Thursday, 18 December 2014

From MilesR - 1/600 ACW Naval - The British Expeditionary Fleet (79 Points)

A fairly large 1/600 scale ACW naval submission with four ships and a fort.  The first photo shows all of the items completed so far for the Challenge - including the Hector (top ship), which was submitted earlier.

 First up is the British Flagship - the iconic HMS Warrior.  The Warrior was a huge ship and this is a huge model in 1/600 scale - it's 10.5 inches long!  Like the Hector, the model is scratch built based using a rather poor hull casting for the basic dimensions.  One modeling tip - a dremel rotary tool is a great addition to the scratch builders tool kit.

The Warrior is on display in Portsmouth and it's on my list of to do's during one of my frequent business trips to the UK.  Like the Hector, the Warrior is classed as a broadside frigate which means she was armored along the sides but her bow and stern were not.  Her armor was 114mm iron plate on top of 457mm of teak.  The ship's armament consisted of 36 x smoothbore 68 pounders, 10 x 110 pounders and 4 x 40 pounders - that was a lot of metal to throw in a single broadside.

One can see I listened to the comments on the Hector and the Warrior sports her name on the stern.

The Warrior was an extremely fast ship and was capable of sustaining 14 knots which was blazing fast for the age.  However her length and bulk limited her turning radius which could be problematic if an engagement occurred anywhere other than the open sea.

 The model itself is a resin hull that's been "planked" in plastic card,  The Masts are plastic rod with greenstuff making up the furled sails.  The life boats came from my bit's box and the davits are just bent brass rod.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how she came out.  Sometimes scratch building is the only way to complete a project.  It can be very rewarding but one has to go into to it with a mindset that the first few versions will need to be redone.  Ok, in my case there might be more that a few "re-done versions"

 Next up for the British is the HMS Scorpion.  The Scorpion has a very interesting history - she was laid down as the CSS North Carolina.  Unfortunately for her builders, it was illegal to sell warships to the Confederacy so they fabricated a ruse that the ship was being built for the Egyptian navy under the name "El Tousson".  During her delivery voyage to Egypt the plan was for the ship to turn to starboard rather than port near the Straights of Gibraltar and then raise the Confederate flag.  Unfortunately for the builders, the 'coppers figured out the scheme and she was seized and completed for the Royal Navy.

 The Scorpion / North Carolina was intended to be a commerce raider but she had a very low profile which made her harder to hit but also greatly reduced her sea handling capabilities.  In fact after a few years of service the Scorpion was relegated to costal defense duties, which is the nautical equivalent of a kid being kept inside the house on a sunny day to practice violin while his friends are all outside playing baseball.

The ship was armed with 4 x 9 inch guns in two rotating turrets.  The had a relatively low rate of fire but packed a real punch and had a long range.  Speed-wise she wasn't the fastest ship afloat but could make 10.5 knots on a calm day.

The model is from Thoroughbred Miniatures and is metal.  Thoroughbred makes the best 1/600 scale ironclads available.
Next up the the CSS Columbia which served towards the end of the war in Charleston Harbor. She really didn't have a distinguished career, but in my alternative ACW scenario the ship maybe have a bit more renown....

This model is also a metal kit from Thoroughbred, although kit might be stretching the definition as one just has to glue on the mast and smokestack and its' done!

 It's a nice model and has that iconic look of the Confederate ironclad.

 An updated shot of the Hector showing that her name has also been added to the model!  Your comments are my commands.
 A group shot of the British Expeditionary Fleet as it currently stands.  I'll be adding a few more ships and some targets oops I mean transports.
 A staged "action" shot showing the British fleet taking on some US ships - the New Ironsides and the Monitor.  The picture shows just how massive the Warrior was in it's day.

All of these models will be used as part of a linked two day game I'll be putting on at Historicon in July of 2015.  The first day will feature a naval battle "somewhere along the Chesapeake" that pits a US force against a combine British / CSA fleet that's trying to force a landing to relieve a trapped Confederate army.  The outcome of the naval engagement will impact the second days game which will be a large land battle in 28mm.  If the British/CSA players are successful, the game will feature an assault by the combined CSA/ BEF on an entrenched Union army.  If they are unsuccessful during Day 1, the British army will have landed further down from the Rebels and the game will feature a Union Assault on the Confederate position with the British racing to rescue their allies.  Think Waterloo with the Union as the French, the Confederates as the British and the British as the Prussians... confusing? that's what I'm looking for.  I have found that adding an additional goal (other than winning) to a convention game does a great job in keeping everyone focused.  Oh yes, the composition of the British army during the second battle will also be influenced if any of the transports are damaged or sunk during day one.

 Speaking of the French, the game will feature a small French fleet sulking about.  Neither side will really know that fleet's intentions because, well, you know, they're French.  The flagship of the French fleet will be the Gloire.  This ship was launched in 1859 and has the distinction of being the first ocean going ironclad (much to the chagrin of the Royal Navy).  The model is yet again from Thoroughbred and is superb.

 The Gloire could reach a sustained speed of 11 knots and was armed with 36 6.5 inch muzzle loading rifled guns - ship mounted rifled cannon where not all that common in this age and gave the Gloire a distinct range advantage.
 The ship also had a very unusual lattice armor structure with a layer of iron ontoo of teak followed by another layer of iron and then yet more teak.  The cumulative depth of the iron sheeting was less than her British counterparts but the armor proved to be much stronger - it could shrug off a direct hit from a British 68 pounder at a range of 20 meters.
 The model itself is substantive and is over 5.5 inches long.  While hard to see the details around the conning tower (just in front of the mizzen mast) are extremely well done.

 The last part of the overly long submission is a Fort.  The casting comes from Bay Area Yards and is modeled on Fort Jackson in New Orleans. The fort is similar to both Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan which guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay and I spent many a day scrambling over both in my youth.

 Civil War forts featured fearsome guns which were more accurate than their ship board foes (because forts generally don't bob up and down with the seas).
 Lots' of guns....

One can question the degree to which a fort is a miniature or a terrain piece.  Given the rules that I'll be using have forts as game elements with their own damage sheets and ability to shoot at the enemy, I'm taking the liberty of submitting this as a miniature.  Of course, the final dispensation of my humble fort is up to the will of our benevolent Lord High Paint Challenge Commissioner and I shall abide by his ruling no matter how unfair, capricious and biased it my be.  (just like the Dude, I abide!)

Well there you have it - lots of ships, way too many words and a fort.  As for scoring, yet again I submit to will of our Dear Leader and hope he gazes favorably upon my unworthy offerings.

From Curt:
Beautiful work Miles. I'm really enjoying your foray into this new project, but this is far outstripped by how impressed I am of your scratchbuilding of these amazing ships.  
I'll match the 20 points I previously awarded for the for the scratchbuilt 'Hector' to the HMS 'Warrior' as well.  Absolutely beautiful work - bravo.
The other three ships I'll give 15 points each. 
The fort is a complete squeeze but I do appreciate the effort. Nonetheless, no matter how you slice it it's still a piece of terrain.  BUT I will meet you part way. By the Challenge rules guns are worth a certain amount of points, depending on their scale.  So with a 1/600 scale gun counting as .5 points your 27 artillery pieces will give you 14 points (I'll round up the half point for the cheek of it).  
So, the grand total is 79 points. Well done Mr. Reidy! 


  1. WOW!! This is a most impressive entry. The ships are gorgeous, the photo's are excellent and the history of the ships was a real treat. Well done!

  2. Nice one Miles. Do Check out HMS Warrior I am sure you will like it.
    Each of the ships and the fort are very very nice. Of a period I know nothing about but you interest me strangely in it now. Thank you.

  3. Awesome ships and a really nice fort. Very well done, Miles!

  4. Lovely. I have a soft spot for HMS Warrior as I worked on her restoration as an apprentice ..

    1. I am most jealous - what a great experience. Feel free to point out any inconsistencies and I'll do my best to remedy them!

    2. Miles... 4 very large Anchors required!

      Check out my blog post

  5. Lovely ironclads Miles and a great-looking fort (even if only it's guns counted towards your points).

  6. I accept your fair and just ruling for the fort - from now on lets us refer to that submission not as a fort, with all of its unseemly terrain type connotations, but rather think of it as an elaborately based grand battery in 1/600 scale.

    Truly you are the Solomon of the miniature painting challenge world

  7. Great work, you always bring the a game with a curve ball


  8. Lovely stuff! I do so want some of those Thoroughbred Miniatures and plan on buying some in 2015.

    Anyway, absolutely great work and, to quote you, "Your comments are my commands". If that is the case, then please slow down! ;))

  9. Great entry. All the models are fantastic and very fine.

  10. Again, amazing work on the scratch-built ships. The Warrior is amazing! Thanks for the little history lessons to go with each ship, too. Great post!

  11. Great stuff and a fine history lesson, Miles. I can't get over the fact that Warrior is scratch built. So epic! I look forward to reports on your alt ACW intervention game in future.

  12. Thanks for the kind comments - building ship models has always been something I really enjoy doing and the early ironclad era has some really interesting almost steam punk structures one can't really find in any other age.

    There'll be a few more entries to come - I've got a ways to go to get to the 250 point duel amount!

  13. They lokk amazing! Well done on all of them.

  14. Colour me impressed, yet more small scale naval coolness! Another cracking entry Miles...

  15. The fort and ships are amazing! Nicely done! You almost tempted me to begin ANOTHER project. I won't though as my wife would slaughter me! ;)

  16. Great looking ships. I think the rigging would give me nightmares.