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"Small scale Turtle ships??" Topic

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figman125 Jun 2015 5:45 a.m. PST

Ok, so my son and I just watched "The Admiral" and now we're wondering if anyone makes the various Korean and Japanese ships for this period in any scale smaller than 1/300? I see that there was talk of doing them in 1/800. Did anything come of this?

setsuko25 Jun 2015 6:02 a.m. PST

The smallest I've seen was 1/100. I've been thinking of doing something like that myself, but I haven't found enough good reference pictures yet, especially not with information about correct sizes.

jpattern225 Jun 2015 9:02 a.m. PST

Years ago, I saw some Turtle Ship charms in a small shop in San Francisco's Chinatown. I'm still kicking myself for not buying some.

They were about an inch long, which works out to about 1/1200 or so.

You might be able to find similar charms on Google or Ebay. (But the term "ship" doesn't help much, because everything gets "shipped.")

clibinarium25 Jun 2015 1:53 p.m. PST

This something I have been looking at to test out my (only recently acquired)3D design skills on. As setsuko says its hard to get reliable plans or scale information on, which is essential for trying in the first place. Its even hard to find information on the make up of the navies; Panokseon were more commmon than Kubukson, but I am unsure of the numbers or ratios of lesser vessels. You'd need decent information on the common ships on either side before giving it a serious go.

Rdfraf Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2015 8:27 p.m. PST

Knight Designs used to make a Far East battlepack for naval battles with all sorts of Chinese, Japanese and Korean ships in 1/300. I wish now I had bought some.

figman126 Jun 2015 7:36 a.m. PST

Thanks guys, I would hope that some info would be obtainable in Korean or Japanese. My son's girlfriend is Korean so maybe she can help find some info on specs.
Clibinarium, what scale were you considering doing these in?


Wulfgar26 Jun 2015 5:40 p.m. PST

I would also be very enthusiastic about production of Korean and Japanese ships in a smaller scale.

Nicholas Wright's "Galleys and Galleons" will be released by the end of the year, I think. They are a quick and fun set of rules to learn, and I feel strongly that they could be tweaked for the Imjin naval war.

I actually have completed Japanese and uncompleted Korean land forces in my collection. Gaming the navies would be wonderful.

clibinarium27 Jun 2015 3:05 p.m. PST

What I had toyed with doing is designing some in sketchup, which though simple is powerful enough. I've done a couple of napoleonic guns which came out nicely. The great advantage of 3D designing is that you can change the scale of the item easily. Its not totally straightforward, you have to consider what level of detail will be printable, and the size can depend on what material you intend to print in.

I'm pretty scale agnostic as to be honest I am not into naval gaming (but I am into the Imjin War in a big way), so I'd be open to suggestion on that, in fact I'd need a bit of schooling in what might be the best fit. A limiting factor might be the printing box boundaries.

I should issue a warning at this point that this is only an idea, it may prove too difficult to get plans, or to render the thing in 3D etc, so don't get too excited. If it does happen I envisage making them available on Shapeways rather than selling them directly myself.

setsuko28 Jun 2015 1:58 a.m. PST

I've only played napoleonic naval games, in 1/1200 scale. AFAIK most ship types involved in the naval wars between Japan and Korea, as well as those used in China, were much smaller: inbetween 10 and 40 meters. My main source however, is the Osprey books on fighting ships in the far east, which are IMHO almost worthless when it comes to proportions as there are almost not a single proper size description in the books.

At 1/300 that would mean roughly three inches for the larger ships, and around an inch for the smaller ones. It wouldn't be so far from my experience with 1/1200 Napoleonic ships.

Carlos13th08 Jul 2015 7:57 a.m. PST

I personally just have a single Korean Panokseon and a single Japanese Bune in 28mm I plan to use.

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2015 8:40 a.m. PST


What service did you use to print out your Napoleonic guns ?



clibinarium08 Jul 2015 11:32 a.m. PST

Shapeways; they introduced a new "ultra frosted detail" with a finer resolution. Its intended for mastering stuff. In truth its still not up to the really high quality prints you can get done elsewhere, but I reckon its probably as good a finish as you'd get from a hand sculpted artillery piece in 28mm. The big thing is its pretty cheap.
I decided Shapeways was the best service to go with as the stuff I was getting printed was proof of concept really as I've only just started with 3d design. If the thing was going to fail completely I didn't want to spent lots to find that out. It worked and I was quite surprised that the quality was pretty good for the price. I'm getting some more guns printed over the next few weeks for actual masters. I can update this thread with how they turn out.

tberry740308 Jul 2015 1:38 p.m. PST

Found this on Amazon:


Made by ACLASS which is a South Korean company.

Robert Burke27 Jul 2015 11:36 a.m. PST

Scheltrum Miniatures in the UK makes Turtle ships (and other Asian ships) in both 15mm and 25mm.

I wish someone made them in 1/1200th scale.

setsuko28 Jul 2015 4:37 a.m. PST

My only concern is that wouldn't most east asian ships be absolutely tiny in 1/1200?

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2015 6:21 a.m. PST


The Osprey paperback "Fighting Ships of the Far East (2)" has small scale plans, including a turtle ship. The first volume (which I don't have) presumably covers additional ships. Given the amount of educated guesswork these plans inevitably incorporate, I think they would be suitable for your purposes, despite the small scale.


setsuko29 Oct 2015 8:02 a.m. PST

The two books are chronological, and much of the first book covers the chinese vessels operating on rivers and lakes a millenia or more earlier. I bought the books to get info on sizes and detailed plans of the ships, and were pretty disappointed. For several classes of ships the author doesn't even give a range of how big they were, so the books left me with more questions than I expected.

clibinarium29 Oct 2015 4:05 p.m. PST

If the ship is say, 24m in length, wouldn't that give a rather small 2cm long vessel in 1/1200? At that size it might be a bit difficult to get much detail on.

clibinarium01 Nov 2015 6:38 a.m. PST

Well, I've started tinkering with this in Sketchup, so its scale agnostic for now. Trying the hardest part first; the roof. I can get the basic curve of the roof done all right, but getting those hexagonal plates to cover it is going to take some working out within the limitations of the program.

setsuko01 Nov 2015 7:36 a.m. PST

I've also be planning a bit, but with sculpting clay, and there's no way I'm getting spikes on the roof in 1/600 if I'm to try to cast it in resin. I think.

clibinarium01 Nov 2015 7:50 a.m. PST

Yeah I can imagine the spikes not coming out at that scale. In the computer, if you plan it right you can basically switch the spikes on and off, which you can't do by hand.
Conversely if making it by hand applying the hexagonal plates is a bit more straightforward. Its been driving me mad all day.
I wouldn't worry too much about the spikes, they don't appear on all the images of the ship anyway, so can be omitted if not practical.

Wulfgar01 Nov 2015 1:49 p.m. PST

Setsuko, it would great if those miniatures work out.

setsuko02 Nov 2015 1:42 a.m. PST

Yeah, I'm just not sure about scale. 1:600 would work for the turtle ships and large atakebune, but the smaller ships such as sekibune and kobaya would be harder to make. If I tried 6mm scale/1:300, the largest ships would be around 5cm, or two inches. Given the limited amount of cannon on the Japanese ships, I guess shorter range combat would develop anyway, so that it's not such a problem that the ships will end up close to each other?

E: not to mention that I don't trust my highly mediocre sculpting skills to make something recognizable in 1:600 scale.

cantbeatdavy16 Nov 2020 2:46 p.m. PST


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