Roman Seas Corbita

After the successful game at Historicon using Eric Hotz soon to be released Roman Seas rules, I’m definitely interested in playing some more games.  My collection is pretty limited at this time, since the scenario I have run before is set in 289 AD, by which time the Roman fleets were almost entirely smaller bireme Liburnians.  So I’ve embarked on a ship building program to expand the repertoire a little for future games.  One of the scenarios in the rulebook is a convoy escort and I’m doing a number of merchant vessels for that game.  The first one out of the shipyards is this Corbita, a Roman grain ship.

The corbita is part of the Roman Seas Merchant Ship set, which also includes some smaller merchant ships, large and small coastal traders, and large and small rowed merchant ships.

The model went together pretty smoothly and I picked up on a few tricks that will make it easier to build other similar merchants in the set.  I also figured out the best way to deal with the white edges that result from cutting out the ship pieces.  I had previously tried markers, pencils, and paint with unsatisfactory results, but this time tried painting the edge with paint thinned down to the stain painting consistency (about 1:1 or 1:2 paint:water).  This allowed the edges to be colored, but was thin enough not to obscure lines and detail if it got over the edge a little.

Since this was a sailing ship, I wanted to add a little simple rigging;  just enough to look good without getting in the way of placing troops on the decks.  After scouring the interwebz, I found a few drawings showing the rigging of Roman era ships.  Assuming the drawings are accurate, little has changed in 2000 years in how you rig a simple mast.  I decided to add forestays, backstays and some shrouds.  I put these in using dark thread, but will try some lighter thread on the next ship.  The finished product looks pretty good and the deck is still accessible for placing deck crews and marines on board.

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5 responses to “Roman Seas Corbita”

  1. Bill says :

    Brian, that is a nice ship model. I played in the gaem at Historicon and I agree that it was a very good game. I was the one that won the grand prize, so that made it even better! Have you ever posted anything about how to make the bases for the ships?

  2. Brian says :


    Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the game at Hcon. As for the bases, I don’t think I wrote about them anytime before. The bases are 1/8″ hardboard/MDF. I like this stuff for basing the ships because it adds a nice bit of heft to the otherwise lightweight paper boats and it also doesn’t warp when you paint it. The main issue with using this material for basing is that it’s very dense and so you cannot cut it with a knife, etc. I have a table saw and band saw that I use 🙂 The only other minor issue is that one side of the sheet is smooth (which is the top on my ships) while the other is textured. The textured side tends to stick to the felt, but I recently hit on the idea of covering the bottoms with a self-adhesive contact paper, which makes the bottoms slick enough to slide the bases across the felt.

  3. Alex says :

    That is SO nice looking with the rigging. I wish these had been available when I was at A&M, I’d have turned on the professors in the nautical program (they would love the merchant ships).

  4. Brian says :

    Yeah, a little rigging definitely goes a long way in making them look good. It hampers access to the deck a little bit, but since these ships aren’t carrying a lot of troops, it should play fine.

  5. Mik says :

    Nothing much to add here but an enthusiastic, “Dang! That ship looks good!” comment…

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