Wednesday 12 May 2021

Filling in the gaps

The last of the Confederate casemate ironclads

 I was really not looking forward to building the last of the Confederate ironclads. Building the larger version of the ship you see above was frustrating enough but the smaller version was a different order of pain altogether! In theory it should be easy enough - just ensure that the top octagon matched the bottom one - but the slightest deviation on the angles throws the whole thing out of alignment.

That is what happened. 

Assembly of the ‘cross’ of the casemate was easy enough, it was the angled faces that caused the problems. The problems were largely of my own making as I do not have any material I can use for the angled faced that is thin and flexible enough. I thought I had some appropriately gauged plastic card but no, only the thick stuff. I tried several alternatives but none worked as would have liked and so in a moment of desperation I opted for the nuclear option - and promptly filled each angle with filler!

The filled casemate prior to final sanding. Unconventional perhaps but it seemed to work out well enough!

To my surprise and delight it actually worked.

By carefully building the filler up in layers, allowing it to dry thoroughly and then lightly sanding I was able to get a pretty smooth finish. Once the gunports are in place, the whole thing sealed, painted and varnished you would hardly notice the difference!

The two octagonal casemates types - little and large!

For all the pain involved I am rather pleased with how she turned out and as mentioned, she is the final ironclad for the Confederates. I have built a dozen of which six are modelled on historic ships:

C.S.S. Virginia

C.S.S. Georgia

C.S.S. Louisiana

C.S.S. Missouri

C.S.S. Arkansas

C.S.S. Manassas 

Of the above the Georgia and the Louisiana were little better than floating batteries but having said that they certainly look suitably imposing.

The six historical types - from the top left we have the Virginia, the Louisiana and the Georgia whilst in the bottom row the brown and rusted Arkansas is joined by the Missouri and the Manassas

The other six models are more generic looking and so will serve as required - either as historic or ‘imagi-naval’ style vessels.

These are the six generic types that be used as required

As an aside rechecked the number of models the collection will consist of as I must have miscounted. It actually comes to 59 whereas I was convinced it was 60. Since I am sixty years of age I shall sneak in another model for the Union so there will be a model for each of my years!

The full dozen in all their glory. There are now 45 models completed with 15 to go

On with the next batch!


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


A very impressive fleet! You ought to feel proud of what you have achieved with this project ... and your latest addition is a mini-masterpiece.

Once you have finished this project, a massive fleet review is an absolute must!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hello there Bob,

Thank you old chap!

It is certainly getting there! The two octagonal casemate ironclads came out better than they had any right to - especially given the trouble I had getting them built!

I am pleased that I have gotten as far as I have without running out of steam and there will certainly be a fleet review when it is completed.

Best I get a move on with the final 15!

All the best and thanks once again,


Steve J. said...

Despite your scratch building woes, the octagonal casemate looks really good. Rest assured filler was our constant friend when making shapes like these, so you're doing exactly the same as the 'pros'!

David Crook said...

Hello there Steve J,

Funnily enough using the filler made the whole process really easy - I wish I had thought of it sooner! Still, all done now so I can move on with the next batch. These will take slightly longer as I need to make rather a lot of masts....

All the best,


Aly Morrison said...

Another great addition to the fleet David...

All the beat. Aly

David Crook said...

Hello there Aly,

Thanks old chap! Work is in hand with the remaining models so a grand review will be taking place by the end of next month.

All the best,