Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Colonial River Boat "Hesperus"

The latest theme round at the Painting Challenge is Nautical, for which I submitted the Hesperus below.  Go check out the other wonderful entries which put my humble scratch bodge to shame.
Capt.  puts the crew to work on the foredeck.
This is the stern wheeler Hesperus which has been over 15 years in construction and is/was  intended for my Colonial North West Frontier campaign (aka Wascanastan).  II suspect that she can serve equally well in Pulp/Cthulu games.  She is roughly 28mm scale and it unapologetically intended as a flat out toy soldier bodge of a generic river/lake steamer, not a scale model of any particular vessel.   The dorky home made look is all part of the plan and hopefully the charm.

Construction details are spotty since it has sat in a 75% finished state in my basement(s) for over 15 years.  The superstructure appears to be foam core board with the main deck and sea base from sturdy corrugated card board.  The gunwales, upper decks and wheel look to be artist board and light card.   The vessel survived it's dormancy intact except for damage to the blades of the paddle wheel.

Major Campbell puts the Seaforths through rifle drill.
Full speed ahead to  the kitchen!

Over the last two weeks I have added the following

  • replaced the missing paddle blades with card (from Perry plastics boxes)
  • added light armour cladding to the superstructure and pilot from light card.  Gun slits and a window for the pilot house were cut out with an Xacto.
  • The funnel was created from a penny roller with a plain white paper to hide the spiral seam.
  • The single mast is a bamboo skewers mounted in a plastic tube from a paint brush.  The mast can be removed for safer travel.
  • I then painted the beast in the classic white all over scheme that appears in just about every picture I can find of a Victorian paddle wheeler.
  • I attempted to make bow and quarter waves with white paint and acrylic gel but don't think this was especially successful.
  • I added a Red Ensign and name boards printed on the home PC.
Some officers have a gentleman's wager over target shooting with pistols.
Meanwhile the "Civilian" passengers are in an animated conversation.

FYI the figures are from my Wascanastan collection and are mostly Rafm, with at least one Minifig for good measure.  These were painted in the last millennium for the most part so don't count for the challenge!

Good shot old boy!
Hesperus is the evening planet Venus in Greek mythology, and a ship named Hesperus is the subject of a well known Longfellow poem.  I know about the poem not because of a fine classic liberal arts education or because I come from a very literary family.  Rather my knowledge comes from two sources.  First my retired Navy Office dad teasing an old ship mate would have served as an officer on HMS Hesperus during WW2.  And also because an image of the Wreck of the Hesperus apparently appears prominently on the anatomy of Lydia the Tattooed Lady.  As the song say, you can learn a lot from Lydia!


  1. Well bodged! fwiw I rather like the bow wave and the gentle ripples of the carboard base.

  2. Now I thought that she was a wonderfully charming creation and most certainly worth waiting for.

  3. That's something I would never attempt Peter, so you should feel rightly proud of building it, especially when it has turned out so very well!! I especially like the fact that there seems to be plenty of room for minis to be moved about on it, so it could well prove central to some boarding action. Practical and pretty - a great combination.

    1. Thanks Blax. It is essentially a box with some bit stuck onto it, so it's not really that intimidating. Glad you like the final product.