Category Archives: Pirates

‘Blood & Plunder’ pirate game on exquisite terrain

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Last night I played my first game of Blood & Plunder by American company, Firelock Games. Blood & Plunder is a 28 mm historical miniatures wargame set in the 17th century during the golden age of piracy.

When Alix Barclay showed me his exquisite Blood & Plunder figures a few weeks ago, I was instantly hooked, even though I already own a Foundry pirate force.

I quickly bought a small French force, which I am currently painting (to be the subject of a future posting), and I have also ordered a Dutch force from Firelock Games’ latest ‘No Peace Beyond the Line’ Kickstarter project.

Last night was a first go at the rules, so Alix and I kept things pretty basic.  We just played a small skirmish on the shore at one end of the table, with everything else just providing a suitably luscious scenic backdrop.

Anyone familiar with me knows that I am not really a rules person, what with my really bad head for numbers, so that I never remember what dice I am supposed to be rolling. throwing. But the basics of this game seem relatively straight forward.

We were hosted by Matt Barker of Printable Scenery, who put together an amazing Caribbean scene featuring a lot of his company’s products. The buildings, bridges, a galleon, wharves, a crane, even a mangrove swamp, were all designed by Printable Scenery and run off on Matt’s 3D printer.

The only non-Printable Scenery items on the table were my own Disney ‘Black Pearl’ toy converted into a Dutch ship, and a couple of my toy longboats.

Whilst this was just a small test game, the terrain we played on was of the highest quality, and would have done any wargames show proud! Here are just a few photos to give a general impression of this beautiful first game of Blood & Plunder.

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These last three photos were taken by Alix Barclay.

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Filed under Blood & Plunder, Pirates, Terrain

Painting a 3D-printed Caribbean building

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‘Arrr, me ‘earty – that thar 3-D printin’ is sure makin’ inroads into wargamin’, ain’t it!’ And especially so for terrain, as shown by this exciting new model from Printable Scenery for my 28mm pirate gaming.  3d-printable-wargame-house65

Matt from Printable Scenery asked if I could do a blog posting showing how to paint this first model in his new range of Caribbean building files, which I was very pleased to do. The painting didn’t take long – one day from start to finish.  Here’s how I went about it:

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The first step is to clean up any artifacts left over from the printing process, and then cover the whole model with black spray-paint. Apart from that, no other work was required to get the nice finish you see above.

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The model prints in three pieces, which means you can view the interior of each floor. So the interiors also received a black undercoat.

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The two storeys now received a light spray paint of sand colour (I used Tamiya model spray). I sprayed this in quick sweeps from above, so the remaining black undercoat would create the effect of shadows. The roof received a light spray too, but in a brick-red colour.

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The interiors also got the light sand-coloured spray treatment. I don’t worry about over-spray on the floor – this all gets fixed later on.

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Now comes my favourite step – dry-brushing the entire model with white. This really brings out the texture of the stone-work and tiles, and you start getting a feel of what the final product will look like.

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I picked out some of the stonework with a yellow-ochre colour, then dry-brushed over it with white. The chimney has also been painted ochre and dry-brushed white.

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I slapped some sky-blue paint onto all the windows and doors. As you can see, I was quite rough and ready with this job, but that doesn’t matter, as the next steps clean this up.

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I coated all the blue windows in earth-coloured ink wash, and also inked in some of the shadowed areas in the stonework, such as under the arches. I then used my trusty white dry-brushing over all the windows – hey presto, sun-bleached light blue frames and shutters!

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I picked out some random tiles with a range of colours, then game the whole roof another quick white dry-brush, before washing the whole roof with the earth-coloured ink to tone down the different shades.

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The final step was to paint the interior. I dry-brushed white the previously sand-coloured walls. The furniture and window frames were mainly picked out with inks, but also a small amount of painting, for example the bottles and jars on the shelves. The floor received a wash of black ink to bring out the floorboard detail.

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So there you have it, a perfect building for pirate games! Though, of course, this type of house could have many other uses – the Peninsular War springs to mind, or Maximilian’s Mexican Adventure, the Spanish Civil War, or even colonial games.

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Here’s the rear of the building, as seen from a ship tied alongside the wharf. Matt designed the building in a semi-fortified state, with boarded and bricked windows on the ground floor as you would find is times of war and civil unrest. There is limited access on the ground floor, but lots of firing positions on the upper floors. Perfect for a last stand!

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I’m really looking forward to seeing what other buildings Matt adds to Printable Scenery’s Caribbean range. I’ve plied him with photos of real buildings from Havana (Cuba), as well as pictures from the Disneyland ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride – let’s see if any of these come to fruition!

For those who wish to know, the building was printed on a Prusa MK2, using ABS filament. It cost about US$8 to print. Each section took about ten hours, so was printed overnight. It was printed it at .2 layer height at slow speed. I got it as a raw print, not treated at all, but just primed in Warlord black primer.

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Filed under Pirates, Terrain, Uncategorized

I should be dead …

lead mountain

There’s a wargaming superstition that if you reach the bottom of your ‘lead mountain’  of unpainted figures, you’ll die.  Well, I’ve been at the bottom of my lead mountain for a few weeks now, and I’m pleased to say that I’m still hale and hearty!

I’ve had several projects on the go over the last few years, but all have now either concluded, or are awaiting the manufacture of new figures.

 

Samurai:  I’ve painted two opposing factions (or ‘buntai’) for 28mm skirmish gaming, and made a lot of terrain.  But I seem to have used up all my enthusiasm for this period in getting this far.  No other possible factions really interest me.  And I have no intention of taking this period beyond skirmish anyway. So I’ve got enough figures and terrain for now.

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Pirates:  This project has been pretty well completed for some time now.  We only play with smallish units anyway, so adding more figures to my already more-than-enough collection would be overkill.

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18th century ‘imagi-nation’:  I’ve painted all the units that were in the film ‘Barry Lyndon’, so the next step in this project would be to paint some totally fictional units.  I’ve always fancied the green and red uniforms of the Russians.  Whilst such a unit would be imaginary, it would seem stupid not to paint actual Russian figures rather than simply re-colour the uniforms of some other nation.  However, my manufacturer-of-choice for this project, Minden Miniatures, doesn’t do Russians yet.  So this project is now on hold until they do (in 2015, I’m told).

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Napoleonics:  I’ve got more than enough battalions of British, French, Portuguese and Spanish to play a reasonable Napoleonic game.  Adding more will be just repetitive, and I never use all my units at once anyway.  I’ve also got hordes of individually-based ‘big men’ for leading my troops under the ‘Sharp Practice’ rules – but as most of them haven’t even seen action yet, no more are required.

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Colonial New Zealand Wars:  I’ve now got a couple of sides sufficient for  large skirmish games.  Like my Napoleonics, adding to them at the moment would be just ‘more of the same’, for which I really have no need.  However, this is  period dear to my heart, so if Empress Miniatures ever make anything else for this period, I’ll be in like Flynn!

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Victorian science fiction:  I’ve only painted one unit for this, and it is barely Victorian science fiction, being a French Foreign Legion unit as they appeared during Maximilian’s Mexican Adventure.  But I just can’t drum up any more enthusiasm to continue with this project.

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American Civil War:  I have a couple of miscellaneous units painted up , but this period doesn’t interest me enough to buy any more.

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What about starting a completely new period, then?  Well, I hate being at the start-point of a project.  There is nothing out there that is calling to me sufficiently to overcome the hurdle of starting from scratch.

So, where does that leave me?  Well, I’m seeing his as a holiday from painting.  I think I’ll just wait out until either Minden Miniatures (for my Russians), or Empress Miniatures (for new NZ Wars figures) come through.

Another possibility is to do some vignettes to decorate the battlefield, especially for my Napoleonics.  Perry Miniatures and Westfalia are currently making some very nice wagons and other background stuff, such as this lovely little sutler’s cart.

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So, I aten’t dead yet!

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Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Eighteenth century, Napoleonics, Pirates, Samurai, Victorian Sci-Fi

Pirate raid in Kapiti

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Today I put on a pirate display at the Kapiti Wargames Club’s open day.  I say ‘display’, because it wasn’t a game as such, but just an excuse to lay out as much of my piratical terrain and figures as I could, in a static display piece.  

I guess I could’ve just as easily played a game on the terrain, but I was too lazy to do so.  Anyway, I just wanted to enjoy talking to the club members and any other spectators, and convincing people that good terrain needn’t be too complicated. 

The display was very much ‘Hollywood’ rather than ‘History’, with various anachronisms evident (eg a Napoleonic landing party in a Golden Age of Piracy game from a totally different century), and some definite confusion in architectural styles (ranging from a Spanish Main village to an American colonial boat-house and church).  

I took a pile of pictures, so here they are for your enjoyment.  They’re all quite large photos, so that you an click on them to get the full-size effect.

IMG_lg_1941An island, somewhere in the Spanish Main.  The terrain is a bunched up felt gaming cloth arranged over a commercial sea terrain mat, with some judicious use of real rocks and sand.  Simple, but eye-catching.

IMG_lg_1964Teddy-bear fur provided some fields of wheat.  Does wheat grow in the Caribbean?  Who cares? … this is Hollywoood, remember!

IMG_lg_1963This was a great excuse to drag out my home-made Napoleonic Peninsular War village, and the Perry civilians for that period.

IMG_lg_1962My Royal Navy longboat rows past a Dutch merchantman to battle the pirate invasion.

IMG_lg_1960The Renadra dilapidated barn kitset made a perfect boat-shed, just by adding some ladders and broken fences as ramps.

IMG_lg_1959To any small kids who viewed the table (and there were quite a few), I gave the mission of finding the pirate treasure.  Looking carefully, they would soon spot this cave …

IMG_lg_1958Outside the town the local garrison are on parade in front of the town worthies … little knowing that a pirate raid is eventuating beneath their very noses.

IMG_lg_1957The Dutch merchantman has now been overtaken by the navy boat as it heads round the point to engage the pirates.

IMG_lg_1955And whilst the pirates attack one side of the island, smugglers are busy on the other coast, moving their contraband inland on a convoy of wagons.

IMG_lg_1953The peaceful churchyard – one of two religious institutions on the island.

IMG_lg_1952And meanwhile the garrison continues its preening and parading in front of the ladies …

IMG_lg_1951… and the ladies continue their preening in front of the handsome officers.

IMG_lg_1950But some soldiers are hard at work at the fort on the point, firing the first shots at the pirate fleet.  The fort is a simple plastic toy I bought at a bring-and-buy.

IMG_lg_1949Some of the pirates have landed, disturbing a trio of young ladies who have been picnicking on the beach under the twirling sails of the (Grand Manner) windmill.

IMG_lg_1948The pirate fleet – including a scratch-built brig by my friend Scott, and my own converted Disney ‘Black Pearl’.

IMG_lg_1945If you look carefully, you’ll see a man praying at his father’s grave in the country churchyard.

IMG_lg_1944Another look at that fat Dutch merchantman – the fat ship, not the fat merchant!  This ship was originally a plastic toy in a boxed game, though it has been given a heavy makeover.

IMG_lg_1943Meanwhile the smugglers are making their way over the bridge and up to the village to dispose of their contraband.  The river, road and bridge are by Australian company Miniature World Makers.

IMG_lg_1940Here’s another look at those pirates landing on the beach, almost under the guns of the fort.

IMG_lg_1939The pirates’ flagship waits off-shore, ignoring the puny gun in the small fort on the point.

IMG_lg_1938One of the the lookouts in the fort tower is blowing the alarum trumpet.

IMG_lg_1937It’s a good thing this is Hollywood rather than History, otherwise that skeleton pirate would be right out of place.

IMG_lg_1936The table attracted a lot of interest right through the day, despite it being a static display.  The longboat is a terrific model by Britannia Miniatures.

IMG_lg_1935Here’s that boat-shed again.  You can also see how a sprinkling of real sand makes an effective touch.

IMG_lg_1934Life goes on in the the higgledy-piggledy village on the hill.

IMG_lg_1933Oh dear, they’re STILL parading.  Haven’t they heard the alarum yet?

IMG_lg_1932Nope, I guess not.

IMG_lg_1947Here’s a couple of the other games we put on … Scott and Paul did a great Flames of War game, with plenty of action.  They even had the screaming sound effect whenever the Stuka made an appearance.

IMG_lg_1946Stephen and Steve put on a lovely 15mm Seven Years War game.

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Filed under Britannia Miniatures, Foundry, Minden Miniatures, Moonlight Miniatures, Perry Miniatures, Pirates, Terrain

Old Stuff Day

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March 2 is Old Stuff Day.  OK, so I’m a day late here in New Zealand, but as it is still March 2 in some parts of the world (I’m looking at you, America!), I think I’m still alright to post this.

So, what is Old Stuff Day?

“On this day, each blogger can go through their history and find posts that they’d like to shake the dust off and present again to the community at large. Some suggestions for content that would be good to post: 

– Posts that you considered special that didn’t receive as much attention as you thought they deserved

– Content that people liked in the past, but haven’t seen recently

– Posts you might have created before your site received much traffic, and now deserve to be reshown

– Or any content you’re particularly proud of!”

So here’s some of the old stuff on my blog that I’m particularly proud of:

Trumpeting on about my forebear

This was the first in a series of posts that I did on my family history. While reading other people’s family histories can sometimes be a little boring, I thought this particular character in my lineage would be fascinating to others besides myself – especially on a military history/wargaming site – as he was a trumpeter in Napoleon’s army.

Uniform of a trumpetter of the 12th Draggons

More on my father’s Dutch war service

As the title suggests, this was the second of a couple of postings about my dad. I thought this might be of interest to my mainly Anglo-centic readers, as my Dad’s war service was in one of the smaller European players of WW2.

My father is on the left of this picture, in the front row.  Note the red cross emblem on his collar, showing his service in the Medical Troops.

A fantastic landscape diorama – and I do mean fantastic

This posting constantly sits in the list of my most visited postings.   It features an amazing diorama in the Netherlands.  I think it is particularly inspirational in showing the effectiveness of the dimension of height in a diorama – so often they are very flat.

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One of the nicest wargames terrains I’ve ever seen

This is another much-visited posting, again on terrain.  It was instrumental in starting one the most popular wargaming blogs around. My posting featured Joe’s amazing Old West town, and it got so many hits that Joe realised he was missing out on something not having his own blog, and thus Colonel O’Truth’s Miniature Issues was born.

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My Minden miniatures finally based

This posting was one of quite a number about my ongoing project to paint 18th century army along the lines of the movie Barry Lyndon. The pictures in this posting came out rather well, I thought, despite just being posed on my old painting board in the garden.

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My Barry Lyndon armies

And this is the post in which I first established my Barry Lyndon ‘imagi-nation’. I refer to this posting quite often to remind myself what I had in mind for this project, and to re-inspire myself with the magic of the movie.

Gale's Regiment of Foot in the movie 'Barry Lyndon'

Photos of finished colonial New Zealand wars figures and terrain

This posting includes some of my favourite shots of my New Zealand Wars armies.  The model kiwi terrain in the background of some of the shots also caught people’s interest.

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A pirate’s life for me

This posting features a niche period I’ve dabbled in, and that has been a lot of fun. Many visitors to my blog obviously also share my delight with pirates (however nasty they might have been in real life!), as this remains a very popular posting.

My favourite battle painting

Another really popular posting. I’m really pleased with the way this one turned out, particularly with the clarity of the detail pictures I took from the painting.

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Is history important?

An under-rated posting?  Well, this posting was my attempt to be a bit controversial. While it caused a little bit of interest at the time, overall it slipped under he radar for most visitors.

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Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Eighteenth century, Empress Miniatures, Family history, Foundry, Minden Miniatures, Napoleonics, Pirates, Uncategorized, Wild West, WW2

Upgrading Warhammer plastic trees

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve used Warhammer trees to represent (vaguely!) the New Zealand bush for my Maori vs British/ colonial battles.

At that stage I only had four of these trees – hardly enough to depict the bush-clad terrain that so many battles were fought over duing the colnial New Zealand Wars.  So I jumped at the chance to buy another eight trees when they came up on the TradeMe auction site  (by the way, once the seller and I made contact, it coincidently turned out I knew him, not through wargaming, but through work!).

I started by assembling the trees, then spray-coating them with a dark base colour (my first batch was black, the second brown – if I did it again, I’d stick to black).  I then used Devlan Mud wash on the trunks, and finished them by dry-brushing with grey.

For the foliage, I used the standard Foundry triple-set of green.  I applied a coat of Devlan Mud between the base and middle coats, which brought out the grooves in the leaves.

I then stuck the trees onto some small plywood bases I have lying around.  I further decorated the bases with pieces of plastic bracken (which I bought from the Christmas department in Ballentynes in Christchurch last year) and some paper ferns from Right Track.

The last step was my standard base texture method – PVA glue, dipped in a mixture of different grained sands and crushed shell.  I don’t believe in painting my bases after texturing, so once dotted with a little static grass – voila! –  the project was complete, and the bush ready to be populated by warlike Maori warriors!

I propose to use these trees for more than just the colonial New Zealand Wars.  For example, I think they’re not too weird for any period set around the Mediterranean – eg southern Spain during the Peninsular War.  And I must say they would be ideally suited to depict a Caribbean jungle for my Foundry pirates to skirmish in, as depicted below (though the typical New Zealand cabbage trees dotted amongst the Warhammer trees in this photo  might not be so appropriate for the Spanish Main!):

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Filed under Foundry, GW Warhammer, Pirates, Terrain

Pirate game on lovely portside terrain

 

I had a very enjoyable pirate game today, hosted by Scott Bowman, and using his impressive new port terrain.   It was a three-way battle: Scott, Brett Mudgway and myself, all out for ourselves (somewhat akin, though on a grander scale, to that scene in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, where the three main characters are all threatening each other on the sandy shoal).

The game didn’t start too well for me, with my quartermaster blasted to the ground by a cowardly grenade.  And it pretty well went downhill from there, with most of my crew fighting rather ineffectually and gradually being picked off one by one. 

One pirate remained worth her salt, though.  The Dread Lady Pirate Barbarella, fierce despite her Kate Perry-ish pink and sky blue costume, managed to scone two of Brett’s characters, including Squire Trelawny himself. 

The end of the battle was a major no-holds-barred fight between Brett’s and my crews, whilst Scott (our host, remember?) merely arranged his men into a firing line and peppered our fray with bullets, not caring which of our innocently-fighting sailors they hit. 

By the end of the game, six out of my eight crew had been wounded or otherwise incapacitated.  Fortunately only one of them was killed outright – poor Jean le Bonk was committed to the deep after his first-ever fight.  The rest of the crew eventually came to, stood up and brushed off their clothes, ready to fight again one day soon … revenge will be ours!

Great game, and very good company.  Wargaming just the way I like it – no rules lawyering nor historical detail fanaticism.  Wonderful and light-hearted. Many thanks to Scott for hosting the game, and for spending all week creating this amazing terrain to be ready for today’s bash. 

Here are a couple of the great photos Scott took.  He has posted tons more photos of the game on his wargaming blog

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Filed under Foundry, Moonlight Miniatures, Pirates