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"Cannon - Black or Bronze?" Topic

12 Posts

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18th Century
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942 hits since 25 Mar 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian25 Mar 2019 7:22 p.m. PST

Looking for thoughts on what color to paint cannon in the 1630-1699 time period.

Cannon and swivel guns in ships?

Field gun and those within forts?

English, Spanish, French

About to start painting and looking for advice.

rmaker25 Mar 2019 7:52 p.m. PST

Field guns would be mostly bronze, iron guns are heavier per caliber. Iron, however, was favored for fortress and shipboard guns, since bronze was more vulnerable to salt corrosion.

Zephyr125 Mar 2019 8:44 p.m. PST

The more ornate the decoration on the gun, go bronze. The plainer the gun, go black. (My rule of thumb is based on the cannon I've seen in museums & places like St. Augustine & Yorktown. Swivel guns I'd do in black.) Pirates would use whatever they could get their hands on, of course… ;-)

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2019 4:45 a.m. PST

Another way to look at it: bronze guns were the expensive ones, iron guns were the cheap ones.

Pirates and merchants would take whatever motley collection they could assemble, royal ships and prestigious "company" ships should have a lot more bronze guns aboard. Until well into the 1700s, cast iron had a greater tendency to burst, so for a given caliber, iron guns tended to be larger and heavier because they were cast with thicker walls and more material to increase strength and endurance. Dutch and English gun founders managed to make cast iron guns reasonably reliable by your time period, but bronze guns were still preferred when they could be acquired.

- Ix

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2019 4:46 a.m. PST

The more ornate the decoration on the gun, go bronze.
I like that standard. grin

- Ix

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2019 7:09 a.m. PST

What protection was given to seaborne ordinance? Wasn't it all painted black to protect against salt and sea? Thinking aloud here and know nothing about this …

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian26 Mar 2019 7:50 a.m. PST

Thanks much

Painting up a Galleon, Brigantine and Tartana from Firelock. Plus I have a nice fortress section that I am 3D printing and am putting on the corner of the table with 2-3 larger cannon. Then I will have a few field guns.

Musketballs26 Mar 2019 9:14 a.m. PST

There's also the thing with rubbing iron guns with vinegar and oil to protect them, which turned the guns a dark or chocolate brown.

Not sure if they were doing that as early as the 17th century, though.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2019 9:55 a.m. PST

Another vote for the decoration comment. Smaller guns might be more likely to be bronze or brass.

Let me know when you're ready to sail. I have a large brigantine and a fleet of sloops. My galleass is still in process but could be ready with some work.

goragrad26 Mar 2019 6:01 p.m. PST

Not sure about 'browning' guns, but they were doing it with armor to protect it from corrosion well before the 17th C.

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian27 Mar 2019 7:48 a.m. PST

Sent you a PM. We are playing this weekend at my place if you are interested.

Must Contain Minis31 Mar 2019 4:15 p.m. PST

This was a great post. Thanks for asking and getting answers.

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