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  1. #1

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    Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Hey, I just found this site and thought I'd ask you what you thought of my first combat ship project, which I started about a month ago.

    It's an English galleon from 1610. I understand that nobody currently battles with sailing ships, but I thought it would be a fun project anyways. After I prove the concept with the trials of the first ship, I am planning to build a second vessel to battle against.

    The plans were obtained free from this page: [link]http://www.all-model.com/list1/Galleon/English%20galleon.html[/link]
    Click "Download Now" at the top to get them.

    A word of warning: the plans are packaged in .exe files for some reason, but I didn't detect any viruses. So install them at your own risk.

    So far the plans have been free and the materials cheap; I used plywood to construct the keel and frames, and popsicle sticks with the ends sawed off for the first layer of planking. I need to find a source of longer planks, without paying for actual ship model planking.

    This design carries about 36-50 cannon, and I plan to have at least a 24-gun broadside plus bow and stern chasers. My prototype cannons currently are electrothermally (RC) or match (manually) ignited and can use either roman candle filler or regular black powder. This creates a flash, a bang, and lots of smoke, making for a nice visual display, but I doubt it would be legal to use them to fire projectiles. So I will probably have to resort to using air cannons for actual combat.

    The model has a three-inch wide strip of balsa at the waterline so it can be holed and sunk in combat, and I may incorporate balsa in other parts as well.

    I'm planning to use a 6-channel radio; does anybody know what a good, cheap set would be that comes with enough servos?

    Channels:
    1. Rudder
    2. Square/Lateen Sails Angle Control.
    3. Raise/drop, Reef or otherwise nullify Sails, furl or roll them up if possible.
    4. Open/close gunports, run the guns out.
    5. Select/Fire cannon banks.
    6. Raise/drop anchors


    The sails and rigging in the pictures are just paper mock-ups to give you an idea about what it will look like when it's done. There's a lot of standing rigging, running rigging and ratlines that I didn't even show.
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  2. #2

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Here's some more pics of the model and cannons. I will keep posting photos of the progress, and videos of the cannons firing if possible. How do I upload videos from my hard drive?

    My ship is going to fly the flag of the East India Company, assuming it is not commandeered by a load of scurvy pirates.


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  3. #3

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Here's some pics of the cannons firing (Roman Candle Filler used as propellant) This creates much more flame than black powder, and much less noise. These are planned for display use with no projectiles loaded (yeah right), only a piece of paper to hold the powder down. I need to design a suitable multi co2 cannon bank so I can use the ship in a less dangerous form of combat than what is currently possible.


    Imagine what a 24-gun broadside of these would look like...

    I need to make a video of the 15 cannons I have so far firing from the ports of the ship. The cannons are about 2 inches long each.
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  4. #4
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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    WOW that is really cool. I am jealous, I wish I had a galleon [:-] I do have a few questions, however. First, have you considered the safety of your weapon system? I have two particular concerns. First is what happens if a spark lands just so on an enemy battleship and lights it on fire? That would be doing permanent major damage to a rather expensive model. Second, what happens if a cannon misfires in just such a way as to detonate your ship's magazine? That was a serious risk in the real ships, and it'd really suck for that to happen on the models as well. Third, looking at your photos I am not sure how your cannons reload. Traditional CO2 powered cannons can fire hundreds of rounds in a single battle, butright now it looks like all you'll be firing is a single broadside. Basically I am concerned about your use of pyrotechnics as propellant for your weapons. There are reasons why pyrotechnics are forbidden in most warship combat clubs, and I'd very much like to see your project succeed.

    Also, have you ever sailed an RC square-rigger before? How about any sail boat at all? Sailing isn't easy to learn, and square-rigged ships are even harder to sail than your average yacht.

    Good luck with this project! I sincerely hope it turns out well.
    There are 101 types of people: those who understand binary, those who don\'t, and those who just can\'t count.

  5. #5

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    I don't plan to use this galleon in combat against modern battleships unless someone really wanted to... that'd be a weird anachronism
    heh... It's too large of a scale anyways (1/36) But I want to either build a second sailing ship or find someone with one close to my scale and stage sea battles from the 16-1700's.

    I am just building this ship for fun, if I suck at sailing it at first then I guess I will just have to improve. I have quite a few rigging diagrams relevant to the period which I have designed RC versions of, so I trust if I can get my hands on some cheap servos I'll have at least a working sail plan and rudder to learn with.

    This hull design is very stable and I believe that as long as I don't run broad reach at full sail with all the gunports open in a gale I should be safe from trouble. Of course I need to find a better pond for trials, the one I use now is freakishly deep and I have lost a boat to it already.

    In response to your concern about it exploding or catching other ships on fire, this ship has no magazine to detonate when struck, although a smoke bomb and trigger plate could be incorporated to simulate this effect. The interior of the gundecks are going to be sprayed with a fire-resistant coating. I suppose that if the pyrotechnic cannons were used for simulated combat, at close range they might catch another ship's sails on fire.

    I am planning to implement homemade CO2 cannon banks with talcum powder that can fire more than once, and that would provide hundreds of shots assuming I could get about thirty-forty barrels to function. This would require, I think, banks of five to ten cannons that would fire simultaneously from the same accumulator tank. This may take a while to build though, as I am mainly focusing in the hull right now.

    I am just as interested in the modern battleships you guys build for combat, but I don't know of anybody who does it near Windsor, Ontario. I have heard of the Ontario Attack Force, but not around Windsor. I like the sound of battleships, cruisers and destroyers, but I would really like to build a combat submarine or U-Boat with a working periscope system. That would just be cool, lying in wait undetected in the murky water and torpedoing anyone who strays to near... But I know that a static diving sub with torpedoes would cost thousands of dollars to build, so for now that is just a dream.


    Here's a pic of a half-model that I found on google pics that looks like the same type of galleon that I am building. I could technically try to go this far in detailing the interiors but I probably wouldn't want it to get damaged in combat if I put that much work into it.
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  6. #6
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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    You may seriously consider installing a small, hidden propellor onboard for just in case you make a mistake or get stranded, to help you get back safely. No point in going swimming if you ship isn't sunk

    Also, get your guns soon. The guns are the single most important part of the ship, so make sure they fit and they function. What you'll need to arm most of that ships cannons is an incredibly custom design. Better get that started now or it'll be a long time before its ready to fight.

    Lastly, the depth of your pond doesn't matter as long as your boat has an emergency float. Design some large part of the superstructure to float off when your ship sinks, and connect it to the keel (or other hard-mount point) by a strong line, and if it sinks all you have to do is pull it up by the line. Of course it takes careful design and thought to make sure the float deploys in most situations (capsizes, make sure masts don't interfere, etc) but emergency floats are standard procedure on combat ships. They're probably a good idea on other ships, as well.
    There are 101 types of people: those who understand binary, those who don\'t, and those who just can\'t count.

  7. #7

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    I'm curious, what program did you have to use to open the plans? When I downloaded them, everything was just ??????????????????????

  8. #8

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Beutiful stuff! The cannons' effects are very nice as well.

    Controlling the ship purely by sails sound interesting and difficult though.

  9. #9

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    The plans are in TIF format which you can open with MS Paint, Photoshop, or a bunch of other programs. But they come packaged in GALLEON.EXE which is a really screwed up installer of some kind. You have to put where you want the plans to install to on the top bar and then click the "???????????" button on the bottom right. That should install them, go to where you installed them now and open them with Paint or whatever. You have to have access to a really big printer to print them out at the scale I did though.

  10. #10

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Small update: several gunports added.
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  11. #11
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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Um, safeshark, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that popsicle sticks that you're covering your boat with? Popsicle sticks are a lot harder to penetrate than the balsa wood we usually use. If you have guns shooting through popsicle sticks, imagine what that'll do if it hits YOU. It wouldn't be pretty. Most model warship combat clubs require that all ships be skinned with soft balsa wood that's never more than 1/8" thick for the biggest battleships. This has two benefits. First, you can fight and sink other ships with cannons that cannot penetrate human skin. Second, when balsa wood is penetrated, it usually leaves a fairly round hole where the shot hit. If a popsicle stick or other strong planking were to give way, it would be a whole section at a time. I've seen this and it isn't pretty, you'll drop like a rock after a single hit.

    The bow and stern can still be impenetrable popsicle sticks like now, but everything else that's one inch below the waterline and up should be replaced with 1/8 inch thick balsa wood.

    Edit: how are the guns coming? The hull is looking mighty fine
    There are 101 types of people: those who understand binary, those who don\'t, and those who just can\'t count.

  12. #12

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    kotori, the model actually does have 1/16'' thick balsa at the waterline:

    The model has a three-inch wide strip of balsa at the waterline so it can be holed and sunk in combat, and I may incorporate balsa in other parts as well.
    Edit: The objective of combat in this period was generally not to sink the enemy, but to kill or demoralize the crew into surrender or disable the ship, and take the ship as a prize. That is why I am considering sheeting upper areas with balsa as well to show damage above the waterline. Of course, you could still try to sink the ship, but the multiple bulkheads and bilge-pumps I am going to put in would make it pretty tough. You could, however, shoot small sailor figurines off the deck to disable sails or cannons, or fire at the magazine to set off a smoke-bomb, etc. If I made the rudder out of balsa it could be shot off to disable the ship.

    I considered installing a propeller so I wouldn't get stranded but I think it would ruin the feeling of a sailing ship for me. So I have to think of some other way of obtaining auxilary power, one idea I think could work consists of multiple oars attached to belt-driven wheels that could be extended through small ports in the sides of the ship. I know galleons of the 1600's always carried large oars in case of emergency and for maneuvering in port. This would be slightly complex, though, and I doubt I could mount CO2 cannons at the same time, as it would take up a lot of space below the gunports. Maybe just 2 or 4 oars at the back would do it. Has anybody ever built an RC ship that uses oars for propulsion, like an old Greek bireme?

    I'm going to concentrate on getting the model sailing properly before I use it in battle. Therefore I am planning to only mount the pyrotechnic display cannons at first. These could technically be used to fire ball bearings but it would be illegal to do so in Canada where I live because they would become firearms then, and not just fireworks. The CO2 cannons would take a long time to devise and implement so the ship probably won't be ready for "safe" combat for a while.


    Edit: here's pictures of the plans I used.
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  13. #13

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Amazing job!

    what did you use to attach the balsa planks to the ribs?

    Iā€™m asking because 6 months ago I started work on the "Wappen von Gamburg" in 1/45th scale

    I have started to plank it and intend for it to have around a 20-gun broadside.
    it will be complete by summer 2007 at which time I challenge you to warship combat!
    My warship is also 100% wind reliant and I am attempting to make it as authentic as possible for the age.

    All of my plans for radio control, design, and setup all seem to mirrored yours quite closely so we should be evenly matched

    I am overjoyed to discover that I am not the only person who has embarked on the construction of a warship from the age of sail. You have inspired me to get up off my but and to finish my labor of love.

    Hats off to you,
    Rob (Edmonton, AB)



  14. #14

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    The planks were mainly attached to the ribs using CA glue as a temporary hold. After that I applied Gorilla Glue to the inside and outside of the seams. It foams up and fills the cracks, binding the planks onto the ribs. It has to be sanded down after this to remove the glue that foams up from between the planks, but it is strong and waterproof.

    After that I used wood filler to waterproof the interior of the hull, then painted over it to seal the inside.

    I am currently stuck trying to find a source of planking for the second layer on the outside. It needs to be had in a longer overall length then the first layer.

    Will post an update when I get something done on the ship. I've mainly been testing and screwing around with the cannons. I built two smaller "target ships" out of paper and popsicle sticks to fire upon using the prototype cannons, but have yet to sink either one. They can both sail themselves, being fore-and-aft rigged, and with the tiller lashed to the boom, they sail at various angles to the wind. They are simple and not based on any specific boat design, but one resembles a gaff-cutter and the other a schooner.

    Omondon, the Wappen model sounds awesome! Do you have pics of the construction or plans? What kind of cannons are you using?
    I am trying to finish by summer as well.

  15. #15
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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Safeshark, have you considered taking a sheet of plywood or balsa and running it through a bandsaw with a fence? Also, some hobby shops or wood suppliers offer planks in various types of wood.

    You mentioned shooting at several "target boats". Does this mean you have working prototype pneumatic guns, or you're sticking balls in the pyrotechnic cannons you built earlier? If you haven't sunk the target boats yet, you're aiming too high. Gotta let the water in before they take the plunge "Run out the 32's! Double-shot, and fire on the downward roll!"
    There are 101 types of people: those who understand binary, those who don\'t, and those who just can\'t count.

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    I tried the bandsaw w/fence deal, but I think I must need a different blade that doesn't flex so much, if I go any faster then one inch per year the straight edge of the plank becomes an S [&o]. Maybe i just suck at the bandsaw. I have a circular saw that would cut a straight line quickly, so I'm thinking about bolting it onto the table so I can use it as a table saw. Then all my plank troubles should be over.

    I bought a 9oz paintball CO2 tank to power the cannons. I'm thinking about ordering some of the Clippard micropneumatic parts so I can rig up some kind of repeating cannon bank, preferably capable of firing in broadsides. The best I've been able to do so far is a single repeating breech-loading cannon. The bolt has to be manually pulled back to load another cannonball from the hopper after each shot. The trigger valve is from an airgun, and despite my attempts to limit airflow, it is way too powerful. Kind of like an air rifle. I'm aiming for about 60-100 fps with a .17 inch BB. It currently does 450 fps. I think Clippard type parts are a necessity for this to work as I just don't have the skill required to fabricate valve systems that are efficient, don't leak and do what I want them to do.


    HERE's some pics of the two target ships I built. I used a method of hull construction that I call the "piece of paper folded in half with the ends glued together and reinforced with popsicle sticks" method. The reason I can't sink them is because the papier-mache hull is surprisingly resistant to BB penetration in addition to sloping downwards. The cannons (aside from the insane 450 fps CO2 one which I scrapped) can't penetrate it, while they can penetrate balsa of much greater thickness. Plus I don't really want them to sink yet, they started out as targets but they sail so nicely on their own that I want to install a radio system in each.

    As you can see, I didn't plan it this way but one looks like a gaff cutter and the other like a schooner. They are ballasted with lead shot, and the schooner is quite fast and nifty looking in the water. The gaff cutter is equipped with two pyrotechnic cannons for no reason.
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  17. #17
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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Well, if you don't mind buying a bunch then there's a design you might be interested in. The main parts are a Clippard MAT-2, MJV-2, and MPA-3. The Queen's Own website has pretty good documentation about that type of cannon:
    http://www.queensown.org/armament/gun-construction.html
    If you have a lathe and drill press, they have great instructions for making your own breeches. If you don't, there's an alternative. OSH sells a brass T fitting that makes a perfect breech. It is in their plumbing section, with 1/8" NPT threads on the bottom and 1/4" compression threads on the side and top. These 1/4" compression threads come in handy because it just so happens that 1/4" diameter brake line (available from various automotive stores) is just the right size for BB cannon barrels. Overall, it'll cost about $30 per barrel to use them. They're great cannons, I've used them myself.

    By the way, why are you aiming for only 100 feet per second? In most clubs we shoot for around 160 feet per second, with the larger-caliber shot. smaller balls go faster. Get some gun-testing foam. That's 2 inch thick white insulation foam. If shots go in one side and out the other, then turn down firing pressure. Did you get a regulator?
    There are 101 types of people: those who understand binary, those who don\'t, and those who just can\'t count.

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Hey Safeshark, here's a little something I found:
    http://cmrbweb.free.fr/bataille/bataille.htm
    Of course it's fully staged and no solid shot cannons, but I figured that should give you some more reason to finish your ship soon. Also note that the ships on that site have onboard motors for maneuvering when wind isn't available. The video (link at bottom of page) shows one sailing in reverse to evade a staged ship explosion. Overall, very cool. I can't wait to see your ship on the water!
    There are 101 types of people: those who understand binary, those who don\'t, and those who just can\'t count.

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Sharky, your ship is great! I stumbled onto this site painstakingly trying to find other people interested in large sailships. I am also building a large spanish galleon. it will be over ten feet long in the end. Hopefully we can trade out ideas and such!

  20. #20
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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    A ten foot long galleon!? Wow that's absolutely titanic! How will you sail it, with RC gear, or from onboard?
    There are 101 types of people: those who understand binary, those who don\'t, and those who just can\'t count.

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    No. hehe it'll be r/c. I really wanted to make it strickly sail powered but I think i will run two 12v motors in it. I have never used r/c sail in my life so this is probably
    a very safe way to go. Especially with the wind coming off of our lake sometimes.

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Ive just started the same project using the same plan, to bad im in Austraila

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Fox, you should contact the Australian Battle Group (AusBG), the Australian model warship combat club. They use ww1-ww2 battleships using the Big Gun rule-set, but have experience building hulls, RC systems, and most importantly, cannons. They also have a special exception to Australian gun control laws to allow them to battle. Due to the length of the barrel on the cannons used, a model battleship is considered a "concealed weapon," and requires special permission to build, own, and operate. You may find some potential opponents there, too.
    There are 101 types of people: those who understand binary, those who don\'t, and those who just can\'t count.

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    thanks, ill have a look, but I would rather use/build Sailing Ships, and is plywood the best to use for the keel and frames, i considered balsa wood but i guess its to fragile?

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    RE: Scratch-built English Galleon 1/36 scale

    Hey Fox, I used 3/4" maple plywood from the Home Depot on my ships keel cut on my CNC router. I took the plans from the model kit SAN FRANCISCO then vectorized and scaled them to 5 times the kit scale which is now approximately 1/2 inch to the foot scale. It wont be the "SAN FRANCISCO" but just a generic galleon. My company makes props and miniatures for film and television so I hope that when its done, not only can I sail it myself and I get to keep it, I can rent it to a production company or two. Thats the reason for running motors in it. Much more control. I planked the hull in 1/4"X3/4" pine strips ripped from 8 footX6" clear pine boards run through a router with the bead and cove bits used for making cedar-strip canoes. That certainly made the hull very strong. Then I used the angel hair fibreglass cloth and glassed both the inside and outside of the hull, keel etc. I won't be using my ship in mock battles to the death, but i certainly want cannons to fire. At least smoke anyway. I am hoping to make a scale shipping pier for it so I can look out my window in the summer and see it moored there. Good times, good times!


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