Historic Ship Models

Ship model - Arabian Chebec


Ship model Arabian Chebec

Origin of the chebecs

This is a model of an 18th century Arabian chebec. Chebecs were originally Arab constructions that were famous for their speed and maneuverability. They were primarily fast, light sailing warships, but in calms could also be rowed by means of oars through smaller ports in the bulwarks between each two adjacent guns.  They are thought to have originated in Algeria, and were used by corsairs of the Maghreb from the beginning of the 17th century. The chebecs proved very useful as fast raiders, despatch boats and merchant ships. 

The Barbary States of that time were to a large extent autonomous outposts of the Ottoman Empire and attacked the ships of the merchant fleets of those nations, which unlike England and France did not have strong navies. This was true for the young US navy in the 1790er years. After 1793 hardly a ship of the extensive US merchant fleet could be seen in the Mediterranean. From 1801 to 1805 the US navy was engaged in the fight with the Barbary Deys of Tripoli, Tunisia and Morocco. In 1803 the US lost the frigate Philadelphia, which ran aground before the port of Tripoli when pursuing a corsair and was taken as prize.

With their pronounced slim and hydrodynamically advantageous hulls the chebecs belonged to the fastest and most agile ships of the Mediterranean in 17. to 19. century. As crew were 300 - 400 men on board, the armament of 16 - 24 cannons.

Frederik Henrik af Chapman described a 50 m long Algerian chebec in his "Architectura Navalis Mercatoria", Plate LVIII, No. 17 (published in Stockholm in 1768, see literature list). This ship model as well as the ship's boat were built according to the drawings of Chapman.

Chebec model ship, photos, description and dimensions

Please take your time to have a good look at the set of photos. There are 47 photos in groups: several views of the entire ship model, several views on the deck, of the rigging, of the hull, and some very close views of details.

If you click on a photo you will get that photo in high resolution. Only these high resolution photographs show how much work and handicraft ability were put in the model. (If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer or Firefox, press F11 to minimize navigation bars and have a larger screen with the photos.)

This excellent model of an Arabian chebec is 1 : 50 scale. Length is 97 cm, width 25 cm, height 79 cm.

This model has been already sold. The pictures and the data are shown in the gallery of the ship models sold only to let enthusiasts and model makers enjoy the photos and maybe get ideas or some guidance, if someone builds such a model by himself.