Little Gunboats

It had been my intention to document the Lake Tanganyika project through it’s many steps, but my eagerness seems to have got in the way!  Best laid plans of mice and men…    Instead here are some pics of the various boats at different stages of construction.  The Mimi and Toutou are not included because they will be commercially made casts from Old Glory.

DSC_0011All of these boats however have begun their lives as 1/2 Pink Foam insulation.  The KINGANI in the above picture is in the first stage of construction.  Just pink foam carved into the basic shape of the hull. Her design is the most complicated so I am waiting until I have some experience at building these things before I tackle her!   If I do these again I would probably do them in pine to make them a Little more durable and because this stuff sands away far to easy.  I lost a whole half inch of length to the Kingani in simply smoothing her contours.  Besides trying to keep these models in scale in the Boilers and Breech loaders rules, many of the statistics of the vessels are based upon the model’s actual dimensions.

DSC_0012 This is the Netta.  She is very close to being finished.   For her foredeck I glued on a second layer of the 1/2 pink foam after first carving a cockpit for the helm.  I used sheet styrene to build the combing around that cockpit and to build the gentle curves at the rear of the foredeck.  Her main deck is a sheet of scribed basswood cut to shape.  A few scraps of styrene were cut to make hatches on the fore deck and for the main cabin in that deck.  The flags were taken from Warflags ( ). I have found it challenging to determine under what flag the Belgian vessels operated and who crewed them.  At the time of the battle Belgium had no navy.  The forces in the Belgian Congo seem to be entirely made up of Force Publique.   On the Netta I decided to reach a compromise.  I have placed the Belgian National Flag at her stern with an miniature version of the Belgian Congo flag as her Jack.  The guns a 3 pdr and a 1pdr Pom Pom, are Houston Ship Fittings from The Virtual Armchair General ( .  The figures shown are a mixture of Houston’s and Reviresco. (

DSC_0014  Again mostly finished, this little guy is the Mossalbek or Dix-Tonne.  These first two models are the easiest to model based upon their lines but they have been a real challenge to document. There is a great discrepancy regarding their armament, and the available photos are typically lacking any detail.  I haven’t been able to find any drawings.  For armament I have decided to rely upon information from a Belgian Naval History webpage even though it disagrees with most of my British sources.  ( )  She will be armed with a 6 pdr and a 3 pdr from Houston.   Decided to use teh Belgian Congo flag do to some speculation regarding the only good pic of her I can find.

DSC_0013  The Hedwig Von Wissman has a good deal of work to go.  She has a raised area of foam on her bow where the 3 pdr is and a lower raised area over her rudder at the stern.  Her decking is all scribed bass wood as is her forward cabin.  The roof is foam core and the stack is PVC.  Eventually she will have her freeboard raised with mounting board and low walls added to make a bridge above the cabin.  There is also more cabin which will be under the stack.  Oh and doors and either windows or portlights added to the cabin.

Lots of little details for her on there way from TVAG and Reviersco.  Need some little bollards or at least cleats for all the vessels.

until next time…Cheers,