Saturday, 18 February 2017

Lake Victoria Gunboat - Part One

As a part of the East African Project, that will see a significant scenario played out later this year, I need a gunboat to support Brutish operations on Lake Victoria. 

I had a bit of a search around on the web for pictures of these boats, of which there were a few, and most seem to be converted lake steamers rather than purpose built vessels. Unable to find sufficiently detailed images of these boats, I took my inspiration from an article in Wargames Illustrated (Feb 2017 issue) about the relief of Kut in Bessarabia that had some wonderful shots of a gunboat built for that game. My boat would not be as grand as theirs and would not be as heavily armed, but it would still lend some waterbourne strength to the British effort. 

My first task was to determine the size of the model. I didn't want to go beyond 300 mm in length because that is what I could place diagonally on an A4 piece of paper. I drew up the basic shape on the computer with a final size of 290mm lehgth and 85mm beam, and printed out several copies.

I then tacked a cut out copy of the printout to some 12mm foamboard and cut out the basic shape for the hull.

The superstructure was cut from 2mm cardboard and glued together.

The image below is the superstructure with the upper deck is positioned on top. On this upper deck will be a wheelhouse. 

The picture below shows the superstructure positioned on the hull.

With all the basic shapes made I started work on some of the detailing. On the main hull I created the wooden deck. This was done quite simply by scoring a series of straight lines, 2mm apart, into the surface of the foamboard with the back of the scalpel blade. The base was then painted black and a number of shades of brown dry-brushed across the detail. The whole surface was then washed with a coat of GW Nulion Oil.

I then set about working on the superstructure. This needed a surface applied to look like steel plates. At first I though of using plasticard, but in the end settled on a lightweight card I had in hand. I cut this into sheets that could be layed so that they overlapped and would give the appearance of rivetted sheets. To represent the rivetts I pushed the tip of a mechanical pencil into the edge of the card, although the effect if this won't be evident until the model is painted.

I then painted the deck between the two parts of the superstructure. I needed to do this now because once the assembly proper starts I won't be able to get at it. For this I simply applied the same colours as fhe main deck and to represent the deck planking I drew some pencil lines and to fix the pencil marks I applied a coat of matte varnish.

Below the two main components in what will be their final position.

The next step is to start on the fiddly bits: the doors, hatches, steps, storage boxes, etc. 


  1. Ohhh... this is going to be good - I can feel it in my water! Looking forward to seeing the completed model Mark!

    1. I did a bit more on this later yesterday afternoon - a cluple of storage boxes, some doors and an air vent - and it is amazing. This project will probably be a bit sporadic with little bits added over the next couple of weeks.