Transitional Era‎ > ‎

Euroclads

I have a strong interest in the arms race and engineering developments which overtook the navies of Europe from the 1860s onward. It is endlessly enthralling to read about the intertwined evolution of materials technology, engine design, hull design, weapons developments, and protection (including, but not limited to, armor). I made up the term "euroclad" to differentiate the rarer miniatures of European vessels from the much more ubiquitous ACW naval miniatures.

Lissa 1866

I have always considered the Battle of Lissa in 1866 to be one of those terrible niche obsessions that gamers fall prey to without considering the reality of replaying the battle. It looks like a fun battle to game, but it was the only battle of its sort in European waters, and the the only battle most of the vessels present ever fought, so a full Lissa miniatures collection is really a one-trick pony without resorting to fantasy games and "what if" scenarios. A GM trying to force the same battle onto a table more than twice will become a Captain Ahab to his crew of gamers, so the most frequent use of a full Lissa collection is going to be gathering dust. Worse, very few of the vessels at Lissa have ever been produced in miniature, so most of them would have to be scratch-built. While I admire the few people in the world who have done this, I consciously decided not to join them.

As my interest in euroclads and steam-powered 19th C. warships increased, my interest in the Battle of Lissa also grew. Ships of the mid-19th C. are actually pretty easy to paint, since they all followed the same color pattern: black hull, bare wood decks, white paint on everything painted (inner rails, deckhouses, gratings, the stripe along the gunports, etc.). I was still avoiding a commitment to scratch-building, but in 2016 Phil Ireson of Pithead Miniatures began canvassing for commitments to buy if he were to carve and cast the fleets of Lissa. The set of Austrian ironclads has been available since late 2017, and a preliminary run of the Italian ironclads was offered for sale in limited numbers in June 2018. This made the project a much smaller leap, so I decided to order all 3 sets. In 2018 he produced the wooden vessels of Lissa as well, and I jumped at the chance to order those too.