The ship's 23-ton, 28-foot wide (or tall) paddlewheel looks like the fruit of a giant erector set. The long central shaft and rotors were built elsewhere and delivered to the site, and workers are now assembling the parts with a little motivation from the local country music station. Wood panels will soon fill in the gaps -- you can see one test panel -- and then boat and wheel will be wed in February.
Queen of the Mississippi's sternwheel isn't the only means of propulsion. Tucked underneath the stern are a pair of Z-drive units, and the 1,900 horse power twin engines that will help maintain speed especially when cruising up river.