Monday, December 17, 2012

Pirate Profiles - Pascal

Though I have been focused quite heavily on fantasy miniatures and gaming, not to mention most recently LotR and The Hobbit, I have not given up on any of my (many) other pursuits.  Though the going has been slow since my hobby time has been divided by so many different projects, I have been able to complete (or nearly complete) several pirate miniatures for my Legends of the High Seas campaign.

Pictured above, is one such miniatures from Black Scorpion.  He is one of the four miniatures included in their Rogues 2 blister.  Fortunately I purchased him a good while back so he is metal and not their resin rubbish (sorry Black should have stayed with metal.  Your quality has gone done hill since the change over).  In metal, he is a wonderful sculpt.  I really liked the slightly hunched over look which makes the miniature look quite brutish.

With the simple color pallet I chose for him, he was pretty easy to paint.  The dark skin gave me a few issues though, but only because I have not practiced with dark skin tones much.  To help me with the new tones I used the Reaper Dark Skin triad and that seemed to work pretty well.  I still need more practice though and plan to paint another pirate figure in the near future using the same colors.

As I mentioned many times before, every miniature I paint gets some type of background treatment.  For armies, it may be something as simple as a name only but for others, they may get extensive back stories and full profiles.  I know it may sound strange, but thinking about such details actually helps me paint.  As I develop their story in my head, it drives the color selection and the overall theme I choose.  It even guides my brush  strokes in some instances.  Once the process begins it pretty much drives itself, which can be quite fun.  Though I may have ideas in mind when I purchase a miniature, I really never know in what direction the mini will take and in the end, the finished product may end up looking quite different from what I had envisioned in the beginning.

For instance, this miniature's unexpected journey began the moment I cleaned off the flash.  I had one profile in mind but once I started, the background took a very unexpected path and in turn, so did the miniature itself.  Below is his backstory I developed for him while painting:

Pascal hails from the Dahomey region of the Slave Coast in the Bight of Benin.  He was initially sold to an English slaver in 1710 and promptly loaded upon the Endeavor, a slave ship out of Bristol.  The Atlantic crossing was difficult for the human cargo as always but fortune would intervene for some of the slaves.  As the ship neared its destination of Barbados, the vessel was captured by the Courbet, a French pirate sloop out of Guadeloupe.  The French pirates looted the vessel of useable goods then chose twenty of the slaves on board to resell.  Pascal however, was chosen for other reasons.  His immense size and obvious strength impressed the French pirates so he was forced into service.

Pascal, as he was dubbed by the pirates since they could not pronounce his native name, quickly proved to be very useful and, unexpectedly, quite intelligent.  As one would expect, Pascal was devastating in action and just the sight of him brought fear to the unfortunate crews that happened upon the path of the Courbet.  However, despite his fearsome countenance, Pascal was rarely overly violent and provided just enough force to subdue his opponents with minimal bloodshed.  Indeed, the French crew began to see that just placing Pascal in a prominent position when approaching possible prizes would often times result in a successful capture without ever firing a shot.

Pascal easily learned the French language and picked up English as well from the few prisoners the pirates would hold from time to time.  One such long term prisoner, a forced surgeon from a British vessel, even taught Pascal to read and write and allowed the big man to assist him in his surgical duties.  Before long, Pascal was called upon to serve as quartermaster aboard the Courbet and often assisted the captain in matters dealing with the written word.

Pascal is an usual man in many aspects.  Perhaps his most unusual trait however is his love of animals.  Though he may appear to others as a big brute, he is anything but to the animals he encounters in his travels.  During his stay aboard the Courbet, Pascal befriended the ship's many cats and spent much of his free time caring for them.  He would forgo the looting of many captured prizes, instead spending his time searching belowdecks for books and pets.

The Courbet was eventually captured by rival pirates and the prize brought to Port Largo.  Most of the crew was given a short trial then hanged by Governor Haldane but Pascal and the ship's surgeon were spared.  The Governor, a notorious sponsor of illicit activities, had better plans for Pascal's talents.



  1. Whoa, missed this one. Very nice job as per your normal standard Scott. Love the striped pants and skin tones.

    1. Thanks Scott.

      He may look good but can he fight? Well, I hope to find out soon. I think it's time for a bit of piracy on the high seas over the holiday.