So you want to build a Model Warship?

Hi, Im Big J (literally) and I put this site together to provide some support information for new recruits looking to join our hoby. Visit the Texas Naval Brigade website for more information.

This site is geared towards a new ‘captain’ and in helping them choose a ship, choose the parts, and source them.

There are many ways to do this hobby my advice is based on what I have learned from the school of hard knocks and from the veteran experts I have worked with. These parts, processes, and methods worked well for me but it doesnt mean any other method wont.

Drop me a line if you have a question.



16 thoughts on “So you want to build a Model Warship?

  1. Hello I’m a “newbie” and I’ve got my hull and hardware,pump from BattlersConnection. I’ve gotten a 6-channel Futuba radio/reciever. My questions are: Where to find batteries.(NiMH 6-volt 10 amp hour)?
    A firing board?
    Test switches for guns?
    One more thing, how do I create a user name and password for MWCI member site.


    • Look on the parts page for the link for D Cell, 10 AH cells. You will have to assemble the packs out of 5 cells. Make sure to get shrink wrap that is large enough to cover the pack. Firing boards can be purchased from BC but they are low right now. I may have a few left over, how many do you need. Solenoids see the parts page.. Kips from BC. Test switches would be C&K SPDT – unsealed.

      Username and password for the MWCI site goes with a yearly membership. Just fill out the membership form on the site and send in a check and you will have members access to the list and to the members mailing list.

  2. The firing boards are based on ‘firing positions’ of which you can have 4 positions on a 4/6 channel radio. Guns that are in the same turret typically fire at the same time and so each turret is a ‘firing position’. So if you have triple sterns in 1 turret then you have 3 guns in 1 firing position and would need only 1 board to operate it. Since you already said you were building a cruiser I also know that is the only firing position you have. The second question you didnt ask yet is how you would trigger your pump. Bob probably recommended a servo/micro switch but you can do the same job with less trouble with a firing board and an automotive relay. If this is the case than you would need 2 firing boards for the Des Moines or for most any 2 or 3 unit light cruiser.

    • Yep Bob has suggested micro switches. He also said that the cruiser doesn’t have alot of space. So with what I’ve learned after reading your reply I’ll go with 2 firing boards. Do you or anyone you know of have a couple that I could buy from?

  3. What is the diameter of the coil of the fast BB cannon ? What is its weight with Interrupter, selonoid, and other parts ? I could use this information to best design a bowchaser on my model of the USS Oklahoma.

    • Hi Manuel,

      This site is directed towards new captains in the hobby. New and beginning captains should concentrate more on getting a ship built and on the water rather than engaging in research and development in creating whole new systems from scratch. Gun making and design is a veteran activity at the least. Most folks just buy their guns from Battlers Connection, Strike Models, or from a veteran battler. Your question would be best answered if you posted the question to the RC Naval Combat forum : and should get the information you are looking for.

      To directly answer your question the tubing we use is standard copper coil from home depot or Lowes and its 1/4 OD and I am not sure on the ID. The weight would vary based on the brand of the fittings used, size of the magazine, type of piston/interrupter, and other choices. My best advice is to buy a gun based on a proven design so you can just mount it up and start battling.


      Big J

  4. I will be ordering a BC unit for the Oklahoma. I have read they have excellent reputation. Thanks for the O.D. for copper tube . This allows me to finish the forward turret


  5. BC? Did you mean Battlers Connection? They dont offer an Oklahoma hull. They do have the Colorado class which is also a 5.5 unit ship but is 26 seconds. What ruleset are you building for? That has much to do with how effective a ship would be.

    The Nevada Class (Oklahoma/Nevada) has two shafts with 1 rudder, 28 seconds, 26-29 lbs, 4 main turrets on the centerline with two of them super-firing. The A and D turrets have triple guns providing a few extra options. In the MWC ruleset you could run triple sterns and a haymaker like the Arizona has done or a Bow sidemount, haymaker (75), and dual sterns which is a traditional setup. However at this time that I am aware of you would have to scratch build this ship. This should should out-turn the Colorado class but it is 2 seconds slower. Most seem to opt for the faster ship which is the Colorado class.

  6. You are right in the area of many battlers. Keep in mind in our hobby 5 hours is close but there are many folks right in your area. If you had not already started your ship I would have told you it wouldnt cost much more to build a ship for our hobby than what you may have spent, unless you used cardboard or paper mache or other similar building material. If you are ever interested in trying it out call BC and ask for a contact.

    See ya

    • Paper Mache ?? I used 3/32″ balsa for the hull and deck. I also used balsa parts to build the superstructure. The hull is sealed in silkspan and dope. It can take time to build but not much money. Most of the investment is in radio gear and weapon parts.

      BC supplied the propeller shaft and inspiration !

  7. Greetings:

    Define “Haymaker.”

    My Oklahoma is smaller than 1/144 scale and the hull simplified to keep cost of construction ( my beautiful wife’s anxiety) down. Since there is no kit, I built this ship from scratch. The ship is closer to 1/200 and is about 6 lbs without a cannon. It completed sea trials very nicely.

  8. The haymaker is typically the C turret on most ships but specifically its the stern sidemount in a super-fire turret. The letter would change depending on if its a 4, 5, or 6 main turret ship. The OK is a 4 turret ship and so your haymaker would be the C turrett IF you made it a sidemount and down-angled gun.. depending on how far you strayed from the original design.

    However your new information makes things more clear. Based on your description it probably wouldnt be legal for MWCI Fast gun anyway so the ‘how to’s’ and rules wouldnt apply to you. Based on the description your ship would run as an independent and as such you can do whatever you want.

    For all the time and effort it would be better if you had joined one of the groups as you would then have other guys to battle against and would really be more fun.

    What area do you live in?

    • I live about 1/2 an hour from Battler’s Connection HQ in Sanford, FLA and about a day’s drive from Statesboro, GA, the nearest MWCI regatta.

      Yes I am an independent due to location. I Have only built 2 ship models from scratch in my life. I enjoyed the learning experience. OK BB37 is a great conversation piece for next Pearl Harbor day lectures to my students.

      If you build independent, you do save money (key if you are new at this). Perhaps someday I can go to a meet and see how the big guys build and fight. While I do have a cannon kit from BC, I may save it for the next ship. The straight cannon is a long device for a 30 inch long ship, give or take.

      Thanks for the information.

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