Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pick yarr Pirates!

So many to choose from!

I've started and abandoned a Pirate Project a couple of times now.  The miniatures and rules maybe long gone on eBay, but I still have two half constructed ship to prove it.  Still there remains an interest especially with the small model count of the usual skirmish level game.  The biggest hurdle is probably building a ship, although in most cases you really don't need one.  It just seems a must though.

(Click on links to see Pirate miniature ranges.)

Wargames Foundry has a huge range!

I've owned a bunch of Wargames Foundry Pirates before which is a good line with lots of variety, but also suffers from being a bit cartoony/chubby when placed next to certain other ranges.  Crusader Miniatures and Artizan Designs seem to be on the same level.  I also like Black Scorpion's Pirate line, the only negative is that they are noticeably taller/bigger scale-wise when mixed with other lines.  Another concern is that a couple local players already have BS Pirates painted up and our crews might end up looking very similar.

 Black Scorpion Pirates

There's also Dixon, Old Glory, Reaper, Redoubt, Freebooter, Eureka Miniatures to name a few.  I'm sure I could never successfully compile a complete list as it seems almost everybody has at least a couple of pirates in their figure ranges.  Having said all that, the real inspiration for today's post is the recent news of North Star Military Figures entry into the Pirate ranks.  The initial pics look promising despite being painted a bit bright for my tastes.  I wonder how they would look in the colorful yet muted tones of the BS paint scheme above.

North Star's new Pirates!

 Help me pick 'em!

So now comes the participation part of the post.  Please place an answer/pirate feedback in the comments below. (Or else!)  Which pirate minis do you collect?  and why?  What's your favorite range?  Who's minis are the best?  Which lines are the most compatible?  Which ones would you choose?  In short....




  1. Arr me Hearties, good to see you splicing the poop deck again!

    Personally I really like the Foundry range - good detail, a wide range available, a matching civilian range is also extensive, and they are not oversized. Put them on small bases ( i used NZ 10c coins), so you can fit them in the cramped confines on board model ships. Those big 30mm plastic bases look cool but are useless on a model ship!

    The foundry pirate range figures also seems to come up frequently on ebay...

    Admittedly scratch building a model ship is a long task, but very rewarding when the end item is real cool!
    A tip I only recently came across - when strip cladding the ship with balsa, soak the balsa first and then it bends easily! I had been holding my balsa strips by tweezers in the rising steam from a kettle one at a time. Whilst it worked, it was laborious. Cutting a whole load of strips and leaving to soak in hot water, has them all pliable at once. I spent a little time last night going back and cladding my small jolly boat, that had been left half done from years ago, because I found this tip - while looking at an article on how to make LOTR Corsair ships...

    Best of luck and your choice and pirate endeavors!

    1. Thanks Scott for the booty of info! I have been watching eBay from time to time to see if I could luck out like with the WF Vikings. I love that the WF range has African, Arab/Indian?, and Asian pirates. If I were collecting all the warbands, I might go WF, but with 2 player having Black Scorp, it looks a little funny.

      I have the entire WF Cossack range, and since there were real Cossack pirates roaming the Black Sea etc. I've thought many times of going that way too for something completely different. Pirate games will always have touch of fiction and fantasy so maybe I could go with minis I already have. :-)

      Thanks for the ship building tip and advise. My main problem is I'm not that into Naval stuff. Sure the finished ship looks cool, but it's still not a subject I get motivated to research and build.

      Thanks again Scott!

    2. Nor worries and I agree with the fiction fantasy side of things, heck how can you not if you love the PotC movies too! ;-)

      As for the ships - there's a certain romance of the sea to the whole thing for me too, (perhaps because I am a Brit, brought up the ship building north east...) and having recently discovered how to make cool looking water effects - I am tempted to cover a whole 6 x 4 board in epoxy resin and acrylic as I did for my Watcher Board, or at least try it first on the sea section of the pirate port board I did... I like the ship building, but bending the balsa was always the pain the a**, Now that's sorted I am tempted to make more... which of course now vies for my attention in my current LOTR interest! I also bought the full Foundry c18th civvies set, so need to get those done too... I need a couple of extra pairs of arms, you got any spare!? ;-)

  2. Oh the muddle you have caused me, I have this pirate affliction, Nay it be a Curse. It starts, it stops, I chop and change. I have a fondness for the Foundry range something unique about them. Though I am currently collecting Dixon and Black Scorpion ones. I am lucky though I dont have to scratch build me a ship as I have recently acquired two resin ones to crew up. I have the new rule book and monkey on pre order, and shall no doubt purchase these new figures after all one can never have enough Pirates :)

    1. So you're saying "Buy them all!" :-)

      I have no current plans to start some Pirates, but I will in time. Hopefully by them we'll see a few more painted sample of the North Star Pirates pop up.

      I didn't even touch the rules question, although I am curious what the new Osprey book is like. The locals are pretty much entrenched with playing Legends of the High Seas.

      Thanks Loki!

    2. Once I have the book I will give it a review and of course you can be sure to see some of those new pirates make an entrance into a certain Great Hall soon after release :)

    3. Good deal. I look forward your post and new pirates. :-)

  3. Now so far I've managed to resist this surge in pirate related frippery, but the increasing amount of posts I'm reading and the momentum the forthcoming Osprey title is creating has my finger hovering precariously close to the 'add to basket' button on many a web site! The ones I've come closest to buying have been the new North Star miniatures and, although I can't back it up, I have a feeling that they will work well with Artizan designs and Crusader. I do like the Black Scorpion, but would probably steer clear of them because of the detail, which strangely enough I've found restrictive when it comes to painting.

    1. Thanks Michael! I too like the Black Scorpion minis, and I was heavily leaning towards them before the North Star line appeared. Unfortunately it appears the only way for me to examine them in person is to buy a pack or two.

      Thanks again for your thoughts. Anyone else??

  4. I've entertained the idea of doing pirates, but I've always wanted to try multi-basing them for formal battles vs regulars rather then the traditional skirmish. Oh, I'd probably go Foundry if I had to pick one as the choice is huge and sculpts are still among the best, but I think you would not have trouble mixing with Artizan, Crusader and North Star.


    1. Thanks Christopher. I'd probably go with WF just for variety sake if they were available somewhere locally. Having to order them from across the pond is bit of a hassle and expense.


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