Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The People of Port Largo - 'Ello Governor

Although I have not posted much about the Port Largo pirate project lately, the miniatures, buildings, and ships are coming along quite nicely.  Four other minis are just about finished while the inn and a blacksmith's shop are not far behind.

Quite a few pirates are walking the streets of Port Largo and the ladies are doing their thing as well, but there has been a lack of other inhabitants (aside from a lonely barkeep) for the booming seaport.  Over the next few weeks that issue should be rectified.  In fact, the change starts today with the introduction of Governor Thomas Haldane.

Governor Haldane arrived in Port Largo in 1714 seething with indignity at having been posted to such a minor possession of the King.  Though he is from a fairly prosperous and influential family, his enemies back home sought to remove the Jacobite sympathizer from court and send him to the remote British outpost.  Once on the island however, Governor Haldane made the best of his predicament.  Thomas is heavily involved in the illegal trade on the island and has amassed quite a fortune through his interactions with the pirates and privateers of Port Largo.  Though the pirates and privateers know they have a high ranking ally in the Governor, they also are aware of his precarious nature.  At any moment, the tide may turn and a crew once under the employ of Haldane as privateers may become hunted pirates by the very man that initially empowered them.  A common question of ship captains as they dock in port, "Which way blows the Governor?" illustrates the uncertain loyalties of Thomas Haldane.

The miniature representing Governor Thomas Haldane is from Black Scorpion.  That should come as no surprise for regular readers of this blog.  I'm quite smitten with Black Scorpion and own most of their pirate range.  When I first saw this mini, I knew he was destined to be the Governor of Port Largo.  The sculpt has a close resemblance to a certain Governor from a certain Disney movie and fit the image of what I wanted in my game.  I was fortunate enough to purchase the miniature a few years ago when he was still available in metal (I'm not a fan at all of their resin products but that's a story for another time) but those seeking the mini now may not be so lucky.  

Painting was fairly simple.  I wanted a rich color that suggested wealth without looking too outrageous.  I basecoated the mini with GW Beastial Brown then worked up through several different layers of GW Snakebite Leather and GW Bubonic Brown.  The vest was painted using various cream colors and brown washes.  To add a bit of contrast and color, the scarf was painted using the ultramarine triad from Reaper.  The rest was fairly standard fare. 

My only complaint about the painting is the parchment roll.  From a tabletop standpoint, the writing looks just fine.  Now that I see a closeup photo however, my attempt at freehand looks pretty darn terrible....especially the red wax seal I tried to replicate on the bottom right hand side.  It looks like a big brown blob.  Oh well....

Despite his shortcomings as a miniature, I'm sure that Governor Thomas Haldane will make quite a impression on the island of Port Largo.  I can only hope that my crew remains in his good graces during the games of Legends of the High Seas.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ghost - The Direwolf of Jon Snow

It should come as no surprise to even occasional visitors to this blog that I am a huge fan of Dark Sword Miniatures.  Frequency of product release, quality of the miniatures, and great customer service are just some of the reasons that place DSM at the top of my list for miniature companies.  Probably the best attribute however is the sculpts of the miniatures themselves.  Action and emotion are both captured in most every pose while the proportions are quite realistic and believable.  There are very few figures on their website that I would not be proud to own and paint.

Despite all of these wonderful accolades, DSM has met its match in at least one catagory....wolves.

Ghost, the direwolf of Jon Snow.

I had been waiting for DSM to release the direwolves to accompany the Stark children....especially Ghost, the faithful companion of Jon Snow.  However, when they were released, I was quite disappointed with Ghost.  I say "they" because two versions were released but neither were exactly what I envisioned from reading the books.  Version one, sculpted by Dave Summers, was too feral for me.  The pose, especially the mouth with teeth bared, suggested active malevolence.  In the books, Ghost was often described as a silent menace and I thought version one went beyond the bounds portrayed by George R. R. Martin in his writings (with that being said, the sculpt is wonderful and would make a great wolf/direwolf for general purposes).  Version two  was just the opposite.  Tom Meier is a wonderfully talented sculptor but his version of Ghost was too domesticated.  I felt like I was looking at an overgrown lapdog.  So I began searching for a better replacement.  That's when I remembered my old miniature stand-by, Reaper, and a blister pack of wolves I purchased a few years ago.

Wolf Pack (02830), sculpted by Geoff Valley, contains three wolves in various poses.  One of the three, presumably the pack leader, stands on a small rise and gazes out towards the landscape.  The wolf seems powerfully built and brimming with the confidence of a top tier predator.  The sculpt was exactly what I was looking for as a stand-in for Ghost. 

Painting was fairly straightforward.  I started with a medium grey basecoat then gradually added white as I worked up to the highlights.  Although Ghost is described as an albino, I elected to leave a fairly good amount of grey visible to enhance the highlights.  Going mostly white would have produced a dull gaming piece in my opinion.

The base is well sculpted but is a bit on the thin side.  I could see the miniature being easy to knock over when handled so I added an oval wooden counter to provide more stability and a bit more room to create scenery. As I mentioned in this post, I decided to avoid using a snowy base to allow the wolf to serve in other roles on the table beyond a wintery battleground.  

Jon Snow from Dark Sword Miniatures along with a wolf from Reaper

Mixing different miniature companies can sometimes lead to issues with scale.  In this case I was quite happy with the results, however.  The size is just about right, although for a direwolf described by George R. R. Martin as being a little "gaunt" when compared to normal wolves, the bulk is a somewhat overbearing.  But for the most part, I'm quite satisfied with this wolf as a replacement.

With that being said, I still plan on purchasing some of the DSM direwolves as general gaming or display pieces.  As I mentioned above, I'm particularly drawn to version one of Ghost but I'm also leaning towards picking up Nymeria and ShaggyDog as well.