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Building the Thoroughbred USS Monitor

USS Monitor
Product #
Suggested Retail Price
$12.00 USD

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

It's a worthy addition to your fleet.

Actually, it's a splendid addition to the TMP fleet. grin

I hope to feature it in an illustrated battle report someday…

Revision Log
30 July 2009page first published

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The G Dog Fezian writes:

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian in his wisdom asked me to assemble and paint Thoroughbred Figures' USS Monitor as a Workbench article. How could I say 'no' to an opportunity to paint one of the U.S. Navy's most historic warships? I couldn't, that's how!

I'd already built a USS Monitor kit for myself (the Peter Pig kit), but the Thoroughbred kit allows the opportunity to create a unique model of the Monitor as she appears just prior to foundering off the coast of North Carolina. It is also how she would have appeared if she had survived the transit south for use at either Charleston or New Orleans.

In this configuration, Monitor sported enhanced pilothouse armor and an improved funnel, replacing the boxes fitted over the deck grates. In additional, stanchions (iron poles) were fitted atop the turret to support a canvas awning.

The pilothouse armor was enhanced with angled plates from below the vision slits running down to the deck on all four faces. This transformed the appearance of the pilothouse from a simple box to a squat, pyramidal structure. The funnel resembled an upside-down 'Y' trunking the two deck grate exhausts into a single funnel. The funnel was braced with standing rigging (thin, rigid iron rods) for support and stability. The stanchions appear to have been mounted directly to the turret-top, and numbered 12 around the circumference of the turret (with a taller center stanchion lifting the awing).

The Model

USS Monitor was one of the original products released by Thoroughbred Figures (the other being CSS Virginia). All these years later, it is still a very attractive kit.

Monitor in its packaging

The kit arrived like all the current Thoroughbred kits do - in a clear-plastic clamshell package. Unlike some clamshell packing, this one was easy to open and did not require scissors or risk injury! (On a side note, I'm nostalgic for the old white cardboard boxes, but with the clamshell, you can easily see what you are purchasing and they take up less shelf space.)

The kit consists of the packaging, the model itself, and a full page of instructions/parts list.

Contents of the clamshell

The model consists of a one-piece hull/superstructure, a turret, two options for the pilothouse, two options for the smokestack, and an optional rifle shield for the turret. In addition, a flagstaff and American flag are provided.

Monitor components

Detail is crisp, with armor plate lines, hatches, doors and fittings cast in clear relief. The pilot holes for all parts are very sharp, and make for an easy 'dry fit' of parts prior to assembly. There was no flash on the casting or parts. The pilothouses and stacks are all very crisp and free from flash.

Monitor hull
Monitor parts

One very nice feature is the page of instructions provided with the kit. This clearly identifies all the parts, with a diagram showing where they are attached, along with notes on the vessel and a short painting guide.