Posts Tagged ‘Dreadfleet’

Well, it’s taken a while but the Heldenhammer is finally seaworthy. I’ve been working on this model on and off since November so it’s nice to have it finished. All of the gold detailing was a real pain to do as was the NNM gold effect on the sails’ degins. This was my first attempt at NNM gold and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I used Calthan Brown and Snakebite Leather and highlighted this using Snakebite Leather with increasing amounts of Bleached Bone added all the way up to pure Bleached Bone. This ended up looking a little washed out and so I glazed the areas with the original basecoat to bring back some of the warmth.

The gold was painted Shining Gold and Scorched Brown followed by a Shining Gold and then a Burnished Gold highlight. It was then washed with Baal Red in order to tie it in visually with the red of the hull and sails. This was then rehighlighted Burnished Gold followed by Burnished Gold and Mithril Silver and finally a tiny highlight of Mithril Silver on its own.

Here you can see where I added a bit of freehand detail. It’s not very clear in the photo but the shield design is a hammer on a red and white field.

The Heldenhammer faces off against the Bloody Reaver in the midst of the Galleons’ Graveyard.

With two ships painted I just have to paint up their cogs and apply some finishing touches to the terrain and I’m ready to play the first scenario. Next I plan on moving on to either the Swordfish or the Curse of Zandri. Decisions, decisions…

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Well, it’s the end of the year. So what have I got planned for 2012? Next year will bring a lot of big changes to my life. I will be finishing my PhD soon (I’m hoping to submit my thesis around Easter time) and will also be looking for a job. However, I do have a number of hobby plans as well. First of all I have a number of unfinished projects which I am hoping to complete such as my Dreadfleet set and my Mordheim project.

I got a job lot of Mordheim models from ebay recently which included enough undead models for a starting warband. I plan on painting these up for a friend to play with when I start my campaign. Here are the models as they were when I received them. As you can see, they have a very basic paint job which will need stripping and repainting.

Rumors of Chaos

If internet rumors are to be believed, a new Chaos codex is planned for release in 2012. If this is indeed the case expect to see a return to my Death Guard army. My enthusiasm for this project stalled a little as they simply aren’t fun to play with. Hopefully Codex: Chaos Legions will make it possible to play with a fluffy army which is also competitive and fun. I plan on finishing painting my current units and adding a few new models as well. I have my eye on the fantastic  Plague Hulk and Daemon Prince models from Forge World.

An Unexpected Journey

Obviously the big news for next year is the release of the first installment of The Hobbit movies. The first trailer has already been released and looks brilliant. The trailer has been reposted on several blogs so I won’t repeat it here but if you haven’t seen it it is definitely worth a look. It doesn’t really give anything away but it is nice to see Tolkien’s world back on film. As a massive Tolkien-nerd I’m very excited about this and the news that GW will be producing a range of models for the franchise.

Happy New Year!


Ever since I started the hobby way back in the tail end of 1995 I’ve wanted a fully modelled gaming table. However, owing to constraints of space due to living with parents or being a student I’ve never had the opportunity. Since moving into my current house with my then fiance (now wife) I’ve occasionally thought about making some terrain but our dining room table simply isn’t big enough. This hasn’t really been a problem as up until now I’ve contented myself playing at friends’ houses or at the club. However, with my recent purchase of Dreadfleet I really want a space to play at home as it will be rather impractical to transport everything needed to play. As our dining room table is too small for the seascape matt from the box I knew I would need to find a way to ’embiggen’ the tabletop (as they might say on The Simpsons). It was my stepdad who suggested using two pieces of loft floorboarding in order to increase the size of the table to the recommended 6’x4′. As these floorboards are ‘tongue and groove’, as I believe the technical term is, they hold together well and are surprisingly sturdy so there is no danger of them flipping up and catapulting dozens of painted models all over the room. It was also my stepdad who went to the effort of constructing it for me as well (I’m not very practical) so many thanks to Darren for this.

Our dining room table:

The ’embiggened’ table:

All set up for a game of Dreadfleet:

Here are some photos of the supports. You can see how the two pieces lock together and the wooden battens that fit the board snuggly against the edges of the table to prevent slippage:

Now that the foundations of the project are laid the plan is to create a set of 2’x2′ modular tiles from polystyrene insulation in order to provide a more interesting surface to play over. My first board is going to be for Mordheim, a game I hope to get back into in the New Year if I can drum up some support among my friends.

Until next time,


The Heldenhammer is coming along nicely. It is much more straightforward to paint than The Bloody Reaver due to the fact that it is composed of fewer different areas. So far the ship has only taken a couple of painting sessions to get to the current stage. The cathedral was painted following the excellent guide in White Dwarf 382. However, with the gold I tried something a little different and incorporated some red into the gold in order to tie it in with the rest of the ship. This was achieved by washing the gold with Baal Red before highlighting.

Hope you like it,


I have finally finished the first of my Dreadfleet ships, The Bloody Reaver. Well, I say ship, it’s actually a magical floating castle torn free from a mountaintop in Sylvania and translocated to the Galleon’s Graveyard. The background to this ship puts me very much in mind of Duckula and the way in which the castle teleports around only to return to Transylvania at the most inopportune moments. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you are probably either too young or not British. Either way I would certainly encourage you to check out this brilliant cartoon.

Initially I wasn’t too fond of The Bloody Reaver from the photos in White Dwarf but in reality the model looks a lot better than in the pictures. It is incredibly finely detailed and quite cleverly designed. The main body of the ship is an island with numerous shipwrecks clustered around it (kind of like a fantasy version of a space hulk). However, the designers have retained the profile of a ship which gives it quite a witty and playful aesthetic.

It took me much longer than anticipated to paint the ship. This is partly due to all of the tiny details and also because of the way in which the model needed to be painted in several sub-assemblies and then put together afterwards. This was a bit fiddly and I would recommend that anyone who is starting to put this kit together takes a moment to put some thought into how everything goes together first before breaking out the glue and paints. The main problem here is with gap-filling. I attached the two halves of the island together first, filling any gaps. After this I then painted those, keeping the shipwreck/castle pieces and sails separate. This is so that you can paint all of the detail and also because the shipwreck/castle parts lock the sails in place and so need to be attached last.

After gluing everything in place there were gaps in the courtyard of the castle and on the pathway which needed to be filled after final assembly which was tricky as most of the model had been painted at this stage and I am not used to filling gaps after painting a model. I used GW’s new ‘liquid greenstuff’ for this and I must say I’m impressed. It is water soluble and can be painted straight on with a brush giving you a great deal of control. I found two or three thin coats were enough to fill in any fine gaps (anything larger and you would need to use a more conventional putty). Once the gaps were filled I simply painted over them with Graveyard Earth. On reflection, if I were to build this ship again I would remove the ball joints from the bottom of the masts and fit the masts right at the end. The rest of the Dreadfleet ships fit together in this way so I’m not sure why The Bloody Reaver doesn’t. Also, you might be able to tell from the picture above that one of the turrets connects rather awkwardly with the sail, making it difficult to position the sail straight. If I were to make another Reaver I would probably remove the offending turret.

The Sails

I’m very pleased with how the sails turned out. The relief designs are a joy to paint and add a lot of visual interest to the models, further defining the look and feel of each ship.

Rather irritatingly, the sails obscure each other. In particular the rearmost sail can hardly be seen at all on the finished model which is a shame as it has a fantastic (or should that be ‘fang-tastic’) design on it. I also think that the freehand turned out better on this sail than on the one that reads ‘Bloody Reaver’. I thought I would photograph it as it will hardly be visible on the model. Never mind, at least I’ll know it’s there.

Fine Detail

Here are some close ups of all of the amazing details that adorn the ship. I decided to paint the statues/figure heads of the Reaver gold rather than the bone colour seen on the ‘Eavy Metal version as I thought that the bone was too similar in colour to the sail’s design.

With the shipwrecks I tried to keep them in fairly neutral colours in order to prevent them from being too overpowering. The red hulls are an exception to this but they work as they tie in with the red used elsewhere on the ship. For the blue wreck I used Fenris Grey and highlighted this by adding Codex Grey in order to keep the colours muted. I also painted some simple shield designs on the tiny shields but they don’t show up too well in the photo.

I also added some freehand cracks to the stone blade that juts out over the cave. This is a technique that I’ve wanted to try for a while. I painted thin lines of chaos black and highlighted them using Fortress Grey and Skull White. This is quite a simple yet effective way of adding three-dimensional looking damage (trompe loeil as the French would say). I think some of my lines are a little thick but I would use the technique again for paint chips on armour or vehicles.

Making Waves

I painted all of my bases using an airbrush while they were still on the frame. They were first airbushed with Regal Blue followed by Hawk Turquoise and then Hawk Turquoise with increasing amounts of Skull White added. I tried to spray at an angle so that the spray caught the upper parts of the waves providing an illusion of depth. I then randomly sprayed on some Thrakka Green and Asurmen Blue in order to create further variation. The crests of the waves were stippled with Astronomican Grey followed by Skull white using a blister pack sponge. This gives a very natural, random appearance to the placement of the spray on the waves. I focused in particular on any areas where the water would be more disturbed such as the ship’s wake or the frothing sea on the Shadewraith’s base. When I come to do each ship the bases will be clipped off and futher refined with a brush.

Up Next

The next ship to hit the painting table will be the flagship of the Grand Alliance, The Heldenhammer. This is because the first scenario requires The Heldenhammer and The Bloody Reaver so I wanted to get them painted first. I also plan on painting the cog auxiliaries for these ships along with the sea monsters as these will be required for the first scenario too. Hopefully The Heldenhammer won’t take as long as the Reaver as it is a less complicated ship being largely one colour.

Goodnight out there…whatever you are!


Just a quick update on The Bloody Reaver. This is probably the most purple I have ever painted on a model by quite a long way. I rather enjoyed it though and so may paint up more models in this colour in the future (my mind is already racing with ideas of  Slanneshi Chaos Space Marines).

When it came to painting the sails I chose a darker, more bluish purple than the GW colour scheme. To achieve this, the sails were airbushed Liche Purple followed by an airbrushed highlight of two-parts  Liche Purple, one-part Warlock Purple and one-part Bleached Bone around the edge of the sails. Using a brush I added some finer highlights by adding  more Bleached Bone to the previous mix. In order to achieve a dark, rich look to the purple the sails were then washed with a thinned mix of Liche Purple, Warlock Purple and Chaos Black (roughly a 2/2/1 mix). After this had dried completely I picked out the skeletal designs with Khemri Brown and highlighted them by adding increasing amounts of Bleached Bone followed by Skull White, working through several thin layers to ensure a smooth finish.

All that remains is to paint the anchors and scroll work and the sails will be done.

Halloween seems like a suitable occasion to share my progress on perhaps the most terrifying of the Dreadfleet ships, The Bloody Reaver. This model just exudes horror movie archetypes with its Gothic keep and skull-faced cave mouth.

I had hoped to have the ship finished by now but it is such a detailed kit I didn’t want to rush it. As you can see there is a lot of work to do including the ship wrecks, dragon statues/figureheads and sails. At the moment the model still hasn’t been fully assembled (I just snapped the pieces together for the photo but they haven’t been glued in place yet) which is why there is a gap on the path to the castle. This will need filling once everything is assembled.  Hopefully I will have more time to work on it during the week.

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the really impressive things about Dreadfleet is the way in which each of the gaming pieces is a model in itself. The turning wheel and wind gauge/vortex marker could so easily have been produced as cardboard templates but instead GW went the extra mile and created them as molded plastic pieces. These little models are great fun to paint. The wheel on the right is done and the vortex marker is almost complete; I just need to finish the clouds/air symbols around the side.

The turning wheel was airbrushed Regal Blue followed by Hawk Turquoise and then Hawk Turquoise and Skull White (as can be seen on the other wheel in the first picture). The gold was painted with a 50/50 mix of Vallejo Brass and Scorched Brown followed by pure Vallejo Brass. This was then washed with Vallejo Black Brown (although a thinned mix of Scorched Brown and Chaos Black would also work). I then worked up the gold through Citadel’s Shining Gold, Burnished Gold and a Burnished Gold and Mithril Silver mix. This was then given a final highlight of pure Mithril Silver.

I then basecoated the bone with Khemri Brown. This was washed with Vallejo Black Brown and, when this had dried, Leviathan Purple was applied to the recesses. I reapplied the Khemri Brown in all but the shaded areas and proceeded to highlight the skeleton by adding increasing amounts of Bleached Bone to the Khemri Brown. A final highlight of Skull White was used to pick out the very edges of the skeleton’s features.

Although this time I painted the gold areas before moving on to the bone areas I would probably paint the bone first next time and add the gold border after as it is impossible to avoid handling this piece while painting it and I ended up getting some flakes of metallic paint on the skeleton which was a pain to correct.

Even the ruler in Dreadfleet is a model. I decided to shy away from painting this bone as I have seen many others do in favour of painting it silver. This was mainly because my technique for painting bone is quite time consuming as well as simply wanting to do something different. Keeping the three components separate,  I airbrushed the ruler Boltgun Metal. When this had dried I applied successive washes of Gryphonne Sepia, Ogryn Flesh and Devlan Mud (waiting for each wash to dry completely before applying the next one). This was then highlighted Boltgun Metal followed by Mithril Silver. The numbers were painted Chaos Black and Dheneb Stone and framed with Vallejo Brass. It is important when painting to mask the hinges on the model with blue tack first so that the paint doesn’t prevent them from fitting together and moving once the whole thing is finished.

One of the really cool things about the ruler is how it is not only used to measure distance in the game but angles too. It pivots to 45 degrees.

I have also repainted the lava on Volcano Island (how do they come up with these names?) since my last post. The lava was basecoated Red Gore and airbrushed using Blood Red, Blazing Orange, Bad Moon Yellow and Skull White in that order to achieve a glowing effect. This was then touched up using the old Citadel Yellow and Orange Inks (although I am sure that any other inks would do). Overall I am much more happy with its appearance now.

I wanted to paint the temple on the other side of the volcano as obsidian to look like it had been built out of volcanic rock. To achieve this the temple was painted Chaos Black and edge highlighted using Adeptus Battle Grey followed by Codex Grey. It was then finished off with a coat of gloss varnish in order to give it a nice shiny appearance.

I had previously used the same technique to paint the standing stone circle atop Corpseface Cliff. This lends a nice visual unity to the pieces.

Dreadfleet on the Web

Before I leave you I thought I’d share two interesting Dreadfleet features I have discovered online. The first of these is a post by ‘The Irishman’ entitled ‘Why Dreadfleet Matters’. This is an interesting and well thought out piece which I totally agree with and is well worth a read. It can be found here.

The second is Dave Taylor‘s post about ‘Celebrity Dreadfleet’ which you can read about over on Dave’s blog here. If you haven’t read Dave’s blog already than I would heartily recommend it. Not only is Dave a talented modeller and painter who’s blog provides a great deal of inspiration and advice but he is also regularly involved in charity events such as the Storm Wardens project and more recently Heroes of Armageddon. These projects are essentially about raising money for worthy causes through hobbying. The latest of the noble endeavors with which he is associated is Celebrity Dreadfleet which you can read all about here.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Hopefully more Dreadfleet to follow in the next few days.


I have made some progress with the shipwrecks and other pieces. Here they are on the gaming mat:

I’m not entirely happy with the volcano. I may yet go back and repaint the lava.

More to follow.

I must say that on receiving my copy of Games Workshop’s latest limited edition release, Dreadfleet I really was impressed. The box is much larger and weightier than I expected and made of a thick, durable cardboard. There was even a thin sheet of card separating the plastic sprues from the rulebook and cards ensuring that they do not get scratched. The deep box really is filled with plastic and a lot of thought has clearly gone into the layout of the sprues which are absolutely packed with ships, islands, monsters and all manner of gaming accessories. One thing I really like about the set is the fact that, with the obvious exception of the cards and dice, all of the gaming counters/pieces required for the game are models in themselves. It’s little details like this that really make the game stand out. The detail on the models is very crisp and there are very few mold lines to remove. The designers have also made good use of ‘negative space’ on the shipwrecks and models such as the Shadewraith.

I only have a few complaints about the set and these are very minor indeed, hardly worth noting at all. Firstly, the giant skulls are a bit silly but skulls are increasingly becoming a part of the Warhammer aesthetic (so much so in fact that one GW blog post on Dreadfleet reads: “Like all things Dreadfleet, it is, of course, liberally covered in skulls” -29.09.11). I guess it’s just a matter of personal taste. Also, there is only one design of cog for each fleet which is odd considering the amount of detail that has gone into the rest of the design. However, again this is only a very minor complaint, just nitpicking really.

Since its release the internet has been awash with comments and reviews about Dreadfleet, some good, and some bad. However, I for one am certainly very happy with my purchase. Although I have not yet played a game,I am incredibly satisfied with the models which is the primary reason why I bought the game.

Painting the Terrain

When it came to painting the set, I decided to start with the terrain and various gubbins that come in the box as these will be needed for every scenario. So far work has commenced on the islands and shipwreck pieces, all of which are in various stages of painting. For these I started with a coat of Charadon Granite followed by a heavy drybrush of Charadon Granite and Codex Grey and then pure Codex Grey. This looked a little too grey and so I followed this with a slightly more patchy drybrush of Khemri Brown. This was followed with Fortress Grey, a Fortress Grey and Bleached Bone mix and finally Bleached Bone on its own. For each drybrush I used less and less paint until I was only catching the fine details of the model. Watered-down Catachan Green was then applied to add some more variety, concentrating on the bottom of each piece where the tide would result in the rocks becoming very green and slimy. Leviathan Purple (a very appropriately named colour for this project) was then painted into the recesses to add depth and variation to the shadows and to mimic the slightly purplish hue that rocks have in real life.

The water was painted Regal Blue to provide a nice dark base to work from. This was then layered with Hawk Turquoise leaving only the recesses uncovered and highlighted by adding increasing amounts of Skull White to Hawk Turquoise. The water was then randomly washed with Asurmen Blue and Thrakka Green to provide additional variation. The white spray on the crest of the waves was stippled Atronomican Grey followed by Skull White.

More to follow soon. Have a good week.