Flagship Models 1/192 CSS Chattahoochee

Reviewed April 2017
by Sean Hert
The Confederate gunboat CSS Chattahoochee was built in Saffold, Georgia near the Florida line. Chattahoochee was an active defender of the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint River system. The ship was raising steam on the Apalachicola River during an unusual May hurricane in 1863 when she sank in a tragic accident. A faulty gauge caused the accident, in which the gunboat's crew released water into a super-heated boiler. The resulting steam explosion scalded 16 men to death in an instant and severely burned several other men. Afraid that the ship's magazines might explode, her crew sank her to deck level in the muddy river. Taken to Columbus and repaired, the CSS Chattahoochee was started downstream by her crew as Union troops attacked the city in 1865. They made it a few miles but ultimately abandoned their ship after setting her afire themselves and the gunboat burned to the waterline and sank to the bottom of the Chattahoochee River. Her stern section was raised during the 1960s and is now on display in the National Civil War Naval Museum. After the end of the civil war, Chattahoochee served as Susquehanna and flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron. She was decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard on January 14, 1868 and sold for scrap in 1883.

General characteristics

  • Length: 150 ft (46 m)
  • Beam: 25 ft (7.6 m)
  • Draft: 8 ft (2.4 m)
  • Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
  • Complement: 120 officers and crew
  • Armament: 4 32-pounder smoothbore cannon, a 32-pounder rifled pivot gun, and a 9-inch Dahlgren
Flagship has released this new 1/192 kit to represent this ill-fated Confederate gunboat.
The hull on this kit is cast full-hull style with keel and sternpost molded into the hull. The hull, particularly from the waterline to the keel, exhibits some artifacts from the master and casting process, most of which will clean up quick and easily with some light filler and sanding. 

The main deck is molded with rows for the deck planking, but it is up to the builder to add staggered plank ends in each row. The deck's molded on details, like the gun pivots, hatches and mast collars are not true to the centerline; however, I am not familiar with Confederate construction methods of the time to know if this is accurate to prototype. 

There are seven sprues of resin parts in this kit, with a few small sprues with bitts and mast tops. There is a funnel with a hollowed out appearance, along with the channels where the sprues of rigged deadeyes for the photoetched shrouds and ratlines will attach. 

The molded cannon are all attached muzzle first to the sprues, so each one will need to be carefully drilled. 

Flagship also includes scale anchor chain, plastic strip and dowel, and scale Mahogany dowels for the masts and yardarms. 

NOTE: as shown in the instructions below, you will need to taper your wood masts for true sale appearance. 

The photoetch fret includes a variety of parts, with the shroud/ratline combos and the gun carriage block and tackles taking up the bulk of the fret. Also included are hatch covers, the ship's wheel/tiller and details for the boats.
A simple Confederate flag decal is supplied in paper. Flagship recommends sandwiching a layer of aluminum foil to simulate movement in the wind.
The instructions are two pages, with assembly notes. They show plan and elevation views with plenty of notes to show where everything goes. The rigging details are well illustrated as well.

While Chattahoochee isn't a complex kit, if you are using to warships of the dreadnought era forward, stepping and rigging the masts may prove to be an unusual challenge. Building this kit will require some knowledge of working with resin kits; a modeler unfamiliar with the techniques required is encouraged to check out Flagship's CD's listed below.

This is kit #FM19209 CSS Chattahoochee Confederate Gunboat lists for $150.00, available direct from Flagship Models via the online ordering system. 

If you have never worked with a multimedia kit then check out Flagship's line of How to CD's that will help you out in many topics from Building Resin Ships and Working with Photo Etch Parts to Making Realistic Water.

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