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Maldin's Greyhawk

The Ships of Spelljammer

by Denis Tetreault
 Version 5.2

For those of you who remember the Spelljammer campaign products, you'll remember fondly the cut-out and fold-up ship models. These were great to use when doing ship-to-ship combat, using a sort of modified miniatures battle rules set, and came in two products. The first batch of ships came with the Spelljammer DM Screen, and included the Damselfly, Deathspider, Dragonfly, Dragonship, Elven Man-O-War, Flitter, Galleon, Hammership, Mindspider, Nautiloid, Scorpion, Shrikeship, Sidewheeler, Squidship, Tradesman, Wasp, and 3 different Beholder Tyrants. The second batch was included in the War Captain Companion's boxed set, and contained Angelship, Battle Wagon, Bat Ship, Cog, Deathspider, Dolphin and Dolphin Shuttle, Dromond, Eel Ship, Great Bombard, Lamprey, Leech, Mantis, Octopus, Smalljammer, Triop, Vipership, and Yawl. Below you'll see a photo of the entire collection of ships, minus the duplicates.

Spelljammer ship models

While the collection includes most of the common spelljammer ships, and several of the more interesting rare ships, I had always hoped that more would be forthcoming. The cancellation of the Spelljammer Campaign line of products put an end to that hope.  Recently, I had been thinking about those (and still use them, as there is still a Spelljammer component to my long-running Greyhawk campaign) and decided that if you want something done, you gotta do it yourself! So I've begun to do up my own fold-up ships to supplement these. It may take me a while, with all the other projects (gaming and non-gaming) that I  have, but here's the first installment. Check back periodically for more in the future. In this first installment, I've done modified coloring of the existing Hammership and Squidship because I needed them for my campaign (and you can never have enough of those popular ships), and created all-new fold-ups for the Ogre Mammoth and Mosquito. To maintain the proper scale with the earlier ship models, the image should be printed out at 8.2 inches by 10.2 inches (sorry, thats the way it came out). Click here or on the image below to get a higher resolution image for printing (1 mb file).

New SJ ship fold-ups 1

This is what the two new ships, the Mosquito and the Ogre Mammoth look like when they are put together. Tips: On the Mammoth, cut the slot on the vertical piece (attached to the base) from the front, and the horizontal piece from the back, to preserve the center ram. Also, when you fold the ships, match the top of the black base (closest to the ship) and not the bottom (farthest part from the ship), making sure that the opposite ship images line up perfectly.

Mosquito and Ogre Mammoth 

Here is the second installment of my new Spelljammer ship models. The Whaleship, Porcupine Ship and Skeleton Ship. To maintain the proper scale with the earlier ship models, the image should be printed out at 8.2 inches by 10.4 inches. Click here or on the image to get the high resolution image for printing (1 mb file).

New Spelljammer ships 2

And below is a photo of what the assembled Whaleship, Skeleton Ship and Porcupine Ship look like.

Assembled Whaleship, Skeleton Ship and Porcupine Ship

The third installment consists of a Bloatfly, a Barge of Ptah, and two Dwarven Citadels (I still can't believe that the latter were never included in any of the original products... I guess they assumed people would use real rocks). The Barge is my most complicated model to date. To maintain the proper scale with the earlier ship models, the image should be printed out at 8.0 inches by 10.0 inches. Click here or on the image to get the high resolution image for printing (800 kb file).

New Spelljammer ship models 3

Here is what the Dwarven Citadels, Bloatfly, and Barge of Ptah look like assembled.

Assembled Citadels, Bloatfly and Barge of Ptah models

By popular demand, my fourth installment is none other then the Vodoni fleet. Consisting of the Nightwolf scout ship, the Werewolf, and the Hunter-Killer, these were by far the most difficult to do, and involved the most work because of the nature of the original artwork in SJA4 Under the Dark Fist (look at the color fold-out and you will see the only image that I had to work with). Now you too can create a fleet of ships and stage battles in the War Between the Spheres. To maintain the proper scale with the earlier ship models, the image should be printed out at 8.0 inches by 10.0 inches. When you cut the wing for the Hunter-Killer, be sure to leave a tab between the split in the front so that you can curve the tips and glue them together. It helps if you cut a few thin wedges out so that the cardboard is easier to bend in a smooth curve. Click here or on the image to get the high resolution image for printing (650 kb file).

The Vodoni fleet

Here is how the Vodoni Werewolf, Nightwolf, and Hunter-Killer look assembled. I have to admit that they are now my favorites. I think all the hard work in Photoshop was worth it.

Assembled Vodoni models

The fifth installment of my fold-up ship models is an update of the elven Man-O-War based on the wonderful 3D models of Steven James, aka "Silverblade the Enchanter". Thanks Steve! If you haven't already, you should definitely check out his website, http://www.silverblades-suitcase.com/ where he has a lot of pretty amazing images created with 3D-rendering software. From the graphic renders Silverblade sent me, I then created this new version of the cardboard foldups, all with a devious plan in mind from the start. The sixth sheet is not a new ship, but rather the pieces required to take the new Man-O-War models and assemble an elven crown base. There are two hubs, one for a 5-fused-ship station, and one for a 7-ship station. Yes, now you can construct your own Crown of Corellon. Included with the 2 hubs are enough parts to create a variety of base styles, since it would seem likely that no two elven bases would be exactly alike. There are 4 different central towers, including one with an upper ballista deck, and another with a landing platform for small ships. There are also enough ballista towers to assemble two bases, or to place towers on both sides of the gravity plane for the ultimate instrument of elven might. As for previous sheets, they should be printed out at 8.0 inches by 10.0 inches. For the high-resolution images, click on the images below, or click here for the Man-O-War sheet, and here for the crown base pieces, each are approximately 900k.

Elven Man-O-War

Elven Crown Base

This is by far the most complicated 3D fold-up model I've made yet, and while I've got some difficult graphics to work on for some upcoming ships, I don't think it is possible to imagine a more complicated model then a fully assembled elven crown base. Below are two slightly different views of the finished construction, to help with your assembly. Note that the wings have to curve forward for the ships to fit together on a 7-ship base. Fortunately, just trimming the 90-weight cardstock with scissors results in a naturally-curved wing. Cut a slot from the bottom of the wing struts half way up, and a corresponding vertical cut in the hull (in contrast to the angled cut in the original Man-O-War model that came with the published boxed set).

Other pointers for helping in this more difficult assembly: Glue the two pairs of connecting hubs back-to-back so that they are stiff enough to keep all of the ships together, as a single sheet will not likely be adequate. For the towers, cut along the outer guide lines for each graphic pair, then fold them together along the inner guide and trim after gluing. For the central tower, glue the middle tabs together, and cut a slot in the center of the hub to receive it. However, leave the side tabs unglued, and fold them out to help support the tower vertically. For the ballista towers, just cut a vertical slot up to the base of the lowest window and slide them onto the backs of the ships at the appropriate place. Be sure to keep the cut narrow enough to fit snuggly, and not two narrow that the tower twists to one side or another (here's where it is helpful to have all of those extra towers). For placing the ships onto the hub itself, I cut slits in the hub a little further then the white guidelines show, because I didn't want to cut into the ships themselves (they'll be used on their own as well for a major battle!). I did cut a slot into the back of the ships just into the white border, so that the construction would have more stability. If you intend to make enough Man-O-Wars that you'll be leaving your base permanently assembled, then feel free to cut into both hub and ship for greater strength. You may even want to glue everything together..

After posting the latest update of this page with the new elven ships and elven base, I was asked (tongue-in-cheek) by a fellow Spelljammer enthusiast over on the Piazza boards if I could post a model of Gamaro Base. For those who don't have the the module SJS1 Goblins' Return, Gamaro Base is a scro station that was constructed from the dead shell and skeleton of a gammaroid, a giant snapping-turtle-like organism over 2,500 ft long. Well, I aim to please, so here is photo of a model that could be used for a hex-scale model (as opposed to a ship-scale model) of either Gamaro Base, or of a live gammaroid. It's not quite what he expected.

If anybody else out there has put together new Spelljammer ship models, I'd like to hear about it (my email is at the bottom of my main page).

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This page last modified on March 9, 2009