Thursday, 11 November 2010

A 1/2400th Fleet for Bolivia and some ACW Naval

The recent kind generosity of David Crook (he of a Wargaming Oddyssey and Ogrefencer fame) in disposing of some of his Lead Mountain has seen a large influx of 1/2400th vessels into the shipyards at SteelonSand Towers.
This means that my own Lead Mountain has now grown exponentially (Grrr!), however in one fell swoop I now have enough ships to fill the gaps in both the Pacific War and Nemo vs The Militarist 'what-if' Fleets, as well has have a bit of fun with some ACW Ironclads. (Yay!)

I was lucky enough to get my hands on multiples of various types from Tumbling Dice across their Victorian and ACW Naval ranges, and this has seen me thinking along the lines of producing a Fleet for Bolivia that will sail alongside the historical ones of Chile and Peru.
When the Pacific War broke out, the dictatorial president of Bolivia, Hilarion Daza, apparently appealed for ships that would fight for his country, and was prepared to dispense Letters of Marque, in a legitimised Pirate style, to all-comers. Historically, of course, his offer does not seem to have been taken up, but I'm not going to let that hold me back!
I have a scenario in mind where ex-combatants from the American Civil War, including of course Confederate renegades, put together a rag-tag fleet of surplus war craft, and hot foot it South in search of glory and plunder.....

The ACW range from TD has its critics, and perhaps rightly so, given the slightly a-historical proportions of some of the sculpts, and it certainly suffers in comparison to its rival 1/2400th range from Panzerschiffe. There are some very good points made about this in an excellent Workbench Article over at TMP here:

Now given that I am not too concerned about the realism of these particular vessels, I will be quite happy to make good use of them, and have been putting the first coats to a number of different types, that might see double duty if I feel like putting on a strictly ACW game; below we see a collection of Monitors:

From the top, we have the USS Kalamazoo, the Dictator, the Monadnock and Agamenticus, and a slightly converted Monitor herself. The middle pair will be familiar to readers from my earlier conversions, and the larger two are similarly nice sculpts at this scale, but the iconic single turret craft does have a few problems that I did try to disguise. If anything, the TD model out of the packet has more in common with the historical Canonicus class, so I chopped the funnel and painted in some deck grilles as you see below:

The lower model is the 'as-it comes' version, which I will retain as a Bolivian Mercenary vessel, and the above may figure in an earlier sphere of combat. Another slightly problematic sculpt is the ASV53 Cairo Class vessels, that have more in common with a British Waterways Canal narrow boat than they do with the originals, but they will easily serve as a non-descript type in the pay of El Presidente Daza:

One sculpt that is closer to the original, is the generic Cotton Clad ASV59, which has a good stab at portraying, say, the CSS Stonewall Jackson, and the size of it also lends itself to a quick conversion or two - a karate chop on the rear end, and a funnel swap produces a relatively realistic looking USS Tin-clad, the Fort Hindman:

There's some nice illustrations of the various types as wargaming models of a slightly different calibre from the Thoroughbred Models' 1/600th catalogue:

Similar small-scale conversion work has been done on an ASV56 CSS Texas, to produce another generic type, perhaps an Arkansas or Charleston:

Well, Okay, I just filed off the ship's boats/small protuberances from the stern, but you get the picture! :-)

Perhaps the height of the TD range in terms of general appearance are the pairing available in the ASV58 Pack, CSS Nashvile and Missouri - definitely the best of the bunch:

These are all still a work in progress, and I've yet to glue the sail sets to various masts for the sailing vessels, but hopefully soon I'll be able to deploy full flotillas, whether historical or imagined for all three protagonists in the Pacific War, (Yay!) and all I have to do now is resist the temptation to suffer project-creep into the ACW itself (Grrr!).....


  1. Just a hop and a skip to get over to ACW naval... you have a good-sized core fleet for the two parties as it stands now.

  2. Stunning!! Really nice and I can't wait to see them finished although I thought they were!

    Magnificent effort.

  3. Hi guys, thanks for the comments - as you know me of old, I probably don't need to tell you that the likelihood of diverting into yet another new project is pretty high.....I'm already looking into scratch-building some forts and shore batteries, as well as some river banks to go atop the seascape mat......oh well, ACW here we come!

  4. Nice conversion work on the monitors :O)

    Apparently, TD have done some shore batteries and gun emplacements but I don't think they're on the webshop thingy yet?

  5. Hi Jim, good catch! I didn't know about the TD scenics - funny they don't have them listed online - I'll have to give them a call an see what is available, Ta!

  6. Great looking project, really love the Ironclads, especially like the ability to use them in multiple projects.