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- Viribus Unitis -


SMS Viribus UnitisĖ Tyler (2020)

4.0 units, 28 seconds, Austro-Hungarian Dreadnaught style Battleship launched 1911


The Viribus Unitis (VU) is a pudgy little Dreadnaught with an impressive amount of fire power potential for itís tiny size. In scale it is 41.58 inches long, 7.5 inches wide, and 18.15 lbs. There is a significant portion of the middle of the ship with casemated guns, making for very little target area amidships. It is slow at 28 seconds but given the small weight and short length when combined with twin rudders it should be very maneuverable. Another interesting aspect of this ship that I was drawn to is the fact that it has four separate primary turrets with three guns each, making for multiple possibilities for gun setup. Iíve been wanting to do a small well turning boat for a while since primarily I have built the 24 second battleships and battlecruisers. This will likely be the ship my son uses to learn sidemounts since it should be relatively forgiving in close quarters.



An advantage of fiberglass hulls vs wood hulls is that you can float them at what you think battling weight will be as the first step in building. This allows you to measure where the water line directly and thus the 1 inch below measurement where the windows will be cut out is fairly accurate and based on an actual measurement. This ship fits in a bathtub easily, some of the bigger ones donít. 15lbs of weight + 2 lbs roughly of hull should be close. I purposely float it slightly light so the 1 inch below the water line is very slightly deeper than it would otherwise need to be in case the build ends up light. I expect this ship will be best off right at 18 lbs however.



Pencil will work even in water. The ship is shifted to show the lines better for the picture. Be aware of both front to back and side to side trim when doing this. Any little ripple in the water will mess you up so take the time to do it right, the rest of the build hinges on this step.



I drew out the major landmarks with pencil right on the side of the hull. ďWLĒ is for the waterline, and you can see the1 inch below mark as well. Since I was already floating light I think I will probably move the 1 inch below cut to the actual 1 inch mark rather than 1 and 1/8 inch it is currently at. Ultimately 1/8 inch too deep isnít a big concern and I might leave it as marked. The stringer is an 1/8 inch section where the casemate deck level sits. The ďcaseĒ section is where the actual casemate guns will sit. The ďCUTĒ section is actually going to be removed. After measuring the fiberglass hull against the fairly decent plans I have access to, the fiberglass hull is roughly 3/8 too tall all throughout, and the indentations for the casemate section is also slightly incorrect in length front to back. I will be able to deal with this fairly easily with a Dremel tool. The ram bow is also modeled incorrectly on this hull, I havenít decided yet if Iím going to leave it or fix it. The bottom of the hull seems fairly close to the plan set I have. I will probably build the deck/subdeck assembly before I cut the hull out, this will allow me to line up the stringer section pretty accurately.



The deck/subdeck can be made from the fiberglass hull or from a set of plans. The higher level of the deck will actually have minimal contact with the fiber glass in this ship, so I elected to mark out the outline from a plan set. I generally would advise starting with the subdeck. This is ľ inch 5 ply birch plywood. I started with a straight edge center line mark and drew half the outline, flipped it over and drew the other half as to maximize symmetry.



Here is the subdeck on top of the fiberglass hull. The mid-section casemate area will be made completely out of plastic. Only the far bow and stern will have contact with the hull.



The center of the sub deck needs to be cut out. I generally use a compass to get a uniform subdeck thickness. Additionally, any cross braces, support devices, and deck latching will need to be marked out to be left behind.



I started cutting before I took the picture so here is right after I started in with the scroll saw. I marked all cross braces and deck latches. I also would suggest using a drill to take the corners out both as a point to more easily turn the scroll saw and insert the blade, but also to keep the corners strong via curvature and prevent over cutting.



All pieces are cut from the subdeck.



Subdeck is cut. You can see there are two cross braces on either side of the barbettes. Iím still contemplating gun setup so wanted to leave structural supports compatible with use of any of the turrets.






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