Recent developments in pre-cut, laser etched designs have created a new niche market in wargaming. I recently built a Viking ship in 28mm scale from just such a kit, and was impressed with how quickly it came together and how well it represented the historical ship. There are other vendors popping up here and there on a small scale, vending historical products– such as 4Ground Ltd‘s building and terrain bits. Another niche company is a small outfit called Skull and Crown. They are mostly specialized in doing spectacular flats of soldiers from various periods called “Wooden Wars”, but they recently branched out to create a product called Galleys, Guns and Glory!, a set of rules for fighting in the Renaissance era, with an emphasis on Galley combat, a la Lepanto.
More importantly, Skull and Crown has also produced a line of wooden punch out and build kits for several types of Mediterranean galleys of the period. You can see the Venetian Galley above (and at 25 USD, it’s a little higher than average price for a single ship).
I can’t attest to it yet but construction appears easy from a blogpost I read. The player takes the template, which is precut, and punches the pieces out and build them from the ground up. I built the Viking ship in exactly the same way.
I have no idea what the build time on this might be, but I’d have to include paint time in there as well, and probably pre-build painting and sanding too. So maybe a little under an hour per ship. Maybe more to paint some fiddly little details.
The end result is quite colorful and spectacular.
As for the rules? Well, I don’t know squat about them. They appear to be simple and elegant, and that’s what I want out of a naval system. Jay (of the blog mentioned above) seems to have a high opinion of them. I’d be inclined to go with the published rules instead of making my own or using something I have in my collection, as they clearly have a long “tail” of support from Skull and Crown.. lots of neat odd little markers and bits that seem tailor made for the game. I can’t help myself, I love the little fiddly bits.
Will I invest in this? Probably not until after I get done with the Taranto game (what’s that?? you ask? Stay tuned for another post this week on that subject). I at least want to get one galley to put together and see if I like the results.
Realistically, at an average of about 15 dollars a ship, and most fleets looking like this:
Note, I’m not begrudging Skull and Crown their prices, they aren’t that shockingly high for a ship model. I’m just bemoaning the cost of jumping into a very narrow niche period where I know there won’t be any cheaper options in this scale. I won’t have any other models that I can swap in to save money, so it’s these models or not at all. So I’m rubbing my chin and saying “Hmmmm” for now.