One of my gaming comrades as been developing his own set of naval rules called Broadside - initially focused on 20th century engagements but I believe the intention is to adapt it later to deal with the 18th and 19th centuries as well. After playtesting Broadside I received an enthusiasm boost to return to All at Sea, my ship-on-ship game set in the 16th and 17th centuries.
My 1/1200 scale galleons were irreconcilably damaged during the big move two years ago, since then I have been using 1/2400 scale vessels for my own play testing. These paint up fine but, admittedly, are really just gaming pieced at that scale.
I looked around for alternatives and kept coming back to the Peter Pig Pieces of Eight range, 1/450 scale 17th century vessels. While being slightly later than my previous forays into naval games (very much the 16th century), I decided to order a couple to see how they paint up.
I also came across the Ral Partha Europe range of fantasy ships in my search. While these are intended to be used as fleet markers in a fantasy campaign game, the 'Empire' vessels are clearly inspired by 16th century vessels. Paul at RPE wasn't sure how they scaled and was good enough to send me a sample.
I was sent a galleass, the middle sized of the three Empire ships made by RPE. This is a two masted, galleon-like model with no oars. It was clear that it couldn't serve as a historical galleass, but could it be used elsewhere? The answer to that, when the sample arrived, was a resounding yes.
In this shot you can see the hulls compared: from left to right, a large merchantman, medium sized merchantman (both Peter Pig), the RPE galleass, and lastly a Peter Pig rowing boat. I would say, as an estimate, that the true scale of the RPE range must be somewhere between 1/600 and 1/1000. There are cannons cast on the deck but they are rather tiny.
However, if there is no pressure to use the RPE vessel as a galleass, it will serve beautifully as a 1/450 pinnace! In this second shot you can see the Peter Pig large merchantman (I'm going to use her and an East Indiaman) alongside the RPE galleass/pinnace with their respective masts in place. Between them is a stand of the Peter Pig crew. By using the same sized deck crew on both vessels, I think they'll be very compatible. I'll post again when they have some paint on them.