With all that in mind, here is my British fleet. Keep in mind that even with all these ships, it is still growing as I progress towards completing my Trafalgar project. The future ships will be seen on the blog as they're completed of course. Maybe in the future, I can revisit this post and get all of the family together in one place.
The obvious ships to start with are the First Rates. Of course, one of them is HMS Victory. I suspect there is a law somewhere that says every wargamer's British fleet has to have Nelson's flagship. The other one is HMS Britannia, also a 100 gunner and a near-contemporary to Victory as to when she was constructed. Victory was purchased, but I repainted the hull and did some rerigging when I rebased the ship. If you want better close-ups of Britannia, they are located in my post entitled, "The Hundredth Ship" from September of 2017. Given the number of ships in this post, I will be grouping them together in pictures as much as I can.
|Yes, the Victory is way too high out of the water. That will be fixed the next time she
is rebased. When is that? Dunno.
|Victory towing the boats was based on the Geoff Hunt painting "Victory races Temeraire
for the Enemy Line." I added those to the ship when I rebased it the first time.
First up is HMS Windsor Castle. She was an active ship, seeing service at Toulon (1793), the Battle of Genoa (1795), Calder's Action (1805), the Action of 25 September (1806) and the Dardanelles (1807). Unfortunately, it appears that Langton doesn't make this ship any more.
|One of my early efforts, so in need of a little update now.
|I did have a bit steadier hand back then.
|This is one of my older bases that were built of wood and modelling clay.
You can clearly see here what I mean about having the guns run out.
|This is a purchased ship.
Next up are the backbone of any fleet, the third rates. Since I don't have any British 80 gunners, we'll start with 74s. Officially, there were only 2 types of 74: Large and Common classes. Gamers and the historian William James though, talk about 3 types: Large, Common and Middling. The Middling 74 tends to be slightly longer than the Common (173-75 feet instead of 168-170 feet), and so could carry 2 more 18 pounder guns on the upper gun deck (30 instead of 28). Large class 74s could carry 24 pounders on the upper gun deck, but didn't always do so. The two ships below are my Large class 74s:
|The ship on the left side of both photos is purchased.
Next are the 74 Middlings. All three of these ships were purchased, but I had to reinstall the mizzenmast on the center one, so took that opportunity to repaint the hull.
The photos below are of my 74 Common class ships, which are the backbone of any British battleline, especially for the early battles. At the beginning of 1793 there were 3 x Large 74's, 4 x Middling 74's and 54 x Common 74's in the fleet, although many of these were in ordinary. By 1805 there were 24 x Large 74's, 11 x Middling 74's and 32 x Common 74's on the register, and a great many of them were in service. So, no matter what year you're looking at, you need a lot of Common class 74 gunners.
|All three of these are purchased.
The ship on the right in these photos is one of the first British 74's I built after I got back into Age of Sail gaming; maybe even the first. One thing is for sure, though: I built it before I had a lot of my reference works, as the picture below will demonstrate:
|See if you can spot the error. It's REALLY easy.
The third rates wrap up with my 64 gun ships. I have two of these, and a French 64 that often stands in when needed. The French 64 was pictured in those fleet photos, so this will be just the two British ones.
|Once again, the one on the left is purchased.
|The right hand ship is HMS Agamemnon, which was featured in the
post entitled, "HMS Agamemnon; Nelson's Favorite..." back in July of 2017.
The last ship of the line type is another peculiarity of the British Navy and that's the Fourth Rate. These are the 50 gun ships that had no place in the line of battle, or even fighting another ship of the line (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Leander_(1780) ). They were useful as squadron flagships in peacetime and as patrol vessels in wartime, which is why there were 19 in service in 1793, and 14 as late as 1812.
|She's cute enough, but do the bigger ships pick on her when no one's looking?
Now that the ships of the line are out of the way, we come to the frigates. There's not as many of them as there are ships of the line so they will each get their own beauty shot. Just like the other ships, I will start with the largest and work my way down.
|A purchased 40 gun frigate.
|A 38 gunner, the backbone of the frigate fleet by 1813.
|A purchased 36. There were 43 of this type on the list in 1805.
|Another 36. This ship was the star of those "What Is My Time Worth" posts.
|A purchased 32. Most of my frigates are from a collection I bought when I
started AoS gaming again in 2000 or 2001.
|A purchased 28 gun frigate.
To close out the post, here are a couple of ships that I suspect get no love at all from most gamers. Those are the transports. In real life, these were 44 gun two deckers like HMS Serapis that were converted for transport and troopship duties. Although there were 21 of them in 1793, they were practically extinct by 1815. If you want to run early war scenarios in places like the Caribbean though, you're going to need some. I have two, and could need more depending on the scenario.
|As you can see, this one still tries to look at least a little like a warship.
|This one, however, isn't even trying anymore.
So there, at last, is my British fleet. I think the next big post after this will be the various unrated warships that can be used for any side. After that, future ships will show up as individual posts. Once the Trafalgar project is finished, perhaps I will do a series of posts about each of the fleets involved for that, with pictures of all those ships together.