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VSF Vessels: The Ironclad Gunboat


The Ironclad Gunboat
Product #
ICG1
Manufacturer
Suggested Retail Price
$89.95 USD


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Personal logo chicklewis Supporting Member of TMP writes:

Agree, those simple, lovely railings are a joy to look at !


Revision Log
24 September 2008page first published

1,748 hits since 24 Sep 2008
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Mardaddy Supporting Member of TMP Fezian of Mardaddy Paints writes:

I did some Goggle-Fu to verify my assumption that teak was used for decking in Victorian-era warships. Did not want to go all anachronistic on my Victorian Sci-Fi… Sure enough, teak was the preferred wood for decking and reinforcement of armored hulls, hardy and resilient enough for use, but soft enough to provide buoyancy and "absorb" hits from guns without splintering like what would be expected of more dense or heavier woods. I also verified coloration of the upper superstructure: they were white in those days, but the uniform grey we are all accustomed to became standard not long after the end of the Victorian era.

All the resin pieces were spray-primed with Flat Black and given a full 24 hours to dry. Both under- and upper-structures were then brush-painted with my own mixture of medium grey (using Codex Grey and Chaos Black) as a basecoat. Next, the lower section was drybrushed with Fortress Grey to bring out details. The upper structure was spray-painted Flat White, and then brushed over with Skull White. Care was taken throughout the entire painting of both the upper and lower sections to ensure the cast rivet-holes were not gobbed in paint and that they remained distinct.

The deck was painted in two layers of 1:1 dilution Kommando Khaki, then generously stained using undiluted Flesh Wash for that deep, rich wood look. Care was taken to ensure an even coat, and that brush strokes were consistent with the wood grain.

A partial view with some test fitting and placements

The smokestack was brushed over its primer with Chaos Black, and the whistle done in Shining Gold (with my own mix as a highlight) and CA-glued in place.

The steering rudder was offset in Shadow Grey (more of a blue than a grey color, but it served its purpose), with Red Gore along the leading edge. I used some pretty thick black lines to separate the colors, somewhat necessary due to casting errors in the molding of the rudder.

Piping along the starboard side was painted in a mixture of Fortress Grey and Skull White.

At this point, the upper and lower resin portions were sprayed over twice with Dullcote.

Doing it later would affect the finish of the brass (and simulated brass) details that are planned for the completed product.

I wanted to maintain the rich, deep look of the decking, but still protect it, so it was sealed with Gloss.

The upper and lower portions of the vessel were attached to the deck using greenstuff and CA glue. The prop holes were drilled out with a Dremel tool.

Ironclad Final Details (Guns & Handrails)

This Ironclad is armed with a single Elswick 4.724 (36 pdr) Naval Gun on a pivoting mount, and two 5-barrel Nordenfelt machine/volley guns on cone mounts.

The Elswick cannon was undercoated in Snakebite Leather and two coats of Shining Gold, highlighted by my own mixture to simulate a polished bronze gun. Its housing was painted in my own medium-grey mixture, with some minor brass details. The cannon was left free so it can swing back and forth, but I did glue it down (it cannot depress or elevate). The pictures I saw online showed the Elswick cannon to usually be painted, but I could not resist the visual of a "big shiny cannon." So shoot me!

The Nordenfelt Guns were gunshielded using my own medium-grey mix and my own gunmetal mix, highlighted in Chainmail Silver. Magazines and the trigger-handle were treated the same as the cannon, to get that brass-bronze look. The gun mounts were drilled and pinned in place using a Dremel tool. They are not glued in place, so they can pivot back and forth.

Having all the guns removable like this also allowed for shipping the package without fear of them breaking off the model due to ham-fisted postal workers.

The props were given the same "brass" treatment as the cannon and magazine, and they were secured in place with CA glue.

I scratchbuilt hand rails for the warship using some brass 1/16 rod and 3/32 tubing. I thought that would be a nice touch - and expand my modeling skills, as I have never attempted details like this! The visual payoff in the end is well worth the effort. This was the last step in the build.

First off was polishing the brass, because trying to do that once it is already in place would be a bit tricky. A rag, some Brasso and a little elbow grease, and that is done.

I plotted out the placement of the end vertical rail stanchions first, ensuring that they would not logically interfere with the gun placement. Once I Dremeled out the two end holes, I made a judgment call on how many of the stanchions would be needed to fill out the middle to keep it relatively evenly-spaced. So the forward rails have three each, the rear rails have four each. The holes for these were then plotted and Dremeled out. I then estimated my length needed for the rods and cut 14 pieces, filing the ends to get the points I would need for them to nestle into the horizontal tube. Some Zap-A-Gap and minor positioning, and the vertical rails are in.

Brass rail WIP

Next came the horizontal rails, using the brass tube. I filed a cut-out of the tube on one end, so I had a "cup" of sorts to set the end vertical rod in, and then using some patience and trial-and-error, bent the tube in the shape needed to be able to place it over each of the stanchions, marking each spot on the tube with the hobby file. Each of those marked spots was filed half-way into the tube in a wedge "A" shape, to leave a cup-like depression the stanchion would nestle into. Rinse and repeat for the entire ship's rails.

Brass rail WIP

Ironclad Kit Impressions

I did have issues with the inventory of the kit. The London War Room website states the kit consists of eight parts; lower hull, deck, upper hull, bridge/engine room, smoke stack, lower ram, and 2 propellers. Looking over what was sent, and the only (small and poor) picture on the website, I seem to have the complete model with seven pieces. Nothing that I could identify as the "bridge/engine room," as a separate eighth piece. I suspect that the sculpt has changed to make one large piece lower hull out of what once was two pieces, and the website was never updated. I was also sent an extra pair of propellers and a second, identical cast upper-hull piece.

The kit itself is very plain and straightforward, no fiddly bits at all. The cast ends up with quite a few small bubble holes that need repair, mainly along the piping & window frames. It seems the resin used just could not make it fully into the thin molded areas. Comparing the two upper pieces that I received (one extra), all the bubble discrepancies were in the exact same locations in each cast, so I assume that though a minor issue, it is most likely a chronic one with this particular mold.

The London War Room guns were ordered as after-market add-ons. Bill left it up to me which guns to get for both vessels, so I did my best to choose era- and origin-suitable armament to give flexibility to the possible origin of the vessels. The casts of the guns themselves are a bit unrefined in their detail work. They do the trick, and are definitely recognizable for what they are supposed to represent, and like all metal casts, they require a bit of filing to get rid of mold lines; but the work needed to ensure proper fit when assembling was a little excessive. For those picky, retentive, "piping and lapel-button counters" among gamers, these guns would require much work before satisfaction with the detail level and accuracy is achieved.

And here is the final product…

Finished ironclad (right)
Finished ironclad (top)
Finished ironclad (left)