    She's built to be as annoying as possible; to deny freedom of maneuver and negate the firepower of an opponent while retaining the maneuverability to survive.

    We'll see if it works out like that. If it does, we'll all have a grand time doing goofy stuff with model boats. If not, we'll all have grand time doing goofy stuff with model boats AND have a laugh at NATS while she gets pummeled into oblivion and use those lessons to guide the Idaho build.

    Win-Win.
    Anywho, here's the Texas. I wanted to get the pics before I re-skinned her so that the pics would turn out better, hence the lack of skin and paint. Plus you can see how I built the new Superstructure.
    Camoflage paint is annoying to do, so I'll be painting her in flat grey this year.

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    A bow shot with the SturmGeshutz Note the Lexan plate holding the guns in place, mounted using Neodymium magnets to the face of A turret. testing of the guns in Offset can be done using different Lexan Plates and a tiny bit of wrench work.

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    Here's the stern sidemount configuration.

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    A look at the props and rudder. same rudder as last time, with length added to the forward side, and adapted for work with the 1.25" 40 Pitch BC props. The next two pics are of the maximum rudder throw. this was facilitated by the internals (see pics below) as well as a nice trim of my prop shafts to bring them back far enough to allow for increased rudder travel. this has NOT been tested on the water yet, but compared to earlier iterations, this boat is going to maneuver significantly better. Also note the section of stern hard area on the top of the starboard side that had to be rebuilt following a tussle with Mark's Graf Spee last fall. Do not underestimate that boat's ability to do great violence to hardened components, including nearly penetrating Lexan internal armor.

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    Here's a closer look at the SturmGeshutz in B turret. Turrets are held on using neodymium magnets, with deliberate effort made to prevent the magnets from clacking against one another on install--the set holes are slightly deeper than the magnets are thick. the clack of the magnets hitting each other was causing them to be jarred loose from their mounting. Note the aiming plate affixed to the face of A turret.

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    Here's a picture of the underside of the mounted guns. Note the black in-line 1/16" connectors that allow the superstructure-mounted guns to be rapidly disconnected from the pneumatic system. Armor tubing for the magazines and guns are not installed, so as to facilitate pictures. Note the junctions on the guns are held by compression fittings. This is a critical thing for me. I will never use fully soldered guns again, as they cannot be adequately maintained. Also note the smaller diameter neodymium magnets on the guns. apparently the huge ones I was using last year were causing problems, so I went with these.

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    Here's a good shot of the underside of the super. Note the integral gun mount, the hollow interior, the cavity inside the conning tower (where I will put an alka-seltzer tablet for recovery in deep water), and the Tip-up reel to which the rescue float is anchored. Tip Ups, for the non-ice fishers, are these weird things you set like a trapline. when they get hit, a flag goes up and you sprint out to them. I bolted the reel from one, and attached 40 lb test tip-up line that changes color every five feet. It's not secured enough to be used to drag the boat up, but it will at least tell where the boat is located when she goes down. Super is a combination of plywood and Basswood, with a Lexan deck. these are bolted together so as to allow for disassembly and quick dismounting of the guns. The mag ends protrude from the deck, so reloading will be slightly easier. And yes, there is a plan to install some Superstructure features to protect them from damage.
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    Here's the Rescue float, in place and deployed. I still have to fill the stack with expanding foam or something.
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    Moving on to the forward compartment, here's an exterior shot of the internals, as well as a few lid-poppers. The majority of the boat's electronics are between the bow solenoids and the Battery area. The Bow solenoids are bolted to the bow deck plate. If I had done this earlier, I would have mounted A turret differently in order to facilitate them being positioned more sternward. As it stands, the bow is practically empty. this will change as soon as trim work begins. the rebuild will require a complete reballasting (look for pics in future) once the pond ice melts and I can get her in the water.

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    External view of the midships. The routing of the wiring is exposed to fire, but I have plates that zip-tie in place over the wires which are low profile enough to keep them away from the Balsa hull sheeting and prevent any rule-breaking etc. The permanent fix will be part of FRAG 2, following the completion of Idaho. the lessons learned in fabricating the Idaho's fixed armored wiring channels will enable a better result on Texas' retrofit.

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    Midships internals from above. I've modded the original battery tray to carry the CO2 tank on the centerline in order to both centralize the expendables as well as place the majority of the boat weight in the core of the ship. Tank angle is maintained by the cradle. The Battery tray is velcro attached to the hull. the retention straps for the CO2 tank and battery are removed for visibility. it is a dual layer system featuring cross straps for the batteries and tank, then a longitudinal set for holding the tray in the hull. Complicated, yes. will likely be revisited in the near future. The Pump is held fast in its position by the tank and battery tray, in addition to a few other factors. If anyone wants to build a Texas using Mark Jenks' splendid hull, I would suggest modding the area around C turret for better access if you're planning on running two pumps or anything fancy in that area.

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    Now for the stern.
    The sidemounts are currently arrayed as to minimize the hull exposed when on the attack. If they prove effective in this configuration, well and good. if not, I'll put them perpendicular to the hull. real-world testing shall be the determining factor, as with the rest of this experimental layout. Turrets are held in place with neodymium magnets. Tie off lines for them and for the barrel pins are deleted for visibility.

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    Stern interior view. It's pretty open inside without any ballast, so the only room taken up is by the guns, the motors, and the rudder.

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    The rudder has been switched over to a chain system from..... I think Servo City. the plastic chain took 98 links to run. It has twice the travel of the old system, and I look forward to testing her in the next month or so. She'll never match a Bayern or other dual rudder platforms, but she'll likely make an order of magnitude improvement over the near-12 foot combat radius of the FRAG 0. Note the Lexan armor scheme in the stern remains unchanged. There may be changes in the FRAG 2 refit to fix a lot of this mess and remove the need for the overlapping plates, but the system works to protect the vitals and such. Elegance will come later.

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    Well, that's it for now. Stay tuned on the build thread for sea trials, mods, and I assume, pictures of the curb stomping she'll receive at the hands of Port Polar Bear in May.
    This'll either go well, or very badly. It'll be fun either way. See you on the pond!
     
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  12. Renodemona

    Renodemona Well-Known Member

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    I think you have done some really good work there. Couple suggestions. On the sidemount in the superfiring turret you might want more down angle, putting the gun all the way down touching the deck. When trading stern sidemounts most will just come up under your gun making holes while your fire bounces off deck rim and hard area. I'd also look about giving your bow guns more down angle either by just angling them down or moving them slightly off center to drop them down around the #1 turret.
     
  13. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

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    Yep, you know where I'm going next. this gun setup is the baseline. this weekend, I am going to make the retention plate for offsetting the forward guns like you suggested. if the full-forward doesn't work, then it'll be a matter of just switching plates after the first sortie. Same drill with the sidemount. I want to see how a shallower angled one like I have works, then if it doesn't, basically do exactly as you suggested.
     
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  14. NASAAN101

    NASAAN101 Well-Known Member

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    Shes a great ship. I wonder if you can build her sister or were they Diffent??
    Nikki
     
  15. Renodemona

    Renodemona Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! Well you should get plenty of Battling in, I know the guys that missed the Bru are looking forward to it. Are you making it out to Nats?
     
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  16. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

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    Yep. I'm on Kevin's spreadsheet. Just have to hope that there are no hurricanes, as I will have to respond as part of a Saw Module to cut trees out of the way for National Guard relief units.
     
  17. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

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    Their differences were all in the forward superstructure. Strike still sells the hull kit. the differences would only take a few good photos to resolve