18 November 2012

Heldenhammer painted up (Dreadfleet)

I should have renamed this one "Backbreaker", 14 hours (I think, I lost count towards the end and started to have blackouts) and 3.5 painting session later I was too tired to even be upset about the intricate details and microscale of it all. I had to muster a decade's worth of accumulated painting patience to get through this one. If the Bloody Reaver was a bitch to assemble and a paint in the balls to paint, Heldenhammer is the painting equivalent to Chinese water torture.

Holy shit, all I can say is if there is someone out there who has been suckered into commission painting these ships for money or as a friendly trade - I feel sorry for you and you have my sympathy. I almost suspect that the reason every ship is different in the box is simply the knowledge that forcing a person to paint two or more "Heldenhammer" or "Bloody Reaver" ships would create a worldwide mental breakdown akin to Michael Douglas character in "Falling down".

You can't cut corners, you can't drybrush it, you can't use quick and dirty painting techniques - if you want it to look good. Hell, half the time I had to hold my breath like a sniper when drawing thin lines with my smallest brush to the point that I now think I can match Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island when it comes to hold my breath for 10 minutes.

These miniatures look great when they are built and painted, but have few redeeming qualities while you are actually working with them. Just like the Bloody Reaver I had to paint this ship in pieces, the hull, masts and sails were all painted separately and then glued together. The worst thing is that it's actually not that hard to paint the ship, it just takes a LOT of time, you have to basecoat everything, shade it, clean it up, apply another layer of paint, then highlight it, then another highlight. And on this tiny scale and with that many details it takes a long time before you start to see any progress, it's easy to fall into despair painting a hundred cannon ports. The details are there, pronounced enough so you can't ignore them and pronounced enough so that every mistake looks like shit.

Hope you guys enjoy the pictures, and I myself hope that the remaining ships won't be the torture I went through with these two capitol ships. I look forward to playing Dreadfleet this weekend with the guys, we are a bunch that have pooled some painted miniatures and terrain, should be fun. I'll post pictures from the game and a standalone post talking about how the game works in more detail in a couple of days.

Story wise, the admiral of the "good guys", pirate captain Jaego Roth stole this ship from the grand Theogonist in one of the imperial cities after having been refused help to track down and destroy the vampire count Noctilus. As such the only signs of its pirate nature are the two black flags at the top of this behemoth. Game wise this ship is a beast, it has a highly devastating broadside statistic, and the figurehead is a steampowered ram that can crush enemy ships with ease given the right circumstances.

Oh, and I was asked about the size of the ships so I provided a scale comparison with my Flames of War 15mm miniatures and a 28mm Empire of the Dead mini.


  1. So you enjoyed painting this one then?

  2. I still haven't painted my Dreadfleet ships and based on your comments, likely won't paint them in the near future. For a one-off game, this is a lot of work. GW, once again, suckered me in... Not only did I pay them a ton of money for Dreadfleet, they also left me a pile of non-enjoyable painting to do.

    Don't get me wrong, the ships look nice, but.....damn!

    1. The game is super fun, for me and my group at least, so it's nice to know that when I paint the rest. We had a blast playing the game today :-)

  3. The effort and time were worth the result - easy to say to me, I just have to enjoy the eye-candy jewel!

  4. Bloody fine work mate. I doubt I would have had the patience... nor freehand skill for the emblems...

  5. Yeah to add to the comments the pain was worth it (for me at least) mine is still on sprues! There are few blogs covering the painting and most people doing it by commission have used an airbrush!

    It looks great!

  6. Amazing paintjob ! Well done :)

  7. That is an amazing paintjob... but not convicing me to clip mine off the sprue yet!


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