14 June 2010

Some naval calculations

As I worked on a naval gaming project at one of my other blogs, I found myself a bit distracted with thinking about the ships of the Half-Continent. As none of these ships are available commercially, I will need to scratch-build the entirely. First, I needed some rough dimensions.

At one of DM Cornish's web sites - daviddraws - there are a series of drawings, some of which involve the Half-Continent. Specifically, this page has line drawings of some of the various naval units. This is the start of the scratch-build project (although I am using the version of this same drawing found in my US copy of Foundling - it is just slightly different.)

There is a scale on the bottom of the pic, and I am using this as a base for all other miniature dimensions. By my rough calculations, a main sovereign ram could be 850' in length. That is a rather long ship. For comparison, HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar, is only 227' long and USS Iowa (battleship 61) is 887' in length!

This, of course, needs to be scaled down for the table-top. A typical miniature scale for the table-top, commonly used for sailing ships and ancient galleys, is 1/1200. 1" (on the table-top) = 1200" (actual) or 100'. Our main sovereign, in 1/1200 scale, would be 8.5" long. Now, if one has a large table this would be fine - the mini would be beautiful with lots of detail. Unfortunately, I do not have that sort of luxury so a different scale is needed. Another common naval scale, used for many types of steam-powered ships, is 1/2400. Using this scale, our main sovereign would be 4.25" in length. This is a size that I can accept comfortably - still large enough for detail but not cumbersome in gaming.

Here is a rough listing of the different ships types, and their approximate lengths in 1/2400:

Main Sovereign - 4.25"
Main Ram - 3.25"
Iron Dought - 2.75"
Drag Mauler - 2.5"
Frigate - 1.75"
Gun Drudge - 1.25"

(For those who are wondering how long Hogshead, Poundinch's ship from Foundling, would be in 1/2400 - a paltry ½" long!)

These numbers give a rough start on the ships - beam measurements are next!


  1. These warships look almost like the "Gloire", the first armored steamer, but without the chimney: are they propelled by sorcery, like the submarines (and airboats) in ' Keyes'[very good imho] Age of Unreason?

  2. Most naval vessels in the Half Continent are powered by 'gastrines' - giant, organic muscles grown specifically for the purpose in secretive, alchemical ways. There are also some sailing vessels, but they tend to be very small, sloops or smaller.

  3. Thanks - bioengineering rather than 'traditional' magic, Mary Shelley rather than Tolkien...

  4. Yes. The 'magic-users' are people who are surgically augmented with extra organs and tissues that help them to create and focus their power; ships are powered by muscles, not steam; and alchemy is flourishing.

  5. "surgically augmented with extra organs and tissues": rather sinister!
    Reminds me of 'A Planet Named Shayol' and the 'augmenations' cherished by the fanatical worshippers of the Machine-God in WH40K. 'The Monster Blood Tattoo' is definively science-fiction, with an emphasis on biology / chemistry instead of mechanics and physics.

  6. El Grego,

    You might want to take a look at some of the Panzerschiffe Pre-Dreadnoughts. They are resin cast and some of them look somewhat similar to those you referenced . . . at least in hull shape . . . but I would imagine that you could trim down the excess funnels or turrets with a hobby knife since they're resin.


    -- Jeff

  7. More on the ships later - 1/2400 is just a bit too small...