Step 30 : Conning Tower / Wintergarten base section.
Time to complete : 5 hours.
Total time to date : 101 hours.
It was time to get at the tower. I hadn't put much thought into how I was going to go about it, until this point in the build. I figured that what I needed to do was cut the tower part of the top down view plan out with a hobby knife and then make photo copies of it, as I would need several templates to complete the entire tower. I was reluctant to hack into my nice intact plan, but I eventually figured that plans are supposed to assist in building the boat, not be some artful drawing to gawk at. After thinking it through and concluding that cutting the tower portion out wouldn't be a huge mistake as I still had the side view to make any measurements with, I cut away. A quick trip to the office and I had 10 copies of the tower top down diagram to use.
The first thing I did was cut out a template that covered the lower wintergarten deck right through to the lower portion of the tower, all in one piece. I would make the entire conning tower out of the extruded foam, cover it in mud, sand, and paint, much like the hull, except without the need for the hardboard formers. I needed this bottom piece of foam to be 1 7/8" thick according to the plan. What luck, the exact thickness of the pink foam. I traced from the template onto the 1 7/8" pink foam and then cut out with the band saw, sanding up to the line with the 1" sander, just like in the building of the former masters. I then used this cut out and shaped piece as a template to draw another outline exactly the same. I would use this second piece as the second wintergarten / tower deck.
This second deck needed to be 1 3/8" thick so I had to sand 1/2" of thickness off. Once sanded to 1 3/8", I had to now cut off the excess lower wintergarten part, making the shape that was needed under the 2nd wintergarten deck. I had to reference many photos and even pics of models to figure out the exact shape that was under the second wintergarten as it is not depicted in my plans. Using a template to get the same curvature on both sides, I drew the line on the foam where I needed to cut the foam and then cut it out with the band saw. After cutting it out, I had to give it the special shape that it has by sanding it by hand very carefully. The shape is more eliptical at the top near the 2nd deck, and more "pointy" at the bottom at the main deck. A little sanding.....eye ball it.....more sanding....eye ball it.....look at photos, contemplate.....more sanding....eye ball.....look at different photos. That was the process. After the upper section was shaped, I shaped the lower wintergarten section as it too has a taper to it as it meets with the main deck. The same exact process was used for the lower wintergarten shaping as the upper one.
Once I had the two pieces shaped, I glued them together, clamping them in place so that they didn't move as they had to remain lined up perfectly. After the glue had dried, a layer of mud was applied. After the mud had dried, it was sanded.
Step 31 : Splash guard.
Time to complete : 2 hours.
Total time to date : 103 hours.
I decided that I was going to mould the splash guard right into the tower base piece for the casting of the final part. Like everything else, the plans were used to obtain the dimensions, which were traced onto MDF, which was cut / sanded to shape. Due to the complexity of the shape of this piece, it took some time even though it was small. The splash guard was then glued to the tower base piece. You will notice that on the type VIIc/41, the splash guard does not go all the way around the conning tower due to the antanae enclosure on the port side of the tower.
Step 32 : Main tower enclosure.
Time to complete : 3 hours.
Total time to date : 106 hours.
The main tower enclosure was now made by laminating 3 pieces of 3/4" MDF together 6" x 4". Out of this big block, only a narrow piece would be cut but it was required to have all this material to get the piece that was needed. The template was cut from one of the photocopies of the tower section and spray glued to this block. Once dried, the piece was cut out with the band saw and finished with the 1" sander. There was a lot of measuring and precision having to go into building this piece which really consumed the time.
Step 33 : Upper / Lower wintergarten deck templates.
Time to complete : 2 hours.
Total time to date : 108 hours.
Templates were made for the upper and lower wintergarten decks out of 1/8" hardboard. From these templates, the deck pieces would be made thus ensuring exact dimensions given multiple copies. As well, these templates would be used to make the upper and lower wintergarten railing jigs. (See Step # 37 to follow).
More to follow.