From the painting desk #65 – The Kraken Arms

July 22, 2019

Every pirate town needs a tavern, obviously. While I originally bought a Warbases modular building for this very purpose, it was when I came across a Citadel Lake-town house from the dreadful Hobbit films that I knew I’d found my tavern.

It’s a lovely piece of plastic kit that can be assembled in a couple of different configurations. I put it together to minimize the fantasy/medieval/Tudor aspects to keep it in line with the rest of my pirate buildings. In addition to the building itself, there are four pieces of jetty, a larger jetty platform for the building to sit on and an outhouse. There’s also a small rowboat that I haven’t painted yet.

My paintjob for both the jetty pieces and the building followed my usual formula, with a heavy reliance on washes and drybrushing. I went with a muted blue for the tavern itself with green for the door and window frames and some yellow curtains to add a splash of colour. I made the outhouse a very worn green. As you might notice, I couldn’t be bothered to shoot the tavern from every angle, but rather just rotated the building to show its different sides. Click on any photo for a larger view.

A shot of the full kit, showing the modularity

The kit is full of nice detail like this

An aerial view of the tavern

Wouldn’t swim nearby

Brighten up your tavern with some fresh mustard yellow curtains!

There was one part of the painting process that I had been dreading for a while: freehanding the tavern sign. While I’m happy with my painting skills when it comes to miniatures, I consider myself to be somewhat rubbish when it comes to freehanding anything more complicated than very simple glyphs or the like. Still, I wanted a tavern sign matching the tavern’s name – dubbed The Kraken Arms by this point – so it was time to grit my teeth and freehand an octopus. Quite surprisingly, it turned out pretty nice! In fact, nice enough for me to duplicate it on the other side of the sign as well. The sides are not identical, but very much passable. Did you know, by the way, that octopi do not in fact have tentacles, but arms? See, punny and scientifically correct.

Behold the mighty Kraken with its fairly cute little button eyes

Obviously you can’t have a tavern without people to run it. I had plenty of  potential customers in the form of grog-thirsty pirates, but an innkeeper was needed. I had luckily picked up a suitable mini (along with his wife) from Black Cat Bases some time back, so it was time to get them painted. I had a suitable Front Rank miniature lined up as well, so I decided to finish him too. I also asked Emmi to pick a mini for me to paint and she happened to pick out one from Black Tree Design’s Pirates of Treasure Island line that was very well suited to the surroundings so I’ll show him in this post while I’m at it.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

This lot was really fun to paint! I’m a big fan of Black Cat Bases’ large, cartoonish style as well as Front Rank’s clean and simple elegance. The Black Tree Design pirate – the first from their Kickstarter that I’ve painted – took paint very nicely too. I love models like this with a limited number of elements, common in historical miniatures I think. A lot of fantasy stuff tends to be drowned in hundreds of buckles, straps, pouches, bags, daggers, more buckles and the like, and they get pushed back in the painting queue. Considering my backlog and slow painting speed, that is a long, long queue.

The innkeeper, wife and old pirate are obvious, but what do you think about the tubby man with the pewter tankard? Wealthy patron or greedy landlord?

I had a good time painting this lot, so I’m happy to enter them into Azazel’s Jewel of July community challenge! I need to do this kind of thematic thing more often, I think.


  1. Nicely done mate – I’ve had my eye on those Laketown houses too, they do look really good! That tubby guy with tankard is definitely the landlord, and I bet he’s a scheming miserly sod as well! Great stuff 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Alex! I definitely recommend those houses, they’re lovely kits. I do like the landlord interpretation…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s very good, and the shithouse is the cheery on top. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cheers Phil! It’s a cheery cherry.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bugger that should be cherry…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That is definitely the sort of tavern pirates need! Very, very nice and the sign is spot on! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks John, much appreciated!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Fantastic innkeeper, looks villainous enough to keep other pirates antics to a dull roar. I really like how your blue building still manages to look like wood is creeping through some weathering paint.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cheers Dave, that’s great to hear as it’s exactly the look I was going for!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Exxxxxxxxcellent man! I love the colours you’ve gone with. I’ve got the town kit in my cupboard for my own pirate project and now, after seeing yours, I’m even more excited for it. The Kraken Arms is a great name for a tavern and you talk your skills down man, the freehand is awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much IRO, glad to be of inspiration! In all honesty, that’s probably the only freehand piece in 20+ years of painting that I’m happy with! I never really learned to draw or paint on flat surfaces, so freehanding has always sort of been a non-viable option, but maybe, just maybe…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. […] From the painting desk #65 – The Kraken Arms @ Dawn of the Lead – Gorgeous.  Just, like, amazing.  This is such a nice piece of scenery.  I hadn’t seen the kit before and was surprised to learn that it was from Games Workshop.  The blue wood is really cool and the whole scene is just so pretty.  Another article where you really just need to click through and take a look. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Everything here looks great. The innfolk are all very characterful, and regardless of whether he’s the Landlord or a Wealthy customer, that model does look a right bastard!
    The kit though… like IRO, you’re making me want to bust out my own and actually get it done. Sadly, the weather here is pretty crappy right now, and not al all condusive to painting or spraying. When Spring rolls around, though…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh – and the freehand on the sign kicks arse! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Agree with all above Mikko, and he close ups show really nice work on a very nice kit. The freehand stuff is very well done. As for the guy with the tankard, corrupt tax collector!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Mark! Tax collector…hmm, not bad!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That is a great job. The sign and name are fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Can’t have a name without a pun 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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