Tidying out my study wardrobe the other day, I stumbled across a shoe-box full of small ironclad naval ships that have been buried away for quite a few years. These were balsa wood models I scratchbuilt some 30 years ago to play the ironclad rules in Paul Hague’s Sea Battles in Miniature.
The ships, each around 10cms long, are a little crude, but nevertheless still charming enough. Some of the masts and spars are unfortunately the worse for wear after rattling round in their box for years, but the ships themselves are still sound.
I also used to have laminated cards to go with each ship, on which you could use a ‘chinograph’ pencil to mark off damage and so on – but these have unfortunately long gone.
I’ve always liked the ‘steam-punk’ look of the ironclad steamships of the Victorian era, with their forward thrusting bows, complex upperworks, old-fashioned masts and elegant paintwork. So far as tactics go, not only was gunnery important, but also the ancient art of ramming!
I can’t recall if these ships ever took to the wargames table in earnest. I do still have the rules, so it would just be a matter of re-making the ship information cards and the various turn templates for these ships to stoke up their boilers and steam into action.