Monday, April 27, 2015

The Captain Cook and the Wolverene

HM Ships Beagle and Beatrice

A couple of nippy little schooners operated by the RN on the Australia Station.

Vulvan and Ajax

HMVS Batman and HMVS Gannet

Auxulliary Gunboats both with reinforced decks forward to allow the mounting of guns, but I daresay they would have been deathtraps in an actual sea-fight.

HMVS Countess of Hopetoun and HMQS Bonito

HMVS Victoria (II)

Second ship of her name and big sister to the gunboat Albert.

HMVS Cerberus

Sunday, April 26, 2015

HMVS Albert

The Albert, here pictured in her delivery rig.

You'll see many pictures of her on this blog, both archive and of my own wargames model of her. My favourite little ship of the Victorian navy.

Protector and Childers

This time, the large South Australian Gunboat Protector and the Torpedoboat Childers. The former served on the China Station during the Boxer Rebelion. The Victorians and New South Welsh provided Naval brigades, 200 and 260 men strong respectively, along with some 14prs from the Victorians, which were tansported together in the steamer Salamis.

Victoria (I), Pharos and the Nelson

 Victoria's first warship. Most notably used in the attempted relief of Bourke and Wills and in the Maori Wars, she was broken up in 1895.
 The lighthouse tender, Pharos. Used for defense purposes in 1885. Laid down in 1865.
Out thrice-razee'd, steam-powered flagship. her remains may yet be seen in the Derwent River in Tasmania.

Vladimir Monomakh

Vladimir Monomakh 1885

Vladimir Monomakh 1897 refit
Name No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Vladimir Monomakh   Carr & McFerson, St. Petersburg 28/2/1881 22/10/1882 7/1883 sunk 28/5/1905

93.3 m
15.9 m

No of shafts
VC, 8 cylindrical boilers
7000 HP
Max speed
15.2 kn
Fuel Capacity
Coal 990 tons
Endurance, nm(kts)
Armour, mm compound; belt: 152 - 114, deck: 13mm
4 x 1 - 203/28 m1877, 12 x 1 - 152/25 m1877, 4 x 1 - 87/21 4pdr m1877, 4 x 5 - 47/22 Hotchkiss, 8 x 5 - 37/17 Hotchkiss, 3 - 381 TT (1 bow, 2 beam)

Here for a fuller account.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The tools of the trade...
It's time to report in and let you know how I've been going. After a couple of false starts, I've gotten to the point of being able to cast some gun barrels. Earlier I'd gotten over ambitious and made a giant mould that included many elements. That was OK rto a point, except that when i was making it, I used baby oil as a seperation agent for the two halves of the mould. I foolishly did not realise that the warm weather had further reduced the already low-viscosity oil to the point that when i made the second pour of rubber compound, it was pushed aside by the dense, heavy, viscous liquid rubber.
One solid block of rubber with my master locked inside and ten savage minutes with a stanley knife to extract them.
Lesson learned - don't overreach when you don't know what you are doing! Use vaseline as a seperation medium!
I'm moulding the gun wheels and carriage at the moment and will do the slide over the next day and a half. More repotys as we go on.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

80 Pounder - progress shot

As you can see, I'm, getting close to finishing off the slide.
I've placed most of the bolt-heads which I've made from cut off pin heads. Doing the forward rollers on the carriage was - er - "fun"!
I've cut the foot plates and just need to bend up some paper clips to approximate their mounting brackets. I'll probably not cast these latter, but merely provide them with the kit.

The final task will be to construct some wheels for the slide and we'll be done.

I'm very pleased with how this project has gone. It's really captured the look and "sit" of the original and taught me some lessons that will be of a lot of use in the future.

Monday, November 02, 2009

80 Pounder RML

UPDATE: Started work on the slides after I finished off the woodwork of the carriage this morning. Purely by co-incidence, the gun in the photo is about the right "scale" for 28mm figures, so guess what i'm using for a template?
Phew, ok, well it's taken a few days, but I think we are beginning to see results here. For those of you who've not been privy to various off-screen discussions, I've deciced to master a small range of off-beat artillery. This first effort is as the post title elegantly suggests, the barrel for an 80-pr RML, 25 of wich were purchased by Sir George Vernon in 1866 for fortres use in Victoria. It's been constructed much like the real thing; several layers of greenstuff have been built up over a plastic tube.

The sailor is for scale comparison. I think I've got it about right!
The carriage. All balsa, a little more work and detailing need to be added to finish it up.
I will not be assembling this to the point where I am sticking things together, as they need to be in a state where they can be broken sown for mould-making.
Dry run assembly. I will be finishing off the carriage today and hopefully making a start on the slide tonight.

The beauty of this mounting is that it can also be used unaltered with my next project, a 68-pounder sbml.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Exercising off Williamstown

Albert acting as flotilla leader for the Victorian Torpedo Boats.

The TBs are practising steaming in columns of division.
Fortunately, it's a calm day in Hobson's Bay as all five boats here were notoriously unseaworthy! Albert was well-known for taking the water right over her bows in any kind of weather. The Nepean and Lonsdale being ten times as long as they were wide tended to roll about alarmingly when they dropped their Whitehead torpedoes from one side only.

Back to the slipways for you. I think we need to purchase a proper flotilla-leader. Perhaps a 1st Class boat. Childers?

I'm trying to put off my more complicated ship construction for the moment. I think I am screwing up my courage to the place where it sticks or something...
This will be the Victoria (II), the gunboat HMVS Alberts' big sister. I'm following what's now pretty much my standard method for larger ships; cut out a deck from thin balsa, glue it to a block of polystyrene and trim with a hot wire cutter. A sanding block trims up any rough bits and a fine pen draws in the planks and nails.
So far so good! Then it's card for the bulwarks and deck-houses and Bob's the relative of your choice.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Torpedo Boats - Progress shots

Getting there - Nepean with her spar torpedo rigged out.
No. 1 wiith her spar torpedo in the stowed position, Nepean in the background.

Commissioner in the foreground, with Lonsdale abeam. The torpedo flotilla steams off on exercise.
Not too much left to do on the TB flotilla. Nepean and Lonsdale need their stanchions set up and railings rigged. I'll be going into town this weekend to buy a few odds and ends from the hobby shop. Some ventilators and the odd anchor to dress the boats up with. Apart fom that, a little more painting needs to be done and we'll be there.