Modelling Armada, the Diary of a Budding Orc Admiral, Updated 10 January


So, the fleet has arrived and I feel better already. It’s time to work out what to do with it.

While waiting for the fleet, I had taken the opportunity to build some terrain and had ‘improved’ it over time, for instance there are now better wave effects around the sandbars and rocks.

For those who are asking about the size of terrain pieces, suggested sizes are included in the Armada Map Pack, available as a free download from the Mantic website. HERE

I found this sand effect product to be very good.

I had a gaming mat custom-made by Gilli’s houSEWork.

I tested various water/wave effects to base then fleet and come up with a satisfactory solution.

I also got in some solo practise games using laminated cardboard ship pictures.

I was fortunate to have been given 2 early models and I painted these up to test colour schemes. The Orc Hammerfist was first on the painting table. I wasn’t keen on the rotating hammers and so rearranged the fists. I also thought that the masts were a bit flimsy and so replaced them with wooden poles and rearranged the sail scheme. I wanted a fleet-wide embellishment to make my fleet stand out and went with gilded sea monster skulls on the mast tops. I’m not a great painter and I hoped the skulls might distract from the painting disasters.

The Basilean ship needed different treatment. I wanted to limit the Basilean influence and have it similar colours to my Orc fleet and so went with the red and black scheme of my Rhordian army. So, here is the RS (Rhordian Ship) ‘Dowager Duchess’, first ship to be launched for the Rhordian fleet (its along story).

I have in fact decided not to pursue this colour scheme and will probably go with the ghost ship theme developed while waiting for delivery.


Big unboxing ceremony today. I have bought the starter set, Orc booster, 2 Smashers and the acrylic token set. Great fun. Initial thoughts:

• The rule book is outstanding. Really nicely presented and well-sized to take to tournaments and away games. I would have liked to see the ship statistics inside but that’s a small criticism. The rules are clear and concise.
• The ship models are really good. I don’t like the orc masts and the aesthetic of the Orc Hammerfist is not for me but a bit of minor modelling gets them back on track. As a personal bugbear, I would have liked to see the ships fit completely on their bases with no overhang.
• The other components in the box are presented to a very high quality.

And so on to clipping off the components and washing them before priming. Being that man who stuck the legs on his Goblin Slasher the wrong way up, I really appreciated the pictures in the album on the Armada Fanatics page showing how the ships fit together. [HERE]

Noticing the small parts, I very carefully identified the parts for each ship and kept them separate. And then mixed them all up when washing them. Sigh.

So, the first ships are being primed ready for a big painting day tomorrow.


I really like the red and black Rhodian colour scheme. I’ve been slowly buying up Black Sea Spanish ships for mine (pretending they were Christmas present deliveries in case the wife got suspicious :grin:).

I’ve also been working on my Rhodian army, the Children of the first schism, who are currently retrying to reestablish the old human empire (who they see themselves as the true inheritors of not those upstart Basileans) in the ruins of Primovantor. Obviously as that’s now by the coast and possibly an archipelago they need a fleet.

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I had hoped to be able to bring you a battle report today from a game last night but, unfortunately, we had to postpone the game as the pitch was water-logged.

Anyway, I had a full day’s painting planned for today. I got on with my 2 Smashers and managed to get first coat down over the base coat.

I also prepared the other boats in my fleet. Unfortunately, I was a bit rough with the mast of one of my Rabble Squadrons, but a quick pin job should sort that out.

My wife has been out all day doing the Christmas shopping. She arrived home, came into my paint shop and demanded to know what I was doing to help get ready for Christmas. I wasn’t sure if this was a rhetorical question as I thought it was fairly obvious that I was working to prepare my Orc fleet ready for a Christmas day battle. She did not seem impressed when I told her this. I then had a stroke of genius and to cheer her up I suggested that I could give her the Basilean fleet from the starter set as a Christmas present.

She decided to socially isolate in the other room.



More work today on the 2 Smashers. Second coat applied and some touching up.

Also edge painted the ship bases in blue. While trialling colour schemes, I had tried painting the entire base blue before applying the water effect but I found that I preferred to build the water effect direct onto the natural base colour.

With my box of goodies arriving late from Mantic, Ronnie had written a nice letter offering a free copy of the digital rules. I took advantage of this kind offer and downloaded the rules. Nice one Mantic.



Slow progress over the last couple of days as other commitments have got in the way.

However, got round to top coating the Smasher hulls. Work in progress here with before and after shots.

I have also pinned the sails to the new wooden masts and they will need trouching up when dry. Work on mast top embellishments also under way.

You really get a sense of the size and ‘feel’ of these models once they are put together.

I am putting off attaching the jibs as I currently have no idea how to do it. I am contemplating either pinning the flying jib to the foremast or the outer jib to the bowsprit. Neither seems like a great solution and I think I will need more hands - a bit like when modelling two handed weapons on land miniatures. Oh well, that’s a job for tomorrow.


That looks sweet


After a few days with little progress, I have finally managed to finish the Smashers for my Orc fleet and so here are the Good Ships Sea Stallion and Sea Demon.

I also managed to get on with a couple of Squadrons and here is the current progress on Jester and Horn of Garkan. Just need to finish off the sea effects and touch up the paint schemes. I decided to mount just one ship on each Squadron base.

The rest of the ship yard is still going strong with a Bomboat the next to roll off the assembly line.

With 2 Smashers and a Hammerfist complete is was time for a maiden voyage and my heart swelled with pride as my small fleet of brave and noble Orc warships left harbour for the first time.

However, I think that there may be a requirement for more navigation training before I send the boys to war.



With the end of my Orc fleet building in sight, I’ve decided to procure a Basilean fleet and paint it up as a fleet of ghost ships. At least the masts will be attached to the sails and I won’t spend another few weeks with plastic and wooden masts superglued to my fingers rather than to the ship hulls.

I’m also hopeful of getting a power drill from Santa and this will help in cutting holes in sails and generally distressing the ships.

So, just off to post an order to Mantic. I’m wracking up the Mantic Points. When will we see an Armada gift available through Mantic points?


Thanks for posting! As always, very inspirational! Have you had a chance to play any games? If yes, how do you like the rules? I would love to incorporate it in some sort of campaign but need to wait for some expansions and fleets fr other factions.

I have been involved in play-testing and so I’ve played a number of games. As with many great games, the rules are fairly straight-forward and the real trick to the game is knowing how to manoeuvre and use the rules to your advantage. Having said that, it is worth keeping the reference sheets close at hand when playing as even after several games I have to refer to specific details at times.

We will have to wait for Mantic to release a campaign.

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I’ve reached the annoying stage where I’ve put in 4 hours of hobby time today but can not see much output. A lot of time has been spent on preparing little details on the ships and running second coats over the sails. Hopefully this will pay off in the next session.

Anyway, Bomboat ‘Imp’ is finsihed less detail on the water and the ship is almost ready to join the fleet.

Its interesting to see how many people who have previously only played land-based wargames have taken to the sea. I must admit that I was initially a bit sceptical but I am a complete convert now.

A bit like one Mediterranean power in the 640s that originally considered the open ocean to be: "An environment that terrifies the senses where the faculties become numb [too much Kraken?] and the calamaties augment ", and that ships are: “… huge creatures floating on the seas … Those inside it are like worms in a log. If it inclines to one side, they are drowned.” Within 10 years the power had built a navy and defeated the Byzantine 500 ship fleet in a battle where “the sea was dyed with blood and 23,000 corpses washed ashore”.


Campaign you say, that is even more intriguing!

Which battle in particular do you refer to?

The Battle of the Masts, also called the Battle of Phoenix, in 654. The Byzantine fleet was commanded by the Emperor Constans II, who only escaped by dressing a subordinate in the imperial regalia as a decoy while he abandoned his men and skulked back to Constantinople.

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With the Christmas break looming, the shipyard plans to spend most of today at a Christmas party, only finishing the sea detail on Bomboat ‘Imp’. We’re not likely to see much work for a few days and so here’s a picture of the currently finished fleet.


They look awesome, well done.

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Hi @KoshtraBelorn,

Thank you! I thought so but I wanted to make sure. :slight_smile: Interesting inspiration for Orc fleet! I noticed there is a pdf version of the rules on Mantic shop so perhaps I will get it just to get familiar with the rules.


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I finally got some hobby time in and managed to polish off my Orc fleet. Here’s the latest set of models.

And now the full fleet, ready to set sail and terrorise the seas.

With the Orcs out of the way, its on to the Basilean ghost fleet project. So, lots of clipping and then just a bit of straightening of a couple of bow sprits in boiling water.

In hind sight, it was probably a mistake to use the best porcelain cups to hold the boiling water. My wife certainly seems to think so.

And now after a good scrub, the components are in to soak.

I will be able to get on with these tomorrow while I am waiting on my 2 Abbesses and the Basilean booster fleet.


That is one mighty fleet! You may need a bigger “table” to play with all of it but it would look spectacular. Can’t wait to see how you are going to paint Basileans. And I really hope you will be writing some excellent reports of yours about the naval battles!

Keep up the great work, the ships look fantastic!

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Big hobby peripherals day today.

I was looking around for a good storage solution for my fleet and terrain. I have been using a 21 litre Really Useful Box with a bug top but needed something bigger. I then found that the 35 litre box will take 3 of the insert trays that fit in the 21 litre box and so went for that. However, I had assumed that this meant that the 35 litre box had the same base are as the 21 litre box – it doesn’t. Yes, it will take 3 insert trays, but they do not fit snuggly, and the big top from the 21 litre box will not fit the 35 litre box. Despite this, I got the box to work.

The bottom layer is open to take large items of terrain, the ruler and the box of game tokens. The bottom of this layer and the bottom of the trays, are covered in non-slip matting. I drilled and fitted supports for the upper trays to sit on.

The middle layer holds terrain.

The top layer holds ships and game playing aids.

It all fits together nicely.

I also prepared some empty bases for those occasions when the overhang of the vessels will not allow them to be positioned correctly near other ships or terrain pieces. It’s one of my bugbears that the models do not fit on the bases provided.

I also got a base coat down on my Basilean ghost fleet from the starter set.

And look what arrived today from Mantic. I only ordered these on 22nd December and a little thing called Christmas intervened. Good service Mantic! My wife questioned why I was buying myself another ‘present’ so close to Christmas. I explained that this is good value as the 6 Mantic points they contain mean that I am well on my way to a valuable Ronaldo the Bard model. Not sure that she’s convinced.