Saturday, 18 January 2014
Mini Post - ACW Union Mortar Barge No 5
During the American Civil War, the Union used Mortar Barges to enforce blockades of Confederate ports. The Mortars were used to attack the Forts guarding the ports and since they came under return fire, armour plating was used to provide a degree of protection for the crews manning them.
I built this model back in the mid Eighties, when I used to wargame with my son on the Games Room floor. Whilst the Britains ACW figures were still available, they were getting harder to find and cannon, wagons and buildings were non existent. Consequently I had to scratchbuild many of the items.
The inspiration for this model was from the July 1985 issue of "Miniature Wargames" magazine which had an article on scratchbuilding one in 28 mm scale. The plans were rescaled to 54 mm and construction was commenced using a piece of plywood as the hull.
The plywood was skinned on the upper surface with a thin sheet of balsa which was then inscribed with planks and nail holes. This was then stained with wood stain.
The armour plating was made up from 20 thou styrene sheet with individual plates added as an overlay and detailed with slices of thin rod for the rivets.
The internal bracing was built up from square balsa stock and cleats were carved from pine and added fore and aft.
Finally, the whole thing was painted with Humbrol Gunmetal and weathered with Humbrol Rust. (I really must dust the inside !)
Whilst it is a crude model, it has survived many years and countless Service moves with only very minor damage. Of course, there was no access to the internet as we know it back then, so information on these "obscure" weapons was hard to come by. I guess I will now have to paint up a BMC Mortar and supply a crew to man the barge!