About this project
The goal of this project is to kickstart our miniature "Pirate World" effort. Sure, these models of ships, docks, buildings and accessories look good, but they are also highly functional. Our kits are pre-painted and designed to be easy to assemble. All our models are made out of 1/8" (3mm) Baltic Birch plywood and we use water-based paint. Leave them as is or customize your models with your color choices. All of the photos here are "What You See Is What You Get" - we haven't added extra paint or detailing. Even our most complicated models can be put together in an evening, many of them in under an hour. Floors have 1" grids laser etched in and all the models come apart for accessibility which allows for movement in the game.
This project aims to produce realistic models, based on real-world historical plans and pictures and at the correct 1:60 scale for 28mm gaming. Our HMS Surprise frigate is 33" long. We try to fill out a complete "world" - we provide ships, rowboats, docks, cranes, crates and other clutter, a range of buildings that you'd find in a Caribbean port in the 1700's and even a Spanish goldmine!
For this project, we've also worked hard to make models that fit in well with other genres - so the Spanish-Colonial style buildings would make a great Mexican village, complete with Mission church - the perfect addition to a Wild-West adventure. The Windmill, Port Offices and Norman church work well with our Medieval series of models and the docks are great to add a port to your East Asian scenarios. The ships are authentic 1750's style naval vessels that would not look out of place in a Napoleonic sea battle. The docks would not be out of place in almost any era.
The problem with making good shipping estimates is that at the outset of the project, we have no idea how many rewards we'll have to make! However, our previous kickstarters made $42,000 and $60,000. With two Laser cutters in operation, we'll be able to complete significantly more work than that in just six months. If we wildly exceed those numbers, the final ship date will extend by about one month for every additional $10,000 won. However, at funding level, we would have to consider increasing our production capability and taking on more workers.
We are working hard to streamline our production. Instead of shipping large orders in one huge shipment, we're going to make multiple shipments. This ensures that all of our large backers get SOMETHING from us fairly quickly and the remainder of their orders in installments. As the project gains momentum, we'll have a better idea of how large each 'wave' of shipments will be - and in what order it makes most sense to ship in.
You have the option of including the international shipping as you pledge, or waiting to pay the shipping with Paypal when I contact you that I am ready to ship your rewards.
Please read the reward descriptions carefully and refer here for images of the parts described.
Includes two oars!
Has clock dials on three sides and an access ladder on the third to reach the rooftop flagpole.
The roof of the jail cell is removable, the two gibbets split in half and are large enough to imprison most 'heroic scale' human figurines so long as you didn't go too nuts with large bases.
Treadmill cranes were driven by one or more men walking the giant treadmill. Typically, these would have been prisoners from the local jail. They were invented in Roman times and continued in service until steam-powered cranes started to appear in Victorian times. This one is an exact replica of an actual example in La Roque Saint-Christophe.
The Long Boat had many uses, with room for up to a dozen men and mounting points for swivel guns and a couple of sails. After the mutiny on HMS Bounty, one of these was sailed for 3,600 miles by Captain Bligh and a handful of his senior officers.
If you're stranded on an island and all you've got left is some rope, some driftwood and a scrap of sailcloth, then this is your best hope!
The "Shallop" was a small vessel, with a crew of up to 8 men. It could be rowed or sailed with a fore-and-aft rig. This was another popular pirate vessel, frequently armed with swivel-guns.
These come as a pair with a bunch of blank "arms" (and one broken one) that you can label yourself and slot into them in different directions.
This small counter-weight crane would mostly be used for moving things from one place to another on the docks. The number of men required to operate it would depend on the size of the load that needed to be moved.
The large port comes with a set of staircases to get you from one elevation to another. Individual staircases from this set are included in various other building kits as a means to get from one floor to the next.
A coastal defense battery - manned by perhaps a dozen men with three large naval cannons. The men slept and ate on the bottom floor, ammunition and powder was stored on the second. This one is modelled (loosely) on the one at Fort Recovery in the British Virgin Islands.
The port structures (Quays) come in four styles with T-pieces and end pieces as well as the standard straight sections:
And half-height and quarter height sections for reaching smaller boats:
This is a nice way to end a long pier - the space on the top is large enough for the large crane - or a small building of some kind.
11 Grave markers plus two crypts.
The sails rotate, and the entire body of the mill can be turned into the wind. Not shown here is an entry stairway at the back.
This bridge has two lifting spans. You can either use them both together to make a bridge large enough for the biggest ships to pass through - or you can use just half of it as a bridge between pier sections. You can use thin string (not supplied) to connect the bridge to the winding mechanism at the back - which has a locking mechanism to hold the bridge in place at any desired angle.
This is a useful general-purpose bridge - but it has an important second use - which is to allow you to put quays and the lifting bridge onto a flat gaming table - using the two halves of this model as ramps to provide access to the pier from table-top height.
There are Norman Churches all over the English-speaking world - and there are many of them in the Caribbean.
The church tower separates out into floors with spiral staircases winding upwards. The roofs of the other two sections are removable so you can play inside.
The Salty Dog Inn is a classic pirate hangout. The deck area might hand out over the water for easy access by rowboat. One side of the inn has a saucy mermaid to attract the less picky customers!
Like all of our building models, you can remove the roof and upper floor(s) to reveal a usable interior space:
The Port Building is an administrative building of some kind - but it could also be a coaching inn or even the gatehouse for a large estate.
The Caribbean is full of Spanish Colonial buildings - as well as buildings from British, French and Dutch influence. These Spanish-style structures are also useful in the WildWest genre as a traditional Mexican village:
The villa is really two buildings, connected by two arcades to enclose a small courtyard with a dolphin-themed fountain.
The arcade sections are also useful as general-purpose walls between buildings in a group.
This is a fairly generic building - it could be a private house, or a cantina or anything else you can imagine. It's modelled around the Veldazquez house in Santiago de Cuba.
Mission churches, with their elaborate porticoes and twin bell-towers are common in the Spanish-Colonial world. This one is similar to Mission San Xavier del Bac in Arizona.
The Barque Longue was the Caribbean pirates "go-to" vessel. They could strip the ship to it's bare essentials, pile on a ton of sail and be fast and manouverable. This one has ten 6lb "minions" (technically, not "cannons" - but that's what they look like!) and four swivel-guns. As with all of our models, the ship comes with real cloth sails.
The masts can be removed and the top deck lifted off for easier access to the gun deck/hold below.
Evil twin of "La Belle" - black sails, red paintwork.
A ghost ship - after a hundred years in Davey Jones' Locker, she emerges to terrorize the shipping lanes.
A medium sized 3-master with a fore-and-aft "Bermuda" rig sail plan. Includes ten 6lb guns and four swivel guns.
The "Jane" is a lowly Snow-rigged merchant ship - she has four 6lb guns on her top deck and removable covers over her two cargo holds. The masts and top deck are removable as with the other medium-sized ships.
The shipwreck comes in two halves painted in a slimey olive green. Use them together as one large shipwreck or as two separate half-wrecks.
Halfway in size between La Belle and HMS Surprise. Includes twelve 18lb cannons. 24" long, 17" tall.
HMS Surprise (and the Esperanza):
This is our "flagship" model. Having a 33" long frigate on your gaming table makes an imposing statement! This model is a true representation of the historical HMS Surprise - and just like the ship that was described in the Master & Commander books, and the historically accurate movie. HMS Surprise had a long and fascinating career, starting out as a French ship, captured as a prize and seeing long service in the British Navy.
The "Esperanza" ('expectation') is identical to the Surprise, but with red paintwork (where Surprise is yellow) and black sails.
You can pull out the masts and remove the upper deck. The real Surprise had two below-waterline decks, which we were obviously unable to model so we provide two "2D" maps of the lower decks, gridded into squares with internal walls and stairways etched in place. These slide into an area under the gun deck for storage.
HMS Surprise comes with all 24 cannons, with metal barrels and wooden carriages. The kit also include two Longboats (complete with masts and sails) and a historically accurate structure that fits over Surprises' hold to keep them in position while they were sailing. The longboats come with a detachable lower hull section so they look good both on the water or above water with the entire hull visible.
The Spanish gold mine could be the place where the Spanish forced the local people to mine for gold - and an excellent place for pirates to stage a land-based attack...or it would be the reason for all of those gun-toting cowboys to descend on Deadwood. Each track piece has a corresponding tunnel section that exactly fits it. The tracks use a jigsaw-like connector to hold together firmly.
There are three designs of cart: The "Mine Cart" (on the left), the "Pump Cart" on the right - and the flat car (the two in the center). These are cut from grungy metallic-painted plywood to really look the part.
Every mine needs an entrance...this is it. We also have a "Rockfall" part that fits into the tunnels at any place along them. This can be used as a caved-in section or it can be placed at the end of a line of tunnels to indicate the "working face" of the mine. Each one comes with a destroyed/twisted rail track section.
When mine sections have two walls and a roof, you can't usefully game within them - and even with just two walls, it's too tight to get your hands in there - so we've opted to provide "stage scenery" mine sections that you put together as the mine is explored by your players. Just like the rail tracks, there is a straight section, a curved section and a "turnout" - or "fork".
There is also a larger underground "room" with two doorways that fit against the narrower corridors:
Here is an example of a few of our mine sections in a typical gaming situation. We've used a quarter-height quay from the port as a "station" for unloading the mine carts.
Packs and Sets.
Here are some photographs that attempt to show each kit that comes with every pack and set. Please refer to the pictures above to see how each individual kit looks.
Stretch Goals and Bonuses.
This time around, we've decided to do this stuff a little differently.
"Stretch Goals" are additional reward levels that we'll add as our project passes $40,000 - and at $10,000 intervals after that. We'll announce these at intervals throughout the project.
"Bonuses" are extra goodies that we add to individual reward levels or particular models when a certain number of that model/reward level have been pledged. Everyone who pledges for that item (either individually, or in a "bundle" pack) gets the bonus item, even if they pledged before the bonus was announced!
The bonus levels currently announced are:
* SUNK! 10 sold: Add a golden figurehead to every frigate kit.
* SUNK! 25 sold: Add 3D detail to stern and bow with a second figurehead and name-plate choice.
* 50 sold: Add removable interior walls for below-sea-level decks and a third figurehead and name-plate choice.
* 100 sold: Every person gets to name their own ship - with custom name-plates.
* And more TBA!
* MINED OUT! 10 sold: Add rotating turntable for carts.
* 25 sold: Add vertical ventilation shaft.
* 50 sold: Add a cart dumping station.
* 100 sold: Every person gets to name their own mine - with custom name-plates for the entrance.
* And more TBA.
* PILLAGED! 10 sold: Add a small castaway shelter.
* 25 sold: Add sails to the canoes.
* 50 sold: Add a fire pit and spit-roast.
* 100 sold: Add rope bridge (bring your own rope!).
* And more TBA.
(PORT PICTURE COMING SOON!)
Large and Small Ports:
* 10 sold: Add 2x ladders to small port, 4x ladders to large port.
* 25 sold: Add 1x quarter-height section to small port, for large port, add 2x quarter-height sections and 2x quarter-height T pieces.
* 50 sold: Add 2x rowboats to small port, 4x rowboats + 1x longboat to large port.
* And more TBA.
(WILD WEST PICTURE COMING SOON!)
Large and Small Wild West sets:
* 10 sold: Add a fountain to the courtyard of the Spanish Villa.
* 25 sold: Add an extra stage coach.
* 50 sold: Add two horse troughs
* 100 sold: Add a customised signpost, every person gets to say where it points.
* And more TBA.
Risks and challenges
Our previous "East Asian village" project overran our delivery estimates. The problem was that we'd planned to build a second laser cutter to double our production rate. Sadly, there were severe problems with doing that and our second machine didn't become operational until the very end of that project. However, it's now working full-tilt and we can turn out kits at twice the speed we did last time around. Furthermore, we've streamlined the way we manufacture kits - which will greatly streamline the way we make parts and further improve our production rate. Finally, if the project looks like it'll overrun even our wildest expectations, we have plans to take on staff and move to a yet larger space.
For those backers who had the longest wait, we offered $35 and $45 bonusses to ease their pain. We worked hard to keep everyone informed with regular updates and no question posted to us or to Kickstarter ever went unanswered.
While no kickstarter can ever offer definite delivery times - especially when you're doing your own manufacturing and have an unknown number of backers at the outset, we're confident that with more than twice our previous manufacturing capacity, we'll be able to ship product in a timely manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter