Sunday, January 18, 2015

1:300 Scale Renaissance Ships


A few weeks ago I saw a post on Thomas Foss’ ‘Skull & Crown’ blog where he was play-testing his draft rules and prototype models for Renaissance-period naval combat set in the Mediterranean (update: the rules are titled, 'Galleys, Guns and Glory'). I was blown away by his 1:300 scale wooden models and so contacted him to see if I could convince him to both be a sponsor to the Challenge and to let me get my grubby mits on some pre-production samples of his models. Of course, being a very gracious gentleman, he agreed to both and so I present here some samples for you to check out.

The ship models are ingeniously designed, with each ship, depending on its size, being created from 4 – 7 pieces of flat, laser-cut wood. The pieces are essentially assembled in layers, from bottom to top. While certainly not a perfect rendition of renaissance galleys they provide, in under 10 minutes assembly, a wonderful impression of those elegant vessels.

The 'Galley' and 'Fusta' models on their wood frame.
For this post I’ve assembled and painted three ships, the larger one in green and yellow is a Turkish ‘Galley’, the slightly smaller one in red is a Knights of Malta ‘Galliot’, while the little craft without the sails is called a ‘Fusta’ and serves as a small galley / dice-holder. (I don’t have a copy of the rules yet (subtle hint to Thomas) so I can’t tell you what the Fusta’s purpose is, but my hunch is that it’s used to track ship damage or perhaps morale on the larger ships. Anyway, it’s pretty darn cool.) 

A Turkish Galley
A Knights of Malta Galliot
A Fusta
Thomas was kind enough to provide me with some flags and awnings which you can see here. I understand there will also be ‘strips’ of bulwark art, but it is still in production and will be available later. With that being the case I just bodged a rough paintjob for the hulls. I have to admit that in my eagerness to get to grips on these that I forgot to properly sand the surfaces, so I apologize if the paintwork seems a bit rough.


I used .02 mm plastic rod to mock-up the rigging that seems to have worked out pretty well. At first I thought it wouldn’t be robust enough for gameplay, but now I think it may hold up alright (and imo it's much easier to work with than fiddling about with thread). 


To provide a sense of their size I’ve included a shot below of the Turkish Galley next to a 28mm SCW armoured car and corresponding figure. As you can see the Galley is quite a sizeable model. I understand that there is one class of ship that is even larger, the ‘Lanternas’, which, of course, I’m very keen to see.

The Galley next to some 28mm models
I was also provided with some round crew tokens (not shown here) but I’m thinking I might use small bases mounting 1/300 scale figures for a bit of fun.

Thomas has informed me that while the pricing has not yet been set, one can expect the ships to range in price from $10 – 25 (USD) which will also include crew markers, cannon smoke markers, a sheet of giclee printed flags, awnings and pennants (in a choice of Turkish, Venetian, Maltese, Papal States or Spanish colours) AND the larger ships will come with a ‘Fusta’ damage dice holder. With a typical force being around 3 to 6 ships it seems to me to be an affordable entry to a very characterful period. 

Thanks again to 'Skull & Crown' for these pre-production samples - they were a complete blast to work on. I wish you the very best in this new endeavour and I can assure you that you have my future business! 


12 comments:

  1. Very interesting post and a unique period, I will look forward to hearing more.

    John

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  2. Well if you don't ask and all that! What a great job you've done on these Curt, I'm sure they will be popular.

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    1. That's what I thought as well. Thanks for the thumbs up Michael.

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  3. It's rare these days to see something that really makes you go "WOW!" (when it comes to new kit or periods to game). This does. I love what you've done with them Curt and I'm following this with genuine interest.

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    1. Yes, it's a very colourful period and the figure-outlay is not too steep to get into, so as long as the rules are good I think it will be a success.

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  4. These look awesome. I look forward to checking out these rules, too.

    Jen and visited the Arsenale in Venice a few years ago. They had several detailed models of such period ships on display. I have since picked up a few sets of galley rules, but have not committed to a scale for miniatures yet...

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    1. I thought you'd appreciate the period Dave! Yes, those Venetian models are spectacular - I hope Thomas' rules are on par with his models as it's such a characterful period to game (and hey, it doesn't require terrain!)

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    2. RE: Crew Tokens: I agree, having some bases with 1/300 infantry would be cool (say, from Irregular Miniatures' Italian Wars or Late Renaissance lines). The large paintings of sea battles at the Doges' Palace showed several scenes of hand to hand combat between armored Venetians with greatswords and Turkish infantry and archers.

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  5. So with about 1000 models you could do Lepanto in 1-1 scale? They are very impressive and I like their colourful appearance.
    I thought "fusta" was Italian for "dice ship", kind of like a fire ship but even more random and dangerous to all concerned?
    You know, the MDF layering approach would also lend itself to other naval periods, particularly ACW. I wonder if Thomas has thought about this?

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