Dreadfleet – Building the Ships

Well here they are: all 10 ships assembled in a push-fit manner. No glue used at all. There is one bit I haven’t assembled as I’m not sure I’ll be able to get it apart again to clean and assemble it properly. Still, it would go together if I wasn’t bothered about that. My choice, not the kit’s fault.

So how was the assembly process? On the whole, not too bad. There are only a couple of pitfalls to avoid.

  • Be careful clipping stuff off the sprues. There are lots of connecting lugs and so on, and not all of them are obvious from both sides. If in doubt have a look at the other side before you snip. I made only one mistake but luckily it’s not really noticeable.
  • Some of the bits are quite delicate before they’re assembled. Once in place they’re usually OK, you just have to be a little careful when applying pressure to assemble them.
  • If you want to do a nice paint job on them you may want to paint some bits of them (especially the partly exposed interiors) before you put them together. If I decide to paint mine I will do so as several sub-assemblies (masts and sails, hull, and so on).

And a few suggestions that might make life easier if you’re not used to this sort of thing.

  • Use the sides of the box as reference. This is where the assembly diagrams are, and they do help. I also did this in front of a computer so I could use the 360 degree animated shots on the GW website (look in the slideshow of pictures under the box photo). Occasionally these were very useful to see exactly how a piece fitted.
  • Only clip off the bits you need for the ship you’re making at the moment. Each ship has a different code letter, and all the bits for each ship have a letter next to them on the sprue. Some of the bits for different ships look similar (masts and sails, for example) and though you can always work out which is which if you look closely it’s easier if you don’t have to.
  • Start with the simple ships and get the hang of the way they’ve designed them. The two flagships, the Araby one (with the fire and air djinn), the floating ghost ship, and that blasted Skaven dead fish thing were the ones I found most awkward. I ended up leaving the upper gun decks on the Skaven one loose as I can’t see how they’re supposed to stay in place without glue.
  • As with all modelling and painting, take it slowly and carefully and take a break if you get annoyed.

There are quite a few opportunities for swearage in assembling this without glue. This is especially true of the ships that have to balance several bits in place while pushing the two halves together. The Heldenhammer wins the prize for this, though it was a close run thing with the floaty undead ship. Note that this may not be as bad if you’re gluing them.

On the plus side, the models are nicely made and have clearly been thought about carefully. I was stopped from assembling things incorrectly a couple of times because of the way the pieces had been designed. They fit together nicely the right way and not at all the wrong way. Hat’s off to GW on that count.

The detail is very good and quite extensive. Lots to pick out with a paint brush. I particularly like the individual bases, many of which also have characterful little details on them. Sometimes this really lifts a model. The Dwarf ship, for example, looked rather lumpen and drab to me in the product shots, but when you see it for real there’s an airship hanger inside it, which is cool 🙂

All told, it’s a very nice set of ships for the Warhammer High Seas (as they say).

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18 Responses to Dreadfleet – Building the Ships

  1. Minitrol says:

    Wow some great tips there thanks for doing the hard yards lol

  2. Da Mighty Girth says:

    I took the plunge yesterday and got me a set! Thanks Jake for taking the time to post up some tips on assembly! Looking forward to seeing what you think of the game mechanics as I’ve just finished reading the rules section of the book.
    One thing that I was thinking, and maybe you’ll agree/disagree was to paint the pieces on the sprues? I haven’t done a thing like that for nearly 20 years and would regularly tell kids not to do it! What does everyone think?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      If I paint these it will be in several sub-assemblies. I’ve never been a fan of painting on sprues myself, but it’s a similar idea. You’d have no chance of painting it easily if you waited till they were all put together, so you need some alternative. Way too many opportunities to daub paint on one thing while reaching past to get another if they’re in one bit.

      I’ve known several people who did paint on the sprues and it worked for them. It just didn’t sit right for me. Quite apart from anything else I found it harder to clean the mould lines and flash off while they were on the sprue, and when I tried half of them fell off anyway. And several things are in several pieces, eg towers. It makes sense to me to build the tower and paint it as a single thing rather than in bits on the frame. Then if you need to fill any gaps or whatever then you can do all that beforehand. It also saves trying to glue paint to paint, which always gives a rubbish bond.

      • Da Mighty Girth says:

        As I said haven’t done it since my Airfix days and my first RTB01 set! I was about 9/10 at the time so not sure it would be the best of ideas! While reading the latest WD there’s an masterclass/painting guide by one of the hobby team about sub assembly painting re read it last night and think I go down that route.
        BTW has anyone found the rulebook to be shall I say bait badly bound?

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Poor binding on the rulebook? Yes. Mine started to come apart after I skimmed through it once – before I even used it for reference during a game.

      • hmmm… I’ve flicked through mine a few times now and the binding seems fine. Perhaps I got lucky? I dry assembled the ships last night and on the whole I have to say I really don’t like them. They’re not actually as detailed as I first thought they were and I think they’ll be a pain in the ass to paint quickly, plus I just don’t like the look of them. The rules themselves don’t seem too bad though… but of course until I use those mini’s in anger I won’t know for sure.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Perhaps you did get lucky.

        I actually prefer the ships now I’ve seen them in person. I still don’t like them all, and I still think they’d look far better as coherent fleets, but they’re nice big ships. Not a fan of the “boiled sweet” colour schemes on the GW studio paints, though as my mate said “if you’re painting something for 12 year olds… “

      • Sam Dale says:

        Stupid shallow comment nesting.

        “Not a fan of the “boiled sweet” colour schemes on the GW studio paints, though as my mate said “if you’re painting something for 12 year olds… “”

        Yeah. There’s the new ogres. I look at them and think “those are some superb models”, then think about it and realise that they’ve been painted too cartoony. They could have been painted with a bit more realism, grit and gore, and looked awesome.

        I think I even remember seeing some of the GW minotaurs painted with less emphasis on the musculature, and they started looking less crappy.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        The worst offenders ever were the GW studio painted Chaos Dwarfs. Utterly ruined a perfectly good army with a colour scheme that made Haribo mix bags look drab. I ask you, bright red scale armour.

  3. Nazrat says:

    I put mine together today as well. I mostly finished the models except for attaching sails and bases, and the two cannon battery pieces on the Skaven ship. It appears that all the rest of the stuff will be easily painted in an assembled form. Oh, yeah, except for the Dwarf ironclad. I’ll paint the pieces for it separately, too.

  4. Curis says:

    Oh, it’s a game?! We thought it was a dress up box.

  5. Pingback: Dreadfleet Review – First Game | quirkworthy

  6. Pingback: Reading (and watching) about Dreadfleet… | The Letters from Xanadu

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