Monday, May 26, 2014

Preparing to Sail the 7 Seas

The musical A Pirate's Tale is slowly preparing for its premiere, and (at least for me) one of the most important parts of that is making the properties that all of the pirates need. First, on a ship there are many things, and since the show takes place in 1740, all most nothing can be considered contemporary. The second challenge is that there are 14 pirates in the show. Historically, pirates would often carry ALL of their weapons and valuables at the same time, so as to have everything close at hand. For the weapons, that might include the usual cutlass, or perhaps a small-sword. Then things start to become more serious and might regularly include a dagger, or at least a knife, and a variety of pistols. This is due to the fact that at the time, pistols fired one shot, and then had to be reloaded. Pistols also commonly mis-fired, and in the heat of battle became useless. The point to the preceding paragraph is that outfitting a crew of pirates, whether in real life, or in a show is usually an expensive proposition. That is where these two pistols came into play:

As you can tell, they do not look particularly realistic or impressive, and are in fact the least expensive pistols that I could source, having come from the Dollar Tree store. The first issue was to take the guns apart completely, and then fix the triggers and hammers into place. Once that was done, the pistols were reassembled and primed. The next step was to actually paint the pieces, and the fist part of this was to completely paint the guns silver. The grip plates were painted with a very light brown to resemble a hardwood color. Once the initial color fields were laid in, I was able to use gold leaf and dry brushing to bring out the details on the barrel and frame, resulting in this:

These could serve as props, but in order to add that final dose of realism, age needed to be added to the guns, in this case through liberal application of a black wash over the guns to both distress it, and to bring out details. The pieces were then given a coat of gloss sealer in order to protect their paint finishes over the course of the show. And the final product, ready for the stage:

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