Tuesday, May 6, 2014

20 Gun Ketch - Langton 1:1200

Once upon a time the square sailed ketch was a fairly common vessel, and frequently served in military capacities in European navies. The distinguishing feature of a ketch is that it has two masts, and the foremost is the largest. Gradually this type of rig became less popular as brigs (with their larger main mast behind the foremast) became more common. Even then ketches were frequently seen as "bomb" vessels, carrying mortars forward of the main mast. This model however carries no mortars, but rather 20 cannon.

This is a 1:1200 model from Langton miniatures, with brass sails and shrouds. I replaced the bowsprit with one of my own construction made of brass rods, and rigged it with nylon paintbrush bristles. 

 For size comparison, here the ketch can be seen between a six gunner schooner in front and a 32 gun xebec frigate in the back, both also from Langton Miniatures.

Monday, April 21, 2014

6 Gun Schooner with Pivot Gun - Langton 1:1200

This is a very small model of a vessel type that was frequently employed on the Great Lakes during the war of 1812 - the schooner. This one carries six little carronades and a larger gun in the middle on a pivot. She's not the most formidable thing afloat, but she'll sweep up some gunboats quick enough.

This is a Langton Miniatures model in 1:1200 with photo etched brass sails and ratlines. I've replaced the masts and bowsprit with brass rod to add strength and be more in scale, and I've rigged it with nylon bristles from a paint brush.

 A size comparison shot: behind the Langton schooner is GHQ's 8 gun schooner, and behind that is el Gamo, a 32 gun frigate.

Friday, March 28, 2014

1:1200 Xebec Frigate - El Gamo

On May 6th, 1801, Lord Thomas Cochrane, commanding the diminutive 14 gun brig HMS Speedy, came across the 32 gun Spanish xebec frigate El Gamo. Instead of withdrawing before the dramatically superior force, Cochrane attacked the Spanish ship in a direct assault, bringing Speedy so close that Gamo's guns could not fire down in to her, while Speedy's elevated guns sent shot crashing up through the crowded decks. As the Spanish crew attempted to organize a boarding party, Cochrane stood off again and fired in to the massing boarders. He repeated this process several times and then, with a numerically inferior crew, boarded El Gamo and captured her, garnering a great deal of fame for himself and his ship.

I've had an interest for some time in representing El Gamo, but could find little information on what exactly a xebec frigate was. Clearly it had to be something larger and more formidable than the typical xebec rigs that were so common in the Mediterranean. Several of the guys over at TMP's Napoleonic Naval board squared me away, informing me that this type of vessel was in fact square rigged as any other frigate of the day, and owed its xebec name to certain hull characteristics - specifically the narrow prow and long raised poop deck.

I've used Langton Miniatures' 32 gun xebec frigate model, but since that comes with a xebec rig, I've added a 'small frigate' mast and sail package to it. Rob Eubanks at Waterloo Minis was a big help there, for which I am grateful. I did however leave the lateen on the mizzen mast, and left off the mizzen topgallant, as that is what I see represented in some of the paintings of the ship.

And here is a picture painted by the famous Antoine Roux:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

1:1200 "Galley Gunboat" & "Large Gunboat" - Langton Miniatures

Joining the flotilla of gunboats are two more vessels from Langton Miniatures - a galley gunboat, with two guns, and a 'large' gunboat, with three guns on pivots. Both of these craft can be portrayed with sails or oars, but I prefered the former. These are pretty simple kits, but still with nice detail, and brass sails. As with most Langton kits, they sit pretty high in the water, so I have sanded them down a bit.

One of the fun aspects of gunboat models is all of the interesting rigs they display - they get fairly exotic. It's a fun break from the standard three-masted square-sailed ships of the line.

The bases are trimmed-down sections of Langton resin sea bases, with black acrylic underneath, and the rigging is made of nylon bristles from a paintbrush. I replaced the white metal masts with brass rods, for strength.

 For size comparison, here are the two gunboats in front of GHQ's HMS Cleopatra:
 Here is the flotilla in its entirety - so far: