Building the
USS North Carolina  BB 55

by  Ron Horabin, Cheshire England
The North Carolina battleship is the latest model in a line of models that I have constructed in the last twenty years. I have always been interested in large models, I find they sail nearly like the real thing if they are ballasted properly. This model will be in a scale of 1/96 giving it a size of 7 ft 7 inches in length with a beam of 13.1/2 ( 2311 mm x 343mm). The keel was laid at the New York Navy Yard  27th October 1937. The ship was launched on 13th June 1940 and commissioned on 9th April 1941.
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Part 1 Hull Construction.

The frame lines are first copied, the more you use the better the hull shape, I used 22 all together the drawings show at least 40, If it was a static model you would use that number, but mine is a radio controlled model so to keep down the weight I reduced the number of frames.

The paper hull shapes are then glued on to a ½ thick sheet of plywood and then cut out remembering to reduce there size by the thickness of the material you are going to use to plank the hull sides, otherwise you end up with an over size hull. Click images
to enlarge
Each frame is cut out and sanded to size, as you can see from the photos I cut a notch in the bottom of each frame , this gives a better hold when gluing takes place. Once all the frames are cut out I obtain a  1/2 thick piece of hard wood cut to the shape of the keel and screw it to my base board, making shore it is straight, I then mark out the position of each individual rib, these are all then glued into position with water proof PVA glue and left to dry for 24 hrs, making certain that they are all at 90 degrees to the base board.
The keel prior to attaching the rib sections.
Weighted down rib sections, note the polythene under the ribs to stop them sticking to the base board.
The rib sections are cut out inside to lessen the weight.
Completed hull section left to dry for a day or so.
From my local model supplier I obtained some 1/16" (1.5mm) thick balsa sheet to cover the ply wood skeleton of the hull. This thickness of balsa wood is very easy to attach to the frame sections and bends in all directions. For around the bilge section of the hull I cut the balsa into stripes so it would go round this area easily, the underside of the model is flat so this is the easy part.
The hull on its side waiting waiting for the strips round the bilge keel section.
Note the 1/4"x1/4" square blocks at the top of the ribs to give them strength.
For the bow and the stern I used blocks of balsa wood, this is easy to cut and sand to shape with an add factor that it is very light weight, the hull is now completely skinned and is ready for the next stage of construction
The ends of the prop shafts sections look a little square ended, but when the prop shafts are fitted these will be extended.
Links and references:

PLANS

The plans for the model were obtained The Floating Drydock, Kresgeville, PA 18333. The set of plans are drawn to 1/96 scale and depicts the ship as in September 1944 , just after a refit at Puget Sound Navy  Yard , July October 1944. 

Sheet 1 . details of the side view of the ship
Sheet 2. details the deck and superstructure plan
Sheet 3. details the hull sections and mast.

RESEARCH

The ship is based at Wilmington, North Carolina as part of a memorial museum, from there online store I purchased these books,

US BATTLESHIPS IN ACTION.  PART 1   ISBN 0-89747-1076-1
US BATTLESHIPS IN ACTION.  PART 2   ISBN 0-89747-157-1
SHIPS DATA No .1 by ARNOLD S. LOTT & R.F. SUMRALL ISBN O-915268-07-8
USS NORTH CAROLINA ( the show boat) by D GORRELL& B ROBERTS
USS NORTH CAROLINA ( THE SHOW BOAT ) a pictorial history.

From the Oxford Museum Press Inc, Oxford , Ohio. I purchased the book,
USS North  Carolina WWII Battleship Memorial Technical Reference No.1 by Randell S  Stoker     ISBN 1-930127-02-2.

Also I have obtained photographs from friends who have visited the ships memorial museum.

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on to part 2


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