Saturday, 30 October 2010

1/3600th Ancient Galleys: Painted examples

Throwing aside all my regular projects, I took the plunge and had a go at painting up a fair sample of the Ancient Galleys seen in my last post. Now my knowledge in this area is rather lacking, so don't look for any authentic colour schemes amongst these - I took rather a 'that-might-look-good' approach, so these are probably more Hollywood than Hellenistic.

Having said that, I think they turned out rather well, with some strong colour contenders emerging for future fleets, and also some lessons learned.

Having needed to do no more than minimal preparation, (The bottoms of the bases are cast nice and flat, and there is no flash to speak of), I used a black undercoat, and then began by lining in the main hull colours.
This was followed up by the sails and oar banks, and then detailing strokes to bring them more to life - the masts, sail designs, some coloured blobs as various decorations on sternpost etc, and finally the addition of the all important 'eyes' at the bow.
I also was ambitious enough to put a blob of bronze at the very tip of the bow to suggest a metal ram - although to be fair, this is so minute, that it can't really be seen - particularly in the photos! The whole was completed with the base being painted, and some white lines added as an indication of movement.

They are indeed, really tiny, and I was thankful for my experience at painting up other small scale minis such as 2mm soldiery and 1/3000th ships.

Running through, then, some Hexeremes:

Being the largest, of course, these provided the best scope for attempting sail designs, although having started with fine ambitions of sketching in Gorgon heads and geometric designs, I was reduced to a few squiggles - I found it's pretty hard to get your brush tip in close and control it with something this small.

Talking of which, the Triremes meant that plainer schemes were prevalent, although the front of the sails did provide enough space for a few decorative strokes here and there. I found that in spite of the clear casting of individual oars, the oar banks were best done by strokes of a 000 brush, rather than taking a dry-brush action, as this tended to just clog them all together - the only niggle is that seen from above, white oars look rather like fish bones!

The Quinquiremes are a nice median if you like, with just enough scope for hull decoration, as well as tolerating some expressionistic sail decorations - hopefully on the table top, this will look more effective than in a camera close-up:

I think the most striking thing, given my assumption that the sails would provide a good surface to identify individual vessels or protagonists, is the fact that after all, it is the hull itself that is the most obvious at a distance, and is therefore the better identifier; a 'red' flotilla illustrates:

followed by a blue:

a green;

and finally a natural wood-coloured one:

Overall, I've been quite pleased with them, as they paint up very quickly for a very small effort, and certainly look good en masse:

How practical they are for gaming is yet to be seen; mounting multiples of them on large bases might be the easiest way of handling them, but sort of defeats the object of most Galley combat rules, which probably quite rightly tend to accentuate individual ship duels.
Used individually, each vessel on its own is rather fiddly to handle, being so tiny, and storage would be a problem - it occurs to me that a strip of magnetic sheet under each would make this easier, although applying it would be a rather time-consuming exercise.

If you gaming intensions though, demand enormous fleets of varied craft, then these might just be the ticket -Actium here we come!


  1. These look really very nice - sooo tempted...

  2. Hi SoS,

    Check out Dave Manley's website for his Greek Fire and Ancient Fury rules as these are designed with squadrons in mind and with multiple model bases. Those models look stunning and I can almost picture the action naval battle scene in Ben Hur.........;-)

    All the best,


  3. I do like the green and red ones - more Argonaut in style :-)

    Interesting to see the thick sails do not show up on the painted figures half as much as I feared they would.

    What is the the fantastic base / cloth / water surface these are on?

    Thanks for the painted pics

  4. Hi guys, thanks for the kind comments - you are all now guilty of tempting me into taking these more seriously than the original 'subsidiary' project idea - curse you! ;-)

    @DC, thanks again for the David Manley tip - squadrons would definitely be the way to go with these...

    @ADB - the sails aren't too bad once coloured, and actually have a fullness that suggests a puff of wind in them - quite characterful, really.

    The mat is a Seascape mat from Terrain Mat here in the UK; it actually looks much better in the flesh- the strong lighting I had to use for these pics rather scatters across the surface and makes it appear shinier than it really is - I would thoroughly recommend both their service and products - I own a couple of diff. types.

  5. Gosh what an interesting post

    I have had the "Salamis Battle" (project) in the back of my mind for some time now and have been experimenting with the 1/3600 you have and Navwar's 1/1200

    The rules I have in mind being David Manley's Greek Fire and Roman Fury

    So far it's comes down to a toss up between individually based ships 1/1200 on 40mm by 40mm card or 1/3600 triremes three to a base [or even make your own in the form of printed counters]

    I do have a feeling for the 1/3600 as they give a good impression of bulk

  6. These look wonderful. Too small, I'm sure for my old eyes, but your painting makes them look great.

    -- Jeff

  7. Very nice, you got some amazing detail on those for the size! Magnetic basing sounds a good plan, at this scale you could get yourself a magnetic whiteboard for a tenner and play out some nice fleet battles without having to worry about sneezing your fleet off the table. Just an idea, the seascape map is lovely though.

  8. WoW- they look great and noting says "fleet action" like a stack of tiny ships like those - well done!!!!

  9. Hi guys, glad you liked the post, but you've got me all fired up now over this project - just need to track down those Manley rules, and get hold of a magnetic whiteboard!

  10. Talking of Outpost Wargames have you seen their excellent range called The Geezers (shut it!) based on 70's cop shows? All you need is a few Ford Cortinas and you're set for some cops and robbers fun. One of my favourite sets of miniatures ever, sorry to tempt you with another project that has nothing to do with ships.