A prison hulk model

By Rob Morgan

An unusual choice of wargame model, I’ll admit. However, the Airfix small scale (undetermined, but it will “fit” in with 1/600th or 1/700th models) kit of HMS Victory has some unusual potential.

I decided to make a prison hulk, or depot ship, or accommodation ship, take your choice, out of one I had acquired at a discount price in the Oxfam shop.

Simple  job (very). I cut it down to the waterline, and based the model. Notice the buoy at the front of the base; the old ship’s anchored. Adding just one  truncated mast amidships, I could have added two, or all three, of course, but chose not to. I replaced the original bowsprit with a new one, 25mm long.

You will notice that along the deck, there are some structures. There are five of them. All are taken from a Monopoly set. There’s an hotel in the foreground, just to remind you. I simply cemented them on the deck at suitable places and sprayed matt dark earth as an undercoat.

I haven’t finished this model yet, but will paint the sides matt black, maybe a single yellow, or red, strake or two along the sides. The deck “huts” will remain brown with some corticene-coloured roofs, deep brick red or grey. I’m intending to add a couple of very light guns, from the Tumbling Dice range on the surviving fighting top, and a big ensign at the stern on a pin. I could add some stem to stern rigging, perhaps with signal flags along it. I haven’t decided yet.

What I’ll have when I’ve finished is a suitable harbor target for a solo wargame set sometime between 1860 and 1890. Maybe with a few torpedo boats, or a destroyer or two. Gunboats perhaps, an attack on a defended anchorage, with an armed breakwater or shore batteries.

If this is a depot ship or accommodation ship, then the target is to kill an enemy commander or to destroy much of the opposing fleet’s manpower at one blow. If she’s a prison hulk, maybe a more complicated game would be to board her and rescue the lads imprisoned there.

Makes a change.

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