Concept to Caster Skarre, Admiral of the Black Fleet

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!