Pirate Alliance: Flaming Scimitar

Ok, so this one is even more involved than I first suspected!  It is a really nice piece – tough to assemble quickly, but worth it for the detail!  It takes less time on the more dynamic aspects, but the majority of my time was taken on the hull and of course – the feckin’ sails!  As of this post, the sails are incomplete, and I am making a promise to myself to revisit later, but felt that this post was late enough without perfecting the one element that I really am finding great difficulty with when painting this set – so here goes!

  • I painted the model entirely in all the constituent pieces.  The water base was done as usual along GW guidelines – listed on the terrain section of this site, but while doing this, don’t forget the water spirits/elementals supporting the ship’s hull too.
  • Primed all parts in Skull White.
  • The hull was Liche Purple, while the deck and Masts were based in Calthan Brown.I washed the hull with Leviathan Purple before a smaller highlight of the same Liche Purple.
  • All gold areas – and this is painter’s choice I based with Scorched Brown.  I originally tried a Skull White – especially on the Hull detail – but the difference was too stark, and close to the whiteheads in the water so I decided to go with the gold.  Once the Scorched Brown was dry, I went over it all with Shining Gold.  This is a bit more time-consuming than you might imagine too, so I advise patience, coffee and a fine detail brush!  The dome to the rear and the statue to the front of the model were both fitted with the same gold finish, but I went with Dwarf Bronze for the sword of the statue, which I think worked out quite well with the brown undercoat toning the shine down slightly.
  • The Deck was next washed in Devlan Mud, and later highlighted with a 1:1 mix of Scorched Brown and Calthan Brown.  I coated the cannon in Boltgun Metal with a Chainmail silver highlight.
  • The Air djinn I based in Astronomicon Grey before washing in avery watery Shadow Grey,  Following plenty of time to dry, I decided to follow up with a mix of Bleached Bone and Deneb Stone (1:1) again for light dry brushing.  After this I tipped the extreme highlights with Skull White.  This was a good finish, the picture below does it no justice!
  • The Fire Efreet I based in Solar Orange – but Blazing Orange would do the trick too for a more vibrant under-colour.  I followed this up with a Desert Yellow light drybrush, then a wash of Baal Red before a drybrush with some a more yellowy yellow – Sunburst was the one I went with, I think, making sure to get the tips of the dual blades too.  Again, as with the air dude, went with Skull White for the extreme highlighting, but was more sparing with the fire spirit as the bright yellow would be too toned back including the white.  My best advise when doing both the spirits was to remember to get the tower at the rear of the ship too, as the air djinn cicles the building, and the fire guy spills out from his window too.  I didn’t remember and had to do some minor backtracking, but as always, better to get it all in when going at it first – gives the rest a chance to dry between coats too.
  • The Sails in this set…anyway –  as seen in the above poorly lit pic, they are only based, but I’ll tell you how I got this far at least.  Undercoat in Bleached Bone, followed by a second layer of Bleached Bone and Desert Yellow mix – 1:1.  GW prescibed Bubonic Brown in the mix instead of the Desert Yellow, but I found this too dark.  The swords on the sails I gave a light coat of Tin Bitz and Scorched Brown mix 1:1ish should do it.  The Flames were picked out in Sunburst Yellow – if the tone is too close to the sail, then throw in some Bad Moon for the luminesence.  I touched it up with some Blazing Orange.  The water effect was just Icy Blue with  Skull White on the highlighting – the air was Astonomicon Grey with yet more Skull White extreme highlighting.  I still need to go back to the sails, and I really wanted to make a better go of the main areas with  a larger flat brush for better cover without overworking the layers – but nearly there!

Final thoughts on this model  to date – I like it for the detail, and raw character that exudes from the ship.  The masts are a tight fit to the deck, but other than that, it goes together well after painting without rubbing thre finish at all.  I put completing  this model off a few times this week as I have just started a few Lord of the Rings cavalry models as a break, and I may give the Dreadfleet to the back-burner for a little bit longer.  I feel my interest waning, and don’t want the remaining paint jobs to suffer for that.  I’ll post my LotR bits soon, and I’ve recently found a reduced to clear Assault on Black Reach – my first 40K set ever, so might just run at that too before returning to the high seas.

Dreadfleet: Curse of Zandri

Now this one was positively straightforward, but definitely my least favourite piece so far.  In my on-going effort to avoid revisiting the Swordfysh or finish touching up other models, I figured why not do this one!  I thought I could paint it as a solid unit, but the area behind the pyramid is precarious without pulling the deck out first, and the area is open and visible enough that you do need to get some level of detail in there.

Ok, so to the stages –

  • Primed with Skull White
  • Water base is as GW guidelines – exception was of course for the floating bones.  I based them in Bleached Bone before adding Asurman Blue wash to pick out the detail between the ribs etc.  I then drybrushed with another layer of Bleached Bone when thoroughly dry to take the blue off the bones.  I was pretty happy with the result, but it wasn’t rocket science so there was no victory laps of the room (The what? you say, but trust me, it did happen later with the one thing I found…trying in this model!)
  • Ok – the Hull was Calthan Brown based before adding some Gravveyard Earth wetbrush.  When dry, I added some Gryphonne Sepia Wash followed by a final and subtle Dheneb Stone drybrush to pick out the wickerwork effect.  If feeling the laze on this one, just check on what needs detail as the oars obscure some of this section.
  • The Hull proper was simple Chaos Black based, followed by either 2 layers of Shining Gold or a layer of Tin Bitz or even Dwarf Bronze followed by the Shining Gold on the raised detail and sculpt.  Took my time with this, but worked out well.  I even used the same paints on the hull bands towards the front of the ship.  I like this colour scheme as the gold on black is pretty striking and works well for the theme of Tomb Kings.
  • The statue guys I coated in Chaos Black before giving a very light drybrush with Hawk Turquoise, then going over with a highlight with Shining Gold on the hoods. The Staffs I decided could do with something different, so the heads were Burnished Gold with some Shining Gold Highlight, with Necron Abyss on the handles.

  • The stone held in scorpion style over the ship I based in Dark Angels Green, highlighted in Snot Green and edged with Scorpion Green.  There was room for light sourcing, and I may return to attempt this, but I ran through this one pretty fast and didn’t stop to try it just yet.  The only easy thing about light sourcing that I find is that it can be done at a later time without too much touch-up.

  • The deck was based in more Calthan brown and washed in Devlan Mud to keep it simple.  The deck catapults were dressed in Tin Bitz with some Boltgun Metal highlighting.  The Pyramid was pretty basic too – just a few layers of Shining Gold with some minimal Mythril Silver highlighting in the edges and sculpt.  The problem I find with all gold metalics is that they always require multiple applications to get the “shine” effect, so knowing this the first layer is always light so that the subsequent layer(s) don’t blot out details.
  • Ok – on to the most hated part of this bad boy – the triangle strips on the hull.  This was a test to be sure – get yourself some decent and tiny detail brush.  GW don’t do a small enough brush, so I go for a Windsor and Newton size 0000, and I still think it is too big!  Sometimes I blame my tools but sometimes I blame myself!  This time, it was a toss up, but went with a yellow and blue split originally.  Immediately regretted this, as no yellow was distinct enough from the gold – I don’t think that brown would work either, and there was enough purple in the fleets already that I just went with the GW recommendation – red and blue.  This was slow progress, with a LOT of touching up, thinking I’m done and then finding another strip yet to do!  When I was finally done with this part, I did one of thiose shoulder-stretches that painting too long requires before a small dance with the dog (who wasn’t as into the celebration as I was, but was game enough not to complain)
  • Finally, I assembled the model fully before painting the final parts – the oars were Bestial Brown and Devlan Mud wash., not forgetting the pieces on the base.  The area above the oars I covered in Shadow Grey.  The reason for doing this part last was because of the assembly of the model proper scrapes the paint from these sections if done beforehand.

There, another one down, but I have just managed to get my hands on a half-price copy of Assault on Black Reach (my first 40K modela ever – never been too interested in the 40K universe, but painting is painting and new models are always more attractive than sets half done!) – the temptation to attempt something new is pretty powerful, but I’ll try to stay the course long enough to get something Dreadfleet done next week!

Dreadfleet: Scabrus

This little piece was a nice surprise, as it was one of the easier pieces to rip through fairly quickly.  I got into it after not dealing too well with Swordfysh (those blasted sails are a real test thanks to the shallow sculpt!) I decided enough was too mich and took a time out on the Swordfysh to try anything else and my gaze fell on Skabrus. What I enjoy with all Skaven themed pieces is that you really have carte blanche to dress it anyway you want and it is still valid!  I painted the entire ship in the four pieces that easily seperate – base, two sides of ship and mast – in order to outline all details and frankly, get the brush into all crevices without undoing some previous work!

  • First things first – primed with Skull White.  Light is your friend with the washed out and rotting affect I was aiming for here.
  • I then based it all in Dheneb Stone, before adding a very watery wash ofLeviathan Purple – thick as treacle!
  • Washed with Codex Grey, or even Astronomicon would do the trick.  I think that I was nowhere near as liberal as I could have been.  I later dry brushed with Dheneb Stone again to mellow the Purple out.
  • The bones and teeth were all based in Bleached Bone before getting a good shower with Ogryn Flesh and Devlan Mud 1:1 mix – I followed this up with what may only be described as an almost dry wash of Badb Black nearer the base of the bones.  Whenwell dry, I tipped and highlighted the spines, teeth and bone edges with Skull White.
  • The mouth was layered in Liche Purple, then an overlay of Warlock before meeting the gums and thereafter an evening up with Scab Red on the very edge and interior of the mouth.
  • All timber got a simply Scorched Brown layer except the hut near the flag on the mast (that got a Kommando Khaki wall and Graveyard Earth roof.
  • The ropes were all detailed in Vermin Brown and highlighted in Snakebite Leather in places.
  • The bell was layered in Dark Angels Green, then spotted with Snot Green and finally a tight highlight of Scorpion Green.  I didn’t bother with light sourcing as the bell is quite a distance from the ship itself.
  • The eye sockets were given a dip of Badb Black, and the left eye was then given a dot of Space Wolves Grey, but even Dheneb Stone would do the trick.
  • The Gun rails got a Scorched Brown base before the Cannon bases were given a Tin Bitz layer.  The cannon themselves I picked out with Boltgun Metal.
  • The Flag is painter’s choice – you could even go so nerdy as to consult the Hearldry of the Skaven!  I threw on some Scab Red base for half and Shadow Grey with some Bubonic Brown or even Desert Yellow on the Sigil.  I gave it all a sparing wash with Badb Black and when dry dusted it with Dheneb Stone drybrush.
  • The Brass balls –  based in Tin Bitz before adding a drybrush of Dwarf Bronze and a liberal drybrush of Hawk Turquoise for the vergris.  I picked out the bands in Scorched Brown too.
  • Finally, I fine-tuned the highlights with Skull White, including the flaps of sagging or burst skin.  This was a very effective tool for lisitng  a distinction between the Dheneb under-layer and rotting flesh.

The base was simple, and I thought I was the bee’s knees, dog’s b*ll*ks and cat’s pj’s ramping up the detail with lots of going over the finer elements only to place the ship over the base and find almost all of the piece was obscured… My sense of satisfaction was warped to grim determination to see the rest of the thing out regardless.  I would have to tell people about the great level of effort that went into it should the conversation ever arise…;P

For those what may be interested though, here are the annotated cliff notes version:

  • Base with Mechrite Red
  • Layer with Scab Red
  • Wash with Leviathan Purple and Thraka Green mix – 1:1 is fine
  • Wash with Baal Red
  • Pick out some various organs in Blood Red sparingly – throw in the odd Warlock Purple too, but even more sparingly
  • All timber picked out in Scorched Brown
  • Brass ball was based in Tin Bitz before adding a drybrush of Dwarf Bronze and a liberal drybrush of Hawk Turquoise for the vergris.  I picked out the bands in Scorched Brown too, but they could easily have been the same as the rest of the ball.
  • Water was as per GW guidelines, listed in the terrain section of this site, with the following exceptions – the tubes trailing the ship were picked out in Mechrite Red base and a VERY light Scab Red/Blood Red 1:1 mix.  The crud trail directly behind the Scabrus I layerd in a wash of Orchide Shade, followed by a wash in Thraka Green – pretty heavy, really.  I then picked out bubbles and chunks in Dark Angel Green and Snot Green extremely light highlights.

An that was all there was to this one.  I like it, but it is far from perfect.  I think a different colour scheme to the skin would work well – black irridescent dark to light would be good too, but I think that the flaking, rotting flesh best offsets the darker innards.  The mouth I mussed, but like ti fine enough.  If I am honest, this is like a model I would have painted when I was even more amateur, but I’m ok with it as it is in essence, putrifying flesh with re-animated rat pirates living inside it…if that sentence isn’t enough to make you test your enthusiasm fo this kind of project, then I don’t know what is!  Done, onto the next one!

Black Kraken

Ok, one of the most distinct pieces, but to be fair, not my favourite. It has a very metallic look, and it is one of the ships that I’d like to have a double of in order to try out another scheme entirely, but in this I followed GW’s guideline of dark on metal and sadly regret it for the simplicity.  Speaking of which, as with the first picture below, I basecoated with a metallic – something I don’t particularly love as I find that overlaying colours sometimes don’t react the way you’d intend.  In thi case, I was largely happy, but my only advise is to use a soft basing brush, as this amount of metallic cover sometimes doesn’t dry as smooth as foundation or regular paint.
Ok – so here were the stages:

  • Based as per GW guidelines, listed elsewhere on this site with the following exception:  The rear of the model has some nice churning effect in the water, and I covered this area in Ice Blue with a heavy drybrush of skull white which I was personally delighted with, as it gave the impression of industrious propulsion really well.  Having seen the success of the rear piece, I think a heavy Skull White top highlight would work really well where the tentacles rise from the waves too.

Now to the ship itself…

  • Primed with Skull White, but regretted this as it could have been darker – not Chaos Black, but if I was to redo might try a calthan brown or maybe Scorched Earth.
  • Based layer with Boltgun Metal – Chainmail was way too bright after a white prime, and it toned it pretty well – see above pic.
  • I mixed a 2:1 combo of Adeptus Battlegrey and Chaos Black to cover the greater hull areas.  I found only using Chaos Black too stark, and better to have darker tones possible rather than absolute.
  • I layered the rim areas around the hull and engine flues with Tin Bitz before layering over with a mix of Dwarf Bronze and Tin Bitz – roughly 1:1, and was happy with the result.
  • I layered the Dwarf-head on the hull with a Chainmail silver helmet and Shining Gold for the remainder.  When dried, I applied a wetbrush of Dwarf Bronze, which brought up a nice finish, but regretable lost some definition – for anyone else I would recommend drybrush or simply go directly with one layer of either.
  • The rivets covering the hull got a base layer of Tin Bitz and a highlighting of Chainmail.  While I was at this I took opportunity to fill in the hinges  between the joints on the tenticles with a mix of 2:1 Chaos Black and Tin Btiz.
  • I filled in the eye windows with Orchide, drybrushing to the hull very gently.  I then light sourced with a small area of Snot Green, before finishing with an ever so much more central shading of Scorpion Green, with a light drybrush on surrounding area of closest tenticles and directly ‘lit’ hull.  I finished with Chainmail silver on the grill covering the windows.  If I am very honest, it is not the best work I’ve ever done.  I think that the method was fine, but the application needed fine-tuning – but if anyone out there has a good recipe for this type of light sourcing, I would really wecome it!  By the by, the picture shows the best side only here!
  • Small details time  – so first I gave the belt in between the model a run of Snakebite Leather, but in fairness, it cannot really be seen.  I tipped the lights on the outermost side of the hull with Blood Red.  The Flues I topped with Chaos black and ran a Boltgun metal tip to them, but I wasn’t delighted, truth be told!  If I had time, I might have redone them in a mix of hull colours.  I realised as I painted this model that there was much I would redo again, but I am stubborn when committed to something, and I was already an hour or more invested!
  • A thorough wash of Badb Black on all but the eye/window area and the wheel gears that power the ship.  To the gears only I gave a small wash of Devlan Mud to give the impression of well-used saltwater machinery.
  • For the water dripping from the tenticles, I went with a Hawk Turqoise base, followed by Enchanted Blue and tipped the drips wit Skull White.
  • Finally for the edges and sides of the hull I went over the entire model with Chainmail silver instead of a Skull White for the last few detailed highlights.  I found that the Skull White as a usual go-to was just too obvious on the nearly all-metal model.  Chainmail used sparingly was more appropriate for the finish.

This was the final pic, and I’m not mad at it, but as mentioned above, would have revisited it without metallic in a revised version, or at least not as much.  The darkness of the hull obscured the runes on the sides, but I left this as shown because I thought that the hull was busy enough as it was.  So another one down!  Done, done and onto the next one!


Ok – I dreaded this one, but found it to be easier than expected, and a welcome break from the painstaking detail I gave over some of the more minute parts of Sail-Painting on Seadrake!  I think that the most similar paint-job I’ve ever covered was for the LOTR Army of the Dead, which really only relies on a spectral two-tone colour with slight highlighting to emphasize the differences. This piece was painted in three parts – two pieces of the hull seperated and the deck with masts together.  This was definitely worthwhile, as when assembled, it gave me tiny but guilty pleasure to look between the skeleton of the frame to see the detail covered on the interior…that last sentence just made me somewhat depressed, but moving on….:) The water was done as listed elsewhere on this site, and largely with GW standard, and I didn’t mess too much with their formula for the ship either – as we now see below:

  • Ok, first off was a base – I used Skull White to prime.
  • I then layered a basecoat of Astronomicon Grey, but left random areas with just the white undercoat exposed – we’re talking strokes here, not cubic feet!  Don’t foget the detail of the wreckage in the water like I did – get it now before you put the lid back on the paint only to realise what you missed later!
  • It then hit the whole thing with a GENEROUS daub of Thraka Green wash – and more seemed best until I realised when I was done that I could have been a little lighter!  That’s what I get for painting unassembled, but when I considered that I used a light prime and basecoat, I figured that it all evened out!
  • I took this chance to pick out the seaweed with a 2:1 mix of Scorched Earth Brown and Merchite Red – worked well as it is sparingly on the hull and masts.
  • Now back to some highlighting in the Astronomicon Grey – a VERY light drybrushed layer throughout (not forgetting again the wreckage in the water too).
  • Although not obvious from the picture below, the torch was washed in Scorpion Green and when dry, the tip in Badb Black as the smoke darkens.  I used the Scorpion wash on the lanterns on the back of the ship too, and sparingly on the “spirits” keeping the ship aloft – little is definitely more though.
  • Covered the anchor and chain a Dwarf Bronze (very) light drybrush, followed by a Tin Bitz (very) light drybrush.
  • Cannon lightly layered in Tin Bitz – not forgetting the broken and scattered metal on the deck.
  • Final edge overall highlighting done in skull white.


I painted this one second, as I think it is even more direct and straightforward than even Grimnir’s Thunder.  The colour scheme is just about the same as GW suggests, but I’ve always disliked the High Elf brilliant white personally, so I’ve tried to soften it with darker shades throughout the ship, including the hull itself.

Onto the stages:

Painted base as per GW water suggestion (found elsewhere on this site), but was wary of the the two or three porpoises in the waves beside the ship – Astronomicon Grey with an overlay of brighter Bleached Bone and Space Wolves Grey 1:1 mix to give the sheen and brighter edge.

The Hull was based with Skull White, and layered with Astronomicon Grey – although any of the light greys will do the trick, I would say the darker the better, but only when primed with white first.

The decking was based with Dheneb Stone and Bestial Brown 2:1 mix.  This darkens the GW guideline, but as I say, I hate the washed out feeling of that method.

The tower columns were all based with Dheneb stone, then layered with Codex Grey.  The issue of the minute doors will be dealt with later, but for now simply cover them lightly.  When painting the towers, don’t neglect the wider one with the connecting bridge to the rear of the vessel.  The roof portions were based in Shadow Grey and then drybrsuhed with a lighter blue or even a grey – e.g. Regal Blue or Codex Grey depending on the overall tone of your ship.

The Dragon on the rear is really painter’s choice as far as I’m concerned.  I wanted to try out something that I’m not over the moon about, but nonetheless, it looks fine.  I have in the past painted the High Elf Lord on Dragon in a red finish – and so wanted something similar but not identical, and at the same time to be slightly different from my daemon prince red finish too.  To this end, I primed it with good old Skull White, then washed it with watered down Merchite Red (sort of a pink wash finish.  This allowed me to use the Merchite Red not as a Foundation paint, but as a regular acrylic finish when I applied a layered coat when the pinky wash dried.  What I liked about this in theory is that it letsthe illusion of  “light” travel through the wings lighter skin when caredully layered with the full Merchite.  The wings were a mix of Liche and Warlock Purple, approx 1:2.  This is what I wasn’t delighted with – I think in retrospect a darker wing and lighter skin would work better, but that’s what I get for wanting different to the previous dragon models.  The claw tips were layered in Chaos Black before a drybrush on the uppermost parts with Dheneb Stone (Or any medium grey).  A final wash of Leviathan Purple to the recesses completed this section – just be careful when painting where the claws meet the ship itself.

The sails were the easiest pieces, really – Based with Regal Blue, Layered with Enchanted Blue and trimed with Skull White on the motif-work.  The fiddly bit on this set was the mast – Bestial Brown base with Skull White detail on the rigging and ropes.  This needs time, a fine detail brush and a LOT of patience.

The Figurehead dragon piece was based in Burnished Gold and Polished up with a layer of Shining Gold – tow layers of Shining Gold would have been enough in retrospect – the Burnished Gold did little for the depth details on a single application, and the Shining Gold layer removed most of what it did cover – I hate metalics, they are so hit or miss with the lighter tones, but at least GW has a better finish than most other brands when it does take.  If desired, you might highlight with Mythril Silver, but I left it as was.

The Hull and towers  are the last parts to tidy up – now you can layer the outer hull with Skull White.  Without the previous layer of grey, you’d need more than a couple coats of white and lose the detail in the process – this way a pure Skull White layer covers well.   The Rigging and Cannon windows were dressed with fine brushing Shining Gold carefully.

The Deck itself needed a Gryphonne Sepia wash, and the inlay of the doors facing opposite each other is another painter’s choice – I think that a deep red or blue (Gore or Enchanted Blue) works well, but that they should match one another for best aesthetic.

The tower doors were picked out in Shadow Grey and all parts drybrushed in Dheneb Stone.

Excuse the unfinished nearly flawless low-res snap!

Terra Firma

The second model I began painting was this piece of terrain.  It was an experiment for rocks and debris.  I generally follow GW’s ideas, but this was one that I felt needed a different approach.

The entire model was primed in a Skull White undercoat.

The rocks were then heavily covered in a 1:1 Chardon Granite/Adeptus Battlegrey mix.  I find that on their own, these paints are too stark and don’t produce the real effect needed for flat surface textures.

Next I wetbrushed the rocks with Dheneb Stone.

The Rigging was based with Graveyard Earth and when well and truly dried, dry-brushed with rotting flesh.

I liked the way that the primed Skull White looked on the sail, so left it as was, but threw on a wash of Thraka Green over the entire sail and rigging to give it a weathered and battered appearance which I think really came up with very little detail work.  The only place to be careful with the rigging is where it joins the rock of the model, as this is defined by your paint rather than the plastic.

The Rocks were now given another sparing overbrush with a codex Grey/Fortress Grey mix, again approx 1:1 is fine.  The details were later picked out in Fortress Grey with a detail brush before getting a light dousing in Badb Black wash – I found the best way of covering the model was to let it hit the recesses without covering the higher points too much.  I used it sparingly on the rigging and sails too, as the Thraka Green wash from earlier had done a better job as it was.

When dry – and as with all washes, I mean thoroughly dry, I picked out the tallest rocks in minute amounts of Skull White .

The water was done as prescribed by GW – primed with Skull white, based with Regal Blue, wetbrushed with Enchanted blue and detailed with Ice Blue.  the Highlighting against the Rocks was sparingly picked up with Skull White, but where I break with form is using ‘Aardcoat Gloss Varnish to add then liquid sheen to the water only – it is personal choice, but I like the wet parts to look accordingly, and this gives a decent appearence.

Finally, the whole model was given a Satin Purity Spray to lock in the colours while handling.  This was meant for a gamepiece after all.