Some time ago I promised an expectant world a post on the availability of 1/1200 ship models - as used in my recent Fletcher Pratt naval games. This then is it.
I will start off with the most useful, easiest to get hold of and indeed cheapest ships on the market - the Airfix 'Sink the Bismarck' set. This set was (re-) released in 2011 and contains seven ship models - not bad for less than £20. As well as building the ships as they are, this set offers numerous conversion possibilities. Here are just few I've thought of:
Hood - I have already used this to make ships vaguely resembling Repulse and the original build of Glorious. Bob Cordery tells me that he once used the Hood to make some Japanese battlecruisers (Kongo I think).
Suffolk - The 'County' class amounted to a total of 13 units which I'm sure could be produced with a little knocking about of this kit.
Ark Royal - I expect that this could be adapted to produce several other carriers.
Tribal - 27 destroyers of this class were commissioned, so that alone gives us a fair bit of scope! No doubt other destroyer types could be produced. The Tribal is a big destroyer, so could be cut down to make, for example, a K-class.
Bismarck - er, Tirpitz I suppose.
Prinz Eugen - three 'Hipper' class cruisers were completed (although five were planned). Being quite a big ship, I'm thinking it could be cut down to build various other WW2 heavy cruisers.
The ships in this set were originally available in the 1970s as individual kits.
The current packaging for the Revell kits. They were previously sold in slimmer boxes as 'Miniships'.
My Superior model of USS Flint, an Atlanta class light cruiser. I picked this up a few years ago and am in the process of refurbishing it. In fact, as I type this it is in the garage clad in a recently applied coat of spray matt black.
Another maker of metal (and mixed metal and resin) kits is Mountford. These are quite reasonably priced - destroyers are about £10 for a kit and £14 for a built and painted model.
A Mountford 'K-class' destroyer, bought (cheaply!) as a completed model. The pennant number is fictional and serves to provide easy identification during a game rather than historical accuracy.
I am unsure of the maker of this Japanese Yubari light cruiser. It is a very crisp casting with separate turrets so may be an older Mountford model.
MY castings of Japanese Akitsuka and Fubuki destroyers. I have added wire masts.
Some models from the Tamiya 'Tugger Set'. When assembling these I missed off a lot of the more delicate parts - partly for 'scale' but mostly out of laziness!
More metal destroyers from Ebay. No idea of the maker(s) but these are very elegant models. USS Fletcher (rear),Gearing and Benson (front) classes.
A pair of Triang Minic 'Hunt' class minesweepers with (for size comparison) an Airfix 'Tribal'.
Finally, an honourable mention must be made of Lou Coatney's astonishing card models. I'm sure that assembling them is well beyond my own modest skills (and patience!) but they are deeply impressive.
I appreciate that this hasn't been a very exhaustive or scientific listing but I hope it provides some guidance and encouragement for prospective admirals!