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Friday, July 31, 2015

North River Steamboat (Fulton's Clermont)

Here are some images of Lindberg's 1/96 scale North River Steamboat (Fulton's Clermont).
This is an old kit, to which I added wood planking and wooden masts.

From Wikipedia"
 The North River Steamboat or North River (often erroneously referred to as Clermont) is widely regarded as the world's first commercially successful steamboat.[citation needed] Built in 1807, the North River Steamboat operated on the Hudson River (at that time often known as the North River) between New York and Albany. She was the first vessel to demonstrate the viability of using steam propulsion for commercial river transportation. She was built by the wealthy investor and politician Robert Livingston and inventor and entrepreneur Robert Fulton (1765–1815).

Livingston had obtained from the New York legislature the exclusive right to steam navigation on the Hudson River. In 1803, while Livingston was Minister to France, Fulton built a small steamboat and tested it on the Seine. With this success, Livingston then contracted with Fulton to take advantage of his Hudson River monopoly and build a larger version for commercial service.[citation needed]
Their larger steamer was built at the Charles Browne shipyard in New York and was fitted with Fulton's innovative steam engine design, manufactured for Livingston and Fulton by Boulton and Watt in Birmingham, England. Before she was later widened, the vessel's original dimensions were 150 feet (46 m) long x 12 feet (3.7 m) wide x 7 feet (2.1 m) deep; she drew a little more than 2 feet (60 cm) of water when launched. The steamer was equipped with two paddle wheels, one each to a side, each paddle wheel assembly was equipped with two sets of eight spokes. She also carried two masts with spars, rigging, and sails, likely a foremast with square sail and a mizzen mast with fore-and-aft sail (spanker), with the steam engine placed amidships, directly behind the paddle wheel's drive gear machinery.
Skeptics at the time ridiculed the venture, often referring to the steamboat as "Fulton's Folly" before she was launched. Livingston and Fulton quickly silenced their critics: "She moves! She moves!" people exclaimed in awe when they saw the boat moving against the river current; no mention of "Fulton's Folly" was made thereafter.

Fulton's descriptions of his steamboat

"My first steamboat on the Hudson’s River was 150 feet long, 18 feet wide, drawing 2 feet of water, bow and stern 60 degrees: she displaced 86.40 cubic feet, equal 100 tons of water; her bow presented 26 feet to the water, plus and minus the resistance of 1 foot running 4 miles an hour.
Fulton's published specifications after Steamboat‍ '​s rebuild:
Length: 142 feet (43 m)
Maximum width: 18 feet (4.3 m)
Maximum height: 62 feet (19 m)
Draught: 7 feet (2.1 m)
Displacement: 121 tons
Average speed: 4.7 miles per hour
Time saved: 150 miles in 32 hours
The paddle wheels were 4 feet (1.2 m) wide and 15 feet (4.6 m) in diameter.
In the Nautical Gazette the editor, Mr. Samuel Ward Stanton, gives the following additional details:
"The bottom of the boat was formed of yellow pine plank 1.5 inches thick, tongued and grooved, and set together with white lead. This bottom or platform was laid in a transverse platform and molded out with batten and nails. The shape of the bottom being thus formed, the floors of oak and spruce were placed across the bottom; the spruce floors being 4 x 8 inches and 2 feet apart. The oak floors were reserved for the ends, and were both sided and molded 8 inches. Her top timbers (which were of spruce and extended from a log that formed the bridge to the deck) were sided 6 inches and molded at heel, and both sided and molded 4 inches at the head. She had no guards when first built and was steered by a tiller. Her draft of water was 28 inches.
The steamer's inaugural run was helmed by Captain Andrew Brink, and left New York on August 17, 1807, with a complement of invited guests aboard. They arrived in Albany two days later, after 32 hours of travel time and a 20-hour stop at Livingston's estate, Clermont Manor. The return trip was completed in 30 hours with only a one-hour stop at Clermont; the average speed of the steamer was 5 mph (8 km/h).
Fulton wrote to a friend, Joel Barlow:
"I had a light breeze against me the whole way, both going and coming, and the voyage has been performed wholly by the power of the steam engine. I overtook many sloops and schooners, beating to the windward, and parted with them as if they had been at anchor. The power of propelling boats by steam is now fully proved. The morning I left New York, there were not perhaps thirty persons in the city who believed that the boat would ever move one mile an hour, or be of the least utility, and while we were putting off from the wharf, which was crowded with spectators, I heard a number of sarcastic remarks. This is the way in which ignorant men compliment what they call philosophers and projectors. Having employed much time, money and zeal in accomplishing this work, it gives me, as it will you, great pleasure to see it fully answer my expectations."
The 1870 book Great Fortunes quotes a former resident of Poughkeepsie who described the scene:
"It was in the early autumn of the year 1807 that a knot of villagers was gathered on a high bluff just opposite Poughkeepsie, on the west bank of the Hudson, attracted by the appearance of a strange, dark-looking craft, which was slowly making its way up the river. Some imagined it to be a sea-monster, while others did not hesitate to express their belief that it was a sign of the approaching judgment. What seemed strange in the vessel was the substitution of lofty and straight black smoke-pipes, rising from the deck, instead of the gracefully tapered masts that commonly stood on the vessels navigating the stream, and, in place of the spars and rigging, the curious play of the working-beam and pistons, and the slow turning and splashing of the huge and naked paddle-wheels, met the astonished gaze. The dense clouds of smoke, as they rose wave upon wave, added still more to the wonderment of the rustics."
Scheduled passenger service began on September 4, 1807. Steamboat left New York on Saturdays at 6:00 pm, and returned from Albany on Wednesdays at 8:00 am, taking about 36 hours for each journey. Stops were made at West Point, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Esopus, and Hudson; other stops were sometimes made, such as Red Hook and Catskill. In the company's publicity the ship was called North River Steamboat or just Steamboat (there being no other in operation at the time).
The steamer's original 1807 federal government enrollment (registration) was lost, but because the vessel was rebuilt during the winter of 1807-1808, she had to be enrolled again. The second document lists the owners as Livingston and Fulton, and the ship's name as North River Steamboat of Clermont The rebuilding of the ship was substantial: She was widened by six feet to increase navigation stability, and her tiller was enlarged. A poop deck and other topside details were added or rebuilt entirely and her exposed mid-ships engine compartment had an overhead weather roof added. Anticipating future design, her twin paddle wheels were enclosed above the waterline to quiet their loud splashing noise, to reduce heavy river mist, and prevent floating debris from being kicked up into the vessel's mid-hull area. Later, the ship's long name was shortened to North River.

In its first year the new steamer differentiated itself from all of its predecessors by turning a tidy profit. The quick commercial success of North River Steamboat led Livingston and Fulton to commission a second very similar steamboat in 1809, Car of Neptune, followed in 1811 by Paragon. An advertisement for the passenger service in 1812 lists the three boats' schedules, using the name North River for the firm's first vessel. The North River was retired in 1814, but its ultimate fate remains unknown. When Fulton died in 1815, he had built a total of seventeen steamboats, and a half-dozen more were constructed by other ship builders using his plans.
Livingston died in 1813 and passed his shares of the steamboat company on to his sons-in-law. With Fulton’s death two years later, the original power behind the partnership dissolved. This left the company with its monopoly in New York waters prey to other ambitious American businessmen. Livingston's heirs later granted an exclusive license to Aaron Ogden to run a ferry between New York and New Jersey, while Thomas Gibbons and Cornelius Vanderbilt established a competing service. The Livingston Fulton monopoly was dissolved in 1824 following the landmark Gibbons v. Ogden Supreme Court case, opening New York waters to all competitive steam navigation companies. In 1819 there were only nine steamboats in operation on the Hudson River; by 1840, customers could choose from more than 100 in service. The Steamboat Era had arrived.
 The misnomer Clermont first appeared in Cadwallader D. Colden's biography of Fulton, published in 1817, two years after Fulton died. Since Colden was a friend of both Fulton and Livingston, his book was considered an authoritative source, and his errors were perpetuated in later accounts up to the present day. The vessel is now nearly always referred to as Clermont, but no contemporary account called her by that name.

A full-sized, 150 foot long by 16 foot wide steam-powered replica, named Clermont, was built by the Staten Island Shipbuilding Company. The replica's design and final appearance was decided by an appointed commission who carefully researched Fulton's steamer from what evidence and word-of-mouth had survived to the early 20th century. Their replica was launched with great fanfare in 1909 at Staten Island, New York, for the combined celebrations being held that year for the tercentenary of the discovery of the Hudson River (1609–1909) and for the delayed Robert Fulton centenary (1807–1907).
In 1910, following the large celebration, Clermont was sold by her owners, the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Commission, to defray their losses; she was purchased by the Hudson River Day Line and served the company as a moored river transportation museum at their two locations in New York harbor. In 1911 Clermont was moved to Poughkeepsie, New York and served Day Line as a New York state historic ship attraction. The company eventually lost interest in the steamboat as a money-making attraction and placed her in a tidal lagoon on the inner side of their landing at Kingston Point, New York. For many years Day Line kept Clermont in presentable condition, but as their business and profits slowed during the Great Depression, they voted to stop maintaining her; Clermont was eventually broken up for scrap in 1936, 27 years after her launching.

Monday, July 27, 2015

155 mm Long Tom With Carriage M1

Here are some images of ARV Club's 1/35 scale 155 mm Long Tom with carriage M1.

From Wikipedia"
The 155mm Long Tom was a 155 millimeter caliber field gun developed and used by the United States mililtary. It was produced in M1 and M2 variants (later known as the M59). Developed to replace the Canon de 155mm GPF, the gun was deployed as a heavy field weapon during World War II and the Korean War, and also classed as secondary armament for seacoast defense. The gun could fire a 45.36 kg (100 lb) shell to a maximum range of 22 km (13.7 mi), with an estimated accuracy life of 1,500 rounds.
The Long Tom was also adopted by a number of other nations, including the United Kingdom, Austria, Israel, and the Netherlands.
 Before entering World War I, the United States was poorly equipped with heavy artillery. To address this problem a number of foreign heavy artillery guns were adopted, including the Canon de 155 mm GPF. After the end of the war development work began in the United States on a design to improve upon the existing models of heavy gun and carriage. A number of prototypes were produced in the 1920s and 1930s, but the projects were put on hold due to lack of funds. In 1938 the 155 mm Gun T4 on Carriage T2 was finally adopted as 155 mm gun M1 on Carriage M1.

The new gun design used a barrel similar to the earlier 155 mm GPF, but with an Asbury breech that incorporated a vertically-hinged breech plug support. This type of breech used an interrupted-thread breech plug with a lock that opened and closed the breech by moving a single lever. The ammunition for the 155 mm gun was "separate-loading", that is with the shell and the powder charge are packaged, shipped and stored separately. The shell is lifted into position behind the breach and then rammed into the chamber to engage the shell's rotating band into the barrel rifling.
Ramming the shell home is followed by loading a number of powder bags, as required for the desired range. The powder charge could be loaded in up to seven charge settings. Once the powder is loaded, the breech plug is closed and locked, and a primer is placed in the breech plug's firing mechanism. After setting the elevation and azimuth, the gun is ready to fire. The firing mechanism is a device for initiating the ammunition primer. The primer then sets off the igniter which ignites the propelling charge of the ammunition. A continuous-pull lanyard first cocks the firing pin, then fires the primer when pulled.
The gun was developed into M1A1 and M2 variants. After World War II, the United States Army re-organized, and the gun was re-designated as the M59.
 The gun carriage provides a stable, yet mobile, base for the gun. The new split-trail carriage featured an eight-wheel integral two-axle bogie and a two-wheel limber that supported the trails for transport. The carriage was a two-piece design. The upper carriage included the side frames with trunnion bearings that supported the recoil mechanism that carried the gun cradle, slide and gun tube. The upper carriage also incorporated the elevating and azimuth gearing. The upper carriage pivoted in azimuth on the lower carriage. The lower carriage included the transport suspension and the split-trail that stabilized and absorbed recoil when the gun was fired.
After the gun was placed in a firing position with the gun pointing in the desired direction, the trails were lowered to the ground and the limber was removed. The carriage wheels would then be raised using built-in ratcheting screw-jacks, lowering the gun carriage to the ground. Once on the ground, the limber-end of the trail legs were separated to form a wide "vee" with its apex at the center of the carriage pivot point. A recoil spade at the limber-end of each trail leg required a correctly positioned hole to be dug for the spade, which was attached to the trail end, to transmit the recoil from gun carriage through the trails and into the earth. This made the gun very stable and assisted its accuracy. The removable spades were transported in brackets on the trail legs.
The carriage M1 and M2 were shared with the 8 inch Howitzer M1, differing only in the gun tube, sleigh, cradle, recoil and equilibrators, weight due to the heavier barrel.

The Long Tom saw combat for the first time in North African Campaign on December 24, 1942, with "A" Battery of the 36th Field Artillery Battalion. Eventually it equipped about 49 battalions, including 40 in the European Theater and 7 in the Pacific. The preferable prime mover was initially the Mack NO 6×6 7½ ton truck; from 1943 on it was replaced by the tracked M4 High Speed Tractor.
A small number of Long Tom guns were authorised for supply via lend lease channels, to the United Kingdom (184) and France (25). However, the authorised establishment of British batteries (excluding training units), including four batteries from the Dominion of Newfoundland, totalled 88 guns.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

All Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST)

Here are some images od Bandai's 1/48 scale All Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST) from the Star Wars universe.

From Wikipedia"

The AT-ST is a two-legged walker introduced in The Empire Strikes Back and featured extensively in Return of the Jedi. Due to their design and movement, they are often dubbed "chicken walkers". The name Scout Walker is also used to refer to an AT-ST. This name was used for the official toy instead of the AT-ST name.

Origin and design

The AT-ST model used in The Empire Strikes Back was to have more screen time; however, one scene depicting a snowspeeder shooting at the AT-ST model was ruined when the set's background shifted. For Return of the Jedi, ILM made the AT-ST design more detailed. Numerous models were created, including a full-sized AT-ST for on-location shooting. Director Richard Marquand and producer Robert Watts played the AT-ST operators for the scene in which Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and a pair of Ewoks commandeer an AT-ST.
Lee Seiler sued Lucasfilm in the mid-1980s, claiming that the AT-ST infringed on his copyright on what he called a "Garthian Strider", which he said he created in 1976 or 1977. The case was dismissed with the court noting that not only did Seiler not produce the supposed drawings at trial, but that the copyright came one year after The Empire Strikes Back debuted.

Depiction

Star Wars guidebooks describe the AT-ST as a "reconnaissance or defensive vehicle [that] is lightweight and built for speed". Their agility allows them to defend the slower AT-ATs or support other Imperial ground forces. They are 8.6 metres (28 ft) tall (although some sources describe them at seven meters) and seat a pilot and co-pilot. AT-STs are armed with laser cannons on the "chin" and sides, feet claws for destroying small defenses and side-mounted concussion missile launchers.
In The Empire Strikes Back, AT-STs scout for and support the slower AT-ATs during the Battle of Hoth. During the Battle of Endor as depicted in Return of the Jedi, the protagonists and the local Ewok tribes capture or destroy several AT-STs; their precariously balanced nature proves highly vulnerable to the Ewoks' primitive booby traps. In the Expanded Universe, AT-STs are often featured in Imperial attack forces. Video games such as Star Wars: Rogue Squadron and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire include numerous AT-STs, and they are player-controllable units in several real-time strategy games. Some walker designs have been influenced by the AT-ST.
The so-named "All Terrain Defense Pod" (AT-DP) depicted in Star Wars Rebels was used by the Empire on Lothal, Ezra Bridger's homeworld, to enforce their will against the planet's inhabitants during the first season of the series. It is stated as being among the fastest-moving "walkers" of any of the AT-ST variants, and is only lightly armed with a single, forward-aimed energy cannon.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Supermarine Seafire Mk 1B

Here are some images of Revell's 1/32 scale Supermarine Seafire Mk 1B. This aircraft was flown by Lt. commander Duncan Hamilton Port Reitz Kenya 1943. This kit is just a re release of the old MK 1 Spitfire kit with some added accouterments to convert it to a MK 5 or a Seafire IB. I wonder about those wing blisters.

From Wikipedia"
 In late 1941 and early 1942, the Admiralty assessed the Spitfire for possible conversion. In late 1941, a total of 48 Spitfire Mk Vb were converted by Air Training Service Ltd. at Hamble to become "hooked Spitfires". This was the Seafire Mk Ib and would be the first of several Seafire variants to reach the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. This version of the Seafire was mainly used to allow the Royal Navy to gain experience in operating the Spitfire on aircraft carriers. The main structural change was made to the lower rear fuselage which incorporated an A-frame style arrestor hook and strengthened lower longerons. It was soon discovered that the fuselage, especially around hatches, was too weak for carrier operations. In an attempt to alleviate this condition, reinforcing strips were riveted around hatch openings and along the main fuselage longerons. A further 118 Seafire Mk Ib's incorporating the fuselage reinforcements were modified from Spitfire Vbs by Cunliffe-Owen at Eastleigh and Air Training Service. These aircraft were equipped with Naval HF radio equipment and IFF equipment as well as a Type 72 homing beacon. In these and all subsequent Seafires the instruments were re-calibrated to read kn and nmi rather than mph and mi. The fixed armament was the same as that of the Spitfire Vb; two 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano Mk II cannon with 60 rpg fed from a "drum" magazine and four .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns with 350 rpg. Provision was also made to carry a 30 gal (136 l) "slipper" fuel tank under the fuselage. In June 1942, the first deliveries of the Seafire took place to 807 Squadron. Another front line unit, 801 Squadron operated this version on board HMS Furious from October 1942 through to September 1944.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bristol Beaufighter MK VI

Here are some images of Revell's 1/32 scale Bristol Beaufighter MK VI.
From Wikipedia "

The idea of a fighter development of the Beaufort was suggested to the Air Ministry by Bristol. The suggestion coincided with the delays in the development and production of the Westland Whirlwind cannon-armed twin-engine fighter. Since the "Beaufort Cannon Fighter" was a conversion of an existing design, development and production could be expected far more quickly than with a completely fresh design. Accordingly, the Air Ministry produced Specification F.11/37 written around Bristol's suggestion for an "interim" aircraft pending proper introduction of the Whirlwind. Bristol started building a prototype by taking a part-built Beaufort out of the production line. The prototype first flew on 17 July 1939, a little more than eight months after the design had started, possibly due to the use of much of the Beaufort's design and parts. A production contract for 300 machines had already been placed two weeks before the prototype F.17/39 even flew.
In general, the differences between the Beaufort and Beaufighter were minor. The wings, control surfaces, retractable landing gear and aft section of the fuselage were identical to those of the Beaufort, while the wing centre section was similar apart from certain fittings. The bomb bay was omitted, and four forward-firing 20 mm Hispano Mk III cannons were mounted in the lower fuselage area. These were initially fed from 60-round drums, requiring the radar operator to change the ammunition drums manually — an arduous and unpopular task, especially at night and while chasing a bomber. As a result, they were soon replaced by a belt-feed system. The cannons were supplemented by six .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machineguns in the wings (four starboard, two port, the asymmetry caused by the port mounting of the landing light). This was one of the heavier, if not the heaviest, fighter armament of its time. When Beaufighter were developed as fighter-torpedo bombers, they used their firepower (often the machine-guns were removed anyway) to suppress flak fire and hit enemy ships, especially escort and small vessels. The areas for the rear gunner and bomb-aimer were removed, leaving only the pilot in a fighter-type cockpit. The navigator/radar operator sat to the rear under a small Perspex bubble where the Beaufort's dorsal turret had been.
The Bristol Taurus engines of the Beaufort were not powerful enough for a fighter and were replaced by the more powerful Bristol Hercules. The extra power presented problems with vibration; in the final design they were mounted on longer, more flexible struts, which stuck out from the front of the wings. This moved the centre of gravity (CoG) forward, a bad thing for an aircraft design. It was moved back by shortening the nose, as no space was needed for a bomb aimer in a fighter. This put most of the fuselage behind the wing, and moved the CoG back where it should be. With the engine cowlings and propellers now further forward than the tip of the nose, the Beaufighter had a characteristically stubby appearance.
Production of the Beaufort in Australia, and the highly successful use of British-made Beaufighters by the Royal Australian Air Force, led to Beaufighters being built by the Australian Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) from 1944 onwards. The DAP's variant was an attack/torpedo bomber known as the Mark 21: design changes included Hercules VII or XVIII engines and some minor changes in armament.
By the time British production lines shut down in September 1945, 5,564 Beaufighters had been built in Britain, by Bristol and also by Fairey Aviation Company, (498) Ministry of Aircraft Production (3336) and Rootes (260).

Friday, July 17, 2015

French Orbiting Weapons Satellite

Here are some composite images of AJAModels French Orbiting Weapons Satellite From 2001 A Space Odyssey. Scale unknown. If you're a 2001 fan these are a must have for your collection. Adam Johnson did a fantastic job in creating this kit .

From Wikipedia"

Another holdover of discarded plot ideas is with regard to the famous match-cut from prehistoric bone-weapon to orbiting satellite, followed sequentially by views of three more satellites. At first, Kubrick planned to have a narrator state explicitly that these were armed nuclear weapon platforms while speaking of a nuclear stalemate between the superpowers.
This would have foreshadowed the now-discarded conclusion of the film showing the Star Child's detonating all of them. Piers Bizony, in his book 2001 Filming The Future, stated that after ordering designs for orbiting nuclear weapon platforms, Kubrick became convinced to avoid too many associations with Dr. Strangelove, and he decided not to make it so obvious that they were "war machines".
Alexander Walker, in a book he wrote with Kubrick's assistance and authorization, described the bone as "transformed into a spacecraft of the year A.D. 2001 as it orbits in the blackness around Earth", and he stated that Kubrick eliminated from his film the theme of a nuclear stalemate between the United States and the Soviet Union, each with globe-orbiting nuclear weapons. Kubrick now thought this had "no place at all in the film's thematic development", with the bombs now becoming an "orbiting red herring". Walker further noted that some filmgoers in 1968–69 would know that an agreement had been reached in 1967 between the powers not to put any nuclear weapons into outer space, and that if the film suggested otherwise, it would "merely have raised irrelevant questions to suggest this as a reality of the twenty-first century".
In the Canadian TV documentary 2001 and Beyond, Dr. Clarke stated that not only was the military purpose of the satellites "not spelled out in the film, there is no need for it to be", repeating later in this documentary that "Stanley didn't want to have anything to do with bombs after Dr. Strangelove".

German Orbiting Weapons Satellite

Here are some composite images of AJAModel's German Orbiting Weapons satellite from 2001 a space odyssey.

From Wikipedia"
How one views the satellites may affect one's reading of the film. Noted Kubrick authority Michel Ciment, in discussing Kubrick's attitude toward human aggression and instinct, observes "The bone cast into the air by the ape (now become a man) is transformed at the other extreme of civilization, by one of those abrupt ellipses characteristic of the director, into a spacecraft on its way to the moon." In contrast to Ciment's reading of a cut to a serene "other extreme of civilization", science fiction novelist Robert Sawyer, speaking in the Canadian documentary 2001 and Beyond, sees it as a cut from a bone to a nuclear weapons platform, explaining that "what we see is not how far we've leaped ahead, what we see is that today, '2001', and four million years ago on the African veldt, it's exactly the same—the power of mankind is the power of its weapons. It's a continuation, not a discontinuity in that jump."
Kubrick, notoriously reluctant to provide any explanation of his work, never publicly stated the intended functions of the orbiting satellites, preferring instead to let the viewer surmise what their purpose might be.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Chinese Orbiting Weapons Satellite

Here are some composite images of AJAModels Chinese Orbiting Weapons Satellite from 2001 a space odyssey.

From Wikipedia"
In the film, U.S. Air Force insignia, and flag insignia of China and Germany (including what appears to be an Iron Cross) can be seen on three of the satellites, which correspond to three of the bombs stated countries of origin in a widely circulated early draft of the script.
Production staff who continue to refer to "bombs" (in addition to Clarke) include production designer Harry Lange (previously a space industry illustrator), who has since the film's release shown his original production sketches for all of the spacecraft to Simon Atkinson, who refers to seeing "the orbiting bombs". Fred Ordway, the film's science consultant, sent a memo to Kubrick after the film's release listing suggested changes to the film, mostly complaining about missing narration and shortened scenes. One entry reads: "Without warning, we cut to the orbiting bombs. And to a short, introductory narration, missing in the present version". Multiple production staff aided in the writing of Jerome Agel's 1970 book on the making of the film, in which captions describe the objects as "orbiting satellites carrying nuclear weapons" Actor Gary Lockwood (astronaut Frank Poole) in the audio DVD commentary says the first satellite is an armed weapon, thus making the famous match-cut from bone to satellite a "weapon-to-weapon cut". Several recent reviews of the film mostly of the DVD release refer to armed satellites, possibly influenced by Gary Lockwood's audio commentary.
A few published works by scientists on the subject of space exploration or space weapons tangentially discuss 2001: A Space Odyssey and assume at least some of the orbiting satellites are space weapons. Indeed, details worked out with input from space industry experts, such as the structure on the first satellite that Pietrobon refers to as a "conning tower", match the original concept sketch drawn for the nuclear bomb platform. Modelers label them in diverse ways. On the one hand, the 2001 exhibit (given in that year) at the Tech Museum in San Jose and now online (for a subscription) referred merely to "satellites", while a special modeling exhibition at the exhibition hall at Porte de Versailles in Paris also held in 2001 (called 2001 l'odyssée des maquettes (2001: A Modeler's Odyssey)) overtly described their reconstructions of the first satellite as the "US Orbiting Weapons Platform". Some, but not all, space model manufacturers or amateur model builders refer to these entities as bombs.

American Orbiting Weapons Satellite

Here are some composite images of AJA Models U.S. Air Force Weapons Satellite from 2001 a space odyssey. Scale unknown.

From Wikipedia"
In a New York Times interview in 1968, Kubrick merely referred to the satellites as "spacecraft", as does the interviewer, but he observed that the match-cut from bone to spacecraft shows they evolved from "bone-as-weapon", stating "It's simply an observable fact that all of man's technology grew out of his discovery of the weapon-tool".
Nothing in the film calls attention to the purpose of the satellites. James John Griffith, in a footnote in his book Adaptations As Imitations: Films from Novels, wrote "I would wonder, for instance, how several critics, commenting on the match-cut that links humanity's prehistory and future, can identify — without reference to Clarke's novel — the satellite as a nuclear weapon".
Arthur C. Clarke, in the TV documentary "2001: The Making Of A Myth", described the bone-to-satellite sequence in the film, saying "The bone goes up and turns into what is supposed to be an orbiting space bomb, a weapon in space. Well, that isn't made clear, we just assume it's some kind of space vehicle in a three-million-year jump cut". Former NASA research assistant Steven Pietrobon wrote "The orbital craft seen as we make the leap from the Dawn of Man to contemporary times are supposed to be weapons platforms carrying nuclear devices, though the movie does not make this clear."
The vast majority of film critics, including noted Kubrick authority Michel Ciment, interpreted the satellites as generic spacecraft (possibly Moon bound).
The perception that the satellites are nuclear weapons persists in the minds of some viewers (and some space scientists). However, due to their appearance there are statements by members of the production staff who still refer to them as weapons. Walker, in his book Stanley Kubrick, Director, noted that although the bombs no longer fit in with Kubrick's revised thematic concerns (thus becoming "red herrings"), "nevertheless from the national markings still visible on the first and second space vehicles we see, we can surmise that they are the Russian and American bombs."
Similarly, Walker in a later essay stated that two of the spacecraft seen circling Earth were meant to be nuclear weapons, after asserting that early scenes of the film "imply" nuclear stalemate. Pietrobon, who was a consultant on 2001 to the Web site Starship Modeler regarding the film's props, observes small details on the satellites such as Air Force insignia and "cannons".