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28mm MoTM: Elven Longship.

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28mm Model-of-the-Month for August is the Elven Longship.

This kit will be on sale until the end of August - then "retired". If we're not totally overwhelmed, we expect to get one batch of "early order" kits shipped in mid-August and a second batch in early September.

Many people have suggested that it looks like an Egyptian or even an East-Asian craft - and it certainly has a certain Viking look to it if you build it with the alternative "Dragon Prow" that comes with the kit.

But since there is no direct historical precedent for the design, we're calling it "Elven".

The finished model is just a little short of 12 inches long and 3.3 inches wide. The kit is unpainted and comes with a bunch of extra parts that can turn into a ceremonial vessel or a weapon of war. There is a front and rear canopy - perhaps to keep the sun off of the partygoers or perhaps to protect from a fall of arrows onto the rowmen. We include a ballista that can fit into a mount in the stern or fit onto the bow. There are a couple of thrones on a dais for the Elven King and Queen - or perhaps for the Captain and his concubine. Finally, we include a deck mount into which you can insert a 1/4" dowel rod for a mast (dowel rod, not included). The roof of the rear cabin is removable so you can put figurines inside.

You'll have to find your own flower garlands - look for them in the ribbons & trim section of HobbyLobby or other craft stores.

You can built it with swappable parts so you can go from stripped down warcraft to fancy ceremonial longship in 30 seconds.

Build Instructions:

It's strongly advised that you paint all of the parts before you assemble them - it's a heck of a lot easier that way!

But for clarity, we'll show you how the kit goes together with unpainted parts:

First, locate the hull, the ribs, the cabin walls and the bow parts:

Glue the ribs and the two cabin walls into the holes in the hull:

Glue the two small riblets into the front section of the hull, then glue the two parts of the bo
w decoration together (Note that following discussions with our followers, we have added an alte
rnative prow part to the kit - choose whichever you prefer):

Then glue the bow parts into the holes at the front of the ship:
We neet the glue to set hard before going any further with the hull - so let's assemble some other parts while we wait.   Locate the three rowing benches and their legs:
Glue the legs into the holes in the bench top:
These benches fit over the ribs of the ship - you don't have to glue them if you don't want to - they make handy bits of furniture for street settings or whatever:
Locate the parts for the ceremonial thrones and dias:
Assemble the two thrones by gluing the seat between the two sides - then glue the seat back onto the base:
Glue together the three parts of the dais:

Glue the two thrones onto the dais:
In preparation for gluing the sides onto the ship, make sure you have some painter's tape (or masking tape).  It's especiall important to use a low-tack tape if you're assembling pre-painted parts:
Get a couple of strips of tape peeled off the roll before you start!  Apply plenty of glue to both ends of each rib - to the ends of the cabin walls and to the sides of the V-shaped part at the bow.   Also add plenty to the underside of the two ship sides.   Make sure you have the U-shaped "brace" part handy - but DO NOT APPLY GLUE TO IT!
Hold the two sides against the sides of the cabin with one hand - make sure they are aligned with the back of the hull floor.  Then use your free hand to wedge them tightly together with the U-shaped brace - then wrap tape around and under the hull as tightly as you can manage:
Next, squeeze the sides of the ship together as tightly as you can and wrap another strip of tape around the front end of the ship as tightly as you can:
Now, go along each rib in turn, pressing the side planking tightly against each one in turn and add another wrap of tape...gradually "mummifying" the ship in blue tape!
Finally, squeeze the bow tightly together and wrap more tape there too.
We again need to let the glue harden before going any further - and to distract you from the temptation to cut it open too soon, let's build some more parts.

Locate the parts for the ballista:
Glue together the two parts of the stand:
Glue the two sides onto the T-shaped base of the ballista:
Take the top plate...
...glue that over the top of the spikes on the ballista sides:
Insert the two throwing arms between the two plates:
Glue the two tiny rods through the holes in the ballista to keep the arms in place:
Glue the hook that pulls back the bow-string into the slot in the main frame and glue the two winding handles on either side of the back of the ballista:
Glue the round "boss" onto the top of the stand:
The stand has a subtle tilt to it - glue the body of the ballista to the stand so that the ballista points slightly upwards:
OK!  The Ballista mounts onto a deck piece that can be (optionally) set into holes in the rear deck of the ship.
Place the two supports into the holes in the deck: DO NOT GLUE THEM IN PLACE!!

Glue the three planks onto the supports: 
The ballista sits on top of those planks.  You could glue it to the planks - but you don't have to.
OK - back to the hull:

Hopefully, by now your glue is completely hardened - so we'll get brave and cut through the tape:
If you lead a good and wholesome life - your hull will emerge looking perfect!

Sadly, mine had a small gap at front and back.  You make have gaps between the ribs instead.  Don't panic - just get more glue into the areas that came loose and squish it up again with more tape:
Next remove the ballista stand and fit the rear deck on top of the cabin walls and between the sides of the cabin.  My early prototype had a bad "fit" issue here (fixed in your kit!) - it should drop neatly between the sides of the ship.  If you want, you can glue that part in place - but if you leave it loose, you can place figurines inside the cabin.
Glue the ladder to the deck and the front of the cabin.
Locate the roof supports and fit them into the deck holes - DO NOT GLUE THEM!!
Locate the roof parts:
Apply glue to the roof supports and glue the roof planks one at a time...
...one side done...
...and the other side too:
Repeat the process with the smaller roof:

Before the glue sets, double-check that the roof planking lines up nicely and meets at the peak.

Find the two curved flag poles.   You'll need to print out a couple of paper flags - download this image, or make your own:
Again, my prototype needed fixing - the holes on your deck are a little further aft than in this photo:
Next we're going to give it more of a Viking Longship look by glueing shields around the outside of the hull.  There are also two C-shaped decorative pieces which glue into holes on the rear cabin wall:
I put the smaller shields down both sides of the top and bottom decks - and the large ones up near the bow - but, hey, it's your ship!
Locate the two sections of roof decor:
Glue the long section onto the main roof:
...and the smaller section onto the stern roof piece:
With the two thrones in the prow of the ship - our ceremonial ship needs just one more thing...Oars!
To make a warship of her - lift out the roof sections and the thrones - and put the ballista up on the rear deck:
Following a couple of requests from our followers, we added a mast support to the kit in case you wish to build a sail-powered craft.  You'll have to buy your own dowel rod for the mast (and any cross-stay you might want - the mast should be 1/4" dowel (6mm or 7mm), and in my opinion, it needs to be about 8" (200mm) long.   Dowel rod can sometimes be a little under-sized - if so then you may need to add one or two wraps of adhesive tape around the base to make it fit tightly into the support bracket.   If you want a cross-stay, I'd suggest a thinner dowel and using some rough thread wrapped around mast and stay in a figure-8 wrap then smear glue over the thread to keep it in place.  For a sail, find the thinnest cloth you can that won't fray easily...or fold over the edges and apply glue to the seam.


Reader Forum: 28mm MoTM: Elven Longship.

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From: Bob "Limbolance" Sweeney  Date: 2018-09-18 09:14:16  

FINALLY, able to start catching up on my MotM kits! Having a blast!!! Obviously about a year behind though! Tried some different mods on this one - unfortunately it failed...

Tried using clear silicon to create windows in the door wall - didn’t adhere well to the laser cut “frames”, discolored and during dry brushing “grabbed” paint...ah well, experimentation sometimes fails!!! After this is done, I’m opening the BIG kit...time to get my Motte on!

Almost done...to me this was a “finaky” kit - everything had to be tight from jump street - my fault, should have used clamps at each stage! Nonetheless, she looks good enough to play on!!!

From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-09-17 18:59:02  

We will probably re-run our most popular designs again at some time in the future, and this was our most popular MoTM design so far. There will also be other ships in the future - we know how popular they are.

Please either follow our page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RenaissanceMiniatures) or create an account here to get announcements by email. We make a couple of announcements per month for each new design.

From: Smokestack  Date: 2017-09-16 17:04:56  

Hey Steve. I just discovered this. I was a backer on your Pirate Ship kickstarter.. Sorry I missed this. If it becomes available again I would take 2 as well. :) Anyway will be looking at this closely for any more ships that may get released.

From: chirine ba kal  Date: 2017-09-15 15:12:57  

The Missus and I are very sorry we missed this! If it is ever offered by anyone again, we'll take two! :)
From: aethervox  Date: 2017-09-14 19:45:23  

Crap! I just found out about these and they're gone! Are you truly never going to release these again?
From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-08-31 07:25:42  

Today is the last day for the Elven Longship kit - we'll stop taking orders at midnight, US central time tonight (Aug 31st)

From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-08-25 15:01:10  

We're down to the last week for the Elven Longship project. Get yours before Aug 31st (Thursday) - or they're gone forever!

From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-08-22 10:06:13  

Yes, that should work fine. Also mail@letsrunwithit.com

From: Randy  Date: 2017-08-22 07:05:11  

I don't see an email address anywhere to contact you directly... do I send one to your old address (mail@renaissanceminiatures.com)?
From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-08-03 09:59:37  

@warfaror: Yeah -it's a decently sized model. We don't want prices to go crazy high on Model Of The Month - and we're sticking to what we can cram into a padded envelope to keep shipping costs down (at least for US customers).

@Archon: The Pirate series La Belle/La Bete/HMS Drake/The Jane all used 1/4" main masts. The larger ships had thicker masts and the ghost ship used plywood masts (like the Junk from the East Asian series). I'm glad you like the alternate figurehead...it took some considerable "juggling" to get it all to fit within our plywood sizes and to avoid getting up to the next envelope size - but I liked the challenge!

From: Archon Shiva  Date: 2017-08-03 05:14:08  

Is 1/4" the same dowel size as your previous ship masts?

With the alternate figurehead, I don't think I see myself getting just one!

Thank you for listening to us!

From: Warfaror   Date: 2017-08-02 20:09:05  

I did not realize just how big it was from the original pictures and reading it is 12 inches long really does make it a substantial kit, thus the higher price point. I don't really have a need for boats but that has not stopped me before - still need to make my Asian junk ship.
From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-07-30 13:02:15  

I've added a photo of the new dragon 'figurehead' that is included in the kit - and also a picture of the mast bracket, with some suggestions as to how to make the mast and sail.

From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-07-27 14:28:03  

@hixont: I think we'll be able to include the fittings with which you'll be able to mount a mast - but you'll need to buy your own dowel rod to use as mast and stay, plus a sail. More details when we announce the release of the model. I like the idea of this being an Egyptian ceremonial craft - I hadn't thought of that explicitly - but now you come to mention it, I was clearly influenced by that.

The problem with making pure fantasy models is that it's hard to come up with a truly original design without stealing bits from real-world ships.

Who knows? Maybe elves paddle down rivers in cardboard boxes?

From: hixont  Date: 2017-07-27 09:26:40  

With a bit of work on the prow and cloth canopies to replace the wood ones provided these could be converted into historical fantasy ancient Egyptian river boats. Of course that means I also like the idea of being able to add a mast to the model. Of course not all Nile boats had masts so it's still good.
From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-07-24 07:52:53  

@Pseudodragon: Sorry - if you look at the photo above - you'll see that the ballista parts are wedged onto odd bits of "free space" in the bottom-right corner of one sheet of Elven Longship kit. The ballista isn't a separate kit.

We used to make a separate ballista kit (actually, a somewhat larger "siege" version of it) in our Castle Series - but to use the laser cutter efficiently, we'd wind up making maybe a hundred of them...we'd sell a half dozen and wind up with 94 ballista kits sitting on the shelf...probably forever...if it's a $5 kit, we'd sell $30 worth and have $470 sitting on the shelf!

Multiply that by the hundreds of different kits we've made over the years - and that was essentially all of our profits locked up in things that could easily take a decade to sell. So we wound up making odd one's and two's of kits. It takes as long to set up the machine to make one kit as to make 50 or 100. So onsey-twosy sales took so much of Renee's time, she couldn't make a decent wage.

Hence Model of the Month!

Every month, we make exactly the right number of kits for the number of orders, buy exactly the right number of the right sized envelopes - package them all identically and then ship ALL of them in one or two trips to the post office.

It's either that or make beer mats in the shape of Texas and sell them on Etsy!

From: Pseudodragon  Date: 2017-07-21 10:02:18  

Would love to get a half a dozen of those ballistas as a separate item if it would not be too much trouble.
From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-07-21 04:11:16  

To be clear, we're not planning to add either mast or sails into the kit...sorry, we'd love to do that - but there are limits. We're talking about adding a small mounting bracket so that you guys can buy your own dowel rod (A couple of bucks in a DIY store, some Walmarts, most craft shops) to make your own mast and sails.


Model of The Month is very much about economies of scale and NOT keeping a bazillion unsold kits in stock "just in case" someone orders one or making kits one at a time on a laser cutter that can just as easily make a dozen at a time. Kickstarters are one solution to that - but we know that it's getting increasingly hard on our backers to fork over a large amount of cash in one go - especially if our kickstarter happens to coincide with some large conference or a Dwarven Forge event - and our sales volume halves as a consequence!

MoTM is intended to be a slow, predictable, series of kits - people can budget a small amount each month to get this month's kit - and yet we get to mass-produce and ship on a scale that fits the expensive equipment we have. We can also listen to our backers and respond rapidly to any new game genre that people want to jump onto.

At the start of each month, we decide roughly what we're going to make and at roughly what price point. We choose what seems to be the most appropriate envelope size - figure out the biggest piece (or couple of pieces) of plywood that will fit into it, weigh it so we know what it'll cost to ship. Then we design a kit to fit onto that sheet!

If you look at our MoTM kits, you'll see that there is almost no space that isn't full of something! If there is spare space on the sheet, then I add a ballista, an alternate prow design, maybe a bracket for a mast...but when the sheet is full, that's that! Adding one more thing means removing some other thing...and once we've done photos and publicized them - we can't really do that.

Even the smallest increase in scope beyond that point pushes us up to the next larger shipping envelope, or causes a 30% drop in the number of kits we can cut in one run of the lasersaur. Which adds a LARGE increase to the price. We know that price directly drives our sales volume. Because the effort to designing the kit, photographing prototypes, making the build instructions are the same whether we sell 10 kits or 1000, that's the difference between staying in business or not.

So while we do make every reasonable effort to do what you guys want -

please forgive us if we can't accommodate EVERY desire!

From: Thunder  Date: 2017-07-20 15:38:32  

I think it would look best with a Junk style mast! Of course I would. :)


From: Archon Shiva  Date: 2017-07-17 20:14:51  

That's actually even better! Just fit it for the same dowel size. I think between them, the pirate ships had enough extra pieces to build a mast, as well.

I think the instructions did recommend gluing the supports, but I don't tend to glue anything that can be made modular unless it will prevent the ship from holding together.

From: SteveIsNotAdminNow  Date: 2017-07-16 07:39:02  

Hmm...interesting idea. I'll take a look at that. It would be better to include actual mast support parts so that people who didn't get our other ship models could use a length of dowel rod and make their own mast...also, I'm pretty sure the instructions for the pirate ships told you to glue the mast support to the deck piece. It's a good idea - let me think about it for a bit.
From: Archon Shiva  Date: 2017-07-14 06:29:20  

Suggestion: If you add just four tiny holes to the boat's bottom, it would allow existing customers to plug in one of the mast supports from a standard Pirates ship, turning it into a sailing ship. I think it'd look great with a mast from the HMS Drake. Leave multiple "bridges" around the holes so they don't fall out easily, and rather have to be wilfully punched out. I'm assuming one central mast would look best, but you have much better data on this, should forward and aft be a better arrangement.
From: Thunder  Date: 2017-07-08 07:43:01  

I will be ordering a few of these if I can make them compliment my two Junks ant the other assorted Asian boats. I would love a couple different sized Junks. Love them.


From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-07-06 13:15:57  

@Warfaror: You'll be pleased to know that I found a way to provide an alternate prow design - so you'll be able to build with either the "leaf" (or whatever it is!) or a dragon-head. Sadly, I couldn't find a way to make it swappable after the ship is completed...so it's one or the other. I'll post photos of the dragon design before we unlock the kit at the end of the month.

From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-07-03 12:37:02  

Our older models are in storage right now - so I can't easily get that photo for you. But for comparison, the three smaller ships (La Belle, HMS Drake and the Jane) all had hulls that were 280mm long and 78mm wide. The Elven Longship has a 219mm by 68mm hull...so it's a little smaller. The Pirate-series ships also have log bowsprits and tall masts - so they look quite a bit larger. Those three ships sold in our store for around $80 - we're trying to keep the price of the Elven Longship at under half that - so it's quite a deal.

From: Archon Shiva  Date: 2017-07-02 23:50:21  

This is a gorgeous model!

Could you add a comparison shot alongside one of the Kickstarter ships?

From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-07-02 10:29:16  

The canopy pieces are designed to be removed and replaced with the ballista - so the "stern gun mount" is already a part of the kit.

Waterline models for ships are a LOT easier than full-hull models because the curvature of the planking gets much greater underneath the ship - so we don't make full-hull models. Fortunately, not many people actually want the full hull.

From: Darkhstarr  Date: 2017-07-02 07:27:45  

Very nice design. I agree with the Asian influences. Chinese junk came to mind when I first looked at it. It would also make a nice Martian canal boat or aerial screw galley (even though it's a waterline model). The canopy would have to be lowered or replaced for a stern gun mount.

From: Steve Baker  Date: 2017-07-01 22:19:39  

Yeah - with the canopies over the deck, it definitely has an asian feel to it. I sometimes think that people's ideas for what is "Elvish" lean heavily on East Asian design ethics - which might explain where that comes from.
From: Warfaror   Date: 2017-07-01 14:59:24  

I think it would pass an Asian ceremonial boat as is, or get a dragon mast head to sell it.