Monday, February 14, 2011

Home-Made Miniature: TCG Yavuz

TCG Yavuz in 1:1800

Among the various games I enjoy are naval miniatures games. When Axis and Allies: War at Sea came out a few years ago, I liked the fact that there was an easy source of new naval miniatures (and a decent set of rules). But the minis were in yet another new scale. Traditional miniatures already came in a bunch of different scales depending on rule set and manufacturer. Though things had pretty well settled down to being in either 1:1200 scale or 1:1250 scale for mid-sized minis.

Then came War at Sea with 1:1800 scale. The minis are nice for the size, and given the fact that they're molded in a fairly soft plastic, they've got pretty good detail. Even if it's a bit blocky.

Homebrew Ships
I thought I'd try my hand at making a mini in the same scale. I built this mini in 2007, shortly after War at Sea first appeared, before any expansion sets were released. It's been sitting in a desk drawer waiting for a paint job since then, I just finished painting it.

When I decided to make my own mini, I wanted to make something that I could be pretty sure wouldn't be coming out in an expansion. It'd be pretty silly to make a ship that would be available for a few bucks from the manufacturer a month after I finished it. Also, the ship had to be interesting enough to model and play with. Not to mention that it should be large enough for me to model by hand, without sculpting and casting.

So, a capital ship. But where would I find a period capital ship that's not likely to appear in the War at Sea expansions?

As it happens I like unusual ships with interesting stories behind them (well, who doesn't?) The TCG Yavuz fits that description exactly. A German Battlecruiser built before WWI, it became the Turkish navy's flagship when it fled the British in the eastern Mediterranean, docked in neutral Turkey, then was sold to Turkey by Imperial Germany as an inducement to Turkey to enter the war on their side.

So an interesting German capital ship escaped the scuttling at Scapa Flow at the end of WWI. It served in the Turkish navy until the 1950's.

When modelling something in a small scale, you have to make a number of choices about what you're going to model and what you're going to skip. You want the ship to represent its prototype, but you'll go mad if you try to capture all its details. In my case, I decided to mainly get guns, turrets, and major masses of superstructure on the model, as well as hull details like the belt and the casemates.

What I ended up with is less than perfect. The fore stack is too short. The hull's entry is too narrow. The mass I use to represent the searchlight tower and other structure around the aft mast is too large. But overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

And to date, it's the only TCG Yavuz I know of that's around for War at Sea.

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