Finally at the painting stage. Three Union monitors and three Confederate casemate ironclads. The latter have the funnels and pilot houses waiting to be painted before fixing - mainly as I need to paint the wooden roof of the casemates. I hope (fingers crossed!) to get these painted over the weekend and in action next week.
I have tripped myself up on a couple of occasions during the construction of the six models you see above. From my perspective it is worth me pointing out just where things want a little awry for future reference and whilst there was nothing too dramatic it proved to be chastening experience on a couple of occasions!
My previous models were constructed largely with balsa wood for the hulls and main parts of the superstructure and a combination of craft sticks and coffee stirrers. Odd bits and pieces featured and I remember using plastic card for the gun port covers.
Balsa wood I found ver easy to work with although it needs careful handling. It is easy to shape and could be sanded as required very easily - in fact my building process always allowed a couple of millimetres hear and there so that the models could be sanded into shape - particularly when building angled casemates.
The models I am building now are on the face of it easier as a certain amount of the material was pre cut (the hulls and turrets although there will be more). However, this advantage was initially squandered as I tried to build the models using my old ‘allow a couple of mill here and there and sand to size’ technique. MDF does not take filing very well! No major disasters but a degree of careful trimming with a very sharp knife put things to rights. The lesson here is to make sure that all measurements are a lot more accurate than I previously did.
I did struggle with raw material as much of what I used previously I no longer have - mainly on the plastic side - so I was forced to improvise. The gun port covers and deck hatches are cut from the lid of a magazine tub!
For what I shall be using these models for they have come out rather well. I thoroughly enjoyed the building process and several valuable lessons were learned. I have owned out the painting schemes I shall be using and they will not take long to get into fighting trim. I am not finished with the naval side of the ACW by any means and have plans for around another dozen models. This was certainly more than I envisaged originally but my plans have evolved slightly.
I am looking forward to the next two ship building projects. The first of these will be some ocean going Ironclads from the 1865 to 1885 period - probably centred around the late 1870s. I have a hankering for some naval imagi-nation style gaming involving those two doughty adversaries Fezia and Rusland. Following on from that - which will feature around two dozen models - I shall be looking at the pre dreadnought era, agin this will be from an imagi-nation perspective and will probably be featuring Fezia and Rusland once again but who knows?
In any event it is really good to be back building ships again and with the new techniques and the advantages of laser cut MDF, it should be a lot of fun. That’s before I even get to the table top!