Hey all. I love building ships. I thought I'd get that out of the way first. This is where I'm posting them all, to keep them all in one place and avoid cluttering up the forums with dozens of threads. Whenever I build a new ship, it'll be posted here.
There's a couple of different eras of ships that I’ve built. I started out with late 18th century and Napoleonic era ships, the famous era of the ship of the line, and they'll come first in this thread. More recently I’ve taken to building early 20th century warships, the age of dreadnoughts. To begin with I was building whichever dreadnought-type ships I felt like, but I’ve since started to concentrate on the ships that fought the Battle of Jutland in 1916. I’ve got a separate thread on Project Jutland, which can be found here. The link is also in my signature.
I'm going to try to keep the thread segregated by era, posting the sailing ships at the top and the steamships at the bottom.
My latest ships can be seen in the Age of Steam group at the bottom of this post. I’ve built a lot of ships for my Jutland Project that haven’t made it into this thread yet; I’ll work on getting them added. If you want to see them before then, head over to my project thread (link above).
Age of Sail
"I do not say, my Lords, that the French will not come. I say only that they will not come by sea"
- Admiral of the Fleet John Jervis, First Lord of the Admiralty
I build as close as I can to Steve-scale, that is 1m per block. My age-of-sail ships generally work out a bit bigger than their real life counterparts, though, because of the blocky limitations. Aside from being a bit oversized, they're built around fairly realistic lines and most of them are inspired by real life examples.
I've got an ambitious plan to make a harbour city ~1800, and so I'm building ships that would fit in nicely together, a fleet of warships and assorted civilian vessels. I like to build every ship with a sails furled and a sails set version, so there'll be a mix of pictures here. World Edit is very handy for keeping several copies of each ship in different states of sail. The harbour city plan is on hold at the moment, but it’s something that’s often on my mind.
I'll probably reference the Royal Navy rating system quite a lot - that's the designations for different size of warship based on number of guns and number of gun decks. See - http://en.wikipedia....Napoleonic_Wars
I'm going to post these in the order they were built, starting with the newest ship and finishing with my very first ship down at the bottom of the post.
So, here goes with my newest ship in this category, which is -
3rd Rate Ship of the Line - Audacious
Audacious is the second 74 that I've built. I think she's a big improvement on Vanguard, and I've since edited Vanguard's stern to match better with Audacious. This is also the first ship where I've taken the screenshots for this first post with my fancy modified textures for the stern.
The reason I built a second 74 is that the 74 gun third rate really was the mainstay of most European navies in the late 18th century and Napoleonic period. If I'm going to have a fleet, I want to have more than one 74 template to work from. This ship I based on some of the more 'heavy' 74 designs, which were typically a little longer and carried 24 pounders on the upper gun deck instead of the more usual 18 pounders. She also carries more guns in total than Vanguard, due to the carronades on the quarterdeck and forecastle, which aren't included in the rating.
Smuggler's Ketch - Northwind
I'd fancied doing a smuggler's vessel for a while, and a ketch seemed like a nice one to go for. Often their ships would be even smaller than this, perhaps like my cutter further down in the post.
This is the first ship where I've modified the texture pack so that I can have tanned sails - treated so that they last longer. Though from the point of view of these smugglers the main goal is to make their ship less noticeable to the customs men.
She carries a single boat amidships so that the crew can carry their illicit cargo back and forth between the ship and shore, and two short sternchaser guns in case the customs men give chase.
5th Rate Frigate - Arethusa
This 5th rate is based on the 38 gun desgins that became a fairly standard layout towards the end of the age of sail. She carries 38 long guns and 10 carronades. Interestingly, this gives her 4 guns more than my 5th rate Razee, but a lower rating since many Razees had their carronades included in their rating.
5th rates were the quintessential cruising frigate, fully capable of operating alone on wildly varying assignments. They were considered a great assignment for a crew because of the prospects of a lot of prize money.
This one's taken from the poop deck of my razee-
2nd Rate Ship of the Line - Barfleur
A 2nd Rate was a common type of ship in the Royal Navy, but not so much in other fleets. A 3-decker like the 1st rates, they generally carried 90 to 98 guns. Really the main difference between a 1st and a 2nd was that the 1st rate was of a heavier construction and the cannons tended to be heavier. They would usually both carry 32-pounders on the main gundeck but whereas a 1st rate would carry 24-pounders on the middle gun deck a 2nd rate was usually restricted to 18-pounders.
This meant that their firepower wasn't all that much more than that of a 74, and they tended to sail poorly. But they had the advantage of height in a battle, being able to fire down on an enemy two-decker. Enemy captains would often mistake them for a first rate as well, leading to them avoiding what they thought was a far superior enemy. The Royal Navy often used them as flagships on distant stations where 1st rates were considered too valuable to send.
This ship is inspired by, and named after one of the real workhorses of the Royal Navy, HMS Barfleur. She saw long service, and if there was a major battle there was a good chance that Barfleur would be there in amongst the action.
3rd Rate Ship of the Line - Vanguard
Finally! I'd been meaning to do a 74 for a long time, and this was the first. The 3rd rate 74 was the mainstay ship of the line in the late 18th century and the Napoleonic period. They combined potent firepower, rugged construction and decent handling and sailing qualities to make the perfect all-rounder. More firepower than smaller ships, cheaper and better handling than the 3 deckers.
This ship is roughly based off Sir Thomas Slade's Arrogant class. They were designed at roughly the same time as his Ardent class 64 gunners, which I used as the basis for my own 64 a few ships down. So naturally they look quite similar apart from the fact that this one has slightly more cannon. The major change is that I've come up with a better way of building the bow, and since it was a model of HMS Vanguard (1787) that helped me, I've named this ship after her.
Barque Trader - Arcturus
A barque is a vessel where the foremast and mainmast are square rigged, while the mizzen is fore-and-aft rigged. This meant that it could sail into the wind a bit better than a ship-rigged vessel, and needed fewer men. The downside was that it wasn't quite as fast at running with the wind behind it.
I've built this to be a sleek, fast vessel. She's completely unarmed, though her sides are painted to try to fool other vessels into thinking that she's lined with gunports. Her defence is speed, with a large sail area and a relatively narrow hull to cut through the water. The sail plan means that even when the wind is unfavourable she can make decent headway.
The large cargo hold takes up most of the central space -
Brig Collier - Wolfe
A collier was a ship that transported coal. They were normally coastal ships, travelling from a nation's coalfields towards the expanding cities - cities that were always hungry for fuel. The 'brig' part of the name simply means that it's a two masted, square rigged vessel.
I've built it so that the coal bunker is pretty much the entire width of the hull in between the masts, apart from a couple of walkways. To the rear of the mainmast, most of the free space is given over to other cargo, resulting in a ship that has very little room for the crew. I've left the coal open to the air, but in bad weather it would be covered over. A couple of the screenshots are from above so you can see it.
Gaff Cutter - Ermine
A cutter is a small ship with a single mast. This is probably a coastal boat, sailing between ports up the same stretch of coast. Or along wide rivers. Perhaps it even carries a harbour pilot to guide larger vessels into port.
5th Rate Razée - Inexorable
So, what is a razée? It's a ship that's had some of its upper decks removed. The reason for doing that is that it would make a ship sail better. So, older two decker ships of the line would often be razéed by removing the upper gun decks, resulting in a ship that classed as a heavy frigate. But, because of its origins as a ship of the line it still had that heavy construction and the ability to carry heavy cannon.
I made this one by modifying my 64 gun third rate Diomedes, using World Edit to take a copy and literally razéeing the upper decks off it, making slight alterations to the stern and bow, and then rebuilding the masts. It carries 44 guns in total, 26 long cannon on the gundeck, 12 long cannon and 6 carronades on the upper decks.
To me, probably the biggest difference between this and a purpose built 5th rate that I might have built is that this one has a full, flush spar-deck running from the bow to the poop deck.
3rd Rate Ship of the Line - Diomedes
The third rate was the standard ship of the line, formed the backbone of most fleets and usually took the brunt of the fighting. Solid, dependable and powerful with their two gun decks, and they tended to sail much better than the larger three deckers. This is a 64 gun version that takes inspiration from Sir Thomas Slade's Ardent class.
The 64s eventually gave way to the ubiquitous 74 gun versions, and I plan on making one of those too. After they were surpassed by 74s, a lot of 64s were razeed and turned into heavy frigates, and that's one of the reasons I've built a 64. I razeed a copy of this ship, and the result is my 5th rate frigate, Inexorable.
For this one I'm back to the colour scheme I've used on my 1st and 6th rates to make a coherent fleet. I also made the choice to use smaller topsails and large topgallants.
Brig-Sloop - Goshawk
A Sloop-of-war was the general name for ships that were too small to be 'rated', sitting just below 6th rates in the rating system. They could be roughly divided into two groups - the three masted 'Ship-Sloops' and the two masted 'Brig-Sloops'.
This vessel is loosely based on the Royal Navy's successful Cruizer class of Brig-Sloop. This was a flush decked design (meaning no raised fore or stern) that was armed with 18 carronades. The carronade was a type of short cannon that fired heavy shot but with a short range. Because these ships didn't carry any long guns they would be at the mercy of a ship that could outmanouevre them, but they could bring tremendous firepower to bear at close range.
They were unpopular with crews because of how small and cramped they were, but they were popular with the navy because they were surprisingly powerful for the amount of men needed to crew them, and the navy was struggling with a shortage of trained seamen.
This ship is so small that even the captain has to settle for a small cabin below the waterline.
East Indiaman - Amelia
An East Indiaman was the largest style of merchant vessel of the era. They were designed to carry a mix of cargo and passengers as well as being able to fight off attackers. They were surprisingly heavily armed, and often painted to resemble rows of gun ports to look as though they were more heavily armed than they really were. Some were even purchased by navies and converted into warships, normally as 4th rates.
Mine has been built so that it could be configured as a 4th rate of 50 guns, and looks like it carries that many. But at the moment it carries 36 cannons. The space under the forecastle is divided into small cabins for paying passengers, and the gunports form their cabin windows. There are 53 beds for passengers in total. Naturally, the crew sleep wherever there's space, usually slinging hammocks on the gun deck.
The stern cabins are divided into a captain's cabin, officer's mess and 4 cabins for senior officers. The orlop is divided - in the middle of the ship the deck is removed to form a large cargo hold and there's a large grating on the upper gundeck for the loading of cargo into the hold.
With the sails for this one, I decided to model it at right angles to my first two ships. This meant that the wind would be blowing almost abeam of the ship, so plenty of jibs and staysails seemed to be the best choice. Most of the square sails remain furled.
Cargo Hold -
6th Rate Frigate - Palatine
The 6th rate was the smaller rating of frigate, of 20-28 guns. Frigates were the general purpose ships of a fleet. Too small to fight in major battles, they performed just about all of the other duties - scouting, patrol, commerce raiding, harrying the enemy. Towards 1800, 6th rates were gradually being replaced by the heavier 5th rates.
This is a 28 gun version, so it's one of the larger 6th rates. It carries 24 cannons on the gun deck and 4 on the quarterdeck. The single stern cabin is used both as the captain's cabin and the officer's mess. The fore and main masts have their royal sails set for extra speed in favourable winds.
1st Rate Ship of the Line - Royal Sovereign
The 1st rate was the largest type of warship, carrying 100+ cannons across three gun decks. They were sturdily constructed, but fairly slow and cumbersome. Because they were the largest and most expensive type of warship, they were prestigious and few in number and normally served as flagships.
Mine carries 100 cannons on the gun decks, 34 on the lower gun deck, 32 on the middle and 34 on the upper. It also carries two bowchasers and two carronades on the forecastle and four carronades on the quarterdeck for 108 guns in total.
The stern cabins are a bit more spacious than the other ships - the top one is given over entirely to a large captain's/admiral's cabin, the middle one is an officer's mess and the lower is divided into five officer's cabins.
This is the first ship I ever built, and I don’t know whether to feel disappointed in my hull shape or pleased that I managed to do this well with my first effort.
”There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today"
- Vice-Admiral David Beatty, Battle of Jutland, 1916
Like my Napoleonic Era stuff, these ships are built at Steve-scale, 1m per block. The difference here is that I'm building them specifically as replicas (or close to it) of real life ships. My sailing vessels are inspired by real ships, but these dreadnoughts are built off plans, drawings and photographs of real ships.
I've also recently written a tutorial on how I build these dreadnought battleships, using HMS Dreadnought herself as my example. It can be found here: Battleship Tutorial
Open up the spoiler!
SMS Stettin (1907)
Stettin was a Königsberg class light cruiser launched in 1907. They were an improvement of the Bremen class, slightly larger and faster than the previous ships. After Stettin was commissioned, she served in home waters with the High Seas Fleet. In 1912, she was assigned to a cruise to the USA with SMS Moltke, meeting the US Atlantic Fleet and touring the US East Coast for two weeks.
In WWI, she took part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight. She fought with British Destroyers, causing several hits and contributing to dispersing the enemy ships. She took damage in return, but nothing significant. Later on, she was fortunate to escape the fire of the British battlecruisers due to hazy conditions. She took part in a raid on English coastal towns later in 1914, before performing operations against Russia in the Baltic in 1915.
At Jutland she was flagship of Commodore von Reuter of the IV Scouting Group, tasked with screening for the High Seas Fleet. The group became dispersed in the night; first Hipper’s battlecruisers passed too close in front forcing Stettin to slow, which the rest of the group failed to notice. Shortly afterwards they were attacked by the British 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron. Stettin was hit twice early on and caught fire. The steam pipe for her siren was punctured, and the escaping steam impaired visibility. The group became even more dispersed when they had to swerve to avoid the sinking cruiser Frauenlob. Eventually only Stettin and München remained together, the two of them accidentally firing on a group of friendly torpedo boats.
Stettin was withdrawn from active service in 1917 and used as a training ship. She was surrendered to Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and was sold for breaking up in 1921.
SMS Hessen (1903)
Hessen was a Braunschweig class pre-dreadnought battleship built in the first few years of the 20th century. The Braunschweigs were not long in commission before they were made obsolete by HMS Dreadnought, but as some of Germany’s newest pre-dreadnoughts they remained in use by the Kaiserliche Marine through WWI.
Hessen was quite prone to collisions; in 1911 she accidentally rammed and sank the Danish steamer Askesund and rammed another Danish ship Argo later that same year. She also collided with the torpedoboot G110 in 1913. In WWI, Hessen and her sisters were assigned to the IV Battle Squadron and provided distant support for the Battlecruiser operations. At Jutland, she joined the 5 Deutschland class ships in the II Battle Squadron. She was the only Braunschweig class ship to sail to the battle, the others were otherwise engaged or considered to be in no fit state to sail.
For much of the battle, Scheer tried to keep his pre-dreadnoughts out of harm’s way. Despite this, they performed an important role covering the retreat of Hipper’s battlecruisers. In the early hours of the morning, the pre-dreadnoughts were attacked by a force of British destroyers. Hessen narrowly avoided a torpedo, but Pommern, which was directly ahead, was not so lucky. The impact detonated a magazine, causing the ship to explode spectacularly. Hessen’s crew assumed that the torpedoes were fired by a submarine and spent much of the rest of the night firing at imaginary submarines.
She was withdrawn from active service in 1917, but was reactivated after the war. After all of Germany’s dreadnought type ships were scuttled or ceded to the Allies under the Treaty of Versailles, a handful of pre-dreadnoughts were the only battleships that they were allowed to retain. She was withdrawn again in the 1930s and converted into a target ship, but was recommissioned again in 1937 to serve with the Kriegsmarine in WWII. She was ceded to the Soviet Union after the war, who used her as a target ship until she was scrapped in 1960.
HMS Liberty (1913)
Liberty was a two-funnel variant of the Laforey class (L class) destroyer. The class formed the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla at the outbreak of WWI. They were present at Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank, and many were present at Jutland, including Liberty. She was sold for scrap in 1921
HMS Lydiard (1914)
Lydiard was a Laforey class (also known as L class) destroyer built at Fairfield just before the outbreak of WWI. She served with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla and fought at Heligoland Bight, where she scored a torpedo hit on the German light cruiser Mainz. She was also present at Dogger Bank in 1915 and Jutland in 1916, before being transferred to escort duties after 1917 and being sold for scrap in 1921.
HMS Hampshire (1903)
Hampshire was an armoured cruiser of the Devonshire class. They were a class of 6 armoured cruisers designed for commerce protection, armed with four 7.5” guns in single turrets. After completion she spent time in the Channel Fleet, the reserve Third Fleet, the Mediterranean Fleet and later the China Station. She was in the Far East when WWI started and hunted for German commerce raiders until the end of the year when she was reassigned to the Grand Fleet.
She fought with the Grand Fleet at Jutland, and unlike most of the armoured cruisers was relatively unengaged. Immediately following the battle, she was ordered to transport Lord Kitchener on a diplomatic mission to Russia. Not far off Orkney she struck a mine that had been laid by U-75 a few days earlier. Due to the stormy conditions and the speed with which she sank, only 12 crewmen survived. Kitchener and all of his staff perished.
HMS Fearless (1912)
Fearless was an Active class scout cruiser, the final development of the design which began with the Boadiceas. The Active class were the last scout cruisers built by the Royal Navy before their role was fully taken by the light cruiser type. The most obvious difference over the previous Blonde class was the plough bow.
After commissioning she was assigned to the Harwich force – a group of light cruisers and destroyers based out of Harwich in Essex. As leader of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, she participated in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1914 and Jutland in 1916. Later she was made leader of the Grand Fleet’s 12th submarine flotilla and had a regrettable role in the so called Battle of May Island in early 1918. As her flotilla (among others) made their way to Rosyth for excercises, a combination of a misty evening and confusion over ship positioning resulted in the unfortunate sinking of several submarings. Fealess accidentally rammed K17 and then came to a halt. The other following submarines had to turn to avoid her, resulting in several more collisions. Fearless was sold for scrap in 1921.
HMS Blanche (1909)
Blanche was a Blonde class scout cruiser, which were an update of the Boadicea class with improved armament. In WWI she was generally attached to battleship squadrons for repeating of signals and general scouting duties. She was one of three cruisers dispatched to patrol the Norwegian coast for the German raider SMS Greif in early 1916, but did not come across the German ship before she was sunk. Blanche was present at Jutland, but took no active part and was converted to a minelayer in 1917. She was scrapped in 1921.
HMS Boadicea (1908)
HMS Boadicea was the lead ship of her class of scout cruisers. By the time of WWI the scout cruiser type had been surpassed by the new light cruiser types, but the scout cruisers still found use. She spent WWI assigned to battleship squadrons. At Jutland, her role was to repeat visual signals to and from the 2nd Battle Squadron. She spotted the German fleet at night, but the information wasn’t passed to the flagship out of fear of giving away the Grand Fleet’s position. She was converted to a minelayer in 1917, and was eventually broken up in 1926.
HMS Collingwood (1908)
HMS Collingwood was one of the three-ship St. Vincent class, named after the Napoleonic-era admiral Cuthbert Collingwood. The St. Vincents were an incremental improvement on the preceding Bellerophon class, the only major update being an improved, longer main armament.
The only major engagement of her career was at Jutland in 1916, where she scored at least one hit on SMS Derfflinger. Prince Albert, the future King George VI, was a sub-lieutenant commanding A turret during the battle, and it was said that during a lull in the action he was seen sitting on the turret roof. She was present at Scapa Flow in 1917 when her sister ship Vanguard exploded, recovering the bodies of three of the seamen.
After the war she was reduced to reserve, briefly served as a boys’ training ship before being sold for scrap in 1922.
HMS Temeraire (1907)
HMS Temeraire was the second of the Bellerophon class battleships. The class were effectively a repeat of HMS Dreadnought, with the one obvious alteration being the masts. Dreadnought had carried her mast aft of the forward funnel, because the back of the mast could then be a convenient point for mounting the boat crane. However, smoke from the funnel was found to badly obscure the spotting tops. The Bellerophon class carried two tall masts, each one forward of a funnel.
Temeraire spent the majority of WWI in the 4th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet. In 1915, she was with HMS Dreadnought when the latter rammed and sank U-29. Temeraire was also attempting to ram, and narrowly avoided colliding with Dreadnought. She fought at Jutland, scoring hits on SMS Wiesbaden and firing at SMS Derfflinger and German destroyers. She was not damaged in the battle.
After the war, she briefly served as a training ship before being sold for scrap in 1921 due to the upcoming Washington Naval Treaty.
SMS München (1902)
SMS München was a Bremen class light cruiser, which were effectively an enlarged version of the preceding Gazelle class and laid down between 1902 and 1904.
In her early career she served as a test ship for torpedoes and wireless telegraphy, before being assigned to the High Seas Fleet when the First World War broke out. She was present at the Battle of Heligoland Bight, though her orders took her to standing in reserve and conducting reconnaissance rather than actively participating.
At the Battle of Jutland she performed a screening role, and at around 21:00 encountered the British 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron. The range was great enough that only München and Stettin were able to open fire. She didn’t score any hits, but was hit herself in the third funnel, causing an explosion that damaged four boilers.
Later when they encountered the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, she had to manoeuvre sharply to avoid the sinking Frauenlob. She attempted to torpedo HMS Southampton, but missed. She suffered further hits, leading to her wheelhouse being damaged and the ship needing to be steered from the steering gear compartment. A little later, they accidentally fired on German torpedo boats and were nearly hit themselves by wild firing from the pre-dreadnoughts of the German II Battle Squadron.
She survived the war and was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Versailles. The British soon had her scrapped.
SMS Frauenlob (1902)
SMS Frauenlob was a Gazelle class light cruiser, which were built around the turn of the 20th century. The Gazelles were the first modern light cruiser design of the Imperial German Navy, and were a distinctive design with their very pronounced ram bow.
She fought in the Battle of Heligoland Bight in 1914, where she scored an estimated 25-30 hits on HMS Arethusa, which soon caught fire but managed to escape into the fog. Frauenlob took 10 hits in return, but none caused significant damage. She fought at Jutland in 1916. During the night fighting, the battlecruisers Seydlitz and Moltke passed too close to the light cruisers, forcing them out of line and bringing them into contact with British light cruisers. Frauenlob opened fire, but was struck by a torpedo from HMS Southampton. She soon capsized and sank, with only 9 survivors.
SMS Friedrich der Große (1911)
SMS Friedrich der Große was the second ship of the Kaiser class and spent much of her career as the flagship of the High Seas Fleet. Along with her sisters, she had a very distinctive look caused by the wide spread of her two funnels and the two large boat cranes between them. The funnels were spaced as they were to allow the two wing turrets to fire en echelon between them.
She took part in most of the major fleet sorties of WWI, though the only major action where she engaged the enemy was at Jutland. During the battle she fought from the centre of the German dreadnought line. She engaged the British cruisers and destroyers, as well as HMS Warspite which had suffered rudder problems, putting her in the line of fire. Scheer successfully withdrew his ships from their encounter with the Grand Fleet, though there was still fighting through the night. Friedrich der Große took part in the destruction of the armoured cruiser Black Prince.
She was replaced as fleet flagship in 1917 by the new SMS Baden, and was interned in Scapa Flow with the rest of the High Seas Fleet after the war. The ships were scuttled to avoid handing them over to the allies; the wreck of Friedrich der Große was raised and scrapped in the 1930s.
HMS Chester (1915)
HMS Chester was one of two ships of the Birkenhead subclass of the Town class light cruisers. They differed from the Birminghams due to carrying a 5.5” main armament rather than 6”. Originally ordered by the Greek government, their contracts were taken over by the British Admiralty in 1915.
Chester entered service in 1916, three weeks before Jutland. During the battle she took heavy fire, but it generally caused superficial damage to the decks and superstructure, killing many of the gun crews. One young gunner, John Cornwell, was later found to be the only survivor of his gun crew. Severely injured, he was still manning his gun and waiting for orders. He died in hospital a couple of days later and was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
Chester was later offered for re-sale to Greece, but the offer wasn’t taken up and she was sold for scrap in 1921. The gun that Cornwell had manned at Jutland is preserved in the Imperial War Museum in London.
HMS Birmingham (1913)
HMS Birmingham was the lead ship of her subclass of the Town class light cruisers. They slightly differed from the Chathams with an altered main armament layout and had an increased flare to their bows.
When she commissioned in 1914, Birmingham joined the Grand Fleet. In August, she rammed and sank the U-boat U-15, which was surfaced while the crew attempted to repair the engines. This was the first loss of a U-boat to an enemy warship. She fought at Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and Jutland, before serving on foreign stations through much of the 1920s and being sold for scrap in 1931.
HMS Southampton (1912)
HMS Southampton was part of the Chatham subclass of the Town class light cruisers. They only differed slightly from the previous Weymouth subclass, with the most obvious change being a different shape for their bows.
HMS Southampton had a very active career in WWI, serving as a Light Cruiser flagship through the Battle of Heligoland Bight, the Battle of Dogger Bank and the Battle of Jutland where she sank the German light cruiser SMS Frauenlob with a torpedo.
She was sold for scrap in 1926.
HMS Yarmouth (1911)
HMS Yarmouth was part of the Weymouth subgroup of the Town class light cruisers. Compared with the previous Bristol subclass, they had a more powerful main armament and a higher freeboard. They were also the first cruisers to mount an aircraft in the form of a Sopwith Pup.
HMS Yarmouth was on the China Station in 1914 and took part in the hunt for the German commerce raider SMS Emden. When she returned home, she was assigned to the Grand Fleet and fought at Jutland and in 1917 made history when a Sopwith Pup took off from a platform mounted on one of the gun turrets, which was the first successful launch of an aircraft in that fashion.
She was sold for scrap in 1929.
HMS Gloucester (1909)
HMS Gloucester was part of the Bristol subclass of the Town class light cruisers. The Bristols were the first subgroup of the class, with a fairly low freeboard and comparatively light main armament, just two 6” guns, supported by ten 4” guns along the wings.
Upon commissioning, Gloucester joined the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean. In 1914 she took part in the hunt for the German ships SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau, and later hunted for German raiders off the West African coast. In 1915 she was assigned to the Grand Fleet and took part in the Battle of Jutland. Later in the war, she served once again in the Mediterranean and in East Africa before being sold for scrap in 1921.
HMS Ardent (1913)
HMS Ardent was a Builder’s Special variant of the Acasta class destroyer. This meant that she was slightly shorter than the standard Admiralty design. She was sunk during the Battle of Jutland by secondary gunfire from the German battleship SMS Westfalen.
HMS Sparrowhawk (1912)
HMS Sparrowhawk was an Acasta class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was built to the Admiralty design, and served in the First World War until 1916, when she was sunk at the Battle of Jutland. The story of her sinking is a bizarre one. During the night fighting, she collided with the flotilla leader HMS Broke. On both ships, the order was given to transfer over to the other; likely they both thought that their own ship was about to sink. By the time they separated, 20 of Sparrowhawk’s crew were aboard Broke, and 15 men had gone in the opposite direction. Sparrowhawk then suffered another collision with her sister ship HMS Contest, though Contest was relatively undamaged by the impact. Sparrowhawk spent the next few hours unable to manoeuvre and trying to stay quiet and unnoticed. She was eventually found by a group of British destroyers. HMS Marksman attempted to tow her, but the lines parted. Due to reports of nearby U-boats, it was decided to abandon and sink Sparrowhawk.
HMS Indefatigable (1909)
The Indefatigable class were the second group of British battlecruisers. Originally intended to be a one-off design, HMS Indefatigable was a slightly lengthened version of the Invincible class with the turret/funnel layout altered to try to enable the ship to more effectively fire all of the turrets on the broadside. Later, the British government convinced the Australian and New Zealand governments to fund a battlecruiser each, and the Indefatigable design was chosen rather than the newer Lion class which was already in development, meaning that the class eventually numbered three ships. HMAS Australia formed the core of the brand new Royal Australian Navy, while HMS New Zealand was intended as a gift to the Royal Navy from the New Zealand government.
HMS Indefatigable joined with HMS Indomitable to chase the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben and cruiser SMS Breslau through the Mediterranean at the beginning of the First World War and later bombarded the Ottoman fortifications at the Dardanelles. She took part in the Battle of Jutland in 1916, where she was the first capital ship sunk on either side. She was engaged by SMS Von der Tann, which caused enough damage that Indefatigable fell out of the line and began to list. Shortly afterward she was torn apart by a huge magazine explosion. Two men survived and were rescued by the German torpedo boat S16.
Much like the real life Indefatigable design, I started with my HMS Invincible and modified it by enlarging the hull and refitting the superstructure.
SMS Lützow (1913)
SMS Lützow was the sister ship of SMS Derfflinger, which was one of the first ships I built from this era. However Lützow differed slightly. Derfflinger had two fewer secondary guns than the class was designed for since she rolled quite badly and had to be fitted with anti-roll tanks, which meant replacing two of the casemate guns. Lützow (and the third sister Hindenburg) carried the full design armament. In addition, she had some extra superstructure which I assume had to do with her role as battlecruiser flagship, a role which she filled for Franz von Hipper from her commissioning until the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
Lützow led the German Scouting Forces at Jutland, and was in the thick of the action. Along with Derfflinger, she destroyed HMS Invincible. However, Lützow took a pounding from the British fleet and was soon in no state to fight. Hipper transferred to Moltke via the torpedo boat G39 so as to command from a ship in better condition. Lützow attempted to limp back to port, but in the night it became apparent that she wasn’t going to make it. She had taken on so much water that the bows were starting to go underwater and she was in imminent danger of capsizing. The order was given to abandon ship and once the crew was off she was finished off with a couple of torpedoes.
SMS Wiesbaden (1915)
The Wiesbaden class was a group of two light cruisers that were built in the early years of WWI. SMS Wiesbaden is notable for being the centre of a battle-within-a-battle at Jutland. She was disabled by a shell that exploded in her engine room, leaving her dead in the water. A furious fight erupted around her, the British trying to finish her off and the Germans attempting to defend her. Several ships were sunk fighting over Wiesbaden, which eventually sank with only one survivor.
SMS Von der Tann (1909)
SMS Von der Tann was the first battlecruiser built by Germany, and the only ship of her class. When the Kaiserliche Marine first learned of the new Royal Navy battlecruisers, they thought they were just larger armoured cruisers and laid down SMS Blücher in response. When it later became apparent that they were an entirely new breed of ship, SMS Von der Tann was laid down as a proper response. Because they knew that the Kaiserliche Marine would be outnumbered by Royal Navy battleships in the event of a war, the Kaiser and the Admiralty demanded a ship which was well armoured enough to stand in the main battleline, setting the pattern for the German battlecruisers. They were slightly less heavily armed and slightly less well armoured than the battleships, in exchange for a greater speed. This contrasted with the British battlecruisers which were generally more heavily armed and faster than their German counterparts, but weren’t as well protected.
Von der Tann took part in the various bombardments of the English coast in WWI, as well as the Battle of Jutland. In the early stages of the battle, she scored several hits on HMS Indefatigable, causing an ammunition explosion which destroyed the British battlecruiser. At one point, all four main gun turrets were out of action, two due to shellfire and two due to malfunction. She withdrew along with the rest of the battered battlecruisers and was out of action for repairs for about two months.
She was scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919 along with most of the High Seas Fleet.
HMS Orion (1910)
The Orion class were the first super-dreadnoughts. They were the first British battleships to mount all of their guns on the centreline, and the first to upgrade from the 12” to the 13.5” gun. There was a corresponding jump in displacement and cost over the previous designs. They were also the first of a succession of broadly similar battleships, with the following King George V and Iron Duke classes repeating their basic layout.
The four Orions were grouped together as the 2nd Battle Squadron 2nd Division for most of the war, including at Jutland. They weren’t heavily engaged in the battle; they only ever fired fleetingly at long range when they had the chance, claiming a few hits.
All four ships survived the war and were decommissioned as a result of the Washington Naval Treaty in 1921. HMS Orion was broken up for scrap in 1923.
HMS Royal Oak (1914)
The Revenge class were the newest class of battleship built by the UK during WWI, originally planned for 8 ships but later reduced to 5. Revenge and Royal Oak participated in the Battle of Jutland. Royal Sovereign was so new that Admiral Jellicoe thought her crew weren’t ready for a fleet action so he left her in Scapa Flow, and Ramillies and Resolution weren’t yet completed. Both ships survived the battle and claimed several hits on the German fleet.
As the Royal Navy’s newest battleships built before the post-war naval treaties came into effect, the Revenge class ships were retained and served through the Second World War. However, they had hardly been modernised, with modernisation efforts concentrated on the slightly older but larger and faster Queen Elizabeth class. As a result, the Revenge class ships were of limited usefulness in WWII due to their speed – perfectly adequate in WWI, but much too slow twenty years later. They generally served in shore bombardment, area denial and convoy escort roles.
Royal Oak was the only ship lost, torpedoed in Scapa Flow on the 14th of October 1939. She sank with the loss of over 800 lives. I laid down my minecraft replica in tribute, on the 14th of October 2014, the 75th anniversary of her sinking.
SMS G39 (1915)
The Großes Torpedoboot 1913-class were a group of (large) torpedo boats that were roughly equivalent to the Royal Navy's destroyers. It was only later that Germnay adopted the ‘destroyer’ name. The ships were named with a letter and a number. The letter represented the shipyard they were built at; G for Germaniawerft Kiel, S for Schichau Elbing, V for AG Vulcan Stettin. In typical Kaiserliche Marine fashion, they were painted black or dark grey, until changing to mid-grey shades later in the war.
SMS G39 was the leader of the First Torpedo Boat Flotilla at the Battle of Jutland. After Admiral Hipper was forced to abandon SMS Lützow due to the damage she had sustained, he transferred briefly to G39 before later transferring to the battlecruiser SMS Moltke.
SMS G39 was scuttled in Scapa Flow in 1919 along with the rest of the High Seas Fleet.
SMS Schleswig-Holstein (1906)
SMS Schleswig-Holstein was the last Pre-Dreadnought completed by Germany. She was the fifth and final ship of the Deutschland class, and was effectively made obsolete before being finished due to the rapid speed with which the Royal Navy built the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought.
However, despite their obsolete design, the Deutschland class were called on to be part of the High Seas Fleet's main battle fleet during the First World War, due to the fact that the Royal Navy heavily outnumbered the Kaiserliche Marine on Dreadnought-type ships. The five Deutschlands fought at Jutland along with the Braunschweig class SMS Hessen as the 2nd Battle Squadron. Admiral Scheer generally tried to keep them away from the fighting, but they saw action as they prevented the British battlecruisers from pursuing Hipper's battered Scouting Force. They were also engaged in the night fighting that followed, with SMS Pommern being struck by a torpedo which detonated her magazines and destroyed her.
By the end of 1916 they were withdrawn from frontline service, and were the newest capital ships that Germany was allowed to retain after the war. The newer ships had all been scuttled or ceded to the Allies. Schleswig-Holstein's fame comes from the fact that she fired the first shots of WWII when she fired on the Polish ammunition depot at Westerplatte. She participated in the invasion of Denmark, where she was grounded, and spent much of the next few years as a training ship. Eventually, she was used for convoy escort duty and severely damaged by RAF bombers. She was destroyed by the retreating Germans to prevent the Soviets capturing her.
SMS Westfalen (1908)
SMS Westfalen was one of the first dreadnoughts built for the Kaiserliche Marine, ordered alongside her sister ship (and lead ship of the class) SMS Nassau. They would be joined by a further two sisters, SMS Rheinland and SMS Posen.
The Nassau-class ships served together, forming the High Seas Fleet's 1st Battle Squadron, 2nd Division. They took part in most of the German sorties, and fought at Jutland, where they were the rearmost dreadnoughts in the German line. When Admiral Scheer ordered an about turn, the old pre-dreadnoughts were at the rear and therefore should have led the fleet after the turn but Westfalen's captain noticed the pre-dreadnoughts were out of position and began his turn immediately, taking the lead position.
Because the Nassau class began the battle as the rearmost dreadnoughts in the German fleet, they barely engaged the British captial ships. But as the German fleet tried to slip away during the night they were engaged in furious night-fighting with British cruisers and destroyers.
The Nassau class ships also served in the Baltic against the Russians, including the Battle of the Gulf of Riga, and were sent so support the White Finns in the Finnish Civil War in 1918. She was decommissioned in August 1918 as the war drew to a close after suffering significant boiler damage, and was kept in Germany after the newest units of the German Fleet were interned in Scapa Flow. After the fleet in Scapa Flow was scuttled, Westfalen was ceded to the allies as a replacement. She was sold for scrap in the UK.
HMS Invincible (1907)
HMS Invincible was one of a class of three battlecruisers built for the royal navy shortly after the completion of HMS Dreadnought. They were the world's first battlecruisers, and the brainchild of the First Sea Lord, Admiral John "Jacky" Fisher. The concept was for a ship that was as large and as heavily armed as a battleship, but sacrificed armour to achieve a much higher speed. Such a ship would be able to flee from a fight against slower battleships, chase down and destroy enemy cruisers and perform an effective role as a 'heavy scout' for the battlefleet.
Germany responded by laying down their own battlecruisers, starting with SMS Von der Tann. However, the German command were keen that the German ships should be better armoured and able to stand in line with the battlefleet, since they knew that the Kaiserliche Marine wouldn't be able to build battleships as quickly as the Royal Navy. Therefore, the German battlecruisers were a little slower and less heavily armed, but much better armoured than the British ships.
HMS Invincible and her sister HMS Inflexible seemed to vindicate the British battlecruiser concept when they chased down and destroyed Maximillian von Spee's cruisers in the Battle of the Falkland Islands, however they suffered later in the war. The battlecruisers were used aggressively in fleet actions, and relaxed their safety procedures in an attempt to increase their rate of fire. The results were plain when they fought the German battlecruisers at Jutland; the German battlecruisers took a pounding but kept fighting. The British battlecruisers suffered several spectacular explosions, due to a hit on one of their gun turrets flash-igniting the propellant charges that they had stacked in the turrets and corridors, through the open safety doors and exploding the main magazines. HMS Invincible was destroyed in this way, as were HMS Indefatigable and HMS Queen Mary.
HMS Invincible scored two hits on SMS Lützow below the waterline, which would ultimately sink the German ship, but she was destroyed herself by fire from SMS Lützow and SMS Derfflinger, her magazines detonating and blowing the ship in half. Only 6 men out of 1026 were rescued.
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
HMS Dreadnought was a revolutionary ship built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She was the first 'all big gun' battleship, the largest battleship yet launched, and also equipped with new steam turbine engines to make her faster than previous battleships too. She made all ships before her obsolete and triggered a naval arms race in the lead-up to the First World War. On top of that, Dreadnought was built in record time, as a display of British industrial might and a statement that the Royal Navy weren't about to let other navies out-build them.
For such a revolutionary ship, she actually had a quiet career. Within five years, new 'super dreadnought' types were coming into service, greatly surpassing her in power and relegating her to an almost second-class battleship. Her most significant achievement came in 1915 when she rammed and sank the German submarine U-29, becoming the only battleship to ever sink a submarine. She missed Jutland as she was undergoing refit at the time, and was paid off and scrapped shortly after the war's end.
Fusō (扶桑) (1915)
Fusō was the lead ship of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Fusō class. They were a pair of super-dreadnoughts launched and commissioned during the First World War. They were heavily armed, carrying six centreline turrets for the main armament, and were thoroughly rebuilt in the 1930s, gaining the distinctive tall pagoda style mast that Japanese ships of the era were known for. I haven't built that version, but I'm certainly tempted to give it a go. I'll also probably do a version firing a broadside.
During World War II, the Fusōs were considered too slow to support the aircraft carriers, and filled auxiliary roles for most of the war. Fusō was sunk by the US Navy at the battle of Surigao Strait in 1944. She attempted to run a gauntlet of US torpedo boats and destroyers, but was torpedoed and sunk by USS Melvin. Her sister ship Yamashiro didn't last much longer; she was sunk after taking a battering from numerous US battleships.
HMS Minotaur (1906)
HMS Minotaur was the lead ship of her class of armoured cruisers, the last class of armoured cruiser built for the Royal Navy before their role was taken on by the new concept of the battlecruiser. Her design is quite characteristic in the large number of single turrets down the wings for the secondary armament.
Minotaur spent the first part of the First World War hunting for the German East Asia squadron. At the end of 1914 she joined the Grand Fleet and spent much of the war as a flagship of cruiser squadrons and on the Northern patrol routes. She was present at Jutland, but did not fire her weapons during the battle. She was paid off in 1919 and sold for scrap in 1920.
SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse (1897)
SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was the first of four sister ships build for the Norddeutscher Lloyd line, launched in 1897. She heralded a new era of transatlantic liners, surpassing everything that had come before in size, speed and style. She was the first ocean liner with four funnels, and this quickly became a symbol of prestige in the liner business and influenced the choice of four funnels on later British liners like RMS Mauretania and RMS Olympic.
In the opening months of the First World War, she was converted into an auxiliary cruiser for the Imperial German Navy and successfully sunk several enemy ships before being sunk herself by the cruiser HMS Highflyer in the Battle of Río de Oro.
SM U-20 (1913)
U-20 was one of the 4 U-19 class U-boats built in the years leading up to the First World War. Famous for torpedoing the liner RMS Lusitania in 1915, she sunk a total of 144,300 tons of shipping. She was grounded off the Danish coast in 1916 after suffering engine trouble and was blown up by her own crew.
SMS Derfflinger (1913)
SMS Derfflinger was the lead ship of her class, a group of battlecruisers which marked a large improvement over the preceding SMS Seydlitz. They were also the last battlecruisers completed by Germany.
Derfflinger took part in most of the naval actions in the North Sea during WWI, including Dogger Bank and Jutland. She was heavily engaged at Jutland, delivering heavy damage to the British battlecruisers and taking a beating in return. Along with SMS Seydlitz, she caused HMS Queen Mary to explode spectacularly, then repeated the feat later on, this time in partnership with her sister ship SMS Lützow, destroying HMS Invincible. Hipper's battlecruisers were then forced to steam at the guns of the entire Grand Fleet in a 'death ride', to buy the High Seas fleet a chance to escape. They charged the Grand Fleet, then withdrew once the German dreadnoughts were clear. With the whole battlecruiser group damaged to quite an extent, Admiral Scheer ordered them to withdraw.
She was interned at Scapa Flow with the rest of the German High Seas Fleet after the armistice, where she was scuttled by her crew.
On a personal note, I think that the Derfflinger class are stunningly beautiful ships and they are personal favourites of mine.
HMS Iron Duke (1912)
HMS Iron Duke was the lead ship of her class of battleships, successors to the King George V class. Beginnng with the Orion class a few years before, the ships started to be considered "super dreadnoughts" due to their general advancements and superiority over the first generation of dreadnought battleships. Their design was based on that of the King George V’s, with the most notable change being an increase in the calibre of the secondary armament from 4” to 6”
Iron Duke served as the flagship of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe at the Battle of Jutland, where she landed several hits on SMS König. The Iron Duke class ships were the oldest battleships that the Royal Navy retained after the Washington Naval Treaty in 1921. She served with the Meditteranean fleet after the war, before being paid off in 1929 and recommissioned as a gunnery training ship.
The London Naval Treaty of 1931 stipulated that the Iron Duke class should be scrapped or otherwise demilitarised. Two of her sisters were scrapped shortly afterwards, and one was sunk as a target ship. Iron Duke however was retained; two of her gun turrets, most of her armour and some boilers were removed and she was used as a training ship. During WWII she was used as a base ship and floating anti-aircraft platform in the harbour of Scapa Flow and was scrapped after the war.
The version shown here has had several updates in order to make her match better with the real ship; this is what my first version ‘inspired by’ Iron Duke looked like:
Your designs are improving quite nicely! William would be proud, but he is busy I believe with other things lol.
Thanks. I think it's great how even though we're following similar guidelines for our builds, we're both coming up with distinct styles. I suppose the most noticeable difference is that his ships follow more of a galleon profile, while mine tend to have lower stern and forecastles. The same sort of thing goes for all shipbuilders really, we all have our own styles.
I'm working on a 3rd rate 64 at the moment. Hull done, and I expect I'll probably get the masts and sails done tomorrow.
More pictures in the first post. I realise that these ships are all stylistically very similar, but then that's the result of trying to make a unified fleet. I'll try to branch out a bit and do other ships that fit into my Napoleonic era but aren't full ship rigged men o'war. Perhaps a brigantine or a cutter.
New ship! This one's a bit different to usual, since I made it by modifying my previous ship - by a process known as razeeing. Basically, cutting the top gun decks off a ship of the line to make it into a heavy frigate. Look at my previous post, imagine chopping the upper decks off that ship, and this is the result -
As usual, I've added it to the first post.
I've also updated the post with names for all of my ships. For the naval vessels, I've tried to give them names that would fit right in with the Napoleonic era Royal Navy, and one or two of them are names that were actually used. Royal Sovereign in particular was the name of a famous first rate that was present at the Glorious First of June and at Trafalgar. I've also made it obvious just how many guns each naval vessel carries, since it's important for their rating.
I'll try to do a few more merchant vessels before this turns into strictly a navy thread...
On the other hand, if I just add a Third Rate 74 and a Second rate 90 or 98 then I'm just a bit of copy and pasting away from putting together a battle squadron. Hmm, anybody fancy a naval battle diorama?