Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login


Submitted on
October 23, 2010
Image Size
532 KB


4,562 (1 today)
97 (who?)
Flight of the Dragon by JanBoruta Flight of the Dragon by JanBoruta
August 1572. The first galleon built for the royal Polish navy and for the king Sigismund II Augustus himself, the Dragon, sets sail for its maiden voyage on the - for the moment - calm waters of the Bay of Gdańsk...


The image is purely fictional, as the ship, in reality, was never finished and - in addition - we don't know it's exact shape. In Polish history the ship is almost legendary because of the scarce knowledge available. However, it's nice to imagine, what if... ? :)

Done in Photoshop in about 7-8 hours, today.

Tome :)
Add a Comment:
Przbezara Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013
Actually I believe this ship did sail, although probably in a less awesome fashion and in a less complete state. As I recall the ship was never finished because Royal funding was cut short after the king's death. The interrex after that made it even worse. When the Commonwealth was finally stable after Bátory was elected King, he was you know kicking Ivan's ass, he and the nobility didn't see a reason to fund a navy (Sweden wasn't their enemy yet). The ship was finally scuttled in 1587.

P.S it was built in Elbląg not Gdańsk. (but i could be wrong)
Inf1nityKZX Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Real nice ;)
The beak and forecastle look that of a carrack..
but atm I feel like the differences are blurred at that era. Though the stern is always the most prominent feature of a galleon!
JanBoruta Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Student General Artist
You are right about the era. The carracks weren't used in the navies of western and southern European countries which have adopted the galleon all the way (with Sweden as and some German merchant city-states as honorary northern European members of this galleon-club), but it wasn't the luxury Poland needed at the time. As Poland had only one big port (Gdańsk/Danzig), it didn't have a true navy until Swedish kings came around in early 1600's.

This Polish galleon was never launched, so I had to make up certain features. I blended the look of the model of "Smok" (here: [link] ) with the looks of one of my favourite carracks, Portuguese "Santa Catarina do Monte Sinai" ( [link] ). I think those are both unusual and nice designs. :)

Thanks for kind words! :)
Inf1nityKZX Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome! Santa Catarina is also one of my fav carracks. I believe that picture has been on my hard drive for decades xD
I think that galleons were eventually favored over carracks though, so greatships like the Grace Dieu became much less popular around the time of Victorian galleons.
But the later Swedish "Vasa" wasn't much of a success and seeing that its only armed like a fourth rate, Sweden didn't have that much of a real navy.
And indeed the "Smok" is a very unusual design. The forecastle looks a bit.. impractical O.o
Is it a galleon or carrack then? The stern is quite unusual for a carrack, though ships like the Ark Royal I believe have narrow sterns such as those I think it's more of a fluyt-looking design though I'm not sure that class of ship was around at that time.
All that stuff aside,
no problem! =D
Look forward to seeing more of your work! ;)
JanBoruta Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Student General Artist
The "Wasa" wasn't a success because it was poorly designed, destined to sink in the bay just outstide Stockholm. Its armament wasn't bad at all - bear in mind that 64 heavy guns is, while not the largest number, still A LOT for 1626. Such broadside volley would be the heaviest in the world at the time (48 24-pounder guns? I take it any time). The reason it was a failure was their placement and the ship's shallow keel which didn't provide the necessary balance for such amount of artillery. :(

About the "Smok" - it's a galleon of Venitian design, therefore it's looks are unfamilliar. We were probably both raised in the world of Spanish, well-proportioned, bulky treasure galleons or the behemoths that accompanied the Armada. There was a plethora of other designs, though I have yet to find some Ottoman galleons (they called them "kalyon", which became the name for all future ships of the line) :)
Inf1nityKZX Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeh, I knew about the design flaws. I think it's something about not enough ballast =P and it wasn't positioned correctly.
Mostly all I knew was it flipped over at first, but you may (or may not, actually) be surprised how often I get into big ship talks like this. I borrowed a big ship book from the library; I saw some pictures of it. Had a beautiful stern.. but I think I could see the problem with the hull design =/
Which I guess is what you meant.
But the Sovereign of the Seas was launched about 10 years after, and it was armed with a full first-rate broadside of 100 guns. It's predecessor also had around 50, I think. I believe greatships also had a large number of (light) cannons. Not to say 60 wasn't impressive.. but Sweden didn't have the wealth of major empires like Britain. They could barely afford one of such ship, and didn't have a very powerful navy in later centuries either. So I guess it's a lot, but it doesn't do much to bring their navy up to the level of major European empires.
I would say I'm not trying to bash on them but I guess it sounds like I am =(

Yeah, I find the Spanish design to be the most familiar, as with most people I guess. I kinda prefer that style too..
I had a chat with someone who would love all your work ;) about the difference between galleons and carracks in the 1500s. The black ship in Shogun 2 is stated to be a galleon, but it has very strong resemblances to the Grace Dieu, so I insist it's a carrack. But then again, with all the different design styles I might be wrong.
JanBoruta Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Student General Artist
The European ship in Shogun 2 (if there is only one, I didn't see another) is definitely a Grand Carrack of Spanish, but in particular of Portuguese design (very tall forecastle is a give-away). The English capital ships of the time were much more well-proportioned, with their fore- and sterncastles bulkier and mroe symmetrical.

"Sovereign" was the exception. It was preceded by the "Royal Prince", though, this is the 55-gun ship you're talking about, and it was the "Prince" that resembled something of a modern ship-of-the-line. It had less curved hull than older galleons (as seen here [link] ), even less than the renowned "La Couronne", which was half-galleon. half-sotl. The "Sovereign" was a significant development though, as it carried the mentioned 100 guns for the first time in history and had the royal sails, again as the first ever.

[ WALL OF TEXT ] (ye be warned!) :P

I disagree with the statement that Sweden didn't have a powerful navy. It had - for the needs of the Baltic. Sweden built capital warships (large caravels, galleons) from early 16th century onwards ([link] ; [link] - built in Lubeck, but in Swedish navy), and their development of "Vasa" was a major endeavour, something which neither Poland-Lithuania, nor Russia or Denmark could afford at the time. Swedish warships dominated the Baltic in the 17th century, their galleons shipping troops and supplies for armies fighting in Central Europe in the Thirty Years' War and against Denmark, Russia and Poland for the dominium maris Baltici. The change came when the Russia modernized under Peter I and began to construct a navy of its own. Sweden succumbed to apathy after a loss in the Great Northern War, although it managed to maintain a strong naval presence with the usage of modern frigates and ships of the line, they even had a few second rates. But again, this was sufficient for the Baltic, where the main adversary was, in 16th-17th century Poland and Denmark, in 18th century - Russia.
Inf1nityKZX Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Well I do believe the La Couronne was heavily armed as well, having 68 guns. It has general galleon characteristics, only the gun count qualifies for SOTL imo. Lately I've been focusing on the history of America and the Caribbean. Forgive me if I sound a bit unknowledgable at times; reading a 1000 or so page history book with about 8px font takes a while xD (though I have watched many documentaries)
Well, I'd consider the major powers of Europe to be Britain, France, and Spain primarily, though I guess countries like the Netherlands and such were also quite powerful (they ran the Dutch West India Trading Company and I think they made heavy use of fluyts.) I wouldn't exactly consider Sweden as top-tier, if that's the right usage of the phrase, though I will admit that they had at least an adequite navy, having second rates. (Again, I'm focusing more on American history atm.)
The friend I mentioned is in fact Swedish, by the way. He's good at designing things, particularly ships and steampunk, perhaps you should meet him sometime.
I do believe Shogun 2's European ships are Portugese. There's also atleast 3 of them.
JanBoruta Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2011  Student General Artist
About La Couronne - agreed, the gun count was really significant for the moment the ship was build, and therefore it has such a splendid renown till today :)

You consider the major European powers in general and I cannot disagree with you that these were England (16-17cent)/United Kingdom (18th cent), France and Spain. The United Provinces of the Netherlands had the largest merchant fleet in the 16th and 17th centuries (a lot of fluyts and heavier indiamen indeed), at least until the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars. At one moment in history the Dutch were more powerful on sea than the English, and this was a direct threat to English sea trade. It wasn't a major land power, though, but a true cash cow, not to underestimate. But in particular</b>, Sweden was a major power in the Baltic, as it had no interest whatsoever in the affairs of Western Europe. And in the Baltic it was a superpower, both land and naval. :)
(1 Reply)
MjP-70 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2011
This looks really nice!
Add a Comment: