"The struggle will be short and decisive. The God of Victories will give us one as brilliant and complete as the righteousness and justice of our cause demanded."
Spanish Captain-General Augusti from address to the Filipinos April 1898

The Naval Appropriations Bill of August 1886 was groundbreaking, as it for the first time provided for modern armored ships for the USN, the
Maine and the Texas.
However, this bill and these ships were not the birth of the modern American Steel Navy. That occurred three years earlier in 1883.In 1881 the naval advisory board
had looked into the possibility of the United States building an armored ship of up to 8,500 tons but had rejected the idea. The industrial infrastructure of the United
States could not produce the armor plate, large caliber guns or other technologically advanced features of a major warship. Not only was the technology required
beyond American shipyards but existing slips and docks were too small.

In stead the USN had to comfort itself with beginner’s ships. It was better to build ships of a substandard caliber and smaller dimensions, just for experience and to get
yards used to building modern construction than to continue in the moribund state of the USN of 1881 with nothing other than rust and wood. The 1883 appropriations
act actually had its genesis in the spring of 1881 when William H. Hunt became Secretary of the Navy at the start of the term of republican President James A. Garfield.
He appointed a board to advise what new construction was needed by the navy. There was a quite a disagreement among its members as to what was needed but in the
end they advised to start a very ambitious program of 68 steel warships. Hunt knew that he couldn’t sell that big of plan to Congress, then in the fall of 1881 Garfield
was killed in an assassination. The presidential successor, Chester Arthur, used his elevation to the presidency to pay off old political debts and replaced Hunt as
Secretary of the Navy with William E. Chandler. Hunt was made ambassador to Russia and he died at his post in 1884, two years before his vision of a modern steel
navy started to come to fruition with the launching of the first modern steel cruiser, the
USS Atlanta. This would not be the first time that politics would intervene
drastically in the formation of a modern American steel navy, nor would it be the most serious intervention. If any American naval building program was fraught with
political intervention and bungling it was the initial program of 1883.

Congress would have none of a program for 68 ships, so the program was whittled down to a modest six cruisers and nine smaller ships. Even this was too grand for
the isolationist Congress. The final bill authorized only two small cruisers to be paid out of existing naval funds with no extra money for their construction to be
administered under a new committee. This last provision, instead of being a detriment was actually a benefit as the members of the new committee were more practical,
realistic and had the temper of the current political environment. The new committee, headed by Commodore Robert W. Shufeldt, revised the plan by deleting the
largest of the approved cruisers, added three even smaller cruisers and a dispatch boat, all to be paid out of additional construction funds. This bill passed almost intact.
The final approved act called for the smallest of the two initial proposed cruisers, two of the smaller cruisers and the dispatch boat but with an additional $1,300,000 in
construction funds. On March 3, 1883 this Bill was signed by President Arthur and the American Steel Navy was born. These first four ships were called the ABCD
ships because the names of the four ships started with those letters. The two small cruisers were
Atlanta and Boston, the larger cruiser left over from the earlier
attempt was
Chicago and the dispatch boat was Dolphin. Secretary Chandler wanted to start on the ships as soon as possible so bids were solicited in May 1883
before the final plans had been developed. Because of this confusion some possible builders were frightened off, with good reason as it turned out. There were only
eight bidders and only two, William Cramp of Philadelphia and John Roach of Chester, Pennsylvania bid on all four. John Roach was the low bidder on all four, as the
Roach facility was the only one that had the infrastructure of rolling steel plates, hull construction and erecting machinery already in place. All four ships were given to
Although strictly in conformance with existing law, it was unfortunate that all four bids went to this one company. Since Roach was a friend of the Secretary of the
Navy and had been involved in some earlier questionable dealings, the whole thing became a political football, which the Democratic party seized upon as an election
issue. As construction started the Roach Yard experienced problems that had been predicted by minority of the first advisory committee. This was the first time that
modern steel warships had been built for the USN and every step in the construction process presented new unexpected challenges. Steel plates were more difficult to
produce than anticipated and the quality of the plates varied. Some were rejected as not meeting naval specifications. A fire at the Roach yard destroyed some of their
critical machinery and it had to be replaced. Even during construction different naval boards kept changing requirements on the ships. The smallest of the ships, the
Dolphin was the first to be completed. Then, shortly after President Grover Cleveland and the Democratic party came to power in November 1884, the steel propeller
shaft of
Dolphin shattered during trials. The new Secretary of the Navy was a political hack named William C. Whitney who used minor deficiencies of the Dolphin to
launch to outright attack the naval program and the Roach yards. Whitney refused to accept the
Dolphin into the navy and refused to pay for it. What’s worse
Whitney persuaded the Attorney General to call the entire contract with Roach for all four ships void. Work on all ships ceased and creditors besieged Roach
demanding money, which the constructor did not have because of the improper actions of the Secretary of the Navy and Attorney General. Furthermore, the Attorney
General threatened legal action against Roach to return the money the company had already received from the government.

That put an end to Roach. John Roach placed his company into bankruptcy and the New York World gleefully proclaimed; "J
ohn Roach’s career as a naval barnacle
is ended.
" Whitney was dismayed to discover that even the biggest of the naval yards at New York was incapable of finishing the three cruisers’ hulls and engines.
Roach had been right in the problems that he had presented to the navy and had been amply justified in his delays. Whitney seized the Roach yard and completed most
of the work on the three cruisers there, under the supervision of navy constructors. It was also realized that Whitney’s rejection of the
Dolphin and the Attorney
Generals voiding of the contract with Roach were completely improper. By then it was too late for the John Roach Shipyard. John Roach had died broken hearted and
the company that he had founded was bankrupt, financially destroyed in the political hatchet job. One hack politician, appointed as Secretary of the Navy, along with
the help of his fellow hack politician, appointed as Attorney General, had deliberately destroyed a shipyard for political purposes. In 1883 this yard was the most
advanced in the nation. By 1886 it was no more. There is no telling what further contributions the John Roach Shipyard may have made to the progress of the
American Steel Navy if no but for the misguided actions of Whitney et al. However, Whitney at least partially redeemed himself in pushing the rapid expansion of the
American Steel Navy for the balance of his tenure as Secretary of the Navy. The design for the two small cruisers to be named
Atlanta and Boston was by Francis
Bowles who had studied his trade Greenwich, England. Many features of the design were very similar to those found in the Armstrong export Elswick Cruisers. The
design featured a cut back superstructure to allow a greater arch of fire for the echeloned 8-inch guns. William Watts a mentor of Bowles, and DNC of the Royal
Navy, thought the design would cause too much blast damage to the superstructure. The pair were powered by a plant of 4,030 ihp and had a single screw. Capable of
only 15 knots, they were far too slow for a cruiser design. On a displacement of 3,189 tons with an armament of two 8-inch and six 6-inch guns, the
Atlanta Class
started a trend for the USN, heavy armament in warship designs. The pair also featured a full brig sailing rig. Considering that the USA had no overseas ports or
coaling facilities, it was considered imperative that sail be incorporated in the design. The two as well as the
Chicago were protected cruisers. They had no side armor
but did have 1 ½-inch armored deck, which in theory would protect the engine spaces and lower ship from damage and flooding. At the time of their design US
industry was not capable of rolling steel plate belt armor.                 

In 1889 the A,B,C ships, plus gunboat
Yorktown, were formed into the Squadron of Evolution and were used to train the officers and crews of the new Steel Navy in
tactical and operational theories. They inaugurated the squadron’s formation by cruising as a squadron to Europe. By 1894 the ships were part of a much larger
assemblage called the White Squadron after their paint schemes but by then new and better ships had come into the fleet and their defects were more apparent. Here is
where the value of the cruisers came to the fore. They were the instruments that permitted the USN to train to the new standard of naval warfare in the age of steel,
until newer and better ships were designed. They also allowed for US designers to cut their teeth in the designs of modern steel warships and started the designs of
unique American origin, that would come to fruition with the first armored warship of the USN to be completed, the armored cruiser
New York. However, their
greatest value was in the realm of industrial capacity. In spite of the unfortunate fate of the John Roach Shipyard, they also provided the impetus for forging the
industrial infrastructure that allowed the USN to be truly independent of foreign warship and armament manufacturers and this was accomplished with extraordinary
speed. This happened not a moment too soon because at the end of the next decade the new American Steel Navy was tried in its first full test, the Spanish-American
War. By then
USS Boston was part of the American Asiatic Squadron. As part of the naval preparations for the upcoming war, on February 25, 1898 the whole
American Asiatic Squadron was concentrated at Hong Kong and to "keep full of coal." When war came Commodore Dewey had four protected cruisers;
Baltimore, Boston, Raleigh, two gunboats; Concord, Petrel ; a revenue cutter, the McCulloch and two colliers, Zafiro and Nanshan, which had been purchased
from their British owners with their loads of coal. While at Hong Kong the Americans soon struck up friendships with their English hosts. The British had reports that
Manila Bay was heavily mined and that the Spanish flotilla was further guarded by heavy shore batteries.

The prevailing impression among even the military class in the colony was that our squadron was going to certain destruction. In the Hong Kong Club it was not
possible to get bets, even at heavy odds, that our expedition would be a success, and this in spite of a friendly predilection among the British in our favor. I was
told, after our officers had been entertained at dinner by a British regiment, that the universal remark among our hosts was to this effect: ‘A fine set of fellows,
but unhappily we shall never see them again.
" - Commodore George Dewey – (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898 by G.J.A. O’Toole 1984, at page 176) On
Saturday April 23, 1898 a note from the Governor of Hong Kong was delivered to Dewey announcing that there was war between Spain and the United States. As
Britain was neutral, all Spanish and American warships had to leave the British Crown Colony by 4:00 PM on April 25. Beneath the official message the governor had
personally written, "
God knows, my dear Commodore, that it breaks my heart to send you this notification." However, Dewey had prepared for this, he moved his
squadron 30 miles from Hong Kong to Mirs Bay in the territorial waters of Imperial China. Dewey had correctly reasoned that China would not be quite as fast at
declaring neutrality as Britain. Dewey used a Hong Kong tug, the
Fame, as a dispatch vessel, chugging to and fro from Hong Kong and Mirs Bay. On the 25th the
Fame brought orders for Dewey. "War has commenced between the United States and Spain. Proceed at once to Philippine Islands. Commence operations
particularly against the Spanish fleet. You must capture vessels or destroy. Use utmost endeavour.
Since arriving at Hong Kong Dewey had constructed a make-shift spy system to flesh out the meager information that he had about the Spanish forces in the
Philippines. One of the chief suppliers of information was O.F. Williams, American counsel in Manila. Dewey decided to await the arrival of Williams, who had been
ejected from Manila, to get the latest information of the Spanish position. On the 27th the
Fame arrived at Mirs Bay with Williams on board. That afternoon at 2:00
Olympia led the Asiatic Squadron out of Mirs Bay at set course for Manila. There were two columns. Olympia led the battleline, which steamed in the following
Olympia, Baltimore, Raleigh, Petrel, Concord and Boston. McCulloch and the two colliers made up the second column. "The cruisers were modern ships –
not the Navy’s newest, but far from antiquated. They were a product of a shipbuilding program of some dozen years past in the last twilight of the days of
fighting sail, when men-of-war were still propelled by a combination of canvas and steam. Tall masts and broad yards rose above the black smoke billowing from
their stacks and swayed steeply over the water with every quartering sea.
" (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898 by G.J.A. O’Toole 1984, at page 177) On the
first day out, steaming at a leisurely eight knots, due to the slow, heavily laden colliers, the squadron practiced battle-drills and jettisoned all wooden fittings and
furnishings to lessen the chance of fire. On the second day Dewey had posted on each of his ships a copy of the announcement of the Spanish Captain-General
Augusti of the Philippines, which had arrived as the squadron sailed.  

Spaniards: Between Spain and the United States of North America hostilities have broken out. The moment has arrived to prove to the world that we possess the
spirit to conquer those who, pretending to be loyal friends, take advantage of our misfortunes and abuse our hospitality, using means which civilized nations
count unworthy and disreputable. The North American people, constituted of all the social excresences, have exhausted our patience and provoked war with their
perfidious machinations, with their acts of treachery, with their outrages against the law of nations and international conventions. The struggle will be short and
decisive. The God of Victories will give us one as brilliant and complete as the righteousness and justice of our cause demanded. Spain, which counts upon the
sympathies of all nations, will emerge triumphant from this new test, humiliating and blasting the adventurers from those United States that, without cohesion,
without history, offer humanity only infamous traditions and ungrateful spectacles in her chambers, in which appear insolence, defamation, cowardice, and
cynicism. Her squadron manned by foreigners, possessing neither instructions nor discipline, is preparing to come to this archipelago with the ruffianly intention
of robbing us of all that means life, honor and liberty. Pretending to be inspired by a courage of which they are incapable. American seamen undertake as an
enterprise capable of realization the substitution of Protestantism for the Catholic religion, to treat you as tribes refractory to civilization, to take possession of
your riches as if they were unacquainted with the rights of property, and to kidnap those persons who they consider useful to man their ships or to be exploited in
agricultural or industrial labor. Vain designs, ridiculous boastings! Your indomitable bravery will suffice to frustrate the realization of their designs. You will not
allow the faith that you profess to be made a mockery or impious hands to be placed on the temple of the true God, the images you adore thrown down by
unbelief. The aggressors shall not profane the tombs of your fathers, they shall not gratify their lustful passions at the cost of your wives’ and daughters’ honor,
or appropriate the property that our industry has accumulated as a provision for your old age. They shall not perpetrate their crimes, inspired by their wickedness
and covetousness, because you valor and patriotism will suffice to punish a base people that are claiming to be civilized and cultivated. They have exterminated
the natives of North America, instead of giving them civilization and progress. Filipinos, prepare for the struggle, and, united under the glorious Spanish flag,
which is covered with laurels, fight with the conviction that victory will crown your efforts, and to the calls of your enemies oppose the decision of a Christian and
a patriot, and cry ‘Viva Espana!
" (The Story of the War of 1898, by Nephew King 1898, pages 60 & 61).

The effect on the crews of Dewey’s ships was electric. That night, among other songs played by the band of the
Olympia, they played "There’ll be a Hot Time in the
Old Town Tonight!" (
The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898 by G.J.A. O’Toole 1984, at page 179)  In spite of the proclamation of the Captain-General, Admiral
Patricio Montojo y Pasaron, commander of the Spanish Philippine squadron had no illusions of the chances of his collection of relics against Dewey’s cruisers. The
Governor-General had advised him to make up for his material deficiencies with "zeal and activity". He first moved to Subic Bay, which was to the northeast of Manila
with a much narrower channel than the main anchorage at Manila. At Subic he discovered that only five of the fourteen mines were in place and the 5.9-inch guns that
he thought were guarding the channel were still on the beach. Since the water depth was 40 meters, he took his ships back to Manila because he decided that if he
was going to be sunk it would be better if it happened in shallow waters. On the morning of the 30th the American Asiatic Squadron arrived off Luzon. Dewey
Boston and Concord to steam ahead on reconnaissance of Subic Bay. Later, when it was thought that gunfire was heard, Dewey dispatched Baltimore as
reinforcement for
Boston and Concord. At 3:30 PM the squadron turned the southwest cape of Luzon and found the three advance ships off an abandoned Subic Bay.
Dewey was relieved because he considered Subic Bay a much tougher nut to crack than Manila Bay. That night
Olympia led the squadron in forcing the straits of
Boca Grande between Corregidor and the mainland. This was where the squadron was most vulnerable. Dewey doubted reports that the channel was mined as he
considered the task too difficult to properly accomplish but he was acutely concerned with shore batteries on Corregidor. Nothing seemed to happen though. The
cruisers were already in Manila Bay when accumulated soot in the stack of
McCulloch ignited into a pillar of fire. The Spanish shore battery opened up and Boston,
Concord, Raleigh and McCulloch answered. The Spanish fired three times with no hits before a shell from Boston silenced them. Now into Manila Bay the squadron
slowed in order to arrive at Manila at first light. The Spanish squadron was sighted at Cavite naval station and the Asiatic Squadron closed. Spanish land batteries at
Cavite and Manila opened up but missed as all of their shells were over-shots.
Boston and Concord did some counter-battery firing but soon ceased after two shells
each in order to save their ammunition for the Spanish squadron. At 5:40 AM the two squadrons were separated by 5,400 yards and Dewey turned to the captain of
Olympia and declared, "You may fire when read,y Gridley." The American squadron, firing its port batteries, closed to 3,000 yards and steamed parallel to the
Spanish. An aide to Dewey spotted a Spanish torpedo boat steaming out of Cavite, headed across the American Squadron’s path. "
You look after her, I have no time
to bother with torpedo boats. Let me know when you’ve finished with her.
" The QF guns and even the Marine riflemen of Olympia opened fire on the hapless
torpedo boat and she was soon driven ashore. After
Olympia cleared the Spanish line she executed an 180 degree turn, followed by the rest of the squadron, and went
back to engage with their starboard batteries.

Although the American shelling was making itself felt, it was not a completely one-sided contest. The guns of the Spanish squadron and the shore batteries were
obtaining hits but the American ships were lucky that no hit was critical. "T
he Boston received a shell in her port quarter. It burst in Ensign Doddridge’s stateroom
and caused a hot fire, as did also one that burst in the port hammock netting; but both of these fires were quickly extinguished. One shell passed through the
Boston’s foremast, just in front of Captain Wildes on the bridge.
" (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898 by G.J.A. O’Toole 1984, at page 186) After again
steaming past the Spanish squadron, the Americans executed another 180 degree turn to steam in a third pass past the Spanish. Most of the Spanish ships were on fire
by now but still fighting. After the third pass Dewey prepared to make a fourth run when the Spanish flagship,
Reina Cristina was sighted steaming out into the bay
to attack
Olympia. In spite of her gallant challenge, Reina Cristina was doomed and shot to pieces by concentrated fire at the range of 1,200 yards. At that range
shells could be followed all the way to their impact on the Spanish cruiser. She turned to shore and shallow water.
"The ship being beyond control, the hull, smokepipe, and mast riddled with shot, the confusion occasioned by the cries of the wounded, half the crew out of
action, among whom were seven officers, I gave the order to sink and abandon the ship before the magazine should explode, making signal at the same time to
the Isla de Cuba and Isla de Luzon to assist in saving the rest of the crew, which they did.
" -Admiral Montojo- (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898 by G.J.A.
O’Toole 1984, at page 187)

In making ready for a fifth pass, Dewey received alarming news.
Olympia was down to 15 rounds per five-inch gun, about five minutes worth at the present rate of
expenditure. The nearest resupply of ammunition was 7,000 miles away. Since the Spanish were still fighting, even though on fire, Dewey had the squadron draw off
into the Bay to redistribute ammunition. At the same time he called his captains aboard the
Olympia and ordered breakfast for the crews, which created an impression
that he had paused the action for breakfast rather than because of the dire ammunition situation. "
For God’s sake, captain,’ one gunner cried, ‘don’t let us stop now!
To hell with breakfast!
" (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898 by G.J.A. O’Toole 1984, at page 187) Total casualties in the squadron were six wounded, all on
Baltimore, and none killed, although the chief engineer of McCulloch had died the night before in the Channel of Boca Grande of heat prostration. When the Asiatic
squadron headed back in at 11:16 after the redistribution of ammunition, only the
Don Antonio de Ulloa was able to resume the fight among the Spanish squadron.
Ulloa and the shore batteries opened fire but by 12:30 Ulloa was sunk and the Cavite shore batteries surrendered. The Manila batteries were still taking pot shots at
the American warships and Dewey sent a message to the Spanish commander that if another shot was fired by these batteries, he would destroy Manila. The Spanish
agreed to a cease fire. Since the Spanish refused to allow Dewey to use the cable to Hong Kong Dewey had Zafiro dredge it up and cut it. Now Manila was cut off
from communications with the outside world for both sides. With the cease fire the city had virtually surrendered and the colonel commanding the coastal batteries,
feeling disgraced and dishonored at the failure of the batteries to stop the American squadron, shot himself. The last report sent out by Manila’s cable before it was
cut, was during the American pause, from the captain-general of Manila to Madrid. "
Our fleet engaged the enemy in brilliant combat, protected by the Cavite and
Manila forts. They obliged the enemy with heavy loss, to maneuver repeatedly. At 9 o’clock the American squadron took refuge behind the foreign merchant
shipping, on the east side of the bay. Our fleet, considering the enemy’s superiority, naturally suffered severe loss….There was considerable loss of life.
" (The
Spanish War, An American Epic 1898
by G.J.A. O’Toole 1984, at page 189) For the next week there was only silence from Manila. At first American newspapers
were jubilant. "
Spain’s Asiatic Fleet Destroyed by Dewey" New York Harold "Victory Complete!…Glorious!….The Maine is Avenged." New York Journal. These
headlines were not based on any information or facts and entirely fabricated. By the end of the week nervousness had set in. Reports from Europe claimed that five
American ships had been sunk. "
Great Nervousness Is Felt in Washington Because Nothing is Heard from Dewey." "Not a Word from Dewey." New York Sun. Still
No News from Dewey
." Chicago Tribune.

Then the word broke. A reporter who had been aboard the
McCulloch arrived in Hong Kong and cabled, "I have just arrived here on the United States revenue cutter
McCulloch with my report of the great American triumph at Manila. The entire Spanish fleet of eleven vessels was destroyed. Three hundred Spaniards were
killed and four hundred wounded. Our loss was none killed and six slightly wounded. Not one of the American ships was injured.
" (The Spanish War, An
American Epic 1898
by G.J.A. O’Toole 1984, at page 189) This first report beat the official report by five hours because the official report was sent in code and had
to be carefully checked at each relay to ensure that it was reported correctly. When the Secretary of the Navy came forward to release a censored version of the
report, it was discovered that the newsmen already had the complete report, leaked to them by the Assistant Secretary, Theodore Roosevelt in his last act before going
off with his Rough Riders. America was overjoyed and Europe was stunned. "
American jubilance was matched by European incredulity. The truth, of course, was
that Spain’s failure to make even minimal defensive preparations at Manila had been a major factor in Dewey’s victory, but such gross negligence was beyond
belief. It was easier to accept the idea that the United States has suddenly become one of the world's’ great naval powers, in the same league as England, France
and Germany. But only in England was that conclusion drawn with pleasure.
" (The Spanish War, An American Epic 1898 by G.J.A. O’Toole 1984, at page 190-
191) After the war the
Boston as well as the Atlanta had their sailing rig deleted. The fighting tops were removed and crow’s nests substituted in their stead. They
were further rearmed with rapid fire guns to serve in a gunboat role.
Atlanta was sold in 1912 but Boston had a long run. She became a receiving ship at San
Francisco and in 1946 was towed to sea and sunk after 59 years of service. (History from
The American Steel Navy by John Alden, The Naval Annual 1899, The
Spanish War, An American Epic 1898
by G.J.A. O’Toole 1984, The Story of the War of 1898, by Nephew King 1898)
I really like this kit because the original USS Boston displayed such a quirky design. The Boston does'nt display the elegant lines of the armored cruiser USS
. In fact it goes the other way being rather homely. Whether it is the Spanish Castle cupolas on the edge of the superstructure, to the asymmetrical fore and
aft faces or the curving turtle amidship, there is more than one odd duck design feature to make everyone happy. The hull sides of the kit start with a raised forecastle
bulkhead at the cutwater and side oval anchor hawse fittings. When you get to the amidship’s turtle back amidships, you’ll see the rows of secondary and tertiary gun
positions. The
Boston had six 6-inch guns with three per side. There are cylindrical secondary gun cupolas at the four corners of the raised amidship. Resembling the
masonry cupolas of a 17th century Spanish fort, they certainly add character to the hull. The middle secondary gun position was a square casemate position. Along
the amidship hull you’ll also notice three square openings per side for tertiary gun positions. On all of the secondary and tertiary hull gun positions there are no locater
holes for the gun barrels. I wish that these positions had been more open but at the very least there should have been barrel locater holes. The most noticeable thing at
the stern is the sharp cutaway in the hull form. The hull casting has good deck detail. The wooden deck planking does not have butt ends. On the forecastle the
dominating detail is the barbette for the forward 8-inch gun position offset to the port edge of the deck. Other forecastle deck detail includes a large twin bollard
fitting on each side, four chain locker access fittings, two high centerline coamings, a locater circle for the anchor chain windlass, numerous locater holes for smaller
resin parts  and anchor washboards. Because of the curved turtleback amidship, the 01 deck is far narrower than the forecastle or quarterdeck. It is dominated by
three deck houses, two of which are the bases for the funnels. There are two other shorter deck coaming. At the forward end is a locator circle for placement of the
separate conning tower. On the deck and deckhouses there are locater holes for smaller parts, mostly ventilator cowlings. The quarterdeck has the other 8-inch open
gun barbette, this time offset to starboard. Along each deck edge are two open chock fittings with another two twin bollard fittings slightly inboard. Two rows of
coal scuttles run the length of the quarterdeck. Centerline are three deckhouses/coamings and another locater circle for the aft windlass. As with the other decks there
are locater holes for ventilators.
The largest of the smaller resin parts are the funnels and main gun turntables. Since the main guns were open mount the turntables have the gun mounts cast integral
to the turntable. The two funnels deserve special mention as there is a distinct flare outwards at the top, nice twin apron detail at the bottom and the tops are hollowed
out to a good degree. A thin resin film wafer contains the navigation platform with wooden planking detail and the two fighting tops. One resin runner has the two 8-
inch gun barrels with good reinforcing band detail. The next set of larger parts share a single runner. These parts include charthouse with recessed windows, conning
tower with vision slits, three additional amidship fittings and two J-shape ventilator cowlings. Another runner has two windlasses with each a different pattern, a
binnacle and four small ventilator cowlings. Nine of the largest ventilator cowlings are found on a runner. The longest resin runner has an assortment of parts. You’ll
find the secondary and tertiary gun barrels even though the instructions don’t show tertiary gun positioning. That’s is no problem as there square hull openings are
obvious. Other parts are the anchor cranes, six small ventilators, compass fittings, single lamp, and small mushroom ventilators. One runner has two anchors and
another four detailed searchlights. Two identical runners have the parts for masts, yards and steam pipes. Nine ships boats are provided in five patterns. These
include a steam launch, a large whaler, a dinghy, three large oared boats and three medium oared boats.

A small brass photo-etch fret provides some interesting detail. It starts at the top of the cutwater with Union shield. Each 8-inch gun gets a brass gun shield with
support brackets. You get three ship’s wheels and supports. Ship boat chocks are present that are mounted on the side of the curving turtleback for a really
interesting appearance. Davits are provided for the anchors and boats. The fret is rounded out with multiple cable reel, fighting top supports, three inclined ladders
and two runs of anchor chain. The are instructions are the earlier for of
Combrig instructions that were rather sparse. It is one page back-printed. The first page has
an excellent profile and plan drawing, which is essential to get correct small parts placement, as well as rigging pattern. Also included are the ship specifications and
history in English. The back side has the assembly diagram with an isomorphic drawing of the hull with lines showing smaller parts placement locations. As
mentioned earlier, the instructions don’t show the tertiary guns even though they are present on a resin runner. Also included is a laydown for the brass fret and resin
Even though the New York World proclaimed, "John Roach’s career as a naval barnacle is ended.", never fear. You can still proudly steam into Manila Bay in
your own Roach Motel built at the Roach Yards of Chester, Pennsylvania.
Combrig provides a nice 1:700 scale model of one of the first warships on the New
American Steel Navy, the
USS Boston, protected cruiser of 1887.
Steve Backer