Sunday, 28 October 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different!

Hello everyone. 
I apologise for not posting this last week, but a combination of work and not feeling too great has conspired to keep me from building models. However in the little time I did have, I managed to complete a little painting on some models I started months ago, totally not related to anything nautical. 
The models were some fine little Sci-fi chaps from Ground Zero Games. Now, you may ask why I've been painting sci-fi troops when I have a blog about 18th-19th century warships? Well when I was thinking of coming back to the war gaming world, I originally decided to try 15mm war gaming after purchasing some rather good little rule sets from those guys at So I bought a load of miniatures to get me started. The rules in question are from their USE ME range of rules. These rule books look to be great little rule sets for fast and simple war gaming and thus far have a range of 12 books in their ever expanding range. These books cover sci-fi armies, fantasy armies and whole other different periods from the American Civil war to Modern Warfare. I made some Space ships to go with their Starship Battles book, I may post them up sometime. I'm not going to do a review, I lack experience in war gaming to review them and besides they have had positive reviews elsewhere, so make sure you check them out!

Now back to the mini's, here are some pics of what I painted, they are from the 15mm Stargrunt range.

New Anglian Confederation Command Squad with APC

New Anglian Confederation Command Squad

New Anglian Confederation Marine Squad with APC

New Anglian Confederation Marine Squad with APC
I'm new to painting on a smaller scale so the painting is not exactly masterclass, but I'm happy with them :) I have around 30 more of these miniatures which will eventually be painted, time permitting, but my efforts are going to be concentrating on the shipbuilding for now.

While I seem to be writing a long post, I'd like to take this opportunity to mention some blog's I've been following, Which I should of done a while ago. I have found all these blogs very interesting and informative, great for someone new to war gaming, like me. I could write a page about each blog, but I'll keep it to a brief description of each, although I highly recommend them all. In no particular order:
  • Lair of the Uber Geek - Currently building sectional terrain, great in progress terrain posts, once finished his sectional terrain is going to be awesome!
  • The Zone - Sci Fi Thrill in 15mm - Welcome to Meta City One! This brilliant and highly entertaining blog follows the happenings in Meta City One through news reports, I love the puns Mark and Master Chef drop into each news flash.
  • Gavin Syme - Mr Syme is the Creative Manager of Alternative Armies and its sister brand His blog contains a lot of useful tit bits on forthcoming ranges for Alternative Armies and the USE ME rules. If your a fan of either, he's a must follow!
  • Naval Gazing - Dave's Blog for all things Naval, From Space Navies to contemporary Navies, if your nautically minded, stop by.
  • Comment-Deleted - Dave Humm's blog mainly covers his painting of mostly Alternative Armies miniatures, some lovely models he has!
  • Dragonfaeri's Pyrography - Not war gaming related, but if you find yourself wanting to burn something, go!
  • A Napoleonic therapy project for 2012 - Lee's grand undertaking to recreate the Peninsular War with 6mm Baccus figures. Some fantastic mini's being painted! Great work.
  • Scott's War-gaming - An excellent blog by Scott, who covers a lot of games, I like his Legends of the High Seas posts, 28mm pirate war gaming at it's best!
  • Tabletop War gaming with Gavin Syme - Gavin's war gaming blog, here you'll find what miniatures he's currently painting or collecting.
  • Wooden Warriors - If you've ever wanted to make your own soldiers out of wood, this is the site to go to, filled with tutorials and other useful information.
Well, I think that's it for this post, see you soon!
hwyl fawr

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Black Pearl

Guard 1: Oh, the Dauntless is the power in these waters, true enough. But there's no ship as can match the Interceptor for speed. 
Jack Sparrow: I've heard of one, supposed to be very fast, nigh uncatchable: The Black Pearl. 
Guard 2: Well, there's no real ship as can match the Interceptor. 
Guard 1: The Black Pearl is a real ship. 
Guard 2: No, it's not. 
Guard 1: Yes it is, I've seen it. 
Guard 2: You've seen it? 
Guard 1: Yes. 
Guard 2: You haven't seen it. 
Guard 1: Yes, I have. 
Guard 2: You've seen a ship with black sails that's crewed by the damned, and captained by a man so evil that Hell itself spat him back out? 
Guard 1: No. 
Guard 2: No. 
Guard 1: But I have seen a ship with black sails. 
[Jack quietly slips passed them unnoticed] 
Guard 2: Oh, and no ship that's not crewed by the damned and captained by a man so evil that Hell itself spat him back out could possibly have black sails, therefore couldn't possibly be any other ship than the Black Pearl. Is that what you're telling me? 
Guard 1: [nods] No. 
Guard 2: Like I said, there's no real ship as can match the Interceptor. 

The Black Pearl

The Black Pearl was an infamous pirate ship, originally a merchant ship operating for the East India Trading Company under the name Wicked Wench. A well-known threat in the Caribbean, this legendary ship of the seven seas was most notably captained by Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa.
Command was first given to Jack Sparrow who fulfilled many contracts for the Company on the behalf of Cutler Beckett. However, after Jack refused to carry out a certain task, Beckett ordered the Wench set alight and sunk and her captain forever branded as a pirate. After failing to rescue the Wench, Jack struck a bargain with Davy Jones, the ghostly captain of the Flying Dutchman. Jones raised the Wicked Wench from the depths, giving Jack thirteen years as captain, in exchange for one hundred years of service aboard the Dutchman. With the Wench's new charred look, Jack renamed her the Black Pearl. Now a renowned pirate vessel and threat of the Caribbean, the Black Pearl would embark on many adventures on the high seas.

Deck Detail

Until next time.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

In Progress 2 : The Black Pearl

Hi all
Just an update with how the majestic Black Pearl is coming along. I did raise it a couple of layers of card, I figured being a merchant type ship, it needed more volume. The hull is finished and painted, I tried to make it look weathered, as The Black Pearl is.....Black, not usually an interesting colour.

The Hull completed.

Cabin detail.

Comparison shot, with a sloop, shes about the size of a frigate.

Until the next time farvel!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

In Progress: The Black Pearl

Hi All,
Just a short post to let you know I've started the notorious Black Pearl today. I had a few good hours on it and got most of the hull complete. Here's some pics of the ship so far.

A look at the aft cabin

A comparison pic, next to the Sloop HMS Lark

So far So good!
I might need to raise it up a few more millimetres, looking a bit low. Anyway, hopefully by the next post it will have the hull complete and a cannon or two.

Until the next time, be careful out there!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

Ukranian waters anyway...

my wife found this weird article on the interwebs...
The Ukranian navy are arming dolphins with knives and pistols to defend against underwater attackers.
read the full article here.

Guess thar'll be no sackin' them Ukranian ports!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Wherever we want to go, we go.

Hi, I've had a busy week this week, with work and what-not, so I have only just finished the 4th Brig, HMS Lark. Hopefully this weekend I will start The Black Pearl, as mentioned in the previous post. My good lady is eager to start her pirate career to seek fortune and fame! To quote Jack Sparrow:
"Wherever we want to go, we go. That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and sails; that's what a ship needs. Not what a ship is. What the Black Pearl really is, is freedom."
Oh and for the pyromaniac inclined, you may find my wife's blog of interest.
EDIT: My wonderful wife gifted me her latest creation! Whooo!!! I love Dragons!
ere, be Dragons....arrrr

Until next time hwyl fawr

Monday, 8 October 2012

What's Next

Good day to you all, as I still haven't completed the other Brigs, carrying on from the last post, I thought I'd give you a heads up of a couple of ships currently in the planning stage.

The next ship to sail out of the shipyard will be The Black Pearl, from Pirates of the Caribbean fame. I've made a rough scale drawing, will redo the drawing to work from, to give me a sense of size, shown below. It does have a nice Galleon look about it. By the way, I did mess up the masts in the drawing, told you it was rough ;)

The Black Pearl.
Then after The Black Pearl, the next planned ship, is HMS Victory. She looks to be a monster! Just over 9 inches long, 2 inches wide and 8 inches high, she will be a intimidating model. I'm looking forward to this one, hopefully I can do her proud!
HMS Victory.
That's it for now, see you soon

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Sloop of War - HMS Sophie Part 3

Hi all, and welcome to the third part of how to build a ship for your all conquering world domineering war fleet. Since the last post, I've managed to get two ships ready and painted, one as HMS Sophie, another as French Brig Iena. So.... onto the next stage.

First we need the materials for the masts, rigging and sails. 
  • Bamboo skewers.
  • Cocktail Sticks.
  • Sewing Thread, mine is chestnut colour, but any colour will do...well maybe not any colour pink might be odd for a warship but, if you like pink, then why not :)
  • Some paper, this will be cut into thin strips.
  • Some card, again we will need thin strips.
  • Thin textured card for the sails.

Some of the materials needed.
Cut the bamboo skewers to a desired length, refer to any plan you have made. Cut out a notch on each piece, this is where they are going to join.

Cut out a notch to fix too.
Then join the 2 pieces together. I use PVA glue for this, it's a better join, but it takes awhile to dry. I recommend cutting all your mast pieces first then gluing them all at the same time.

Glued mast.
 For the upper most mast section, use a cocktail stick, again notch out both pieces, although not as deep and glue together.

Here's some I made earlier!
 Cut cocktail sticks to length, for the spars, and cut a little notch in the masts, where they are to be attached. I use a spot of super glue to attach the spars first. When super glue dry, support all the mast and spar joints, with thin strips of paper wrapped around then covered in PVA glue. Repeat for all masts. Carefully drill two little holes in the main mast for the Spanker (I think that's what's it's called) as in the pic below. When all glue is dried, fix to the ships.

Masts ready to attach to ship hulls. 
Ships masted.
Next is the rigging, This can be frustrating, so take your time with it. I will only do a minimum of rigging on my ships as they are gaming models, not show pieces. But if you like a more authentic rigging scheme then feel free to carry on till your happy ;)

For the mast stays, cut three lengths of thread, about 6 inches long, bunch together and tie around the mast, just above the first sail position. You should have equal lengths on both sides.
Thread around mast.
Start on one side, pull each thread reasonably tight and super glue, only a small dot of glue, to hull. Repeat with other two threads, spacing them a couple of millimetres apart. Cut a small strip of card and cover where the threads join on the hull. These will support the join, and will need painting the same colour as the hull later.

Stays on main mast.
Repeat for the other side and for the other mast. I did both ships at the same time.
Both ships with stays complete.
Next add more standing rigging to the masts. I cut a long piece of thread, about 18 inches, doubled it over and tied the ends together. Starting from the spanker, I tied it on, wrapped it around the top of the main mast, the same with the fore mast, then down to the top of the bowsprit. Then back to the Mid sail point on the fore mast, and back to the spar on the bowsprit, tie a knot here because that's it.

Rigging complete.
I brush PVA glue on all the rigging, including the stays, making sure i cover where the thread has wrapped around the masts. This makes the rigging a lot more stiffer and stops any of the knots coming free. When dried, it's time for the sails.

I found some nice textured card at a local art shop, 29p for A4 size, will get around 3 ships out of one sheet.
As I haven't given you any dimensions of masts, sail, spars, etc, this is just a general guide, I'll just say, cut the sails to the required size. Remember to cut them a few mm longer and curve the card, for a billowing look. Glue to the spars with PVA glue, these will have to be held in place to dry. I use a couple of pegs that come from a Christmas gift wrapping set.

Half way with the sails.
I have found working from the back, low to high is the easiest. Also if possible, glue the bottom of the sails to anything they touch, this will keep them secured and help keep the shape of them.

Completed ships.
That's it, ships completed. Hopefully I've explained everything, but if you have any questions, I'll be happy to help. So all that's left to do is set sail and head out to sea.

His Majesty's Ship Sophie and the French Brig Iena slug it out!

HMS Sophie

French Brig Iena
Thanks for looking and take care.
Edit: Forgot to mention all in all the cost of each ship in materials is less than a £1

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sloop of War - HMS Sophie Part 2

Hi all, continuing where I left off, I'm going to add some detail to the sloop and finish the hull. First I cut out some bases, for the ships, out of ply board, again pretty cheap around £5 for 4ft by 2ft from your local DIY merchant, for me this was B&Q. I cut them to shape, and I cut them long enough to protect the bowsprit (hopefully), then I glued the hulls to the bases.

 Base attached.
By the way, I've cut out 4 more gun ports to upgrade her armaments from 14 to 18 Gun. She seemed a little under gunned, the real HMS Sophie was a 18 gunner.

Next I drill any holes that need drilling, Although termed as Sloop of War, I'm making Brigs, so 2 holes for the masts, 1 for the bowsprit and 6 for the cannons in the fore and aftcastle. The holes for the cannon need not be deep, just enough to ensure a good bond when gluing.

Test fitting mast.
Test fitting cotton bud cannon.
This is why I stack card on top of each other to make the hull, when it's time to fit the masts, it's a secure bond,  when glued.

I cut thin strips of backing board, about 2mm thick, to add detail to the sides of the ship, I do this for both sides. I added detail inside the hull, a strip of card to cover the fore and aft castle, where the card stacking shows. Added steps 2 sets front and back. Also little squares on the fore and aftcastle, to break up the flatness of the decking.

Hull detail.
Time to add the cannons. I use the shafts of cotton buds for the cannon, not ideal and way out of scale, but for gaming they are easy to see and I think it adequately represents the cannons.
Tip: I recommend you buy a pack of cotton buds for modelling purposes, the wife can get quite irate if half the bathroom cupboard ends up as models. Believe me...I know :)

Cannons attached.
I cut some more thin strips, same size as before to go along the top rail of the hull. This completes the hull and adds strength to the cannons on the top decks.
At this point I coat the edges of the card i.e all the white parts in watered down PVA. Stops the black layer pealing away from the bottom, and the PVA fills any small gaps.
This part is fiddly, if using super glue, like me, you may super glue the model to your me.

Adding Strips.
Now for the bow. Cut a thin piece of card and stick it to the end of the ship, so the bow has a staight edge to sit on. Cut out the bow shape and stick to more card, cut around again so bow is 2 cards thick, and glue to the front of the ship.

Cut thin card again, around 2mm... and cut for the supports, sorry don't know the correct term, as show in second pic below.

Bow fixed.
Bow with supports.
For the bowsprit, you'll need a bamboo skewer and a cocktail stick. Cut them to desired length. Cut little notches out of each piece so the sit well and glue them together. When dry, wrap thin strips of paper around the join, covered in PVA glue, to help support them. Then stick to the hull, Add a thin strip of card and support bowsprit to the bow, as show in pics.

Bowsprit attached.
Cut another piece of cocktail stick to desired length, for a spar on the bowsprit, then attach with super glue, once dry wrap thin strips of paper around the joint to support and cover paper with PVA glue. Ship is now ready for painting

Ready for painting.

That's it for now, I will be back in a couple of days, when I've done the other 3 ships to this stage, for the masts and Sails!!!!

Take Care.