Review and Tutorial: Sloop by Firelock Games (Blood & Plunder)

In this article, we Review the Sloop for Blood and Plunder (by Firelock Games) and provide a Tutorial on how to rig the sails of the ship. Overall, this is a fantastic miniature and when it is put together, it is absolutely gorgeous. The ship is so nice that I actually have mine up on display in the living room of my house. The only other time that a miniature gets featured so prominently on the main-floor of my home is when my miniatures come out to invade my wife’s Christmas Village.  🙂

In the interest of full disclosure, Firelock Games sent Must Contain Minis this Sloop along with a French Starter Box and the Rules of the game for Review Purposes. Thank you very much Firelock Games for sending us these materials.

The Review

After playing Blood & Plunder my first time, I knew that these ships look amazing once they are built. The Sloop’s hull came as below. It needed a bit of a wash as there was still some release agent (or some sort of other residue) left on the model.

Blood & Plunder Sloop right out of the box.
Above is how the Sloop came once I unpacked it from the box.

To make this ship extra special, Jeremy Cada (a commission painter and friendly local store owner) painted the hull for me. When it came back, it looked awesome!

A Painted Blood and Plunder Sloop - or at least the hull of the ship. Model by Firelock Games.
The painted sloop. Jeremy did an awesome job on this hull. It looks fantastic!

Some people would stop at this level and play the game with the model as above. To me, that would be acceptable as it would be easier to place the figures on the ship. You could even add the Mainmast and Bowsprit for extra effect without adding the rigging.

Blood and Plunder Sloop on TerraTiles with MDF (XOLK) Ruins in the background.
A Sloop on the Rivers and Coastlines TerraTiles set by RAINN Studios. In the background are some house ruins made by XOLK.

While you could end the build there, check out how awesome this model looks once you rig up the sails!

Blood & Plunder Sloop - Review
Above is the finished Blood & Plunder Sloop. It looks amazing and makes a fantastic showcase piece. Mine is currently sitting front and center in a dominate place in my living room. 🙂   For those wondering, I used a Cigar Box Battle Mat as the background in this photo.

The ship looks fantastic and is definitely a showcase piece. It was a fairly easy piece for Jeremy to paint up quickly and the result is superb.

Pros

  • Looks absolutely stunning once built.
  • Single piece hull so there is not too much to build.
  • It feels sturdy.
  • Fairly simple to rig and get looking good.
  • The Blood & Plunder Miniatures fit well on the decks of the ship.
  • It was the most affordable Blood & Plunder Ship. There are now two even more cost effective ships for Blood & Plunder. It is still a fairly affordable model.

Cons

  • I had to file down one of the hull’s slits to fit the rigging point into the side of the ship. That said, the model was already painted, so I am not sure if the lack of fit was due to casting or paint. After some filing, it went together nicely.
  • The instructions for rigging the ship are not at the level that I desire.
  • It can be intimidating to rig sails if you never done it before.
  • I was missing a part. I don’t know if I just lost the piece or if the product shipped without it.

The ship looks fantastic, but it took me a long time to get up the nerve to rig the ship. There are some rigging guides on the Firelock Games Downloads Page, but the guides are not that detailed. The templates work well, yet the picture below shows all of the instructions for the rigging. This diagram was not quite enough for me. I wanted some instructions more along the lines of “How to Rig your Firelock Games’ Sloop for Dummies.” Since I could not find simple rigging instructions for a Blood and Plunder Sloop, I decided to write my own.

The Instruction sheet for Rigging the ship. While it works as a guide, I wanted something more like “Rigging your Sloop for Dummies.” The part circled in red was missing from my model. I could have lost it on the floor, or it might have never shipped with the model. Regardless, I finished the model without the piece.

Searching the web, I found some Youtube Videos and pages about rigging model ships in general but nothing for this specific ship. Since completing the model, I learned of an excellent article on the 1000 Foot General about rigging your Blood and Plunder Sloop. John’s approach is a little more advanced than my own but worth a look. If you want a simpler guide, continue reading this page. There are also more showcase pictures of the Sloop at the end of this article.

Rigging your Blood & Plunder Sloop – For Dummies

First of all, rigging the ship is much more intimidating than it is difficult. There are multiple ways to rig this ship. The way I completed the task is not the only way to do the job;. That said, this approach very much builds the Sloop as per Firelock Games’ diagram. To create the sails, I used foam-sheets and cut them to match Firelock Games’ templates. I then used my pin-vice to drill holes into the foam-sheet as per the template.

Right off the start, I made a mistake. I tried stringing the Jib Sail straight through. That approach did not work. See the picture below.

Incorrect way to Rig a Blood and Plunder Sloop.
This is how I originally rigged the Jib. Wrong!!! Look at how droopy that sail is!!! It just doesn’t work.

I investigated the Firelock Games’ diagram closer and noticed that they tied separate strings to the top and bottom of the jib, so that is what I did.

Rigging a Blood and Plunder Sloop
By tying a string to each end of the jib the model goes together much better.

With my initial mistake out of the way, let’s take a look at how I put the rest of the model together. In the pictures below, you will see red and blue lines for where I tied my strings. As far as knots, I used a mixture of hitch-knots, reef-notes and granny-knots. Try not to use granny knots as they are not the best. I used them because I am not a master of tying knots.  🙂

Please keep in mind that this model (and therefore tutorial) were built through trial and error. Did I complete the rigging in the best way possible? I am not sure. What I do know is that the rigging looks fantastic on the finished model and looks to follow the Firelock Games’ diagram well.

The Jib

Rigging the Blood and Plunder Jib Sail for their Sloop
Start by tying the Jib to the Bowsprit and Mainmast.
Rigging a Blood and Plunder Sloop
Above is the second part of the Jib. Use one continuous string for this part of the model.

The Staysail

The first part of getting the Staysail up is to concentrate on attaching it to the Mainmast and Bowsprit. The red string represents step one while the blue is step two.

Rigging the Staysail on a 28mm to 32mm Sloop
The first part of getting the Staysail up is to concentrate on attaching it to the Mainmast and Bowsprit. The red string represents step one while the blue is step two.
Rigging a Blood & Plunder Sloop Tutorial
This part of rigging the Staysail is very similar to rigging the Jib, just on the opposite side of the ship. You may notice that I did the string work in the opposite direction as I did with the Jib. This is simply a result of me learning as I work.

The Gaff

Tutorial: Rigging a Blood and Plunder Sloop
Attach the beam to the top of the Gaff Sail.
Tutorial Rigging a Firelock Games Sloop for Blood and Plunder
The piece above is one single long string.
Rigging a Blood & Plunder Sloop - Tutorial
Now tie all of the other points to the bottom beam and mainmast.

Rigging Completed

Once you finish the above steps, your sloop will be complete.

Blood & Plunder Sloop - Review
I absolutely love my finished Sloop!

Be sure to not cut the string until after you are done the tie. For the short lengths, I cut the string into smaller pieces and tried to use those smaller pieces to tie the gaff to the mainmast. I found that I did not leave enough slack and could not use the strings that I prepared. To the craft-store I went to buy some elastic string so I could finish the model.

I ran out of string while building this Blood and Plunder Sloop
I ran out of string! To the craft store I went so I could finish the model. It was a shame to have to buy more string for just that one connection point. It was my own fault for cutting my strings too short and trying to use that. Instead, save your cutting until after you make your tie.

Showcase Pictures

Below are a few more showcase pictures of the Sloop.

Blood & Plunder Sloop Showcase
The French Captain inspects is brand new ship. The sails are still new and white.  🙂
Blood & Plunder Sloop Showcase
A look at the Sloop approaching head on. The Jib goes off to one side while the Staysail leans towards the other because of how we tied off the miniature.
Blood & Plunder Sloop Showcase
A high-angle shot.
Blood & Plunder Sloop Showcase
A shot from the rear of the ship. It is kind of neat how there is a bit of a bend to the Gaff Sail.
Model Ship - Sloop
Another shot of the ship from a different angle. What an awesome model!

Special Thanks…

Special thanks goes out to Firelock Games for Providing this miniature ship to Must Contain Minis.

Thanks also goes out to Jeremy Cada of Forbes Hobbies for painting the hull of the ship, RAINN Studios for the TerraTiles in the Background of one of the photos, XOLK for the Ruins in the same picture and to Cigar Box Battle for the Battle Mat used in the showcase pictures of the Sloop.

 

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Hopefully everyone enjoyed this Tutorial, Showcase and Review. Please feel free to let us know what you think of the model in the comments section below.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

 

 

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