The Ship- CSS Tallahassee was originally the Atalanta, built in Great Britain in 1863 and intended for running the US blockade of the CSA. An iron-hulled twin-screw steamer, she was very fast for the day and capable of at least 20 knots. She once made the cross-channel passage from Dover to Calais in 77 minutes, still a respectable time today. After several passages through the blockade, she was taken into Confederate service as the CSS Tallahassee, later CSS Olustee, fitted with guns of various caliber, and served as a commerce raider taking some 37 prizes. Her guns were removed and she returned to running cargo through the blockade as the CSS Chameleon. Unfortunately she was unable to return to the CSA and was interned in Great Britain. She was given back her original name of Atalanta, and then later renamed Amelia. She was claimed for reparations by the USA and sold to Japan as the Haya Maru. She was lost between Kobe and Yokohama in 1868, having changed names seven times in five years and earning the nickname "the ship with seven names."

The Model- You have to give Lone Star credit. Nobody else would even consider doing a kit of such an obscure vessel, but this is Lone Star's SECOND incarnation of the Atalanta/Tallahassee. I understand that the first version of this kit included a vacuformed hull and wooden deck. My kit, the second version, included resin upper and lower hulls, resin boats, cabins and gun carriages, and metal guns, screw propellers and other fittings. Some dowel and brass rod was included for masts. As with Lone Star's other kits, some scratch-building is needed. A rudder and pintle must be made, along with shaft braces. The dowel included appeared too thin for proper masts and I used larger diameter dowel for those. No base is included. The two hull halves required a LOT of sanding to mate. I used after-market items extensively, including railing from Tom's Modelworks and metal ladders, deadeyes, davits and other items from BlueJacket. The casting of the upper hull did not impress me. The deck was wavy and appears to slope upwards from the stern to the bow. The 84-pound gun, though, is a real beauty and practically worth the cost of admission by itself. The rigging is a lot of guesswork. The only photo of the Tallahassee I could find showed a stump mainmast, looking more like a king-post than a real mast, although some copies of the photo say that the picture was taken while the main mast was being repaired.

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Mark Leonard

Editor's Note - Lone Star Models has been acquired by Flagship Models. The entire line is being refurbished to include photo-etch parts, so the CSS Tallahasee will have a third and better incarnation.