A gunboat for the Potomac flotilla

By Rob Morgan

The Peter Pig 1/600th model known as the USS Fuschia was one of the most attractive and useful small warships around. Its uses ranged from an 1840s gunboat to the Crimea and many Colonial encounters, and, well beyond the American Civil War to World War I, it could be converted without much trouble into a paddle steamer. My last “historical” conversion was into a Spanish gunboat “capture” typical of those used by the US Navy in China waters during the 1930s. I also turned it into a very early steamship in 450th scale to accompany a few of the Peter Pig sailing warships. That old model will be missed.

The recently remodeled USS Fuschia has almost as many potential uses. I looked her up in Gibbons’ “Warships and Naval Battles of the Civil War” (she’s on page 76). She was a 240-ton former tug, some 98 feet long and armed with a 20-pdr. and 2×24-pdrs., augmented by extra 24-pdrs. toward the end of the war. Essentially a patrol boat and, though in regular action against shore targets, she was never involved in any major encounter. Typical gunboat, and useful

The model (she’s No. 17 in the Hammerin’ Iron range) costs 4.50. Brookside Hobbies sell them in the USA – no idea of the price though. The model consists of just two metal pieces, a neat hull, completely detail moulded, 50mm long, 10mm wide, and a 15mm tall funnel with ventilators fore and aft. Easy to fit together, but, of course, for variety the funnel can be replaced with a taller funnel from the Peter Pig range. There are two sets of davit holes just aft of the funnel and they need a pair of ship’s boats from Peter Pig to complete the model. The guns, one on the foredeck, and one aft, are moulded as part of the hull, and, if later conversion is considered, this can be a problem. But there’s potential – plenty of it! Gibbons shows her with a single pole mast forward of the small bridge, and a 20mm pin drilled in and cemented in this position looks good here.

No more work is required to prepare the little ship for her mundane patrol labours on the Potomac River.

She’s sound value!

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