Posts Tagged ‘Pirate town’

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Looking ahead

May 26, 2017

Billy Bones by NC Wyeth

Last night I got to thinking about the future of my pirate project, and figured I’d share some of my plans with you. That way I’ll have them down in writing, too. Having the book project on the go really helps – miniatures inspire me two make up fiction and characters, and vice versa. This stuff might and probably will change as new ideas come up, as these things tend to do. In no particular order:

Port George and New Port George

Instead of having a nice side of town and a shady side of town, they will be two different towns in the fiction. After the original Port George was struck by a heavy epidemic of yellow fever, the better-off residents fled to somewhat higher, drier ground and re-founded Port George, leaving the old town to those too poor or ill to build new houses. In time, pirates and other types settled in and made the old town their own. While the towns are near each other, the residents of New Port George rarely have reason to visit the old town, unless there’s more or less shady business to be done. Even then, they’ll bring protection.

Modelling-wise, I’ll keep on as before. New Port George will have larger, plastered brick houses and a small fort, whereas the old town will have more wooden plank houses, as well as more dirt and decay in general. This way I don’t have to worry about fitting two different styles together.

Maroons

Another faction on the island is a group of maroons – escaped slaves – who have taken up residence in the old, ruined Spanish mission. They mostly keep to themselves, although they do some trading with the pirates. With the new industry plans for the island (see below), the maroons are more than a little riled up, and are bound to cause all sorts of trouble. For miniatures I’ll be using the Foundry minis I bought at Salute a month ago:

© Wargames Foundry

They’re sweet minis, and will find double use as pirates too. My voodoo queen will likely be tied in with them too.

The Spanish mission

Spanish Caribbean buildings with their red pantile rooves are a staple of pirate visuals. I wanted to include them, but also wanted a British town. The solution? Put in an old, deserted 17th century mission town. Not only is this historically plausible, it also gives me the chance to build some Spanish style houses and model an overgrown, somewhat ruined town now inhabited by the maroons mentioned above.

Horrible capitalists

These will be some if not the main antagonists in the setting. They’re wealthy traders who are looking to set up sugar plantations on the island, with all the horrible things they bring along. While I want to address the concept of slavery in the project, I don’t want to dwell on it too explicitly. However, having the drive for building plantations – or maybe the plantations being built – creates suitable tension in my opinion. The traders are trying to pressure the governor, the pirates are disrupting slave trade, the maroons are attacking traders and under construction plantations…there’s plenty here! I have some great minis from Blue Moon that I also bought at Salute, they look haughty and rich and should be a great fit for the job. I might need some henchmen for them as well.

While I don’t want the book to be overtly political, in reality a lot of the pirate issue was about class and race, trade and capital, and I want the book and the project to reflect that – not only for ideological reasons, but historical accuracy as well. It also allows me to posit pirates as the protagonists, which is something I want to do. And of course rich slave traders make for wonderful antagonists.

So, that’s what’s in store. Over two years with this project, and more and more hyped – wonderful!

Pirate illustration: Billy Bones by NC Wyeth, public domain

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The nicer part of town

November 26, 2016

Work on the pirate-y town of Port George continues! You’re likely aware that I have a fair few run-down buildings for my town already, so it’s time for something different. My grand vision is to have two distinctly different sides to Port George. One is the grimy, pirate side that I’ve been building so far, with mainly wooden buildings, plenty of sand and all in all a hive of scum and villainy. The second is a “proper” side – a fairly prosperous British colonial town, with brick buildings, less sand and marginally less villainy, or at least of a different kind.

The idea is that both of these halves should work as standalone towns as well as combining into a larger whole – maybe separated by a river or something similar. With limited time for building terrain, the more uses I can find for things, the better.

Finding suitable buildings was surprisingly challenging, everything looking either too modern, too old or just stylistically off. As with all the historical accuracy in the project, I wanted to strike a balance between accuracy and pleasing aesthetics, with the latter taking precedence if the first wasn’t jarringly off. Again, “what would this look like in a pirate movie?” was a key question.

Eventually I settled on the following:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Sarissa Precision Chateau. I’ve been eyeing this piece for ages. It’s super impressive, with lovely detailing. A bit too lovely, as I managed to snap some fiddly bits while putting it together. Nothing catastrophic, luckily! This will serve as the mansion of Port George’s governor and will be the centrepiece of the fancier part of town. I’ve added Warbases roof tiling to the roof, obviously not shown in the catalogue image. The levels are separate, so the inside is playable too.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

TTCombat Venetian house. A nice, simple and suitably generic piece. I bought a pitched roof to go along with it. Both roof styles are removable, so if I want to use the building with a roof terrace, that’s possible as well. The line of Venetian buildings – intended for the game Carnivale, I assume – is really nice, and provides me with excellent choices for expanding the town.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

TTCombat Old Town townhouses. Some more TTCombat pieces, these are intended for Malifaux. Both are large, impressive pieces. The TTCombat stuff is much chunkier than the Sarissa building, meaning it’s both clunkier and sturdier – you win some, you lose some. All the TTCombat buildings have separate floors and the interiors can be used for gaming. There are even stairs connecting the two floors in the townhouses, as well as some super chunky furniture. My only gripe with the TTCombat stuff is the massive size of the doors. Even on a very large 28/32mm miniature the doorknobs are around shoulder height. It’s a minor thing and could be easily fixed, but I don’t think I’ll bother. Warbases roofing tiles will be added to the townhouses to unify them with the rest of the buildings.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Warbases modular #5. The Warbases modular buildings are super simple (and super cheap). I’m thinking of modding this with a portico and some nicer windows and doors. I think it has a tavern look to it, so it could function as a sort of go-between uniting the two halves of the town.

My attitudes towards laser-cut mdf buildings have changed in the past year or two. I used to think very little of them, but after climbing on board the mdf train, I’m definitely seeing the appeal. There’s a huge variety, ample chance for customising and the prices are very decent. Putting them together can be quite satisfying, too!

So, what do you think? Does this look suitably colonial? What do you think of mdf? Does it show that I’ve been alone, writing my dissertation at our summer place in the archipelago, and am starting to crave human interaction?

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Halloween in the Caribbean

November 3, 2016

Halloween came and went, and it brought a nice chance for some horror-themed gaming. I obviously wanted to do something a bit more pirate-y this year, so the theme was obvious.

Putting together a game to play with my friends, I went with my go-to ruleset, Flashing Steel by Ganesha Games. I tweaked and simplified it at places for ease of gaming, and then wrapped it in a nice little cocoon of story. The story was a suitable genre piece, with the dread undead pirate captain Armitage Shanks (last seen bothering the Orient) coming to claim charming young Rosalie Underwood for his bride for all eternity at the strike of midnight. To make things easier for him, Shanks decided to bring along an army of the dead as well as two horrible, imaginatively named lackeys, Ghost and Crab man. Luckily a group of heroes was there to thwart Shanks’ evil scheme! The protagonists consisted of dashing captain Pemberton Smythe and his two redcoats, pirate queen Valeriana de Torres with her voodoo priestess Madame Labadie and first mate Benson, Rosalie Underwood’s father with his priestly friend Father Wexcombe and trusted servant Belinda, and Daring Dragoon, the people’s swashbuckling hero.

What followed was an epic battle, with poor Rosalie’s fate hanging in the balance almost up to the last dice rolls of the game. What did we get to see? Our heroes cut down waves upon waves of zombies. Father Wexcombe banishing the ghost with holy water, only to get shot down by Shanks just moments later and brought back as a zombie. The terrifying Crab man crushing poor Daring Dragoon after the hero’s valiant charge. The pirate queen and His Majesty’s captain fighting side by side to buy more time before falling to the claws of Crab man and Shanks’ blade. The voodoo priestess dueling magically with Shanks, pulling the enchanted Rosalie this way and that…and finally, first mate Benson putting a pistol bullet in Shanks’ skull just as the witching hour passed and the forces of darkness withdrew.

It was a blast! We laughed a lot, we rolled a lot of dice, imitated death groans and roars of frustration (thanks Joonas!) and pushed little toy soldiers across the board, all the while overdosing on sugar. What more could you want from a Halloween game?

Shown below are photos of various quality from the game, taken by the various participants on their phones. You can click on any of them for a larger view.

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The defenders

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Preparing for the forces of evil

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One of the character sheets I put together

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First mate Benson pretty much spent the game standing in this spot killing zombies

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The Daring Dragoon’s fateful battle

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The Halloween theme extended to the snacks as well

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Another shot of our heroes, with the Daring Dragoon showing off

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SHAME

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Father Wexcombe’s heroic moment

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A closer look at pirate queen de Torres

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Belinda comforts the rescued Rosalie

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Our heroes hold off the zombie horde

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An aerial view of the starting positions

Shanks and his minions go forth

Captain Smythe half-hidden by a fountain

Captain Smythe half-hidden by some stocks

The battle is won!

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Belinda and Rosalie again – a subtext of romance was suggested

A blogger with that good old Innsmouth elegance

A blogger with that good old Innsmouth elegance

I think ending this post after that photo is appropriate.

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Holiday in the Caribbean

September 24, 2016
Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Here’s a scenic piece that I put together recently, showing a pirate relaxing with his dog. I actually like this one immensely! The story behind this is a good explanation why.

It started out as a scene of a wounded pirate leaning on a tree, bleeding to death. Maybe I was having a bit of a downer day, but that felt a little too grim. Thus it changed into a drunk pirate sitting by a tree…but I already had a drunk pirate passed out in a pig pen. Around this time I remembered the miniature dog (an otterhound to be exact) I bought at Salute from fellow hobbyist and Frother, the wonderfully talented painter Jon “Dags” Atter. So the piece turned into a relaxing pirate, leaning on a tree with his eyes closed and a dog by his side.

Now, this piece made me especially happy. Normally most of the stuff I (and most other hobbyists as well, it’s wargaming after all) is framed by a context of violence, with the occasional dash of humour thrown in. Even in a fairly light-hearted setting like my Hollywood Caribbean, the majority of miniatures are armed and in fighting poses. Not this one! I think the piece manages to capture something of the lazy, hot summer day feeling that is closely linked to mental images of pirates and Caribbean islands. I think this piece pretty much captures the essence of my project.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

What also makes me happy is that it was super easy to build. It’s a model railroad palm tree combined with a Foundry pirate casualty, the aforementioned dog miniature and a pebble I picked up outside. I dressed it up with some static grass and a few Army Painter tufts.

I’m currently painting up a lot more stuff for my project, including a few special things for an upcoming Halloween game. Stay tuned!

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Pirate raid

September 13, 2016

After a long dry spell gaming wise, I ran a game of Flashing Steel for our regular gaming group. It was a fairly simple affair, with pirates trying to get away with as much loot as possible while the local militia and a few redcoats did their best to stop them. All photos in this post are by Mia Meri, and used with her kind permission. You can click on any picture for a larger version.

Pirate queen Violetta watches over her second in command Jack as the militia fights back

Pirate queen Violetta watches over her second in command Jack as the militia fights back

The outraged reverend watches as the chaos of the pirate attack unfolds

The outraged reverend watches as the chaos of the pirate attack unfolds

This guy has no idea of what's happening

This guy has no idea of what’s happening

The dastardly duo of Violetta and Jack

The dastardly duo of Violetta and Jack

Aerial view of the full battlefield

Aerial view of the full battlefield

Townsfolk team up with a redcoat to take a pirate down while a villager flees

Townsfolk team up with a redcoat to take a pirate down while a villager flees

Jack sneaking behind a building

Jack sneaking behind a building

Violetta and Jack prevent one of the townsfolk from going for help

Violetta and Jack prevent one of the townsfolk from going for help

Tempting loot for the pirates

Tempting loot for the pirates

It was good fun as usual! The soldiers, militia and townsfolk put up a valiant defense, but in the end it was the pirates escaping with their pockets full of loot. I was really happy to get my pirates and terrain boards into action. As the aerial shot shows, I’ve built another board, making this into a fairly playable setup. Still needs a few extensions to make it more square – and I want a shoreline!

It’s currently a good hobby period for me, with plenty of painting and gaming. I’m trying to make the most of it while it lasts. Comments welcome as always!

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Building renovation

August 24, 2016

While celebrating my 34th birthday last Saturday, I visited a children’s flea market – lured in by a Playmobil pirate ship in the window. While I already have two ships, I left it there, but happened upon a nice piece of (I assume) aquarium scenery for five euros:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

As you can see, it’s a fairly niece piece with a fairly rubbish paintjob. The scale was perfect for 28mm though, so I went to work on it, giving it a quick repaint and applying some static grass and tufts. I didn’t want to spend too much time, merely get the hut to a nice enough state to be put on the table. As the hut looks a lot more basic than my normal plank houses, I painted it in fairly earthy tones to suggest a hut built out of scavenged planks, logs and driftwood. I’m imagining this as being the home of either a pirate hermit, or possibly a voodoo type – we’ll see!

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

And for the sheer fun of it, here are the before and after shots side by side:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Plus a final, overlit photo of the hut with some potential residents:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

For a fairly small investment of time and money I got a nice, sturdy little building to add to my setup! My table woes are also on the wane, but more on that in the next post. Comments welcome as always!

 

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Pirate housing

April 11, 2016

I’ve managed to finish another building for my pirate town. This is another one from Warbases – a combination of their single storey modular building and a piece from the lean-to set. I’ve covered them in coffee stirrers, and hidden rough spots with more coffee stirrers. The window sills and lintels are made from matchsticks, and the roofing tiles are laser-cut strips also sold by Warbases. The flowery grass tufts are from The Army Painter and the barrels are from Ainsty.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I wanted to paint a different colour from my usual fare, so went for a yellow finish. Yellow tends to be a right pain to paint, so I was happy that I could make it intentionally grubby. The end result is fairly pleasing and adds another touch of colour to the table. The building is intended to be fairly generic, representing a typical house in the pirate town.

This piece is my last hobby production for a while, because next Tuesday I’m off for a five week trip to the UK and Ireland with my girlfriend! Plenty of hobby related things in store on the trip, from Salute in London (let me know if you’re there, come and say hi!) to visiting Warhammer World in Nottingham to some pirates vs. ninjas gaming hosted by Paul who runs the wonderful sho3box blog. Add to that all the museums, geeky stores and battlefields, and I’m in for a treat! I will be updating the blog as I go – and as I have time – but understandably no new miniatures or scenics will be finished during April and most of May.

Comments and everything else welcome, dear readers!

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