Sunday 5 February 2012

Warship Models and a Plan

Readers of the the blog will have no seen mention of the range of warships available for a short time from Minifigs at the back end of the 1960s and early 1970s. Through various means I have been able to acquire a modest collection of these models and the plan is to either drop cast some more copies or to approach a manufacturer with a view to having the models professionally moulded and cast and available once again for battle on the table tops (or even floors!) of the world. Negotiations for this are underway and I will post on the blog if and when this comes to fruition.

In the meantime though, I thought it would be a good idea to illustrate the models I do have and then you will be able to judge for yourselves if this idea is a viable one. I am certainly very excited about the prospect of seeing these models back in production but I fully appreciate that they will not all things to all men!

Minifigs Number 1 or a mysterious B4 - the number on the stern. Lord Nelson and 76mm long.

The first model is of a Lord Nelson class Battleship and was numbered as number 1 on the Minifigs list I have. However, the model depicted is both hollow and die cast unlike the Minifigs version which is a solid casting - I have one of each. The die cast version came from the same source as the Swiftsure below.

Minifigs Number 2 or a mysterious B2 - the number on the stern. Swiftsure and 82mm long.

The second model is a Swiftsure class Battleship which was number 2 in the Minifigs list. This is the die cast equivalent and features a B2 on the stern. I was fortunate enough to acquire a pair of these at my local Toy and Train Fair.

B3 or the rather imposing King Edward VII - note the 9.2" at either end of the central superstructure. She is 82mm long.

The next model is of a King Edward VII class battleship and this particular ship was not available from Minifigs. Again, this is a die cast model with the number B3 on the stern. This one came from Ebay and cost me a mere 99p!

At the time of writing I have Majestic class Battleship en route from the USA (Minifigs list number 3) and so I hope to add this to the collection as a possible candidate for recasting. I really want to get hold of a Minifigs Number 6 - a Canopus class battleship as this is the most generic looking example of a battleship for the whole period and so would serve as many different classes of ship. I would guess that its popularity for this very reason is probably why I am unable to find one!

Minifigs No. 7 - HMS Drake - a Drake class armoured cruiser 84mm long

Minifigs No.7 is the cruiser HMS Drake and with a little imagination could easily be used as a Cressy or even a Diadem class cruiser without too much difficulty.

Minifigs No. 8 - A Devonshire class cruiser

Minifigs No. 8 is a Devonshire class cruiser. She comes in at 81mm long.

Minifigs No. 13 - 'Early Turret Battleship' - I don't think so....

Minifigs No. 13 is a Highflyer or Arrogant class cruiser although is described on the list as an 'Early Turret Battleship'. She is 69mm in length.

The next selection of models are all destroyer or torpedo boat types and to be honest, I have not attempted to match them with their historical counterparts yet. They seem fairly representative of the myriad types the RN had on the go during the 1895 to 1905 period and needless to say, 'turtlebacks' feature quite prominently.

Minifigs No. 19 Destroyer 46mm in length

Minifigs No. 20 Destroyer 47mm in length

Minifigs No. 21 Destroyer 45mm in length

Minifigs No. 22 Destroyer 46mm in length 

Minifigs No. 24 Destroyer 53mm in length

There are even a couple of submarines in the collection - as well as a single example of merchantman.

Minifigs No. 15 Transport ship 71mm in length

Minifigs No. 26 Submarine 45mm in length

Minifigs No. 25 Submarine 42mm in length

At the time of writing I am very keen to acquire the aforementioned HMS Canopus (No. 6) and also Minifigs No. 14 which is described on the list as an 'Early Turret battleship' but is in fact an Edgar class cruiser which could also be used for a Blake class.

The models above are very basic in terms of detail for sure and would certainly not win any prizes in terms of accuracy BUT as gaming pieces indicative of the type and with a little work could be turned into something pretty respectable looking. The models originally were cast with masts etc in place but sadly none of these have survived and so I will clean up the stump prior to casting. In fact the models all need a little cleaning up in respect of flash etc but it is hardly a major undertaking. I suppose these ships can best be described as 'Marmite Models' because you will either love them or you will hate them. For my part I love them and so will press on to see about making these models available to the naval war gaming fraternity once again.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


I really hope that this project does succeed. The models would be ideal to use with MOBAS or even a tabletop Fletcher Pratt naval wargame.

All the best,


Corporal_Trim said...

Great to see them in any form, David. No question that your castings look cleaner than mine.

Any sign of the Majestic yet ?


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

So do I! If I could only track down those two 'missing' models we would be looking at something rather special!

I shall press on regardless and certainly FP has been mooted as being a likely subject for these models.

Also, as they are scaled at 1/1800th - the same as the Axis and Allies War at Sea range - the potential for using some of their models increases the scope of the range.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Steve,

Not as yet but fear not, I will let you know as soon as she does.

All the models need a little cleaning up prior to be used as masters but there is nothing hugely problematic - just lots of filing!

All the best,


Paul O'G said...

I am so 'on board' with this project and have many fingers crossed for you!

David Crook said...

Hi Paul,

As they are scaled at 1:1800th they will also fit in with the War at Sea models which increases the possibilities hugely - and of course the will look good with Aeronef kit as well!

Keep those fingers crossed!

All the best,


Corporal_Trim said...


The scale of the BMC's is a moving target. Try holding any of the models up against the 1:1920 silhouttes in Jane's. For length, they're anywhere from 1:1500 - 1:2100. For height, they tower over the silhouttes.

But yes, if we have to assign a number to it, 1:1800 is about right. Despite the "sliding scale", they're consistent within the toylike parameters (if that makes any sense).


David Crook said...

Hi Steve,

Agreed re the 'sliding scale' - I had given up trying to measure these to any kind of consistent scheme!

No sign of Majestic as yet but given the weather here has been 'challenging' it should be any time soon.

All the best,