Friday, December 12, 2008

15mm Scratchbuilt Destroyer

When we were preparing for the invasion of Majorca game, we decided we should have a destroyer to go with the merchant ships.  This is what I came up with:

It has no specific prototype, but I did look at some photos of Spanish destroyers that were in service between the wars and try to capture some of their characteristics.  I'm not sure how successful I was.  I've never been entirely satisfied with the result.  Looking at the photos right now, I can see that part of the problem is that the stack is too tall.  For most destroyers, the stack is approximately level with the top of the bridge.  A second stack would have been good, but there was just no way to fit one on the model.

The turrets are all attached with small magnets and can be rotated.  Aft of the stack is a platform for an anti-aircraft gun.  The model is ten inches long.

Another thing that is apparent is that it could really use some sort of hull number.  This ship will likely see action at a game at Little Wars 2009, so I will probably add one before then.

Like the merchant ship, the destroyer was made from balsa and styrene.  I have found that very thin sheet styrene is much easier to work with than cardboard.  It is easier to cut, because all you have to do is score a line and snap it off.  You don't need to worry about saturating styrene if you use too much glue.  Finally, styrene is much more durable when the model is complete.

When building these ships I struggled to come up with the outline of the hull.  What I finally ended up doing was using the draw feature in Microsoft Word to create a template.  I started with an oval that had the approximate dimensions I was looking for.  Then I used other ovals and lines to make it look more like the hull of a ship.  It requires some trial and error.  Once you have somthing that looks right, print it out and use it to cut out your balsa for the hull and superstructure.  The end result isn't good enough to win the America's Cup, but it looks right on the table and it produces a more uniform result than drawing it by hand.

Like the merchant ship, the destroyer has no name.  All I can think of when I see her is HMS Ruptured Duck!


Bob Cordery said...

It is nice to someone else who has built ships in this scale for use in wargames.

Mine have all been for colonial games, and have been built from a variety of different materials, including FIMO. However, I find that Plasticard is the best material to use because of its strength, weight, and easy of use.

I should add some pictures of my Plasticard ships to my blog ( ... and having seen yours I may well do very soon!

Bob Cordery said...

I have now added some picture of my Plasticard ships to my blog. Have a look and see what you think.

By the way, a good name for your destroyer would be one that is the same or similar in several languages and which reflects the belligerent nature of the beast e.g. DESTRUCTOR or MARS.

Chris said...

Bob -

That's a great idea for the name. Thanks. I'm off to check out your site.


tim said...


I love the beautiful simplicity to your ships. The simplicity also increases it's usefulness. That beauty could almost be used from the turn of the century to then end of the second world war.. and beyond!

Nice stuff! I'll have to nip out to the shop and knock off a couple for myself now!


Alfred T. Mahan said...

Lessee here, assuming you want to keep it Spanish...

You could try Lata de Estano, or Cazador de Submarinos, or Casa De Los Peces.

Otherwise, I say go for a Tribal-style name like Pathan or Rajput or Dakota. But I might be biased.

Nice looking model, by the by!