Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Aye Candy: David-Class Torpedo Boat

Posted in Memory, Technology by Andy Hall on February 17, 2013

Test renders of a new work-in-progress, a Confederate David-class torpedo boat like those used at Charleston, 1863-65. (The rig that suspended the torpedo spar on the bow, in particular, is missing from this incarnation.) The model incorporates features from a variety of sources, so is intended to show the general appearance of the type, as opposed to any specific, individual craft. At some point I will provide an interior for it, but as only rudimentary diagrams of the boats’ internal layout exist, the interior of the model will be even more speculative than the exterior.



And finally, one of the torpedo boat alongside the submersible H. L. Hunley. The Davids were often used to tow Hunley in and out of the harbor, to save the strength of the hand-powered submarine’s crew:



Full-size images can be seen on Flickr.



5 Responses

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  1. darianrobbins said, on February 18, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Awesome model!

  2. macwhatley said, on February 18, 2013 at 7:24 am

    You do great work! I wish you’d post sometime on the software and process you use for this kind of thing. Like, is it an expensive CAD storebought program, or some freeware? You make it look easy, but I doubt just anybody can do this kind of reconstruction…

    • Andy Hall said, on February 18, 2013 at 9:44 am

      The modeling is done in Rhinoceros;, and the rendering in Flamingo. Both are expensive, which is why I’m still using long-outdated versions of both. (I’ve never found any freeware or cheap-ware that has the necessary capabilities, or a decent user interface.) Regardles of the software used, though, there’s a pretty steep learning curve with any of these packages.

      Some images, like these of the torpedo boat, appear more-or-less as they come out of the renderer, while others (like this one) require a lot of “post” to recreate elements that the modeling and rendering software can’t do. Photoshop is essential for that, as well as creating the various textures and elements that get processed through the renderer. It’s like anything else, the more tools you have, and more experience in how they can work together, the more you can do. Rhino is not much used by hobbyists like me, but is fairly common in industrial and marine applications.

  3. Jeferson Moon said, on February 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Where was the crew ? how could they stand the heat ?

    • Andy Hall said, on February 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      They were squeezed, the four of them — a commander, pilot, engineer and fireman — into a very small space. I’ll get into this a little more later. The internal arrangement of the Davids is not documented in great detail, but it was a tight fit. Not quite as cramped as the submersible H. L. Hunley, but tight nonetheless.

      Re: the heat, they did have the advantage of being in an open-cockpit boat. I imagine it was much less a problem than on (say) the buttoned-up monitors, where temperatures in the fire room sometimes reportedly topped 130 degrees F.

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