Renaissance Galleys -
Warships of the Mediterranean 1500-1700 - Scale 1:1200

About the Series:
At Langton Miniatures, we have based this series on those galleys and their support vessels that would have been in use from the time when cannon first appeared on warships. This was around 1500, when the Christian nations were trying, for the most part unsuccessfully, to contain the growing power of Turkey who for fifty years, had been extending its influence in the Mediterranean.

Although we have based our models on the period when guns were common on galleys, those wishing to use certain models for earlier conflicts, may do so simply by trimming off any gun barrels. Thus, for example, Chioggia (1378-81), Constantinople (1453) or many other large and small scale naval and amphibious battles of the earlier period may be re-fought.

The series will expand to include models of some fortifications and buildings, so that the many sieges of coastal cities that took place over the period may also be re-enacte.
"Rod Langton's Series of Naval Wargame Rules" will be extended to include rules for this period. Work has already begun and the base sizes (see above) conform with these rules.

About the Models:
With both the modeller and wargamer in mind, we have made our Renaissance range as versatile as possible. The design allows more variety, both in types of models and in the way individual models may be customised.

We have supplied all oar powered galleys and support vessels with set and furled sails. Further, with the larger models, items such as fo'castles, fo'castle rails, waist rails and poop deck awning supports are separate so that the modeller may choose which to use to make one model distinctive to another of the same class. Also, again on the larger war galleys, we supply a choice of poop deck awning supports to allow for more customisation. On many of the galleys, these supports have a Turkish crescent which may be easily removed if a Christian galley is required.

A feature of vessels of this period, were the very decorative poop deck awnings and armings (protective screens covering waist and fo'castle rails, giving the galley's company some protection from missile fire). To this end,we also offer a variety of colour printed flags, awnings and armings.

With all of the above variants, many distinctive models can be made from a single type of kit.

Historical Background:
From the earliest times, the galley was the preferred fighting vessel of the Mediterranean. All the countries in the area controlled large fleets of these lean predatory vessels. Their speed also endeared them to pirates, who used them to harrass shipping and coastal communities. These raids however, were not confined to the Mediterranean for, on occasion, the coasts of Devon and even Ireland were subjected to raids and whole communities sold into slavery on the North African coast.

Pirates often sold their services to major powers and took part in some of the huge actions that occurred over the period as one side or the other attempted to gain control of the sea and its trade routes.

It wasn't until towards the end of the 16th century that the supremacy of the galley was challenged. This was due to the rigs of the sailing ships becoming more sophisticated, coupled with their ability to carry broadside guns.

Although the galley was the dominant warship for millennia on the relatively calm waters of the Mediterranean, it suffered one crucial defect. Its major asset - speed - required a long, lean, fast hull, crammed with oarsmen who needed to be fed and watered regularly. However, a narrow, fast hull meant there was little room for food and more partiuclarly, water. This forced the galley fleets to operate close to a large fortified, friendly harbour or to be supported by a convoy of slow moving sailing ships. As there were never sufficient harbours large enough to accommodate a fleet and the sailing support ships were slow and subject to the vagaries of the wind, large galley operations were often restricted in their scope. Galleys were also very vulnerable to rough weather, so their season of operation was also confined to the warmer months of the year.

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