Constructing the Nautilus Model

By Demetri Capetanopoulos

Materials used in the construction of the Nautilus model:

  • XTC-3DTM Liquid Coating for 3d Printed Parts
  • Tamiya surface primer (grey)
  • Tamiya (TS-63) NATO Black
  • Krylon® Metallic Gold Leaf 
  • 1:200 scale architectural figures
  • Sewing pins for rudder, propeller, and diving planes attachment
  • Sifted play sand
  • Modeling strip wood
  • Wood glue
  • India ink
  • Assorted acrylic paints
  • Bondic®

The model of the Nautilus is comprised of eleven parts:  The forward and aft hull sections, the pilothouse, the dinghy, the beacon, the propeller, the rudder, and four diving planes.  The inner faces of the hull sections have a flange and recess to facilitate joining and should mate together tightly when printed to the same scale.  For this relatively small, 9x40cm diorama, the model was printed at 1:200 scale.  The dinghy is shaped to fit the cutout in the superstructure.  For added detail, grooves can be cut in the hull to accommodate the dinghy davit mechanism, which was created by inserting short strips of styrene in the grooves and attaching them to the bow and stern of dinghy.  The superstructure fairing that encloses the dinghy on the port side was constructed from a strip of styrene cut to fit the curve of the dinghy hull.  The pilothouse and beacon are glued in place atop the hull.  To attach the propeller, rudder, and each of the diving planes, a small hole was drilled in the part to accept a metal shaft made by cutting off the head of a sewing pin.  Another hole was drilled in the hull to receive these pins and allow for movement of the screw, and presentation of the rudder and diving planes at various angles.  Bondic® proved especially useful for adding […]

July 23rd, 2020|

Sketchpad Notes: The Genesis of The Design and Construction of the Nautilus

By Demetri Capetanopoulos

The Design and Construction of the Nautilus opens with the question, “Is there anyone, of any age, who has read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and not sketched their vision of the Nautilus in their imagination or down on paper?” Like many boys of a certain age, I discovered Jules Verne and was captivated, not just by the tales of scientific adventure, but by the example of the power of imagination to shape what might be possible with the creative application of technology.

When I made my first sketch of the Nautilus, exploration of the “final frontiers” of space and the deep ocean held me spellbound. Inner and outer space was giving way with habitats on the ocean floor and footsteps on the moon. The submersible Alvin was discovering evidence for tectonic plates while the space shuttle was being pitched as our ride to future orbiting stations. Fiction was become fact so quickly that lines became hard to draw and my imagination could revel in the blurry space in between. I grew up believing that Star Trek and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea were our collective destiny and definitely my desired future.

A tangible vision like that is a powerful thing. I had already completed the Civil Air Patrol (USAF Auxiliary) Cadet Program and had my pilot’s license when my eyesight slipped beyond the minimum required of astronaut candidates. So I backed away from Air Force Academy plans and turned toward the other frontier, picking up a Navy ROTC scholarship. In time, I became qualified as a nuclear submarine engineer officer and deep submersible pilot. Despite a career grounded in very technical realms, I never lost that excitement for future possibilities that credible science fiction imagined. Nor did I forget that wonderful sense of freedom inherent in Verne’s conception of the submarine. When I read Miller and Walter’s fresh translation of Verne’s novel with the newfound perspective of a professional submariner, I realized I had discovered an entirely different book and it triggered a […]

March 23rd, 2019|

Writing Influences

By Demetri Capetanopoulos

Words matter.  They are essential for collaboration, have the ability to manipulate human emotion, and there are countless examples of how they have changed the course of history.  We might well wonder how it could be that everyone is not drawn to master a craft possessing such power.  But it wasn’t a compulsion to wield oratory or literary power that drew me to writing, it was the desire to be able to create rich and compelling landscapes, share ideas and messages I thought important, and explore how characters of my own making might surmount arduous circumstances. 

I was fortunate to have a solid grounding in the classics – Stevenson, Kipling, Poe, Wells, Twain, Verne, Bradbury and the like.  But there came a fateful day when I read Endurance by Alfred Lansing which recounted the true, yet scarcely believable tale of Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition, when I realized within the nooks and crannies of history, non-fiction tales could satisfy every thrill, wonder, and amusement provided by fiction.  I have seldom picked up a work of fiction since and so, have come to appreciate the nuanced difference between authors who can competently relate a compelling history and those gifted few who possess “a way with words” that elevates the narrative to something poetic.  Fate is the Hunter by Ernest K. Gann stands near the top of this non-fiction art in my mind.  

Perhaps it is the engineer in me, but I like writing with constraints.  Constraints offer challenges to the writer that require imagination to resolve and inspire innovative solutions that enrich the resulting work.  Some might be physical, like the format, page limit, and shorthand of a screenplay.  Others might imposed by the laws of physics or the credible bounds of character, but whatever set of requirements an author choses to respect, establishes the maneuver space of their writing world.  When I began to write as a kid, my favorite format was the short story, possibly a reflection of my writing endurance, but more likely […]

December 1st, 2018|
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