By Michael Koznarsky
My friend, Kevin Smyth, has been a big COVID/Post apocalypse painting inspiration. Earlier this year, I participated in Kevin’s 100 figure/month challenge. While, unfortunately, I failed, only getting 60 figures painted, I GOT 60 FIGURES PAINTED! That figure is traditional 3 times what I paint per month, so I was mighty pleased with myself. When he suggested we do a “Ship of da Month” challenge, I gladly accepted. I have a few Thoroughbred Miniatures 1/600 ACW ships lying about – what better motivation to dust them off and get them painted than to join the fray and do them with friends?!
The ship I chose to paint was the Union Tinclad (sternwheeler) TS79 round fronted casemate. All of my ACW ships are Thoroughbred ships – they are extremely well designed with beautiful detail. The parts usually fit together like a glove and the painted models look amazing. This model did not disappoint.
I like to test fit all the pieces before I start to clean and noted there was some damage to one of the metal parts the supported the sternwheel construction. It is likely that this was damaged in the multiple moves we made since I purchased it. Not to worry – I have an entire box of plastic bits and pieces to make a new piece. Based on the picture on-line, the roof appears to sit below the edge of the vertical stern piece. I preferred a more level construction so added a few layers of 3×5” card to get the level where I wanted it to be. This step is not absolutely necessary as the model is ready to go, as is. Another thing that I like to do is to take the blade of an X-Acto and deepen the details on the decks and walls as I like how it helps increase the already excellent detail.
I glued the rear wheel and side supports but did not glue it to the ship’s stern. I glued all but the top roof together so I could paint the details on the sides of the ship without difficulty. I used shades of brown for the deck, lower parts and sternwheel of the ship. After the base coat, I gave the model a dark wash before starting to drybrush. I prefer to use at least three shades when dry brushing and, occasionally, a fourth extremely light brush of a very light final color. I painted the top deck a medium gray, progressing to white.
Once I was done painting, I test fit the sternwheel in the body of the ship. As usual, the quality of these models ensured there was a perfect fit. After gluing the sternwheel in place, I glued the three, undamaged side supports and scratch built a fourth from scrap plastic to match the opposite side.
The flag was curved into a wavy shape by curving it around a wooden toothpick. I touched up any color that was lost from the flag due to rubbing and then used white glue to fix the sides together around the flagpole. I then used crazy glue to stiffen the edges. I like how the glue provides some stability to the paper flag. My preferred method is to hold the glue container straight up so that only a tiny amount is present at the tip and then run the three sides of the flag over the exposed glue. This prevents excess glue from running all over the nicely painted flag.
I do not put my ships on bases so gave her a coat of clear gloss followed by a dull coat of spray. I now have yet one more ship to my naval yards and my contribution to the Ship of da Month. Next month (well, tis month!) – the CSS Gaines.