1/96 CSS Albemarle
w/ bonus Lt. Cushings Steam Launch

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The CSS Albemarle was an ironclad ram built in Edwards Ferry, North Carolina in 1864. By this time the value of the ironclad had been proven. Wood hulled ships were vulnerable to this new threat. The Albemarle went into action immediately after commissioning and on the 19th of April attacked US ships off Plymouth North Carolina. She sank the USS Southfield and was successful in driving away the USS Miami and other gunboats. This attack resulted in the fall of Plymouth to Confederate forces as the Union was unable to resupply their forces. 

Two weeks later Albermarle was at it again, this time with Steamers Cotton Plant and Bombshell. They steamed out to attack the Union forces consisting of the gunboats Sassacus, Wyalusing and Mattabesett, converted ferryboat Commodore Hull and small gunboat Ceres. The result was another victory even though the Sassacus was able to ram the Albemarle. Knocked sideways the Albemarle was able to continued on. The threat had to be countered and resulted in one of the bravest actions of the war. 

On the night of 27-28 October 1864, Lieutenant William B. Cushing, took Picket Boat Number One, a Steam Launch fitted with a spar torpedo upriver to Plymouth.  There he crashed over the protective log boom and detonated his torpedo against the Albermarle. The explosion sank both the launch and the ironclad. With Albemarle resting on the river bottom the Union forces were able to recapture the town and Albemarle was refloated and taken to Norfolk Navy Yard. She was later scrapped after the war.

This new kit by Cottage Industries will allow you to recreate this famous Ironclad in 1/96th scale. As a bonus Cushing's Steam Launch is included. The kit comes well packed in a large box with all the parts well protected from damage. 

This is a large resin kit cast with a separate upper and lower hull. This hull measures almost 20". The hull is well cast with plenty of detail. The upper hull is cast with the floor detail  where the superstructure fits. This will allow interior detailing.  The surface detail on both upper and lower hull is very nice. The bits are well defined and so are the deck hatches. Click images
to enlarge
The lower hull is also well cast and both parts fit together pretty well. However there will still be some filling to join them without a seam. A prominent bow for ramming really stands out. The planking on the wooden surfaces looks very nice.
The primary superstructure includes an octagonal structure with sloping sides and six gun ports cut through. The exterior feature metal plating and the interior includes some really nice framing details. The beauty of this part is that it can be used to make a cutaway to show off the interior detailing.
Many of the surface details such as the stairs and gun port covers are cast on a resin wafer. The detail is nice, but the wafer is a bit thick and will require some serious sanding to free the parts. Templates are also include to add additional gun ports for the CSS Neuse. 
The pilot house is cast much like the lower superstructure and includes nice surface detail. The windows are lightly flashed over and need to be opened up with a sharp knife and file. The funnel is cast with a hollowed out top. The launch is nicely cast with a separate lower hull and a mid and top layer that will give this boat a nice 3D look. 
The kit includes several sizes of braided rope, wire and rod for the details. You even get a load of scale coal for the boilers.
Lieutenant William B. Cushing's Steam Launch is also included. The detail is very nice with a bit of flash. There is a casting gate along the keel that need to be sanded off, but it's placement allows for a relatively easy job. The boat interior has a lot of detail for a small boat. The steam engine and other details are also cast on a thick resin wafer. The parts look very detailed and this will make a nice companion kit for the Albemarle.
There is a bag full of metal fittings for the cannons, fittings, oars, propellers, and other small details. These parts need just a little cleanup and appear to be very detailed. 
A brass fret is included with hex wrenches and other parts.
A simple decal sheet is included with flags printed on paper sheet.
The instructions are an extensive 21 page booklet with history, parts list and step by step instructions. The views are detailed and easy to follow. These instructions leave very little to the imagination and should allow you to build this kit without problems.


This is an impressive kit, with impressive detailing. You can build it waterline, full hull or even as a cutaway. The bonus Steam Launch is equally detailed and provides a nice companion kit. This is kit # 96-006 with a list price: $249.95. That may sound steep at first, but when you consider the huge size and loads of included detail, you will be pleasantly surprised. You can purchase this kit direct from Cottage Industry Models using Paypals secure shopping cart. If you are not a paypal member you can still pay via credit card.