Monday 10 May 2021

Fifteen to go....

 C.S.S. Virginia. The brown ‘V’ on the foredeck was designed to divert water away as she had a very low freeboard. The grey section at the stern was 2” armour plating used to protect the steering.

I was able to finish the last of the ‘purpose built’ historical Confederate Ironclads meaning that I now have 11 built with one remaining and that one is next on the assembly line.

The C.S.S. Virginia needs little introduction from me but I will share some of the building details. Her casemate was rounded at both ends and thus far the only way I have successfully been able to model this is by using layered Balsa wood cut and sanded into shape. The U.S.S. Essex has one curved end but thus far I had never attempted tackling both ends. Happily it worked out fine but I did take the precaution of having a number of breaks whilst shaping them which certainly helped with my concentration!

The pilot house should really be a conical affair that follows the line of the casemate but my version does not. Nor does my version have gunports of the correct shape - I opted for my tried and tested 5mm square pieces of card - and as for the armoured stern section (to protect the steering) it is probably the wrong shape. She looks quite stocky but as I am working to a 6” maximum (two grid squares in my ACW naval rules) she is about as large as I can go. For all of this she looks ‘like what she is supposed to’ so I am happy! I am quite chuffed with how she turned out.

Of course if you are going to have the C.S.S.Virginia then it would churlish not to have the U.S.S. Monitor in the same picture!

The ‘Fifteen to go’ of the title of this post of course refers to the number of models I have left to build for the project. There are seven Confederate and eight Union ships although by Friday the Confederate numbers will be down to six as I complete the final casemate ironclad.

Of the fifteen models four of them will required a full set of masts and spars, three of them are ironclads and the remaining eight are gunboats of various types.

We are getting there!


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


A very impressive model of CSS VIRGINIA! You have captured the ‘look’ of the ship, and it is very obviously her ... and that is the mark of an excellent model.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hello there Bob,

Thank you old chap! For a casemate ironclad there was a lot of work involved with making her and she is up there with the octagonal versions for effort!

I have a feeling that Hampton Roads mat feature at some point....

All the best,


Steve J. said...

Great work once again David, and the 'V' a that the front and the armoured part to protect the steering are nice details that make her stand out:)

David Crook said...

Hi there Steve J,

Cheers old chap! She is quite distinctive looking and I am pleased with how she came out and I am hoping to get her into action soon!

All the best,


Archduke Piccolo said...

Hi David -
What a project! Your 'Virginia' is the 'Merrimac' as ever was. You have created as fine a pair of model navies as I've ever seen. It has been fascinating to see them develop.
I think your project has somewhat helped me in mine. I've almost completed the war fleet of the Wazir's Corsairs of the Coast - just one transport vessel needs to get its masts stepped, its yards crossed, and sails bent...

David Crook said...

Hello there Archduke,

Thank you kindly sir - much appreciated! I must confess that I did chuckle to myself when I wrote this post as originally I was only looking to build around 12 to 15 models in total....

Virginia was not difficult to build but I had to take a lot of care whilst making her. There was a lot of sanding involved! She is quite ‘cartoon-like’ but fits in well with the stylised nature of the rest of the collection. Did I mention there was a lot of sanding involved?

It is funny you mentioning the Wazir and his Corsairs - partially inspired by your good self and Madasahatta I have the beginnings of a cunning plan involving the 17th century, the Dutch, the Barbary Corsairs and the Brethren of the Coast (Indian Ocean Chapter).

All the best and thanks once again,


All will be revealed in due course.

Aly Morrison said...

Cracking stuff as ever David...

You have shown impressive focus throughout this project...
I would probably have fluttered on to many other things by now...šŸ˜‚

All the best. Aly

David Crook said...

Hello there Aly,

Thank you old chap! I have surprised myself by the way I hav stuck to this project although there has been more than a few wobbles along the way!

All the best,