Sunday, January 09, 2011

Scratchbuilding Cogs

What's a cog?  No not those, you've been watching too many episodes of the Jetsons.  Cogs were medieval warships, as ungainly as they sound.  Typically they were the simple clinker built merchant vessels planked over front and rear with raised fighting platforms.  Some were big--120 tons--some were small--30 tons--all were tubs.  Big tubs, small tubs, medium sized tubs.  They were difficult to manage in any kind of weather or rough seas.  It could take months or more simply to cross the English Channel.

In any case, after Lepanto and the acquisition of David Manley's medieval naval rules I've been trying to figure out how to acquire enough cogs to game with.  NavWar makes cogs, but they're NavWar, and without pictures to look at I'm skeptical .  Outpost miniatures makes some really nice looking cogs but at three pounds a pop and 50% shipping (!!!!) it doesn't seem feasible to put together a large fleet. Daveshoe and I were mulling this over yesterday and we discussed sizes and building materials.

Today I went to Michaels while out on my errands and picked up some bass wood. The   I purchased enough to make quite a few hulls and a fair number of castles and set to cutting the wood I'd need.  this is my prototype miniatures.  A simple tubby hull 1 1/2 inches X 3/4 inch X 1/4 inch.  I made the base for the castle 3/4" X 3/8"X 1/8" trapezoid.  I cut 1/4" very thin plasticard and cut crenelations in it to represent.  Plastic pole mast with steel wire yard.  Voila.  It probably took me an hour to make, but it would be very easy to mass produce and make eight in an hour using my Dremel tool. 

Interested in your feedback.  Considering I would like about a hundred of these, do you think they're workable?


Dave S. said...


I like the cog. I'm thinking that the aft castle should be larger than the forward castle.

I'm glad you decided to try building the cogs.


Anonymous said...

I think they'll look great. Slap some paint on sails and flags and you've got a winner.

David Sullivan said...

Cog Wars Lives! I knew you'd come around to it sooner or later. I like the idea of scratch-built cogs--even if they're not Cogswell Cogs. what are the dimensions?

Kevin said...

David, I'm going to make them in three sizes:
Large Cogs 2" X 3/4"
Medium Cogs 1 1/2" X 3/4"
Small Cogs 1" X 1/2"

I'm also going to try to add a sternpost and bowsprit. Don't know about sails or simple rigging, but neither are out of the question.

According to David Manley's rules (Daveshoe sent these out after DANG) I'd need about 50 cogs of varying size (mostly medium) and a few galleys.