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"Pithead vs. Thoroughbred 1/1200 ACW" Topic

7 Posts

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Comments or corrections?

Noble Crow10 Nov 2016 8:08 p.m. PST

Can anyone tell me how these two lines compare size wise to one another? Also, how do they compare to Houston's ships?

Sundance10 Nov 2016 8:37 p.m. PST

Haven't seen Thorougbred's 1/1200 line in person but the pictures look amazing! Houston's are much rougher – I have several of them. Also not familiar with Pithead.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2016 10:35 p.m. PST

The Houston's ACW ironclads are NOT 1/1200. They're 1/1000, and look significantly bigger than any range of 1/1200 scale miniatures. I own a bunch of Langton 1/1200 ACW, and the two lines do not mix.

That said, if you like the Houston's ACW line and it has everything you need, they look okay, can be dressed up to look better, and you can't beat the price. I also think that the smaller, generic Houston's ACW vessels (riverboats, sidewheel steamers, tugs, etc.) will work fine in a 1/1200 fleet, since they came in a variety of sizes.

I don't have any Pithead or Thoroughbred 1/1200 to compare. Considering the level of care Rod Langton and Toby Barrett give to their carving, I fully expect Thoroughbred and Langton to be scale-accurate and therefore compatible.

If you want Pithead miniatures, buy them now. They are limited run only.

- Ix

Noble Crow11 Nov 2016 1:53 p.m. PST

I have a pretty large "fleet" of Houston's ships. Personally, I like them and think that some of them are good sculpts. Having said that, the Pithead and Thoroughbred lines both look outstanding, and I have been admiring them to the point that I think I'm ready to expand my collection. I wish Pithead was available here in the US. I'm not a big fan of overseas shipping costs.

Blutarski01 Jan 2017 7:37 p.m. PST

Noble Crow – I suspect that once you see a Thoroughbred model in the flesh, you won't be too bothered about ordering stuff from the UK. Toby Barrett (Thoroughbred) is a magician sculptor. BTW, be sure to check out his ACW shore battery artillery models as well; they are outstanding.


Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2017 11:09 a.m. PST

Since this thread was started, I've received shipments of Langton, Pithead and Thoroughbred models, so here are some observations comparing them:

The Langton models are exactly what I expected from Langton exaggerated details, somewhat exaggerated proportions, relatively scale-accurate vessel footprints, and as always, exquisite models that are a delight to behold. I like Langton's stuff so much I convinced him (er, his wife) to sell me a couple whole bags of Langton ACW masts/spars/bowsprits to install on my Red Eagle hulls. :-)

The Thoroughbred models are also what I expect well-proportioned, precise, well-detailed. In general, all detail on the Thoroughbreds is less exaggerated and finer than the Langtons (narrower planks, thinner bulkheads, thinner stacks and masts, lighter spars, etc.). I continue to consider Toby Barrett a wizard, and I don't know how he does some of the things he does. For instance: the masts of the Sassacus class double-enders have piano wire embedded in them. I think he did this because he was trying to avoid Langton's solution (HUGE and THICK for strength), so the Thoroughbred 1/1200 masts are thin and delicate and benefit from the extra support.

The Pithead Riachuelo models (both Paraguayan and Brazilian) look hand-carved, with somewhat abbreviated details (planks, grates, boat seats, etc.), but they are well-proportioned, cleanly cast, and depict vessels unavailable from any other sculptor. As I was forewarned, the bowsprits are cast on and some broke in shipping, but this doesn't concern me, because I tend to replace bowsprits with wire anyway for durability. They were cast in a hard pewter that is difficult to drill, carve or file. I admit I was surprised by the small size of the Pithead models, but since I know nothing of the period ships, I assume these are scale accurate and the small size is just because the South Americans had small ships. I'm happy to have them, and I'm sorry they are a limited run that will disappear from the face of the Earth.

I have a small collection of Houston's ACW Ironclads I inherited from a friend. As with many Houston's items, the actual scale varies and the models are produced for impression rather than accuracy. Most of the ships I have (various ironclads, sloops, gunboats, etc.) are about 1/1000 scale and far too large to mix with the 1/1200 fleets under construction on my craft-table shipyard, but I'm finding that others are actually just about 1/1200 scale, and I'm going to go ahead and use them with my 1/1200 fleets after some hyper-detailing (better stacks, masts, boats, guns, etc.). So far I've decided to use: General Price, Little Rebel, Hampton, Stonewall, Sumter/Sumpter, Van Dorn.

I also have a smattering of ACW vessels from Navwar and Red Eagle, and I won't be ordering any more of either. I filed off all the exterior hull details from my Navwar and Red Eagle ACW ships and will use them as generic wooden gunboats or transports. As an aside: while I'm unimpressed with the old Skytrex ACW ships, I really like many of the transitional steam ships from the old Triton 1/1250 line, and in fact Red Eagle's more recent castings are a serious improvement over the old ones crisper, cleaner, less flash, fewer casting flaws, etc. I now have over 2 dozen screw SOLs, frigates and French ironclads, and with Langton masts and some hyper-detailing, they look really nice. I like them so much I've been eyeing the British 1860-1880 range of ironclads Red Eagle also acquired from Skytrex.

I will be freely mixing Thoroughbred, Langton, Pithead and a small selection of Houston's on the table. I think as long as I don't mix brands within the same class, this will work aesthetically. The turrets on the Thoroughbred monitors are noticably smaller than the Langtons, so I may decide to get all monitors from the same manufacturer.

- Ix

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2017 12:14 p.m. PST

One further observation:

In all of the "true" 1/1200 scale miniature lines (Langton, Thoroughbred, Red Eagle/Skytrex/Triton, Navwar), the ironclads and small boats are pretty darned small. Big ships like frigates, sloops, corvettes and a few of the large casemate ironclads have some presence on the table, but most ships are only 1.5"-2" long and the ironclads are especially low and flat, so the majority of boats in ACW river/coast battles are going to be a bit small and fiddly for gaming. Most monitors and casemate ironclads are mere bumps on the table.

With the old Houston's Ironclads line, the slight increase to 1/1000 scale and the "fatter" carving style give most of the ships a much greater visual presence on the table and make them easier to handle.

If you're a purist about scale, accuracy, or beauty, you may feel compelled to go with the Langtons and/or Thoroughbreds. If you're willing to accept the somewhat rough and cartoonish sculpting and casting, the more humane scaling, low prices from, and wide selection of vessels in this old line make it a really good deal for gaming.

- Ix

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