Posts Tagged ‘Black Cat Bases’

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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.

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From the painting desk #64 – An eclectic mix

May 11, 2019

I’ve been on a bit of a painting kick lately, so I’ve got a grand total of five new minis to show you! Funnily enough they’re from five different companies too, which goes to show that I don’t mind mixing ranges and manufacturers in my project. It’s been good having some painting mojo back – painting has felt really fun and I’m pleased with the results I’m getting. As for the minis, here we go!

Black Cat Bases African lady

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First up is an African lady by CP Models that I picked up in a Bad Squiddo sale. I kept the palette super simple and tried a tone I hadn’t really used before in the pale green. I think it turned out really nice and I’ll be sure to use that tone later on as well. A neat, simple model, she’ll work well as a generic civilian in the West Indies.

Black Cat Bases pirate queen

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Next up is a pirate queen from Black Cat Bases. Nice and characterful, she was a joy to paint. To go for much bolder colours, I drew inspiration from one of my favourite pro wrestlers, the pirate princess Kairi Sane, and went with an almost white overcoat with blue cuffs, and a blue tricorne with gold trim and a white feather. While I tried to keep it from going too over the top, I think the end result is a suitably ostentatious pirate lady.

Freebooter's Fate Tiradora

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The next mini I completed is a recent Salute purchase, a Freebooter’s Fate mini by the name of Tiradora (which is just Spanish for “female shooter”, so not really a name at all). This was the first Freebooter’s Fate mini I’ve painted, and I’m quite impressed! Crisp detail and nice smooth surfaces made this a joy to paint. While the catalogue mini was painted white, to me the mini looked obviously African, so I went with a dark brown skintone. Another mini I’m happy with!

Citadel townsfolk brawler

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Sometimes you end up painting old stuff, and that makes me feel warm inside. This model is an old Citadel one from the 1987 Travelling Players set. When this model was released, I was five years old and Emmi wasn’t even born yet. There’s something really cool about that. I’ve actually had this mini for a while, as he used to be a part of my WHFB Empire army. One day I just figured that he might fit in well with my pirates, so I stripped him of his old paintjob and did a quick repaint. As his facial features sort of suggested it and I had been painting brown-skinned minis, I figured I’d paint him with darker skin too, and I think it looks good! You may notice that his basing with the flowers suggests that he isn’t a part of the pirates or the maroons faction, but rather a member of my townsfolk. I’m thinking that he maybe works on the docks (and now I’ve got Bon Jovi stuck in my head, it’s tough) or is the bouncer for the local tavern.

Black Scorpion pirate

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My last entry in this post is a mini I’ve wanted to paint a long time. As I’ve been thinking about the various characters that inhabit Tyburn Island, one that has been firmly lodged in my head is a hired sword nicknamed “The Razor of Nassau”. Don’t ask me where it came from, but it’s this guy. I love this mini, he just oozes menace and has that gunslinger vibe about him. To go with this, I painted him in full but worn black, with a red sash for some visual contrast.

I’m happy with this lot for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s nice to get stuff painted as it’s been quite a thin year so far. Secondly, this batch turned out quite diverse – a couple of females and not everyone’s white. It’s not a huge thing, but it’s fun on both a visual level and out of principle too. I’ve got more stuff lined up too, so..yeah, cool!

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From the painting desk #62 – Dastardly pirates

December 15, 2018

Plenty (for me) of painting done recently! I haven’t added all that many pirates to my pirate crew recently – that changes now. I realized I have a ton of wonderful pirate miniatures, and what do you know, they could be painted! With that intro, here we go:

Three 28mm pirate miniatures

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On the left is a female pirate from Bad Squiddo that I bought on our visit to CRISIS in Antwerp in early November. While she’s pretty much on the borderline of almost being too fantasy, she’s just suitable enough. A lovely sculpt in general, her hair looks weirdly unfinished which gave me a bit of a headache. Are those ribbons? Dreadlocks? In the end I just painted everything as hair. That gripe aside, she looks very menacing and has a sweet Jack Sparrow/Black Sails Anne Bonny mash-up vibe. The axe is brutal, too. The miniature is also a great example of a non-sexualized female pirate miniature, we definitely need more of those.

Next up is a carpenter from Black Cat Bases. While he’s not explicitly pirate-y – he could well be used as a carpenter on a merchant ship – I added him to my pirate crew. A lovely, characterful sculpt that was fun and easy to paint. What more could you ask for?

My third pirate in this lot is one of my favourite pirate minis of all time, a knife thrower by Foundry. He’s one of the most characterful pirate minis in existence, and looks like a really rough customer. I used a darker skintone (as with the female pirate) for some variety, I think a pirate crew should be a motley one. There’s a narrative element as well, as in my imagination he’s not a European – I’m sort of thinking Queequeg in Moby Dick, so some South Pacific blood in him. Absolutely loved painting this one!

These three are a welcome addition to my crew. They bring my pirates up to a total of 18 or so – might be time for an end of the year group shot?

They also serve as a great reminder, that when basing and painting style are consistent, you can easily mix miniatures from different manufacturers despite the somewhat different sculpting styles.

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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!

 

 

 

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From the painting desk #47 – Governor’s retinue

January 23, 2017

Port George finally has a crown-appointed governor and I have my first painted minis of 2017! I finished painting a trio of miniatures I started in late 2016, representing the governor, his son and their manservant. All three are from different manufacturers, with the governor being a Front Rank gentleman, his son a Galloping Major sailor character and the manservant a Black Cat Bases bounty hunter.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Governor Weatherby is a classic, stylish gentleman. I’ve yet to decide whether he’s a governor of the pirate hanging type or the pirate embracing type. The mini was good fun to paint. I went for a bright blue for the jacket, but otherwise kept the palette fairly muted. I wanted the governor to look well-off but not ostentatious, leaving the latter for his son. Being a Front Rank miniature, he is fairly small, but I think that actually works quite well here, as it does make him look a little older. That’s also why I decided to make his hair grey.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I wanted the governor’s son to be something of a foppish dandy, so I gave him a purple jacket combined with a yellow waistcoat. The emerald green bows on his plait and hat add even more touches of colour, and obviously all of his button are bright brass. I botched painting his left eye, and decided to make it into an expression. I think the end result makes him quite characterful, as he is glancing sideways somewhat nervously and reaching for his sword. The expression, the large hands and smallis head make him look young and awkward, which is exactly what I wanted. Well, initially I didn’t know that it was exactly what I wanted, but I love the end result.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Stylistically the manservant, Mitchell, is an entirely different case from his employers. “Manservant” is obviously just a polite expression for “bodyguard and muscle”, and the mini’s huge size (typical of Black Cat Bases sculpts) works in this regard. I’ve always loved the look of a greatcoat with the collar up, so this was a real treat. I wanted Mitchell to look properly badass, so I kept the colours dark with the exception of the boots and the pistols. For some extra diversity and to spark the imagination regarding his background, I gave him dark skin. I’m really happy with the greatcoat and the miniature in general, I think he looks hard as nails.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I had a lot of fun painting these three, as they’re all very different both in style and colour scheme. While the governor and his son are really bright and colourful, their servant is dark and menacing. As it is, I think these three minis manage to create a nice little narrative. It’s stuff like this that really keeps up my enthusiasm and motivation for a project! These three have been waiting for me to finish them for a while, so finally getting them done is extra rewarding to boot.

I’ve been thinking that I need to improve my painting. While I’m fairly happy with my basic level, I tend to get lazy with thinning paint, layering and blending. I think there’s plenty of space for improvement there. Of course taking massive closeup photos of minis doesn’t help either! Feedback on this front much appreciated.

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From the painting desk #45 – Special characters

November 10, 2016

This post showcases two of my lately painted miniatures that you may have already glimpsed in the Halloween game report.

Up first is a voodoo queen from Black Cat Bases. Like most Black Cat Bases minis, the model is fairly tall and hefty. I definitely prefer this cartoony style to more realistic proportions, and love this sculpt despite its weird right hand. I’m normally not a huge fan of minis with super cleavage, but in this case it didn’t bother me – a certain amout of sexuality is a key part of the whole Hollywood voodoo queen character. In our Halloween game she was dubbed Madam Labadie, so the name sort of stuck.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I painted the character with a very dark skin tone and made her dress yellow for some contrast. I went all out on the feathers on her staff, figuring she had plenty of colourful parrots at her disposal. The painting on the little cat is loosely based on my girlfriend’s cat, shown with yours truly in this super happy picture. This was a really fun piece to paint altogether, and I finished it fairly quickly – although the Halloween game as a deadline helped! I based the voodoo queen in the same style as my pirates, so no flowers on her base.

The second miniature is an officer type from Galloping Major, who I dubbed captain Pemberton Smythe. Another lovely miniature to paint, the officer is a clean, chunky sculpt. As my project is decidedly Hollywood over historical, I went with the same strategy as with my redcoats, drawing inspiration from historical imagery to make something that fits my idea of a British officer. I think the end result turned out quite effective.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I only noticed while photographing that the models might both be in need of an extra blast of matt varnish. They’re not as shiny in hand as they appear in the photos, luckily!

If I’m not completely wrong, these two bring my number of miniatures painted this year up to twelve, and there are some more that I haven’t shown yet! Comments welcome as usual.

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