Like most ships of the so-called "Richmond class," North Carolina's design deviated significantly from the original JL Porter plan as soon as major work began on her hull. Upon completion, she had a narrower beam, and a taller, heavier casemate than intended. Representatives of the CS Navy Department inspected her and reported that her hull was built of poorly harvested, unseasoned green timber, that her casemate was "grossly" overweight, and that her engines, while functional were placed under serious strain by the weight thereof. As a result, she was declared structurally unsound, but the need for an ironclad at Wilmington and the Cape Fear river trumped these concerns, and she was reluctantly accepted into service in late 1862. One of the first efforts to fix her repeated problems with bilge rot was an early decision to seal off her onboard heads and the installation of two stern-mounted privies (outhouses).
Despite this, she served for two years as the principle ironclad on the Cape Fear river and the lead ship of the Wilmington Squadron. She saw a great deal of action on saidsame river, usually in support of local CS Army forces, though she did trade shots with US gunboats on occasion. In September of 1864, she sank rather suddenly at her moorings while serving as a guard ship at Smithville. There were no casualties, but she was lost in an area of strong currents, and so salvage of her onboard armament proved quite difficult. When Union troops inspected the wreck in 1865, they found that some of her Dahlgren guns - rare and precious commodities in the Confederacy - had been left onboard.
In service, it appears North Carolina was not painted above the waterline. She would have had a rather motley, rusted appearance that darkened over time to a dull grey.
As with all of my sculpts, I strongly recommend printing North Carolina in BSF. This is particularly the case with North Carolina due to the shape and details of her casemate. BSF provides a much smoother texture to work with and is easier to paint. It's also quite good for thinner details that don't always come out in WSF, though with North Carolina, that's not so much a problem!