Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Looks like a Monitor - but isn’t!


The latest addition to the Union fleet - the U.S.S. Keokuk. She carried two 11” guns mounted on pivots with one in each gun house, the foremost of these - the  ‘pear’ shaped one - has a small pilot house built in. She is slightly darker than the picture shows as the picture was taken under artificial light. the rather fetching choppy looking 'sea' is in fact a cushion!

The U.S.S. Keokuk (originally known as the U.S.S. Moodna) was not a model that was going to feature in my collection but for a chance exchange of messages with David Manley. I am sure he will not not mind me telling you all that he has a soft spot for this ship!


U.S.S. Keokuk in action. She was hit over 90 times but was still able to withdraw from the scene only to sink later. In this picture she appears to be trying reverse out of harm’s way!

The model used the hull from the decommissioned nuclear submarine sized version I built of the C.S.S. Manassas. It is still too large for the Keokuk - in what passes for scale in my collection it really needed to be around three quarters of a inch shorter - but it will do. The two gun houses were made from balsa wood sanded into shape - the forward one is a pear shape whilst the aft is circular. In truth it did not take long to build.

The ship itself had a very short career - one month of commissioned service - and was proven to be but lightly protected despite being an ironclad. The general consensus is that she might have fared rather better against a floating target rather than a large rebel fortress!

Now that she has joined the Union fleet and I have managed to get my constructive gene back into action I can press on with the remaining models, particularly the side wheelers. I also seriously need to think about some shore defences including some purpose built forts.


16 comments:

David Manley said...

Lovely :) You have captured the quirky nature of this quite unique vessel extremely well

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Now I understand the cryptic comments about balsawood!

I must admit, the model certainly captures the look of this rather unusual warship, and is a great addition to your fleet.

All the best,

Bob

David Crook said...

Hello there Mr Manley,

Thank you old chap! She certainly has a degree of whimsical charm for sure.

A nice addition to the Union fleet albeit a short lived one....

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

She came up rather nicely especially when you consider the two lots of balsa wood shaping I had to do!

I just need to build a fort to go with her so that the Confederates have a new target to practise with....

All the best,

DC

Peter Douglas said...

She may not be to scale but she certainly looks like the image. A quirky little ship with a rather quirky history.

David Crook said...

Hi there Peter,

Along with everything else in the collection she is very much 'based upon' rather than being super detailed scale model. She certainly has the look and as you rightly say, she had a rather quirky history!

For the record she is a little over 4 inches long.

Good fun though and I am looking forward to getting her into action.

All the best,

DC

Aly Morrison said...

Very nice David…
Quirky indeed… there is almost a 1960’s retro Sci-Fi look to it…

All the best. Aly

Steve J. said...

It might not quite to scale but it works for me and looks great:)

Peter Douglas said...

As long as you longer service from her than the Union Navy got from the original shop.

StuRat said...

In the painting, based on the fort's flags, it could just be the wind is blowing faster than she is going.

David Crook said...

Hello there Aly,

Some of the ships of the ACW certainly have that retro sci fi look - some of the projected Confederate ironclads even more so!

I shall betaking a rather better picture of her at some point as the one I used is not particularly good.

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Steve J,

Thank you old chap! the remaining models for t collection are under way and so I am hoping to have them finished by the end of September. I seriously have to think about forts though!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hello there Peter,

I will just have to make sure she avoids tackling any forts!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hello there StuRat,

That is a good point and not one I had thought about.

Given the low power of many steam engines of the period (especially Confederate powerplants) it is actually quite likely!

All the best,

DC

Jeff K said...

Ah, a very unique vessel. Sadly, the history of the USS Keokuk is much better known than the history of, in my opinion, its most important crew member, Robert Smalls. The US Navy Memorial website has a good write-up on him: http://navylog.navymemorial.org/smalls-robert

David Crook said...

Hello Jeff K,

That would be Robert Smalls of the C.S.S. Planter - that was certainly a tale and a half! I seem to recall that a film about his life was in the offing although I am not sure how far this has progressed.

All the best,

DC