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"Lasercut 1/600 Napoleonic Ships - prototype pics" Topic

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4,901 hits since 1 Apr 2014
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MacrossMartin Inactive Member01 Apr 2014 9:05 p.m. PST

Hello all,

"Let's do some Nappy naval!" my friend Richard suggested, primarily with the intention of having the Santissima Trinidad blaze away at everything with 136 guns…

Well, it seemed like a good idea. I've always been a fan of the age of fighting sail, and list Nelson as a personal hero. But, a lack of finances and a terror of rigging 1/1200 miniatures led me to ponder alternative solutions to the task of acquiring forces of wooden ships and iron heads…

Ages ago, I worked in a hobby/toy store, and got the kids who came in hooked on the old WizKids 'Pirates of the Spanish Main' with its little 'flat-pack' ships. At the time, I dabbled in creating something similar, and sketched some designs in Freehand, and made some not-too-bad 1/600 ships. But, being a wargamer, something shiny distracted me, and the idea sat unloved for years.

But now, heavily inspired by the great paper ships produced by War Artisan and an empty wallet, I decided I'd have another go.

Here's some photos of some prototype 74 gun 3rd Rates:





The objective is to make all the ships as lasercut kits, with all the pieces pre-printed and pre-cut. Just glue and battle! In the pictures you see here, all the sails and masts are lasercut from card, while the bases and (hidden inside) keel plate are lasercut from 3mm MDF. Only the fiddly hulls need to be sorted, so they were hand-cut on these prototypes.

Aussie wargamers will be able to buy these ships at Little Wars Adelaide in July:

Thanks for looking!

Mako11 Inactive Member01 Apr 2014 9:10 p.m. PST

Sounds like a great idea!

Would love some from the earlier, mid-late 1600s as well, with their more ornate designs, and raised sterns.

AmongLions01 Apr 2014 9:11 p.m. PST

Deeply impressed.

Are you going to make these available outside of Australia.

Robert Burke01 Apr 2014 9:39 p.m. PST

Very nice. I would love to see some late 16th Cen Japanese and Korean ships in 1/1200th scale. Some 1/1200th Arab dhows would also be nice to recreate the Portuguese vs. Arab naval battles in the Indian Ocean.

MacrossMartin Inactive Member01 Apr 2014 11:05 p.m. PST

Mako – War Artisan already do some ships for the period you're interested in. I might do early 18th century in the future, but its early days yet.

I'm planning to do a small but useful range with these – 2 types of 74 (common and large) 64, 36 and 28 gun frigates, 80, 100, and some specific 'character' ships, such as Victory, Santissima Trinidad, Constitution etc.

Barnaby – yes, when I go into production, they will certainly be offered to gamers beyond Oz.

Robert – interesting idea! I'd suggest 1/1200 is too small and fiddly for card modelling, although I know it can be done.

IagreewithSpartacus Inactive Member02 Apr 2014 1:55 a.m. PST

Are you considering unrated ships -brigs and the like- for this period? 1/600 is ideal for these vessels.

infman02 Apr 2014 2:49 a.m. PST

They look great!

Mr Elmo02 Apr 2014 4:03 a.m. PST

Rigging is always going to be the weakness, the sails look bare otherwise.

Anyway, I'm still inclined to stick with Sails of Glory, smaller but no assembly required.

Only Warlock02 Apr 2014 5:39 a.m. PST

Martin those look splendid! I cannot wait to see those Stateside so I can load up! Well done.

ThePeninsularWarin15mm Inactive Member02 Apr 2014 5:53 a.m. PST

Well we could always create ratlines, but have you considered adding more details like anchor and ship's boats? Those little extras would go a long way to giving the ships a more detailed appearance. I think I might be interested in purchasing these.

TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2014 9:21 a.m. PST

Just glue and battle!

I'm confused; these will or won't have color on them?

Anyway, I'm still inclined to stick with Sails of Glory, smaller but no assembly required.

And I was thinking alternate SoG ships, with adjusting rule scales, as well. Ergo, the question about color.


devsdoc Inactive Member02 Apr 2014 1:28 p.m. PST

Oh! I like a lot.
I'm into 1-1200 Napoleonic. But just thinking about doing a larger scale for a poor over-spent wargamer like me. I can add rigging. Just let me know when I can buy in the U.K. The only two things I would add is, a darker colour marker on the white bits, and maybe wooden rods for masts. I cannot see the like for like with S.O.G.?????????
Be Safe

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2014 1:53 p.m. PST

Wow! Incredibly good work!

Hengist Pod Inactive Member02 Apr 2014 4:50 p.m. PST

How would one 'laser cut' wooden rods?, perhaps the darker marker would be up to the purchaser? odd requests!

Great work Martin, exactly what I am looking for…

Please keep us posted.


Steve P

Charlie 12 Inactive Member02 Apr 2014 5:53 p.m. PST

Very nice! I'm definitely interested in picking some up when you go into production.

devsdoc Inactive Member03 Apr 2014 3:42 p.m. PST

Hi Steve P
I would use a small saw to cut the wooden rods! I just think round wooden rods for masts would make them look better. To glue 3 or 2 stepped rods instand of the flatter looking card masts. I still think they are a great model and would buy as it stands.
Be safe

MacrossMartin Inactive Member03 Apr 2014 8:42 p.m. PST

Thanks for all the comments, folks. Some very helpful feedback here, and encouraging, to boot.

When these go into production, they will be available for purchase via website, but I may consider offering them via a company at wargames shows in Uk and US. Anyone want to suggest a good company to contact?

IagreewithSpartacus – no immediate plans for unrated vessels, but, if the range proves it can hold its own, then yes, they will be included.

ThePeninsularWarin15mm – The ships in the pics are only prototypes, but yes, there will be as much detail as I can humanly cram in on the production ships, without obscuring or confusing the construction process. I didn't include ship's boats as they were usually towed behind after a ship 'beat to quarters'.

The final versions will have open gunports, possibly with hatches that can be posed open, as an option.

Shrouds (ratlines) may be included as add-ons also, but there are already a few manufacturers making 1/600 photoetch shrouds.

The Beast – The ships will come completely pre-coloured.

Devsdoc – 'Darker Marker'? Apologies, not sure what you're asking about there.

Thanks all! Hope to show off the 120 gun L'Orient in about 2-3 weeks. :D

devsdoc Inactive Member04 Apr 2014 3:41 p.m. PST

Hi Martin, (hope the name is right)
Darker colour marker pens. For the white card edges that show e.g. the bows, corner of the stern and side of the masts e.t.c. You also said the ships have blocks of wood inside them. This I would drill into to hold wooden rod masts in place. I would still buy as they are. They are just so good. I would hate you to think I'm putting them down. NO WAY! It is just the ideas I had to add to your lovely ships. I do hope we can see them for sale in the U.K. very soon.
Be safe and great work

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2014 7:16 p.m. PST

Great concept, but I like 1/1200 scale. I have downsized war artizan's kits and it wasn't hard, contrary to what others may think. His kits are Anglo Dutch and early 18th century. These would fill the later gap.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member04 Apr 2014 8:32 p.m. PST

Just a suggestion… You might consider showing the fore and main sails as clewed up. Generally, these sails would not be deployed in battle. Just an idea….

That said, I'm going to buy 'em no matter what. (But WHEN??? I want them NOW!!!) ;-)

devsdoc Inactive Member05 Apr 2014 4:07 a.m. PST

All of the above are things we could all add to the ships ourselves. I like the idea of downsizing, but would not do that myself. As I do love my Langton's. But coatal2's, idea of furling the sails is something you should think about. As an add-on or as a separate sheet for each ship rate. A way to get more money from our closed fists. It would look good and help I.D. ships on the table. As he said I would buy as they stand now.
Watch out! You have some people very interest in your ships. Get them copyrighted. A.S.A.P.
Be safe

Parzival06 Apr 2014 10:43 p.m. PST


Price 'em right, and I'll buy in, especially if you include the American Heavy Frigates.

MacrossMartin Inactive Member07 Apr 2014 3:36 a.m. PST

The former colonies will be in the range, Parzival, rest assured of that. :)

Thanks for all the positive support and criticisms, everyone; again, much appreciated.

Devsdoc – thanks for the clarification. The white edges on fold / cut lines are just an unavoidable reality of working with card. I do paint the edges on my card models, but these prototypes were finished 'out of the box' as plastic modellers would put it. (Had to rush them for a demonstration of the rules I'm working on.)

Didn't think you were putting them down, by the way. The card masts are 1.5mm thick, and have shown no issues during game play so far. The sails though, need work – some of the courses fell off!

Each model will, however, come with two sets of masts, just in case of any accidents on the field of battle.

Speaking of the courses, my intention is to provide a pretty comprehensive sheet of sails in each kit which will allow the modeller to show the ship with all sail set, or with courses etc furled / clewed for battle.

Coastal2 – When? Well, to be honest, I'm a little taken aback by the enthusiasm I've seen here. My intention was to begin releasing the range in July, but now, I'm going to try for late May – early June.

I'll be certain to keep TMP'ers informed of progress.

Nightmoss Inactive Member07 Apr 2014 7:53 a.m. PST

Martin the ships look fantastic and I'm glad to see you're seriously thinking of moving up production to late May or early June. I'll be in line to pick up some ships for sure. Out of curiosity are the flags and pennants paper or plastic? The pennants are looking particularly nice waving in the wind. Thanks!

MacrossMartin Inactive Member07 Apr 2014 7:39 p.m. PST

The Pennants are just paper, Nightmoss. I fold them repeatedly over a pair of needle-nosed tweezers, and they come up a treat. :)

Cpt Kangaroo Inactive Member18 Apr 2014 4:55 a.m. PST

Martin, these are excellent. I too will will be a 'Collector' of your work. I am looking forward to seeing the product on the market!

I have been a huge fan of the 'pocket model' concept in the past, and now after purchasing some laser cut models I see the quality is tops.

Someone asked me recently how many of those old Pirates series ships I collected and I didn't have and answer. I lost count when the box weighed 37 pounds.

And now this, just when I thought I was safe from my addiction. :-)

MacrossMartin Inactive Member22 Apr 2014 8:39 a.m. PST

Cpt Kangaroo – I feel your pain. (Mine also comes from lifting big boxes full of Pirates ships…)

Who on earth needs MTG for a card-crack fix? ;)

straylightOz Inactive Member11 May 2014 8:59 a.m. PST

Excellent work martin, will you be at Little Wars – Adelaide or just melbourne ?


MacrossMartin Inactive Member18 May 2014 3:25 a.m. PST

Sorry for late reply, Stu – just at Adelaide. Had hoped to go to Melbourne, but just no way I'll be ready in time. :(

straylightOz Inactive Member20 May 2014 5:13 a.m. PST

thanks Martn, excellent, I'm running the "trafalgar" based game at LW Adelaide, I'd love to put your models down next to my fleet of Victories, which are 1:600 as far as I can tell.


Timmo uk21 May 2014 11:21 a.m. PST

Very impressed and very keen to give them a go. A few thoughts: are you really set on 1:600? For example if you ant to 1:700 they would match up with the old Skytrex range and that might win you some customers, the models would be slightly but not much smaller and thus retain your work. I could also see a very strong argument for going down to 1:100 (SoG) or 1:1200 but appreciate that at such small sizes he models may become fiddly to make up in card.

I'd really like to see you add a set of options fighting tops to enable those of us how would like to be able to use round masts to make up our own by sliding wood or wire masts onto fighting tops and gluing. To my eye the masts are the only weakness in the designs that I do really like.

Can the design be adjusted so the bowsprit sits properly rather than hanging in the air?

Any chance we could have some optional sail colours to provide for some more weather beaten options, so our Royal navy ships that are constantly at sea on blockade duties look a bit different to the French and Spanish vessels?

I'd like to use thin clear plastic bases – I presume I'd just be able to cut the 'keel' off the MDF base with a razor saw?

Very interested.

MacrossMartin Inactive Member25 May 2014 3:10 a.m. PST

As I caution in the first post, Timmo – prototypes. Still a few details to sort out! :D

But I do appreciate your suggestions. The idea about offering more weatherbeaten sails with RN ships is a great one, as the sails do have a huge visual presence on the table.

Am I set on 1/600? I'd have to say that I am, partly because I don't want to be beholden to any previous range. I originally went looking for the Skytrex minis to scratch the Nap Naval Itch, but once I realised they were damn tricky to find, decided to 'fill the gap' myself.

Having said that, all the artwork is vector-based. That means it can be blown up or shrunk to virtually any size, with no pixilation or loss of detail. So, if nothing else, I may offer 'print and build' ships in smaller scales if there's sufficient interest.

The keel comes as a separate section of 3mm MDF, which connects to the base via a pair of 'plugs', so you won't even need to saw them off. :)

I hope that answers your questions!

Cpt Kangaroo Inactive Member03 Aug 2014 4:02 p.m. PST

Martin, any updates? How about some pix from little wars?

Really looking forward to seeing your project marketed.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member13 Sep 2014 7:21 p.m. PST

Martin, Any progress? (inquiring wallets want to know!)

Muerto Inactive Member25 Mar 2015 8:17 a.m. PST

Adding to the chain – did this happen?

MacrossMartin Inactive Member07 Apr 2015 4:50 a.m. PST

Blimey, pleased to see there's still interest, but sad to have to disappoint.

At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, these ships are 'on hold'. This is due to the fact that the lasercutter I had access to, in order to perfect production of the ships, is presently inaccessible.

However, if anyone would like to have a go with scalpel and steel edge at one of the 'blanks' I printed on card, you're welcome to PM me here, or drop me a line – macrossmartin(AT)yahoo(DOT)com.

However, you'll need to cut out your own bases, and inserts, ideally from 3mm MDF, although thick card might suffice.

And I warn you, they are not perfected! The sterns in particular are tricky to close up.

I'll be happy to send them to a good home. :)

- Martin

Military History Maverick Inactive Member06 May 2015 1:19 p.m. PST


Hi, just posted my naval battle in Antwerp on miniature page and bumped on your message. We are in contact with laser cutters here in the club and are more than willing to see if some sort of support can be given. How can we give this a try ?

Kind Regards / Vriendelijke Groeten

MacrossMartin Inactive Member10 May 2015 6:38 p.m. PST

Thank you, Andre!

I'm glad to say, though, I may have just been informed of a solution to my problem a bit closer to hand. I'm hoping there may be an update in the near future, but nothing too solid just yet. I'll keep everyone informed!

drathul Inactive Member20 Feb 2017 4:21 a.m. PST

Were these ever made scale via the web?

drathul Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 5:18 a.m. PST

I meant available. Damn phone

SgtPrylo21 Feb 2017 8:46 a.m. PST

Seconded, did these ever come out?

Charlie 12 Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 8:29 p.m. PST

Nope, never came out.

drathul Inactive Member22 Feb 2017 8:47 p.m. PST

That's a shame

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