Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Skaven Pirate Ship

The Terrorgheist is primed and waiting patiently, as are all of my other personal projects while I focus on freelance and commission work, none of which can be shown off yet. In the meantime...

Someone recently brought up The General's Compendium, the Warhammer campaign (and much more) book released back in 2003. In my opinion it's still the best supplement ever released for a miniatures game. Friends and I were still using the campaign system in 2010 for 8th Edition Warhammer games.

I was fortunate enough to have some of my work featured in the compendium. My Vampire Counts, some siege equipment, and the Skaven ships for the naval chapter. I still have all those ships and siege engines, and it's about time I put up some pictures. 

It always feels like a cop-out to show off (literally) decades-old projects instead of new work, but hey– they look pretty and most readers probably haven't seen them before. I'm also discovering, as in the case of my Khemri Blood Bowl army (yeah I called it an army; Blood Bowl is not a team sport, it's a WAR!) that people out there remember having seen them in the original publications or web articles that are now mostly lost to the ages. It's a nice trip down memory lane with fresh, new images.

Skaven Pirate Ship

The concept behind this ship is that it was built from a salvaged Imperial cargo vessel, refitted by the Clan Skryre engineers into a warship. New warpstone-powered engines weigh down the stern, causing the bow to rise out of the water. The old waterline, along with some barnacles, can be seen along the bottom.

The model was built using layers of insulation foam, cut to the boat's shape, for the core. The foam was covered with strips of basswood, and all of the details added.

The two wooden walls at the very front were scratch-built siege mantlets that I had never finished, and worked into the ship's design. I believe the crates are Armorcast resin parts, but I could be wrong (it's been a while). The trophy shields are taken from all manner of GW kits. Most of the heraldry colors are representative of my friends' armies.

The stairs and grates are scratch-built from basswood strips. Extra details like the rats are scattered around the ship. Note the halfling in the basket (from the old metal giant kit). Is he a prisoner or a stowaway?

The ship's original mast, snapped in battle, has been reinforced with metal supports and turned into a crow's nest. The nest is large enough to hold two Skaven jezzail teams.

The metal bands around the outside are cardboard strips with glued-on rivets. The telescope is from the metal warp lightening cannon. There's also a warning bell next to it. "Iceberg, right ahead!"

The captain's perch is made from the framework of the old metal screaming bell. The captain himself, including his chair, is from the metal doom wheel. And, yes, he does indeed have a wooden sword and newspaper hat. He is quite mad.

Behind him is the Warpstone engine, constructed with a combination of parts from the Basilisk tank, doom wheel, and warp lightning kits. The electric arc is a piece of wire run between the two coils.

The paddle wheel is made from a doom wheel with other wheels and gears thrown in for the flywheel assembly.

The belts themselves are thick rubber bands, painted with an ink wash. Over the years the rubber has begun to deteriorate and a few have snapped, so I'd advise against using them on your own projects.

If you have any other questions about the construction that I haven't covered here, please ask in the comments. Just looking at this again, there are parts from dozens of Fantasy and 40K kits. I have two other Skaven barges that I don't think made it into The General's Compendium. Maybe I'll dig them out and get some pictures...

'Til next time!


  1. That, sir, is a thing of beauty.


  2. Awesome stuff as always. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I still have my Dwarf Monitor and Submarine from our battle reports!

  4. The paper hat on the captain is inspired. Great work!


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