Archive for the ‘18th century’ Category

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From the painting desk #51 – Night watchman

May 19, 2017

Another painted mini, I’m on a roll! This time it’s another civilian, a night watchman from Blue Moon that I bought at Salute. I absolutely love the sculpt, as it has bags of character and great facial features. Additionally the model was one of those that pretty much paints itself and I feel like a produced a nice paintjob with very little work.

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The model just really sparked my imagination. With his fairly dim lantern and suspicious expression, he’s the guy just about to be taken out after hearing a suspicious sound. In my head I’ve dubbed him Jenkins, for some reason. He’ll be a useful type to have around, whether it’s looking for smugglers, hunting vampires or expecting a pirate raid.

Continuing my efforts to improve my painting, I again paid special attention to the blending, and I think this is some of my smoothest work yet. After much deliberation I even painted some light OSL (object source lighting) effects on the cuff and sleeve of the lantern-carrying arm. Even those turned out nice. So, fun happy times all around!

This was this year’s eighth painted miniature.

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From the painting desk #50 – The Doctor

May 12, 2017

My 50th “From the painting desk” entry is another pirate – so no huge departure from what I’ve been doing for the past years. I was thinking of doing something special for the 50th post in the series (namely, featuring a dragon I painted recently), but life intervened so here we are!

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It’s a privateer from Black Scorpion. There’s really not much difference between a privateer and a pirate (and many swung between the two), so he’s a lovely fit. I love the model’s posing and general look, as he gives off a great stone-cold killer vibe. I’m planning to branch out into highwaymen at some point, and he’ll fit right in.

Again, I kept the palette toned down and gave the base the “pirate tufts” instead of the flowery ones used on civilians and soldiers. I’m not sure if it shows, but I used the model to practice blending. While I’m happy enough with my level of painting skill, I’ve not noticed much progress in the past years. With this in mind, I’ve begun to consciously learn new stuff – starting from something as elementary as blending. I’m quite happy with the result, and it feels nice to level up my painting a little. Work on this will continue!

My pirates will be taking on Paul’s samurai soon, so I’m currently painting up more pirates with muskets to teach him a lesson. As for the pirate’s name, he has spectacles. It’s obvious he’s a doctor, rather than a dubious marksman.

I think this is miniature #7 of the year, counting the dragon. I’m quite happy with my output here in Dublin so far, so this might actually be a fairly productive painting year!

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From the painting desk #49 – The Gentle Giant

May 8, 2017

When I was little, I was super into pro wrestling. Plenty of superstars stuck in my mind, and quite literally one of the biggest was the late, great André the Giant. While he was a pro wrestling superstar, many also know him from his role as Fezzik in the film Princess Bride. When I saw that Antediluvian Miniatures was releasing a pack of pirates with some very familiar character, I didn’t hesitate to pick them up. It’s great to be able to sort of pay tribute to a childhood hero.

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It’s a lovely, lovely sculpt and a great likeness. In keeping with the subject matter, he stands head and shoulders over regular 28mm minis. I kept the palette very simple and muted to suggest an unassuming personality, and I think the end result is pretty fitting. The base colour for the pants is Reaper Miniatures’ Master Series HD Rusty Red, and the reason I’m mentioning it is because it’s an awesome paint. Plenty of pigment, great coverage and it’s a lovely shade of…well, rusty red.

In my Port George narrative, Big André is the town’s heavy lifter and odd job man, breaking up fights as a tavern bouncer, hauling crates aboard ships and carrying logwood. While both the various pirate captains and the Port George well-to-do have tried to recruit him as a bodyguard, Big André prefers a modest life of peaceful propriety.

We’re settling in Dublin, and I’ve finally set up the limited painting gear I brought along. Note the street-credible water pot I made from a food tin!

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Salute 2017 part 1

April 26, 2017

It’s that time of the year again! Salute 2017 is now behind me, and I’m sitting at an AirBnb in Dublin – the city I’ll be spending the next three months in. As I noticed I haven’t posted in a long while (and the blog is at its slowest in terms of views since January 2010), I figured it’s about time for a post-Salute post. This post will focus on what I bought, I’ll make another one with photos from the show itself. If you can’t wait for the show photos, I suggest you hop on over to this blog for example.

Salute was fun as usual! I spent time with old friends and made new ones. I was especially hanging around the Random Platypus games, which were great fun. If you’re not on the forum yet, you should be.

My Salute haul was quite reasonable, for a given value of reasonable.

Random Platypus dice

Cute Random Platypus dice that I bought to support the forum and because they’re cute random platypus dice.

Plastic Banner Saga miniatures

Plastic miniatures from the Banner Saga boardgame that I was kindly given by Ian of Fenris Games, who I talked into Banner Saga. They’re surprisingly nice miniatures, and should be a nice change from my usual 18th century fare, speaking of which…

© Blue Moon Manufacturing

© Blue Moon Manufacturing

The Duelists and the Duelists booster pack from Blue Moon Manufacturing. I’ve been eyeing these for ages so I grabbed them when I had the chance. Lovely assortment of 18th century civilians here, and really characterful sculpts.

© Wargames Foundry

Balthazar’s Marauders by Foundry was a purchase inspired by three things: my reading up on slavery, visiting the brilliant London, Sugar & Slavery exhibition at the London Docklands museum and my long-standing need to add maroons to my pirate project. Differing from the picture, the pack actually had eight individual miniatures instead of six. They are lovely, lovely sculpts and will give me a great chance to work on different skin tones.

© Wargames Foundry

Three miniatures from this Gun crew by Foundry, that were given to me in the Random Platypus pre-Salute meet-up, as well as a bag of cannon!

© Hasslefree Miniatures

This Random Platypus from Hasslefree Miniatures, that I received as a gift. He’s brilliant, isn’t he?

Sailor and two native miniatures

Three unknown miniatures given to me by Phil of Slug Industries. They’ll find service in my pirate project obviously. Does anyone know where they’re from?

© David Wood

A full Political Parody Party from Dave of Dear Tony Blair. Love these foul little creatures!

North Star pirates

I had lost hope in finding these North Star pirates, but was given them as a gift by Andy from Ainsty Castings. I was super, super happy to have my hands on these.

I got the latest two Hounds of the Dagsterville from Jon who was working the Ainsty stand. They’ll be running around the streets of Port George soonish.

28mm bunny miniatures

And last but not least, these adorable Bunnies from Bad Squiddo Games. I bought them as a gift, purely on their cuteness factor.

Looking back at that list, I was given a lot of miniatures. Either everyone sees me as being really poor, or I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends in this hobby. I’d like to think the latter is the case.

 

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Visualising

April 4, 2017

The pirate book thing is slowly but happily becoming reality. Now, one of the most important things in this project for me is the opportunity to turn imaginary characters and places into something a little more concrete. Sure, vague concepts of characters exist, as do miniatures representing said characters. However, there is something very special in not only writing up a character, but having that piece of fiction turned into a picture.

With this introduction, I present to you the two character portraits I’ve commissioned so far. First up is the pirate queen Maricruz Aguilera de Cartagena described in my previous post:

The second one is another familiar character to regular readers. He is none other than captain Jonathan Pemberton-Smythe of His Royal Majesty’s army:

Both are the work of the incredibly talented Gabriella “Sayara-S” Bujdosó. She will (for obvious reasons, just see the pictures above) be doing the rest of the character illustrations as well. You can see more of her work on her DeviantArt page, as well as in the Song of Shadows and Dust game. I’m really happy to have her on board this little project!

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Sneaky peeky like

March 26, 2017

In a fit of inspiration, I’ve started working on the pirate book I outlined in my previous post. The first character I’ve written about is the pirate queen who has been appearing in various gaming scenarios. This is an early draft, unless everyone loves it at which point it becomes “nearly finished”. I’d love your commentary: is the description and the background interesting? Are there enough hints and hooks to spark the imagination? Does this feel like a character you could built a gaming scenario around? No need to be too gentle, I want to make this as good as possible. If something is rubbish, let me know!

As you can see in the piece below, several details are intentionally fuzzy. I haven’t set an exact date – it’s sometime in the early 1700s. The geographic location of the small, fictitious island Port George is located on isn’t set in stone. It’s somewhere in the West Indies. Things like ship types aren’t defined either. A few characters are mentioned in passing, but not really detailed. This isn’t laziness on my part, but rather an effort to make the material easy to modify and adapt. I have tried to keep the details historically plausible.

The Pirate Queen
Maricruz Aguilera de Cartagena

Few people on the island command as much respect as Maricruz Aguilera, known as the Pirate Queen of [to be defined] Bay. The daughter of a wealthy criollo merchant family from Cartagena on the Spanish Main, her turn to piracy remains shrouded in mystery. In their parlours bitter men speak of hysteria, ill humours and a mind seduced by piratical tales. For all their talk, they come up short when trying to give a credible explanation as to why and how years back the crew of merchantman Santa Estrella de la Esperanza violently mutinied and gave a female passenger command of the ship. Some claim it was the Devil’s work, others that she simply knew how to stoke the anger of the flogged and hungry sailors.

Whatever the truth of the matter is, Aguilera has since mercilessly raided shipping in the West Indies and the Spanish Main. Rumour has it her disgraced family has put a sizeable bounty on her head, and several pirate hunters have made it their task to track her down. The Vindictive, sailing under the infamous captain Oxley, is the only one to even come close, at a heavy cost to both the captain and his ship.

In Port George Aguilera holds a strong position. She has a hand in most of the contraband that passes through the town, while her ship, the sleek Espíritu del Viento sits at anchor in the bay. The queen drives a hard but fair bargain, and she is well-liked. Aguilera surrounds herself with a fiercely loyal multi-national crew of thirty, with her first mate, the Welshman Davies having sailed with her since her early days as a rover. The close bond the rakish Davies shares with his captain is a constant source of rumour.

Lately the pirate queen has been preoccupied. While illegitimate trade and piracy still flourish, she can see the tide slowly turning both on the island and the West Indies. With the recent calls to purge Port George of its unsavoury elements, it will soon be a time to decide whether to fight or to slip away into a comfortable life of anonymity while still ahead. The first carries with it the risk of the gallows, the second would mean throwing away years of struggle against the rich and the powerful and abandoning her crew to their fate.

I’ve also contacted a very talented artist for some character portraits, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with. Here’s a 19th century painting by Gustave Courbet that I sent to her as part of the character description, for visual reference.

So, fire away! Hit or miss?

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A book of pirates? 

March 7, 2017

Long, lazy days on sunny Gili Air have left me toying with an idea of doing something new regarding my pirate project. Namely, I’ve been thinking of turning it into a book of sorts! 

Now, I’m not talking about an epic novel or anything like that, but simply collecting the fiction and fact around Port George into one something like a compendium, providing fellow gamers – whether RPG or minis – with a ready-made fictional early 18th century town somewhere in the Caribbean. NPCs, plot hooks, historical facts and so on. Nothing system specifix, just things that spark the imagination and maybe provide inspiration and ideas for gaming and painting. 20-30 pages maybe.

This would of course give me a great opportunity to commission art from friends (I definitely want a map and some character illustrations), write some scraps of fiction and do some more pirate research. What I want most of all, though, is to create something, to make those minis, buildings and these blog posts into something more than just their sum. Who knows, maybe someone else might find it interesting or inspiring as well!

So, dear readers, what do you think? Cool idea or silly waste of time and effort? Something you might consider getting once finished, as a pdf maybe? What would you like to see in something like this? Any other comments or ideas?

Article picture by the great Howard Pyle, public domain.

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