Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flatiron gunboat project - 2

The Flatiron gunboat is progressing, although I haven't had the opportunity to take any photos other than the one below of the construction process.

The indefatigable Colonel Trollope demonstrates the size of the vessel.
The hull is foamcore, sheathed in two or three layers of thin card, and her deck is basswood glued onto foamcore. The bridge lifts off to expose the citadel where the main gun will be housed.

In the original pictures of HMVS Albert, her masts and funnels have a distinct rake. I've managed to reproduce it without too much trouble, although the funnel proved a bit of a bugger to make it stick. Looking at the photo now, I can see it's sloped sternward a smidge too far. Annoying, but after the trouble it caused, I'll leave it be.

For ease of transportation and storage - or to show battle damage - I've constructed the masts, aft gun and smoke stack in two different ways. The masts are housed in short lengths of aluminum tube set into the deck. They can be plugged in or withdrawn easily, yet are still firm enough not to wobble. The deck house with the smoke stack and the 60-pounder gun aft are both stuck to the deck by magnetic strip, which has added benefit of allowing the gun to be traversed to point at the target.

Next up on the to-do list, I need to glue the barrel to the aft gun mounting (once I find my cyanoacrylate glue, which has chosen this moment to go missing...), and build the big gun for the citadel. A short laddered stairway either side of the funnel house will allow access to the bridge. I may or may not add a small deckhouse for'ard of the stern mast. I'll order some ship's fittings from Reviresco soon to complete her fitting-out. After that, she'll be rigged, get a lick of paint, and a suitable name.

I did intend to scale-down the Flatiron's armament, but unlike the Major-General's philosophy of having turreted ironclad battleships on the board, I reasoned that large warships will seldom make an appearance in a relative backwater such as Africa Station. A well-armed gunboat is more historically-accurate, and one with a Big Gun will serve nicely.   



Bluebear Jeff said...

I look forward to more photos, AJ. And I agree that a flatiron would be more likely to be seen in Colonial backwaters.

-- Jeff

Anonymous said...

She's looking good so far AJ. I look forward to seeing her launched.

I agree with you both - a battleship would be way over the top in both historical and gaming terms.
For what it's worth my own preference is for a gunboat with two 64pdrs on centreline mounted turntables backed up by four gatlings or nordenfeldts - still a little OTT but she can't steam up river so is of limited support once the redcoats move inland.

all the best


A J said...

Thanks for your comments, gentlemen. My Flatiron will have something like a 6" mounted in the citadel, the 60-pounder/4.7" aft, and an 1871 Pattern Long Gatling on either beam. Still plenty of firepower, but as you point out, Ian, if she can't venture far upriver it won't skew matters.


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