Painting 1/72 Scale Figures: PIRATES (Part 2)

Painting 1/72 Scale Figures: PIRATES (Part 2)

Hello and welcome to Trains and Dioramas! I’m your host Kaustav Chatterjee and today we’ll continue with painting 1:72 scale model figures. In my last video on this topic I showed how I painted the First Mate of my miniature pirate crew for my Blackbeard themed diorama called ‘Burying the Gold’ The diorama that you see right in front of me. Now, that was a highly detailed, resin plastic cast top-of-the-line figure from Nicolai. Today I’ll show you how I used a couple of very generic Airfix stock figures and used some creative painting and model making techniques to build some real characters out of them. Now, before we start, this channel is about a variety of miniature topics – Model Railroading, diorama building, fun scale model projects and various types of tips, tricks and tutorials. And it is aimed to give you an insight to my crazy A.D.D. riddled world of miniatures where anything goes! So, if you love miniatures of any kind I’m sure you’ll find this channel very interesting. So, please ensure to hit that Subscribe button, and the bell icon so that you do not miss any new releases. Coming back to the figures in question these were part of an old Airfix plastic model ship kit called Golden Hinde. Here you see a couple of types of figures that were part of the kit. The first one is a guy carrying a cask and a small trunk. As you can see it’s a very generic figure and I already have his twin brother in the diorama. He will receive a very generic color scheme of khaki and desert sand for the clothes, and a dark skin tone. My idea about this person is that he’s on the younger side of the crew in early twenties perhaps. Just like all my figures these ones have already received a coat of black primer as well. The second one is more interesting. There were two of the same figures in the pack – the one that has already received a coat of primer is the one that I’ll use. It originally was exactly the same as the unpainted one on the right, supposedly cleaning the deck with a broom. However one of his legs broke off sometime in the past and if you notice carefully the left side of the face has some slight deformity in the cast a very common manufacturing defect for figures of this scale. Though I could have selected the other one which has less defect so to speak, I decided to go for this one since I saw a unique opportunity to give it some character, as we will see during the build. To prime the surface I’ve used the mig ‘One Shot’ black primer, my standard for figure painting. And as you can see from the assortment of paints, I’ll be using a variety of Academy enamel paints for the detailing. Lastly, for the skin color I’ll use Humbrol Flesh matte, in dark and fair tones. Here you can see my set of small brushes – these are my go-to brushes for any figure painting job: size zero flat and round, and my trusted Raphael size 2/0 or 000 detail brush. The very first step of painting a figure is to research the subject. I gave a number of image searches and Google to find the right color scheme for the early 18th century pirate clothing. I also found a website called Shady Isle Pirate Society which has elaborate and historically accurate details of pirate and privateer attire of various ages. I have put a link in the description below so that you can find them easily. Pop culture influences like Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag were also good references. We’ll start with painting the clothes: the scheme is very generic slop and shirt for both the figures, so the only variety I could bring was in the color scheme, while staying true to the period. Here you see me painting the slop and the shirt of both the figures in slightly different color schemes. I have used different skin tones for the two characters here, while the figure on the left got a darker skin, the one on the right was modelled relatively fairer, a good way to bring diversity in your characters. Now I want to talk about this specific figure: I have mentioned the broken leg and the deformed face of this figure in the beginning, like I said, I saw an opportunity to make a great character out of these defects. While painting the face I paid extra attention to add the ears, lips, eyebrows and even the eyes to accentuate these small facial features, I used the dark flesh tone from Humbrol for the lips, and dark grey for the eyebrows, and now coming to the hair I’m painting his hair and beard gray to make him an elder fellow, definitely the oldest amongst the crew. In this close-up you can see the distinct facial features that I’ve achieved so far. I then used my detail brush to dab very small amount of dark flesh tone on the deformed side of his face to simulate burn injury. This ended up using a manufacturing defect to my advantage and added a story to the character. To deal with the missing leg I did what a real pirate would do: I decided to give him a peg leg. I’d built a leg out of a toothpick even before I started painting the figure: here are some still shots of the series of steps that I had taken in order to make a really authentic looking peg leg for the scale. I even test fitted the artificial limb before starting with the painting to ensure I don’t have to make any modifications to the figure after the painting was done. After the main painting job was done I painted the two ends of the peg leg dark brown, then I started painting the broomstick that I made out of a discarded paintbrush. I first attached the broom head to the stick, I used the gel type superglue which takes a little more time to set than normal superglue giving more control of manipulating the joint during the curing process. Then, I attached the peg to the leg right below the knee. I carefully colored the broom to hide any glue mark and I did the same for the peg leg as well. Once it was painted to my satisfaction I painted the straps of the peg leg using dark brown paint. Finally here you see the completed figure showing the burn marks on his face, his silver grey hair and beard, his broomstick, and his worn out peg leg. Now coming to the other figure there weren’t a lot to be done here, except painting the belt and the wooden barrel. I decided to keep the trunk in the other hand matte black which to me looked pretty authentic that way. Of course everything was sealed with dullcote lacquer before finishing. I did however add some rough facial growth on his face to bring some character – this time I used matte black. Here you see these characters in action after they were placed on the deck of the ship. Needless to say that they definitely bring this scene to life. Now I used all these techniques to paint my other figures too, and bring some real diversity in a set of nine figures. Despite all their flaws, pirates were possibly the world’s most diverse group of their time and I definitely wanted to bring that human aspect to my diorama. That is it for today thank you for watching. Let me know your thoughts and comments below. Bye for now and have fun making miniatures!


  • Mega movie studio says:

    Cool I'm one of subscribers by the way and I was wondering where you got that really cool pirate ship I love these videos in the pirate series that you do can't wait for the next one 🙂

  • Mega movie studio says:

    I can't find the Miniatures anywhere online but I just use D&D guys for my pirate scale dioramas I love with 1/72 scale it's so easy to store everywhere in my house 🙂 by the way great work these videos are awesome

  • bnsf6951 says:

    another awesome job on figure painting…if you comment to this post please add you name… thx for sharing.. vinny

  • RDNT says:

    Awesome video. Look forward to seeing more videos. Really like the pirate diorama. Blue of the water is great. Do you a video on making the palm trees? They look great as well. Thanks for sharing, Randy

  • Cool Trains In Montreal says:

    that is cool

  • PanzermansBunker says:

    Stellar job painting the Pirate figures. Love the peg leg.

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