Sunday, June 21, 2015

Heave to! Building a pirate ship! Part 1.

Having enjoyed myself mightily in a recent game of Legens of the High Seas, I decided my collection sorely lacked a pirate ship. I Googled around a bit and decided to build one myself based on Gary Chalks designs. 

The Chalk templates look like this...

and result in a 4-gun brigantine. I decided to enlarge the ship a bit and lengthen it to 6 guns. So I drew my templates on printing paper and carefully measured out all the needed parts. It's a bit of dull work but will save a lot of work later on. 

Then I drew the needed parts on foamboard and started cutting. 

I measured the gun-ports to my collection of plastic guns, remnants of a long ago acquired Pressman Pirate Battle Game. And built the rest of the ship around it. After all, a warship is simply a means to transport guns to the appropriate place to fire them!

After cutting out the parts from a piece of 5mm foamboard I engraved a planking pattern in the decks using a wheel knife.
 The result was a pile of foamboard parts, ready to be glued together.

I managed to burn my fingers twice on the hot glue gun (do NOT try this at your own home)

The ship's outer hull gave me some thought, but in the end I decided to make it from thick cardboard, usede for framing pictures. It is a b*tch to cut, but is very smooth and strong. And it will curve well so would follow the lines of the hull.

After adding the bow stem and ornaments I kept adding details like railings (cardboard and kebab sticks), door- and gunport frames et cetera. You can keep doing this for quite a while...

I fitted the guns on the gun deck and was relieved to see they still would fit!

The stern castle was made from cardboard as well. I used fly net mesh for the windows.

That being enough for today, I dropped anchor and retired to my bunk. Tomorrow more detailing and rigging!

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.


  1. She's shaping to be a fine vessel, worthy of the Brethren of the Coast!

    I'll be watching with interest for the next installment!

  2. Brilliant! Simple, practical and elegant!
    Look forward to part two.