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Full Version: On Dark Tides - Cooperative blog for sculpting and casting ships [01-04-2016]
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An initial sketch idea for a battleship type model.  Steam paddlewheel driven, although a steam galley idea would work as well (the top bit o sketch was originally going to be galley style).  The smokestacks would have to either be more upright, or the model would have to be cast from the side.  The side cannon would probably be fewer and larger.  Bear in mind this is an initial sketch only.  I've started on a top down, but haven't finished it, but let me know your thoughts.  



Kinda been thinking Monitor and Merrimac (Kansas) style.
Cheers, JR

Admiral Wrote:
Also, Grimstonefire has some words of caution regarding plasticard build-ups of vessels in the other thread. When you're about to build the plastic frames for the vessels, please use a spine of plastic sprue or similar into which one can drill and pin. It'll help greatly when sculpting. Happy


Understood.  I usually work with .06 thickness card (1.5 mm) for most builds using thinner stuff or rod only for the detail work.  At that thickness the styrene itself is strong enough to drill through without loosing integrity (granted I usually work at a larger 28mm scale as well, so we'll see how well this works, or if I have to move to thinner material).  A frame is a good idea either way.  I may need to build up my green stuff skills.  I have used it with some success in the past, but the stickiness drives me crazy when trying to sculpt.  I picked up some pro-create and milliput to play with and may find I like those materials better.  

I believe we would still want to create a resin master from the final styrene and green stuff model before preparing the final mold.

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Would it be possible to have the top section's smoke stacks and large gun made as one or two separate pieces from the main hull? It could perhaps allow us to make it a multi-part model, with the option of a large cannon or a large rocket included on the sprue.


Definitely.  Sounds like a great idea to me.  Frankly, I have no specific preference on side versus top or bottom casting.  The latter can be a little simpler to do with good result.  If the slant is enough the side details may not be undercut, however there will still be a little undercut with the nose above the ram, and potentially in a few other places which might make side on casting more realistic.  My casting/mold making experience is extremely limited, many years in the past, and almost nil with these materials, so I will leave the specifics to those with more knowledge.  Tell me the preference and I will design accordingly.

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...and bonus points for the idea of the Monitor and Merrimac (Virginia)


@Fuggit Khan:  Thank you sir... and nice catch.  Frankly, I'm not really sure where "Kansas" came from. Cheers!

Partial top down sketch.  The top view is slightly longer and the photo is at an angle which makes it slightly more out of proportion and skew, but you get the general idea. I am torn between doing the prow as below which makes the ram more of an effective warfare tool, or doing it as more of a triangular wedge and making the ship as a whole about half again wider.  The latter might be a bit more chaos dwarfish (dwarfistic? dwarfy? dwarfitudinal?... ).  If separate pieces, the smokestacks would be 2 to a side and probably larger and thicker, or could be revised as centermounted:



I envision the massive deck cannon mounted on a giant round gear so that it can turn as well as leverage up and down.  Finally, I am undecided as to whether the beard plates are flat to the hull, or jut out a bit.  Thoughts?
@Grimstonfire:  Your WIP ship looks great.  I wasn't sure how the chainsaw would come out, but I really like the result.  The ship looks very, very mean.  A massive engine of war like that would require a large input of power.  Such a beast would be all boilers and war machine with very little room for anything else.

The hammer ship is a great idea as well, and the concept sketch has me looking forward to seeing the build.

Dînadan Wrote:
I'd say either drop the ram on the hammer ship, or maybe have two rams, one on each side with a gap between them for the hammer to swing down into - the rams pin the enemy ship in place long enough for the hammer to be dropped.


I second this suggestion.  Two rams is a great idea and fits this ship type given the concept art very well.  Destroying the hull of your opponent's vessel while at the same time holding in place to loot, take slaves, etc. is a very CD way of doing things.   Cheers!

Another sketch.  This time modeled (loosely) after the monitor.  This would be an assault and boarding vessel, still large, probably 4-5cm.  

The hammer idea came entirely from Grimstonefire's design and works brilliantly in the Chaos Dwarf style of warmachine.  For this vessel type, the sketch has hammers which would be used primarily for capture and boarding.  

The vessel could alternately be modeled without the hammers and revised to a harpoon vessel or similar.  The idea of the use of hammers to capture a ship from along side captured my imagination and I had to sketch it out.

The steam driven hammers would have gears embedded within the swivel (rather than pistons) to raise the hammers again as needed.  In this instance the hammers are designed to slip gear and lower quickly to one side or the other of the assault ship crushing down through the first few decks of a vessel the ship comes along side, pinning it in a virtually unbreakable grip.  Depending on the captain's intent, the assault vessel can then either swivel the cannon and obliterate the captured quarry or open sealed hatches to disgorge a boarding party of Infernal Marines to cross to the stricken quarry via the lowered beams and take the vessel.

The turrets could be modeled onto the ship directly (with cannons low to the deck) or as separate pieces.  Hammers if included and the smokestack would have to be extra pieces.  



This might work better if I move the forward cannon further into the bow and put a little more space between the hammer beams.

I'm going to have to start building out these ideas.  It occurs to me that 3d Design and printing would be another good way to design and print ships at this scale.  I need to teach myself how to do that.
That's a good idea.  I'll have to see how much space I have to work with at scale.  My initial thought was to have the beam of the hammer be the boarding ramp once it has fallen across the ship being attacked.

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That's possible but it'd cause problems if it didn't penetrate all the way through as the boarding party would either have to clamber down awkwardly or jump down into the enemy deck.  A seperate ramp (especially if it telescoped) could avoid that.


Very true.  I hadn't considered that (hmm...  maybe what this needs is... chaos dwarf paratroopers instead of marines... to get from the beam to the deck... yeah... that's the ticket... Shock).  It definitely needs a separate ramp and telescoped design would work well.  We shall see what I can do when building this to reflect that.  The ramp might fall to the sculpted details.

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The problem with 3D printing is that unless it's very high end it'll have printing lines on it that will need to be cleaned off.


Agreed.  If that method were used at anything less then high resolution, the initial print would require cleanup and be used for prototyping versus cranking out models.  A mold for casting would then be created from the cleaned up model.  One of these years I'm going to build my printer and see what kind of resolution I can get... Wink

@Admiral:  A very nice collection of ships thus far.  The details are very chaos dwarf, and will look nice carried across the range of ships to one degree or another.  I can see the beam and triangle motif carried across the lower hull of the battleship and assault ship.  Love the detail on the crane ship.  Are you going for a one piece from the side mold, or does the crane piece detach?

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CAD-design of big boat components and 3d-printing could work for distribution of 28mm scale vessels


Hmm... small scale ships would come first and would be a good test of the printer once it is assembled.  Further out though... I need some more practice with Blender before I tackle anything of that scale and level of detail.  

Grimstonefire Wrote:
Anyone tempted to have a go at a steampunk sea creature like the Black Kraken?


I have a couple of ideas along those lines.  Thinking a nautilus style ship\submersible (the sea creature, not Nemo's monster).  Will try to sketch it up this week.  The trick would be making something easily castable.

It's nothing compared to this list. We could perhaps bring in more artillery by putting minor turrets, rockets or cannons on combat-oriented large ships? Likewise, the Nautilus could sport some kind of ranged weapon. The proposed weapon options would also help balance the melee, if carried through to the kits.

Long-range artillery is more effective, but close quarters shoot-outs, boardings and ramming is evocative and may easily show up in fantasy fleet actions, even one sporting steamships, rockets and big guns. Probably everyone interested wants to see a chainsaw and hammer ship, so we might as well deliver. "Drive me closer, I want to hit them with my sword," comes to mind. Also, having close-quarters capability better allows for piracy and the capture of foreign ships, cargo and crew for loot and slaves.

That said, should we perhaps have one more escort boat, equipped with rockets or mortar?
Thank you, Dînadan!

Zealot Miniatures have responded on resin casting. They have a flat rate of £35 for the mould (which would double if a batch did not fit in one mould), and a flat rate of £4,5 per casting (service and materials), plus VAT. With costs for shipping of casts and a slim profit margin on top we might be looking at an end price for the customer of circa £8 per unit (batch of 5 escort vessels) plus shipping, should Zealot Miniatures become our caster. Let's await an answer from Griffin and see if we can find any other casters to inquire.

Assuming we'll let Zealot do the casting: Note that the plan is to simply cast the escort boats in the master mould without tailoring (which is £25 per mould, and £1.50-£2 per ship, depending on size and complexity) for the sake of cheapness and the simplicity of the small ships. Larger ships might likely end up getting tailored. I'll try to keep the price reasonably low and offer some volume discount for customers ordering several units of escorts.

Edit: Will be away for some days, but should be home by next week.
Fire Demon Ship

A sturdy escort vessel, filled with slave pens and charged with mysterious sorcery which is unleashed at blood-soaked sacrificial invocation ceremonies, whereby demons of fire from beyond are summoned, tamed and chained to the altar. These terrifying apparitions of fire are the fear of any sailor aboard rickety vessels of mere wood, and a testament to the evil dwarf powers of enslavement. This shackled demon, however, is not always safely contained or mastered... Note the demon in full sprint, restrained by heavy chains. Note the naked idol. The idea was to go for something different than the statue aboard the slave galley, so I opted for basing it loosely on this Sumerian ceremonial procession, though bowing in mock humility instead of carrying vessels and offerings.



And the escorts together:



I'll be away from home this week, so might be late in replying. Have a good time, folks! Happy
@Fuggit Khan: Thanks a lot! Nods to historical Mesopotamian influences is a must for the range. Maybe some shedu fresques could be squeezed onto some big ship?

@Grimstonefire: Thanks! No stress, we'll take it in gentle stride.

@Abecedar: Thank you!

@tjub: Tack så mycket!

@AtomTaylor: Thank you very much, it's appreciated!

@Forgefire: Tackar! I'm sure you'll handle the material fine. I've got some advice links that might be of help to speed up the learning curve once you start sculpting. Just say the word.



Some first casts, photos by caster. With any luck, escort ships might be up for sale by February:

wow great result!
@Grimstonefire: Your persistence with the hobby in the face of everyday life's demands is quite strong. I know of few other hobbyists maintaining "the flame" so evenly for so long time. Looking forward to see your ships!

@Jackswift: Nice, this could be promising indeed. Good luck! I look forward to see what you come up with.

Thanks a lot, folks! Cheers!

Admiral Wrote:

Some first casts, photos by caster. With any luck, escort ships might be up for sale by February:


Outstanding work!
Hat's off to you Sir!
Takes Hat off

@Axtklinge: Thank you very much! Takes Hat off

@Willmark: Indeed!


The escort vessels are available now.

Shading his eyes against the fiery glare below, captain Uhr-Maduknezhar stood astride up in the commanding archer tower of the slave galley Grasp of Lidunammu. The scarred and grizzled seaman observed the chaotic battle scene in the archipelago below while smoke columns obscured his view. He gripped one pointy merlon to counter the worst rockings of the crenellated tower as the frantic sea waves tossed the narrow ship about. The sounds of blackpowder blasts, creakingIn the accursed salty wet, debris and bodies both alive and dead littered the surroundings, picked at by bloodthirsty sharks and yet worse behemoths of the depths, some of them a danger to the unharmed vessels. The situation was difficult to assess, for behind the smoke, the flimsy wooden masts and sails of the enemy fleet had become an indecipherable tangle.

"Our fire ships shouldn't ever have let loose at such an angle," groaned decksofficer Bel-Ninridu, gesticulating madly at the unquenchable flames dancing across waves and wrecks below. "Just look at it! It's a bloody mess of firewalls down there, smokescreens shielding their escape. Gallows!"

Without glancing at his subordinate, Uhr-Marduknezhar replied: "Our metal hulls have passed through seas of molten rock. Our rams have licked the waves of hell.  What's a little flame to that?"

"With our ship unenchanted, without the preparatory rites, the rowers will perish at oars. We'll be stranded at great cost," said Bel-Ninridu.

"Then let the slaves broil and burn in their shackles if they wish to succumb to a little heat," said Uhr-Marduknezhar. "The roasted thralls will make for fine steaks. The omens are right, I am sure of it. Signal the helmsman, bring the
Grasp of Lidunammu about and aim her at the largest pillar of smoke, right there. Then signal the taskmaster: Breakneck speed, full ahead. The gods will it! And brace for impact."

"Aye, aye, cap'n!"
A Man o' War player has already asked for rules for our ships.

Are there anyone able and willing to make Man o' War rules for the small escort vessels? Rules for the upcoming big ships would be most appreciated as well, but we'll start with what we've got. The best case scenario would include ship cards.
WIP Man o' War rules in French.


Size comparison shot with Man o' War miniatures, provided by customer:



And the first gallery image, by Abecedar:

Gallery update, painted by Harry Howells:



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