A wise man once said “How do ya like them apples?” Or as Dr. Oscar Parkes himself said on page 689: “To those of us who remember the rigged ironclads in Reserve, and have followed battleship development from the old Royal Sovereign, there is something infinitely pathetic in the passing of man’s most wonderful creation afloat.”
Since the publication of The Portable Ironclads Wargame I have been in something of a funk hobby-wise. I always intended signing off at publication on the ACW project and then looking to tackle something else with the Samurai being the main focus. In the meantime I have fussed around a few other ideas and have also fully intended getting some games in but I have found it very difficult to get motivated in any particular direction. More and more I am realising that I have a degree of unfinished business in respect of the whole ironclads thing and this has really acted as a kind of brake on tackling anything else.
So what do I do?
Well, there are a few models outstanding for the ACW project - ships and terrain - which will serve to draw a line under this particular phase of the overall idea. However I had a couple of other ironclad based ideas to play around with - War in the Pacific, the Boshin War and possibly something Russo Turkish - but these were always planned to be tackled much later.
Further down the line I was also looking to extend the system into the pre dreadnought era but this would require some major building work beforehand as I would be making the models from scratch.
I am going to tackle the unfinished business of the ironclads project but in a different way than envisaged. There are a couple of book ideas in the planning stage - no details as yet - which will serve to fully wrap up the ironclads. This is something I always intended doing so is not anything new. What is new though, is the choice around the models I shall be looking at building. I had flirted with the idea of something Lissa based but now reckon that I have some rather more fun to look at.
I can lay the blame for this idea at the feet of two worthies from the blogosphere. In the first instance and the reason for this post, is Mr David Manley.
I met up with him for a couple of beers up in town and as ever the conversation was illuminating and the company convivial. The book you see above, considered by many to be the definitive word on the design and development of the British Battleship, now has pride of place in my naval library, courtesy of the aforementioned Mr Manley. I have no words to describe how gobsmacked I was have been given this - it truly is a magisterial work. Thank you Mr Manley, I only hope that my future naval endeavours will be worthy of this magnificent gift!
The book itself is a great doorstop of a tome. It has 701 pages and 450 plans and photographs. Covering the period from the Warrior to the Vanguard it describes with technical detail every single battleship built for the Royal Navy as well how the designs came about, foreign contemporaries, service histories and much, much more. I can see me getting an awful lot of use from this!
The second source of inspiration would be Jim Jackaman. The reasons for this are simple. He has built many ironclads models for the English and French in 1:2400th and has fought a number of really interesting battles set in the English Channel. I shall be revisiting his blog for further inspiration for sure and will no doubt be perennially distracted by his myriad other projects! For now though, I shall be trawling through his blog for his ironclad stuff.
Just the one for now and due for a change in the paint job. H.M.S. Superb, sister to the Turkish ironclad the Messudieh.
I rather fancy building some Royal Navy and French ships for use with the Portable Ironclads Wargame. Some blue water action would make a change from the swampy bayous of the ACW. Most of the ships will be one offs so some careful preparation would be needed but I reckon it is a goer. It would be nowhere near as large as the ACW collection in terms of numbers but the variety of ships will be interesting to build for sure. I already have one for the Royal Navy: H.M.S. Superb.
So it looks like my naval itch will continue being scratched for a while yet - like that was ever even a choice!