Carpenter Character – Strategy, Tactics & Miniature Ideas

Everything you need to know about the Carpenter fighting man special characters in Blood & Plunder. Stats analysis, how to build a custom miniature guide, strategy & tactics, and force-building suggestions. We’ll look at the vital role the Carpenter Character plays in the game and help you learn to use him to maximum success.

Carpenter Fighting Man Character with other sailors
La Buse presses a Carpenter into service aboard his pirate sloop

Historical Background

"Un Charpentier" artwork by Martin Englebrecht (1720)
“Un Charpentier” artwork by Martin Englebrecht (1720) ¹

Historically, a carpenter was an essential member of a ship’s crew during the 17th and 18th centuries. They were responsible for the maintenance, repair, and reconstruction of damage to the ship’s wooden structures, including the hull, deck, masts, and spars. In times of battle, the carpenter was also responsible for sealing any leaks and making quick repairs to damaged areas of the ship to keep it afloat. Their skills were crucial in keeping the ship seaworthy and ensuring the safety of everyone onboard.

When pirates captured a ship they would often press vital members of the captured crew to join them. This frequently included a skilled carpenter. His skills were so important that he would be held captive in order to keep the ship afloat.

There is an extensive record of a gentleman named Thomas Davis that was pressed into service by Samuel Bellamy‘s crew onboard the Whydah Galley.² He was one of only two survivors that escaped the vessel’s later shipwreck. He was tried for piracy but found innocent as he was forced into service against his will.

On many ships, skilled surgeons were also scarce. After a bloody battle, severe injuries may require performing amputations. There are tales of carpenters having to take on those responsibilities simply because they had a saw.

28mm Carpenter model on a dock next to a ship

Rules for Carpenters in Blood & Plunder

Characters were first introduced to the pirate miniatures game of Blood & Plunder in No Peace Beyond the Line. They come in two varieties: “Fighting Men” & “Hostages & Advisors”. A Carpenter is a Fighting Man meaning he is an upgrade to a model in one of your Units.

Stat Analysis

  • Carpenters are +3 points. That is in addition to the cost of the model in the Unit you are converting to the “Fighting Man”. So if for instance, you use a Sea Dog a Carpenter technically costs 6pts.
  • Native Americans can’t use Carpenters, but since they are limited to Boats (rare exceptions exist), there isn’t much use for one anyway.
  • A Command Range of 3″ seems a little useless since it’s the Carpenter’s Unit that is going to be doing the Repair, but we’ll discuss that more in the Strategy & Tactics section later.
  • You get 1 Command Point that can only be used for Repairs.
  • As an added bonus for being skilled as his trade, you get a -1 bonus for any Repair tests this Unit makes.

Repair Action Rules

Repair actions can be used on both ships and buildings/fortifications/structures.

  • A unit taking a Repair dedicated action may choose to either fix the effect of a critical hit (if repairable) from a structure the unit is currently next to or occupying or may restore a single Integrity point that has been damaged by an attacker.
  • If a unit is outside of the Structure it is attempting to repair, it must have a model within 1″ of the damaged Structure section.
  • Roll one D10 for the unit. The target number of the test is 7+. If successful, the damage is repaired, or the Critical Damage effect is removed.
Tony Dolan as Mr Lamb the Ship’s Carpenter in “Master & Commander”

Carpenter Miniature Options

Since the release of Characters, Firelock Games has released a few different models for the misc Fighting Men and Advisors available in the game. Including:

  • 4pk of Civilian Models in metal which contain:
    • Local Guide
    • Spy
    • Captured Merchant (Governor)
    • Ship’s Pilot
  • Son of Neptune – A Kickstarter exclusive model from No Peace Beyond the Line.
  • Spiritual Leader – this model was part of the Raise the Black Kickstarter and included in the “Box of Plunder”

Unfortunately, there isn’t an official Carpenter miniature (at the time of this article) for Blood & Plunder. This means you’ll have to create your own custom mini or just designate one of your models as a proxy.

How To Create a Custom Carpenter Miniature

The new plastic sailor minis in the 2 Player Blackbeard vs Maynard Boxed Set or the Sailor’s Boxed set are perfect options for creating a custom kitbash for a Carpenter mini.

Jason Klotz’s Carpenter Model

You can use any of the base Sailor bodies, but I started with one of the “leaner models” from the Sailors. There are so many models that are leaning, that I look for ways to use them in creative ways to use those poses so they don’t look as awkward.

Parts List

  • Body – Sailor C1
  • Head – Sailor P19
  • Hat – Milita G2 (cut the head and hat a bit to make it fit)
  • Left Arm – not sure it was in the bits box… I think Sailor A2 or F3
  • Right Arm – Maybe Sailor A3 or F2
  • Mallet – custom from Sailor P40
  • Wedge – custom from Militia F6 Matchlock Musket

Making a Wooden Mallet

I started with a Sailor pistol as a Melee Weapon (P40) and trimmed the firing mechanism and trigger guard off the pistol. Then I cut the stock/hand grip off as far up as I could and it still be flat. Trimmed a bit off the reloading stick at the bottom. For the top of the mallet, I cut a small chunk from a random section of the sprue and just attached it to the trimmed pistol. Pictures below:

Wood Planks on the Base

For a bit of extra flavor, I cut three planks and just superglued them to the base for effect. Woodend coffee stir sticks are awesome for crafting in custom terrain. I’ve not been able to find them at the local dollar stores, and Walmart has them but they have round ends so they require extra cuts. After entering the last, “terrain building challenge” for The Plunder Den, I bought a mega pack on Amazon for less than $10. They are the perfect width for planks in making docks, buildings, and floors. Once you start using them, you’ll burn through them quickly.

1000pk of wooden stir sticks
Box of 1000pk of wooden coffee stirrers

1000pk of coffee stirrers on Amazon:

Wedge in Left Hand

I tried to find a good hand I could use to put a “wedge” in, but I had used most of the good ones on other projects. You could have used a pike or spear, but I didn’t want to sacrifice them cause they were still in the queue for other models. I opted for a matchlock musket from the bits box. Militia F6, but A8 or C2 might also work. I just chopped up the gun to get it to look a bit wedge-like and called it done. You could also use the hands from Militia D4 or E1 and craft your own wedge. Whatever you choose, just cut up the weapon or find a hand you can drill out and put a wedge from a bit of sprue and call it a day.

Jason’s Finished Product Painted Up

It’s not my best paint job but it’s good enough for the tabletop. 🙂

Guy Rheuarks’s Carpenter Model

Guy also used a Sailor model but put an axe on his hip (helpful for cutting away debris and tangled lines) and a pouch on his side to hold some tools/nails. His hammer was also constructed from spare bits from the sprue. Notice Guy’s hammer is probably a little more “historically accurate” in that the handle goes all the way through the head of the mallet where it would have been shimmed into place if necessary.

His pose with the pointing finger helps sell the model’s role in directing the repairs that likely involved other models, not a solo man doing all the work. The axe on his hip is excellent for cutting away rigging and debris and is very fitting for his job.

Custom 28mm Carpenter Model for Blood & Plunder by Guy Rheuark (front)
Guy Rheuarks’s Carpenter Model on the stern of a Corvette ship

Strategies & Tactics for Using a Carpenter Character

While a Carpenter is a simple, single model that you add to your force, there are some tactics to keep in mind when using one. Below are a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Carpenter.

General Tips & Tricks for Carpenters

"ships carpenter" art by Thomas Rowlandson (1799)
“Ships Carpenter” art by Thomas Rowlandson ³
  • If your Carpenter is in a Small Arms unit, take a Partial Shot that round instead of a standard Shoot. This gives you a single Reload so you can spare the Command Action on a dedicated.
  • Repairs aren’t just for Leaks and Rigging Damage, they are for putting out Fires. If you live dangerously with your own Explosives and have a misfire, a Carpenter is useful as a backup plan.
  • If you are in seriously bad shape, take a Dedicated action on a Club with the Carpenter’s unit. You’ll get a -1 for the Carpenter & -2 for the extra 2 actions lowering the target number from 7+ to 4+ giving you a 70% chance of Success.
  • Reparing a point of Integrity can make a difference, especially when you can push your Fortitude back up by one point. Having that Command Point available makes repairing useful on pretty much every turn after you’ve been hit once with cannons, even if you haven’t taken a Critical Hit. Plug the holes!

Where Should You Place Your Carpenter On Your Ship?

  • On 2 Deck ships, the placement doesn’t matter. You can do a Repair action in any location connecting to your current location.
  • On a 3 Deck ship if you put him in a Unit in the middle deck he can do a Repair action on any of the 3 Decks.
  • On a 4 Deck Ship (the 6th Rate Frigate or Galleon) you will need to pick the 2nd or 3rd Deck.
    • If you are looking to board or likely to be in a role of chasing your opponent, I would put him in the 2nd Deck as you are more likely to take damage to the front of your ship.
    • If you are going to be running away from an opponent and keeping your distance, you are more prone to take damage in the rear sections so put him in the 3rd Deck.
Carpenter repairing a ship's mast
Carpenter repairing a ship’s mast

Tips For Using Your Carpenter’s Command Action

  • Repair is a Dedicated Action. That means it will use 100% of your actions for the round if you use it on a normal activation. Command Points however can be used as Dedicated actions so you can use the command action to Repair and then use your standard actions for something else.
  • The vast majority of the time you will use your Command point on your own unit to do the Repair action. But don’t feel like you HAVE to use its Unit. Again, Command Actions can be used to do Dedicated actions. Using them on another Unit can be beneficial.
  • In Sea battles, I tend to have a smaller unit on the rear deck of my ship to man the sheets & shrouds or occasionally as a “throw-away unit” for triggering initiative cards or stalling to get my ship closer to an enemy. This makes them a good option for a Repair action. (By throw away, I don’t mean useless, just lower priority… e.g. a 4-man unit vs an 8-12 man unit. They still Shoot/Fight, etc, but they are a lower priority).
  • If you have a unit that has taken casualties and is down to only 2-3 models use it to Repair and use the larger unit with the Carpenter for something more effective.

Pair A Carpenter with a Sailing Master

Sailing Masters are another great Character to use in larger point Sea games. They can help you get a burst of extra speed or do advanced maneuvers. But sometimes those actions result in damage to the rigging. Or if an Event causes the wind to shift and you to exceed your ship’s Top Speed you can take rigging damage. The Carpenter can constantly repair the messes the Sailing Master creates!

Blood & Plunder Carpenter and Sailing Master mini combo
Blood & Plunder Carpenter and Sailing Master mini combo

Force Building Tips for Carpenters

As mentioned previously, Carpenters are limited to Units with the Sailors or Expert Sailors special abilities.

  • If I’m running a Cannon-focused ship, I prefer not to put them with my Cannon Crews. If I must, I put them in one of the smaller crews. I prefer to keep my Cannons firing as quickly as possible so I don’t want to waste an action to Repair unless it’s vital to my survival.
  • Zeeliedin are a solid Sailor unit available to a large number of Nations and Factions. They can also be equipped with Muskets. Muskets allow you to shoot at range, but if necessary pause for a single action to Repair. It hurts less than losing an action on the Cannons that require 4 Reloads.

Units with Sailors & Expert Sailors

Here is a quick reference list of the Unit types that come with the Sailors or Expert Sailors ability required to assign a Carpenter to the Unit:


  • Enter Ploeg
  • European Sailors (Unaligned)
  • Jamaican Privateers (English)
  • Kapers
  • Zeelieden


  • Able Seamen
  • Freebooters
  • European Sailors (Unaligned)
  • Jamaican Privateers
  • Sea Dogs
  • Veteran Freebooters
  • Zeelieden (Dutch)


  • European Sailors (Unaligned)
  • Jamaican Privateers (English)
  • Later Flibustiers (French)
  • Marins (French)
  • Marineros (Spanish)
  • Pirates
  • Pressed Men (Unaligned)
  • Roundsman
  • Sea Dogs (English)
  • Zeelieden (Dutch)


  • Flibustiers
  • Later Flibustiers
  • Marins
  • Marins Basque


  • Corsarios
  • European Sailors (Unaligned)
  • Kapers (Dutch)
  • Later Flibustiers (French)
  • Marineros
  • Marineros Piqueros
  • Marins (French)
  • Sea Dogs (English)
  • Vizcainos
  • Zeelieden (Dutch)

Unaligned & Peripheral Powers

  • European Sailors
  • Marins (French)
  • Marineros (Spanish)
  • Pressed Men
  • Sea Dogs (English)
  • Vizcainos (Spanish)
  • Zeelieden
La Buse presses a Carpenter into service aboard his pirate sloop
La Buse presses a Carpenter into service aboard his pirate sloop

Commanders That Work Well With Carpenters

There are a few select Commanders in the game that can give a Unit they are attached to the Sailors ability. This is an interesting dynamic because it then allows you to assign a Carpenter Character to that same Unit.

  • Manuel Rivero De Pardal (Spanish)
  • Mateo Alonso de Huidobro (Spanish)

Factions that Work Well With Carpenters

There are a few Factions that also give Sailors or Expert Sailors to units and thereby give you the option to add a Carpenter to a Unit that isn’t normally allowed.

Spanish Factions

  • Armada de Barlovento – All Veteran units in this Force gain the Expert Sailors and Expert Artillery Crew Special Rules.
  • Guarda Costas – All units with Drilled gain Sailors instead
  • Spanish Armada – All Veteran units in this Force gain the Expert Sailors and Expert Artillery Crew Special Rules.
Blood & Plunder Carpenter Mini on deck with the rest of his crew

Article by Jason Klotz

Additional Reading Suggestions


  1. “Un Charpentier” (carpenter), 1720 artwork by Martin Engelbrecht
  2. Thomas Davis: Reluctant Carpenter to the Pirates” By Laura Nelson
  3. “Ship’s Carpenter” art by Thomas Rowlandson in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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