For a variety of reasons I was very glad to see the back of building this particular model! She has scrubbed up quite well although she came very close to being thrown across the man cave on more than one occasion....
My building technique for the ships comprising the ACW collection is a tribute to the power of the straight line. My ship hulls are invariably straight sided and the only curves to be seen are usually at the bow and the stern. Straight sides, however unrealistic they may be makes modelling infinitely simpler and so pretty much all of my casemate style ironclads have a very box like demeanour. The U.S.S Essex has a curved rear portion whilst the C.S.S. Manassas has a curve to her hull but other than that all of mine are angled on the front, rear and sides for sure but ramrod straight with it.
The Confederates built a number of casemate ironclads sporting an octagonal casemate. I do not know the full reasoning behind this other than the fact it saved raw materials in the build - for much the same reason as some of their later ironclads sported quite small, almost box like casemates. With this in mind I decided to build a larger octagonal casemate ironclad and a smaller version. This also ties in with the decision I have made concerning some of the other Confederate ironclads I have built - the C.S.S Georgia and the two smaller models.
Before I go into the octagonal ironclads in detail I will tell you what I am planning to do with the aforementioned trio of models. I am going to rebase the floating battery version of the C.S.S. Georgia and dispense with the full hull version. I am also going to retire the two smaller ironclads. These were amongst the first models I built and to be honest I have improved my construction technique to the point that they now look a little out of place. I will still have a use for them though as they will be used as floating batteries - I will simple take the casemate off the hull.
The octagonal casemate was an absolute git to build! I came very close to just abandoning the idea as a bad job because no matter what I did it seemed to go wrong. Matching up the angles of the casemate was a vexing experience for sure and no matter how I tried I could not get the front and rear face to sit straight!
After much cursing, filing, gluing and more cursing, filing and gluing - did I mention filing? - I managed to get her assembled but the problems did not end there. For some reason I seemed to develop an acute case of ‘not being able to stick anything on to where it was supposed to go’ so gun ports, hatch covers, the funnel and flagstaff all needed positioning and then repositioning as they were wrong in the first place - all very tedious and very depressing.
I got there in the end and it was worth the effort but it was a torturous process - building three masted ships is a doddle by comparison and I still have one more octagonal casemate to build....