Friday, July 13, 2018

Small Boat Actions Using Kiss Me Hardy

I am getting on with this project again. I really want to get this on the table top. I have been doing a good bit of research on one ship in particular who seems to have had a captain that was either very active or just plain unlucky to have been involved in a number of incidents throughout the AWI.

William Grant took command of the schooner St John in 1774. His presence is felt from St Augustine, to the Bahamas, to the St Mary River and all the way up to Rhode Island through out the course of the war. He appears to be an energetic captain that stopped a number of ships and participated in a few actions and several that he almost participated in.

The St John, was a schooner of 90 tons. She mounted six three-pounder guns as her main armament and an additional twelve swivel guns as well.she was nearly fifty feet in length and a beam of nearly nineteen feet. She also boasted a crew of thirty men. This qualifies her as a small ship for the adaptions that I am working on.

The scenario that I am working on is a hypothetical scenario based on a real action. In the historical action, the Georgia Navy Schooner Liberty, seized a consignment of powder from the ship Philippa (and possibly a packet ship Little Carpenter) on July 10, 1775. 16,000 pounds of gunpowder were pulled off of these ships by the Liberty and some South Carolina troops operating out of barges. The St John was in the vicinity but didn't engage the Liberty. The Philippa (and possibly Little Carpenter,) surrendered without a fight.

The Liberty was a schooner that depending on the source mounted with ten six-pounders or ten three-pounders depending on the source. She was manned with a fifty man crew and contained twenty militia aboard to act as marines.

This gives us some variety of some small ships to use. Historically, the St John missed out on the fight. The merchant men were boarded, taken to Cockspur Island and unloaded of their cargoes. But, what if the St. John showed up? That is the scenario that I will model. But what ships will I use for it?

For the Philippa, I have a very nice Brigantine in 1:300 from Sea Dog Studios. For the two South Carolina Barges, I don't really have models for them. I may represent them with a Langton Miniatures jolly boat for the time being. The jolly boat is tiny even in 1:300 scale.

The two schooners are the ones I don't currently have anything suitable. So I started looking at the Warartisan website for possibilities. We have the weight of the schooner and the number of guns she sported. In addition we have her length at nearly forty-nine feet. In 1:300 scale, this gives us a schooner of 4.9CM in length. The closest that I found was 80-90 ton gunboat with a schooner rig. However, this is over a CM too big. The next size down is a 50 to 60 ton schooner. This is a bit smaller than the historical ship but closer to what I am looking for.

For the Liberty, I can use a larger schooner. Given that there is not much details other than the number of guns availible, I choose to go with the Warartisan 12-gun schooner for the Liberty.

I started work on the ships that I had in my inventory. Starting with the Langton Miniatures British Gunboat, I assembled it without too much trouble. Then I stared with despair at the brass sails and stays. It is a nicely built boat. It's hull is a good five and a half CM in length. It sports a single mast and came with three guns. There is a carronade on a rotating slide in the aft and a long gun on a slide up front. The third gun, I had no clue what to do with it. The vessel came with crew! There are seven of them but there is no way I am going to worry with them for the moment. The tiller became a casualty. I dropped it and it appears to have fallen into a black hole. One day I might find it but I am not holding my breath.

The brass sails are nice but a real pain in the neck to deal with. In my opinion, they look mighty fragile for use on the table. I am thinking of adding a base to it for the purpose of picking it up and moving it about the table least it end up a wreck due to handling. I looked at putting on rigging. I started to put some on but gave up on it with the first.

I also assembled the Sailed launch from Langton. This comes with a single mast and a bow spirit. It also has a small gun mounted on a slide in the bow. I managed to not lose the tiller on this vessel. It came with more brass sails. This time, you are supposed to fold the brass sail in half. That did NOT work for me. The brass bent in the wrong place even though I was trying to be so very careful. It comes with a main sail and two jib sails. The main sails are east to fake with paper. The jibs are another story. The jibs come with small holes in them. I think the intent is to weave a thread through them in order to hang them on the mast and bow spirit. That makes a daunting task with my fat fingers.

The third vessel I tried to tackle today was a sailed Yawl. This kit came with two masts, a bow spirit,a tiller and sails (two main and two jibs).The sails again are daunting brass sails that have to be folded in half and the jibs need to be threaded. This on a vessel that is just a bit over two and a half centimeters in length. I have not attempted the sails or rigging.

This is where I am so far. I am pleased with my progress. I am hoping that I can get them primed shortly.

Note that NONE of the ships mentioned in the beginning of this have been worked on. I did try. Warartisan's instructions for the sloop Enterprise mentioned using 1/8th inch balsa wood. Given that I didn't bother to read the instructions, I printed and cut out the first bits and mounted them to the balsa. That is when I noticed that it would be WAY too thick for such a small vessel. I tried to trim the pieces in half but it is still too thick. The instructions call for 4-ply Bristol board. I have no idea what that is but I think I can get it at Hobby Lobby at some point.