Sunday, December 1, 2013

22 Gun Xebec - GHQ 1:1200

Here we have GHQ's model of a 22 gun xebec in 1:1200. Xebecs are, in my opinion, a really neat looking type of vessel, and in the Napoleonic era and earlier they were very common throughout the Mediterranean region. They were especially favored by the Barbary Coast pirates, as they were extremely fast, maneuverable craft. The young American navy, seeing it's first wartime deployment as a truly national navy, would have seen a lot of these vessels during the Barbary Coast War. They were lightly built and sat low in the water, so they were not line of battle ships, and they were not suited to the rougher seas of the open ocean, but they could easily run down slow merchantmen or escape from more heavily built warships.

There were several different types of rigs a xebec might employ, and this model displays a complete lateen rig - all of the sails are triangular and attach to a yard that crosses the mast at an acute angle. Another type of rig was the polacre, which combined lateen and square sails.

This model has been raised up very slightly on plastic sheeting, had it's bowsprit and stern boom replaced with brass rod, and is rigged with monofilament nylon thread. It sits on a Langton Miniatures sea base, below which is a layer of plastic and a magnetic sheet (for ease of transport).

From this view you can see an interesting aspect of the rig, which is that the fore and mizzen mast are raked forward and backward respectively. Only the main mast is perpendicular to the deck.

Here is a size comparison shot showing the xebec next to GHQ's 32 gun frigate HMS Cleopatra.