Dennis Cannady’s Models of the CSS Planter

Today, I laid out the first page of the graphic novel, and started sketching some ideas for each panel.

Before I did that, I collected together reference images that I would be using. As I did this, I realised that there are, unsurprisingly, very few photographs or even drawings of the ship Robert Smalls escaped in and then served in for years for The Union. Most of the images I have found show it from very similar angles and are not overly clear. Given that the actual Planter has been at the bottom of the sea for over a hundred years, I’m unlikely to be seeing any new images of it any time soon either.

Given that I am going to be drawing this boat a lot over the course of this project, the lack of reference material isn’t ideal so I’ve spent some of today looking for more.

Excitingly, I came across this fellow, Dennis Cannady, a retired mechanical engineer and now a model-maker who has made several fabulous models of The CSS Planter!

Dennis Cannady with a model of the CSS Planter
Dennis Cannady with one of his models of the CSS Planter

I reached out to him via his Facebook page,  Scale Models By Dennis to ask if he would be willing to photograph one of his models from different angles for me to give me a few different references I could base my drawings on.

His son, who manages the Facebook page, has replied saying he will pass my request on to Dennis, and that Dennis is always happy to talk about The Planter and Robert Smalls so this is hopeful!

I don’t even know if Dennis still has access to the models. I know one is in an exhibition. He may well have sold or given away the others, but hopefully, he does have access one and may be able to help. I really am extremely grateful to anybody who can provide any help with this project.

 Fingers crossed! 

3 thoughts on “Dennis Cannady’s Models of the CSS Planter”

  1. I am interested in where you are headed with this project. I have crafted six models of the CSS and SS PLANTER since 2007. Some in museums, some in schools, some in private collections. None in my possession now.
    They were all scratch design and build from my personal research and designs. Much of the design information came from family of John Ferguson, the owner and captain of the SS Planter, who employed Robert Smalls as the first wheelman on the ship.

  2. I no longer have any of the 6 models that I crafted. Please advise specific questions or requests for information to me at my email address

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