Ships are one of the most striking aspects of Blood & Plunder. Sails are one of the most striking parts of a ship in Blood & Plunder! But, the ship kits don’t come with sails at all so you are left to your own devices to craft a set of sails for you Blood & Plunder ship. But do not fear! There are several good options! In this article we are going to look at options for getting great sails on your Blood & Plunder ships.
First we will look at a handful of ways you can create your own sails for low cost and varying degrees of effort, then we will look at some options for purchasing sails for your Blood & Plunder ships.
- Build Your Own Sails
- Cloth Sails
- Buying Sails
- After You Get Your Sails
- Final Thoughts
- Additional Recommended Reading
Build Your Own Sails
There are several options for building your own sails, depending on your skill level and resources available.
Foam Sheet Sails
This is the simplest and fastest way to get your ships rigged. You can buy 2mm foam sheets from Amazon, Hobby Lobby, Joann’s Fabrics or a similar craft store for very cheap.
All you have to do is trace out the shape on to the foam from the Firelock templates, cut it out, rig it up! The rigging takes some time, but the sail creation only takes a few seconds.
Pros and Cons of Foam Sheet Sails
- Stark White Color
- Thicker than other options
- Painting and color variations are difficult
- Does not fray
- Holds some shape
Many of the promotional ships in Firelock Games’ pictures and on their website have this style of sail and they look great!
You can buy 9″x12″ sheets of POP! 2mm foam for $.99 each at JOANN’S. If you want to rig your ship the cheap and easy way, it doesn’t get much better than this!
You can make paper sails in a couple different ways. It is also very cheap and easy! With paper, I have had more luck adding some shading and seams to make them look more realistic. They are a little more work, but I think you can actually make a better looking sails out of paper than with foam.
At the simplest level, get some off white craft paper, trace your templates, cut out your shapes are you’re ready to go.
You can find a wide range of colors in the scrapbooking section of a craft store, some with a nice bit of texture.
If you want to get a bit fancier, you can easily add some realism to your paper (or foam) sails by adding some shading and some seam lines.
To make your sails look more realistic, buy some spray paint just one tone darker than your sail paper and very subtlety spray around the edges of the sail to give some color variation. Next, using a straight edge ruler and a dark pencil or fine pen, draw straight vertical lines on your sails, representing the seams between lengths of cloth.
Paper Sails from Deadman’s Chest
If you really want to double down on that look, you can follow Tyler’s guide over on the Dead Man’s Chest blog. He’s developed a technique of cutting paper intro strips and gluing it back together again. Great results!
Another advantage of paper sails over foam is you can easily shape paper and it will retain the shape you give it. Foam tends to works itself straight again but paper will take some bends really well.
Pros and Cons of Paper Sails
- Medium amount of effort
- Can be fragile when rigging
- Does not do well getting wet
- Easy to get materials
- Several variations possible
- Easy to shape
Cloth is much harder to work with but it obviously has the advantage of actually being the material that it is supposed to represent. You’ve already guessed it, there is more than one way to make cloth sails for Blood & Plunder ships!
Simple Cloth Sails
At the simplest level, get some white/off white cloth, trace your templates, cut the shapes and you’re done. But if get a loose weave fabric or cut “just wrong,” your sails will fray and look messy. An easy way to control fraying is to brush a mix of water and white glue or stiffening agent over your cloth before you cut them out. This will give your sails some stiffness and stop threads from separating and looking messy.
If you want to give you sails some more shape, you can cut out your shapes, then drape them something like a ball or curved surface to help the sail dry with that billow!
Making (cloth) Sails Like a Boss
This handy guide for making slightly fancier cloth sails (much like we described for paper sails above), was published by Nigel King in 2017.
Plunder Den Cloth Sails
Dexter from the Plunder Den has a great video on making this style of sail for his Galleon and he has a helpful part of his Bark tutorial that cover sails as well.
Fancy Cloth Sails
If you have some ability with a needle and thread, you can tidy up your cloth sails by finishing the edges instead of stiffening with glue. You’ll want to use a fairly thin cloth for this method. A muslin is probably best. Just turn over the edges twice and use a topstitch or whipstitch to finish the edges by hand, or carefully use a sewing machine. You can also sew vertical seam lines for a more convincing look.
Rage Against the Dice Cloth Sails
Nate Zettle has made a great tutorial video for making “more involved” cloth sails.
Adam Horton at SteamKraken Studio makes high quality sails out of linen. He has retired from selling sail sets, but he wrote up a quick tutorial and has allowed us to publish it here.
These cloth sails keep their shape and look great, but are less work than a quilted sail.
Quilted Cloth Sails
If you’re really good with cloth and a sewing machine, you can get get some excellent results using a couple layers of cloth. But that’s for experts and more on that later!
Pros and Cons of Cloth Sails
- More work than other options
- More expense than other options
- More tools/equipment required than other options
- Cloth represents cloth well
- Lots of flexibility and possibilities
There are a couple sources for buying sails for your Blood & Plunder ships if you don’t want to bother with creating your own.
Rick Casler from makes and sells beautiful sets of foam sheet sails. You can contact him via Facebook or occasionally find some of his sails on Ebay. He regularly posts on the main Blood & Plunder Facebook group before he starts creating a new batch so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested.
Rick Casler’s sails are made from the 2mm foam sheets, but he paints them with an airbrush so they actually look really good!
They might be a bit on the brown side, but they beat stark white! He also does some more complex/fantastical Pirate designs with the skull and bones which are very attractive if you like that sort of thing.
Rick also makes some more fantastical designs if that is your jam.
Rick’s sails average about $8 per sail, with the custom sails running a little higher.
These are the nicest sails on the market in our opinion! But we are a bit biased as they are created by Mary Seamons, our very own Guy Rheuark’s mother.
These sails are multipart, cloth sails with a shaping layer inside each sail. They take more than an hour of labor per sail and run about $20 per piece. If you have a ship you want to look its very best, these are a glorious finishing touch.
These sails come in two colors, Harbor Worn, which is more of a brown, or Sun Bleached, which is more white.
Custom materials, colors, and additions are available upon request as well.
You can read more about Seamons’ Quality Sails here on Blood & Pigment and submit an order request if you are interested.
STL’s for Furled Sails
It can be very appropirate to model some sails furled for combat. You can either use cloth to model this, or you can 3D print yards with furled sails using these STL’s. It looks like this set of 4 sizes currently costs $1.90 for the files from cults3d.com.
The painted version above is the smallest at 105mm. The set includes 190mm, 170mm, 130mm, and 105, and can be scaled up or down.
After You Get Your Sails
Once you’ve either made or purchased the sails you want to use, you get to rig your ship! This can look intimidating but just take it a little at a time and its really not that hard. You’re basically just tying your sails to your masts and yards. You’ll need some 1mm or .8mm elastic cord, or thread if you’re a glutton for punishment, and a good set of scissors or clippers.
You can find all the sail templates and rigging guides in the Downloads section of the Firelock Games website.
We are working on more guides, but here is a full video guide on rigging a Blood & Plunder Brigantine.
There are many solid options for creating or acquiring sails for your Blood & Plunder ships. Jump right in and don’t let sails and rigging be a roadblock in enjoying this fantastic game!