Model Boats magazine: A source of ideas

I regularly look at both model railway and model boat magazines as they can often be an excellent source of ideas and/or techniques that I can use in the modelling I do for my wargaming. This month’s MODEL BOATS magazine is an excellent example as to why it is always worth perusing such magazines as it contains two articles that are useful to the naval wargamer.

Firstly a free set of plans for a generic pre-war French super-destroyer comes with the magazine.

The design of Le Capricieux is based on that of the Le Fantasque-class of destroyers that were built for the French Navy in the 1930s. As a result she is a low, sleek ship, armed with five main guns and three sets of torpedo tubes, and with a certain Art Deco look about her, especially around the bridge area.

Although the plans are 1:144th-scale, they are certainly of use to wargamers who want some idea as to how to model a super-destroyer … and free sounds like quite a good price to pay!

The second item of interest is an article about John Hollis’ model of the USS Alarm, a torpedo ram that was built in 1874.

The ship has such simple lines that I can see it appealing to many wargamers as a possible starting point for a warship that they can use in their wargames. Rather like the Rendel gunboats operated by the Royal Navy and other late Victorian navies, Alarm is armed with one large-calbre gun forward and has minimal upperworks. (She was also designed to carry four Gatling Guns, but these seem never to have been fitted.) However, unlike the Rendel gunboats Alarm had a very prominent ram, which along with the spar torpedo she carried, was her principle weapon.


10 Comments on “Model Boats magazine: A source of ideas”

  1. Conrad Kinch says:

    I forsee another outbreak of boat building.

  2. Conrad Kinch,

    You know me too well young man!

    All the best,


  3. Edwin King says:

    Talking of Rendels, do you follow the Dawlish Chronicles? Antoine's just done a piece on the Chinese Rendels –

  4. Edwin King,

    I certainly am an avid I follower of the DAWLISH CHRONICLES, and I have reviewed two of the books on my blog. (Here and here.)

    After the last book I even tried to identify the ships that Antoine Vanner used as the basis for the vessels mentioned in it. (See Here, here, and here.)

    All the best,


  5. Edwin King says:

    I obviously don't read your blog as closely as it deserves!

  6. joppy says:

    There is a card model of USS Alarm available from at 1/250 – the instructions state that it is 'challenging'.

  7. Edwin King,

    I think that the DAWLISH CHRONICLES are great! The fact that I bought printed copies after buying the Kindle versions is testament to how good I think that they are, and I am impatiently awaiting the next in the series.

    I find the plots believable, and the description of the ships and naval combat is second to none. I also like the fact that the action is not just confined to the sea, which certainly reflects my understanding of the tasks on land and sea that were undertaken by the Royal Navy and its officers during the nineteenth century.

    All the best,


  8. Joppy,

    'Challenging' sounds a bit too difficult for ham-fisted me. That said, it might be interesting to see how they have managed to design a card model of such a ship.

    All the best,


  9. Good tip! We must always be on the lookout for useful bits and kit. Wandering the long aisles at the local Big Box hardware stores is a favorite pastime. My wife almost understands the affliction. If not, she at least humors it.

  10. Jonathan Freitag,

    There are all sorts of places where ideas and materials can be found that are useful to wargamers. For example, I find that model railway magazines have some excellent articles about terrain making and the like, whereas shops selling stuff for dolls houses have interesting bits of wood and self-adhesive dolls carpets.

    Some years ago I used a number of sand-coloured dolls house carpets to cover the terrain squares that I made to go with my SCWaRes rules. I built the tiles from square picture frames which were bought in a craft shop, and the self-adhesive dolls house carpets meant that I could surface and use them almost at once.

    It seems to be a trait amongst wargamers who enjoy the modelling side of the hobby to look at everyday objects and think 'what wargaming use does this have?'

    Long may we continue to do so!

    All the best,


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