Wednesday, 24 April 2019

American Civil War Observation Balloon

Historical innacuracies turned out alright
Close ups of the balloon.
Nope, I didn´t paint the lettering etc..they are print outs.
 The Pilot

I tried using a Party balloon covered with paper mache =  Fail!
Then a lightbulb covered with paper mache = Fail!
Solution = hardfoam shaped with a stanley knife, rubbed down with sandpaper,  then cut in half, hollowed out to reduce weight, then glued back together. 
The weight still remains an issue. I tried a couple of things to "suspend" the balloon but the only thing that worked was a thinned down bamboo skewer. Still a bit thicker than I´d planned. 
"What, there was a plan ?? !" .....I hear myself say 
I´ll hunt about to find something ..or some other way* to suspend it but for now,  it´ll do. 
Thaddeus Lowes Hydrogen Generators ,
To give him his full Name, Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe. The above link leads to the page on his Generators but the whole site is dedicated to the man. Worth a read IMHO.
Made from a hardfoam core with Card planking, copper wire and the corresponding insulating plastic for the pipe work. Vents on the tops made with  screws, Wheels from the bits box.
The wagons etc are a bit chunkier and bigger than they would have been. I could have spent a bit more time measuring things up  but it was a quick "do this Project or Forget it" Job.
I´ve had it in mind to make an Observation ballon for a while now and any fiddling with exactness would have burst the bubble of enthusiasm.

Basic info on Ballooning during the ACW.

*Even as I wrote the above I thought of a way to suspend the balloon with thinner and  closer to scale  material. :-)


  1. Fantastic idea, end suberb result!

    Good one Paul!

    1. Thanks :-) That was a quick Reply! On Holiday or sneaking a Peak at work?

    2. hahaha, no just before going to the gym LOL

    3. Aha!So you work in a gym now? :-)

  2. very nice work , arr weigth the busket or the base just a idea

  3. Great bit of scratch building Paul. Love the lettering on the balloon.

  4. The mind of a very clever modeler whose creative skills are in the glory-mode.

  5. Absolutely fantastic conversion piece, Paul. I love seeing Little Mac on the side of the balloon!

  6. very good idea and beautiful painting

  7. Absolutely increadible! I love this balloon. Certainly a cool little project.

  8. What a beautiful thing, tremendous work Paul!

  9. Brilliant idea and very well executed Paul.