Monday, June 18, 2018

Steamboats, Launches and Dhows, and how to sink them.


So, the Ozark-class Monitor is now part of my small squadron of steamboats, launches and dhows. The question now is:- what rules do I use when they come into violent conflict?

Back in the day my club in England had the occasional game of ACW Ironclad encounters using the very nice 15mm models from Old Glory. I think the 'beer & pretzels' style rules were called 'Hammerin' Iron,' but may be mistaken.

The rules work well for ACW actions but I wanted something more in keeping with warfare on the vast rivers and lakes of my Colonial-era Hidden Continent. A search of the internet came up with a set of rules by Anton Ryzbak which looked the business. A few tweaks here and there has given me a set to try out - although I've yet to decide whether to include options for early Whitehead-type torpedoes.

For ship-to-shore naval support actions I'll use the TFL Sharpe Practice rules with my home-brew modifications. In SP, artillery divides into small or large guns, which will need a bit of tweaking when it comes to the heavy hitters aboard the Monitor. One or two shots from those mighty 9.2" pieces would flatten most Colonial forces in the field. A restriction on line of sight, and the amount of ammunition fired would do the trick, with so many shots allowed per game as the careful captain would need to husband his supply. After all, 9.2" HE shells aren't usually available off the shelf at that flyblown trading station on the river...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Being in all respects ready for sea...


The Monitor is finished. The chocks were knocked away and she slid down the slipway into the river as easy as you please.

The vessel offshore from some islands (using the hill pieces I made a couple of years ago). The river is a blue plastic tablecloth.
She has the 'fierce face' aspect so beloved of French naval architects of this period. If a ship looks fierce, it'll have a dampening effect on the morale of her enemies - assuming they'll see it at big gun range through the mist, spray and smoke of battle.

The business end.
Moving slowly upriver, seen against a dusty sky. What adventures lie before her?


I may make another one to sell on eBay if the interest is there. In the meantime I've finished a small side project - more on that later - and have plans for a couple of other bits and pieces to dress the scene in future games. I have a scenario in mind for the vessel's first outing, but for now, I'm trying to think of a name for her. Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Monitor - almost there


Real life got in the way a bit this past week, but I managed to make a little more progress on the Monitor. First up, I made a coffer out of scrap wood to hold the deck house in place and painted the guns and turret gun ports flat black.


Seen head-on the guns have given it a menacing aspect, like it's looking for trouble. The only other bits and pieces I've done to date are the navigation lanterns - port, starboard and masthead. These are plaster components from the Hirst Arts inn accessories mold. I did hope my inks would turn up, but no joy, so I used Testors enamels to make the coloured glass for the lanterns. I also fitted a short length of tubing to take the flag.


I'm going to work on a Congo Free State flag to fly from the upper deck then give the mast some rigging. Once that's all done I'll take some photos of the finished vessel.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Monitor - slow but steady


A busy weekend for me and my Better Half, but I found some time to work on the monitor. The bulk of construction is now done and dusted. All that's left are the twiddly bits for the upper deck - smokestack, mast and skylight.

For the railings I use the plastic mesh found in craft shops. I think it's used for embroidery. It's cheap, easy to cut, and works well for modelling purposes. It is quite flexible and in my experience doesn't take ordinary acrylic paints well, so in this case I sprayed it with Krylon flat white which works nicely. Six lengths of mini-dowel make the posts. The only other addition to the deck house so far is to paint the conning tower vision slot black.


The railings are now glued on with E6000 adhesive, again because it works with this kind of plastic. The currently empty stretch of deck either side of the conning tower will mount navigation lights once I get around to casting them.


Bits to be sprayed white - The bamboo kebab skewer and mini-dowel mast, component parts of the skylight, and the smokestack. I lightly sanded the exterior of the smokestack to prep it for the spray paint, and painted the inside sooty black. The skylight is more plastic mesh, with wood filler spread across it to fill the square holes leaving the mesh surface proud.


Once the paint dried on the skylight, I painted the piece light blue to represent glass then went over the raised grid work with white for the window frames. Once dry I gave the glass a coat of gloss varnish I think it came out okay.


Next I'll rig the mast and glue a short length of tube to the stern railing on the upper deck to take an interchangeable flagpole. That way I can swap out the vessel's nationality when needed. At the moment I'm debating whether to make the whole deck house assembly removable for ease of storage/transport. I have a couple of small bar magnets left, or I can make a rectangular coffer for the deck house to sit over. We'll see.

 

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