Alert! Unexpected project incoming! As you can see from the title, it's something totally different from my usual stuff. I'm taking this big step and yes, I'm entering into the domain of... (breathe) Historical. Nautical. Models. That's it, I said it.
Right, it's true, this is not my first time with ships, OK. But this time it's a totally different adventure! The title was not clickbait, I'm starting an Athenian trireme in 28mm scale. Behold!
|Historical. Nautical. Models. Oh, I'm so doomed
But where did I get that ship from? What company makes such a monster that size? Well, let's start from the beginning.
You may remember my pal Rinahe from El Taller de Emilque. Well, I guess you may as well not remember him, but if I tell you that he was the man who built the 28mm scale Ork Gargant, that might ring a bell ;)
So he designed and built the trireme from scratch (again!).
|Yup, even using Greek letters. He really got into it
Please do check his blog, he has been building ships for the last couple of years and there is some genuinely impressive stuff there. Here is the post about the ship we are talking about today. Let me add just a couple of pics about the process, but all the credit goes to that genius.
|Weirdest Space Hulk board ever
|I know what you are thinking about. Yes, little sticks added one by one
|The stern, in the shape of a fish tail
|One of these (or very similar) is waiting for you!
|First one in the pic is mine
|I guess we'll need a basketball court to play a game with these!
So, until now you've seen Rinahe's awesome work. It's my turn now!
Let's start thinking of what will I need...
|Of course we'll need tiny plastic people!
There are a lot of wooden surfaces here. I had to make some decisions about painting. As I was terrified of screwing it all just at the very beginning of the work, I made some experiments in advance. The whole deck is made of coffee stirrers and pieces of the like. So I got some coffe stirrers of my own and conducted some tests. In the pic below you can see my train of thought. On the left, brown paint directly applied on the wooden surface (different paint/water proportions). The same on the right, but having previously primed it with white spray.
|NB: All the coffee stirrers were not previously used
Good thing I did that. I immediately learned that under no circumstance you should ever use priming on wood. It just acts as a sealer and paint will never really cover the surface. The thing is that I wasn't really impressed by the colour of mere paint over wood. I didn't think I was on the right pace.
A wise mind would have been patient enough to buy different wood varnishes and try some more experiments. As I of course do not have such a mind (nor the patience!), simply went wild and tried some watered Agrax Earthshade on a stirrer:
|Ohhh... I somehow was convinced
Diluted Agrax it was then! Trust me, at this point I was almost ready to simply spill my coffee over the deck...
|So subtle you can hardly tell the difference
|Now you can see it better
|Upper deck with Agrax, lower deck not yet
So I think it was working! Phew! This was kind of my main concern, how to treat the wooden decks. But the next step was as challenging as the previous one, if not a little bit more. I had to decide what colours was I going to use.
For some days all my internet searches were about ships in the Ancient Greece. Wild, I know. I think we all have this kind of image in mind when we speak of this subject (well, if you ever speak of this subject. I don't judge):
|No, my ship doesn't have a detachable section
|Nor she has sails. But she has plenty of oars
|Well, you get an idea
The thing is that there is little or no reliable archaeological evidence about the lookings of triremes. All of the art you will find is based on loose descriptions (sometimes from centuries later) or extrapolations from other elements in the regular life of Classic Greece. As per the illustrations above, you can see artists tend to favour the use of red. But no one can tell for sure. Red was used by Roman warships many centuries later, but there is no way to support the statement that Greek (and I know I'm extremely misusing that word here, sorry!) ships were actually painted red. Of course it looks nice, it makes a beautiful contrast with the colour of the sea, it's fantastic for illustrations... but little else.
From time to time you can find bolder patterns:
|I'm definitely not going to reproduce all that at 28mm
And you can even find stuff like this:
|Hey, it's blue! It's camouflage on the sea!
Digression: Regarding the use of blue, there is a lot of (false) debate about if ancient Greeks (sorry again for using "Greeks" in such an inaccurate way) or other cultures perceived the colour blue the same way we do. You may have read that Homer never uses the term 'blue' or anything similar (as opposite to other colours like white, black, red, yellow... which are clearly present in the texts). The Iliad or the Odyssey speak of the sea being 'wine-dark' or contain vivid metaphores to speak about the sky, but never using 'blue'. That, alongside with the fact that Homer sometimes speaks of green honey or sheep being violet, led to some academics in the 19th century to believe that ancient Greeks were colourblind, or at least weren't able to perceive colours as we do now.
Well, long story short, no. Not really. Those theories led to tons of pseudo-scientific shit, but that's another story. Ancient cultures simply didn't develop specific words for that colour for quite some time. But there's a word for blue in Ancient Greek (c. 5th century BC), (kyanos), which romans latinised as cyanus (sounds more familiar?). Well, something similar happened with colours brown and grey, but I'm not starting a blog on languages, so I'll just stop being pedantic and will focus on painting the ship.
What I was trying to say before I lost my path is that there's no actual evidence of accurate decoration of triremes, so I could have quite a wide degree of freedom. So here you have my reasoning:
While building the ship, Rinahe asked me to think of her background. Her name, her history. Among the many options he provided me (and after some puny research of my own), I finally chose the name Agreousa, 'Huntress', as being devoted to Artemis. She would hence be an agile ship. Aggressive, swift. You know, that kind of thing.
(NB: It is true that Artemis the Huntress is usually referred as Artemis Agrotera, but I think I'll keep the Agreousa as being technically correct.)
The colours for Artemis are the ones of the woods. Vivid greens. Don't worry, I won't give you another absurd speech about the difference between
So let's spill some green paint on the ship!
|Too late to change my mind and go red
|Dammit, this monster is huge
|Poser pic working on shades
|Well, looks like something
|Now that's everything that is meant to look green
|At least that was how it appeared in my mind
|BTW, finding a place for the trireme is kind of challenging
|Still fiddling with my shelves to find a proper space for her
|Basic configuration of colours. Still lots of work ahead
|A well known mini for scale reference. The purists of historical will sure say something
Well, I think this is enough for today! Next stages will include the decoration of the hull, the placing of anchors and oars, the base for the whole thing and the warriors fighting on her.
But I hope you will understand I need a tiny break for a few weeks. I'll be painting some different stuff before I get back to the Agreousa, but the project is now officially live!