Steam Noir

The Creations of William Wardrop

New Nautilus model

I made this model of the Nautilus both to replace one that I sold, and to make it more accurate to the book.I just need to have this one in my collection.



The Jules Verne Nautilus

This model was designed from Jules Verne's descriptions and the original illustrations in his 1870's novel "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea". Although this craft looks less elegant than the Nautilus that Hollywood came up with, its design is in keeping with the first real submarines. 

Here in this detail image, Professor Aronnax can be seen arguing with Captain Nemo over the fate of humanity.




This Model is now the property of Mr. Todd E Pullen.


The Harper Goff Nautilus


Designed for Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", the original model was created by Harper Goff to have more Victorian styling as well as elements making it more "seamonster like" in the water. Although hydrodynamic tests proved it to be sound, a full size working model has never been created. But I have been informed that a 1/2 size one has been created for the Prince of Bahrain.

The giant squid attacking this Nautilus model is over three-feet long and was sculpted completely out of pipe cleaners by Laura Butler.

The Pioneer

Built in Mobile Bay, by C.L.Hunley prior to the construction of the CSS Hunley, this craft was a prototype and never used. Its armament was a mine that was released and dragged behind the submarine on a cable until it found its target, where it would explode on impact. The main problem with this delivery system being that the cable could foul the propeller in which case a side-current could cause the bomb to impact the side of  the submarine.

It was captured by the Union Army in 1863 and displayed in the Washington Navy yard until sold for scrap in 1867.

The American Diver

Built by C.L. Hunley after the Pioneer. The American Diver or Pioneer II as it is sometimes called, sank in Mobile Bay while being towed out to begin an attack on the Union fleet. Having only a three man crew it was woefully underpowered and not able to fight the incoming tide. A description of this submarine appeared in the news papers of France, Jules Verne possibly saw this description and incorporated many of the American Diver's unique attributes on the Nautilus, such as the dual conning towers.

C.S.S. H.L. Hunley

The Hunley was the first submarine to successfully sink a ship. On February 17, 1864; she sank the U.S.S. Housatonic off in Charleston Harbor using a 90-pound spar torpedo. It rammed into a spot near the rear powder magazine just below the main fighting deck where much of the ships 7,000 pounds of gunpowder were stored. The Hunley required an eight man crew and sank twice before her final mission, taking 21 men to a watery death. She was found in 1999 by a dive team led by author Clive Cussler and was salvaged in 2000. The Hunley is now at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in South Carolina.


The Alligator (Naval Institute Press Version)

This is a prime example of why you should always find as many references as you can before jumping in and building a model.  The Alligator shown here is how the book “U.S. Submarines Through 1945” from the Naval Institute Press says it looked. I said, “Cool!” and went to work on the job. It took 26 hours to build and paint. I was happy with how it came out and chalked up one more historic submarine for my collection. However, two days after I put it up on my display shelf, I read on a news site that Brutus de Villeroi's original plans had been found in Paris, France. I took one look and saw that my model looked nothing like the original blueprints. It turns out that the N.I.P’s diagrams are conjecture and were never verified! I am now working on a more accurate model and history of this wonderful and inventive man-powered sub.        

The Alligatior as it really was!



This is what Mr. DeVilleoi’s Submarine looked like for real.

Fitted with paddles and armed with two explosive charges and painted green Alligator was launched On April 30 1862 and commissioned by the U.S. Navy in June 1862. She was 46ft x 4.1/2 x 6ft with a crew of 16. The first mission was not a success the attack on the Petersburg railroad bridge had to be abandoned when it was found that the folding paddles where not strong enough to move the Sub against the current. After the first trials with the paddles were a failure The Union Navy took over and replaced the paddles with a 3-ft screw Propeller making the boat much more efficient. Mr. Devilleoi also installed an air purifier and a bellows to pump fresh oxygen trough the boat. The question of a weapon was never solved they had some vague ideas about having a diver go out and attach mines to ships in dock but I personally would not want to try this. The Alligator departed Hampton Roads for Port Royal under tow 1 April 1863 but ran into a storm and foundered

She was not replaced.

This Model is much more accurate and in keeping with the original plans. I like the long nose and all the portholes it’s really a slick design

If you look at the Nautilus and the Hunley along side of the Alligator you can see

The influence the real submarines had on the fictional! Mr. Verne must have seen

The news paper pictures and used them as reference.



Gustave Zede'

The Gustave Zede was an important step forward in French submarine design however it wasn't a very successful one. She carried two torpedos in Drzewecki's drop collars which left them exposed to damage at dock side. It was also bad at maintaining a constant depth and eventually required three sets of hydroplanes to aid this design flaw. The Gustave Zede was 159 ft. long, 10 ft. in diameter and was powered by a 208 ehp motor. Still, I like her lines and the rivet constrution.

The Garrett Nordenfeldt 1886

After George William Littler Garrett's "success" with the first steam powered submarine, the Resurgam, in 1879, he was commissioned by the Turkish government to build two steam-powered submarines in 1886. They were built and shipped in sections to Constantinople where they were reassembled. The first one sank almost immediately after being launched and strangely enough they could not find another crew to pilot either vessel. They remained dry-dock until 1914 when they were blown up by the German army to prevent them from becoming a public safety hazard.

German Nordenfelt

Two German Nordenfelts were built in Germany in 1890,you could call them U boat one and two but they proved No more successful than their predecessors. Very little is known about These submarines, but the ‘snout’ appears to be the torpedo – tube.

Holland 1

The Holland was the first unqualified success in submarine history. Little more than 50 feet in length and large enough to house a crew of five and one torpedo tube, but small enough to be extremely manoeuverable and responsive to control, this prototype became the first modern submarine of the US Navy. The Holland had a twin propulsion system with surface power provided by a 45 horsepower gas engine with a top speed of 7 knots and a range of 1,000 miles and a battery powered electric motor of 50 mile range and a top speed of 5 knots.The boat was also equipped with an aerial torpedo gun, a type of air cannon this was a failuer and was soon removed.

This model is a bit of an experiment. I wanted a smooth hull with no seems but still using cardboard and paper, my friend Joe Waskul suggested I try papier-mâché and see if this would provide a smooth seamless hull form but still use a form of paper. I first made a male mold of one side of the hull in clay on a board and coated it with petroleum grease then I mixed a solution of Elmer’s glue and flour and layered strips of newspaper in the mixture and let it sit, next I laid up the paper on the mold 1/8th of an inch thick and let it dry for two days. Next I carefully cut the hull half of the mold and pulled it off, I repeated the process and got two halves, now it all goes wrong! I had a brilliant idea! I would glue the two halves together and fill it with foam this would prevent ‘oil canning’ when I sanded it smooth, so I glued it together and filled it with foam, I put in way too much! and when I took a look at it the next day the foam had burst the side of the hull and leaked out all over the workbench and floor what a mess, my sub looked like a fish that had been gutted by a bear. The hull was a total loss so I had to start all over again , this time I put the foam in only one side at a time and cut the overfill off and with it nice and dry I put the two halves together and glued and filled and got a smooth curved hull just like the pictures. The upper works and propeller are cardboard and glue like all my other models. I will be using this method again because it saves sanding time and I don’t have to cut as much card board formers to get nice curves.

The Seal

Originally launched from a Virginia shipyard in 1911 as the Seal. This submarine was renamed G-1 when she was commisioned in the U.S.N. in 1912. After a long tour of duty as a testing and training vessel, she was decommisioned in 1920 and later imploded by depthcharge tests in 1921.

The Welman

 The Welman is a World War II two-man sub powered with a gasoline engine that lacked proper venthiation and caused a number of deaths to its crewmen due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The craft's torpedos were too small to do be much of a threat to the battleships of that era and it had a limited range. It featured a twin hatch design and an overall styling that would influence the developement of submarines for that period.

Dupuy de Lome

Named after the famed architect of armored naval vessels, this French submarine was first launched in 1915. It was decommissioned and scrapped in 1935.

Ictineo II (Fish boat in greek)

In 1864, in Barcelona harbor, Narcis Monturiol launched the Ictineo II: the world’s first true submarine. It was over 17 meters long, displaced 72 tonnes and had a working depth of up to 30 meters. What made this sub so unusual was its chemically powered steam engine. It required fuel rods much like uranium rods in a reactor, but used a chemical reaction to heat the water in the boiler, while at the same time the reaction produced pure oxygen for the crew! The hull was made out of olive wood to keep cost down for the prototype, but an all metal boat was planned for the Ictineo III. This boat had an under water time of eight hours with no lack of oxygen! The only limit was the number of fuel rods it could hold. The Ictineo III could have revolutionized submarine technology, but when Monturiol’s funding ran out, his submarine was broken up and sold for scrap.

The Penguin

This search and recovery submarine was developed for the National Underwater and Marine Agency  (NUMA) in 1961. In Clive Cusslers novel "Raise the Titanic" it was used by Dirk Pitt director of Special Projects at NUMA to salvage the Titanic.

The Black Manta

The Black Manta has been the arch-nemisis of Aquaman ever since his first appearance in DC Comics, Aquaman #35 (Sept. 1967). The unique styling of his high-tech attack sub was inspired by the manta ray.

The Nautilus from the Secret Sea

This Model of the Nautilus is from one of the earliest Steam punk works I know of. The book is The Secret Sea by Thomas F. Monteleon and was first published in 1979. The story is about a newly rich man discovering that there are ‘Flux’ gates from this world to others and how to move through them. In the next world over he finds himself and his companion in the middle of a war between Capitan Nemo and his arch enemy Robur the Conqueror. I loved this book and still have a copy of it in my library it’s a little dated and a lot corny but I still reread it once in a while. The Submarine is more or less the Disney Nautilus with a little mysterious Island George Pal and a ww1 U boat mixed in for good effect

The only piece that sets it apart from Vernes work is the 70mm deck gun made for Nemo by Impey Barbican of the Baltimore Gun club.

Secret Sea Nautilus

Closeup of the Rakkers and conning tower

Bow on