Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Oops - I did it again - 1/2400th Ironclads!

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.... ;-).


  1. I have loads of these models, mostly Victorian French and British, but have yet to find a suitable simple set of one barincell rules to use them with, so they've remained in the box.

    I might have a look at Aquanef when it comes out to see if it might work.

    Thanks for the review and the idea.

  2. Those ships are really nice. I can fully understand the temptation - sadly the economic climate is still too depressing here at Mad Towers, so I won't be indulging in any of those vessels fot a while.

  3. I've been wondering about those minis myself - well done! They will work well with my Figurehead ships...

    David Manley's Iron & Fire rules might be a place to look Boggler, or even Damn Battleships Again from Phil Barker - there is an ironclads adaptation on the DBSA yahoogroup. But, I do think Aquanef might really be the way once it is available!

  4. Have I mentioned before how terribly wicked it is of you to keep tempting me with all these projects?

    Luckily I have no extra time or money, and the whole Iceland thing has pretty much vetoed transatlantic mail for the time being, so I'm not tempted. Well, not too much.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. Hi SoS, I have a heap of these little beauties that are semi painted. I was going for an ACW type set up but they are currently in their unfinished state lurking boxed up in a cupboard. Aquanef is destined for release at some point after Salute and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished article - hopefully it will give me the inspiration to finish them off although I plan to ditch the seperate bases.

    All the best,


  6. "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"

    Even more elastic, the ships I'm using at Salute are 1/1000th and the aquanef 1/600th - that said it doesn't look wrong!

  7. Our group is a great fan of Peter Pig's "Hammering Iron 2" for ACW riverine games. It's for 1:600 scale resin models so would probably need the measurements adjusted to suit but probably not by very much as the PP ships seems massively oversized for the ground scale.

    IIRC USS Cairo is one of a class of about half-a-dozen US ironclads - the "city" class each named after a US city. They were identified by different coloured bands on their smokestacks, don't have the colours to hand but a Google search should turn them up. One of them was paid for by subscriptions within a Masonic lodge and had a large Mason symbol slung between the stacks.

  8. Hi All, thanks as always for the comments; and what a particularly informative and inspiring bunch they are! I thought I was going to slip this project in as a sidebar, under the radar of my conscience, but you guys have blown it up big time!

    @El Grego and Coopdevil - great suggestions for possible rulesets, there, and it's good to know that Mr Blease is able to see just how anticipated Aquanef is!

    Sorry to give the rest of you more temptation, but if I'm constantly getting distracted, I have to at least spread the pain around.... :-)

    I think this one could run and run, what with all the cross-over potential from the ACW to What-ifs to VSF, so a definite case of 'watch this space'....

  9. Spread the pain!! Actually its nice to see good pics of different products - you're doing us all a favour!

  10. Its good to see that someone other than me has a VIctorian ear Peruvian force in 2mm(ish) scale. Good stuff!

  11. Haha! Yes Indeed Mr Marx, just when you thought it couldn't get any more rarified and obscure.....always fun to research and play those lesser-known conflicts!

  12. Or, if you just want to be even more obscure, you can just make up your own wars.
    I'm currently working on the American Invasion of South America in the last years of the Nineteenth century!