Monday 10 September 2018

Preparing for the ACW Big Build

A selection of scratchbuilt ACW ship models built by Jack Alexander of Jacklex fame

The 1:600th Peter Pig ACW ships have finally gone to their new homes -  say homes because the collection has split into two parts. I probably lost out on the deals financially but not so much as to make it too painful on the finances. As wargamers I am sure we are all familiar with the curious concept of diminishing returns and of buying things that seemed like a good idea at the time!

The only part of the collection I have retained is the hexed Hammerin' Iron gaming mat as this will play - at least initially - quite an important role in my ACW project. The hexes for this mat are 5.5" across the flat sides which means I can build larger models than for the 4" Hexon version. This also means using a more robust building material so I shall be taking to Basswood rather than Balsa. i will need to lay in a supply of suitable construction materials and tools as most of my modelling gear is designed with Balsa, card or plastic in mind.

The models will be 'cartoon style' in that they will be taller in relation to their length so as they can appear alongside the Spencer Smith figures should the need arise. As the collection is very river focused I expect some combined operation type games or at the very least making use of naval gunfire support.

When I built a similar collection a few years ago the models based on specific types. This time around I shall avoid this as I am more concerned with using generic types. The river fleets featured a whole raft of converted merchant types, ferries, passenger vessels and many other assorted types that were pressed into service and whilst specific purpose built types existed I am thinking that the former motley selection would be more fun build. I shall certainly include some specific types - probably around a third of the collection - but I want to have some fun with this.

A monitor and casemate ironclad trade blows at close range. Taken from Bob Cordery's book Gridded Naval Wargames

In Bob Cordery's excellent Gridded Naval Wargames book he provides some construction details for a typical casemate ironclad and a monitor type warship which are very helpful and will certainly provide me with some valuable guidance.

The biggest difference with these models though is that not only will I not be basing them but I will also be giving them fictional names.

There is a very good reason for this and all will become clear in due course....

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