Back in March, I did a post entitled, "Getting My Hands Dirty?" that talked about the 1/1200 scale ironclads I had bought from Thoroughbred Miniatures. Since then, I've bought quite a few ships from Pithead Miniatures in England and just made another order from Thoroughbred a few days ago. Instead of taking a scattershot approach like I did with the sailing ships, I've decided to concentrate on the Mississippi River campaign. The main reason for this is that I have the Anaconda campaign rules by Ray Garbee that focus on the Mississippi River. That, combined with the fact that our gaming group thought that an ACW river campaign would be fun made my decision in that regard pretty easy.
There have been a couple of changes from the March post. Now, rivers are going to be dark blue. As I also haven't really found a river mat I like (or that looks like the Mississippi River), using my blue mats will save some money. Also, my idea for clear bases won't work because there's no way to apply magnets to the base for storage without them being visible.
The Anaconda rules themselves are available from Wargame Vault, and give the players/gamemaster plenty of room for tinkering. As they say on the cover (see below), they are a campaign rules set. That means you will have to provide your own ships and rules for resolving combat.
When it comes to providing your own ships, there are several options out there for 1/1200 scale. Thoroughbred Miniatures has a small but growing line in 1/1200 that is every bit as nice as their 1/600 products. Navwar and Red Eagle (formerly Skytrex) have ACW lines, but tend to focus mostly on ironclads. Stone Mountain here in the US has the old Houston's Ships line, but they are probably closer to 1/1000 than 1/1200. It seems that if you want the full panoply of oddball vessels turned into warships, then you need to take a look at Pithead Miniatures. They do a number of different ships organized by area, so if you want something like the Confederate ships that defended Island No. 10, then Phil at Pithead can set you up. The ships are cast in resin with metal parts and some of them can be quite small, so I would suggest basing them. I think the Pithead masters are all carved by hand, so if you like miniatures with all perfectly straight lines, then you may not like them. To me, though, the Pithead models wonderfully depict the sort of ramshackle, make-do character of both sides' navies during the Civil War. In fact, every time I look at them compared to my sailing ships, I keep thinking, "what grubby little vessels!" Don't just take my word for it though; here's a picture of the different types of ships side by side.
Another thing about the ACW naval miniatures is that they don't require much, if any rigging. That, combined with the generally simple paint jobs means you can pick up quite a few and (hopefully) finish them quickly. Otherwise, you wind up with a traffic jam in the shipyard that looks like this:
|There are a couple of others I haven't put together yet.|