Ainsty Merchantman – Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done a review, although that is largely because I’ve been spending money on producing my game and not buying other peoples stuff (although the urge is still there) but a recent show proved too much of a temptation. I’ve been wanting to pick up a nice 28mm Galleon for some time to use for games like Frostgrave and Wolsung (I’m planning to use it for demo games of my new system) but the general cost of postage has always put me off as most of them are weighty lumps of resin. Of all the models I’ve found (ignoring the wooden jigsaw or kids toy varieties) the one I’ve always been drawn to in the Ainsty Castings – Merchantman. There are in fact three ships available from Ainsty but the Merchantman has always appealed to me in terms of cost, deck space for figures and storage size (although it’s still huge). Luckily as I picked it up at a show I managed to save myself any postage so the price tag just about hit at the top of my budget for the day.

So What Do I Get?

The Merchantman is a mixture of resin, wood and metal. The resin hull is a solid lump weighing in at over 3lbs, with the deck hatch cover being the only separate piece. The detailing on this is excellent and I can see very little need to clean up anything before it gets primed (it will get a couple of good washes to degrease it first though).

Next up are the masts, these are made of nice study doweling. The ship doesn’t come with any sails, yards or rigging so you will have to make these yourself. In fact these look a little short to me so I’ll probably add a platform and upper mast section to each of them (I have no idea what all the bits of a ships masts and sails are called, Internet here I come 🙂 ). I’m also still undecided whether to make the masts removable and forgo any rigging or have them fixed and at least partially rigged, might even get clever and do both (no idea how yet but I might need magnets, smoke and mirrors). Whatever I choose to do it’s still an impressive model and worth spending time on.


As well as the main ship there is a weighty bag of extras to allow you to add cannons, anchors and other details to the model (funny but it doesn’t have a ships wheel but I’ve ordered one off the internet from a model boat company).  The detailing on these is very good and they will really help to add to the overall look of the finished vessel.


As you would expect from a 28mm Galleon (all be it a small one) this is a big model. As it stands it measures 5½” wide, 18″ long and 12″ high with the default masts in place. With any modification I make to the masts it should add a good few inches to that (where am I going to put this? 🙁 ).

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

This model is an absolute thumbs up. If you want something for that historical or pirate themed game that is really going to look the part then this is for you. For what you get the price is excellent (especially if you can avoid postage) and all you need do is find the time to do it justice on the painting.

Score Comment
Overall Quality: 7/10 You will need to add detail to the masts but overall excellent
Strength: 7/10 Despite being solid this could be delicate and it’s heavy so handle with care
Detail: 7/10 Apart from the masts and no wheel very good
Usability: 8/10 A definite for any Pirate or Middle Ages gamer
Value for Money: 9/10 Excellent value for money
Overall: 8/10 Try and buy it from a show to save postage

Just to show you what can be done with this beast here is a painted example from Ainsty’s web site. If mine turns out half as good as this I’ll be very happy.

Picture by Ainsty Castings

About Jarec

Long term Wargamer and dice hugger. My preferences tend towards Fantasy and Sci-Fi but I have a strong interest in the WWII and Vietnam gaming eras.
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