Wednesday, February 02, 2011

On The Horizon for February

January has come to an end and a new month is upon us.  Despite being sick with the flu for the first two weeks of the year I was able to accomplish quite a bit on the hobby front.  No less than nine pirates were completed with several others started and in various stages of completion.  Had I not been sick for the first part of the month I would have almost doubled my output.  As it stands now however, I'm still well on track to meet my goal of 100 miniatures by the end of the year.  With work picking up as the weather warms and  tourist season drawing ever closer, I can only hope to keep up the pace.

With my well-documented Hobby ADD, I try to plan ahead to help me focus on my goals.  My plan for February is to continue with the Legends of the High Seas project.  Getting more pirates and some scenery on the table is my priority for the month.  But as usual, I have quite a few side projects going on at the same time.  As you can see below, more than pirates are occupying my time.  A few LotR figures along with several Reaper models are in the slow process of coming to life.  There is even one Cadian miniature in the queue.  He is to be the test model for a paint scheme I have in mind for next month's project - March of the Cadians!

Mixed with the pirates are 5 Reaper, 2 LotR, and 1 Cadian.

Several of the models are already nearing completion and I hope to finish at least eight of them in the next week.  In doing so, I will have met the monthly average I need to complete to meet my year end goal.  Having more painted faces on my hobby desk smiling at me while I work will relieve some of the pressure and allow me to divert a bit of time towards a few other projects I would like to start this month.

Several models nearing completion.

One of those projects will be ship building.  Back in November and December, I went on an Ebay quest to find suitable ship models for Legends of the High Seas.  Through several lucky bids, I was able to score three sets of the Weapons and Warriors pirate game for very little investment.  Most of the items included in the boxed sets can be easily converted for 28mm play for much less than purchasing the resin purpose-built ships several companies are offering.  The ships in the set are eight inches long and qualify as a "small" ship according to the LotHS rules.  I find them quite suitable for play as far as realistic looks and miniature egress on the decks go.

Weapons and Warriors pirate ship under conversion.

To get the ships ready for play, several plastic moldings have to be carefully removed though.  With all the plastic chunks missing the deck will then have to be repaired.  One could use greenstuff to fill in the holes then re-sculpt the "wood grain" pattern to hide the evidence or completely resurface the deck with balsa wood.  At this point, I plan on pursuing the second course.  Sculpting is not one of my strong points and I do not want to spend loads of time blending patterns on the putty to match the original decking.  Plus, once I make a template for the first ship it will be easy to replicate the decks and outfit the other five vessels.

Painting should be fairly simple.  Black primer then lots of drybrushing with browns and grays is the plan.  I am unsure of what I'm going to do about the masts however.  The plastic masts, spars, and sails could be repainted and weathered to look more realistic or I could simply build my own from wooden dowels and cloth.  I'll do a bit of surfing on the web and see if any other modelers have come up with a good solution.

Playmobile pirate ship hull.

I was also able to find a beautiful hull by Playmobile for a quite a steal.  I think I paid less than ten dollars, including the shipping.  I'm not sure of the price if purchased new and with all the accessories, but from what I've seen in the stores, ten dollars was a great price.

To get this ship ready for the high seas I don't think I will need to remove anything.  Monstly I will be adding details such as decking and superstructure.  Balsa decks, dowels for masts, and maybe a balsa sterncastle and she will be looking quite fearsome indeed.  Her larger size will contrast nicely with the smaller ships and allow for more pirates on board.  She is quite beamy and is 12 1/2 inches long, qualifying her as a "medium" sized vessel according to the rules.

Six of the eight ships comprising the fleet.

I've also been working an another medium sized ship made of balsa, foamboard, and pink insulation.  I started the project before I decided to convert the toys I found online.  Although the purchased products look better and are stronger/more sturdy, I really have an issue with not completing what I started.  I think I will continue building her and see what happens.  Who knows, maybe the ship will surprise me and become my favorite of the fleet.

Toy palm trees that came with the Weapons and Warriors set.

In addition to the miniatures and ships, February will be focused on making the necessary terrain for Legends of the High Seas.  I have several buildings under construction (I'll post pictures soon) as well as various other bits of scenery like the palm trees above.  The palms by the way, are some of the ones included in the Weapons and Warriors set.  In their original form the trees look rather bland and well....plastic.  To bring them to life, I cut off the fat bases (and in some cases separated the trees from one another) and glued them to wooden platforms.  Rather than repainting each tree, I decided to leave the color as is but added shading with paint washes.  Dark Green (from GW) was used liberally on the fronds providing an acceptable amount of shading with little effort.

After I shade the trucks with Delvan Mud (GW), I'll finish off the bases with some sand and low foliage.  I'd also like to make a few coconuts but I have not thought of a quick and easy process to replicate them yet.

A pirate seeks relief from the tropical sun.

 Though these particular palms were based and partially shaded as a test, I think I will be quite happy with them once completed.  I purchased the Weapons and Warriors sets for the ships and consider the palms, along with the rowboats and block houses that come with the game (photos coming soon), a huge bonus.  To be honest, I did not even know they were included in the game.  Now that I see a glimpse of the outcome once fully painted, I'm even happier with the purchases.  The scale is almost perfect for this type of palm tree (they look like the palms right outside my front door) and once I combine them with other types of tropical plants and trees, I think I will have a fairly convincing pirate port or tropical island.

So that's my game plan for this month.  What are your gaming/hobby plans for February?

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