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November 15, 2013
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HMS Python by wingsofwrath HMS Python by wingsofwrath
EDIT, 05.02.14: Here you can find the French counterpart design.

Finally, I can say I finished with the design of the Shadowless flying ships. It's been a long road, and they went from steampunk flying ships to more realistic WIG - wing in ground effect, or "ekranoplans"- craft capable of skimming a few meters over over the waves rather than true flight. For examples of the earlier incarnations of these designs, you can see here.

The ship itself is based on the "torpedo boat destroyers" of the late 19th century with elements from the first hydrofoils. In real life, British boat designer John Thornycroft, the man who built the first torpedo boat for the British Royal Navy in 1876, also experimented with hydrofoils between 1899 and 1901, so it's not actually that far fetched that his experiments might have resulted into a craft like this, especially when paired with Sir Charles Parsons' 1884 invention of the steam turbine.

Basically, while the ship is at anchor it floats to the waterline, but, as it gathers speed, it rises out of the water, first on the hydrofoils and then completely out of the water, skimming 6 meters (20 ft) above the waves. To help the ship rise out from the water,  the planing surface is stepped just forward of the aft wing set, another design feature first introduced in real life by John Thornycroft. 
Propulsion is provided by two Parsons steam turbines connected via gear boxes (so there is no need for additional, "reversing" turbines and the propellers can be driven at a different speed to the turbines) to a pair of shafts containing two four bladed wooden aerial propellers each, set at 45 degrees to one another. The two shafts revolve in opposite directions, thus annulling any gyroscopic force that might arise.
Since flying uses a lot of fuel, for extended patrols the ship can cut power and drop back down on the hydrofoils, thus maintaining a cruise speed of "only" 40 knots.

There are two colour schemes presented, one based on the real life late Victorian "black, white and buff" livery and the other a wholly fictional camouflage design, however with colours used in real life by the RN during WW2.

The name, "HMS Python" was also used in real life for one of the members of the "Viper Class", the first turbine driven destroyers of the Royal Navy. Following the loss of the other two ships in accidents (HMS Viper foundered on rocks in fog during naval manoeuvres near Alderney on 3 August 1901, while HMS Cobra broke her back in a storm in the North Sea on 18 September 1901) HMS Python was renamed "Velox" and served until 1915 when she was sunk by hitting a German submarine deployed mine off the Isle of Wight.
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:iconbear48:
bear48 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014  Professional
wicked cool 
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:iconfrankpatriot:
frankpatriot Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2014  New member Hobbyist Digital Artist
So brilliant! I think we can talk about the design of airship later!
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:iconjdunk1971:
JDunk1971 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014
Are these hydroplanes, or are they designed to come out of the water under their own lift?
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:iconnautilusperfectionis:
There's one small problem: no sensible captain would allow manned guns so close to spinning propellers, one wrong step and the unfortunate guy is turned into mincemeat.

So either the propellers are to be set on long outriggers at least 3-4 yards outside the hull on each side, or the rear gun platform has to be moved.
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:iconwingsofwrath:
wingsofwrath Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm not sure what you're seeing, but the way I drew them the propellers ARE on outriggers and you certainly can't reach them from the aft gun platform, even if you were to purposefully stretch yourself towards them, because they're the better part of two meters away.

The only place from which you could conceivably reach the propellers from the deck would be the very tip of the maintenance walkway in between the propeller sets, by reaching your arm through the railing (since the propeller axis is about level with the middle wire of the railing), but that area isn't manned during the normal operation of the ship and the railing there also has canvas "dodgers" (canvas screens fixed to the railing, also present on the gun platforms, which I omitted for clarity in my drawing) to make sure that doesn't happen.

Sure, even that wouldn't stop a purposeful idiot from managing it if they really tried, but you can't idiot-proof everything in this world and this is a warship after all...
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:iconarianod:
Arianod Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The depth and detail of your world-building never ceases to amaze me ~w@ Would these machines really be able to "fly" like ekranoplans if they existed?
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:iconwingsofwrath:
wingsofwrath Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Actually, if their engines were powerful enough, I think they would. Probably not very well since I haven't done any aerodynamic study on their shapes, but...
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:iconarianod:
Arianod Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, of course: more power is always the answer! :D
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:iconwingsofwrath:
wingsofwrath Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
As the pilots of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, dubbed "the triumph of thrust over aerodynamics" can testify... :D
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:iconarmored-cross187:
Armored-Cross187 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
These ships look great!

I can see these ships to be exceptionally fast and deadly to large battleships which probably couldn't respond fast enough.
but I don't really see any Anti-air armament to counter supporting fighter escorts.

What would torpedo boats do to counter french fighters if they were chased?

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