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Blood and Plunder – Getting Started

Blood and Plunder – Getting Started

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Project Blog by dugthefug1644

Recommendations: 84

About the Project

I started a thread on the old Beasts of War that drew attention, well over a year ago, as I started to get into the game. I followed the initial Blood and Plunder week and watched the let's plays and was hooked. I wanted to try the game at a low cost. I made my own dice, got the book with a promotional code and downloaded what I could from the company's website. I wanted a highly converted army, made from my Warlord Games civil war minis I hadn't started building and a selection of third party suppliers. I have since bought some of the official minis as well. This is a journey through my cost cutting ideas, my conversions and paint jobs, the minis I chose and why, the fan boys that did not like my thriftiness and the contrasting support and friendship offered from hobbyists and historical enthusiasts from the same community.

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Marineros - the official blister

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Marineros - the official blister

These were fun to paint. The only thing uniting them is the prevalence of red. For my English I am hoping to make the common colour blue. (apart from the very red coats of militia). I think my sea dogs run the risk of looking very similar to these Marineros.

These will be taller than most of my minis, but I think that the strong sailor type troops would look more imposing than the underfed local conscripted militia anyway.

Forlorn Hope

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Forlorn Hope

This model was awesome to create, but it highlights how getting wysiwyg replications of the official line can be quite tough. As an English forlorn hope miniature you need a brace of pistols, a musket, grenades and a melee weapon. Even after using a cavalry pistol in holster, a cavalry musket, greenstuff bag and grenade he still isn’t wysiwyg. I think the teddy bear stuffing strand fuse smoke has come out really well and does identify him, but I am still considering improvements to add the correct weapons, without ruining what I have done so far.

Converting ain't easy - The future's plastic.

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Converting ain't easy - The future's plastic.

Another Blood and Plunder mini painted above and I have to say I enjoyed it. I think that the ill formed cutlass is not actually as distracting as I thought it would be. The details are fairly soft, but then I have been spoilt with 40k miniatures this year. The latest highend plastics were always going fair well in comparison. The unveiling on Blood and Plunder week that Firelock Games are headed for multi-part plastics is great news. I just hope they drop the scale compared to the metal miniatures by just a millimetre or two so that the occasional 28mm bigger heroic sized kits might be able to kit bash across ranges. If they become a larger end 32mm kit it will still be cool, but slightly unfortunate for those of us that like our conversions.

One of the reasons I bought the blister of marineros was so I could see how best to merge any conversions I might build into the unit, without them just being bland generic seamen.

The wysiwyg rule required for proxies is a challenge. I bought some spare metal pistols from Essex Miniatures, but the scale is a little off. Slightly larger than the Blood and Plunder guns even when the B&P minis are a large scale. Some of my models so far don’t really have an available sling, holster or bag to rest a spare gun on. Sometimes you even need to represent a brace of pistols and this has been awkward. I am considering just laying smoking pistols or arquebuses on the base, to allow the pose on my conversions to go uncluttered by the extra weapons.

Mixing ranges

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Mixing ranges

I found that the WotSS Warlord Games Sprue did give me a close approximation to the clothing and design of the Front Rank Figurines minis I had bought, but the Front Rank minis were far more heroic scale. I realised early on that I would not be able to use the same hats as the Front Rank guys because the scale difference would be so obvious and stark. I chose to use more heroic scale heads with no hat to add to the militia, poorly equipped style I was aiming for. I will add some more variety in the red of their coats as I continue, again to try and add more variety.

The English are coming...

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The English are coming...

I think some of the heat on Facebook pages was that I had been posting links from Wargames Foundry and Perry Miniatures looking for alternative ranges that still stayed in era.

I found that a lot of them fall into two camps. Either too far forward in history, where tricorn hats and the general look is totally off, or they are 7 years war minis and again don’t look generic enough to fit into Blood and Plunder. For the English militia though I did settle on some Front Rank Figurines English that looked pretty similar in design to the official minis.

I got a mix of late 17th century matchlock musketeers and flintlock musketeers because I wanted that mix to show off that transition period and to imply that these are not the well oiled professional soldiers of the later European armies in the period.

I also bought a sprue of Warlord Games Wars of the Spanish Succession English minis. They come up far more true scale, but with some basing shenanigans I made them a touch taller and they fit in OK. Will show some of these off shortly.

The English are coming...

Fan boys and their ships

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Perhaps I was being sensitive in a Facebook forum, never a good place to be sensitive, but being called a “cheap ass” and accused of stalling the growth or threatening the survival of the game was a bit harsh. Two or three people chose to single me out for comment because I was asking whether anyone was using ship sized templates to act out naval battles. The most impressive ships can be around £100, some smaller less impressive ships can be cheaper, around the £20-50, but I was likely to need two ships and wanted to see if anyone else had used templates to get used to the naval warfare rules.

I wrote this in reply.

“I think you grow a fan base and interest by having the game played and by being open to as many people as possible. I don’t think sharing ideas about making the entry point cheaper is condemning the company to lower sales. Even though I have mainly been converting miniatures from other ranges for my armies, I have bought firelock miniatures, the rules, official markers and if I enjoy playing it I am sure more purchases will inevitably be made. For the game to be enjoyed to it’s fullest you probably do need ships, but I am not sure we need to have a dig at people for not joining the game from the same budget and angle that you have.”

Yes it was wordy, yes it was a bit precious, but it was how I felt at the time.

Looking back I realise that the people were only voicing their opinion, were only being supportive of their hobby, but still feel that there needn’t have been actual insults or digs used to express that.

I still don’t think that people having proxies for both budget’s sake and for variety’s sake is wrong. Big or small companies, young or old, benefit from games being played in clubs and homes everywhere. The best way to succeed is to have as many ways into your game / hobby as possible. I think Firelock Games have found a good balance. I don’t think their prices are extortionate, I don’t think this hobby is ever going to be a cheap one, but you don’t want to alienate or cut routes into the game that aren’t currently able to invest as heavily as your best customers. Those individuals will appreciate it and over a longer period of time could eventually be a better customer than the guys or girls that do a mega Kickstarter splash of cash and you never sell a thing to them ever again. Third party minis are sometimes people’s only option and shouldn’t be condemned for it, especially seeing as I was told recently that the official organised play rules actually accept third party models. They only require a wysiwyg approach, so your opponent knows exactly what class of troops they are facing.

From hunting around and getting feedback from the community this company sells ships at a reasonable price, but that was sometime ago and I would check around for reviews to be confident you are getting what you want and what you paid for.

http://www.gamesofwar.co.uk/ships

Fan boys and their ships

Dice tokens and D10s

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Dice tokens and D10s

I bought some small blank dice and d10s.
I found the dice faces online for the token / marker icons.
Saved some money, but they are not as nice as the etched marker dice faces of the official ones.
I felt I needed more because I intend to take my two conversion armies to the club and play my son and others. The original set of official dice I bought would probably not be enough to cover both forces once you are over 3 or four units each.
If you are guaranteed a large group of friends willing to play and commit to the game you might be able to make even more savings by buying less dice and only buying one faction of minis etc. As I knew I was always collecting two factions I felt it necessary to make savings in this way.

I bought the rules, I bought the official token dice, I even got the faction specific cards. This one is an obvious extravagance because this game works with a normal set of playing cards.

Even worse, when playing on a budget, I invested in the data cards; when all the data on them is laid out in the rule book. I decided that having gaming aids like that would make any first games with new opponents look and play that much better.

Dice tokens and D10s

Where it began...

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Where it began...

Sorry to leap around in the chronology of this project, but I hope if you read the whole thing you will still get rough understanding of how things unfolded.

When I was considering how to get into the game I looked at this cheap ebay part-painted Pike and Shotte purchase I made months before. I looked at the pictures on the Firelock Games website and thought there were some similarities between the Civil war minis and the Spanish Milicianos (militia).

Where it began...

I went ahead and painted several of the miniatures in the same colours as some of the official minis examples online. I put plenty of variety into the models knowing that these men were not equipped like a regular European army, but would be using hand me downs, mending old kit or improvising with the best that they had.

I decided to make the officer in the batch a Spanish captain. I knew that there was a certain flamboyance expected in the Spanish officer class. I went bright and colourful and think he will stand out nicely on the table top. 😊

Where it began...

Scale comparison

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Scale comparison

I am able to show off a scale comparison between Essex Miniatures (highlander), Firelock Games (unpainted), Warlord Games (running pirate) and Front Rank figurines (English militia).
All my alternative models come up slightly shorter than the official models. I’ll reserve judgement of the Firelock minis once I have painted more, but there was a fair amount of flash and mold lines on the ones I have primed so far.
If the scale distracts just use alternative basing to make the height issue less obvious.

For my taller minis I just carved planking into the plastic bases. For shorter minis I added coffee stirers planking to the same bases and that added a touch of height without putting them on a plinth.

Terrain idea...

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Terrain idea...

I wanted to have a gun in my first battles, but haven’t invested in any ships yet. I know that pirates were opportunists, ambushers and craftsmen in many fields. A hastily erected gun platform to defend a beach seemed like a good excuse.
I used a DVD as a base, bbq skewers for patched up defenses and struts, Mcdonalds cup holder for the ruined tower and coffee stirrers for the platform.
Sandbags and barrel from Renedra and ladder from coffee stirers. 🙂

Sense of humour failure

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"... All I said was 'if we're on The Account does that make us accountants?' ..."

There are lots of funny people in the community. Keen on the history, but not all taking themselves too seriously.

For example how’s this for a follow up caption.

“It’s fun to charter an Accountant…And sail upon the wide Accountancy”

Cannon

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Cannon
Cannon

dw_shepard on the Shapeways 3D Printing site made a 1/56 scale cannon for me. It looks a touch smaller than expected but we know that size and calibre wasn’t an exact science in this era. I think maybe a 1/48 scale might be better. He’s knowledgeable about the cannons and was willing to make a 1/56 version for me when it wasn’t listed. Price wasn’t brilliant but 3D print won’t be super cheap for a while yet. The postage will be better if you’re in the US. The cannon is next to a Front Rank figurines English militia mini and a Warlord Games mini for scale.

It took Army Painter Leather Brown primer fine. The texture on the side isn’t a problem for me and this is the lower costing (presumably lower quality) print option.

Lanceros

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Lanceros
Lanceros

I was worried that the lanceros would be very difficult to find cheaply or build from cheaper plastic sprues I already had. I think I have found a solution, with a fair amount of conversion involved. I have looked at a Warlord Celtic warriors sprue and a Natal native / Zulu sprue I had. The simple nature of clothes of some of the celts and the near naked and african features of the Zulu sculpts and heads has made for interesting options. I even found a Wargames Factory dark age sprue that had a Caribbean Indian native bowl cut haircut on one of the heads.

Starting on the official minis

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Starting on the official minis

The official minis felt expensive for the number of minis you were getting per blister, they were more like 32mm than 28mm and the quality you were getting was below par campared to other sculpts during a spike in quality across the industry. These were historically accurate, had nice built in planked bases and I wanted to support the company, but I was also having a lot of fun converting the minis I already had and just hadn’t been putting to good use until then. Only when I started to struggle for conversion parts and when I began finding the Spanish Milicianos Indios particularly difficult to imitate did I cave in and introduce some of the official minis to my collection.

I also liked the Marineros miniatures in the official collection so purchased some of these. Here are my first 2 efforts from this 4 minis set.

Starting on the official minis

Starting towards the end...

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Starting towards the end...

The latest Blood and Plunder week gave me the nudge I needed to restart my project. Sadly the pages of forum posts from the old Beasts of War site were lost, but I will piece together my starting point and flesh out the first steps of the journey soon.

For now I wanted to share my latest pieces.

These minis charging the gun platform I made are Lanceros. Hard nuts from the islands who were told to use ambush tactics by their Spanish masters and expected to do so with nothing but spears and cut down pikes and pole arms. These units were made up of conscripted men and slaves for the most part.

I made the latest mini from an English Civil war Warlord Games plastic command sprue mini and a Warlord Zulu head.

The short pike he is wielding previously had an axe / halberd head. The ruff color is made of greenstuff. He is very old fashioned looking compared to his fellow Lanceros, but I still think he fits in OK with the group. The ‘make the best of what you have’ attitude to equipping these units and the diverse pasts that these men must have had made for a fun bit of artistic licence and narrative.