Regardless of the scale or combat format; fact is the hobby world is shrinking! We are in the midst of immediate satisfaction be it video games or RTR ( ready to run ) with immediate satisfaction, without the work.
This has contributed to less hobbyists acquiring the skills needed to build ships, airplanes or as a matter of fact anything by hand. As we move into the world of 3D printing, it is inevitable the skills we acquired are being replaced by machines. We will call this hobby evolution.
Back in the 90’s we recognized changes in warship combat world, new trends and ideas as part of the hobby evolution. Having first belonged to a big gun club, the cost of owning a competitive ship was in the range of $ 1,500.00 and up. Very few had the knowledge of how to make the guns therefore the cost of the ships increased as the supply diminished. It also became a matter of who could cram the most guns into a 1/144 scale hull. In some cases 17 to 32 guns was becoming normal.
Then came Skunkworks and a fast gun style of warship combat. Skunkworks had it right. Standardize as much as possible, make all components readily available and keep the cost low. Fast gun exploded with clubs popping up all over the country.
At about the same time we in big gun noticed our participants decreasing for several reasons, one of which included the economy. We also learned those leaving the hobby became disillusioned by being constantly sunk by a technologically superior ship, which most could not afford. The number of guns on our ships and the cost became an issue. Originally, we were split into two groups within the same club. Ships under 20,000 tons battled together and ships over 20,000 tones had their own sorties. We decided to change the number of allowable guns and put the two classes together. Sinking still occurred but with less frequency and required more skill to sink a ship.
We invented the torpedo systems on the under 20,000 ton ships thinking they would become more competitive and survivable with the larger class. We were wrong. No skill was necessary to sink a ship with six torpedoes. We were the first to develop diving submarines in the warship hobby, thus adding another dimension to the game which spurred further needs of domination, fueling a weapons race.
About that time, big gun members in the Oregon and Washington State area started another warship club named Queens Own. Greatly disillusioned with Big Gun, QO went to 1/72 scale, greatly reduced the number of guns, made the guns cheaper and most importantly placed modeling skills as the center piece of their organization.
Ships were required to be complete with super structures, gun turrets and a minimal degree of detailing. The 1/72 scale made detailing and outfitting a ship much more possible. Proud of their modeling skills, Queen’s Own and PMWC ships represent both, skill and ability.
Pacific Model Warship Club members continue to develop and improve their combat skills and more importantly their modeling ability.
Typical WWCC Big Gun 1/144 Combat ships with missing turrets and major portions of the superstructure “BLOWN AWAY” from multiple guns all shooting simultaneously. Big Gun is famous for their “Big Splash” photos. Most warships, big or small shoot the larger caliber bearing (1/4″). The ship in the back is shooting 9-1/4″ bearing, while the one in the foreground is shooting 8-1/4″. Each one of these ships will typically go into battle with over 1,000 rounds of ammunition each. Repairs after one of these battles is hours and hours and hours. These ships, if you could find guns will cost you at least $1,200 or more.
Stern view of the USS Shannon, at 1/72 scale with a normal amount of detail. While some ships can be larger and carry as many as 9 guns, those ships are rare and few. The typical, average ship is a 2 or 3 gun destroyer, between 4 and 5 feet long. Most only shoot 3/16″ caliber bearing (slightly larger than a BB). The two ships above in 1/144 scale are about the same size as the Shannon, which is only allowed 3 guns maximum and a limited amount of ammunition (165 total rounds). The amount of ammunition the two ships above can carry is actually- UNLIMITED! What about repairing all that detail? Good question. The detail in this picture will cost you about $2 and take an hour to repair… if you take your time. Advantage with Big Gun 1/144; if it’s shot off, just run without it! It probably wasn’t needed anyway. Shannon would cost you $500 at most to build and arm, with most of the savings being the guns.
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