C2 Freighter, Battlefleet Models 1:700
by Mike McCabe
For those of us who tend to build warships from a similar sort of period in time, sometimes it is good to
do something a little different in which case the Battlefleet Models range of transports and auxiliaries is ideal. Looking
for something for a change I was drawn to the handsome C2 transports, the early ships named after tea clippers like Flying
Cloud, Sea Witch and Sea Serpent sounded particularly intriguing.
The Battlefleet C2 kit comes in a hull casting and a number of wafers which include smaller parts and the
superstructure and gantries. An etched fret is also included which is the Tom’s Modelworks Liberty ship fret, this is
used for railings and steps. Casting is very sharp and virtually free of bubbles, the winches are particularly good and I
liked the fact that there were a few extra of the small parts as these always have the tendency to get lost. Assembly is straightforward,
consisting of the superstructure decks, vents and small parts and boom gantries. I drilled out the drainage holes in the hull
shields and added bracing, as well as some hoses from the GMM set.
Straight out of the box the kit will build into a very nice replica of these ships, but there were some very
good looking landing craft included and this gave me an idea. The fact that there is quite a large expanse of bare deck calls
out for some imaginative deck cargo. At first I though perhaps a troop ship full of loitering, cigarette smoking, card playing
GI’s, but this would need too much alteration from the basic shape that I wanted to keep. Some research started to show
up just how many variations of this ship there were, indicating plenty of scope to build a C2 in a number of different guises.
I wanted the ship to look busy but uniform, so with the help of Rob Kernaghan who sent me some spare landing craft and trucks
from the Skywave beachhead set, I had the look I was after. In order to support the landing craft over the cargo hatches I
built some chocks from sliced up matchsticks, added some telegraph poles and anything else which would fit into the space
and seemed appropriate.
Having already painted the ship in White Ensign colourcoats USN light grey, I thought I was almost complete
and would just give a final coat of mat varnish before weathering and rigging. At which point I learnt a valuable and time
consuming lesson : colourcoats and Humbrol spray varnish are not friends. Within ten minutes my almost finished C2 was looking
like the top of a pizza, nicely bubbling away. To cut a long and foul mouthed story short, I ended up having to completely
strip the model of deck cargo, photo etch and paint, arriving back at the basic model where I had been two weeks earlier.
This was a week before Christmas, go forward to the end of January where one reborn C2 stands on my workbench,
ready for that final flat coat, a pity none of these ships were called Phoenix. Once I had sealed the paint job, I weathered
the ship using oils in a technique I am again thankful for Rob’s help with. Rigging blocks were made from sliced plastic
rod and stretched sprue for the line.
Despite the paint problems I really enjoyed building the kit as a change of pace from warships. Also it was
interesting to do some research and see how these ships worked, and the range which could be built from the kit. I would highly
recommend the kit which is an excellent replica of these handsome ships but allows huge scope to build an individual and distinct
C2 in either a wartime or civilian scheme. Battlefleet’s range of dockside accessories, tugs and harbor craft give great
scope for the imagination of the individual, I will definitely be ordering more.