Sunday, January 26, 2020

War of the Pacific Ironclads

Peruvians in front, Chileans in the background.  It turned out that only one shot of the Peruvian squadron  on its own came out, but my group shots have the Peruvians in the fore.

To follow on from an earlier post I have 4 of the major warships from the War of the Pacific fought between Chile and Peru from 1879-1884.  Back in the earlier 80s the Yaquinto board game "Ironclads" described it as a "Chilean-Peruvian Banana War", which is surely a misnomer as it was fought over the Atacama Desert where very little grows and certainly not bananas.  The key resource at stake was actually nitrate deposits from guano deposits at the large sea bird nesting sites, was a war fought over bird sh*t.  Actually this war is also known as the Saltpetre War but 10 years earlier peru and Chile had allied  against Spain was in the Guano War.
Independencia leads Union

In addition to the Huáscar from my earlier post, back from the Peruvian fleet included these two vessels the Ironclad frigate Independencia and the unarmored corvette Union plus other oddities on the work bench.  

Independencia was armed with big rifles on pivots bow (8") and stern (7") plus 6" rifles on the broadside.  She was the Peruvian navies second most important ship after the Huascar but was written off after running aground in the war's first action.   Union was an unarmoured corvette packing a useful armament.  
Spot the doofus moment.  Note how the Blanco Encalada has more smoke and a flag.  I decided that I needed to fix this!

On the Chilean side of things we have the two central battery ironclad sisters Almirante Cochrane and Blanco Encalada built in the UK and completed just three years before the war began. They were named for naval heroes from the Chilean War of Independence, Cochrane of course being the Scot who was the inspiration for Horatio Hornblower.  They packed a punch of 9" rifles and feature the angled gun ports to give wider arcs of fire.  Cochrane survived until 1934 but her sister ship was torpedoed by the torpedo gunboat Almirante Lynch in the Chilean civil war of 1891 and was one of the first casualties of Mr Whitehead's invention.
Coinage added to give idea of scale.  Canadian quarter at the bow, loonie at the stern.

These are all Tumbling Dice 1/2400 model, and again I'm very pleased with these casting.  The Cochrane class come packaged in a pair, as do Huáscar  and Independencia.  Tumbling dice don't make specific models for the unarmored ships so I've used more generic models for these, including Union and HMS Amethyst
Look carefully, I've fixed the smoke on Blanco Encalada and took her flag off int he process.  Easily fixed however.

I seem to be following trends this Challenge as 19th century South American wars are on an upswing.  The Perry's released figures for a slightly earlier war across the Andes and there's a recently published set of rules for the land operations of the War of the Pacific.

These TD models have been scored at 3pts a pop, so that's a whopping 12 points for me.


  1. Excellent! Looking forward to seeing them in action!

    1. Thanks Jim. Your fleets have been an inspiration here.

  2. Good job Peter. It is a fascinating and under-appreciated conflict. I have a copy of the land rules "It's Getting a Bit Chile" - they look very promising. One day, eventually(!), I plan to do the land war with either 10mm Pendraken or 6mm Baccus.

    1. Cheers Matt. I’ve been looking at the land side, but figure I’ve got enough on my plate.

    2. You need to buy the rules so you can tell how big a plate you need.

    3. You may have made yourself a sale!

  3. Very cool ships. I also like the name, "Saltpetre War"!