Piratical 2017 recap

January 6, 2018

This year has been a weird one hobby-wise. On one hand, I must have painted less than 20 miniatures all year, which is very few even by my modest output standards. On the other hand, I’ve been fairly prolific with terrain – building a whole new pirate board for example. To showcase what I’ve done this year, I set up most of my pirate stuff on my new board for a major photo shoot. To be honest, this is what I’m mostly in the hobby for: I game very little, so the pirate project is more of a dollhouse thing than something for frequent gaming use. I think this goes back to old Citadel Journals, where dioramas with tens of minis were used to display the variety of miniatures available. Another, more recent example and a great inspiration has been the pirate gallery on War in 15mm.

The table has many items that I haven’t featured in dedicated posts. If there’s something that catches your eye, just let me know in the comments and I’ll do a separate post. There will be one on the table itself, too!

My pirates have become by far my most enduring and consistent project of the past years. I’ve stuck almost exclusively to them since 2015, and there’s been no drop in enthusiasm. On the contrary, I’m more and more interested in the 18th century (and there has been a bit of an overspill into 17th and 19th century too) and I’ve for example amassed quite the collection of books on the subject. Might be a post or two in those, too.

You can click on any photo for a larger version, opening in a new tab.

The governor and his family survey the town

A wealthy merchant with his bodyguard in tow – a highwayman lurks behind the turn

One of the governor’s footmen keeps an eye on the pirates making landfall

A scoundrel with a heart or an assassin?

A boatload of pirates lands on the jetty

Trouble might be brewing

It’s Jean Blanc – the Unkillable Frenchman!

The obeah woman and her maroons keep watch

A pirate is about to get hanged – is this what drew the Frenchman?

“Nasty business, hanging.”

The captain makes sure the king’s law is carried out

A few pirates got off with an easier sentence

On Tyburn Island, trade carries on

…even in the shadow of the gallows

Speaking of trade, the governor’s men have discovered a stash in a beach cave

A footman keeps watch as the cave is investigated

At least the weather’s nice

…unless you’re working

…let alone using the outhouse

Barrett’s dead drunk in the pigsty again

“Need a hand wi’ ‘im Peg?”

Old Rogers’ cart is a landmark by now

Whatever happens on the island, the Queen knows about it

So, that’s where I’m at now! Feedback is most welcome. To all new readers and regulars, happy 2018 and thanks for stopping by!





  1. Very impressive setup, well done sir!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Quite proud of it if I may say so.


  2. Fantastic table, very inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks captain! Work will continue.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic! The wet sand levels on the beach are the cats pajamas. I dont think I’ve ever seen anyone do that before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Greg! I looked at a lot of reference photos to get the look right, so happy that it apparently works 🙂


  4. Looks fantastic. I didn’t even notice the wet sand till I saw the comment above. It’s funny how the eye picks out what’s wrong rather than what is right. How did you go about achieving the effect?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! To be honest, it’s simply two bands of colour painted on. Glad to hear it works!


  5. Impressive work especially on the beach ! 😲

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Quite a lovely table, and a fantastic photoshoot. Lord knows I dollhouse my miniatures a lot more than I actually game with them, so I can appreciate this. I love your market stalls, by the way. I need to build me a few of those. Anyway . . . well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the kind words! The dollhouse aspect is more and more dominant each year. I guess it stems from the fact that no matter how fun games can get, they still can’t get things “just right” the same way a static setup and your imagination can.


      • Even when I do manage to play a game I usually go back through after to shoot the pictures. I love the randomness that pops up with other players; the crazy. But it’s hard to light things just right, or add in the special effects, or what have you.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Man this is just fantastic. I don’t get many games in either so I mostly enjoy the converting and then painting and then the photography. If I could make one small respectful suggestion? You could print or even paint your own backgrounds or backdrops. Just so when you take photos the background is still in theme. It could be as simple as some sky or a basic landscape or something. I really love all your work here. The fruit stall, the fruit trees out front of the Governors place are excellent touches. Love the outhouse haha. Didn’t you build that yourself? Also how did you do the the beach? ALSO, could you take some aerial shots so I can see the whole set up please? ALSO haha, how are you going with the ships? Will there be space on the board for ship battles etc? Love it mate. Love it!!!!!! Can’t wait to see it develop even more and you’ve inspired me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the nice words and the suggestions ork! I’ve been toying with the photography backdrop idea for ages, really need to figure that one out. I’ve been thinking a green sheet and some Photoshop magic might do the trick – it’s definitely on the cards and I was thinking about it while shooting this batch.

      The outhouse is an Ainsty piece, the fruit stalls are scratchbuilt. The water on the beach is toilet paper soaked in pva and water and covered with layers of pva and gloss varnish. The sand is just cheap foamed plastic (the camping mattress/bench warmer kind) painted up.

      I’ll most likely buy a separate mat for sea battles – the couple of ships I have are so big that I’d need a massive table to use them alongside the buildings etc. I’ve been thinking of getting a few smaller ships though, just to sit at anchor at the beach. I’ll post some aerial shots in the hopefully near future!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Beautiful table!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Marc!


  9. That is a very nice set-up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks Warburton!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I can see why you like your pirates! The whole set up looks great, with plenty going on!
    Really like it,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks John, much appreciated! It’s my all time favourite project by far.


  11. It’s looks fantastic, the sea/beach especially. How big is the whole table?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It’s 120cm x 120cm, so a decent size!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Superb mate – I absolutely adore your pirate terrain, lovely to see it all collected in one post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Alex, glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s a fantastic layout that you have there, well fitting of your lovely model collection. Perhaps you could put together a series of narrative vignettes, taking the sort of theme that you’ve used here combined with “battle report” narrative. You could even do it as an episodic thing? Play games against yourself so they become a form of solo game/campaign with a not-entirely-certain narrative?

    Just some thoughts that could be used to show off both the collection and the scenery in different formats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an awesome idea. As a matter of fact, I ran a game for friends a few days back, and they were very much into the idea of a mini campaign. These two ideas could be easily combined, I think!


      • Awesome. Something to look forward to seeing in 2018!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Great work, man. The War in 15mm photos have inspired me for years and now your photos will be added to my Gallery of inspiration, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, that’s high praise indeed!


  15. Wow Mikko. Just gorgeous. I hope you get to game on this work of art?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mark! We’ve already had a game on it and it was great fun. I hope there will be more – although I quite like just looking at it.

      Liked by 1 person

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