Capt Jack Sparrow

Andrea 54mm “Buccaneer 1650”. by Pat Camp

Sorry to disappoint, but this is not a Buccaneer of the Hawker Siddeley variety. Rather, it is of a vaguely familiar character cutting a bold, heroic stance atop a masthead spar [1]. He is holding onto something which I have not seen before: perhaps it is literally a “crow’s nest”, since there is no space for a person to stand within it. Alternatively, it could be a flower basket, but I suspect not.

[1] Andrea’s “Buccaneer 1650’s”: but we know who it really is, don’t we! [2] The white metal parts of the kit.

All parts are cast in white metal [2], those for the figure itself being of good quality, but those for the base were not so good and needed a lot of fettling and fitting. I prepared the castings for painting as described for The Four Musketeers in July’s newsletter, using a scalpel to remove mould marks, a pointy dental tool to sharpen up the detail and finishing with a glass fibre scratch pen to clean up the surfaces (wearing disposable polythene gloves and working outside to avoid problems with bits of fibre which can be highly irritating if they stick in your skin).

[3] Tail of frock coat epoxied into place. A ball of Blu-Tack keeps it in position whilst the glue sets.

Captain Jack’s wrist was very swollen and so I pared it down to the right side. Then I realized that it may be the cuff of a shirt, so added one using Duro (supplied courtesy of Kevin Peart – cheers Kev!) by means of two small strips, one wider than the other. The narrow one was wrapped around the wrist first of all, then the wider one – this produced a nice representation of a ruffled cuff after some pleat detail was added by use of a chisel edged cocktail stick.

Some of the detailed parts were broken. A small tufted beard was okay, fortunately, and this was glued to Jack’s head before painting. I also glued the tail of the frock coat into place [3].

All parts were put on a holder for painting. My first attempt at painting was not satisfactory, so all paint was stripped back to metal for another try by dunking into cellulose thinners. Cellulose thinners is also good at undoing glued joints – so I discovered – so these had to be redone.

Surfaces were given an aerosol coat of Mr Metal Primer – which, being unexpectedly transparent – led me to put too much on and left one or two bubble marks from the propellant. Next time I’ll be prepared!

As is usual for me, paints used are Humbrol enamel for undercoating and Winsor & Newton oils for finishing coat unless stated otherwise.


The figure was undercoated in one airbrush session, using Silly Putty [4] to mask after each coat was sufficiently dry:
Face and hands: Flesh 61 + white.
Shirt: Tamiya white + spot of dessert yellow.
Boots: white + yellow 225 + brown 63.
Frock Coat: painted from dark to light sing HF5 Gris bleu foncé + 173 Track Colour for deep shade and 176 Neutral Grey for medium shade.
Inner coat: HF5.
Trousers: Blue Grey 79 for trousers & directing highlight over the coats from above.Completed figure is [5].
[4] Looking like a creature from The Fantastic Four, our hero is buried in Silly Putty whilst his clothing gets airbrushed.   [5] Completion of airbrushing session. Undercoats are in place. The boots were a bit light, though.

Finish coat:
Face & hands: base: chrome orange deep + Rembrandt gold ochre + ultramarine.

First shade: base + burnt sienna.
Deep shade: first shade + burnt umber.
Highlight: base + titanium white + Rembrandt permanent red light

Inside of frock coat: Paynes grey + burnt umber + titanium white.

Trousers: violet permanent blue + Paynes grey + raw sienna + zinc white. These turned out too violet, I should have added more sienna to get neutral grey.

Waistcoat: cobalt blue + raw sienna + Paynes grey + zinc white.

Frock coat: Paynes grey + burnt umber + blue violet + raw sienna + zinc white + cobalt blue (also used for shading the nacelles on my Canberra build – don’t want to waste paint!).


[6] Sash added and undercoated. Detail painting of the head is nearly completed.

Waist sash: undercoated grey 28.

Head scarf: Revell 38 dark red undercoat, Permanent red light + Paynes grey + zinc white for shading.

Eyes: whites blocked in light grey. Iris: Van Dyke brown with lower arc of yellow ochre light.

Pupil: dark grey. Tiny spot of white added top left of pupils.

Accessorize: Trinkets dangling from hair were blocked in with shade coloured enamels and highlighted with oils & printer’s ink where appropriate. Internet photos were used as a guide (there are plenty of them!). Ring on finger is silver with a blue crystal.
Pistol: dark red wood with steel fittings.
All buttons were blocked in with a silver printer’s ink + dark blue/black oil mix. Green and brown were added for the belt buckles.

Cutlass: undercoated dark grey 32.


[7]Base assembled and ready for painting.
[8] Captain Jack Sparrow – attached at a jaunty angle to the base!

Base: took a lot of filing to get a good fit & to get lined up square. The basket was a nightmare and needed lots of fettling and dry assembly runs to get right. Primed and undercoated with Alclad primer. Wood grain painted in with dark brown oil paint. A glaze of Van Dyke brown and Paynes grey along ropes, etc and used dry brush to feather edges – looked good. Ropes themselves undercoated with Citadel commando khaki.

Figure to base: all my attempts to line everything up were in vain. Captain Jack ended up leaning forward and looking down. Blast – no good at all! So now I need to angle the base work so the figure stands upright.

Anyway, to finish this instalment on a light note, here are a few bits of the script of POTC that I really like:

Jack Sparrow (to Tia Dalma): “You add an agreeable sense of the macabre to any delirium”.

“If I may lend a machete to your intellectual thicket”.

Jack Sparrow (to Weatherby Swann] “I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically”.

Base Work.

My problem with getting Jack to stand upright on the spar [8] meant this build had not come to an end after all! Dramatic action was needed, so I pondered and sketched out ideas and concluded I had to have a seascape – and one with wave action.

[9] A glass drinks coaster used for the base [10] Epoxy putty used to support the figure in an upright position. Sculpted to represent the foiled sails. Work on the sea has just started

One of the events they have in France is a “vide grenier”. This means “empty your attic” and becomes a street sale. I love them – they are great fun and very popular. I sorted through various trinkets and objects to find something I could use as a base for my figures. In this case I bought four glass drinks coasters for a euro and used one of them for this figurine. There was a decorative marking upon it, so that defined the minimum size and shape of the seascape I would have to sculpt [9].

I protected the glass coaster with Clingfilm before proceeding. Some balls of green Andrea epoxy putty were used first of all to set the metal base to the correct position. Once this had set, more of this putty was used to fill in the gaps and profiled to represent folded sail [10].

White Milliput was used for the seascape. I followed my sketches, but had to make numerous changes. I cut some curved pieces of clear plastic from some food packaging and set these into the edges of waves. In hindsight this may not have been necessary, though [11].

[11] Further work on the seascape. Clear plastic has been inserted where I wanted rolling waves [12] Wave pattern added at front. The rear side has a deeper wave pattern. The base has been removed from the Clingfilm for final clean up before gluing in place.

When the sculpting had cured, the Clingfilm was unwrapped from the coaster and peeled away from the Milliput [12]. The coaster was then covered in masking tape and the seascape positioned to allow space for the nameplate (superbly engraved by Name It! to include a skull and crossbones) [13]. Once everything was correctly positioned, a cutting line was marked and the tape beneath the seascape removed. A quick check to make sure the design on the coaster would be obscured and then the surface of the glass was sprayed with Tamiya primer for polycarbonate car shells in the hope that it might adhere to the glass. Once dry, the seascape was epoxied into place.

It was now time to paint the seascape. Captain Jack and the metal parts were covered by a polythene bag. This was sealed at the opening with Silly Putty [14]. The sea was then airbrushed with a range of enamels from pale green to dark blue and then the bag was removed for brush painting some oils – Prussian blue, Monestial green + iridescent white. Pale green oil paint was applied at wave crests, areas of tumbling water and other places using internet photos of seascapes for guidance.

[13] Laying out the parts on the masked glass coaster. The masking was marked out and the middle peeled away beneath the seascape. [14] Captain jack Sparrow bagged and sealed with silly putty for the seascape to be airbrushed.

Van Dyke brown + Paynes grey were mixed with artist’s linseed oil to provide a dark transparent glaze that was applied to the sails, spar and ropes to simulate wetted areas.

The next step was to add some water effect. I saw some wonderful ship models on display at a local model shop and spoke to the owner. His seascapes looked fantastic and he had used Faller Wasser-Effeck to get the correct sheen. So I tried this out on a small area of my base (I don’t to trial pieces – although I know I should!) and added some clear areas at the wave fronts. Once this had dried, I added the “foaming water” from pieces of white plastic scouring pad. These were glued into place using Wasser-Effeck with Blu-Tack to hold it in place whilst it set. Once firmly stuck in place, they were trimmed to shape and size using some fine scissors. I did this in sections, starting with the furthest waves and working towards Jack’s spar.

Further Wasser-Effeck was dabbed onto the scouring pad and wave crests, followed by some white oil paint to pick out details here and there. I found it more realistic to dab the stuff on lightly, here and there, rather than thickly cover the scouring pad. The completed seascape is shown in [15].

Captain Jack was given a light airbrush coat of Testors Dullcote to remove the sheen from the oil paint on his coat and trousers. The final model is shown in [16]. A modeller I was chatting to said “it is not a very good position for a ship’s captain to be in, is it”! I can’t argue with that.

This was a fun build – and messing around doing the seascape turned out to be great fun as well, even though it seemed daunting when I started. Now I have toyed around with the Faller Wasser-Effeck and used white scouring pad for waves, I am keen to try it out on a ship model. Now, what do I have in my stash?……

[15] close up views of the seascape, not bad as a first attempt
[16] Completed figurine of Captain Jack Sparrow

Leave a Reply