TBD! Nowadays it’s usually an acronym for “To Be Decided” or, maybe less frequently, “Too Bloody Daft” (or maybe not less frequently)! Anyway, in the late 19th Century it stood for Torpedo Boat Destroyer, later shortened to just plain Destroyer! Torpedo boats evolved in the late 1800s and were considered to pose enough of a threat that a specific class of ship, the torpedo boat destroyer, was developed to counter them. The latter were really just bigger, more heavily armed, torpedo boats, but since they were much more seaworthy they proved capable of operating with heavy ships and basically replaced torpedo boats in most navies.
Back in 1996 I started doing Boxer Rebellion figures in 20mm scale and decided I wanted some warships to support my land forces. So I scratchbuilt some gunboats and a torpedo boat, the latter based on a contemporary French vessel, but able to represent any Western torpedo boat. I also converted some French crew figures from Kennington Miniatures (now SHQ) Russian and Austrian sailors, mainly via the simple expedient of adding a tiny ball of Milliput on top of their caps to represent the pompom so characteristic of French sailors’ uniforms! The photo above shows that torpedo boat with its French crew – the boat is about 11 inches long and the sea is a Deep-Cut Studios games mat (also shown here)
Anyway, I’ve long since thought about increasing its armament so it can double as a WW1 destroyer, and have finally got this done (it first featured here). I made a new gun mount and floor that could be mounted in the forward control platform and left it at that really! I’d like to have made more of an enclosed bridge and changed the single torpedo tube for a double mount, but they were going to be more difficult to make interchangeable, so I left them. The new forward gun mount is removable (see photo below).
I made some generic crew from figures in the HaT Gardner Gun set, replacing their straw hats with the normal caps supplied with separate heads that come in the set. The HaT figures are meant to be British Naval Brigade crewmen, but by painting them in dark blue uniforms with black equipment they look passable as generic ship’s crew from a distance!
The crew will also make good steampunk landship crew, if I ever get round to getting my Victorian Science Fiction project under way! Of course, I could just add tracks to the underneath of this model to make it a landship! “Too Bloody Daft” strikes again!