Ironclads Available! 1/185 USS Tecumseh Card Model
Review by Felix Bustelo
The USS Tecumseh was one of nine monitors of the Canonicus class, which was designed by John Ericsson, who also designed the USS Monitor. Launched on September 12, 1863 and commissioned on April 19, 1864, she served with the James River Flotilla seeing action in a few engagements. She was then deployed to serve with the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. The Tecumseh was at the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864, where she hit a mine and sank while trying to engage the ironclad CSS Tennessee. Her captain and 93 of her crew went down with the ship. Despite her loss, the Union Navy won the battle.
The USS Tecumseh is one in a series of waterline American Civil War ironclads produced by Civil War Ironclads Available!. It is a very basic card model, as the line is really aimed at school children in a clever way to help teach American history with what is essentially a craft project. The attempt is to bring history alive with a model, which is why most of us got into the hobby in the first place.
This kit comes in three 8.5" by 11" sheets. The first sheet, which contains 4 parts that make up the model's framework, is printed on very heavy cardboard. The second and third sheets, which come on a thinner stock, has 18 parts that make up the decks, turret, armor belt, hatches, stack and vents. The quality of the stock is very good and the latter two sheets come printed in full color. A sheet is included with the ship's history and other sheet contains the assembly instructions.
The instruction sheet has a basic overview of how to build a card model, reviewing tools and terminology used. Assembly is broken down into 4 steps, with full color photos accompanying each step. The instructions are easy to follow and straightforward.
Assembly of this kit appears a little more involved than the CSS Tennessee, which took me about 5 hours, because of the turret and the stack and very thin vent pipe. It will build into a nice, basic model. If you are looking for a complex card kit, like those produced by some of the European firms, this is not the kit for you. But, if you want a neat way to introduce a child to modeling or just want to give building a card model a try, then this is an excellent way to go. My thanks to William Mahmood, of Civil War Ironclads Available!, for this sample kit.