The first of the Turkish ironclads. I have a couple of Russian armed merchant cruisers currently under construction by way of some opposition. Historically these were used as tenders for spar torpedo launches, minelayers and also to draw Turkish ironclads away from shore bombardments etc. Very much ‘shoot and scoot’ type operations.
It was a strange day yesterday. I felt particularly lethargic and it was a real effort doing anything let alone painting models but I gave myself a gentle nudge and pressed on and I am glad that I did. At the time of writing I am still testing positive but today, aside from a nagging and irritating cough I feel relatively normal.
I finally finished the four Turkish ironclads and I have to say that I am rather pleased with how they came out. As usual they are very much ‘based upon’ rather than super detailed scale models but for my purposes they will work quite nicely. Whilst I was working on these I gave some thought to the opposition and so have taken a couple of hulls from the ACW ships currently under construction and will repurpose them into Russian armed merchant types. When my Warbases order arrives I shall be able to build the other two Turkish ironclads which will suffice for the collection although I could easily build another four!
The Avnillah class of central battery ironclads - note the cutaway section in the casemate to increase the fields of fire. Both ships were built on the Thames and the other of the class was the Muin-i Zaffir
The models were built using my tried and tested MDF laminate technique - in this case four layers each of 3mm thickness. Deck fixtures are mostly card except for the funnels that are dowel rod cut to size. Masts are from bamboo skewers with cocktail sticks for the spars. Paint was a mixture of Humbrol enamel - and Vallejo - Iraqi Sand for the masts and Black for the hull and spars. As per usual I opted for a satin varnish as this gives a suitable ‘old school’ appearance and is in keeping with the overall ‘look’.
On the face of it the Russo Turkish War does not really have a lot to offer. Historically the Turks had an overwhelming superiority in terms of material but for the most part the overall command of the fleet was poorly handled and listless in operation. The Russians were quickly able to seize the initiative along the Danube, thereby ensuring that the armies movement was not overly inconvenienced. The various extemporised cruisers the Russians employed, whilst not being a match for the Turkish ironclads in a stand up fight, were able to operate effectively across the Black Sea with little interference. They did cross swords occasionally and one such incident will feature in a game as soon as I have built the Russian ship in question.
Whilst I was building these models and indeed, also the ACW collection my thoughts naturally turned towards the other periods of history that I could produce stylised models for. If I am honest I reckon that the pre-dreadnought era would probably be about as late as I would go for capital ships although certain facets of the Great War would certainly be achievable. The problem as I see is that when one get to the dreadnought era warships become a lot more ‘fussy’ in terms of above deck detail. My approach would probably not be flexible enough to capture this adequately. The type of combats I will be fighting tend to be at closer ranges so dreadnoughts hurling 15” shells at 20,000 yards does not really sit well with my system. Besides, there are plenty of cheap, commercially available smaller models to cater for these types of combat.
Thinking of the Great War and models thereof, I envisage primarily cruiser types being the main arm and these would be in certain cases very much the edge of the envelope for what I can build. Something to ponder for another time I should think.