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From the painting desk #78 – A ship of sorts

August 15, 2021

During the summer holidays, I mostly worked on a new(ish) side project – undead pirates. Having painted a bunch of crewmen, that I’m sure to post at some point during the next few years, I realized that obviously my crew needs a ship. None of the offerings on the market really struck a chord though, as they were a little too over the top for me. Cool as ships built of huge bones are, I was more in search of a traditional Flying Dutchman look, or something resembling the Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean. In other words, a pretty regular ship, but tattered, like a zombie of a ship. In fact, the search for such a ship still continues!

During my search, I came across something that I had eyed in the past, a wonderfully crazy model of a small ship carried on back of a huge monstrous crab, produced by Print Your Monsters. The model is pretty much a definition of “over the top”, but who cares, I wanted it! I bought the STL files for it, printed it out and got to work.

Now, in all honesty, resin 3d prints are shit challenging in terms of multi-part kits. Resin printing can be surprisingly inaccurate, which leads to all sorts of alignment issues and so on. Very much so with this pretty complex kit as well. Out came some Green Putty though, and I had a decent looking completed model. There’s still a small visible gap that I missed, but on a model like this, I don’t mind all that much. I decided to save resin and printed the base on my FDM printer, using thinned down putty to mostly eliminate visible layer lines on the rocks.

Painting a large model like this is pretty daunting. It’s a centrepiece, so has to look pretty nice, but on the other hand there’s a ton of stuff to paint. The undead theme helped here! I’ve painted my zombies and the like pretty weathered, dark, and muted, so went for it here as well. I settled on a dark green and fleshy purple combination, and I think it works pretty well! The underside of the crab, not really all that visible, has a nasty, pale, pink-white look. The model was very much a drybrush/Contrast paint/wash affair, cutting down on time and resulting in exactly the look I wanted. It also helped hide some rough putty work!

Click for a larger version

The model was bedecked with skulls, which posed a narrative challenge: were these actual skulls or decorations? I settled for painting the skulls on the ship a weathered bronze colour, while the skulls on the shell I painted as bone. They pop nicely, making the model more interesting. The crab’s limbs have a lot of flat coral, which I painted in muted yellows and reds, giving them very pale edges as I think that’s a very recognizable look!

Click for a larger version

For the base, I went with my usual look for my nautical undead, black decorative sand with tea leaves and pizza seasoning. As it’s a large base, in addition to the sculpted-on detail I added some shipwreck-y planks and barrel halves from Renedra, and a brass model ship cannon barrel that I had kicking about. I had stuck a metal pin on the highest rock to support the model – otherwise only connected to the base by the small tips of the legs – and mostly hid that with some suitably underwater looking vegetation. As with my other undead, the idea here is of a kind of otherworldly sea bottom that they carry with them. Of course the black bases also provide a striking contrast with the bright sandy bases of my pirates and civilians, and are generic enough.

The banner was the thing I finished last. I sort of wanted some sort of cool pirate flag design on it, but after a single try, I realized that my freehand skills were not up to it. On a straight hanging flag maybe, but with the folds and the flag billowing to one side…nope. I decided to go for a simple black flag, which I think looks menacing enough.

Click for a larger version

The monstrous ship actually only has space for four miniatures, but I don’t really mind. Rather than a proper ship, this is more a command vessel, likely for an undead pirate lord going “MWHAHAHAHAHAA!” While I’d love to show it off in full, the model is a nightmare to photograph, but hopefully the pictures at least give an idea of it – I hope to post some more in the future! I posed a Black Scorpion skeleton pirate and some Pariah Miniatures zombies on the model for a bit of added fun.

With this thing finally finished, I want something a lot less work-intensive. While it’s fun to do a big piece every now and then, I’m in no rush to start the next one!

23 comments

  1. I rarely use this word but that is awesome indeed! 🙂 I love it! I’d imagine just holding it for painting would be a challenge! Worth mentioning again that it’s awesome!

    Liked by 3 people


    • Thanks John! I was soooo afraid of dropping it, especially closer to finishing it, but luckily it’s still intact (knock on wood). Definitely stressful 😀

      Liked by 2 people


  2. That’s really nice Mikko, in a fever dream sort of way. The side on shot shows some nice bits of visual flair that I didn’t see before too.

    It’s nice to paint a model like this without an immediate gaming requirement for it, and work out a way to fit it in to some games in future.

    Liked by 3 people


    • Thanks Paul, the fever dream description is really apt. It also has a sort of old school Warhammer madness kind of vibe, where you wouldn’t actually have stats for something like that but would nevertheless want to put it on the table.

      Liked by 3 people


  3. Wow, some fantastic work there Mikko! The painting and modelling are both top notch!

    Liked by 3 people


    • Thanks Dave! Glad to hear all that work didn’t go to waste, and of course it was a great canvas to paint on 🙂

      Liked by 3 people


  4. This is very cool!

    Liked by 2 people


    • Thanks! It is a super cool piece, and was pretty fun to paint 🙂

      Liked by 3 people


  5. I love a big centrepiece model like that.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    Liked by 3 people


    • Thanks Pete! Now to find space for it…

      Liked by 3 people


  6. Very impressive. Not sure what you are going to use it for but it looks way cool. Warmahordes Cryx have loads of undead pirate type fantasy models and this would fit well with those style wise anyway.

    Liked by 2 people


    • Thanks Mellis, I’ll look into it! I don’t know what I’ll use it for myself either. I rarely play anything, so mostly it’s just there for my imagination to play around with 😀

      Liked by 1 person


  7. That’s fantastic, I can just imagine it rising up from the depths and onto land as panicking defenders rush to man the barricades. 

    Liked by 2 people


    • Thanks Wudu! It is a wonderfully evocative piece, and has a cool otherworldly horror vibe to it. In other words, perfect for my undead pirates!

      Liked by 2 people


  8. Absolutely brilliant man. Some of your best work. I love it

    Liked by 2 people


    • Thanks for the kind words Luke! It’s a great kit.

      Liked by 2 people


  9. […] From the painting desk #78 – A ship of sorts — Dawn of the Lead […]

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  10. A piece de resistance, for sure Mikko. Just stunning build and even more stunning paint job.

    Liked by 1 person


    • Thanks Mark! I hope to set it up with some more undead for a bit of a diorama 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


  11. The scale of this piece is impressive and I love the colors you chose too. It really looks spooky as a result. If the undead don’t scare people, the rest of this monstrosity surely will! Excellent work and I agree with what others have said that this is among your best projects. I look forward to seeing what you tackle next!

    Liked by 1 person


    • Thanks Kuribo! Really nice getting feedback like this after putting in a fair bit of work 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


  12. Bloody brilliant mate 👍👍

    Liked by 1 person


    • Much appreciated Alex!

      Liked by 1 person



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