Steve's Shipyard



There are many different types of cruisers in our hobby. These are great boats for rookies, and they are a lot of fun, even for us vets!

Mr Melton and the well ventilated Lutzow

The many different kinds of cruisers include US "treaty" cruisers, like the HOUSTON, German battlecruisers, like the SCHARNHORST, and "pocket battleships", like the LUTZOW. Some cruisers are only a few feet long, like the Dutch JAVA, while others are much larger. Here are some thoughts on different cruisers, to help you decide which cruiser is the right one for your next project.

USS Portland - an Indianapolis class cruiser similar to Northhamption class.


HOUSTON (NORTHHAMPTON CLASS)- These cruisers, similar to the Portland and Pensacola class, were the prewar "treaty class" cruisers. They were fast, but had limited armor, and small 8-inch gun turrets. They all featured a nice looking bow, and a pointed stern, with a step deck that gets the aft gun close to the water. In our hobby, these ships seem to do best when playing "run and gun" tactics, using dual stern guns. The more adventurous battler will use large motors with low pitch props, powering only the inner two shafts. Using a large diameter prop mounted close to the hull, very close to the rudder, and close together seems to produce good turning and accelleration. If you can get away with big motors, you get a big bilge pump also!

BROOKLYN CLASS - These are the "square stern" cruisers that were more modern than the Northhampton class. The stern gives a lot of solid area, so that battlers can get closer to the enemy without the same vulnerability of a pointed stern. Put more down angle on your guns, and go for some belows. Just remember not to get surrounded, in the middle of a furrball! If you like to get closer to the action, this is the ship for you! Use large diameter props to help you change direction quickly. Also, be certain to get to heavy weight plus ten percent, to minimize freeboard.

ATLANTA CLASS - These "anti-aircraft cruisers" are light and faster than the other classes. Because of the faster speed, a smaller diameter prop with medium pitch should work fine. This is the perfect ship for folks who like to irritate the enemy, darting into battle, taking a few good shots, and darting back out to a safe distance. Some battlers even prefer a bow gun with this ship. Because of this advantage, the superstructure can stay nice looking for many years... the enemy just won't get an opportunity to damage you, if your Atlanta is reliable!

DES MOINES CLASS - These modern cruisers were larger than most US cruisers, resembling the Iowa battleships. At 3.5 units, 24 seconds, and over 15 pounds, this is one of the easiest cruisers to build, and very nice looking. The kit from "Battlers Connection" will make this a very popular ship! Think of this as a Lutzow killer, with triple sterns, a half-unit large pump, and large motors. Use the extra 2 pounds for a larger battery!

The German Schanrhorst class were the largest prewar cruisers. Here's a Schanrhorst class battlecruiser between two Lutzow cruisers!


DKM LUTZOW (Deutchland Class) - The famous German "pocket battleships" of the second world war are probably the most popular cruiser kits in the hobby. Their larger displacement allows up to 13.4 pounds, giving the builder more flexibility, and making it easier to use large size motors and pumps. While the Lutzow has a step deck, the aft turret is not located in a way to take advantage of this. Because of their size, Lutzows can generally take more damage and survive. The Lutzow also gets an extra half-unit, so you get 25 more shots. Fire your guns using two different channels, so you can fire independently or together (right, down, or angled). Some battlers mount their guns with considerable down angle, and enjoy entering the heat of battle with this ship. The more successful Lutzow captains use the extra space inside the hull to mount solenoids, accumulators, and other high-tech options to make their guns deadly!

DKM ADMIRAL HIPPER (PRINZ EUGEN) - The large German cruisers of the second world war are perhaps the nicest looking ships afloat. The atlantic bow requires any bow gun users to angle off to the side, and most Hipper captains prefer dual stern guns. The Hipper is allowed to use its half-unit as a pump with a small outlet, so you can mount three guns! If you like a nice-looking ship, and you could use more guns, this is the ship for you.

DKM SCHARNHORST - I'm not sure everyone would consider this a cruiser, but because of it's unique battling attributes, it's best to think of this ship as a large cruiser. If you want a battleship, but you prefer cruiser tactics, this is the ship for you. As one of the few German ships with triple-barrels in the turrets, the Scharnhorst offers a "triple salute" in the stern... the most powerful weapon known to this hobby! With 5 units, most folks use triple stern, a pump, and one sidemount. Use a rotating sidemount in the bow to cover all four quadrants (ships over 60 inches long in class 5 and above can do this!) Because of it's size, this ship will take a lot of punishment and stay afloat. The dual rudders and three props allow for fairly good turning ability, but you have to use a large center prop only, and mount the rudders vertically just behind the center prop, and close to the prop blades.


GEORGES LEYGUES - This French cruiser is small, light, and fast at 23 seconds. Equipped with a bow and stern gun, this mosquito will drive the enemy nuts! A perfect cruiser for run and gun tactics, this ship has a low profile, speed, and good manueverability. With 2.5 units, consider a 1 unit pump, and a single 75 round gun. Make your superstructure very light... as you only get about 8 pounds!

HMS EXETER - The British heavy cruiser that helped sink the DKM GRAFF SPEE and also battled with the USS HOUSTON in the Java Sea is a nimble ship as well, at 3 units and 24 seconds. Available in a wood kit from Swampworks until sold out, this is another excellent choice for folks who enjoy using the bow gun. Build carefully, as you only get 9 pounds!

IJN MOGAMI - This Japanese heavy cruiser is a bit longer and wider than the average cruiser, gets 3 units at 23 seconds, and is available in a fiberglass hull from Ralph Coles. Because of the size of the ship, you don't have to be as careful about weight. Two rudders improves the turning and adds rudder area. With 5 turrets, you get more options for gun position. I'm surprised I haven't seen more of these excellent cruisers!

IJN AGANO - The "Igunao" is available from Swampworks, and should be a great cruiser kit. Plans are also available from George Goff. At 23 seconds and 2.5 units, this ship should perform much like the Georges Leygues.

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