PP: Designing Skarre, Admiral of the Black Fleet

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Skarre, Admiral of the Black Fleet is the latest massive miniature from Privateer Press. See the origins of this gargantuan ghostly galleon!

That’s right folks, the latest and, honestly, greatest from Black Anchor Heavy Industries is here. If you have not seen the model (because it feels like something of a misnomer to call it a miniature), Skarre, Admiral of the Black Fleet is some serious business. They hit it out of the park with this one, which combines battle engine and warcaster into one impressive entity. Take a look below, then read on to find out how they built this monstrosity as they take you from Concept to Caster.

via Privateer Press

Hi everybody! Concepting today’s subject broke a lot of personal records—it’s the biggest model I’d ever drawn, for example. She is, of course, the third incarnation of our favorite pirate queen: Skarre, Admiral of the Black Fleet.

When I opened the brief, I knew this process was going to be an exciting challenge. This version of Skarre would not gain new armor or weapons, but she would gain a rather impressive accessory: a fragmented ghost ship! With that in mind, I grabbed a 120 mm base, some paper, and a few minis and got to work seeing what we could do with the space available.

Even the aft portion of a small ship takes up a solid chunk of the base, but there is enough space there to play with. Encouraged, I moved on to sketching up some ideas:

Version A was the closest to what we wanted, but it still had significant engineering problems to overcome. We sat down to get those hammered out, and things started to take shape, as shown by the following images courtesy of Matt Wilson, Mike Vaillancourt, and me. The colored parts indicate projected part breakdowns (for major sections only).


Things were starting to take shape! Confident we were on the right track, I started planning everything out, taking a heavy dose of inspiration from classic pirate ships. The sword and pose sketches below are for Skarre’s satyxis crew.

And with that, we were done . . . or were we?

We were not. Another look at parts breakdown and materials showed that this was going to be a very expensive model. With that in mind, we sat down and asked how we could keep the character of the ship intact while making the model more accessible. The answer was to really lean into the wrecked, broken aspect of the concept. Afer a bit of redrawing, we’d stripped out the bottom hull to cut out a whole bunch of material without increasing the part count.

And there you have it—a ghost ship worthy of our pirate queen. I hope you like it! If you need this on your table, you can preorder her with her crew and vessel right here!

Set sail with Satyxis shortly, so sink or swim.

  • marxlives

    I love these articles that show you how a product goes from start to finish. It starts pretty basic and then you just layer on the complexity.

  • orionburn III

    Pretty cool to see how it went from concept to the final product. Also impressed with how few parts go into a model of this size. Well done.

  • m3g4tr0n

    Very nice!

  • Koen Diepen Van

    Cool model and all but that is for actual play? WTF happened to warmachine?

    • ZeeLobby

      I dunno. I love where the models are right now. Really an option for every aesthetic. If your gonna have one world, it’s a fantasy/sci-fi world done right.

      • Koen Diepen Van

        Personally I kinda think this is going to far. The leader of your army showing up whit half a ghost ship is a bit on the ridiculous side

        • ZeeLobby

          Understandable. I’ve just always seen WMH as a little goofy. I mean most jacks look silly, sea king, hooch hauler, grymkin stuff, etc. It is a weird model, but I like it.

  • ZeeLobby

    Yup. I bought it. Model is just too legit. It’ll look dumb on the table, but I’ll play loveboat out of a BT speaker and all will be right.

  • Crevab

    What if I take the prow bit off the Sea King and use this instead?