Two more ACW scratch-built ships

Well more ACW ships are hopefully going to hit the water soon, as I have just finished another scratch-build of two paddle steamers.

So this time I wanted to again try and make a paddle steamer but this time with side wheels and decided on two ships that I didn’t have.

The first was going to be the Queen of the West, and as I didn’t have a ship of the same type to copy I had to try and work from anything I could find on the internet.

This I found was very frustrating as almost all the pictures that I could find showed a slightly different ship!

So what I ended up with was only a guess as to what it actually looked like and of course my modelling skills are not great either so this also added another variable into the mix, but I am happy with how this ship came out in the end…

The hull of the ship was again made from plastic-card and again I used a thinner gauge plastic to make cutting and shaping easier, then just added an extra layer to make it thick enough to represent the hull.

I then fixed the balsa wood main structure to the hull and then added the wheelhouse plus the paddle wheel structures and the main building between them.

Next I cut two equal lengths off of the tube inside a biro ( the thin plastic one that carries the ink ) this makes perfect funnels for this scale of ship.

Once cut I then just carefully pushed them into the soft balsa wood then glued them in place.

Then I went around and filled in any gaps with liquid green stuff.

Again as I did previously I coated all the visible surfaces of the balsa wood with superglue to make the model hard and safe to handle ( a word of warning if you try this do it in a well ventilated area!! ) I normally have to take off any rough bits with fine sandpaper after the glue has dried.

Then I moved onto the second ship… this one was harder and also interesting, I found out that this ship was originally the Laurent Millaudon and when it was put into service for the Confederates it was renamed the General Stirling Price.

Again I never had a model to copy for this ship so I once again I had to look on the internet for pictures, I couldn’t find many pictures for this ship ( well ones that I could use ) so a lot of this model is guesswork.

Note: I have to say here that I don’t think I got the scale correct for this model, not 100% sure why, but probably just my bad modelling skills!! But for me it will not matter at all as I just play for fun not historical accuracy.

The hull of this ship was a lot harder to do as the front and back sections be raised up higher than the last ship, so I had to add more thin layers to form the hull and to raise it out of the water more.

Once the I was happy with the final shape of the hull I then added the main structure of the ship, like the Queen of the West this structure formed the paddle wheel housing on each side as well as the main body of the ship.

This was again just quickly shaped out of balsa wood, I then added the wheelhouse and again the two funnels out of more of the biro tube.

And again I went around the model and filled any gaps with the liquid green stuff.

The next job was to add the river / water effect onto the base of each ship, for this I just used liquid green stuff to form the waves and ripples of the river surface, I am not sure what other people use to make the waves etc. but I really like using the liquid green stuff as it goes on really easy and because it is ‘wet’ I find it easy to make into the wash from the ship as it would be moving through the water.

Once the bases were dry I then started to paint them, I used black primer on everything first, this was followed by Beasty Brown for all the hull and decking and white for all the wooden walls and roofs.

I used Strong Tone all around the lower part of the hulls and Soft Tone for all the decking.

Finally for the ships I dry-brushed the funnels with a light coating of Gunmetal and that was the ships painted.

Once all that was dry I gave both ships a coat of Matt Varnish, which just left the bases to do.

These I used my normal method for my river bases, and that was a few light streaks of Beasty Brown and while this was still wet I added some more streaks of Heavy Blackgreen thinned with Olive Green Wash.

I then picked out the ‘wash’ behind the ships with some Cold White, and once all that was dry I coated the bases with a good thick coat of Gloss Varnish.

And here are the three that I built on their own.

Well all done and two more ships to add to my growing collection of ACW ships, all I need to do now is work out which side will get them as both of these ships were controlled by the Union and the Confederate during the war… I might leave them so that I can use them for either side during my games. 🤔

Here are all my wooden ship so far including the three I scratch built, there are three ships for the Union and three for the Confederates plus the three I have scratch built.

I took the last photo’s I realised how bright the white on the new ships was so I did one final watered down wash of Soft tone to take the brightness and newness from the white, I think they look a little better now.

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