Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New buildings finished for the growing Port

I finished painting my latest two buildings for my growing Port.

I played about with Photoshop to create a simple sign for my "Shoppe" deciding instead to turn it into a Chandler, named for my son.

And along side it the double door-ed dockside ware/store house.

The Quartermaster finds where he can find supplies.

And a few shots of my growing port town. Some of the buildings at the back are my earlier attempts at medieval buildings, so some have thatched roofs. They may be a bit out of place for the Caribbean, but I imagine might suit an English port of the period?

More to come...

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Pyrates

The Pyrates by George MacDonald Fraser.

For those who love things of a pirate nature, this is a cracking read, and will have you in the mood for getting out those pirate models and rolling some dice. Well worth a look.

From the back of the book cover:-

"The Pyrates is all the swashbucklers that ever were, rolled onto one great Technicoloured pantomime - tall ships and desert islands, impossibly gallant adventurers and glamorous heroines, buried treasure and Black Spots, devilish Dons and ghastly dungeons, plots, duels, escapes, savage rituals, tender romance and steaming passion, all to the accompaniment of ringing steel, thunderous broadsides, sweeping film music, and the sound of cursing extras falling in the water and exchanging period dialogue. Even Hollywood buccaneers were never like this."

Firmly tongue in cheek stuff. Grab a copy if you can, you won't regret it.

Pirate progress pictures

Some more pictures of progress as promised after tonight's work:

The second small sloop, just showing the card sides being added, and then the balsa being added, strip by strip. Its actually thinner than I originally thought, it's 0.8mm thick, cut into roughly 5mm wide strips.

The Metal figure is just for scale - it is a LOTR dunlending 28mm. Still he looks wildly pirate like in his own way perhaps?

Here's the first small sloop, now pretty much finished, just awaiting painting. I cut the holes for the cannons, added the deck grate and pinned into position the wheel. I am probably going to leave the wheel removable to allow movement of figures on deck as it's quite a cramped little sloop. With the two cannon present I may struggle to stand 8 Pirate crew on deck.

Here's the Brig, starting to get decked out as it were. All interior planking done, ladders added, windows added, cannon holes cut, doors added, deck grate added. Just now awaiting the masts to be added.

I am sorry this shot is sideways on, I think blogger has had one of its 'moments' or perhaps my gimp software is playing up? Anyway you can see how the stern windows look for the captains quarters.

I'll try and continue work this week and get some more colourful shots up this weekend. Fingers crossed.

Piracy continues!

I must first apologise for the lack of pictures in todays post.

This week has seen some rather unexpected developments on the home front, impinging on my hobby time, so I haven't got as much done as I would like, but work still continues gradually.

My Brig is now fully timber clad, and windows have been added to the stern. Just as I thought all was looking good, I took delivery of my first pack of ships cannons (3-6 lbers from Crusader Miniatures via Old Glory in US) - thanks to Brian Smaller for ordering, and dropping these off for me on Sunday. Now I have the cannons, I realise I will have to make some alterations to the positions of the portholes (is that what you call where the cannon sticks out?), to accommodate the cannons. Not a big job but a little more work.

I also want to elaborate on the ship with addition of railings, and add cargo deck grate covers now, again that I now have the guns for an idea of size.

I can also do the same to my original small sloop, not the railings, but deck grate certainly and cut holes for cannon. So my ships will be approaching completion soon I hope. I also managed to get some 10mm dowel to make masts for Brig.

The Shoppe and Warehouse have had their first coats of paint so they are about half finished now.

Also managed a second game with Brett Mudgeway on Saturday night. He had found his box of pirate goodies from 10 plus years ago... and came with a bunch of Foundry figures, a 12'long slim sloop, complete with huge cannons! Also a whale! Sperm Whale a la Moby Dick, but blue/grey not white. We'll have to come up with some rules for that. Anyone got any ideas, please shout up.

We played a game; Kidnap the Governors daughter. I was the defender with my Pirate Crew. I suppose in that circumstance, his Pirate crew were probably trying to steal her for themselves to get the ransom!
My Captain and three cuttroats with muskets held up in the 'Governors' residence, with the daughter, while my Quartermaster, 2 Mates and a rogue came in from the side. Cunning use of townsfolk as speed bumps and generally getting in the way, slowed up Bretts pirates and gave my crew some cover to get into position. I was going to run them to the residence, but ended up turning and intercepting half of Bretts Pirate crew. A couple of 2 onto 1's and some unlucky dice from Brett, and some decent rolls to kill from me saw several of his crew go down in a couple of turns, and with half his crew down he voluntarily routed. My Captain had a lucky break when Bretts Captain stuck his pistol through groundfloor window and would have had my captains head off - a Fate point turned this into a stung ear instead! ;-)

It's definitely a tricky one this scenario, for the attacker, having played it a couple of times.

Still, a good game we both enjoyed. It's quite simply wonderfully characterful...

We did go through the post game sequence just to see what sort of things can happen: Bretts mate went 'crazy' as a result of his in-game 'death', he also lost a couple of henchmen to 'He's dead Jim! ;-) '. My only casualty; my mate, was captured! Dastardly Brett chose to sell him to the authorities for bounty, although how exactly a pirate crew would managed to contact the authorities, to claim the bounty on another pirate, without getting caught themselves continues to mystify me!

We were hoping to use it as a first game for our campaign but I think with Brett still not being 100% with the rules (his rulebook has not arrived yet) for things like Heroic actions, and us fogetting to record exactly who killed who, we may just put this one down to practice.

Plus we are still trying to fully fathom the Henchman group rules, in terms of group experience etc. This is the only bit of the rules I found a little confusing. I have heard they are derived from the Mordhiem rules, but I have not played that so I am a little in the dark in that respect. A few questions to the LotHS yahoo group will hopefully clear this up.

Well that just about wraps up this post. I hope to press on with more work tonight when I get in from work and get some more pictures of progress up soon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

More Pirate Progress

More work during the week and a wet sunday, allowed more time for some more construction.

I managed to get more work done on my Brig and after the trials and tribulations with the size of the hull sides, I got them clad with 1mm balsa, cut into 5mm thick strips, and again bent with steam, for the bow of the ship. It's coming on nicely I think.

A dock is not complete without some port facilities and heres a start on a dock warehouse building, with double doors for moving cargo in and out.

A port will need stores selling goods to all and sundry, so heres is my first "shoppe" - it may be a general dealer, chandler, or apothecary, I haven't decided yet...

Finally realizing I may be hosting visiting pirate crews in need of a ship, I started another small sloop as per the first one I posted pics about. Heres a shot of how the decks line up before sides are added and cladding done. Besides a port needs several ships about to look right I think.

Work continues apace!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pirates Progress

I managed to finish off the paint job on my first three pirate themed buildings I've been making recently. I am quite pleased with how they have turned out.

I couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures, with some characterful figures alongside.

I dare say they may well be useful for other periods too, Renaissance period in general and probably Lord of the Rings for areas like Bree and other areas of human dwellings in Eriador.

I have a couple more buildings half assembled now, to continue with.

At the weekend I may hunt through the local $2 stores for plastic plants after a tip off from the Colonel O'Truth. These will help 'vegetate' my Caribbean world.

I've also been continue work on my Gary Chalk Brig. I ran into problems aligning the card hull sides. I am not sure what was intended but I found the template produced a hull side that was too low, not properly reaching the top level of the quarter deck and foredeck. So I used the template to make a larger template that I preferred the look of, and attached those instead. This gives me a barrier at the edge of the quarter deck and a small lip round side of foredeck. I intend to build both up with a wooden railing.

I also wasn't too pleased with the rounded decorative style of the stern from the template, and fashioned a simpler structure. I'll still add window effects using the same green mesh I made the windows with on the above buildings.

I must admit I'm thoroughly enjoying this project, and with PotC Stranger Tides released today, number one son & I are booked to see the movie at the cinema on Saturday :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Display cabinets

I finally got my display cabinets fully installed and wired up thanks to a local 'sparky' friend. Also secured to wall, so hope will with stand a wobble or two, that we can get in this part of the world.

They were ordered from Barrie at NZIW LTD in Auckland, and shipped flat packed to my home. It was quite an ordeal assembling them; instructions, yes I am a man but I read them!, were somewhat tricky, to figure out, but I got there in the end, and once I had figured out the first one, the second two were completed fairly quickly, with a little assistance; you nearly always need an extra pair of hands just to hold something, while you fit another part to it... I must admit I was constantly awaiting the sound of breaking glass, but thankfully it never came.

The last part was getting power to them and then fastening them to wall for security.

They came with Halogen lights, but I may look to switch to LED lights as these will be cheaper to run. However I will only have them switched on when I am using the room, which is not as frequently as I would like, so no worries really there.

Well they are up and full of the figures I have been busy with over the last 6 years or so. I can fit more in as needed, and get extra glass shelving too when the time comes that it is needed.

In the meantime, my unpainted hordes stare jealously at their potential new home!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Troll Chieftan

The Mordor Troll Chieftan, a great behemoth of a beast, intent on death and destruction.

A slightly tricky model to photograph for best effect as it has a very stooped forward pose. I tipped it on on a small prop to better view the face, although still somewhat in shadow.

I can't recall if a troll captain features explicitly in the books, but he makes a wonderful movie appearance fighting against Aragorn at the Black Gates at the end of the movie, The Return of the King.

Mordor Catapult

"As soon as the great catapults were set, with many yells and the creaking of rope and winch, they began to throw missiles marvelously high, so that they passed right above the battlement and fell thudding within the first circle of the City; and many of them by some secret art burst into flame as they came toppling down"
The Lord of the Rings, Book Five the War of the Ring, The Siege of Gondor.

The Mordor Catapult, assisted by a troll to load the heavy stone, that will crash against the City of Minas Tirith.

This will give my Mordor force some hard hitting artillery power from long range.

Pirate port takes shape

Over the past week I have made some progress on my pirate port and shipping.

In regards my small pirate sloop, I have attached the sails by 'stitching' them with yarn to the masts, and gluing over this with thinned PVA. The sails are made from cartridge paper, which is a thicker heavy gauge paper, sort of mid way between paper and thin card if I can put it that way. Its a bit stronger than regular paper, so you can pull it about a bit without it tearing, yet its still flexible as paper, rather than card.

I am awaiting the cannons, so I can get a feel for how much deck space they will take up before I add other detail, like ships wheel, and grated cargo hold cover.

I have also started assembling the medium brig from the Gary Chalk ship plans, here's the decks glued together.

I've also got some more work done on the buildings for the port. I added windows using a plastic mesh grid available from haberdashery stores, and 2mm thick balsa cut to strips for timber beams effects.

Finally the roof was clad with 1cm square thin card roof tiles. This was the lengthiest part of project by far. It took me all Saturday evening to clad the two small houses, and about 6 hours on Sunday to do the L-shaped house. That angle, was a real B*tch to work with!

Still they are done now and ready for paint.

I'd still like to make more general dock warehouse buildings, tavern(s) of course, shops and apothecary. A grander, 'Governors mansion' will also be required. And some sort of pirate hideout, and jail/fort type structure.

After chatting with Roly over a coffee on Saturday night, we came up with several ideas for developing land forms to go on to the sea area I have created;
'Treasure Island', pirate hideaway, dock/port with bridge over river mouth to extended town area, etc etc...

Its going to be a lot of work, but I hope the end result will be worth it.

It was interesting watching Sky TV tonight as they had a program on NatGeo, about Port Royal. Nice to see the costumes and more importantly the look of the buildings and town from 3d computer creation. Very interesting also to learn that they had shipped across large amounts of redbrick building materials from UK to Jamaica, and the town would have looked very much like Georgian England of the period.

Here are some pictures courtesy of SKY TVs Nat Geo program "Wicked Pirate City"

Blogger Outages

To folks who take an interest in my blog, recent blogger problems over the last weekend or so, seem to have have wiped some comments left on my blog posts. I am always grateful for comments, and I don't want you to think I have deleted them.
I hope you continue to enjoy my blog.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

So many periods, so little time...

A bit of a divergence from my normal style of blog posting.

After a recent and fortunate chance to get to play a fun and simple cowboys skirmish game on Joe Harrison's wonderful "Leadwood", and then seeing online a very impressive Napoleonic Naval and land game, I have become inspired once again to set to and start making terrain again...

A number of thoughts have come together; the quality and scale of Joe's town construction, the expanse of sea, as seen in the naval game with the glorious ships, the fact that the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie is due out shortly and my past enjoyment playing Legends of the High Seas, the Corsairs ship I made for Lord of the Rings, and a desire to recreate Osgiliath, and other Gondorian locations near water; Harlond, Cair Andros, and Pelargir...

What I came to realize is, if I cover my games table which is 12' x 6', with a new flat surface and paint this as the sea, I can then overlay various land areas to represent coastlines, island, docks and the like. This will allow for some wonderful pirate skirmish war-gaming, and assaults against the various coastal areas of Gondor.

So where there's a will, there's a way, and I have set to once again with scalpel, balsa, card and foamcard and have churned out several constructions over the last week or so.

I have converted a building I originally made as a church for ECW gaming, into a Gondorian style dock warehouse.

I have followed the template guide and made the basic small sloop from the back of the Legends of the High Seas rulebook. The hull and deck was relatively straight forward to do, and I had a browse through internet images of sloops to get an idea of how the masts and sails should look.

Obviously still a work in progress. I need to properly attach the sails with string, and finish rigging and add the wheel, and paint it up. Its fairly small, the hull is only 6" long, but it is perfect for a small starting-out pirate crew for the game.

I have made a start on 3 pirate style buildings, to go towards my Port Royal / Tortuga.

Much work still to do here. Add windows and doors, clad with balsa beams, add roof tiles, and paint.

And I have just finished cutting out the materials from the plans from the Gary Chalk pirate brigantine.

Oh and of course I have made the sea base for the games table.

It just needs a coat of varnish to finish off.

Here's my corsairs themed ship looking the part on its new sea. I must get the LOTR corsair crew fast tracked to the painting table!

I have also put together the three flat packed glass display cases I ordered from Barrie at NZIW Ltd.

This is them just assembled, they still need to have all the glass and mirrors cleaned and polished up, and lightbulbs added. I still have to figure out the best way to wire these up for the lighting, and secure them to the wall, to make them at least slightly 'quake proof.

Lets just say I think I am going to be rather busy over the coming year putting all this together.

Oh and I still have to finish the ACW confederates sitting on my painting table!

So many periods, so little time!
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