Sunday, 20 February 2011

An impulse bargain buy

On the way back from seeing my father, my wife and I paid a flying visit to a retail park in Essex. Whilst my wife visited various clothes stores, I spent my time wandering around a branch of a large shop that specialises in selling all sorts of inexpensive homeware, craft materials, and toys. I had visited other branches of this chain before ... and in the past it proved to be a rich source of bits and pieces that have had wargaming uses.

Today my eye was caught by a toy aircraft carrier that was on sale for £3.00! I thought about buying it for about five seconds ... and then I bought it. However, having got this impulse bargain buy home, I wondered what to 'do' with it. As it is, the model is a passable representation of a 1:300th-scale US Aircraft Carrier, but I don't have any other ship models in that scale.

The model aircraft carrier both in and out of its packaging. It came with three 1:330th-scale jet aricraft and two helicopters. The 1:100th-scale Harrier has been included to give some indication of the actual size of the model.
I found the answer to my problem in Norman Friedman's U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIERS (published in 1983 [ISBN 0 87021 739 9]). The book contains a section devoted to the attempts by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt to persuade the United States Navy to build a class of small anti-submarine warfare aircraft carriers. They were called Sea Control Ships, and were intended to perform the duties carried out by Escort Carrier during World War II. They looked like this:

Zumwalt was unsuccessful, and the design was not pursued in the United States Navy. However, the Spanish Navy wanted to replace its old ex-United States Light Aircraft Carrier, and they built a version of the Sea Control Ship, SPS Principe de Asturias (R11).

SPS Principe de Asturias.
When the Thai Navy decided that it needed to add mobile airpower to its fleet, they bought a smaller version of the SPS Principe de Asturias from the Spanish. This ship - HTMS Chakri Naruebet - is the smallest aircraft carrier operated by any navy in the world.

HTMS Chakri Naruebet.
I have decided that I will alter the model aircraft carrier I have bought so that it is a Sea Control Ship (or modern Escort Carrier) from which my 1:100th-scale Harriers can fly off in support of my 15mm-scale modern armies.

12 comments:

  1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

    The Sea Control Ship is an interesting concept ... and it has meant that the Thai navy now has an aircraft carrier (allbeit a small one) when the Royal Navy does not. Interesting, isn’t it?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  2. Nelson and Fisher are turning in their graves.

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  3. Conrad Kinch,

    I assume that your comment refers to the comparison I made between the Thai and Royal Navies, and not to my purchase of an aircraft carrier ... although I suspect that neither of Nelson nor Fisher would have been very impressed!

    It is a sad day for the Royal Navy, and confirms the UK's position in the World's pecking order.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Don M,

    The idea that it might work with 15mm-scale figures struck me as I got it out of the box.

    Time will tell if I am right.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. I have something that looks very similar to this. I fact I have two - and they have been used in games! I wonder which unlabelled box in the attic they currently inhabit...

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  6. Tim Gow,

    There are several similar models out there, including one that was designed to go with Micro Machine models. I think that mine is a copy of that model.

    I understand that there is also a battleship model that is of a similar size (and price) available. If I could get one or two of them as well, there may be the genesis of a lawn game in there somewhere for COW2011.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

    Don M,

    The idea that it might work with 15mm-scale figures struck me as I got it out of the box.

    Time will tell if I am right.

    Well I use 1.144th scale aircraft with my 15s so I'm pretty confident it would work for me...once I clear the other 1,000 projects in the que....)

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  8. Don M,

    I have done the same; in fact we regularly use 1:144th-scale aircraft with 20mm-scale figures and vehicles in Megablitz, so 15mm-scale figures and 1:100th/1:144th-scale aircraft on a suitably modified 1:300th-scale aircraft carrier should work.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Hi Bob - spotted this on ebay - I'm thinking that without its eccentric wheels it might make a fun inter war years african riverboat type warship!

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/TIN-TOY-BATTLESHIP-WIND-UP-KEY-COLLECTABLE-/130494016066?pt=UK_Toys_Creative_Educational_RL&hash=item1e620caa42

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  10. Ken H,

    It is a magnificent model! I have seen similar toys from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, but they are usually very expensive. It would be suitable for all sorts of conflicts from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.

    It might well be worth a bid.

    All the best,

    Bob

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