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Doc's Type I Erector Battleship (First Prize, 1914)

Hi folks, Doc here. This model of a U.S. Navy battleship is a nearly exact replica of the model designed and built by Richard E. Harrison and Samuel A. York of New Haven, Connecticut in 1914. For their efforts they were awarded 1st prize in the very first Gilbert Prize Contest. The only significant difference between their version and my recreation is that the "hull" on my model consists of a single ring/layer of girders. To see what I mean, check out the yellow area in the drawing of the original model shown at the bottom of the page. Why did I leave out the second ring/layer of girders? Well, that's another story, which I'll get to later.

As you can see from the photos and the drawing, the boys came up with an excellent design, one that looks remarkably like the real thing, and that incorporates some of the key features of a World War I era ship-of-the-line. These ships represented a true transition between the wooden three-masted clipper-type warships of the previous century and the later World War II era "battle wagons."


Primary among these transitional features are the "masts" with their crows' nests and horizontal "yardarms". Note the lines stretching from the ends of these yardarms down to the deck; on these lines, signal flags were flown as needed (see the detail photo above). The boys also added a radio antenna array, represented by the series of lines strung horizontally between the tops of the masts. The superstructure of the ship which supports the masts also features a flying command bridge (photo at right) and twin smoke stacks. 1¼ screws protruding from the front and back of the superstructure as well as the sides of the hull serve as guns.


According to my 1919 manual, this model could be built with a #6 set, which is the same set I am using to recreate the models featured here in the Archives. Well, as it turns out I often run out of one part or another (sometimes several), not to mention screws and nuts, while trying to build many of the models that the manual refers to as "...Made With Erector No. 6." This model was no exception. As a result, I carefully studied all of the models in my manual, and I became convinced that my #6 set is incomplete. However, I acquired the set from the man who, quite literally, wrote the book(s) on the subject, Bill Bean. Oddly enough, he does not possess an official inventory listing for a #6 set of this vintage, and he uses his own nearly-mint set as a "template" when preparing similar sets for sale. So, despite my suspicions, neither Bill nor I really know what the contents of a 1920 #6 set should be. If any of you can help us with this mystery, please let me know!