Monday, February 28, 2011

The Griffon

Not the mythical bird-like terror of Warhammer, but the Ship. My converted Black Pearl toy ship is finally done (or close to it) with 30 days to go until Adepticon and my Legend of the High Seas event. (of which there are still a few tickets left, so if your planning on attending Adepticon and are free Friday night, paint up a crew and join the action, there is still time left!)

This Ship is featured in the "Boarding Action" Scenario where the playing surface is just the two ships side by side. The other ship is Old Glory's Pirate Hunter, currently being worked on by the High Seas books author, Tim Kulinski The Pirate Hunter is massive ship almost twice the length and several inches wider than "The Griffon". Fortunately both ships main decks are the same height so it should work well as an even playing surface, I added the 28mm Crows Nests awhile back, for the purposes of the scenario, Player will have the option to climb the ratlines and fight high in air, be able swing, jump..etc. Alot of the rules that just dont get used alot.

(good sense of scale here, you can easily play with 15 or so models on this ship and have room to move them around)

I originally purchased this ship back in 2008 I believe shortly after I got the High Seas book I saw a conversion of this on the Yahoo LotHs forum I thought it would be good project as my first toy conversion..Now until then was a long time, and after just cutting the hull down to the waterline and re-masting it...I just used it as is for longtime never quite figuring out how to finish it until, I was running this event. You can still find the original here although its bit more expensive than when I got almost 3 years ago.

Before I talk about the Hobby portion of putting this together, I want to talk about the Historical reality of a ship like this. I spent some time looking into the background of ships like this and while not historically accurate by certainly any "real" model ship builders standard. I did what I could.

(Crew is a mix of Crusader and Artisan, the Helmsman is from Old Glory.)

The Deck is 14 inches bow to stern and at roughly its widest 4 1/2 inches. which in scale to reality makes here roughly 70 feet long and about 22 feet wide at her fattest. Given that her displacement is probably around 200 tons. A Galleon of this size was probably a rarity as the ones I find evidence of are much larger, (note Queen Anne's Revenge, being 110 feet long with a 300 ton displacement) its more reminiscent in size of Columbus's Santa Maria which had a crew of 40. Modeled to be armed with 10 guns.(the max for a medium ship in LotHS) considering the imagined deck layout she could easily be outfit with another 10 guns between the main deck, an quarter deck..not to mention a half dozen swivel guns...a real ass kicker in the firepower department in the 17th century, which is what it would need to be, as from what I read ships like this weren't particularly fast.

A bibliography note: three great books about Pirate Ships I have been reading lately. First is the bible of piracy, Daniel Defoe's (as Captain Charles Johnson) A General History of the Pyrates. Then an somewhat obscure book I found- The Sea Rover's Practice, Pirate Tactics and Techniques 1630-1730 by Benerson Little and finally The Pirate Ship 1660-1730 from Osprey Publishing, by lord pirate historian himself- Angus Konstam. Osprey's whole piracy line is damn awesome, if you love pirates.

On to the Hobbying side. First I cut the hull down, I wanted to keep the stock cannons as they match the LotHs rules and you wouldn't need to take up deck space with more cannon other than for show. So I cut the water line a bit higher that it probably would be at open sea. I think in reality those Cannons would be up between the two yellow trim lines clearly on the main interior deck, so those cannon ports are really too low, but whatever its a toy. Cutting the waterline with large fine blade hacksaw carefully, caused the lower portion to separate. Which was ok as I sanded down the rough cut and re-glued it back together

I then ripped out the electronics filled a few holes, cut away, two rear lanterns, the goofy cross trees and the shredded black sails and cut off all the overly decorative railings (thats what pirates did anyway, they'd gut captured ships to make more room for guns and easier access for boarding) I then made some new main cross trees out of dowels The main deck and hold then had to be redone with plastic card, in order to cover up the storage compartment it comes with. I also remodeled the ships figurehead, so it wasn't so busy (as in the Black Pearls).

(Remodeled as best I could, still looks goofy, and it seems a bit big, I thought the weathered sea foam green made it look about as good as it could.)

I add a small forecastle just for looks, although not having would again be more the slight height difference just gives the deck a bit more character. The biggest edition is bits from the Pressman games, Weapons and Warriors pirate set (a great score right here, go get it). I grabbed mine off ebay years ago..its chock full of bits for all things pirates..and all my sails and the bowspirit extension come from sails of the plastic ships contained in W&W. The crows nests come from that box as well. The main sails for main mast and fore mast..were done out of green stuff by my pal Aaron. And the extra stairs and cabin extension around the main mast are Hirst Arts pieces ( molds #71 and #220) and finally we have some GW Empire bits, all from the Steam Tank kit -I was sure glad I bought some loose steam tank bits I saw when they came up, because those Griffon emblems with the banner where so perfect I had to rename the Ship after them. There are also some lanterns and and extra survey's scope I had from somewhere. Finally there a couple plastic card doors I made for the Quarter deck.

(Hirst molds 71 & 220 in action)

Painting this took quite the while much more than I envisioned, there is just a ton of paint here Now I know what 40K Imperial Guard players painting tank companies feel like. I think the paint is pretty self explanatory, the windows and free hand logo taking the longest session.The masts are still unpainted as I was going to paint them the same color anyway, I still need to do that and a bit of clean up.

(Lazy Susan from Ikea, $7..thats a score..its very handy.)

If this isn't enough Pirate Ship for you, the real top notch toy conversions I have seen are done from the Mega Blocks toy line. OOP at the moment they are getting pricey on Ebay right now from collectors and wargamer/modelers that are catching on. I grabbed two of these NIB. both at around the $70 USD price point, used and incomplete going for around $20-30.00 Both of these will be large ships on the level of the Old Glory Pirate Hunter. I have another Galleon, and large Schooner. When these get done who knows but I am on a serious Pirate fix, and working on nothing else other then some practice WFB thru Adepticon.


noeste said...

Ahaarrh me hearties!
Looking good, looking very good! I don't think I'd ever be able to complete such a large model myself... And you're going to do two more! Impressive!

Thank you for sharing

ZeroTwentythree said...

What a great project! Looks beautiful.

Grajo said...

¡¡Very nice!!

I love to found this kind of posts in the web (well, you are in my blogroll, but... you know what I mean)

Anonymous said...

It really did come out well. I commented on how much I liked the way you painted the name, and windows last time we hung out. I'm not sure I have much use for a pirate ship, but now I kind of want to make one.

Keith said...

A fantastic job converting that plastic toy into a wonderful model for the table top. Great job!

ali naqvi said...

Its great work....thanks for sharing..!!!!! Plastic card


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