Sunday, 10 May 2015

Sea Patrol - Tsolyáni style!

Khmer Galley

Close-up of the prow

 Side view, to show scale

As some of you may already know, I have a side range called the "Garden of Kama", which is a sort of fantasy India and SE Asia setting. The galley shown above was originally commissioned as part of that range along with a slightly smaller war canoe. Both are historical Khmer vessels based upon the wall carvings at Angkor Wat and other Khmer palaces. That project is moving ahead slowly with some of the basic Khmer infantry already done and others in progress.

The boats had progressed as far as the basic forms but then stalled. The historical vessels had highly decorated prows and sterns: typically they had ornate Naga heads at the prow and, predictably,  tails at the stern. The lower part of the bows had Makara heads, complete with protruding tusks which may have served as rams. The intent is to get the boats made so that they have modular prows, sterns and bodies allowing for as much variation as possible. 

The galleys are 12" long and have 20 oarsmen, 10 men down each side. There is a seating platform piece which is not shown in the photo. There will be a single steersman with a steering oar over the starboard side. And then there will be a fighting crew. The oarsmen are protected by wicker screens.

The war canoes are smaller, only 8" long, and have about 16 paddlers, or thereabouts, plus a steersman same as the galley.

In the pictures above one of our newest sculptors has cut the prow off one of the basic galleys. A decorative collar will be added to the hull just below the join. A Naga head prow will be sculpted to slot into place. The Baron - in the form of one of his master figures - has graciously deigned to stand in to show the scale. Afterwards he will be heading off to get a nice new mold. :-)

I'm showing you this here because I am going to get a Tsolyáni version of the prow done as well so that the galley can serve as a river and coastal patrol vessel. :-)


  1. Nice! Does any culture on Tekumel use outriggered canoes? I'm considering a naval war game for the Hari Ragat line, but I don't know yet of anyone who makes usable figures for it.

  2. The basic Khmer figures might be suitable as they will be clad only in loincloths, or some of them will anyway. Or they might serve as blanks to get suitable figures converted from... :-)

    As far as outriggered canoes on Tekumel, I don't know. I don't recall a reference but even so, Tekumel is a big place and the sourcebook can't cover everything!

  3. Dariel - have you seen this post?

    The cut down galleys and canoes might prove useful in making Hari Ragat war vessels - yes?

    1. Yes I did! The hull designs are very similar, they just need outriggers. And if there are bigger ones, outriggers and a top deck can be added to turn them into Karakoa! How did the customizable prows/sterns idea go?

      Basic loinclothed figures will also be good, just need to modify the heads to show them wearing a more Malay style headcloth. Howard, I'd really appreciate it if we could continue discussion via email!

  4. Wow!!! Very cool!!! I can feel the money oozing out of my pockets as we speak... :)

    Re outriggers, Phil never really dealt with the topic; he normally deferred to Dave Arneson's expertise on the subject. We did run into lots of folks with this kind of boat, over the years, and I am sure if we'd been smart enough to ask we'd have been told that a number of them had outriggers. Being the naive folks we were, a canoe was a canoe was a canoe...

    1. :-D Chirine, you may be very interested to check this out ... I've not been able to contact the guy, he didn't reply to my PM, but he's a Filipino based on your side of the Pacific. Check it out, it's a HUGE 3D-printed Karakoa!

  5. Update: Ted Visaya has replied and is positive on getting his karakoa model out into wargaming. Working out the details. Woo hoo!

  6. Agreed - this is very cool! Is he thinking of offering it commercially, or as a custom on-demand item?