Saturday, 21 August 2021

All at Sea - Let's Build a Sloop, Part Two

US Sloop of War Wasp v HM Brig-Sloop Frolic - Richard Willis

In the first post in this series I attached a video tutorial on how exactly to go about creating a flush-deck ship-sloop from the hulls and masts of two Black Seas model brigs, see link below if you missed it previously.

In this second post I have showcased the first three of my six conversions to illustrate how you might model them and some colour schemes recreating typical vessels here from the Royal Navy, US Navy and the French navy pre 1795.

My first three sloop conversions, British, Revolutionary French and American versions

For my British Royal Navy sloop I used the flush deck sixth rate Cyrus class sloop HMS Levant built in 1813 and captured by USS Constitution on the 20th February 1815, only to be retaken by a British squadron on the 11th of March after chasing the Constitution off Porto Praya.

Hull Plan for the 20-gun Cyrus class sloop, HMS Levant 1813 - Royal Museums Greenwich

For the look of HMS Levant I decided to go with a typical yellow-ochre chequerboard scheme with similarly coloured gun carriages and bulwarks.

HMS Levant as depicted by Florian Richter in Helion's Revenge in the Name of Honour by Nick Kaiser, as she might have looked on 20th February 1815 during her unfortunate encounter with USS Constitution.

With these six builds my intention is to end up with two sloops for each of my major nations, Britain, France and Spain, and one for the Americans, Dutch and Revolutionary War French, so the next up was a suitably attired US sloop of war, loosely modelled on the 22-gun USS Wasp.

The main inspiration for this scheme came from Florian Richter’s illustration below, and I decided to give my sloop-of-war typical apple-green bulwarks and red carriages with the white work seen on the bowsprit, bow and stern quarters, but with a useful disguise of a yellow-ochre gun strake to allow her to come across as a British man-o-war when operating under false colours.

The USS Sloop of War Wasp as depicted by Florian Richter in Helion's Revenge in the Name of Honour by Nick Kaiser, as she might have looked on 28th June 1814 during her encounter with HM Brig-Sloop Reindeer

In addition my Wasp look-alike can also serve equally well as a Great Lakes vessel when my collection will allow.

USS Wasp in action with HM Brig Reindeer June 1814 - John F. Clymer

Finally my French Revolutionary squadron gets a useful reinforcement of a 20-gun corvette loosely based on the Bonne Citoyenne as seen below depicted in British service soon after her capture in the Bay of Biscay in 1796.

My Revolutionary War French frigate and brig to be joined by my new corvette.

A beautiful rendition of a French corvette of a slightly later period than my model by the great marine-artist Antoine Roux

I decided to use the darker sail set typical of my merchantmen to allow this model to give the suggestion of being a typical French privateer of the period as well as a regular man-o-war.

The former French corvette, La Bonne Citoyenne, under the command of Sir Sydney Smith seen here in Constantinople 1799 - After John Thomas Serres 
The 20-gun French corvette seen here in British service was captured in the Bay of Biscay in 1796 and her look here with her white lower hull served as inspiration for my Revolutionary War French sloop

You can have a bit of fun messing around with these conversions and so, to add some more variety, I gave my Bonne Citoyenne a small figurehead left over from another model and mounted a boat amidships instead of on stern davits.

In the next post in this series I will show you my late war Spanish and French versions together with my Batavian-Dutch sloop.

Sources consulted:

Next up: Mr Steve and I have been out on our battlefield walking adventures, following up on our visit to the Battle of Landsdown, last year, fought in July 1643 between Generals and friends, Hopton and Waller, with their rematch a week later at the Battle of Roundway Down, or should that be 'Runaway Down'?


  1. Beautiful ships as always. Have just spend several days working on Revolutionary French naval ensigns - all on inserts so I can swap them out when moving to other dates. Also they rotate/swivel hence my question. Some of your pendants seem to indicate rather different wind directions compared to the ensigns at the stern? Or is that a trick of perspective?

    1. Hi Andrew,
      Thank you and that sounds like an interesting idea.

      With regards to the ensigns and pennants, I model their shapes with the thought of the wind coming at them from the best possible angle, in this case the starboard or right quarter, and also allowing for the effects of height differential affecting wind velocity at close to the sea or eighty plus odd feet above it and the effect of sails disrupting the flow.

      Thus the pennants will tend to be streaming out to the port side forward and the ensigns with less velocity rippling along the inner side of the spanker suggesting they would also be streaming out to the port side if the spanker wasn’t robbing them of the full effect of the wind pattern.

      As to perspective, the pictures are in the eye of the beholder I guess, so it would be hard for me to comment.

      I hope that helps explain the look I go for.


    2. Good to hear about the thinking behind your flags/pennants/ensigns. I'd also forgotten about the (Coriolis) shift in wind direction with height so that was a good prompt. Although from the Southern Hemisphere I'd doubtless get it wrong!?
      With galleys from the Lepanto era, I did consciously try to have the wind from behind (starboard quarter) for the Ottomans and from ahead for the Christian Allies (port/larboard quarter).
      Thanks again for the inspirational effort you put into this blog.
      Regards, Andrew