Galleys Guns and Glory: Commissions

 “…As the Venetian galleys approached, black galley suddenly tore out of the harbor and escaped rapidly into the darkness, leaving everyone to speculate over it’s identity. This mysterious vessel was actually a spy ship commanded by the notorious Barbary pirate Kara Kosh…. !”
- The battle of Lepanto 1571, by R.F. Marx

a galliot inspired by Kara Kosh's ship

Box view of Christian Fleet

Box View of Turkish Fleet

Galleys Guns and Glory: Commissions
This weekend I had the pleasure of delivering a large commission of 42 painted ships, crew, &c to a local patron. About half the ships were ones I’ve already had done the others were all new pieces.  When queried about taking the commission, I learned that my patron wanted the ships to run a game at the upcoming Pacificon gaming convention in September; this is the same convention I was scheduled to run a game- so I parlayed part of the deal to be we run the game together (thus allowing me to play with my toy ships and not have to paint up an extra 42 on top of what I need). Even a Venetian doge would be happy with that deal!

Another key part of getting this commission done was to have a lot of ships available for images in my upcoming rules, and examples of painted ships for my Skull and Crown store. 

Store Sales and Rules
Thank you all who have ordered ships thus far. It is both humbling and exciting at the same time!  I’ve been getting orders from around the globe, and the feedback has been really inspiring!  Now that the commission is out dry dock, I can go back to focusing on the getting the rules finalized.  

Knights of Malta close ranks!

The lanterns on a Maltese Lanterna, thus the name.

Venetian galleys, Lanterna and Galleas

Updated version of the Galleas fully crewed and firing it's guns.

Christian Holy League Fleet
The Holy league of Christian ships part of the commission was built up with the bulk being Venetian, and then moving on to Knights of Malta and then Spanish and papal ships.  My patron wanted a decent amount of Maltese ships so he can also play smaller scenarios using them against the corsairs and Barbary pirates.  

Papal galley in all it's frippery fineness!

Spanish and Neapolitan galleys

 Color scheme and theme wise, I drew a lot of reference from historical paintings, making the Venetian ships primarily red  and yellow ochres, the Maltese ships showing a brighter red mixed with lots of whites, and the Spanish and Papal ships using more natural wood colors and a bit more blue than the others.  

Turkish Galleys with a green theme

Corsair galleys come in all colors!

Side view of Turkish Lanterna or "Sultana" galley

Turks and Corsairs Fleet
The Turkish fleet consisted of not only Turks under the command of the Sultan, but like the Holy League, a mix of peoples from across the Mediterranean. As an example, the galleys on the right wing of Lepanto were ships from Egypt, the ports from Asia Minor, and the arsenal of Constantinople. There were also ships from Gallipoli, Algiers, Syria, Greece and even Mercenary ships from Italian Calabria.  

Swarms of fast galliots ready to strike!

I love all the variety going on here! 

One of the things I enjoyed about painting up all the Turkish fleet is the amount of color you can play with, both in paint and in the flags, awnings and side bulwark trim. I made groups set up loosely by color, so that there can be a green, red and yellow(ish) wing.  The Galiot horde is another cool thing about the Turks, which should really come into play during the battle if commanded well. 

Upcoming Game Conventions
As mentioned above, I’ll be running an epic battle of Lepanto game at Pacificon Conquest this Labor Day weekend in the Bay area.  Scale wise it will be about ¼ scale with approximately 100 ships on the table. (Note-this number is subject to change when I actually figure out lists and painting schedules!)

I am making the game map based upon this Fresco in the Vatican.


  1. These are just a triumph Thomas. Absolutely beautiful - what a lucky punter to come away with those fleets. Especially love that little black galliot!! Looking forward to an AAR of the Lepanto game.


    1. Thanks Furt- the galliot was inspired from history, as you may have seen in the above quote. And yes, there will be lots of AAR, possibly a magazine article out of it.

  2. Magnificent! No other word will do!

  3. Oh man, you should have charged double! ;-) Outstanding work here Thomas, really looking forward to the Lepanto game :-)

  4. Thomas, these look absolutely amazing! Wonderful work there sir. Truly wonderful. I'm going to have to make sure I manage to sneak into that game if I can.

  5. This is brilliant work. A treat to look at!

  6. Blown away by the wonderful work. I have been thinking about buying a large navy or two in the future, these look fun to make and paint.

  7. Monty and Tom- Welcome to Skull and Crown- and thank you both for your kind words and encouragement. The galleys are quite fun and easy to paint, (and the flag and awning bits really make it easy!)