Sunday, March 22, 2020

Climbed a mountain and I turned around . . . .

It's taken a little while to get this post up on the blog.  As my regular readers know, sometimes you just have to take a break from building sailing ships.  I have been putting ships on the Ironclads page, but apparently Blogger only tells people when I update the main page.  Oh, well . . . .

The title of the last post is a modification of the old sailor's song "Spanish Ladies."  Like I said, it's a slight modification as the original line went, "Farewell and adieu to you Spanish ladies."  I didn't think that fit too well into a post introducing two new Spanish ships, so I changed it.  Nonetheless, that song is the source for the title of the last post.  The song inspiration for this post is much newer, and probably won't be too hard for the readers to guess.

The two new ships in the post actually represent quite a milestone.  These are the last two ships needed to complete my Spanish Trafalgar fleet.  This is actually a bigger thing than you might think.  While I've been working on Spanish ships lately, this project has been (mostly) guiding my sailing ship building since about 2014 or so.  Consequently, I've worked on all three fleets, not just one.  There were 60 ships of the line at Trafalgar; right now I have 48 of them.  At this point, my fleet breakdowns are:
British: 19 of 27 SOL
French: 14 of 18 SOL
Spanish: 15 of 15 SOL.
I promise that there will be a post with all the Spanish Trafalgar ships together in the future.  

These two ships are from the 74/80 gun Montañes class.  According to Google Translate, the class name translates out as "Highlander," or "Mountain."  The first two ships (Montañes and Monarca) were built in 1794, the third (Neptuno) in 1795 and the last ship (Argonauta) was built in 1798.  They were well-designed ships, and Montañes was said to make 10 knots close-hauled and 14 knots running large in a fresh (force 5) wind.  All four ships served across the Spanish empire,with Montañes spending eight years in the Pacific and returning to Spain in 1803.  All four ships were at Trafalgar: Monarca and Neptuno were captured but sank in the storm that followed the battle.  Argonauta was also captured, but burned by the British after the battle.  Montañes  survived the battle but was out of service until February 1806 making repairs.  She remained in service until 1810, when she ran aground in Cadiz Bay during a storm.

So, with no further delay, here are the final two ships of my Spanish fleet at Trafalgar:

 And Now for the Brow Furrowing. . . .

As I mentioned in the last post, these models have some differences from the generic Spanish 74's that make me furrow my brow a bit.  As has been made clear on other forums, the Langtons say that their ships are generic types other than the named models, which do represent specific ships.  With that in mind, let's take a look at the deck plan of a Montañes class ship:

Taken from:

For our purposes, there are three main areas of interest.  Those are the solid square on the poop deck (officer's cabins), the grates along the side of the waist opening, and the large square with four smaller ones in front of the waist.  This is the chimney for the ship's stove.  Below is a picture of my two ships before the masts were put in.

Hmmmmm.  Clearly the cabin on the poop is not solid, there are no grates around the waist, and that is definitely not a set of chimneys for the ship's stove just forward of the waist.  To me, these don't look like a Montañes class ship.  Now, let's take a look at NS3, the generic 74 gun Spanish ship of the line.

Well, now that's more like it!  We have the solid cabins on the poop, the grates along the waist AND the stove just forward of the waist.  There's even the curved rail behind the main mast.  Clearly the NS3/4 is the Montañes class of 74/80s, and I suspect that NS 21/22 would actually be the generic 74.  The stern piece in NS 21/22 is much closer to correct for the Montañes class ships than the stern piece for NS 3/4 would be.  The pictures below should make that quite clear.

So, what does this all mean?  In a perfect world, I guess I would rebuild my Spanish fleet using the correct hulls and sterns so that both types of 74 are correct.  😂😂😂 Yeah, like that's gonna happen!  I have spent too much time and money to throw all those ships out and start again.  Also, I've never had anyone at one of my games notice what I've discussed here.  Truth be told, I guess it only affects sticklers such as myself and Vol Williams. (You were right Vol, this is exactly what I was going to talk about!)  

Anyone expecting me to say anything bad about the Langtons can just surf off to another website right now.  Even with what I've described, I still prefer them over other brands.  GHQ ships are truly generic amazingly specific to the prototypes, as Vol and AdmiralHawke over at TMP have pointed out to me.  For example, the GHQ model of HMS Boyne actually has the appropriate figurehead for the ship!  What this means is that my bias against GHQ is based on two touchingly petty personal preferences: the GHQ ships feel too small,  and I don't care for their masts (I told you they were petty reasons 🙄) .  As for other brands, Navwar ships were rough when I started with them back in the 1980s and don't appear to have changed any.  Skytrex/Red Eagle ships are also unchanged from the 1980s, but they were better than Navwar back then.  When Rod Langton started his business, he really elevated the market for 1/1200 scale naval gaming miniatures.  Even with my nitpicking, I still think they're the best and I will keep building them.