By Dan Carlson, Guy Rheuark, and Joseph Forster
Before we move ahead with our thoughts, I’d like to let you know how we came across these treasures. It was a dark night, and our humble piragua La Pigmente had come across a Merchantman owned by the Firelock Trading Company known as Kii-Kstarter. It was quiet and there were no sentries, so we (Joseph, Guy, and I) took it upon ourselves to quietly grab some of the prototype minis we had been told were on board by an anonymous source. We quietly grappled and made our way on board. While avoiding the various sailors, we found the chest in Captain Mike’s cabin, stowed just below his hammock. I snuck in, grabbed the chest, and as soon as I had risen to my feet, Captain Mike had stirred, and we made eye contact. I threw the chest to Joseph as the dreaded Captain seized me, not knowing the terrible fate I had resigned myself to. We had always had suspicions about Mike’s beard being a deadly, close quarters weapon….I found this to be true as he pulled me in and ran his dreaded beard across my face, damaging my right eye as I endured the first ever above water keelhauling! Luckily, after stomping on his toe and employing my pocket sand, I made for La Pigmente, as Guy used his lance to keep a few Firelock sailors at bay. I dived into the boat, and we cast off! Make started barking orders and the ship started to come about, but as luck would have it, Joseph’s run in with the heathen gods has made him a shoal magnet, and the Kii-Kstarter ran aground on shoals that seem to have materialized from nowhere. And that, my fellow buccaneers, corsairs, privateers, and Militia commanders, is how we acquired these wonderful minis!
We split up the Legendary Commander Sprue and each of us built and painted one or two minis.
Edward “Blackbeard” Teach
Building and painting Edward “Blackbeard” Teach was a real treat! First off, the plastic is phenomenal. It doesn’t feel fragile and is surprisingly sturdy.
After using my hobby clippers to free him from the sprue, it only took menial work with a hobby knife to get rid of the dreaded blemishes we hobbyists disdain.
My only real difficulty was gluing on the pistol set on his baldric/sash. I had to lie him on his back, dab glue onto the baldric/sash, and then use tweezers to gently set them down and adjust them into the proper position. From there, I used a spare metal firelock base I had and used super glue to affix him to it.
After the 24 hour cure time I had to wait for good weather to prime him in, as Texas can be unbearably hot and/or impossibly windy. After priming, I figured it was a good time to test out my Army painter Speed Paints, and I was impressed with both the paints and the model! I had him finished in about 10 minutes because of how easy he was to paint!
The coat and pants are situated well and they are broad areas that the Speedpaint just ate up. His baldric/sash required more fine work but I got that done easily enough. My biggest joy was being able to get his beard ribbons painted and looking marvelous. He looks feral, intimidating, and ready to seize a certain French slave ship and repurpose her for his own needs!
Mary Read, Anne Bonny and “Calico” Jack Rackham
While it was a little surprising how I received the sprue, I will leave the details to my peers. Instead I want to start on the review or preview of the Raise the Black new plastics.
As someone who has processed hundreds of gray sprues in my life, the RtB gray sprue felt very familiar. Most parts are attached to the sprue in at least three places, except for the smaller parts like heads that have only 2. The details on the parts are sharp and exact, though that is what should be expected from something made in the current era. I did not have a building guide to assemble John Rackham, but it was easy enough to see what parts went where. I suspect a guide will be made, however, as most parts are labeled. The Sprue also does not have bases molded on it, so you can expect a bag or sprue of bases with every purchase. I used the Firelock Games metal base kit for my bases.
I used clippers to remove the parts I needed, and a small file kit to get rid of the sprue spars. Mercifully none of the sprue spars on my models were in places that needed to be flush with other parts, something that I’ve been annoyed at Games Workshop recently for. The most common places parts attach are clothing seams, and that does a great job of disguising them.
I am most happy to report that plastic cements will work with these plastics. I tried out Tamiya extra thin and Model Master brands and each held well after curing. This should be great news to people like me who hate the side effects of CA glue. None of the models had any mold lines that needed to be shaved down, but that is also expected from a new sprue. I did use CA glue to attach the model to the base
When painting my models, I approached them just like metal modes, and they are about the same. The biggest difference was that these models, especially Mary Read, are in poses a little more dynamic than single part metal miniatures, and it can be cumbersome to paint everything the whole model. Calico Jack was the worst of these, with his crossed arms, and I should have painted him in assembly. Each model has some surprising details, and I took the time before painting to look over each one so I could make sense of how they are dressed. I was happy that both of these women pirates are dressed in 18th century clothing, but also in pants, a clothing choice that was used in their trial against them.
One of the best uses of the detail that these plastics are capable of is that models can have more detailed facial expressions now. Both Mary Read and John Rackham are showing their teeth as they scowl.
Each model now also has a nested concave dome for an eye, something that Firelock Games also did with its resin Fire on the Frontier model lines. This makes painting eyes much easier/possible compared to earlier metal lines that only have the impression of a socket.
All this detail is a double edged sword however, as it can be time consuming to paint all the details, especially with how tiny some of them are. Anne Bonny has a cord around her waist that only about 2 mm is showing of, under her left arm. Mary Read has the collar of her undershirt underneath the bandanna around her neck.
John Rackham, possibly because of his nickname Calico Jack, has some of the most perplexing clothing, with cloth straps, knots, and layers, some of which I didn’t notice (and thusly missed) until he had long left my painting desk.
I think I speak for Blood & Pigment when I say that it is ok to just paint these things all the same color as the thing that is above them, unless you really want to single them out.
Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts
The Mini Quality
These new plastics are great quality. Detail is crisp, sculping is great, and pieces went together without any issue.
Mold line cleanup was standard for a miniature like this. Detail on the sword and pistol were remarkably better than what is possible with metals.
The sword is much thinner than the metal swords as well.
I bumped the sword several times while painting and photographing the mini and it didn’t break so that’s good!
Assembling the Miniature
The main joints that could make an unsightly join line are the arms they fit together nice and tight. The mini came in 4 parts: body with head, hat, and two arms. I glued it to a metal base for added weight.
Painting the Miniature
Deciding on a paint scheme for a unique model is always tough for me! The main (semi reliable) historical sources mention him wearing a lot of red. Red coat, red paints, red waistcoat. So I went all in on red but I pushed it into the pinkish reds instead of the yellowish reds.
I used this piece of art as my primary inspiration.
This piece emphasized the red and the heavy jewelry he wore. One of the things I wanted to replicate was the fancy patterned fabric.
I mixed some metallic medium into my highlight color and tried to paint some reasonable patterns across the main areas of the coat. It’s more subtle than I wanted, but I had fun with it and I’m pleased with the result.
I used my laborious method of prime, base, wash, and highlight for this mini.
The mini took the paint really well! The detail was crisp enough that I never had any question as to what I was painting which was a huge help.
He was a dandy so I gave him full gold trim.
Roberts in all his dandy glory!
His scale matches up with the legendary models in the metal. Look how realistic that blade looks! Roberts’ calves on the though… he never skips leg day.
Thanks for reading! Raise the Black has been a long wait but the end product is looking really, really good! This Legendary sprue is going to be a great addition to the game. Not only will we be able to play as all the notable pirates of the 18th century, but these minis can be used as characters, campaign commanders, or alternate models for other commanders in the game. Lots of new, unique flavor with these great minis. We’re honored to have received this early copy of these minis and we’ll try to share more photos of the rest of these minis soon!
Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have on this these minis and we’ll do our best to answer.
To close out this article, we’ll share some sneak peaks of the stats for three of the minis we looked at. I cheekily replaced the official mini image with our own paint jobs, so these are not the “real” cards, but they’re “exclusive alternate art” cards.
Even as a character upgrade, Bonny and Read get cards!
Black Bart is a good deal for his 3CP! Pirates are going to be crazy!
And the man himself. We’ve spoiled Blackbeard before here. Check it out here.