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Mouslings - Adventure on the High Seas


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Greetings folks! I haven't posted here too much, but have been a longtime fan of Reaper products. I've recently begun painting minis again, though I'm honestly a bit more of a terrain guy. I couldn't resist picking up a box of Mousling adventurers when they were released, however, as I thought they'd be perfect for a project I'm working on. Every October my wife and I participate in a charity auction for the Children's Trust Fund of Oregon. We're given a funkin (a styrene pumpkin) to turn into a work of art or display piece that is then auctioned off to local businesses to be displayed in building lobbies to raise awareness of the CTFO's work in the Portland area.

 

This year I created a hot air balloon pumpkin, but have decided to step up my game with a more ambitious project, a pumpkin pirate ship! So the mouslings, I thought, would be the ideal crew. While they're not going to win me any awards for their paint job, I'm pretty pleased with how they came out. I only paint to a gaming standard anyhow, as I said previously, terrain is more my thing. What I'm really looking for, is some advice on how to finish my diorama. More details following some pics...

 

MouslingsOverview01.jpg

 

MouslingsOverview02.jpg

 

The mouslings in all their furry glory. Now for the fun part...the pumpkin pirate ship...

 

MouslingsWIP01.jpg

 

The only real picture I took of my WIP stages. I carved the top sections of the pumpkin off and inserted some foam core that I peeled the skin off of to create the decking, walls, and doors...

 

MouslingsShip01.jpg

 

MouslingsShip02.jpg

 

MouslingsShip03.jpg

 

The base is made of hardware cloth with plaster cloth over that, with vinyl spackle to create some surface texture, and great stuff expanding foam to create the foam at the top and to fill in some gaps around the edges. I'm pretty pleased with the overall shape, as I've never tried something like this before I wasn't sure exactly how to create a fun wave shape, and I deliberately attempted an exaggerated wave for the overall scene. Looking at it though, I wish I'd created the base a bit smaller, maybe 18" square instead of the current 24" square. Does anyone know of an easy way to cut through wood, hardware cloth, plaster cloth and foam without ruining the remaining structure? Trimming six inches off the side and back could really help the framing of this piece. My other thought is to create a wooden backdrop and continue the wave motif to the top of the backdrop, and paint an ocean / sky scene behind the diorama.

 

The water is far from being finished, the front (underneath the wave) has had just a couple of washes applied so far, and the back has only been based blue. I'll be doing a lot more washes (or glazes, really) to increase the color dynamics, and will finish with some high gloss acrylic medium to make the water pop. I'll be touching up the pumpkin where I retextured the carved areas and got a bit messy with the plaster, and I'll repaint the entire body of the pumpkin with some shaded oranges. I definitely need to work on the deck, paint the mast, and finish creating a sail. I had created a test sail out of dried leaves that I'd glued together, but when it dried it curled the wrong way, so if I were to use it, the surface with the more apparent gluing would face forward, which I'd hoped to avoid. I may also try making a cheese cloth sail, appropriate for mouslings I believe.

 

Anyhow. At this point I'd love to hear feedback, comments and suggestions for improvement are always appreciated. I've been having a blast with this piece, and am looking forward to next year's auction.

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Oh... Oh my!

 

I want one! That has to be the most awesome use of a pumpkin (outside of pies and baked seeds) that there is!

 

I don't have any real advice. I wanted to say that you did a stunningly good job!

 

(Now I WANT to make one)

 

/d

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Very vice idea. Awesome carving. What is the ship's name?

 

Two questions: why is the mast made of bone? why is it so tall? are the sails and pirate flag ( :unsure: no jolly roger?) in the works? no crow's nest?

 

OK, that was four/five questions.

 

You might go post this over at the www.terragenesis.co.uk forum. There is a guy over there building a ship for a contest right now. You might see something useful. That forum is full of creative people who do scratch build terrain projects like this and they will happily make suggestions and suggest techniques.

 

Your pumpkin ship needs a bowsprit and rat-lines (or in this case mouse-lines :;): ).

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Very nice piece; it matches the quirkiness of the mouselings very well.

 

Suggestions: Rigging (as mentioned before) would help quite a bit. Check books on sailing ship model construction if you want to get the full treatment. If not, stays and braces would at least make the mast look less likely to shear off.

 

I would also recommend a wheel and railings, and possibly a gun (or possibly ballista) or two.

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That is a SUPER CREATIVE, HIGHLY IMAGINATIVE, VERY WELL DONE PIECE! The wave is just too good to mess with; making it smaller just isn't worth the risk. Some representational rigging, a bow sprint, & maybe a figurehead would be about the only thing I'd add.

While I get compliments on my minis, I, like yourself, get more positive comments on my terrain. As such, I'm REALLY looking forward to the progress on your WORK OF WONDER. Keep up the FINE WORK!

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Thanks all for the comments. I like the idea of crates or barrels, maybe even a smaller boat in the water to add a bit more interest to the base without risking ruination by resizing it. Nice shipwreck in progress linked there, I'll definitely add some additional details to the boat itself, and I like the Mickey jolly roger, but I don't know if I'll go for that, as it could be copyright infringement.

 

I used bone for the mast because I wanted to try to use something relatively similar in scale to the pumpkin, and because it's a Halloween season display piece, so it seemed to make sense to add to the "spookiness" of the piece. I do plan on adding a crow's nest, too. I just haven't figured out how I'm attaching that.

 

Once I make some more progress on this beast I'll post more pics. I'm out of town for the next week so no progress will be made for a little bit, but I appreciate the feedback and look forward to continuing my work on this. :)

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This is a super idea, and I really like how it's coming along!

 

If you have the ability, you could make a mouse jolly roger that is non-Mickey.

 

I suggest using more items for scale, like acorn top hats, corn kernel canonballs, etc.

 

Question: did you do anything to the pumpkin to prevent it from rotting? Did you dry it out first? If not, you may want to carefully remove everything from it, and either apply some drying process (no idea how to do that, probably would have to look it up), or buy a fake pumpkin at a craft store (may not be available now, post-Thanksgiving).

 

I don't want to be a downer, but I'd hate to see all that work get ruined in a few weeks/months.

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From the OP:

...Every October my wife and I participate in a charity auction for the Children's Trust Fund of Oregon. We're given a funkin (a styrene pumpkin) to turn into a work of art or display piece that is then auctioned off to local businesses to be displayed in building lobbies to raise awareness of the CTFO's work in the Portland area...

 

So, rotting: not an issue, looks like. Thank goodness!

 

PS. This thing is so awesome! I can't wait to see more progress.

 

Kang

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