Saturday 8 June 2013


Some unresolved details from Osprey 'Warships of the Ancient World'.

Plate E shows some flat drawings merely 'rounded out' to look a bit 3d. The dicrotic ship shown there has the zygian oars longer than those of the thranites !

Thursday 6 June 2013

Vanguard 'Warships of the Ancient World'

At last achieved successful download from Osprey website. Perhaps due to living in 'The Rest of the World' it was more difficult than for others ?

A slim volume at 47 pages. And slim on info.

But the author tries to cover ship technology, production , use and the naval tactics and strategy of the times. It does manage to cover all this even if the evidence is thin and space limited.

A lot of the evidence for these ships is graphical , shame so little is reproduced here.
Some photos of shorescapes, nice, but some charts would have given more detail.
Some of the illustrations are very atmospheric and I quite like the artist's style. However, his technical draughtsmanship is a bit off in some pictures and this is important to draw complex wooden ships correctly and believably.
The Tyrian dicrotic warship in plate D is a confused representation, to say the least.
The graceful Minoan ships are rendered clumpy and dead in plate C.
The reconstruction of a samaina - plate H-also wierd - how could that be built ?
The explanation may come from an illustration of a rig for a square sail which is incomplete.
This lacks a hals fore sheet, so the sail will flap and lose wind.
Perhaps the author is not sure about naval architecture that makes reconstructions a bit tricky.

So a patchy book with the Osprey constraints - which is also the Osprey temptation ( anyon can write one ?) - its own worst enemy again.

But plate G is really really nice !!!

Some of the plates will allow Junior General fans to knock up some passable ships quiteeasily.

Conway's History of the Ship series cost more but deliver so much more information that for me it is only worth buying this book as a cheaper PDF. As a first step to getting interested in this subject it could be useful but it's only the plates that grab, and then only som of them , I feel. It could whet the appetite of a few more to try wargaming with paper ships ? (ok, maybe with lead too..)

Wednesday 5 June 2013

I want one for the bathtub !

Very nice oar-powered scale model bireme ramming and sinking another ship model !

And with soldiers on deck......
They write they plan a 'ramming game' -- with scale models in water this would be fantastic !


So I try and drag myself into the 21st century and get an ebook. Instead of ordering a hard copy of the new Osprey 'Warships of the Ancient World' I decide to save 50& of total price and get a pdf download.
BUT after 3 tries at different times I cannot get to buy one... Closest I got was a payment page giving price in american dollars. I await a reply from Osprey by email. Now I regret even thinking about betraying my love for paper books ! (but not for paper ships).

The book sounds like a nice one-stop summary of pre-classical shipping. Reconstructions could be useful to make card ships from instead of starting from scratch with vases and graffiti...

A review HERE is positive. Maybe one day I will get to review my own copy ?

Tuesday 4 June 2013