I need another project like I need a hole in the head. I need another project involving ships -when I weigh it against the thousands of land troops in various scales that adorn the 'Lead Mountain' - like two holes in the aforementioned head. So what do I go and do now?
Well, you guessed it, I convince myself to start a new project, (only on a small scale, of course...) involving the 1/24ooth Victorian Naval Ironclads available from Tumbling Dice here in the UK.
Now I, along with many others, have been hankering after the release of the AquaNef Rules to compliment those currently available for AeroNef / Land Ironclads; and the news that Steve Blease will be hosting an AquaNef game at the upcoming Salute show has me ruminating on how I might approach this new area. For me, the submarine connection has to be intrinsically linked with one particular vessel and period; the Nautilus of Captain Nemo, and his 'rage against the machine'-like attacks on the late Victorian Ironclad navies of various nations.
Now AeroNef and its counterparts are more normally associated with 1/1200th as a scale, although of course this is somewhat elastic, given the effective use of Irregular's 2mm or 1/900th minis by most of us alongside the offerings from Brigade, but in typical contrary fashion, I was intrigued by the 'smaller' range of Ironclad vessels brought out by Tumbling Dice - I reasoned that they might be cheaper than using existing ships available in 1/1200th, and, well, let's face it, I had been looking for an excuse to give them a try for some while....
So this post will be a run through/review of the sample pieces that I have ordered so far, and will hopefully give a flavour of the range, as well as setting out my ideas as to how I would like to approach the 'feet wet' part of the AeroNef universe.
As you will see in the photo above, I purchased a number of different types of vessel that would be appropriate to the time period of around 1865 to 1885, and as usual from Tumbling Dice, the models are well proportioned and quite charismatic, although there is a modicum of clearing up to do in terms of flash on the castings; all models appear here in their 'out of the packet' state.
Unlike the 1/4800th Napoleonic naval showcased elsewhere on this Blog, these vessels come with separate metal bases, that are etched with wave-like markings around a vessel-shaped slot for the ship itself. this of course would enable the option of differing basing styles, and if you were to utilise these metal bases alone, they are nice and substantial, and a good fit for their respective ships.
First up, let's look at an example of what I ordered, namely in the photo above, the Peruvian battery Ironclad the Independencia, seen here with the separately moulded rat-lines and sails that came in its twin-pack with the Huascar (ASV61). I think that the rigging, particularly in the clumsy hands of a clutz like myself, might be a bit too much to attempt on models of this scale, so I probably will do without them, but the sails, furled and set, will be a useful addition.
The model itself is nicely made, with lifeboats visible in the stern quarter, as well as some detail amidships - although of course there are no visible armaments as such.
Below we see another general example; this the Chilean (ASV62) Almirante Cochrane battery ship - here the additional sails are cast onto the base, and there is more in the way of flash to clean up, but nothing too major - remember all photos on this Blog are clickable for a close-up, Macro view.
Rather than go with perhaps the more conventional Franco-Anglo pairing available in this range, I decided that the stomping ground for my Nemo-esque shenanigans would be a bit more exotic to my Eurocentric eyes, and I plumped for the War of the Pacific 1879~1884 as a background to the project.
This would take advantage of the available models in this scale from Tumbling Dice, who make the major ships from both Chile and Peru, as well as some interesting entries from Argentina, the U.S. and further afield, also other generic types that will be useful.
Let's look at the samples I bought one by one; being a miserly sort, I restricted myself to those packs that offered multiple ships, and therefore good value over their counterparts available in, say, 1/3000th or 1/1200th.
From ASV61, then, the turret Ironclad the Huascar:
Her pack-mate, the Independencia once more:
The British turret ship HMS Cyclops (ASV40):
The generic Steam Screw Corvette (ASV15):
The USS Cairo Armoured Stern Wheeler (ASV53):
The Argentinian Turret Ironclad Los Andes (ASV64):
The ACW-era generic Cottonclad armoured side-wheeler (ASV59):
With multiples in each pack, this grouping gives fifteen vessels of seven different types, which should offer a good starting point for either representative ships from a number of navies, or even the groundings of a more 'imagineered' navy of the era and location, that might take on what will probably be some scratch-built submarines, including the iconic Nautilus itself.
Some comparison shots to give an idea of size:
Some nice inscribed detail on those two ACW types, although there was some lumpy casting left-overs on the base of the Cottonclads that will need to be filed off.
Corvette versus the Cyclops; the sailing ship has lovely proportions, and the turret ship looks suitably business-like:
Huascar and Independencia together; I have seen a number of artist's renderings of the former that depict her cleared for action with the foremast removed - to give a clearer field of fire for her turret guns, I suppose - so she may lose that mast during the painting process:
Finally, the Chilean and Argentinian entries; once cleared of flash, the former is a lovely sculpt, and the Los Andes type has a nice flying bridge over the turrets:
So, once again we find ourselves with more raw lead to paint, and the beginnings of another round of research and sorting out, perhaps on-top of some serious scratch building.....certainly enough to provide that inevitable distraction from my other projects....until the next new idea comes along of course.... ;-).