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Virtual pirate tourism

February 8, 2016

Something completely different today. As I’m building my pirate town, I’m constantly looking for inspiration. One of my main sources so far has been the game Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. While part of a long series of Assassin’s Creed games, it’s an immensely entertaining pirate romp, with lavishly detailed environments. They have taken plenty of artistic liberties I’m sure, but it’s lovely how the 18th century Caribbean comes to life in the game. I picked up the game for 5€ in a Steam sale, and have clocked 46 hours so far – not bad as I originally only bought it for inspiration.

The detailed environments serve as more than inspiration, too. As it’s all 3D, you can run around and examine all the wonderful cityscapes and lonely islands in peace. As the game features plenty of parkour activity, the environments are filled with interesting ledges, posts, balconies, barrels and the like. I went on a virtual tourist trip today to gather some pictures for inspiration, and figured I’d share these with you as well! I’ve also got an art book for the game, and it’s great as well. Then again, I’m a sucker for inspiration material…

So, this sun-bleached but colourful grubbiness is basically what I’m trying to achieve with my pirate town project. You can click on any picture for a larger version.

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Note: The graphics shown are screenshots from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, © Ubisoft. I assume this falls under “fair use”, but will of course take the pictures down on request.

 

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Finished stable

February 6, 2016

I’ve finished painting the Warbases stable shown in a previous post. I added a small crate and a barrel from Reaper’s Bones 2 set, kindly donated by my friend Joonas, plus some sacks from Ainsty. In the painting I went for a coloured, but severely weather-beaten look. The idea was that this used to be a nice little green stable with blue door frames back when this was still a respectable little town somewhere in the Caribbean. Now, with the addition of pirates and the lack of both horses and upkeep, it’s showing its age and is mostly used as a storage space.

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For a long time during the painting I wasn’t really happy with it, but to my great surprise it really came together in the end, especially with the basing. In its finished state, I quite like it! It has also in my mind confirmed that the quite simple and plain Warbases stuff can be made into very nice terrain pieces without too much work.

Comments appreciated! Also, because it would be crazy not to squeeze in a stable-related pun, here’s a great song from the 90s:

 

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A cart

February 1, 2016

As part of the scatter terrain for my pirate town, I just finished a wrecked cart by Ainsty:

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The piece has plenty of things I love. It’s nicely detailed, crisply cast, takes paint something wonderful and I got it to look fairly nice with near minimal effort. I painted the base to match the pirate board and glued in some tufts of grass to make it look like it has been stuck in the ground for a while.

This was a quick little piece but makes for a good addition to my table. The inside of the cart is big enough to place goods or a miniature there, so that’s an added bonus. At £5, this is a bargain, and I got it for even less during Ainsty’s latest sale. Go on, get one! You won’t regret it.

Comments welcome as always!

 

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Stable building

January 25, 2016

Any pirate town needs buildings, as it would hardly be a town otherwise. I picked up a bunch of building blanks from Warbases to give my pirates places to live in. The Warbases building blanks are just that, blanks. They’re dead cheap, but there’s very little detailing or texturing. I ordered them as a sort of test: if I could make them look nice without too much work, it would be a great investment. If not, it wouldn’t be too expensive. To be exact, the stable block in this post isn’t part of the building blanks. There’s a bit more texturing and detail, but it’s still quite a simple build and at £6 very inexpensive.

I wasn’t really happy with the outside texturing, so I went to work with good old coffee stirrers. After covering all the walls, I used the excellent roofing slate strips from Warbases to add detail to the roof. As I wanted something extra, I hacked a hole into the roof (it was fairly easy as it’s quite thin MDF) before gluing it down and attached a few stirrers inside. When attaching the roofing strips I made sure to scatter some tiles around the hole, and the collapsed end result looks quite nice in my opinion.

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I used cut-up matchsticks to build the door frames, and glued in the doors that came with the set. I carved the detail a bit deeper than the laser-cut originals to make sure it shows up when painted. The support beams in the front didn’t attach to the roof neatly enough to my taste, so I added some matchsticks to make them a little more sturdy.

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The baseplate came with the kit, and I simply flocked it. Once the whole thing has been painted, I’ll add some detail next to walls such as barrels and meal bags. Looking to slap some paint on today, so we’ll soon see how it turns out! This also means that I might need to buy some more minis to go with it. A smith, maybe?

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2016 kick-off!

January 7, 2016

Without further ado, six days into the new year and I’ve finished my first painted things. Granted, they’re simple ones but you have to start somewhere!

Palm trees

I bought two varieties of plastic palm tree from vendor “everestmodel” on eBay. They were cheap and definitely look nice enough. I based them on 40 and 50 mm bases, gave the trunks a few drybrush layers and painted the bases to match my pirate board. While they were very quick jobs, I’m really happy with them and they are very effective in creating that Caribbean pirate vibe. Sorry for the harsh lighting in the photos – because of the height of the taller variety, it wasn’t easy squeezing them into frame. I’m still pondering if I should give the leaves some paint as well, but at the moment they look nice enough. That one brown peg at the top of the tallest tree needs to be tidied up, though! As you can see from the photo, they really are quite tall and the thicker palm trees really have some heft to them.

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Market stall and goods

This is one of the two market stalls that I scratchbuilt earlier, painted using really cheap euro store acrylics. I applied a dark brown undercoat, then used a dabbing sponge to apply a patchy coat of lighter brown. After that it was three layers of drybrushed highlights in grey and white, and I think I managed to pull off the sun- and salt-bleached look quite well! The market goods are from Ainsty Castings, and I painted in an East India Company logo on the bags to suggest they might not be the most honestly acquired goods (and also because I’d just watched Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and the EIC was fresh in my mind). The cloth worked quite nicely too, so all in all I’m very happy with this piece. I didn’t attach the goods to the stall as this allows me to use them elsewhere if needed. Funnily enough I didn’t do any measuring when building the piece, and the trade goods fit the stall only by happy accident. I’m not complaining.

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With these done and some other pieces half finished but well on their way, 2016 is looking very good for my pirate town so far. Comments welcome as always!

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Looking back on 2015

December 31, 2015

Photo by Anna Langova, public domain

There’s six hours of 2015 still left here in Finland, so just enough time for a quick look back on the year miniature-wise.

I had yet another lovely trip to Salute, and this one set the pace for my mini projects for the year. I bought a pack of Foundry pirates, and off I went!

As you’ve no doubt noticed, this year has been pirates, pirates, pirates. Building a ship, building a town, building a terrain board and occasionally even painting a pirate. Most of the things I’ve done this year have related to pirates, like the civilians (see here and here) that I painted for our Halloween game but will be used in pirate gaming as well.

My pirate fever doesn’t seem to be going away, so expect plenty of pirate-y fun next year as well. While the blog updates have been much more sporadic than in the blog’s heyday, rest assured that it’s not going anywhere. Dissertation work, sappy love stuff, video games, role-playing games and the like can be real distractors sometimes – although luckily fun ones.

What’s up for 2016? In no particular order:

  • Painting up pirates, 18th century civilians, navy types and colonial soldiers
  • Building a second terrain board as well as a few different extra pieces
  • Modifying and painting a bunch of houses
  • Basing and touching up loads of palm trees
  • Building and painting plenty of scatter terrain
  • Most likely sneaking a few RPG miniatures in as well
  • Salute 2016 as well as visiting plenty of awesome sights and people in the UK and Ireland
  • All the things I forgot

I’m actually quite happy with the year seen through hobby glasses. I could’ve painted more minis (I count 33 but there may be more), but that’s true for pretty much every year. I actually managed to finish quite a few things and keep a project steadily going. Certainly looking forward to next year!

As a final thing, all the best to all you regular readers (both old and new) as well as random wanderers. I always enjoy reading your feedback and it’s a major part of making this whole blog thing an enjoyable experience. Hope to see you in the future as well.

Long story short, happy new year 2016 everyone!

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Christmas time

December 23, 2015

It’s that time of the year again, dear readers. Have a great, relaxing Christmas (or other holiday of your choice)!

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