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    Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    david f
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    Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  david f on Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:41 pm

    Over the next few weeks (months?) I am going to describe this project which has been going on over the last 7 years or so.

    It is always interesting to think what attracts you to any particular project. The problem with George Garrett is that his submarines have usually been seen as failures and he has often been portrayed as a bit of a fraud. So not a good start perhaps!

    But take a look at this photo of Garrett as a  young man. He was a very clever young chap and did very well in (the newly established) scientific subjects at Manchester Grammar School. What motivated him and what went wrong?

    You should perhaps also look at his submarines in their historical context. Only steam power was available. The above photo shows my model of Resurgam with smoke effects produced by a smoke generator (The only way I could do it.) Garrett was a very accomplished engineer who could pack complex machinery into the close confines of a submarine. His submarines are often put forward as the first mechanically (as opposed to human driven) driven submarines.

    The other thing that attracted me was that he was very much a "local lad" to my part of the North of England. The photo above shows a reduced scale replica of Resurgam at Birkenhead, where it was built.

    The following link also shows him in the list of celebrities from Manchester.


    Interestingly Whitehead (of torpedo fame) is not in the list maybe coming from Bolton doesn't count!

    I think that the photo above helped my project choice. There he is clutching his first born baby while standing in his new born submarine! And what a submarine it is! Very modern looking (for it's time) and the predecessor of those clockwork toys of our childhood. And all those rivets! A fantastic bit of "Steam Punk" before the phrase was invented. I was hooked!

    Next episode: planning the build.



    "Father of the Submarine" by William Scanlan Murphy. Publ. by William Kimber, 1987.

    "The Garrett Enigma." by Paul Bowers. Publ. by Airlife, 1999

    "Submarine Boats" by Richard Compton-Hall. Publ Conway Maritime Press,1983

    Last edited by david f on Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:06 am; edited 3 times in total
    david f
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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  david f on Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:08 pm

    Planning the model.

    Well firstly, there is an excellent drawing drawn by Garrett himself. See below:


    Well I joke a bit. This is the "back of the envelope" sketch he initially left with the builders in Birkenhead.  This is on display in the RN sub museum.

    There are a lot of illustrations and sketches to choose from. The prop and rather rudimentary rudders are easy. (There is some debate about the number of prop blades with some evidence that he changed the prop in North Wales during Resurgam's final voyage.)
    The rather strange hydroplanes are a bit of a challenge. They are long and centrally located. I wanted them to move but I didn't want to have to seal a shaft going right through the middle of the WTC. (and I wanted to use a WTC.)

    The hull construction is just 2 cones attached to a cylinder. The cylindrical core in the actual sub is sheathed with wood. Perhaps to add buoyancy and protect against hostile fire. Garrett didn't look to armament very much but had some thoughts about a external "drop" torpedo.

    So, the cylindrical core could be my WTC. This would give a good free flooding zone - the inside of the cones and the space between the WTC and the outer "wood" surface. (Which would actually be thin glassfibre.) The free flooding zone would reduce the overall weight and give space for potentially oily and messy smoke generating gear and the hydroplane linkages and also some foam if I got my initial estimates wrong. (I did!)

    This shows the WTC in my standard grey pvc sewer pipe. I have standardised all the access arrangements - a polycarbonate end plate with O ring seals. The smaller diameter piece at the bow is for the thread of the piston tank. The piston tank shown was too small and wonky and soon got rejected. This link shows the final tank:


    The next thing was to make the plug for the fibreglass mould. I wanted to use clay. I thought it would be good for modelling the timber and it had a nice artistic feel to it. It did present some problems as described later.

    The clay went on well. It was easy to rework when wetted. It did shrink and crack a bit. In general, it was good for the wood effect but didn't produce a smooth enough effect for steel plate.

    Next episode making the glassfibre hull and fitting it out.
    david f
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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  david f on Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:59 am

    Fitting and Finishing.

    A couple more photographs of the replica at Birkenhead. (I think that the rudders are scale size - I habitually  make mine oversize to cope with scale-up effects on turning circle.)

    The moulding in polyester resin was quite standard really. The centre section was put in a moulding box, and because it is symmetrical, only one female mould was made, for the sake of economy. I then made 2 male castings and they married up quite well. (Sorry I didn't take any photos.)

    A single female, one piece mould was made of the conical section and I cast a bow and stern cone.

    The rather minimal superstructure was soldered up from tin plate. I liked this method of construction. It is easy, strong and with very little displacement.

    The second photograph shows two of the awkward things about this model (smoke generation and those central dive planes) and of trying to make it an "everyday use" model at the model boat club. It is relatively easy to add all sorts of features which only need to be operated once or just mentioned on the internet, but much more difficult to get something that is easy and reliable enough to be used every day.

    You can see the brass linkage for the central dive planes. These proved to be completely ineffective on this model and (I suspect) on the full size boat. My last modification to date, has been to fit fairly standard stern hydroplanes. These work very well and I like to think would have been fitted by Mr Garrett! (Scale models always involve some degree of compromise.

    The brass valve and "waterproofed" servo are to control the flow of smoke fluid to the Graupner heating element. This worked fine and could be dunked. It used about an amp (as I recall) though and I got to hate getting oily smoke fluid on my hands during setting up the sub.

    So these 2 features were dropped pretty quickly.

    I later tried one of the ultrasonic "mister" type units for smoke. These worked and you could refill the tank with water by diving! They still draw an amp, or so, and really needed a waterproof fan to drive air over the unit to get a good a good smoke effect. So I dropped this idea to. The simplest and easiest method is placing a lit joss-stick in the superstructure. A good smoke effect and "Groovy-baby!"

    The photo below shows my standard arrangement of shaft bellows and a "Simrit" oil type shaft seal. You can also see the curved brass linkage for the central hydroplane which was removed later on.

    This is the sub at Barrow which would probably have been the original waterline. (The full size submarine did not have a ballast tank.) She shows how difficult she would have been to see, particulary at night. Imagine being on watch in a moored warship.

    And here we are at the Chester swimming pool with the film crew and Miranda Krestovnikoff. Sadly the footage never made it onto the BBC One Show but they were really nice and it was a fun afternoon. (And I got expenses!)

    Some photos of the original. She now resides in the middle of the North Hoyle wind farm off the North Wales coast. (Sorry I have lost the reference to this marine archaelogical website.)

    A rather fine model. I think this is in the Royal Navy submarine museum.

    (I will add some to this post over the next few days. I'm off to see the new "Star Wars". May the force be with you! And hey, it's snowing!)
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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  salmon on Sat Jan 16, 2016 6:09 pm

    Well done sir! Enjoy the movie and let me know what you thought!

    If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.

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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  Crossie on Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:43 pm

    A delightful model David! As you say, original 'steam punk', I once had a mighty bound volume of old 'Engineer' magazines complete with musty old Victorian smell and I used to enjoy viewing the drawings with their myriad numbers and arrows itemising the components, not to mention the verbose and flowery prose extolling the features of the machine.

    I'm quite surprised at the thickness of the timber cladding shown on the cross-section and what appears to me to be quite awkward access into the hull and I certainly don't fancy the stokers task!

    Your BBC experience seems to be the more usual one from my own and friend's experiences, still it is nice to be paid to play and enjoy good company!

    david f
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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  david f on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:02 pm

    Thanks Tom!

    Star Wars was a really good return to form. I "teared up" when The Millennium Falcon and Han Solo re-appeared!

    It was also good to see a bit of Derwentwater in the film. I live about 50 miles away.

    An explanation:


    And Trevor thanks for the compliments. Yes, surprisingly thick wood (buoyancy also?)The temperature got up above 40 Deg C in Resurgam.

    Sorry for the diversion from the Rev. Garrett. In the next episode I will introduce Nordenfelt and the (truly evil!) Basil Zaharroff.

    Submarines seem to attract their fair share of "Bad Guys".

    david f
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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  david f on Sat Feb 13, 2016 11:48 am

    The actual model of Resurgam is not very easy to operate. She is a little "tub" and is hard to keep going in a straight line. She also dives dynamically almost too easily. The conical bow seems to drive her down.

    This video taken at Barrow Sub Day shows her in action. (She doesn't compare very favourably with Adam's really nice K class which zooms past.)


    If models behave in a similar way to the original sub (and there is SOME similarity) then she would not have been a sparkling performer - a slow little tub of a boat.

    Despite this Garrett took her out on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Portsmouth where he was hoping to demonstrate her to the Admiralty. It was a typically brave (foolhardy?) decision. Cochran (the builder) wanted to transport her by rail.

    After 36 hours they had got as far as Rhyl in North Wales. I think that by then the crew had had enough. You can only imagine the conditions of heat in such a small space lit only by candles.

    They stayed at Rhyl for several months where Garrett carried out various (secret!) modifications. I suspect a new prop was fitted.

    They set out again in February of the next year with an accompanying yacht. They ended up towing Resurgam in a storm with no one aboard. She sank under tow and she is still there in the middle of the North Hoyle wind farm.

    So Resurgam R.I.P. Garrett didn't seem to be upset even though Resurgam was not insured.

    Garrett scratched around for a few months before falling in with Thorsten Nordenfelt and his agent Basil Zaharoff.

    Nordenfelt was a trained engineer who main interest was manufacturing rapid firing guns. (He eventually lost out to Hiram Maxim of Maxim gun fame.) My icon (to the left of this page)is a Nordenfelt gun. You can see one being fired in the film "Zulu!"

    Full size submarines and armaments (and model submarines too, come to think of it!) attracts more than it's fair share of villains and charlatans. Basil Zaharoff ticks all the boxes - a villain "straight out of central casting."

    He perfected the "Zaharoff" system - selling arms to both sides of a conflict. Then it was the Greeks versus the Ottoman Empire and Russia versus the Ottoman Empire.

    Zaharrof was knighted and was, at one time, the wealthiest man in the world. He died showered in honours aged 87. By contrast Garrett died in abject poverty in New York aged 50.

    Zaharrof has apparently found his way into culture as the arms manufacturer Andrew Undershaft in G B Shaw's play "Major Barbara."

    Anyway, back to Garrett. The dynamic trio moved on to building a submarine for the Greeks. This was built in Sweden (at which point I lose interest. I try to build models of Barrow Built submarines!)

    So on to Nordenfelt II - Barrow's first submarine (1886)in the next episode:


    Father of the Submarine by W S Murphy,1987.

    Man of Arms - The life and Legend of Sir Basil Zaharrof by A Alfrey, 1989.

    (Photo of Zaharrof courtesy of BAE Systems. Zaharoff was a "super arms salesman" for Vickers.)


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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  neilmac on Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:54 am

    hi david brill steam sub! iv,e nearly finished one myself have a look www.mclarenclockworksubmarines.com and I was born in manchester as well!
    ps, its on the page "sneak preveiw".
    cheers neil
    david f
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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  david f on Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:13 am

    I've had a busy time this summer sailing subs (mostly my Type XXI and the Holland and making fibreglass hulls for my next project) but now it seems like a good time to continue this story and build log.

    The Resurgam was an interesting project but it didn't produce a sub that was exactly a delight to sail regularly on the Barrow pond. It was too small and tubby and difficult to steer and operate. (See the earlier video) I suspect that it models the original!

    Garretts partnership with Nordenfelt and Zaharoff was fruitful in terms of orders and the next submarine the Nordenfelt I was built in Sweden with quite a few design features from Nordenfelt himself. Steam powered again but with a longer and "sharper" hull. The diving system included ballast tanks, hydroplanes and vertical propellers (think early thrusters). Nordenfelt considered that the submarine should remain horizontal at all times unlike say Holland who favoured diving "on the tilt".

    Zaharoff sold this submarines to the Greek Government and then proceeded to sell another (the Nordenfelt II) to the Greeks sworn enemies Turkey. (The Zaharoff system in action!)

    The Nordenfelt II was much more interesting to me. She was built in Barrow (Yard Number 143. The Astute class are now in the 1000s) and so started quite a trend.

    So Barrow built and combining two of my favourite places Barrow and Istanbul, I had to build her!

    A rather nice internet photo of her moored in Constantinople and a nice photo courtesy of the Barrow Dock Museum convinced me.

    Next time - planning the build.
    david f
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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

    Post  david f on Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:04 pm

    I had basically decided to also build the Nordenfelt II (The Turkish Boat) and the Nordenfelt IV (The Russian boat) because they were both built at Barrow. The 2 was Barrow's first sub.

    I decided to use the same WTC as the Resurgam (I'm sure Garrett would have approved of the economy of build.)

    The use of clay to produce a plug seemed to be the right method not least because it produced a rugged looking result (Some would say too rugged!)

    I had quite a lot of literature on the subject and an internet search produced this link:


    This is an interesting site and it introduced me to the "Steampunk" concept for the first time. An idea which I wholeheartedly approve of.

    I also found a build log of a very nice (and very small) radio controlled model:

    Sadly I have lost the link for this builder and their model. If anyone knows it I would be only too pleased to post it here.

    Both Nordenfelts have an interesting hull shape in that they are completely symmetrical vertically and horizontally .

    This suggested that I could make things simpler and cheaper by only making a plug of one quarter of the hull. This approach worked quite well (with some small problems - more later.)

    The basic hull shape was made by printing off the hull bulkheads, sticking them on hardboard, cutting them to shape and then placing them on a threaded rod.

    Clay was then smoothed between the bulkheads. Allowed to dry. Rubbed down and re-applied until it looked right.

    It was then covered in aluminium duct tape. Rivet effects were pressed in to the foil.

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    Re: Resurgam, Nordenfelts II & IV - George Garrett's works.

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