Monday, January 31, 2011

Make Yer Mark To Join Me Crew

Four more piratey-types are ready for the game table.  Despite the wonderful weather calling my name for the last few days, I was still able to complete these scallywags in time to meet my monthly miniature goal.

This port is full of rascals.

From left to right: Henry Duvalier, Preston Gibbs, Jim-lad, and Don Rodriego.

I am fairly pleased with the way these seadogs came out except for the fact that once again one of the Artizan miniatures is showing casting imperfections around joints and interfaces.  And just like the last batch I did not catch the flaw until too late.  Even if I had, I am not quite sure what I could do about it.  The areas are too small and difficult to reach to try to re-sculpt with greenstuff and good luck getting a file down there.  I'll be a bit more diligent if I buy more from Artizan and if I see a repeat of the flaw, perhaps I'll try a bit of PVA glue to act as a filler before priming and painting.

The first rascal to sign the ship's articles this week is a young rake named James Monroe.  The crew simply calls him Jim-lad however and the young man seems to enjoy his new name.  He served for a time as cabin boy aboard a merchant vessel but wasted no time jumping ship and turning pirate when his vessel was captured.  Though young and not yet grown to maturity he is already making a name for himself on the high seas.  And don't let his boyish looks deceive you.  Jim-lad has already put three men to the knife and bedded several wenches......all before his sixteenth nameday.

Jim-lad, aka Mickey Cooke from Artizan Miniatures.

Artizan calls the miniature "Mickey Cooke" and it comes in the Juan Corso's Buccaneers pack.  The sculpt is fairly nice (despite the flaw I spoke about above) except for the legs.  They look a bit too slight to me when compared to the rest of the body.  Though "Mickey" sports a nice pot belly that one is more apt to find on an older man, I find that due to the size and face, he makes for a great cabin boy. Perhaps he is just a well-fed cabin boy.....

Jim-lad and his small legs.

Next in line to make his mark is Don Rodrigo de Coruna.  Little is known of his past save that the Spaniards both love and fear him for some deed performed in defense of San Juan.  The Spanish Crown has given him Letters of Marque that basically amount to a blank check.  He pillages the shipping of other countries at will and has even been known to sack a Spanish town from time to time when his luck and provisions run low.  Though his countrymen back in Spain call him a hero, those that live in the New World call him "Diablo"....a name that it is rumored Rodrigo has grown quite fond of.

Don Rodrigo de Coruna.

Artizan produces this miniature as well and can be found in the same pack as the one above.  In fact, this is the Juan Corso figure.  I very much enjoyed painting this mini due to the flares, nooks, and crannies.  I'm certainly not the greatest painter around by any means but when sculptors give me ample folds and high spaces to help me shade and highlight, the outcome is better than average for me.

Artizan calls this miniature Juan Corso.

I was able to try a new technique on this model and I must say, I'm quite pleased with the result.  Painting all these pirates, I was quickly growing tired of black or dark brown boots.  Lighter shades of brown did not look realistic to me however.  On a whim, I decided to basecoat these boots with Oiled Leather (Reaper) and then apply progressive glazes of Dark Skin (also from Reaper).  The result was a boot that not only had great shading, but looked like soft and supple leather to the eye.  I also used this technique on the boots worn by Cain after finishing the boots on Rodrigo first.

The final two new pirates are both from Black Scorpion.  These guys have been sitting around for a bit (along with several others from the line) and I've been eagerly awaiting to get to them.  Though some of the sculpts look to be a bit on the fantasy side, I'm quite happy to have them in my collection.

First, meet Preston Gibbs (I'm sorry but I HAD to use the name since the resemblance to Gibbs from the movie was uncanny).  Preston has served aboard ships plying the Caribbean since he was a lad.  Good humored and full of wit, he is a favorite with the crew no matter what ship he is sailing with at the time.  Gibbs is also a free spirit and drifts about the ports of the West Indies, quite literally going where the wind blows.  His whims and flights of fancy also includes his loyalties.  Though not known to betray his current captain and crew, it is certainly not uncommon for Preston to sign on with another ship, country, or even side, once he returns to port.  He was last seen serving aboard a privateer vessel operating out of Bermuda.

Preston Gibbs ready for boarding action.

As mentioned above, this miniature from the Able Seamen 1 pack from Black Scorpion reminded me of Kevin McNally who played Joshamee Gibbs in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.  It was tempting to paint him up just like the character in the movies but although I "borrowed" the name for my game, I'm not a complete pirate, so I tired to be original here.  I like the sculpt but I was not crazy about the large axe.  It borders on the heroic scale used by GW and Reaper to represent weapons on their models.  However, the large size did not bother me enough to go through the trouble of converting it to a more realistic boarding axe.

Preston Gibbs and his striped stockings.

I really like the stockings I painted on Gibbs.  I'm not sure how historically accurate these are, but the striped version shows up commonly enough in movies and print that I could not resist trying it.  I had a very difficult time trying to tone down the whites and reds however...especially since they were next to the shorts that I painted a worn linen color.  A very light glaze of Gryphonne Sepia (Games Workshop) seemed to do the trick though.

The last in line to sign the manifest is Henry Duvalier.  Henry is a French privateer known throughout the West Indies as a lover of women and hunter of pirates.  With his red hair, dashing good looks, and timely attire, it is no wonder that the daughters of every prominent family on an island are locked away when his ship comes to port.  Despite their best efforts, and because of his, many a maiden has succumbed to Henry's advances.

Henry Duvalier is quite dashing.

He is just as deadly with pistol and sword as with sweet words however, and many pirate can attest to that.  Captain Duvalier patrols the waters of the Caribbean in search of sea robbers and offers them naught but a swift end.  He is rightly feared by the brethren of the coast.  If the tales be true, the crew of a pirate sloop about to be captured by Duvalier ran themselves aground on a reef and braved drowning rather than face the wrath of the Frenchman.

Henry Duvalier is without equal in close combat.

This mini is also available from Black Scorpion and can be found in their Privateers 1 pack.  Just like Gibbs above, this particular sculpt reminded me of a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl.  I was tempted to paint the mini to resemble the way Will Turner was dressed in the final scenes of the movie.  But once again I decided to go an original route.  As I painted the figure, his background began to form in my head (as is often the case when I paint miniatures) and I slowly changed my plan of attack from a rough scoundrel painted with dark somber colors to a flamboyant privateer strutting his stuff.  I'm glad for the change as I think Henry Duvalier certainly fits his character.

How many of you paint miniatures this way?  Do you have a background in mind before you start or is it governed by the painting process itself?

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