Sunday 22 May 2011

Fully Commissioned into the Confederate Navy....ACW Painting Part 8

I finally managed to get the clear plastic bases, name labels and flags finished for the first nine ACW models and so here they are.

First of all we have the CSS Louisiana and Mississippi. The former was actually built and finished but sadly only the paddle engines were connected and so she could barely make 2 kts and so was towed into position and used as a floating battery. Mississippi was not completed hence the name being in italics.

The next pair, although related in that they are the same casemate ironclad type (loosely called the Columbia class), are the Texas and the Columbia. Columbia when launched was reckoned on being the best built of all the Confederate inronclads but sadly she ran aground and broke her back. Texas was never completed (so will need to have the name label changed to one in italics...D'oh!). The smaller casemate was designed to reduce the use of increasingly scarce raw material as the war went on.

The CSS Arkansas needs no introduction as the ship that ran past the Union Fleet to Vicksburg. Her sister, the Tennessee (1), was burned to avoid capture whilst on the stocks at Memphis.

Finally we have the 'Odd Squad' - the Missouri, the Baltic and the Manassas. The Missouri spent the entire war on patrol around Shreveport - her draft was such that not only could she not get at the Union they could also not get to her! She was unusual in that she had a centre wheel that that strictly speaking should probably have been uncovered. I have followed Gibbons in this and allowed for a cover (it makes the models a whole easier to build!). The Baltic was in very poor condition and so her armour was removed and used to plate the Nashville. Finally the Manassas. A great idea - based on Winan's 'Cigar Ship' idea from the 1850s - but sadly she was woefully underpowered (a very common problem for Confederate ironclads) and for ram to only be able to make 4 or 5 knots her career was always going to be a short and interesting one - and so it proved to be the case.

The clear plastic used for the bases (with the addition of some 'waves and wakes') was not the easiest of materials to use - I rather thought it would be like a transparent version of ordinary plastic card but this is not the case. The surface is like glass so there is little purchase for a knife. I ended up using a bradawl to score the lines I needed and then snapped it along the line. You can cut it with scissors - I discovered this at the end naturally. You can file the edges reasonably well although you do get the inevitable plastic friction melt which is tedious to remove.

To be honest I am not sure about the bases although they are certainly effective on a variety of surfaces. I think I may have overdone the white slightly but having said that, I am pleased I opted to use this method as opposed to painted card.

They are now officially finished!


Peter Douglas said...


Very nice job. I like the idea of using italics on uncompleted vessels. The bases are effective too.

Now they just need some bayous to prowl!


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

These are looking very nice indeed!

The bases and nameplates enhance the look of the models and will make them easy to identify.

Good luck with the rest,

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

Thankyou kindly sir! I am still unsure about the bases but that may be just because it is the first time I have tried this method. All of my previous naval collections have used painted card for the bases.

Swampy bayous? Funny you should mention that....I have a cunning plan....;-)

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

The next nine vessels are now under the brush but I am not convinced I will them ready for when I go on holiday - although it wont be for lack of trying!

The printed labels are a far cry from the old 1980s hand written ones! I like the flags on the bases as it makes for easy identification and is much easier than having them on the model!

All the best,


David Manley said...

Hurrah! Excellent stuff!

David Crook said...

Hi DM,

Welcome back! Very pleased them thus far also still thinking about the bases. Sorry for the deluge of emails re MoW - my head has been spinning with ideas and all the while much of what I needed to use for reference was in two other sets of rules I have in my collection....;-)

That will teach to read attachments much sooner and no mistake!

All the best,


Paul O'G said...

They are the buisness mate - I know what you mena about the clear bases, but I think you have definately made the right choice.

Fantastic result mate - very well done indeed. Jackie Fisher would be proud of your naval arms race!

David Crook said...

Hi Paul of the Man Cave,

Cheers mate! The next 9 are underway - 7 x city class, Essex and big, bad Benton.

The clear bases have grown on me and the apparent excess of white can be put down to the storm of shot and shell they are doubtless receiving!

All the best,


PS I reckon around another 25 models will finish the fighting stuff - then it is an assortment of tugs, coal barges, mortar rafts and transports.

Conrad Kinch said...

Well done - nice to see them turn out so well.

David Crook said...

Hi CK,

Many thanks old chap! I was pleasantly surprised to see the results after the brushwork and at table ranges they look absolutely fine. It was also very therapeutic building them and so after the painting is finished on all 50 I shall enjoy planning the next building project.

All the best,