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  • How to convert a Nexus Sloop to a Bomb Ketch.

    British Bomb Ketch.



    The “bomb” is a floating weapons platform, usually adapted from a small, two-masted ketch. The whole ship is constructed around a single large-calibre mortar.
    Strongly-built bomb ketches must withstand the recoil of repeated mortar discharges. Often chains replace the rigging ropes nearest the mortar to prevent muzzle blast damage. They are the only naval vessels to carry and use explosive shells, making them a hazardous assignment. As a mark of all their explosive qualities, they often had volcanic names! The fact that the ketch should be at anchor in order to fire accurately also makes them easy targets for any return fire.
    Bomb ketches are not good sailing ships. The mortar has to be on the centre line, with a clear vertical field of fire. This means that the masts had to be aft of their ideal positions, making the ship handling qualities rather poor. With these limitations in mind, however, they are a powerful addition to any admiral’s firepower. The ability to deliver shells by indirect fire (lobbing shells into fortifications, for example) is very useful.
    Historically, the bomb ketch was a French invention, but other nations perfected the idea. The British mounted the mortar on a rotating platform so that it was no longer necessary to move the whole vessel to change aim. “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the US national anthem, commemorates these ships with the line “the bombs bursting in air.”

    With this in mind I decided it was time to provide my Fleet with this most useful addition.


    Firstly I carefully removed the masts from the Sloop, and discarded the redundant Main mast.


    Then I drilled a hole at 45 degrees in the foredeck and fitted the Mortar barrel.



    Next came a careful paring away of part of the Poop Deck with a chisel to shorten it's length. The black portion shows the remove. Be careful not to remove the bulwarks as well.



    Follow this with filing back the bulwarks to about two thirds the original length.



    Carefully remove the top sail from the Mizzen mast.
    Drill a hole for a metal peg to secure it to the deck.



    Repeat for the Foremast which will now become the new Main mast.
    Then drill holes in the deck for the new masts.



    Shape extra Gib sail from redundant Mainmast.




    After painting the mortar black and repainting the deck, trial masts for fit.



    Glue in all masts and Bowsprit.



    Now all the ship needs is a new flag, set of cards and ship card.

    Rob.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: How to convert a Nexus Sloop to a Bomb Ketch. started by Bligh View original post
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