It is somewhat gratifying to have been involved with a friends’ project right from the early days of market testing a set of brushes, to writing reviews and painting boxarts, to see everything slowly take shape and for the company to go from strength to strength, rewarding all of his hard work to date. Sail Away is the latest release from BrokenToad, the ideas that were floating around in Kris’s head have been wonderfully brought to life by the digital sculpting skills of Ali Jalali. This is a 16 part, polyurethane resin kit sculpted in 1/12 scale, standing approximately 70mm in height.
The kit arrived in rather simple but secure packaging, parts sealed in ziplock bags and nestled between layers of foam. First impressions on opening the box are very good indeed.
SCULPT AND CAST
The parts that constitute the main element of the bust include the torso with head sculpted as one piece and a large section of hair that attaches at the bottom of her head and nape. Here is the one and only issue I have with the bust, that is when this section of hair is attached there is a slight gap between the hair and the neck.
This means, if you know where to look (i.e. you assembled and painted the piece), you will be able to see the reverse or inside of the hair piece, devoid of any detailing. I could possibly fill this with putty but there is every chance I could make it worse and therefore much more noticeable than if I just left it.
I did try heating the hair piece with a hair drier, then bending the ends and applying some force when gluing into place to bridge the gap, but this was not 100% successful.
When the tricorn hat is attached, it hides this issue to some degree and the hair looks like it is falling from beneath her hat and down her back. The hair is exceptional, great volume and flow to the strands and the few pieces that peek from beneath her bandanna, framing her face and settling upon her bust are nicely done too. The face itself boasts smooth and delicate features, with high cheek bones and slender jaw line complimenting the pouting, full lips as she “blows” into the sails of the galley that she holds in her right hand.
She is wearing a lace up, highly detailed corset type of jacket over a longsleeved, ruffle collared blouse. The blouse itself has a low neckline revealing her cleavage but it is tastefully done. The “corset” is full of nice details such as seams, buttons, lacing and the creases and folds to the fabric are realistically realised.
There are panels cut out in the front section of the jacket revealing ruffles beneath, I am not sure if the ruffles are stitched as part of the jacket or are those of the blouse beneath, revealed by the cut out panels. Either way it is a nice detail and can be painted as either way.
The lacing down the sides shows nice attention to detail with each hole completed with an eyelet to thread the lace through. The right arm attaches via square peg and hole assembly with no need to gap fill. There are silk ties near the shoulder and at the wrist, creating nice ruffles and creasing to the sleeve.
Her fingers are slender and nicely detailed and the hand is sculpted in such a way that the ship sits nicely in her palm, the palm has a stud to securely affix the ship. The tricorn hat is nicely detailed and the feather has a nice attachment point and again is nicely detailed, showing the central rachis, the blade and the end part usually known as the quill or calamus.
Lastly we have the various parts that make up our galley. It was designed as a “representation” of a sailing ship not an exact replica. With this in mind it is a rather stylised, simplistic model, with a nicely shaped hull, deck, poop deck, three masts and six sails. Each mast carries two sails, one larger and one smaller, the smaller at the top.
Your first task will be to remove each sail from a length of resin sprue, I did this very carefully, you could easily snap a sail. I placed them on my cutting mat, held steady and firm but again don’t apply too much pressure, using a sharp blade I grooved a cut along the sprue length, until I was able to cut it away. Then I carefully used some wet and dry paper to smooth the edges.
There are no locator marks along the mast so you need to be careful on choosing which sails go with which mast and indeed at what points along the mast to attache them. You also need to take care that you attach them straight and level. I actually used a small file and filed a groove in the top edge of the sail, then I laid the mast upon my desk and “dropped” the sail in to place. I tried to space them in a believable manner, just make sure that your lowest sail isn’t so low that it doesn’t clear the deck.
There are holes in the deck to receive each of the masts, again plan their order before gluing, as each mast is slightly longer in length depending on their position along the deck of the ship.
The holes are not the deepest so I drilled mine out a little deeper, even if you go all the way through it will not matter as the hand will hide any evidence of this. The mast will only sink so far as each has a ring about 5-6mm from the end that fits into the deck.
I did one mast at a time, holding it straight and letting it fully dry before attaching the next so as not to nudge or wobble the other whilst still drying. The finished ship looks quite impressive and sits nicely into the hand of our pirate lady. her fingers’ splayed in a manner so that she holds and caresses the hull.
The positioning of the hand carrying the boat and the angle of the arm means everything is aligned to complete the image that she is blowing into the sails. With this in mind I would suggest not attaching the arm until after everything is painted so that nothing blocks or obscures your ability to paint everything as easily as possible.
Here you can see my early progress on painting the face, this is my first female skintone and as Pepa Saavedra advised, forget everything you have learned about painting and in particular skintones to date, a female skintone is s different and requires a totally new approach to painting.
DESIGN AND ORIGINALITY
The design of this kit is very well considered and the composition is very balanced. There is a wealth of detail to the kit and there are plenty of textures to ensure an interesting experience during the project. The lack of the left arm in my opinion actually helps with the balance of the piece and I wonder if that was taken into consideration at the point of sculpting.
The pirate theme is a popular one both with historical and fantasy painters, yet this offers a distinctly original take on a classic. A beautiful female pirate bust with the clever twist of holding the galley in an outstretched hand. Actually this could well mean some rather cool interpretations, for instance she could be a Goddess, and has snatched a vessel from the ocean, could be a great opportunity for some stunning water effects?!
Since I have posted a few WIP pictures of the progress so far and indeed is a subject for a PDF for my Patreon page, I have had many people express how much they like the bust, so I imagine this will be a particularly desirable and popular kit and is in my opinion the best release from BrokenToad so far.
At £40 I firmly believe this is a great price. I think the fact that casting and packaging is done in house, helps to keep costs down and therefore the prices to the customer too, this is really important for a small company in this rather niche market.
DATES, FIGURES AND STUFF
Material Polyurethane Resin
No of Pieces 16
Release Date 5th september 2016
Where Can I Get It? HERE[ABTM id=2116]