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Author Topic: Ships in 20mm / 1/72 for late Victorian coastal warfare - Steam yacht, pt. 10  (Read 8765 times)

Offline cataphractarius

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Recently we turned to 1880/1890 invasion-novel based wargaming, with plucky British militia bayoneting away at French and Russian hordes swarming up the sandy beaches of southern Britain. For one of the rulesets we are experimenting with, a small selection of watercraft in our favourite scale of 20mm is required.

Well. To the local shop I went, full of enthusiasm, only to find that the market offers peculiarly little in the way of late Victorian coastal watercraft in 20mm or 1/72 scale. I had expected to find the catalogues of mainstream plastic companies full of steam yachts, paddle wheelers, coastal torpedo boats and the like, and there is nothing. I cannot understand this - surely  the streets would positively be clogged by the bodies of men shooting each other for a better place in the line for buying a 1/72 paddle wheeler?

Anyway. As once again the big companies have conspired to keep me from buying and building what I want, a different way was needed. Poking around the loft insulation resulted in unearthing a kit of a former Soviet Navy school ship, the Tovarishch; the Tovarishch was originally built in the early 1930s for the fledgling Kriegsmarine as "Gorch Fock", scuttled in 1945 and after a prolonged period of repairs finally commissioned in the Soviet Navy in 1951.

The kit by Alanger is - well, it is a kit if you define kit as a collection of parts that can be put together in some way or another. It is incredibly crude and probably resembles the Tovarishch from 15 yards apart or so. Its one redeeming feature - at least for me - is the size. At around 1/150 scale, it is fairly big, and with the Gorch Fock originally being nearly 270ft long the hull would lend itself to being scale-o-ramaed, resulting in a small steam yacht of close to 130ft.

Just what we need.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 09:19:53 PM by cataphractarius »

Offline cataphractarius

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Re: Ships in 20mm / 1/72 for late Victorian coastal warfare
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2015, 07:37:51 PM »
Step 1.

Glue all the main pieces (hull sides, deck pieces) together. Liberal application of tube glue results in a pretty robust hull. Then it is time to unleash the savage power of the motor tool. After half an hour of motors whining and plastic pieces flying around, there is a first result.




Offline cataphractarius

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Re: Ships in 20mm / 1/72 for late Victorian coastal warfare
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2015, 07:40:20 PM »
Step 2.

Now time for some redesign. The new vessel, a small steam yacht, will have an open bridge atop a chart house and a thin, long funnel which will be placed between the foremast and the bridge. Adding some plastic sheet results in something that is already remotely recognizeable as a small steam yacht, though there is still a long way to go.



Note that the 106th Infantry was so kind to provide machine gunner Farquarson to give some idea of scale.

I should add that better pictures will hopefully appear once the build gets more involved. Currently there are no details to close up to.

It's probably also necessary to add that the end result will not be a true scale model; as - for gaming purposes - it will be necessary to place figures on it and to move them around a bit, the rigging has to be simplified to a considerable extent.

« Last Edit: May 23, 2015, 07:44:28 PM by cataphractarius »

Offline Anna Elizabeth

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Re: Ships in 20mm / 1/72 for late Victorian coastal warfare
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2015, 07:42:55 PM »
I'll be watching this with interest. :)

For myself, I wouldn't mind late Victorian warships in 1/1000th or smaller.

Offline cataphractarius

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Re: Ships in 20mm / 1/72 for late Victorian coastal warfare
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2015, 07:55:25 PM »
I'm not an expert on these small scales, but there should be a lot available already in 1/1250 (or 1/1200), and 3D-printing has apparently made itself felt in smaller scales used by naval wargames (like 1/2400 or 1/3000).

Offline Anna Elizabeth

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Re: Ships in 20mm / 1/72 for late Victorian coastal warfare
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2015, 08:07:43 PM »
Oh, thank you! I'll take a look.

I'm kind of fantasizing about a "world war, Victorian-style". :)

Offline cataphractarius

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Re: Ships in 20mm / 1/72 for late Victorian coastal warfare
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2015, 08:53:30 PM »
You probably already know about this, but just in case - some of the invasion novels that were so popular during the 1871-1914 period are freely available online, one of the most successful being The Great War in England in 1897 by William Le Queux (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37470).

My personal favourite however is Louis Tracy's gorgious "The Final War". Never was so much jingoism crammed into so many pages!

https://archive.org/details/finalwar00tracgoog

If you want desperate volunteers charging into the surf to prevent Frenchmen from getting off their boats, anarchists blowing up the Cremlin, a daring cavalry raid capturing the German Kaiser, or bicycle-factory-owner-turned-bicycle-battalion-commander shouting "Britain is the greatest country on earth!" in front of a French execution squad, then Tracy is the place to go.

Offline Anna Elizabeth

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Re: Ships in 20mm / 1/72 for late Victorian coastal warfare
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2015, 09:10:58 PM »
Oh! I didn't know about these, thank you. :)

I'll take a look, they sound fun and interesting.

I'm looking forwards to seeing more of your steam yacht. I do 28mm, but these techniques apply to different scales, too. :)

Offline cataphractarius

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Re: Ships in 20mm / 1/72 for late Victorian coastal warfare
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2015, 08:55:13 PM »
Step 3.

Usually I only get to do some modelling every other fortnight or so, but as I had two hourse to use it was time to add a couple of details, to make it look slightly more ship-shape.

Apart from more plastic sheet, various bits and pieces were dug up from the spares box to provide the funnel (I knew this Japanese post-war torpedo tube would come in handy one day...), hatches and the like. The overall plan is to have some sort of a small cabin in the bow, the middle bit of the waist deckhouse occupied by the funnel and machinery-related stuff, then the bridge and a high quarterdeck that is mostly empty - because some sort of gun has to go somewhere...



Sorry again for the blurry picture; better ones will - hopefully - come up once the detailing begins earnest. Again there is Gunner Farquarson (this time together with a NCO busying himself with a telescope) aboard to give an impression of the size of it all.

Still a lot to do. The next step will be the addition of a number of further basic details (I'm currently looking for suitable portholes or the like), then a basic coat of paint needs to be slapped onto it. Then adding convincing railings will provide an interesting challenge, but that's still some time in the future.

And I have to start thinking about arming the yacht - Gardner, Maxim-Nordenfeldt, small quickfirer, old Napoleonic gun? Decisions, decisions...
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 08:58:08 PM by cataphractarius »

Offline Anna Elizabeth

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Me Likey. :)

I say Gardner, but it's your boat. Oh - what if you used rare earth magnets?

Offline Gunbird

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  • In 20mm, anything is possible!
    • 20mm and then some
Seconded. Magnets are perfect for weapon mounts and making them interchangable.
Who is Gunbird? Johan van Ooij, Dutch, Mercenary Gamer, travels around to get in the occasional game. Current flavour of the month - 6mm Cold War! >> http://20mmandthensome.blogspot.com/

Offline cataphractarius

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Ah, excellent idea! Will have to remember that - it might also allow for adding something like a deckhouse if the scenario requires something without armament.

Online FramFramson

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  • But maybe everything that dies, someday comes back
Looking better and better.

And what the others said about magnets. The more versatility in your wargaming terrain, the better (usually ;))


I joined my gun with pirate swords, and sailed the seas of cyberspace.

Offline PortCharmers

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Of course a gardner! The gardner is always the killer. Or was it the butler?

Good old Tovarishch. I remember seeing the real thing in Wilhelmshaven. After british harbour authorities had refused to let her take to the sea, in regard of her delapidated condition, she was towed to her former home and awaited what came next. Which luckily was a full restoration and retirement to museum status.

I like your yacht and too bemoan the scarcity of this type of ship on the market. If you are looking for victorian era ironclad gunboats (like the HMS M33 Monitor), I'd like to encourage you to scratch-build. The tricky bit is underneath the waterline in this kind of ship (however not the more elegant type like yours).

Cheers
Peter

Offline cataphractarius

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Of course a gardner! The gardner is always the killer. Or was it the butler?

 :D :D :D

Though on reflection, what about the Colonel in the library with a moto-tool?

You're absolutely right on scratchbuilding. In fact, I have a small stock of paper model kits for that very purpose; I made the experience that they can serve quite nicely as templates for cutting styrene. I guess the main reason I went this route with this model was that I wanted something looking (remotely) graceful, and - possibly more important - it was a good way to use the kit, which I otherwise would never have built.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 07:24:28 PM by cataphractarius »

 

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