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~~LEGO River Steamboat
This model is inspired by images of steamboats that work on the Mississipi River in the USA, for example the ‘Natchez’, though the design and detail of the model is changed to be more suited to Lego, to fit with Minfigs and to be a leisure cruiser rather than a working ferry.
Two prominent features of the model are the paddle wheel, which is designed to turn, and the long boarding gangway – otherwise known as the ‘Stage’.
• In a ship such as the Natchez the Paddle Wheel could have weighed up to 26Tons, being made from oak and steel. The Paddle Wheel provides all power for motion while a rudder below the hull gives direction.
• A Stage such as shown on this model was common for river steamboats in the USA and there are many images showing how the steamboats would travel with the Stage in this low position. This is known as the ‘Stage’ from a time when steamboats would stop at plantations and the crew would dance on the Stage as entertainment.
Each deck of the model is modular and has detail items in its design:
• Below decks – an engine room and crew quarters which are accessed from a working hatch on the foredeck area
• Main Deck – includes an outdoor sitting area, a dining room and kitchen and the pursers’ office in addition to a mast which would adjust the height of the stage and capstans from which the steamboat would tie up at dock.
• Cabin deck – this model is fitted with 3 standard double cabins and one deluxe suite, all with bathroom or shower. On steamboats it was common for cabins to be named after states in the USA – hence the name of ‘stateroom’ that is now common on cruise ships worldwide.
• Salon Deck – the grand salon has a bar, a band and a dancefloor in addition to seats and tables. Steamboat travellers expect the best.
• Upper Deck – includes the bridge and navigation office in addition to being a leisure area when the steamboat is docked. The game laid out on this deck is a version of ‘Deck Shuffleboard’, a game which has been common on cruise ships.
The model has approx. 4600bricks and the size can be judged by the 48x48 base panel that is shown under the support.