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Part 5: Passenger Liners and Other Ships

In 2004 I bought the 1:1200 scale Revell Germany kit of the Titanic. I thought it was a nice little kit and noticed that it was about the right scale to go with my Pre-Dreadnought era naval wargaming miniatures, which were officially listed as 1:1200 or 1:1000 scale but measured out closer to 1:953. Since the Titanic was built only a few years after the end of the Pre-Dreadnought period, I thought the ship model might make a good (if large) generic transport to use in my games.

As so often happens with my projects, one thing led to another. At about the same time I bought several small sailing ship kits, and soon I had plans for creating some sort of naval game using some 1:1200 passenger liner kits on one side and some small sailing ship kits on the other side.

These are the passenger liners and other models I've built for the project since then.

This is the one that started it all for me. This is the 1:1200 scale kit of the Titanic from Revell of Germany. (Revell of Germany is now a separate company from Revell USA, although at some point in the past one was a subsidiary of the other. Modellers and hobby shops have to specify which is which, as the two companies have different (but sometimes overlapping) product lines.)

It's a nice little kit, fun to build and with an impressive amount of detail for a kit of this size and price range.

None of these ship models have been used in a game yet, but they will. Oh, they will.

One of the items on my "to do" list is to build an iceberg tip, mounted on a wooden base like the ships, to follow the Titanic around on the game tabletop. Presumably the player controlling the Titanic would be able to use the iceberg as an offensive weapon to ram enemy ships, but as I mentioned elsewhere, I still haven't gotten around to working on the game design itself yet.

For reasons I've long since forgotten, I bought two each of the Titanic, Aida, and Queen Elizabeth 2 models. The ship models were so nice I wanted one of each as a shelf display model and one cut down to the waterline and based for gaming use. I later came to my senses and only bought one each of the M/S Color Fantasy and Queen Mary 2.

Next came the Aida, again in 1:1200 scale from Revell Germany. I really like this kit.

These cruise liner ships, with their large areas of plain white paint, really challenge my limited painting skills. My personal standards for my wargaming miniatures (the waterline models mounted on wooden bases) are lower than for my display models, but I still want the gaming pieces to look nice.

This is my full-hull version of the Aida. I was really impressed with the amount of detail in these kits, particularly the deck equipment. Notice the little swimming pools, the round umbrellas over whatever those round things are (food counters? bars? newspaper kiosks?), and the tiny deck chairs.

The Queen Elizabeth 2, once again the 1:1200 scale kit from Revell Germany. I haven't built the waterline version yet. These first three kits were built in 2004 and painted a couple of years later.

I also bought the kit of the Queen Mary 2 in the same series, not realizing that that ship is much bigger. The model is too big for gaming use, but it will make a nice display model for some bookshelf somewhere. For that matter, the QE2 is probably too big for gaming.

Again with the swimming pools and the tiny deck chairs. I had fun painting them.

In 2012 I built this M/S Color Fantasy, a recent release from Revell Germany. It's a nice-looking ship but I had a hard time painting it. The big flat white spaces are a bit drab and my usual techniques of shading or inking with a darker color to pick out the windows didn't work well. The large areas of blue windows were tough too.

I still think it's a cool model.

My original plan for the game was to use not just the passenger liners and sailing ships, but any small ship model that was about the right size and looked interesting and fun. So, in 2010 I built these two ships from the Glencoe "Nautical Workhorses" double kit, repops of old ITC molds from the 1950's or 1960's.

This model of a tug boat is, I think, 1:200 scale. The box and instructions didn't say what scale the two kits were supposed to be. Yeah, I know, I need to work on the lighting in my photography.

This model of a paddleboat, the other half of the Glencoe "Nautical Workhorses" double kit, is apparently 1:400 scale.

A lot of those early plastic kits had markings molded in raised lines right on the model, supposedly to help the modeller align the decals correctly. It never worked out right because the decals were always a slightly different size than the molded lines on the model, and the raised surface made it harder for the decals to stick properly and made the decals wrinkle. The raised lines were also hard to carve or sand off without scarring the model. But, it's all nostalgia now, so I left the molded "Southern Belle" lettering on this model. Okay, so I was too lazy to sand the lettering off. So sue me!


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The content on this page was written: April 2013
Last updated: June 11, 2016