Friday, January 6, 2012

Homemade Naval Wargaming Flats

Here's something I experimented with a while back. Some may recall the earlier post here about the Spenkuch toy flats, as seen in the example of the title image above. The problem is the range is limited, or it's probably more accurate to say, limited in what's left of it to be obtained today. 

My idea was to try my hand at making my own.  There are a couple of ways to go about it, one is freehand such as I did with this torpedo boat.

Or, if it's too much work to sketch something, copying an image isn't a bad way to go either. In this case, my inspiration was Jane's 1898.  This first edition of his long running naval annual works nicely as the book features Jane's excellent drawings, soon to be replaced by photos in subsequent editions. However, as all my Jane's are Arco reprints, the drawings actually hold up better than the grainy period photos.

I scanned the French pre-dread Jaureguiberry, also flipped it and printed out both images to copy the ship as seen from either side.  Next I glued the paper to a basswood backing, created a base and using the outline of the photo copy, painted colors on the ship and the surrounding sea.


  1. Hi Steve,

    Absolutely fantastic! I was toying with the idea of the 1898 Janes but this has clinched it! I never thought of doing this (although I did toy with some MS Paint drawn generic ships to go on blocks)and the end result looks stunning.

    Very well done sir and thanks for the inspiration!

    All the best,


    PS I emailed you from work today with some bumpf re the BMC/Minifigs ship saga.

  2. Steve

    These are both brilliant and beautiful! I am impressed


  3. Thanks for the very postive comments, guys.


  4. Fascinating.

    I always wanted an army of flats after reading D Featherstone's books, but never considered a naval option.

  5. Thanks, Dave & Gavin.

    The ship flats can be done quite cheaply. I suppose the drawback for naval gaming is the ships in 2D while the fleets maneuver through 360 degrees. The illusion holds up better in land gaming where you battle from one side of the table to the other.