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"1/700 Ironclads by Combrig and Arno? " Topic

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Basha Felika13 Apr 2019 1:15 a.m. PST

Always wanted to play some games with Ironclads of the 1865-85 period but never found models large enough to show the incredible variety of designs but small enough to put in a table rather than a basketball court.

Discovered these kits – are they any good? And who else makes suitable (non-ACW) stuff in the same scale – I've got a couple of the lovely Thoroughbred 1/600 models and wish they'd expand their range to cover European navies – but where else should I be looking?

Or is there a more detailed range in c. 1/1200 other than Tumbling Dice, Red Wing etc that I'm not aware of?

All advice gratefully received


4DJones13 Apr 2019 2:13 a.m. PST

Combrig are nice models, but I cant find many ships built much before 1885.

Red Eagle do a fine 1/1200 limited range of European ironclads.

Yellow Admiral13 Apr 2019 8:47 a.m. PST

I've looked everywhere for ships of this era in 1/1200 or 1/1250 scale, but there just aren't many.

Black Smoke, Blue Water has some, though their focus is mostly oriented around the pre-dreadnought era.

Pithead has stated plans to eventually do ships of this era if there is demand, so send email ( to join the tiny chorus of us clamoring for them. If you want the fleets of Lissa, Pithead made these last year, and might still have some sets available. I bought all 52 ships (ironclads and wooden walls) and their construction currently dominates my crafting table.

Many of the WTJ 3D printed models are available in 1/1250 scale, and the range is slowly working its way back in time from the pre-dreadnought era, so there are a few. Last year this range finally provided me the really nice 1/1250 models of Dandolo and Duilio, after years of searching. I'm still waiting for HMS Inflexible, to give them a fair fight, 1880-style.

Red Eagle produces the old Skytrex/Davco line of 1/1250 early ironclads, which includes 2 French ironclads (Gloire and Magenta) and a whole lot of British ships from 1860-1880ish. (Unfortunately, most of the ships which bombarded Alexandria in 1882 are missing, so I'm still not able to pull the trigger on that project.) Red Eagle also produces the old Skytrex/Davco line of 1/1250 transitional era steam-powered wooden battleships (frigates, 2-deckers and 3-deckers), which comprised the majority of the British and French navies until decades after the invention of ironclads. Frigates and smaller were still in use until around 1900, because sprawling worldwide empires needed sail-powered ships to reach the corners of the world without coal. These actually look pretty nice, especially with Langton masts.

The old Houston's Ironclads line included an odd assortment of ships from the 1870s onward, though the scale is inexact (ranging from 1/900ish to 1/1150ish) and the models are generally incompatible with those of any other manufacturer. I recommend searching for these used at at flea markets and such; it is theoretically still possible to buy them from Great Endeavors, but the web site was allowed to evaporate and many of the molds are degraded or just destroyed. A few years ago I ordered an assortment of 1870-1885ish ironclads, and my experience with them was so poor that I sold off the whole shebang and started over in a different scale.

As I think of more I'll post it.

- Ix

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian13 Apr 2019 9:14 a.m. PST

I do this period and have a mixture of Thoroughbred, Bay Area Yards and scratchbuilt. Two more ships and I can do a Trafalgar 1870 at 2/3 the number of ships involved.

Yellow Admiral13 Apr 2019 9:24 a.m. PST

FWIW, I actually think 1/600 or 1/700 is the "right" scale for ships up to about 1890. Consider ordering everything you want from VSB, he does good work on commission. :-)

Old Glory makes a range of 1/600 pre-dreadnoughts that are gorgeous when painted and rigged nicely, and there are a very few from the pre-1890 era. Unfortunately, most of the models are for the later 1890-1905 period, so I never bought into it.

- Ix

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian13 Apr 2019 9:33 a.m. PST

And to answer your questions about Combrig and Armo…. Combrig is one of the better resin kit companies out there, and on the cheaper end of the scale. I have many of their kits. Armo is somewhat new and I have no experience with them. I think they are an outgrowth of Jadar Hobby and I have their Pelayo which is a good kit.

Resin is an interesting bird takes more patience and some prep work compared to a plastic or metal kit. Deck and bridge pieces often come molded into what I call a flat pour (you can see what I mean here link ) and you have to carefully sand the parts off of of the pour. Most often the pour is too think to just razor the parts off.

Stay away from ModelKrak…. you need a belt sander to bring the excess pour down to waterlevel. Also be aware that some of the enticing kits coming out of China are direct recasts of other kits currently in production.

Basha Felika13 Apr 2019 1:10 p.m. PST

Thanks for all that great advice, all.

While I'm sorely tempted by the idea of 1/700 -Armo have about 20 different Ironclads listed, I think that nagging Pithead is definitely the best way to go. I've already got the Lissa collection in the lead pile, and the detail on them is incredible.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian14 Apr 2019 3:53 a.m. PST

The pithead are very nice. If I did not already have Lissa in 1/600 I would be all over them.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian15 Apr 2019 5:11 a.m. PST

It's actually "spithead" miniatures.

Allen57 Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2019 6:43 a.m. PST

Could not find any vessels in the 1/1200-1250 range of scales on the Black Smoke Blue Water website. Could someone point them out to me?

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian15 Apr 2019 8:48 a.m. PST

They are special order.

Our Standard Vessel models stocked are 1/1000 scale. We can custom make models on demand in 1/2000, 1/1800, 1/1500, 1/1200 or 1/1250 scales.

Smaller Scales have a proportional loss in detail vs. larger sizes. Custom scale models require time re-tooling our files to produce for your order. For more info Give us a call at [snip] or write us at [snip]

Yellow Admiral15 Apr 2019 10:55 p.m. PST

It's actually "spithead" miniatures.
Not if Phil is going to keep his web site shut down… grin

I got the impression the name "Spithead" was not so much a serious branding effort as a cute flourish to help distinguish the naval side projects from the standard 10mm products on the old web site.

- Ix

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian16 Apr 2019 5:55 a.m. PST

I never made the connection.

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