Tuesday 27 April 2021

ACW Naval Endgame and Black Seas

Thoroughbred Miniatures double ended Ferry adapted as a gunboat. Note the ‘walking beam’ engine assembly 

The ‘walking beam’ as translated by Warbases

It was a good day yesterday and for the first time in several weeks I actually feel quite positive about the future. The ongoing domestic situation took a dramatic turn for the better yesterday and at last (despite a last minute hiccup of an administrative nature) the steps are in place to address and hopefully, in time, resolve the issue. The change in the atmosphere at Chez Crook is noticeable and certainly most welcome! As an aside a big thank you to all those that offered their best wishes during this ongoing episode - it has been much appreciated.

My Warbases order arrived and as you would have seen from my blog post of yesterday I am at last in the position of being able to complete the ACW naval project - at least as far as the ship models are concerned. The last phase will be - perhaps unsurprisingly - rather larger than I originally intended and is looking like it will be nudging some 20 models! Some of these will be quite straightforward to build, others less so. There are also a couple of rebuilds factored into this although I am having second thoughts about one of them. 

A number of the ships I will be building feature the ‘walking beam’ assembly as well as deck mounted artillery. Both of these are quite fiddly to put together so my plan is to assemble the whole lot en masse and then add them to the models as required. I would prefer to get all the fiddly stuff dealt with in one batch especially as I have to shape some 25 gun barrels from cocktail sticks in two lengths! I shall look to do these two tasks first of all methinks as I have yet to work out the building order of the remaining ships.

The picture you see at the head of this post is of one of the double ended ferries pressed into Union service. A fair number of these were used and I am planning on building three of them. I shall also be adding to the Union another couple of monitors, another couple of city class gunboats (possibly just one with the U.S.S. Chillicothe - I have yet to are a final decision on this), three ‘90 day gunboats’ and a couple of fully masted types. The Confederates will be getting another couple of ironclads, four more gunboat types (again I have yet to decide on which) a commerce raider and a blockade runner. If this all seems a little fluid then I hold my hand up - guilty as charged! I have not been able to nail it down as tightly as I would liked to have done for obvious reasons.

The two models currently earmarked for rebuilding. The Confederate casemate ironclad will definitely be reconfigured but the jury is out on the Union ship as it may take rather more work to change.

Finally, a big shout out to Warlord Games Customer Service. If you recall I was gifted an untouched and unused copy of Black Seas a short while ago, along with some other bits and pieces, from that very nice chap The Jolly Broom Man. Unfortunately one of the Brigs had a gun barrel sheared off - a small thing but  quite noticeable. More from hope than expectation I contacted Warlord to see if I could get a replacement - for which I was happy to pay for I might add - and lo and behold they came back to me within a couple of days, acknowledged the issue (they needed to know the packing slip details) and sent me a replacement free of charge. During the exchange of emails I rather cheekily asked about getting one of their sheets of Spanish flags and to my surprise and delight they popped one of these in with the replacement Brig sprue.

Really good service from Warlord - especially considering that it was a rather speculative request!

For the Black Seas Napoleonic project (when I get to it) I reckon I have a pretty good starting point although at some point I will add some Schooners and perhaps cutters. It is a way off yet so I will park it for later consideration. 

Taking all of the above into consideration I am feeling rather more energised than I have for sometime so let us hope I can translate this ‘feel good factor’ into something tangible!


The Jolly Broom Man said...

So that’s what the walking beam thingies are for! I was frightened to ask. All looking very cool. Top stuff.

David Crook said...

Hello there Jolly Broom Man,

Warbases really did a great job on these and they will be featuring on a number of models. I did not fancy scratch building then that’s for sure!

A very good gaming friend of mine did exactly that for a number of his scratch built ACW ships and just as he finished Peter Pig launched their Hammerin’ Iron 1:600th range which included a number of ships that had, you’ve guessed it, walking beams (and you can buy the separately....).

It is finally all coming together!

All the best,


Steve J. said...

Great to hear things have taken a turn for the better on the home front and fingers crossed for the future. I have know idea what a walking beam thingy is, but I'm sure it will look great. Great customer service from Warlord Games, which is nice to see.

David Crook said...

Hi Steve J,

Many thanks old chap. It is has been a journey for sure but at last we are on the right road.

The walking beam is the strange looking structure at the top of the picture of the ferry. It is actually part of the engine and was popular on inland waterways as many of the vessels were shallow draft meaning that the engine had to be mounted higher in the ship’s hull. It was cheap to make and marinating as well as being reliable.

Warlord really came good for me on this which I was delighted with!

All the best,


James Fisher said...

More great looking ships David. I look forward to your take on the double-ended ferry. It should be fun (and rewarding) to construct?
Regards, James

David Crook said...

Hello there James Fisher,

Thank you old chap!

In my mind’s eye the ferries will be a little squarer in respect of the deck spaces fore and aft. Using the material I have means that I may struggle to get the requisite number of guns in place but as these are ‘based upon’ rather than strictly historical it will not be an issue. They will certainly look like they are supposed to do and for the record will be around 3” long.

First of all though, I have three other models to finish....

ll the best,