Bloody Buccaneer Brew Skarre

Bloody Buccaneer Brew was, I believe, the second beer-art collaboration we ever did with the Indianapolis RAM during Gen Con, so many years ago now that I’ve forgotten all the details. (If my memory serves correctly, we followed it with the Kiltlifter, but I could have this backwards.)Back then, I was still our primary concept artist, and I was doing artwork for our games and for what we’d provide the RAM for their shirts and mugs. As a long-time fan of creating pin-up art, I saw this as a great opportunity to take one of our favorite WARMACHINE characters and present her in a different, more humorous light.

BBB Skarre was all about sex appeal, in as much as you can expect to get from a bloodthirsty, murderous pirate queen. To simplify the image a bit, I eliminated some of the trappings of her warcaster armor, like the power plant and smoke stacks, her steam hoses, etc. Her trademark weapons are here, though—Takkaryx resting against the barrel she’s leaning on and Bloodwyrm carefully stored in the back of one of these two fellas who were in the wrong pub at the wrong time. Rounding out the pirate theme, I placed the Privateer logo in the background as a flag, hanging behind the whole scene. Skarre’s expression as she raises a toast to Gen Con and gaming—with a tankard made from the skull of one of her victims—says it all: don’t get between a pirate and her grog.

At the time, I didn’t imaging that over a decade later, we’d actually get to produce this painting as a miniature. I’m thrilled that we have, and it was worth the wait to be able to have Doug Hamilton sculpt her and Dallas Kemp paint the piece.

One of my favorite parts of working at Privateer Press is all of the talented people. This literally starts at the top with Matt and works its way throughout the company.

This year marks my second Gen Con beer model, the first being the Blighted Bather from two years ago. It is always an honor to get to work on such an anticipated model and doubly so this year, as I’m getting to work from the original art that Matt created ten years or so back. Skarre may be my favorite ’caster in the game, so to get to make a new version of her, especially the Gen Con version, has been exciting—and I’ve been dying for our players to see her.

In the digital render below I show several of my saved iterations of this project. The reality is that Skarre came together very quickly for us! The first version roughs in a pose and determines how much space she will take up. You can also see the skull mug had a foamy top that was deemed to look too much like a hat. She also doesn’t have her boots on because production had not finished the Soles (get it?). In the second pose, you can see things are getting a little more serious: her head has been tilted, the mug reworked, her boots put on, and my first version of a chain skirt is in place, which Studio Director Ron Kruzie hated and had me severely punished for. By the third version I had learned my lesson and simply got rid of the chain. (I mean, who wants to be beaten—errr, disciplined—again?) As this one was getting closer to completion, you can see we really started to move into defining details for the fourth version. Finally, you can see her coat has become tattered, her holster added, various folds are enhanced, and the chainmail looks good. Approved model!

One of my favorite parts of finishing a sculpt is knowing it is off to Studio Painter Dallas Kemp for him to work his magic!

Time to paint! Skarre is one of my favorite characters in the Iron Kingdoms, a beautiful mix of danger and death on the high seas. After seeing Doug’s progress on her sculpt, I knew I wanted to capture the feel of Matt Wilson’s original art—the idea of the Pirate Queen enjoying a cool beverage after coming out ahead in a seedy bar fight really captured my imagination. First up was trying to match the skin. Matt used some purple and browns in his original art, so I needed to translate that to a miniature. There are several things to consider when using a large piece of 2D art as inspiration for your tiny miniature. Light works differently on this scale, so I needed to lighten up her skin to still read yet feel like the original.

Originally, I painted her boots brown, but after I was finished the piece, Studio Director Ron Kruzie felt I had used too much brown and could still make some improvements. So, I went back and repainted the boots with a rich black and some nice Umbral Umber undertones. So much better. This is one of my favorite things about working in the Privateer Press studio: being surrounded by incredibly talented people who can push you to do things better.

Another thing that happened in the last moments was the base. As I was finishing up, I realized I had not really thought about Skarre’s base. The traditional PP basing would look out of place on this piece, but it being a special edition model allowed me to step out of the box a bit. I used P3 aluminum putty to fill a 30 mm base and smoothed out the top until it was nice and flat. Some hand-painted floorboards complete with square head nail holes made the perfect place for our Satyxis pirate to hang out after a long day of pillage and plunder…and other likely nefarious deeds.

And done! What a joy to paint. If you happen to be at Gen Con, come check her out in person at the PP booth!