I am very happy with the way the squadron has taken shape and am looking forward to painting and basing them as well as the Confederate vessels I completed first of all. I intend building perhaps a further three ironclads (not including monitors) but the next priority will be the side wheeled rams and gunboats. As for naming these models I must confess that I have had a slight change of heart. Originally I was going to invent names for all of them - the Confederate vessels were all to named from places and characters from Gone With the Wind - but have now decided that I shall go down the historical route and use actual names as closely as possible.
Sunday, 12 December 2010
Big Bad Benton....Part 4
The picture above shows the latest addition to the scratch built ACW naval collection and what a beast she is! I pictured her alongside the three Cairo class vessels so you could get an idea of her overall dimensions. The USS Benton started life as a catamaran snagging boat used for removing floating obstacles from the rivers. She was converted into the fearsome vessel you see above by the simple expedient of decking over the central gap, adding a false bow and then applying tons of armour plate and ordnance. She was quite slow but, as drily observed by her designer, 'Plenty fast enough to fight with!'
I should point out the differences between my model and the real thing - the front face of the casemate should be in two sections forming a slight 'V' shape whereas mine is flat (and therefore much easier to make!). The broadside gun ports run too far along the hull although the number present is correct. The angles of the casemate are wrong - all my angled casemate models are at a standard 45 degree angle as that is easier to work with than more acute examples. My models are certainly all over the place in terms of scale but the relative differences will be apparent. The models are certainly taller than they should be but, at the risk of being cliched, they are purely representational. The only construction difficulty I experienced with her (and the Cairo class) was the curved wheel housing on the top deck. This was solved however by the fortuitous acquisition of a pack of assorted sized tube squeezers - the thing you use for rolling up tooth paste of paint tubes. Basically the section that you place the end of your tube in is curved and is also made from hard plastic (at least the ones I have are - they came from the local pound shop in a pack of ten) and so can be easily cut to the right size.