Steve Briancourt


Built to a scale of 1:100 Steve Briancourt’s model of the USS Missouri is almost nine feet long, 12in. wide, more than two feet tall and weighing a massive 90kg. Visitors to Bristol exhibitions were able to follow the build (see also up to the point of very near completion as seen here. It comprises:

  1. Internal structure formed in three sections, each pinned to the next with three pins.

  2. Amidships port side hull plating and some of the bow plating.

  3. Driving mechanisms for systems and turrets.

  4. Superstructure, almost complete in authentic haze grey paint.

Pins transfer all the loads from the forward and aft sections into the centre section, and permit quick assembly/disassembly for storage and transport. The superstructure drops in place, locating on two pins and automatically engaging the mechanisms to the motor drives.

The ship is supported on three posts, and held in place by its weight. Loads from the structure concentrate at these points. Each structural member has been arranged according to it being in tension or compression; the whole assembly is known as a ‘determinate’ structure with no redundant load paths, making it exceptionally rigid.

It incorporates:

  1. Four propeller shafts.

  2. Three main turrets with rotation, elevation and recoil.

  3. Ten smaller turrets with rotation.

  4. Two drop anchors.

  5. Four gun director radars.

It was built from restored Meccano which Steve described as “junk”.

The USS Missouri has been described as the most famous battleship ever built. Nicknamed ‘Mighty Mo' the Missouri was an Iowa-class battleship that saw combat in World War II, the Korean War and the Gulf War.

Before being decommissioned in 1992, the ship received three battle stars for its service in World War II, five in the Korean War, as well as two Combat Action Ribbons and several commendations and medals in the Gulf War. Throughout it suffered hardly any damage.

It was on its deck that World War 2 officially came to an end with the surrender signed by the Allies and Japan.

An Iowa-class, the most powerful class of battleship, the Missouri was armed with nine 16in. guns, 20 five inch guns, 80 40mm anti-aircraft guns, and 49 20mm anti-aircraft guns. The huge 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 guns fired 1,900 and 2,700 pound projectiles up to 24 miles. The guns were so powerful that they recoiled four feet when fired, with the blast pressure pushing the water away, creating the illusion that the ship was moving sideways.

After the Gulf War the battleship was removed from the Navy's reserve list in 1995, and moved to Pearl Harbour as a museum and memorial ship in 1998.

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