Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Beast of the Yazoo River

A recent acquisition from Shapeways shop Infernal Machines was a 1/600 model of the unnamed Confederate ironclad known as the “Yazoo Monster”.  This ship, laid down at Yazoo City, Mississippi was never completed. But in the rich tradition of Confederate naval projects that never quite made it into action, this is a worthy addition to my collection.   
To paraphrase Nelson Muntz, from The Simpsons ‘historical records from this period are spotty, at best’.  However, some very good naval design archaeology is attempting to reconstruct what had been hidden. There’s a nice discussion on the Yazoo Monster over on Civil War Talk. There’s even a set of conjectural plans showing how the ship might have appeared.  Some of these plans served as the inspiration for the model from Infernal Machines.
As covered earlier in this blog, I had purchased a model of this ship earlier in 2015. Since then, it has been languishing in a box awaiting some paint. With the conclusion of my 1/144 biplane project, I’m moving back to ACW naval models. The Yazoo Monster was an easy project to get reengaged with the period.
The model was delivered from Shapeways as a single, ready to paint casting. I’d ordered it in Strong, Black and Flexible. Yes, it cost a dollar or two more, but the improvement in the smoothness of the surface pays for itself in time saved from preparing the surface.  I used a few coats of my Krylon gloss coat spray sealer and a little bit of light sanding with a 120 grit sanding stick (This plastic stuff is tough!) and I was ready to paint.
For painting, I endeavored to follow the teachings of award winning miniatures painter Bill Moreno (aka TMP member ACWBill) as conveyed in his painting guides to ACW naval miniatures. Bill’s guides are concise, clearly laid out guides to getting your models painted and on the table with the least amount of fuss.
First step was to prime the model using Krylon camouflage spray paint. 

After the base coat of paint has been applied.

Overhead view of the primed model.

You can still see a bit of the surface roughness inherent with using the Black Strong and Flexible printing material.
After allowing this to dry, I painted the hull with a coat of Vallejo black. The hull of river vessels get a heavy coat of tar and tend to be damp – I like the look of the darker hulls. 

Next step – paint the casemate. Since the consensus of color for the CSS Arkansas was a chocolate brown color, I endeavored to create a similar color for the Monster. Using a medium brush I applied a coat of Vallejo  cork brown.  After that dried, it was back to the Vallejo  black and painting all three funnels and the open gun ports.

Lastly was painting the deck, both forward and aft. The camo spray color was not bad, but I wanted something a little lighter. The solution was a coat of Vallejo  buff paint.

Painted and almost done!


Once the base coats had dried it was time for the highlights and dry brushing. I used a variety of Vallejo  gray paint including Sky Grey and Basalt Grey to high light the edges of the casemate and hull. The sky grey was dry brushed over the model to tone down the cork brown and lighten the black hull. 

The Yazoo Monster and the Pook turtle side by side. This really drives home the size of the Monster and gives you idea how it earned it's name.

The Yazoo Monster with a Pook Turtle from Throughbred Models in the rear. This is a reasonable comparison of what the Monster would have faced on the Mississippi River (though the phrase 'bigger and more' comes to mind).

Here's the Monster next to a model of USS Minnesota from Bay Area Yards that is currently stuck in the assembly queue..
 Once dry, the model was hit with a coat of gloss coat to protect the paint job and a coat of matte finish to remove the glossy sheen. Now it’s ready for the tabletop!

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