Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Targets for Cruel Seas

I've (finally) started putting together the ships from the Cruel Seas starter. But as I started, I realized that I really needed some targets for the coastal forces to go after. There aren't a lot of 1/300 (or 1/350) scale models of World War II coastal merchants out there, so I thought I might try my hand at scratchbuilding some ships. While my work won't be as good as the ones the Virtual Scratchbuilder posted on The Miniatures Page, I expect they will be just fine (for targets).

I started an Internet search for British 1930-40s coastal freighters to get some inspiration and plans. During my search I came across some interesting stuff, such as the U.S. Navy book on Merchant Ship Shapes and plans for a coastal tanker that look a lot like the Warlord Games merchant tanker, but I didn't find any good plans for coastal freighters. I did come across several photos (1 and 2) and decided to base my ships on those, while using some "artistic license" for the details. I decided to build one ship with a center bridge and two with aft bridges.

I started out with basswood to make the base shape for the lower hull and then started adding balsa to build up the forecastle and superstructure. I'll use some sheet styrene for thin flat areas (like the decks for the bridges) and ship sides. The ships are almost 7 inches long (like the cardboard counter frigther stand-in included in the starter set).
3/4 view
Profile view
The ships are starting to come together nicely (although the photos show I need some filler), so I feel like I'm off to a good start. I still need to add the sides, cargo hatches, booms, and some extra details.

I'll post some more photos when the ships are done.