Pick Your Posen
by Curly Barrett

Waiting for the BBs to fly.

The insides of the small battleship.

Coffee or tea? Smoking or non-smoking? For here or to go? Axis or Allied?

Life is full of choices, and this hobby is no different. You chose sides; you chose ships. You chose technology; you chose which events to attend.

I recently chose to build the SMS Posen (Nassau-class battleship) in spite of my peers suggesting that was not a very wise choice.

How do you make educated choices? One way would be to consult a veteran captain. Captains like Fluegel and Marty, in spite of their boyish youthfulness, have been successfully making decisions in this hobby for years.

However, don't let another battler sway you from your choice of which ship you want to build!

You'll probably be with your ship for a few years, and need to be very excited about building and improving it over time.

Veterans have a way of helping you choose something safe that "looks good on paper," and hence we have large numbers of a few ships on the water.

For example, in 1986, there were 39 battlers represented by 36 different ship types. But in 1998, with 50 battlers the club sported only 28 different ship types!

Part of this is a result of the unavailability of fiberglass hulls, but much of it is due to the battle-hardened veterans talking people out of building boats that "look worse on paper."

When I chose to build my Konig back in 1987, every veteran I asked told me I was daft to build a small, slow ship. Yet today, the small slow ship is accepted (my poor battling had nothing to do with that). And my Konig has just been retired after 13 years of service, in which she never once sank locally or at NATS.

New boat...time for another choice! I looked around, and asked around, and decided on a Posen. A 39" Nassau-class battleship with 4 units, three props and twin rudders. I was told by veterans that these little ships were worthless because they lacked the muscle to survive in the bump-and-grind melee of the battleship skirmishes.

The veterans also told me to use the bow and stern turret as a 90-degree sidemount and aim a wing turret off the back to use as a stern gun. But I opted for a bow gun and two wing turrets spun outward 25-degrees to use as a down-angled sidemount.

The result of my "bad" choices. In local battling with "everybody against Curly" as the theme, the "poorly chosen" and "unwisely designed" battleship has faced 11 opponents, including a Tiger, Inflexible, Houston, Vincenes and a Gearing. Of the 11 ships sent to destroy my, nine were sunk by the Posen!

So don't let anyone talk you out of building what you want, or battling the way you want, or setting up the boat the way you think will best suit your battling style. It's your choice-make it and live with it.