Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pushing the limits of time and detail

Born in a blur-

The R.C.S. Olympic was born of great haste, in knee-jerk reaction to several posts I exchanged on rcgroups.com. She was destined to shatter the record for fastest build of any Green Sea ship. She was to be a single-channel ship, with only throttle and no rudder control.

Hardly the genesis you would expect for the greatest ship of the single-channel category.

The Olympic was my response to alot of chat about my cardboard models and other people's Titanic models on the forum rcgroups.com. Ironically, it was when I saw someone post pics of a 14-foot Titanic r.c. model that made me reply "I give up", that actually got the ball rolling.

Quickly rolling.

Fresh off the completion of the epic R.C.S. Queen Mary, I was in absolutely no mood to spend weeks cluttering up my home, building another ship. I was also afraid that a long drawn-out project could die on the opperating table.

Therefore, I announced to the forum my intention of breaking the construction speed record previously held by the USS Amos Hathaway. That record was 2 weeks from start to finish. I wanted this thing done as quickly as it had been conceived.


The construction began on the morning of Saturday, June 24th. No plans were drawn, as were done for the Raffaello. She was to be 59.5 inches long, in the same scale as the Raffaello.

Uniquely, she was constructed as the Olympic, but she can be easily converted later into the Titanic, and even the Britannic- sisters of the White Star Line.

Techincally, she took 2 big leaps forward in construction, raising the bar yet again for single-channel ships.

First, she was the first of my vessels to feature HULL TEXTURING! The different layers of hull plating were featured, not totally accurately, but a very good start for a concept which is long overdue for me.

Second, she was my first radio-controlled ship ever to feature INTERIOR DETAILING! Not only are all the walls and doors of her superstructure detailed, but removable decks reveal a detailed Grand Staircase, Gymnasium, Officer's Quarters, and Main Bridge!

All this on a ship which broke the record for fastest build! Only 1 day after construction began, she was rigged with radio and motors, making her Motor Trials. She succeeded in that suprisingly well. Of course she was coated with at least as much fiberglass as the Raffaello, and has the same number of motors, but when I saw her take off on those Motor Trials, I was shocked. She was practically out of view when I got the camera ready!

Her rudder responiveness was slower than I wished, even though a new way of running the axis wire along the bottom of the rudder instead of just the back of the rudder should make it harder to break off. Therefore, I replaced the servo control horn before the maiden voyage, to get a wider field of motion from the servo.

By the time she made her builder's trials on July 1st (after an allnighter of construction!), she had slowed down under all the new weight of course, but I still got the feeling she could best the Raffaello in a race. Perhaps the Kaga was still the fastest, though.

On the evening of July 6, after only 9 DAYS of construction (I didn't work every day since June 24), the R.C.S. Olympic joined the list of completed Green Sea ships. Because of vacations taking me out of town on weekends, the Olympic would have to sit around until July 15th for her Maiden Voyage, but the new construction record was set that would not be broken until the construction of the Battleship NELSON and submarine OBIHIRO.