Tuesday 28 November 2023

Olympic games? Part 1

If building dodgy old plastic kits is ever recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee I think readers of this blog could put up a pretty strong team. Though turning up in a cloud of polystyrene cement fumes might cause issues with the drug testing equipment...

Anyway, on to this dodgy old kit.  Purchased from the COW bring & buy a few years ago with no particular plan in mind, it seemed like a useful thing to have in stock.  Inspiration struck a few months ago, meaning I'd have to build the thing.

The original USS Olympia is perhaps best know as the US flagship at Manilla Bay in 1898.  Decommissioned the following year, she returned to service as a training ship in 1902 and subsequently saw service in the Great War.  Perhaps her most poignant voyage was made in 1921 when she carried the remains of the US's unknown soldier home from France.

So much for history.  I have two game ideas which require this model - in neither of which will it be a US warship...  But rusty old battleships all look similar and that meets my consistently low standards.

The build was not without challenges - forgivable in view of it's price and antiquity.  As you can see, a lot of masking tape was used to hold it together while the (copious amounts of) glue dried.  So now it's starting to look like a ship.


Peter Douglas said...

The Olympia is still afloat in Philly. I visited her in September and she's a fine old gal. I will be doing up a 1:2400 model to fight Deway's great victory. I am looking forward to seeing what ever Franken bodge you do to this kit.

Neil Patterson said...

My first thought was you were going to do the 1898 Spanish -American war! ☺
My quota of olympic vintage plastic wrangling is more than covered by working with Roco Minitanks (and possibly Spencer Smiths)!

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


I must have missed this when it was on sale at the COW ‘bring and buy’! If I’d seen it, I would have bought it!

I have a vague memory of seeing a magazine article where a modeller had replaced the kit’s original turrets with ones made from Airfix(?) Pzkpfw turrets, each with two guns. He made a few other changes and the resulting model became HMS THUNDERCHILD on a War of the Worlds diorama.

I have a very vague memory that the USS Olympia model was also released with odd semi-circular sponsons that were gluedon the port forward and starboard aft of the hull. The turrets were fitted to them, and the resulting model was sold as USS Texas … the one that blew up in Havana and started the Spanish-American War.

I think that there are other similar models of contemporary US battleships. If I can find a reference or link, I’ll include it in a further comment.

All the best,


Funny Little Wars said...

Excellent! I look forward to seeing the finished project.

Archduke Piccolo said...

Under the influence of influence, I'm beginning to be rather taken with these pre-dreadnought era warships. USS Olympia being a protected cruiser - and therefore not too large - I anticipate being a centre piece for some 'small wars' filibustering expedition somewhere...?

Tim Gow said...

Peter Douglas
I expect the original is in better shape than mine!

Tim Gow said...

Neil Patterson
It wasn't a smooth build - but it certainly made a change from converting and painting 54mm figures!

Tim Gow said...

Bob Cordery
My modifications will be much more modest - mostly leaving a lot of fiddly bits on the sprue!

Tim Gow said...

Funny Little Wars
You say that now...

Tim Gow said...

Archduke Piccolo
I'm glad that (like me) you're not easily led astray by stuff you see on the internet. Small wars? More bits of bigger wars.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

What is not to like