Marques Del Duero and other stories

Just back from Cannon Beach for a long-planned vacation. As vacations go, it was fine, though we traveled in the face of a coronavirus shutdown in both Oregon and Washington. It put a bit of a damper on things as restaurants and bars closed. It also got more of my attention, and I’m pretty much hunkering down at home under a self quarantine for the next couple of weeks.

COVID isn’t doing a lot for my gaming activities, as this promises to be a long, quiet winter. My fingers are crossed for an early vaccine that might get us gaming again in the spring, but certainly no guarantees.

I haven’t stopped painting. That’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s relaxing, and as long as I can see (something that often seems in doubt, ask my wife,) I’ll keep working away. I’ve been able to continue progressing in three areas, as planned–1) 1/1250 scale ships for the Spanish-American War era 2) 1/300 scale planes of whatever suits me. I have lots. 3) 28mm figures from a variety of projects that just need to get finished.

One of my recent pleasures is working on some Spanish ships from Brown Water Navy on Shapeways. This is Matthew Lawson’s work. I’ve written about him before. I’ve recently painted some of his Spanish ships in 1/1250 scale. They include the two U.K.-built Velasco class unprotected cruisers and the French-built gunboat Marques del Duero. These are really small models cast in smooth fine plastic.

The Marques del Duero is a tiny ship, a wooden gunboat of about 470 tons. It was part of the disaster in Manila Bay on that August 13th morning when Commodore George Dewey made short work of the combined Spanish fleet under the gentlemanly Contraalmirante Patricio Montojo. Del Duero is far from the most important ship in that fleet, but as models go it’s really quite impressive.

First, take note of the size of the model. The guns and deck detail are clearly depicted. Matthew always does a great job of included the boats and davits. Check out the swivel rings for each of the guns on the deck. I was able to rake the masts a bit and drybrush some Neutral Grey over the black hull. Nice model, and I feel like I executed it reasonably well.

BWN does a very nice job of sharing the two different versions of the unprotected cruisers in the Velasco class. There were eight of these 1,100 ton wooden-hulled ships built over eight years (1881-1889.) In this period of naval development, with the rapid changes in technology and naval construction capability, these ships were quite outdated by the Spanish American War. Velasco, Don Juan de Austria and Don Antonio de Ulloa, were all at Manila Bay and each met the same fate: sunk in shallow water so crewmen could easily escape to shore.

The first two ships in the class, Velasco and Gravina, were built in British yards and differ slightly from their six sisters. These were all built in various Spanish shipyards. The Spanish ships are somewhat better armed and have a more prominent bridge and superstructure.

At the present time, I only have the two British built ships, though the Spanish hulls are on order. They have the same nice quality of detail of Marques del Duero.

They were a bit more of a challenge, however. These models came with poles for masts. My first experience with them. I planned to remove them and replace them with my own masts, but they were handy for locating them properly. Went to remove them, sliced through them shattering a couple of ships boats. Made of the smooth fine detail plastic, this stuff is brittle and snaps easily. Not a bad thing, but good to know. In the future I’ll snip those off with a pair of nail clippers.

I continue painting my three-headed monster of ships, planes and 28mm figures.

I’m choogling through 36 left over Wayne’s Legion Infantry by Old Glory. They’ll fit in nicely with my America Ramant project as I make the shift to Rebels and Patriots.

For the latter, I completed my mounted archers I had going in October. I moved on to some Front Rank 28mm British light infantry from the American Revolution. They were leftovers from the Retreat From Concord game, and fills out a couple of my six man units to twelve man units. When I finished with those I began painting some more leftovers. I have 36 Wayne’s Legion figures for my America Rampant project. I’ll be converting these over to Rebels and Patriots, so a few will fill out existing 10-man units, and others will become standard 12 figure units. When they’re finished I’ll paint up Woodland Indians for the same project.

My pledge was 60 28mm figures by the end of the year. My current count is 48/60

I’ve also been working on some planes. I started off November with six A6M3 Hamps finished, pegged and in their box. I’ve stuck with my box o’ Japanese planes, and for sure I’ll paint them through. George passed some planes along to me and I had a sizable stack, so I’m not lacking for subjects. I painted more Zeroes (a collection of A6M2’s, 3’s an 5’s) for a total of nine. then it was on to a tiny handful of bombers, a pair of Mitsubishi G3M Nells, and a single Ki-67 Peggy. Last spring I accumulated a bunch of floatplanes with the objective of doing an attack on a seaplane base. Two Raiden Petes, three Jakes and four Rufes by Scotia got wrapped up too. I’ve assembled two big Mavis flying boats and but am currently working on four each of Nakajima’s Kates and Jills. Not quite done, but soon.

I pledged 50 planes done by the end of the year. I am currently at 27/50

Finally, I promised to get a bunch of ships done. Since my last post I’ve finished the two Velascos and the Marques del Duero. I also completed the WTJ Oregon (as Indiana in navy gray) and a pair of their little Isla de Luzon class cruisers. I’ve ordered 22 ships from War Times Journal and Brown Water Navy, but things have bottlenecked with production problems, but things may be freeing up soon. Even so I’m still some ships short, and I’d call my goal definitely in doubt. Maybe I’ll make up the difference elsewhere.

I pledged 40 ships by the end of the year. I am currently at 10/40.

3 comments on “Marques Del Duero and other stories

  1. Jonathan Freitag says:

    Kevin, your plate is full and you are staying busy. That is good! Can you enlighten me on your basing for your Spanish ships? I like the clear base with the white bow breaks and trailing turbulence.

    • kgsmyth55 says:

      Jon, all my ship bases in this scale are from Litko. I use their basemaker and order a few different standard sizes in 1.5 mm clear acrylic. I went this way for a few reasons. One is that I’m just kinda lazy and wanted consistent sized bases. The other is that I’ve been doing ships of one kind or another so long that it’s hard to match bases. This way they all look like the sea mat on the table. I like that better. Hope that helps. Stay safe my friend.

  2. Pete S/ SP says:

    Stunning ships- the aircraft are really nice too.



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