After failing two solicit interest in a series of small, broadside ironclad commerce raiders by the Confederate Congress, Manassas' designer purchased the icebreaker Enoch Train and built a cigar shape iron shell using longitudinally placed iron strips, and armed her with a ram and single gun (sources vary as to whether this was a light smoothebore or a heavy, banded rifle). Initially receiving a letter of Marque from the Confederacy (though one wonders how successful an ironclad ram would have been as a privateer on the Mississippi), Manassas was soon seized by the Confederate States Navy and placed into service. Her most notable action took place at the Battle of New Orleans in 1862, where she engaged the US Fleet, eventually being holed several times by accurate USN gunfire. By virtue of her date of service, she is in fact the earliest ironclad vessel to have been accepted in to American service, predating CSS Virginia (I) by several months.
Despite Admiral Porter's efforts to save her as "an engineering curiosity," his salvage crews were unable to reach Manassas before a fire, caused by Union gunfire, began to spread. Her crew quickly abandoned ship, and within a few minutes the fire had reached her magazine, "throwing her up into the air and then sinking like a stone." She would gain the distinction of being one of the very few ironclads to be irreparably sunk by gunfire during the American Civil War.
In service, Manassas was either a "lead grey" or a "dark, union blue."
As with all my sculpts, I strongly recommend the Black, Strong, and Flexible plastic option. This is a slightly stronger, cleaner material which presents fewer texture issues and is easier to work with for the purposes of cleaning and painting.