CSSTenn photo 01 small.jpg (11219 bytes)
Confederate States Ship
Thoroughbred Figures
1:600 Waterline Kit

In-the-Box Review
Rob Mackie

The Thoroughbred 1:600 scale CSS Tennessee is a waterline model depicting this ironclad circa 1864.  The Tennessee was the most powerful of the Confederate ironclads.  Displacing 1,273 tons and 209ft in length, her construction was an accomplishment in itself, given the Confederacy's material and labor shortages. She was intended to reinforce the naval defenses of Mobile, Alabama, the main port-of-entry for Confederate blockade runners.  On August 5, 1864, a seven ship Union force under the command of Admiral David Farragut aboard USS Hartford engaged the Confederates at Mobile Bay. A fierce battle ensued. Tennessee was hit repeatedly and often for 3 hours, but the shots bounced off her armour.   Her unprotected steering gear was her Achilles heel. It was eventually shot away and the uncontrollable Tennessee surrendered to Union forces.

Mobile Bay 1864 Hartford Tenn.jpg (81863 bytes)

Mobile Bay 1864 Hartford Tenn 02.jpg (66244 bytes)

Click thumbnail images to view the Battle of Mobile Bay diorama by Bob Santos.  That's the ironclad CSS Tennessee engaging USS Hartford.   Both ships are Thoroughbred 1/600 pewter models.

The CSS Tennessee is a pewter-cast waterline model. Casting quality is excellent and cleanup minimal. This is truly an easy build, and a nice break from 1/350 battleships and endless sheets of etched brass. Thoroughbred makes an extensive line of American Civil War vessels designed for both wargamers and modelers. If a simple representation is all you desire, the kit will more than suffice. If you want a nicely detailed model of an ironclad, you can do that also. The potential is there as shown in the Battle of Mobile Bay diorama photos.

Ironclads were outwardly simple affairs. If I were to embellish CSS Tennessee, I would affix wire stack stays, awnings as shown in the title photo, and perhaps a few 1/600 scale figures for good measure. Written accounts make mention of the terrible heat aboard ironclads, and the few surviving photos often show awnings rigged in an attempt to keep direct sunlight off the steel decks. To some extent you will have to use your imagination. Photo references are few and far between. Toby Barrett, the owner of Thoroughbred Models, has provided Warship with a bibliography (click here to view it) of the better American Civil War naval references to assist in researching these ships.

The instructions are well done and a flag decal is included. These are clean, high quality kits and at $12.60 for CSS Tennessee very reasonably priced.   They are available directly from Thoroughbred Models as well as Pacific Front.

Click on thumbnail image to view full size picture

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Box contents

(sorry for the Lincoln penny)
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Side view
CSSTenn TB 600 03 inst.jpg (59600 bytes)

Home copper.jpg (2701 bytes)