Building the
USS North Carolina BB 55

by Ron Horabin, Cheshire England
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Part 10 Catapults

Hear we are, another update on the build, my how time flies when you're having fun, you may have noticed one or two articles ago we built the two Kingfisher float planes , well we now have to build the two catapults launchers that fit on the stern of the NORTH CAROLINA BB55.

The first thing I had to do was to purchase a small set of drawings from Floating Drydock, priced at a couple of dollars, the main drawing do not show enough detail also there's no catapults on NC to photograph for the finer detail, the drawings consists of an 8 page pamphlet of text and photos, the middle two pages is a 1/96 scale drawing of the catapults on NC.

Before we can start the build we first have to copy the drawing, I made 5 copies, you will see as we go along why, the first sheet is laid out on a board, we then cut lengths of Evergreen H channel to size and pin it in too place, one on top, one below, now the angle braces can be cut to length and glued in position, the small strengthening plates can be cut and glued in place with liquid poly, that's the first side to be built.

 If you do this method you will find some of the poly has stuck to the paper when you want to lift it from the board to start the opposite side, hence the five copies, one for each side and two catapults, plus a spare, its easier to copy at the beginning and getting them all the same. 

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We now do the same again only it is the opposite hand, when complete put the two pieces to one side while we cut the middle joining sections, these you will find at the top of the drawing, seven in all, one for the front, one for the rear, five in between, at this stage I also cut out the two round sections for the turn table, and a long strip about ¼ inch high, this separates the two round sections, the long strip is bent into a circle and glued at the ends to each other, then glued to one of the circles leaving a small lip at the edge, then glue the second one on top of it and leave to dry.
Taking the two sides we have built earlier and the seven sections that we cut out, we now start to assemble all sections, bracing one in the upright position runway downwards, we can glue the sections together, then fit the opposite side and put a small weight against it to keep it in place while it dries.
Using 30 thousands thick (.030) Evergreen sheet we now cut out for the sledge way, first of all we glue the turn table assumedly in position and the eight bracing sections, four each side, when dry, glue the sledge way in position, next we cut out all the walkways and glue those in place, level with the turn table. 
Bending small brass rod at 90 degrees and ½ inch high and wide we make the upright sections for the hand rails, to glue in place turn the launcher upside down and glue them all into position, letting the stanchion hang down it glues the section under the walkway, out of site. Shaping all the top rails we can now glue these into position, if the uprights are dry.
The sled that the Kingfisher sits on before launch was made from small oblong pieces of Evergreen and glued in place, the rams that stop the sledge at the end of its travel was made from plastic card and small electrical terminals, and glued into position. The small drive motor was made from brass tubing, various small boxes were fitted, all made from Evergreen card and fitted, also the wheel and cable that returns the sledge back to it launch position, underneath the launcher are hydraulic rams these were made from round plastic pipe and glued in to position. That's all the buildings done on the first one; now we have to spray it and put the deck colors on the upper surfaces.
The second catapult is built in the same way, I did find it easier, it is built exactly as the first one, there's no left or right hand catapults which makes things easier, on the second one I fit a brass rod that will go though the deck and fit on to a servo arm on the radio control so I will be able to swing out the launcher for more effect.
The two catapults are only a small part of the NC build, but to put things into perspective, there are 264 small parts in this small project which I have made and glued together.
I had an e-mail from a person that told me the bow on NC was wrong, also the 5 inch guns were way out, good criticism, these are already being corrected, I have made a new mold and have cast the first five guns, and I will update you on the progress. As I have said before, the article is not about how good or how bad I build, but about how to make things easily and cheaply, if you can improve on my build do so, and enjoy it. Happy Modeling. Ron H
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on to part 11