I became interested in this vessel in the late 1960’s while a member of the Philadelphia Ship Model Society. The group toured the NY Yacht Club and visited a small store, which sold ship plans of interest to us. There I found a plan of the Vesuvius as built and as converted to torpedo testing boat. I was fascinated with the extreme shape of the hull and the yacht-like overall appearance, not to mention the rather unusual armament. One of the members of the Society in prior years had served on the ship and later shared a scrapbook of newspaper clippings and other memorabilia with me.
At first, I planned a model in 1/8″ scale which would have been a convenient size for shelf top display. I actually started work on the model in that scale as a solid hull model in the 1980s, but it ended up stowed away, largely because I did not like working in that scale. And in the meantime, the house filled up with large models of sailing ships in 3/16″ (1:64) scale, so the size of a larger model was no longer a problem. I am married to a tolerant woman.
After building several RC PT boats, as described elsewhere in these pages, I decided to return to the Vesuvius project and dug out the plans I had on hand for the last 30+ years. The plans had been obtained from the National Archives, and photos from the Naval Historical Center. I planned a model in 1:64 scale, which would be RC with electric power. This would result in a model with a length of about 48 inches and breadth of about 5.5 inches. A very sharp bow and stern with a round bottom results in a canoe-like shape. No wonder she exceeded the contract requirement for 20 knot speed!
Here are the lines and some drawings of the ship I used to layout the hull and get started.