Saturday 2 August 2014

Peter Pig 1/450 vessel size comparison with RPE Empire galleass

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.


  1. I really like the "Medium Merchant" from Peter Pig... looks quite a bit like an East Indiaman to me. It probably is. I would really like to get into Galleys and Galleons... where should I start?

    1. The Peter Pig medium merchantman is a designated a fluyt on the website. I use the large merchantmen as indiamen myself, but at the end of the day, all the Peter Pig vessels are slightly exaggerated in features and in game terms can be used as all sorts of different vessels.

      The best starting point to get into G&G is to purchase a copy of the rules (available as pdf or as a perfect bound paper hardcopy), photocopy/print out the wind gauge on p.15, and sit down with one or two ships a side and get those dice rolling. Once you've had a game and become used to the mechanics, then you can sort out proper wee fleets!