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I'm a member of the Yahoo! group The Sea of Claws - which is one of the last bastions for fans of Man O' War. I created the group years ago and our membership as steadily grown to over 2700 now - with about 200 active currently.
We get a lot of player created submissions and one of the most impressive was the addition of a Goblin fleet for the game. This was a completely fleshed out submission with rules for multiple ships, flyers and other special rules so players can make a new fleet with little effort other than buying or making some ships to use.
I recently set-up a nice modeling/painting station in my house and this fleet was a good way to break it in. The fluff text for the Goblin fleet describes the ships as rafts that have been hodge-podged together (similarly to the Orc fleet). Since official Man O War miniatures are hard to come by (to cannibalize), I realized that the majority of the ships would have to be scratch built.
I took an inventory of what I already had that could be used and found a lot of styrene strips of various sizes and shapes that could be used. I also had a few spare parts from some old Orc ships that I had already used parts from for other conversions.
With a general idea of what I had in mind, I began with the construction!
The first ship I made was the Goblin Hullbusta. The fluff text describes this as a raft with a huge ball and chain attached to a (Orc) catapult that, when fired, propel the ball overhead (attached to the chain) and smashed it down on the enemy ship like a knight's mace. Cool in concept but a bit difficult to model without a lot of pre-made parts to canabalize.
Not having enough extra or spare Catapult parts from my existing Orc fleet, I decided to model this ship slightly differently. Instead of a overhead mace attack, I'd keep the general idea of a ball on a chain, but instead model it more like a wrecking ball attack. This turned out to be much easier to do as I was able to use a bunch of wooden parts picked up from Michael's (a craft store chain out here on the west coast). I made the rafts from cut pieces of the Styrene sprue that the original MOW masts came on, as well as new cut pieces of styrene from my strip stock. A wooden toothpick and a small segment of metal chain completed the necessary components and I kind of just built it as I went - not entirely sure how it would turn out,but with a general concept of the overall effect I was looking for.
Here is a shot of a completed Hullbusta along with most of the components used to make it:
You can see how the majority of the ship is made from styrene - I only have used a metal wheel from some odd miniature I had for the top of the hub and then I cut off a piece of an old Orc Epic 40K miniature to mount behind the hub. I made the "ball" from two piece epoxy putty (green stuff as it's more commonly known).
Finally, here is a shot of the completed squadron:
Without any official ships available for this fleet, some creativity was needed to field one. Since I relied mostly on readily accessible components, I can easily replicate this squadron as many times as desired. Of course the metal components I used are limited, but styrene substitutions could easily be crafted too.
The styrene "raft" components will be used in a similar fashion on the other ships to tie the fleet together and bring some visual cohesiveness to the fleet. I'll go into detail next on the Goblin Raft and Freebooter, while the post after that in the series, will detail the Goblin Hulk.