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"good sources for accurate historic pirate ships?" Topic

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Makhno191804 Sep 2022 6:10 a.m. PST

Hi all, I'm wondering if any of you could suggest websites, books, or other good sources that might have accurate (or best guesses at least) depictions of historic pirate ships. Eyewitness etchings, paintings, diagrams, recreations from fiund shipwreckes, or whatever I can get.

I'm planning to make some paintings and perhaps some models, so scaled measurements would be best but I'll settle for whatever I can find.

I'm most interested in ships with connections to New England (Whydah Galley, Amity, etc) but again, happy to learn of any great sources. have a good weekend.

LostPict04 Sep 2022 9:10 a.m. PST

Here is a link to the North Carolina website focused on the wreck believed to be the Queen Anne's Revenge.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2022 1:54 p.m. PST


Whydah Pirate Museum up on the Cape might have more specifics

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2022 1:58 p.m. PST

Perhaps these may help – from model ship building

wingnut04 Sep 2022 3:27 p.m. PST

Makhno 1918,

In working with the models I built in 28mm, I got a great deal of information from The Time Life series The Seafarers book "The Pirates" You can find it used between $4 USD to $10 USD online, hardback no less. It features full color images of ship types and some history of several periods of high piracy.

I'm unsure of where you are located or your current mobility, but to really get a better understanding of the ships of the time I recommend visiting maritime museums.
The Eastern Seaboard has several locations where tall-mast ships are still moored. Baltimore Harbor, James Town VA. has three amazing ships, The West Coast has The Maritime Museum of San Diego where the San Salvador is located. If your in Europe Madrid has an amazing naval museum in-spite of being no where near an ocean.
Best of luck in your research.


Makhno191804 Sep 2022 6:07 p.m. PST

thanks, friends, for all of these thoughtful suggestions. Queen Anne's revenge would be a fun project, Lostpict. DisasterWargamer, that first link you shared I've seen before, closest I've gotten to the Whydah plans themselves unfortunately, but still something to work from (and im not sure i would have been able to find the link again). Ive never seen that last link you sent, they didnt have a Whydah plan but i bet i can find some useful ships there to crossreference. I've checked the Whydah museums website before and actually emailed them to ask for more info a year or so ago, but never heard back. Next time I'm on the Cape, I'm definitely going to check the place out though! I'm in New England (to answer Wingnut's question), but you make a good point. Anything else in my neck of you woods you'd recommend checking out?

Thanks again all.

Legionarius04 Sep 2022 6:18 p.m. PST

Pirates used whatever was on hand or whatever they could capture and crew. Many started with simple pirogues or sloops and, when successful, graduated to a up-armed fluyt or brig. A few captured larger vessels. In the sixteenth century they would have used the common ships of the day--the caravel, the carrack or nao--and later both the Portuguese/Spanish galleon or the English race built galleon. Again, whatever they could capture and crew.

Archon6404 Sep 2022 9:10 p.m. PST

I was looking for a painting guide and came across a picture of a model of Queen Anne's Revenge. This was the best pic I could find.

Zephyr104 Sep 2022 9:12 p.m. PST

^^ They'd also cut down the fore & stern castles of the larger ships to improve speed/sailing qualities

Look for 'A General History of the Pyrates' (free pdfs are on the 'net) with illustrations of the time for ideas.

Thresher0111 Sep 2022 4:49 p.m. PST

Firelock Games has some decent offerings in 28mm+ (actually more like 32mm 34mm, IIRC for their figs. Don't have any of them yet, but seem to recall they are bigger than 28mms.

Sailpower offers a range of vessels in 15mm scale.

Check Google images for drawings of various vessels too, as well as drawings from various pirate books, though I'm not sure how accurate the latter will be.

I'd love to see more info on this, especially for the late 17th Century period (1650 1700), since those are apparently a bit more colorful in their nautical designs (a bit more elaborate in style).

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