Sunday, May 29, 2016

Iron Painter: Hasslfree Pirate Captain John

After painting trials and tribulations, I've finished painting Hasslefree's "Captain John" for round 4 of Wyrd's Iron Painter competition. I painted this model in a small diorama with a boat and octopus arms attacking the pirate. The model is in 28mm scale. Read on for more pictures of the completed model, discussion of how I painted him, and stories of the challenges this model went through.

In round 3 I scored well with my entry of Mr. Tannen but lost in my head to head match-up against the talented Erebi. I've now moved down to the bronze category and just need to survive two rounds to complete the challenge. 

For this round I was ahead of the game. I actually had the model at home and ready to paint (I ordered it as a little something extra when ordering a viking model from Hasslefree). It was lucky I did as we had lots of guests in the last few weeks that seriously cut in to my painting time. 

The model from Hasslefree has nice detail that paints up nicely (click for a link to Hasslefree). While painting I was wishing I bought the resin version of the model. Overall the casting was better than most metal models I have painted. The model has a ton of character. I love the lined jacket, jacket ruffles, and the bits of armor. There was only one piece to attach to the model (and I didn't add it).

The base for this model was built entirely from different putties. I used Super Sculpey and Super Sculpey firm for the boat, waves, and octopus arms. I then used some brown stuff to make the suckers on the arms. The base took me a while as I carefully built it in layers so I could add the detail I wanted without damaging it.

I tried a lot of new techniques on this model again. I tried both Non-Metallic Metal steel and gold on this model. I used English uniform mixed with ivory for the gold and some Vallejo Model Air greys for the silver. I'm fairly pleased with how both of them came out. I airbrushed the main purples on the octopus arms and then added the rest of the detail by brush. The jacket on this model was also an experiment. I used P3 Coal Black and mixed in some tan to make a lighter desaturated colour. The colour blended nicely and was fun to paint. I love Coal Black.

As I mentioned in the intro, I had some serious challenges with this model too. I finished the entire model before painting the bandana. I painted it white first. I didn't like how much it stood out so I repainted it with the dark red. When I returned an hour later the paint had cracked! The bottom layers of paint (Vallejo) must have dried at a different rate than the top layers (reaper). Disaster! Well, until I painted it again. It turned out alright.

Once everything was dry I took it all outside to varnish. I sprayed the varnish then picked up the cardboad box I had the models in to keep pollen and dust from settling on the wet models. The heavy metal pirate toppled and fell into some dust and dirt! Ahhhhhh! I picked him up and tried to get the bits of grit off. Sadly the sword was all bent as well. After it dried I fixed it up as well as I could. The only lasting damage is a little kink in the sword and the edge highlight on the back of the sword was a mess even after I touched it up. Very frustrating. This is part of the challenge of painting these dioramas on such a tight timeline.

Sword back isn't as nice as it was before dropping it...
Overall I'm please with how this model turned out. It was fun to paint such a unique model. I learned a lot while painting it. My painting on competition models is still a long ways from where I would like it to be. I think this model is a small step in the right direction.

Only one more round left to go in the Iron Painter. I have some Flames of War models that need a blog post written in the next week so be sure to visit back. I'd love to hear some constructive comments and feedback about this model Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for visiting!


  1. Love the concept. Very fine work on the waves and the tentacles. And wood grain. And...(so forth). Great work.

    1. Thanks Dave. Lots of tricky bits on this model!

  2. Wow, sounds like a really serious competition. It's amazing what you've been coming up with in such a short period of time.

    1. It's a tough competition. Going so long and the competition being at such a high level is a challenge. The entries keep getting better and better.

      Two weeks is long enough for me on one project. Just stressful when I'm trying to finish last minute details. Each model is probably taking me around 15-20h for assembly, diorama and painting.

  3. Ooof! Such trials to get this piece finished!

    But I like how he looks. The tentacles are very nicely done and those waters look dark and murky and dangerous.

    Good stuff mate!

    1. Thanks Dai. I think a lot of the trials are from having to rush things in between real life commitments. I was rushing to varnish the model after dinner and before a visitor arrived. That's what makes the 2 week time so challenging. You have to plan the time for drying and curing and varnishing and photography too.


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