Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Galley Ho!

    Time for a return to my 15mm Renaissance galley collection! These are the six "regular" galleys from the scratch built models by Bill Abrams, that were first made at least 30 years ago. As with the two larger "Laterna" models by Bill featured last month, I spruced them up with some paint and dry brushing on the decks, colored stern galleys with gold trip, painted a stripe along the gunwales/sides and bow of the ships in the same distinctive color for the ship, and added heraldic style shield icons to the stern and bow, again reflecting the distinctive color of each ship, as well as adding gold trim to the bows and model canons for the bow guns. Many of the embellishments are black lined with India ink. 

The Lion, distinctive color dark green. One thing I hadn't done with these somewhat smaller ships was to paint designs on the colored stripes. As I had all my ships out for review, I resolved to update these ships by adding simple, bold designs to them as well. 

In this case, I chose to add yellow circles (Bezants Or in heraldic terms, IIRC) as the ornamentation. I think the addition further enhances the really nice job Bill did designing and constructing the ships. 

Another clever aspect of Bill's designs is the detachable masts, and the paper sails he made for them. Each ship has 2 sails, one representing the sails furled, as they invariably were for close action, and the other with the sails deployed for longer distances and or maneuvering before the final battle lines were set. The tubular ends of the sails are designed so that they slip on and off of the spars pretty easily, but are held in place without difficulty by the close fit to the wooden spars. 

The bulk of this ship's Ottoman crew reflect the basic green color. I have done that wherever possible so that once the ships become engaged in boarding action, it is easy to tell what figures come from which ship!  These figures are part of a large lot of Museum Miniatures 15mm figures that I bought in already bulk painted at the Flea Market at Historicon back circa 2003 for $1/figure. As I really don't enjoy painting 15mm figures at all, they were a great find!  Once again, I think Joe spotted them for me first... and I bought almost the entire army!

Next up is the Leopard, with yellow as its distinctive color. Here the model has the furled sails on the mast. If you look closely, you can see that Bill has actually lashed the spar to the mask. This makes it flexible and much less subject to breakage!  some additional Rope on the higher part of the spar helps keep the "sails" from slipping down, too. 

Once again, the (Ottoman) crew figures reflect the "yellow" distinctive color of the ship. 

I added a dark blue diamond pattern to the yellow stripe - not quite spots on the leopard, but close!

The carriages of the bow guns are also colored to match the ship.

Next up is the Wyvern. Obviously, Purple is its distinctive color!

I added the pink squares to the side stripes for this one last month.

The Ottoman crew figures are once again in shades of purple and rose.

A more top down view of the Wyvern and its crew. 

The next ship is the Griffin, with a light blue distinctive color. 

I really like the white border design I painted on this one, which reminds me a bit of 1800's faux Greek designs on dishes, etc. 

This ship has a Christian crew, which means that I had to paint these guys myself!

I bought a bunch of 15mm Renaissance figures (unpainted) at Historicon dealer area the same year, along with the small number of crew figures that came with my Merrimack/Old Glory Shipyard ships (which will appear in a future post). I can't recall the manufacturer, however. 

Ship #5 is the Seahorse, with an orange distinctive color.

For this ship I used an alternating black and white triangle motif on the sides.  

More of my passably painted Christian crew figures on this one. 

I think the triangle design has both a vaguely Halloween like look, and is also reminiscent of the borders on Hapsburg standards from the 1700's on!

The last of these six galleys is the Scout, with a fleur de lis as its emblem and a bright red distinctive color. 

Obviously a Christian vessel, with the yellow cross motif on its sides! The oar banks are removable, which is helpful for showing a galley whose oars have been sheared off on one or both sides in the course of the action. 

I need to work on a revision of the rules for these ships, but they typical carry a Captain/command staff figure, three crew figures (rowing, sails, and cannons), 2 - 4 Missile troops (bows, bowmen, arquebusiers), and 1-3 melee troops (swordsmen, troops with spears, boarding pikes, or polearms). Armor can vary, although obviously being in heavy armor in a battle at sea isn't healthy for the wearer if you go overboard!

The mix and quality of the various crew components vary by ship and also nationality. The same is true for the handling capabilities of the ships and the weight of their cannons. 

We have been having very hot, humid weather in Southern New England most of the past 2 weeks. My wife and I had this pair of frozen wine slushies poolside as part of our 33rd wedding anniversary observance the end of August. Yum!


  1. Congrats on your wedding anniversary ....and on these beautiful ships!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ray. The models built by Mr Abrams really are wonderful, and hopefully my embellishments have only improved upon his excellent groundwork.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! This is the last of the Abrams ships, but there are still more to come!

  4. Foremost, congratulations on your 33rd wedding anniversary! Good show!
    Second, you have so many cool toys, it would be great fun to wander around your game room to see the collections in their entirety.

    1. Thanks, Jon. I got lucky for sure with my wife. Not sure if she could say the same with getting me, LOL!

      I have accumulated a lot of stuff (as have you, my freind!) I recall visiting Charlie Sweet's basement for the first time back at age 18 - that was an amazing tour, and I think I have more stuff than he did at a similar age...although quite of bit of his was home cast!

  5. These look great, it's something I have always been tempted by. There are some fascinating galley fights in the 16th century

    1. Obviously model ships this size are limited to tabletop actions involving no more than a few Squadrons a side - for Fleet level actions much smaller ships and simpler rules are needed!

  6. Great looking fleet,relatively simple ships but with enough detail that they look good, well designed in fact and with a sympathetic paint finish real nice

    1. Thanks, Iain. We'll see some of the commercial 15mm galleys in a future post for comparison.

  7. Lovely work. Frozen wine slushies - now that's something I hadn't thought of but would be perfect for summer here, especially as I think this year is going to be a hot one. What wine do you use - a rose?

    1. Thanks, Lawrence. TYhey are quite commonly seen at Viunyards in the summer. They use a machine to mmake them, but you can do the same by putting the wine in the freezer (pour it OUT of the bottle first!!!) for a few hours.

      For this you want relatively sweet wine that you probably wouldn't drink otherwise. The ones above were made using a pretty sweet Rose called Wisteria from a vineyard on Senecca Lake - 6% residual sugar content, IIRC (and they often add a bit more sugar at the vineyard, which I'd say is not necessary - 6% was plenty). A sweet Riesling or White Zinfandel would work, and if you visit a vineyard, many of them have a few sweet offerings designed to appeal to the younger crowd just starting to appreciate wines.

    2. Thanks Peter, I was thinking a Rose would work well. I had never heard of that before but will definitely give it a go.

  8. Excellent model galleys, and not something seen very often to be sure

  9. Most impressive Peter. The 'colour-coding' of ships and crew is a nice touch.
    You must be itching to have them sail into action?!

    1. Thanks, James. I need to work on revising and streamlining the rules somewhat, but we've had a lot of fun with them each time we've played.