Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CSS Arkansas vs USS Tyler and Queen of the West in 1/600

Part of the original inspiration for this project came after I dug out my old copy of Yaquinto's  excellent boardgame The Ironclads.  One of my favorite scenarios was the morning showdown on the Yazoo River between the CSS Arkansas and the US ram Queen of the West, the timberclad gunboat USS Taylor, and  ironclad USS Carondelet.   These would be the first vessels out of Old Black Water's Shipyard.

Here is the CSS Arkansas on the start of the epic run that was to  take her down the Yazoo and into the Mississippi River, passing through the combined US fleets and making it to the Confederate fortress of Vicksburg.  The commander of the Arkansas, Isaac Newton Brown, would fight most of the battle from a perch on top of the metal casemate.  You can see him below holding on to one of the chimney stays atop the casemate.

The model is from Bay Area Yards.  Other interpretations of the CSS Arkansas in 1/600 are made by Thoroughbred Miniatures and Peter Pig Miniatures.

Here is the Queen of the West advancing up the Yazoo on the hunt for the Arkansas.

She would be joined by the timberclad gunboat Tyler, one of the first vessels converted for the war on the western waters.  She would serve throughout the war.

This is a model from Bay Area Yards to which I have added boats, rigging and tarps.

Heres a couple more photos with all three vessels together.

Next episode will feature the US ironclads which would fight the Arkansas.


  1. Really nice work. How did you model the awnings on the Tyler?

    1. Ray,
      I make my awnings from cigarette rolling papers. I cut one to size; the crease can be useful for aligning it on the superstructure. I take thread stiffened with glue and glue individual guy lines on to the top of the paper. I then take a second piece of rolling paper cut the same size and lay that on top, sandwiching the guy lines between the 2 layers, leaving only the ends protruding from the edge of the awning. This gets placed over a superstructure of brass rod, the ends of the guy lines glued and then I take thinned down white glue and an old brush and carefully paint the whole awning laminating the 2 layers together and trying to eliminate any bubbles between them. The glue helps strengthen the awning and also allows you to mold it somewhat when its being set up. This laminating process I have done both before setting it up on the boat and after-I'm not sure which way is better but you have to be careful because its delicate when wet. After everything dries its gets painted. I'll have some more examples in upcoming posts.


  2. Great looking ships , have you thought of adding a 'join' widget to your site so people can follow you more easily , Tony

  3. More please! Lovely detailed painting and set ups!