Nov 302010

As previously mentioned, I’m working on the chapter in the Orion book on pulse unit design and development. In the course of doing so, I’m working ona  series of scale drawings comparing the external configurations of the known pulse units with a few relevant nuclear weapons, including the M388 Davy Crockett battlefield bomb. And it occurs to me that the 10-meter Orion pulse unit, at 13 inches diameter and 24 inches long, and just maybe the Davy Crocket, at 11 inches diameter and 30 inches long, would be things that I could make full-scale replicas of using the equipment I have. While it would be beyond neato to lathe these out of solid aluminum, fiberglass makes a lot more sense.

Replicas like these, full scale, would be kinda pricey (upwards of $300 for finished display items, probably). Would anyone be interested?

 Posted by at 3:11 pm
  • kbob42

    Sounds… inviting. Heck of a center piece for the coffee table!

  • George Allegrezza

    Sweet. Nice stocking stuffer!!!

  • Huron

    Perhaps if an installment plan was available.

    It sounds like something that museums might be interested in acquiring.

  • jcmiller

    I would totally buy a replica pulse unit for $300. Not sure how I feel about fiberglass vs. aluminum. Would we be talking a cutaway something like the drawing I’ve seen various places showing the device, case, channel filler, propellant, etc?

  • admin

    Sadly, no… while a cutaway model would be damned spiffy, it’d be much more complex, and would cost considerably more.

  • jcmiller

    So, then, it’s a big can :/

    I could see “considerably more” for a cutaway. Hell I’ve spent stupid amounts on historic military rifles that I rarely shoot… But a big cylinder is kind of meh.

    Of course my opinion should not construed as an indicator of the economic viability of *any* undertaking… as a market-research data point I realize I am probably an outlier.

  • admin

    Shoulda been more explicit. Yes, the 10-meter *NASA* orion pulse unit is dull as dirt… it’s a cylinder with two copper rifling bands. Feh. What I meant (and will show here in a day or three, when I get some more CAD work done on it) is the 10-meter *USAF* pulse unit… essentially the same size, but much more interesting. In any event, though, I’d expect the Davy Crockett projectile to be much more interesting and saleable. If that can’t find a market, then the pulse unit sure as hell couldn’t.

  • admin

    A thought occurs… my hare-brained scheme for the Davy Crocket is to manufacture it largely from fiberglass, but with the same basic parts breakdown as the actual M388 projectile: a dome-like forward nose, a cylindrical ring (which the actual A-Bomb was connected to), an ogival tail, four fins, and the antenna/spigot/timer in the tail. All these would be bolted together as per the real deal. But… with minor mods, a model rocketeer would be able to replace the antenna in the tail with a sizable solid rocket, and make the nose ejectable. Imagine the fun of lobbing a full-scale nuclear device into the air at your local soccer field…

  • jcmiller

    Will be interested in seeing the CAD pics. You’re probably right about the Davy Crockett… assuming that you’re talking about reproducing the M388 projectile, the only problem I foresee is finding a recoilless rifle to go with it. 😉

  • jcmiller

    Heh that would indeed make a nifty model rocket.

  • admin

    > assuming that you’re talking about reproducing the M388 projectile


    > finding a recoilless rifle

    1) Recoilless *gun,* not rifle
    2) Think: “the awesomest homemade PVC Spud Gun EVAR”

    Now, if I could build one up and make a mold off of it as a solid unit, then cast it in Nerf… I’d be friggen’ king of the nerdpeople!

  • jcmiller

    > Recoilless *gun*

    I stand corrected! I hadn’t realized until I did some reading just now that it was essentially a spigot-launched device. I suppose in hindsight the big honking tail fins should have tipped me off…

  • jcmiller

    Makes sense now that I spend 5 seconds thinking about it.

  • Pat Flannery

    Back when my brother was in the Army in the late 1960’s-early 1970’s, he had the opportunity to purchase a military surplus inert (obviously) Davy Crocket training round. He always regretted not buying it.

  • Russ Mularz

    Heya, Scott!

    I’m a big fan of the Davy Crockett system… something about it being a “sh!t has truly hit the fan” type weapon. Lot of those 50’s and early 60’s tacnukes seemed like something a fanatical SS scientist would have come up with in the final months of the Reich, than the “best” the west could come up with.

    Much as a M388 would be a neat thing, it’s more of a “healthy cash-flow” sort of extra, and, unfortunately, I am FAR from that category.

    Would you consider doing the entire system in 1/6th scale? Maybe even doing a range of devices… I think a Fat Man or Mk III would be nifty. Reason I ask, is I do a fair bit of collecting / modelling in sixth scale. It has a pretty decent following, most pieces now have considerable detail, as well as operating features. Picture a sixth scale AK of wood and metal that strips down much like the actual weapon.

    Just a thought, and not meant to dissuade you from your original idea.

  • admin

    I’ve been giving thought to alternate scales, and additional nukes. Having a line of constant-scale A-Bombs might be pretty spiffy… but the sizes are so variable, from the dinky M388 to the monster Mk17, that it’d be difficult to come up with a convenient scale.

    The 1/1 scale for the M388 appeals to me because I *can* make a full-scale nuclear device replica. Plus, it’s just *adorable.*

  • Pat Flannery

    Here’s how you are supposed to use the Davy Crockett from a tactical point of view:
    It’s interesting that the main kill mechanism is radiation, not heat or blast.
    Wanna scare the living shit out of everybody, make a 1/1 replica of the backpack nuke version of the W54 warhead from the Davy Crockett.
    Think of the fun you could have leaving one of those around where the police bomb squad could find it. 😀
    Of course it needs something added to make an ominous ticking sound, and red LEDs counting down on its exterior.
    Here, frogmen strap on their parachutes and atomic bombs, and leap into action:

  • kbob42

    Now those were some fun videos!

  • Pat Flannery

    You’d be amazed what can put a police bomb squad clean over the edge:
    Yes, attack of the killer 9″ robot toy. 😀

  • admin

    > You’d be amazed what can put a police bomb squad clean over the edge

    That’s not a hair question, I’m sorry.

  • Pat Flannery

    The robot toy should have been a Dalek yelling “EX-TER-MI-NATE! EX-TER-MI-NATE!” And rigged to shoot CO2 at the bomb squad when they got close to its “ray emitter”. 😉