Monday, August 10, 2009

Building HMES Hermes

One of the main features of the War of the Worlds display on our Open day was the ethergunboat HMES Hermes.

The Hermes was a last minute addition to the games day roster. After finishing the tripods and terrain I thought the display needed something extra for "wow" factor. Since Tom, my opponent had taken a massive lead in our arms race with his five steam tanks and balloon vehicles. The Brits needed some serious aerial support to bridge the gap. So the Hermes was conceived.

In retrospect it was a bit silly taking on a big project so late in the day. In fact I finished painting the crew on the morning of the open day so it was a close run thing.
The Hermes was of a similar construction to my HMLS Dauntless. It was made of foamboard, balsawood, styrene sheet and lots of pins for rivets. With VSF you can never have too many rivets. The crew and guns were from Eureka's colonial gunboat range. Ships wheel from Reviresco.
Since I didn't have much time to work on the design I largely imitated SPACE 1889/Cloudships of Mars designs. When I revisit this project to finish off those few little things I may put a floating platform above the boiler so that I can have a Hale Rocket Battery for a bit more firepower.
I am very happy with how it has turned out but it needs a couple more fittings to completely finish it like ventilation funnels and search lights. I'll get round to that in the coming weeks.
The Hermes pretty much finishes up my VSF Brit force for now. I have one unit of skywalker jump infantry to finish and a few personality figures to paint and then I am done.

My next project is English Civil War with the great Warlord games plastics, however I did buy a packet of the Wargames Factory plastic zulus, so I may get distracted! :)
Anyway here are the pictures.


I found some pictures of steam gauges on the net and shrunk them to size for the cabin display panel. On the back wall is a painting of the Cutty Sark. Later on I put up a photo of Queen Victoria (Gaud Bless ah!) and a schematic of the SPACE 1889 Aphid class gunboat.

Rivets Rivets Rivets!

More rivets!

The propeller is from a balsa wood Sopwith Camel Kit that I have had in my cupboard for years. I thought the prop could be put to better use on the Hermes.

Painting was very basic. Grey Base coat. Drybrush with grey/white mix. I used grephonne sepia wash from Games Workshop for rust stains. I liberally apply it over seams and around rivets. I drag the brush downwards for streaky rust stains from the rivets. The deck was balsa wood stained with the sepia wash.

The Hermes in action on the Mars Station.

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. What amazing work, sir! I doff my pith helmet to you.

  2. WOW your stuff is amazing! I am going to follow your work (and steal some of it) for my own pulp and victorian sci fi games.!

  3. Very nicely done, sir. I'm envious.

    -- Jeff

  4. I. Hate. You.

    Jealousy is an ugly thing, innit? Seriously, very nice work. I hope I recognize the method of attaching to the base there? My 15mm Aphid clone is languishing in the Pile of Projects Put Off "For Now". Maybe this will inspire me to get back to it.

  5. Excellent work on the ship!Very inspirational.


  6. Fantastic Aeronef, very well done Sir.


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  8. Amazing what a Google search turns up.
    Awesome job. Do you still play?

  9. Don't play Gaslight much these days. My steampunk gaming has mainly been Empire of The Dead and a little In Her Majesties Name.

    I always planned to make a bigger "destroyer" sized Aeronef. I built the turrets but then got sidetracked as one does ;)