Sunday, November 23, 2008


Prior to the 19th Century (and even during that century), everything that went long distances went mostly by ship. Supplies for trade, for war, and passengers were all carried across the seas in ships. And that meant that there was another occupation that relied on ships: piracy. Pirates came in two primary categories. The first were "legal" pirate that had letters of marque from nations that authorized them to attack enemy ships and keep the spoil. The second were of the variety that answered only to ship's captain.

In the hey-day of pirates, ships had to be fast yet with a shallow draft. They needed to be able to hid in coves and go into reefs to get away from pursuers. Yet they also needed to be able to hold fighting men and loot. Some of the more popular types of ship were made to do just these things. Here are the five main types of ship favored by pirates.

Schooners. Beautiful and elegant, these were among the fastest ships. Clippers, which came later, were modified schooners. Schooners had such a shallow draft that they could out run their targets and the effectively hide almost anywhere. Schooners were especially used in the Atlantic and the Caribbean after the Americas were colonized. They did come with a drawback: with such a shallow draft, the hold could not hold as much booty.

Sloops. During the late 1600s, these ships were extremely popular. They had shallow draft (but not so shallow as a schooner) and was very fast. It was also extremely maneuverable. It was easy for a sloop to get away from a warship because it was fast, light, and could make sudden moves.

Galleys. The Barbary corsairs favored galleys as their pirate ships. This ship was long and slender. It was fast and could hold a fair amount of spoil. The famous Captain Kidd had a galley called the Adventure built for him in 1695.

Brigantines. These ships are larger than sloops or schooners. They were ideal for holding more guns and fighters, making them more suitable for sea battles than many other types of pirate ship. These ships were popular in the Mediterranean, where trade had flourished for thousands of years, the loot was grand, and usually better protected.
Junks. In the Far East, these were popular pirate vessels. Junks have rudders with adjustable heights, which add to their maneuverability. A wide, flat-bottom design made junks perfect for moving with speed, and for fast movement in different directions, while full of treasure.

Model Worship

Building a model warship can lead to a fulfilling lifelong hobby. Although it may be a challenging endeavor, the finished product will probably be well worth all the painstaking effort. Here is a beginner's guide to building a model warship. The best way for a beginner to build a model warship is to purchase a kit and build the model out of the box. Once the model warship is built, you can add your own minor details from scratch, using pipes, platforms, domes, lighting, and whatever else your imagination dreams up. The best way to decide on which details to add is to look at an actual picture of your warship, which can be found in history books or downloaded from the internet. You can then mount the model on a base, creating a waterline which depicts movements like wakes and ocean waves.

Your first step in building a model warship is deciding which type of warship you'd like to build. You can build a modern warship, such as an aircraft carrier, or an ancient warship, such as the ships the Vikings used. At, you can find various ideas for model warships, including battleships and battle cruisers, guided missile cruisers, destroyers, frigates, submarines, transports and liners, amphibious support ships and more.

At, you can find numerous links to helpful sites and retail stores that offer model warship kits. The kit you purchase will include instructions on how to build the model warship and what additional materials you'll need. You will probably require a special glue, paints and specific tools, depending on which model is being built. You will also want to add your own details, as mentioned above. The sky is the limit on additional materials you can use to make your model warship more authentic.

The most common materials used to build model warships include wood, plastic, metal, and paper. If you are skilled and cautious, you can carve a wooden warship from a single block of wood. The metal used to build model warships is typically cast lead or other alloys. Steel, sheet tin and aluminum may be used for adding specific details.
More than anything else, building a model warship requires patience. If you decide to purchase a kit, be sure to find the kit that's right for you. You'll be spending a lot of time with it. You can find model warship kit reviews at, including photographs of all materials that come in selected kits. Enjoy your new hobby.