Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gunboat! - Building the Gunboat "Cairo"

First of all, Happy New Year!  It went by fast but we seem to always say that don't we?  I think 2014 is going to be my year, not sure why but something nice is coming my way.  Well at least that is my little prayer to myself.  So what have I been up to?

Behind the scenes I have started a Colonial Project about 3 months ago.  I missed Colonial Barracks, The Sword and the Flame convention in New Orleans again this year.  Not in 2014!  I plan on being there next November with Gunboats blasting, Dervish swarming, Gatlings jamming, oh the fun!  Can't wait!

The first of my projects has been my Gunboat which I have named the Cairo. Yes, it is a fictional name and it is going to be an integral part in the river campaign that will start in a month or so.

So I started researching Nile and Yangtse Gunboats to get an idea of design.  I wanted to build a large one first and then work on smaller craft later.  So I built this 24" x 6" Gunboat which amounts to roughly 120' Length with a 30' beam for my 28mm colonials.  I wanted it to have enough deck space to put on sandbags, foot guns and infantry.  I separated the ships guns from the main deck by putting them on their own upper gun deck.  I still put mounts on the main deck so I could move the guns based on the scenario or the Captains discretion.

I looked at so many pictures, checked out manufacturers, and decided on making my own.  I mean there are some pretty sweet models out there but the prices are pretty high.  I figured with all the materials, extra ship fittings, etc, I rang up between 100 to 150 USD.  And it did take some time, man did it take some time but it was worth the effort.  I went back and forth on how to mount the decks, overall design and ended up with a nice first time prototype.  I have a lot of lessons learned, one is to get the right tools which I am starting to look at now.  This first boat was built with an old mini drill, table saw, mitre saws, xacto blades, paint, brushes, sander, magnets, washers, bass and balsa wood, fittings and guns from Reviersco and Houston Ships.  

I wasn't sure how it was going to come out but there was never a moment when I thought it wasn't going to work out.  This has only given me more incentive to build more boats.  I love doing this and my technique is only going to get better.  With the addition in the upcoming months of better tools from MicroLux, Minicraft and Dremel I should be able to knock these out a little quicker.  My plans are to build smaller craft for the Nile Campaign and later start on Chinese, US and British Yangtse River exploits ala Sand Pebbles.  It's going to be exciting.

You will see ideas and shades of gunboats like the Safieh, Melik, San Pablo and Abbas in the design.  Besides a few pieces that I will add on like: Bollards, sandbags, Flags, a couple of window hatch covers I am pretty much done.

My next boat will be a small side-wheeler based on the Safieh.  First I have to paint up some figures.

Enjoy the pictures of the build.

Thanks and again, Happy New Year from beautiful Colorado!



Al Maurer said...

Awesome gunboat! But the name is not fictional. The Cairo was a Union gunboat built in Cairo, IL.

Dan said...

I just meant that there was no official record of a gunboat Cairo in the Sudan. The ironclad Cairo is one of my favorite boats. It's nice to know someone caught that though. Thanks. Dan

Mad Guru said...

Beautiful work, Dan! Great build -- and just as great tutorial, one of the best I've ever seen!

You and I met at the first "Colonial Barracks" in Metarie, back in 2011. Like you I missed the past two years, but also like you, I am hoping to make it this year. It would be great if we both pull it off and I can play in your Sudan game and you can play in my Second Afghan War game.


Sgt. Guinness said...

Great After Action Report, technically very well done, and it looked like a lot of fun. I followed the link and checked out your blog which I haven't done in a while. You've been very busy my friend. I loved the Gun Boat! It is Absolutely Awesome! If that's a test piece I can't wait to see a later piece. Top notch WIP report as well. How do you do your AAR & WIP reports?
I'm looking forward to either captaining or attacking that gun boat at this year’s "Colonial Barracks" in New Orleans! Huzzah....
PS – I hope to see both you and Mad Guru at the 2014 “Colonial Barracks” con. I have missed a couple as well. I have gotten authorization from my transportation officer, I just need to clear it with my financial officer and get leave time from my employer. If I skip another con that should clinch the deal!