Friday, 23 July 2021

All at Sea - Let's Build a Sloop!

If you decide to start making model 1:700th age of sail ships from the Warlord Game collection of models you are likely to end up with quite a few model brigs which you can decide to simply put together as per the instructions, or if you would prefer a little more variety to your small-ship collection, decide to convert a few of them to a flush-deck ship-rigged sloop, sloop-of-war or corvette depending on your preferred terminology.

As a 'Brit', 'Pom', 'Limey' or 'Rosbif', I will tend to use the Royal Navy terminology of the period referring to a sloop or ship-sloop as opposed to the model instructions seen below referring to a brig-sloop, just so we are clear, or as the song goes: 

'you say Tomarto, I say Tomayto, let's call the whole thing off!'

The instruction sheet that comes with the lovely Warlord model brig, showing the sprue that allows the construction of two such models and illustrating why you can end up having a lot of these little ships.

Of course you could choose to wait for Warlord to release their announced new model of a sloop as recently shown on Facebook with a look at the computer designs for the upcoming model.

Two of the planned, eagerly awaited new models from Warlord illustrated recently showing left to right the new 6th rate 20-gun sloop, the 5th rate 36-38-gun frigate, currently available in the plastic range and shown for comparison, the planned 4th rate 50-gun and the 3rd rate 74-gun also available in the plastic range and shown for comparison

However even with the eventual release of this model sloop, this conversion will still allow the collector to field a flush deck variant with a complete single open deck of guns, versus the new model with quarterdeck and forecastle, quite useful if you are building a collection around the US Navy and American and British ship-sloops on the Great Lakes, that tended to have this single gun-deck layout.

This model design for the USS Wasp shows clearly the layout of a typical flush deck sloop that this conversion looks to imitate.

Having turned my attention to working on the excess of small ships I have accumulated during the work to build my larger fleets of ships of the line, I decided to add to the sloop conversions I have built previously to allow enough of these useful little ships to model specific historical encounters and cater for some of the other smaller nations such as the Dutch or to have some Early Revolutionary War French versions.

All at Sea - Early Revolutionary War French Frigate & Brig

All at Sea - Revolutionary War Batavian Dutch Frigates & Brig

My first sloop conversions

Since building those first conversions I have had queries posted to me here on the blog and other forums about precisely how these models were built and how to go about it and even the colour schemes I select for them, and so I thought I would attempt to cover off these points as I go through the process of building six sloops which will add to the models I have as outlined above.

Based on the principle that a picture is worth a thousand words, and very often a video only helps the process I have put together a short video tutorial that shows my build process for constructing the sloop from two brig hulls, adding a new mainmast and associated channels and rigging anchor points before finishing with a coat of primer.

The Bonne Citoyenne (captured 1796), a captured French corvette, as taken off at Portsmouth Dockyard prior to being fitted as a 20-gun sixth rate.

In the second post on this build I will showcase the painted and rigged models and discuss how I decide on the look of the models and my colour selection choices, with of course the usual invitation for comment and questions either here on the blog or other forums to help clarify the process and make it as easy for those who want to, to have a go.

For checking out my original basic colour choices you can follow the link to this video clip from when I first reviewed these models and my ideas for using them.

Bases & Paint Colours Used

For Rigging these models just follow the links to my three video tutorials covering standing rigging, British and American running rigging and Other (French, Spanish, other Navies) running rigging.

Standing Rigging

British Running Rigging

French/Spanish Rigging

Apologies for some shaky camera work during the preparation of the hulls and I hope you find the video useful.

Let's Build a Sloop

I have had problems linking the YouTube Video clips from the channel, and can't find a solution as yet.

If you can't see the video links then please follow the link to the JJ's Wargames YouTube Channel where 'Let's Build a Sloop' and all the rigging tutorials can be followed.

More anon 


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Leigh,
      Thanks for letting me know, it all seemed to be working on my end, but I have now confirmed there is a problem with the link to YouTube so have updated the post with a link direct to the YouTube Channel where you will find all the videos mentioned.

      Sorry for the inconvenience.


  2. All the videos work direct from the links on my PC JJ.

    Nice work as usual and a good walk through of how to do it for us amateurs.

    I prefer the small ship actions. There is no lack of aggression, despite their small size, proving the old adage "It isn't the size of the dog in the fight...."


    1. Hi Vince, thanks for the confirmation. YouTube and linking up my videos is usually seamless and unproblematic so you tend to assume everything is working as usual until someone tells you it isn’t!

      Thank you and I count myself as an amateur in the fullest sense of the meaning, in the days when people with a passion just did it for the enjoyment and fun of doing the things they cared about to the best of their ability with no thought of profit of self advancement - think if Roger Bannister breaking the one minute mile and you have the perfect amateur in mind.

      I am keen to build a personal catalogue of really interesting historical small engagements to gradually work through, in between the occasional big fleet set piece, so a broad collection of these interesting little ships with their unique set ups in guns and men will be an important addition to the collection and we can have some fun finding out how much fight there is in the seemingly little dog.