Sunday, October 12, 2014

British Ironclads?

 Yes, those are, indeed, British ironclads on my workbench.  Specifically the Warrior on the left and the Hector on the right.  There might be a few more ships waiting their turn in the background.  Why British Ironclads?  Because there cool and because this year's "big project" will be putting on two linked games at Historicon'15 that are based on a hypothetical British intervention during the Civil War.  The first game will be a naval one featuring a combined British/CSA fleet trying to force a landing of British troops.  The second game will be a land battle game in 28mm whose setup will be influenced by the outcome of the first game.  There "may be" some representation of the French fleet but who knows what side they'll take.  You can thank the Perry brothers for this madness with there new line of 28mm British intervention forces.  Unfortunately for Curt and his annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge this means yet even more submissions of 28mm Perry Plastic Confederates as I'm aiming for 24 battalions per side for the land battle.  "Bigger is Better" is always true, isn't it?

 The ironclads are all 1/600 scale.  The cast resin hulls for the British ships are from Bay Area Yards and were purchased several years ago.  The casts are fairly basic, but inexpensive ($8-$10 per hull).  However, all you get is the hull cast.  To be honest, Thoroughbred Figures models are far superior in both detail and completeness, but are a bit more expensive $20-$25.00 per model for a similar sized ships (more traditional ironclads are less).  As some readers may surmise, I like all things nautical, so the extra scratch building and painting challenge to make the Bay Area Yards models table ready is something I'm looking forward to.

Rather than use brass rod for the masts, I went with styrene rod.  Why - because I've lent my small parts soldering iron the my robotics team and will not see it back until April.  Despite the "thick" look of the styrene.  I found it fairly easy to work with.  When making a mast first drill out the holes in the hull (1/8 inch).  I use a drill press to ensure the hole is straight.  Then insert the rod to mark off the depth of the hole (that's the portion on the left side of the measuring line.  I didn't do a lot of research on mast height so kind of winged it.

Next step is to cut the second portion of the mast with thinner rod and glue in place.  This is where styrene shines as a materials as you can file the joining portions flat to ensure a good bond.

Once the masts are done, cut small squares of thin styrene sheet for the mast platforms and drill a hole the size of the main section and then slide up to then bottom of the top mast.  (sorry, no pictures)

The last step is the spars - which are cut (I used sizes of 1.125, 1.00, 0.75 inches), cut a notch in the middle and then glued in place.  A little green stuff was added for furled sails along the lower sections.  Some of the spars are not exactly square but that will be fixed during rigging after painting and detailing are done.

These ships are referred to as "Broadside Ironclads" and they pack a punch.  The Warrior was armed with 26 68 pounders, 10 110's and 4 40's while the Hector had 20 68 pounders and 4 110's!  Very impressive!  They're weakness is hinted at in their name - armor plating was only applied to the sides - the bows and sterns of both ships where unarmored.  The first chance we'll get to see how these behemoths do against they're battle tested Union foes will be the upcoming play by blog game that was discussed a few posts ago.

That's it for now - I'm heading back to the sailboat show!


r.a.e. gingerbhoy said...

Very nice! Though hearts of iron doesn't quite have the same ring to it as hearts of oak. :)
Looking forward to seeing their progression.

Blaxkleric said...

Looks like a terrific project, and you're clearly being inspired by the Annapolis Sail Boat Show. Great clear pics too, so looking forward to how you get on with this enormously.

jmilesr said...

More like "Hearts of Teak" since most of these ships were built with teak and then had armor plating added.


Admiral Drax said...


I'm a Portsmouth boy, born and bred, and I tell you there never was a more beautiful ship than the Warrior 1860: seriously, she is simply breathtakingly well crafted!

Good luck with this project, mate. It's funny: I've often wondered what might've happened with a British intervention in the ACW...

Michael Mills said...

Oooh! Those are nice!

Paul oftheManCave said...

Lovely indeed! Can't wait to see Warrior finished- been on board her several times and could see her from my bedroom window when I lived in Portsmouth 12 years ago