Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Felucca template

I was asked to share the template I used to create the feluccas in the previous post, so here it is. It can be scaled up if needed.

The feluccas I made are based on 3/8th inch foamcore cut to shape, with cereal packet card for the sides and stern. I used Aileen's glue for the curved lengths of card around the hull, tacking them in place using a hot glue gun to hold them while the stronger Aileen's glue dried. Card can be used for a deck if required. It might also help to use another deck-shape cutout to base the foamcore hull on for added strength. I used a mini-dowel for the mast. Note that with the felucca rig the mast is comparatively short and thick. The diagram shows its location in relation to the yard. The felucca sail is just a triangle with one point cut off. I made mine from stiff paper with the yard being a thin strip of cardboard glued along the upper edge of the sail. It's best to assemble the mast, yard and sail before mounting it on the hull. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Felucca the draw

I couldn't resist the pun. After the weekend I had, I might be excused.

Four feluccas sail by a Mahdist fort guarding the Nile.
One of the issues I have with modelling tends to be mission creep. I build one thing for a campaign or project and that leads to another - then another. In this case I built three steamboats, but then had to make a few of the felucca-rigged boats so characteristic of the Nile. Even now they're done, I'm not. I look at the photo above and think 'I need to add crew and passengers...'

I see Sculpey taking a prominent part in the near future.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Trio of Steamboats

Wet and windy weather has curtailed any gardening today, so I pressed on and completed the three Nile steamboats for the Sudan.

Steamboats pass a house by the Nile. They're steaming dangerously close to each other, so they must be in a hurry!
The bases are made of sections cut from clear plastic food packaging. It helps if this stuff is as thick as possible, because the hot glue used to form the bow waves and wakes tends to pull on the plastic, causing it to warp. I had a few issues with this during the basing, but on the whole they came out alright. Use the glue gun to create streaks of raised material to represent waves and troughs. It pays to wait until the glue sets before going over it again around the bows and the wheel boxes to build up the rush of water. Once the last application of glue set I highlighted it using white craft paint. This tends to dry flat, so I shined it up with gloss varnish.

As you can see from the photo the blue material under the steamboat bases shows through, giving the whole a sense of depth.With hindsight I would've made the tail end of the bases a little longer, as the wakes look a bit too truncated for my taste. The final touches will be to put flags on the boats. I'm thinking of using pins and cartridge paper so they can be swapped out to represent different owners.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Steamboats progress

A little more progress on the trio of Nile steamboats...

I think I've got the haphazard plank protection right. They look like scruffy, workaday steamboats that once plied the Nile for civilian purposes but were commandeered into the fight between the British Empire and the Mahdi.

My next move will be to mount them on clear plastic bases with a bit of froth around paddleboxes and waterline. At the moment I'm not sure how to do the flags, but may settle for making removable flags so the boats can change allegiance with little effort. Quite how much effort the contending sides will expend to do the job on the tabletop remains to be seen...

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

I'm a workin' on the steamboats

All the livelong day? Well, not quite, but progress is being made.

One coat of battleship grey undercoat later and perhaps they look a bit too much like pre-Dreadnoughts at anchor off Spithead. I think I've succeeded in getting the snaggletooth appearance of the ad hoc plank protection that made these Nile steamboats so distinctive. They're now ready for the main painting to begin. I'm aiming at a scruffy weathered appearance, so expect lots of dirty whites, faded browns and greys.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Palms, Steamboats and Forts

It's been a while since I posted here, but I 've made some progress in making terrain specific to the Nile theatre in 1885.

The steamboats are a little over halfway towards completion. They're a bit rough and ready, but functional. I need to add the wooden planks to armour them, and do something to represent the paddle wheels.

Reports from British officers and observers at the time of the Nile campaign mention Mahdist forts along the course of the river. Circular in shape with one entrance, they housed one or two Krupp artillery pieces captured from ill-fated Egyptian expeditions. I'd call them redoubts myself, but those on the spot called them forts, so forts they are. Being well protected they posed quite a challenge to the British/Egyptian steamboats passing upriver, so I needed to add those to the Mahdist arsenal. One is complete, the other half-built as was mentioned in some accounts.

And finally, what Nile scene would be complete without a few palm trees? These scratch-built versions are fresh off the painting board.

I may tweak their appearance a little to get a more feathery look, but they'll do for now. I'm not sure whether to leave them on the wooden splints and base them up likewise, or make a more random pattern on circular bases.


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