Don't Look at the Ugly Tub . This is it- almost a month and a thousand frustrations in the making; satisfaction not only un-guaranteed but tragically lacking; 37.5� long and 23� tall monstrosity of a ship, my first large-scale attempt in two years.
The Lands of Mythron . As you can see from the link above, the phenomenal new group, �Lands of Mythron,� receives the mixed blessing of this bark�s affiliation as my entry in its April battle challenge. As of now (April 15, 2013), it blows away all of its fellows in this group in terms of size and complexity. Like all of my Mythron builds to date (two, including the Eagle), it features a brief story centered on the unremarkable barbarian soldier, Stephen. However, because I live in my own little world as well, it makes up the third chapter in the chronicles of the conquistador-style adventurers introduced in my second-favorite build ever, Snake Street. Enough intro- now for the story.
After weeks of hopping between islands in the BS (Bull�s Ship) Weezil, Captain Harold of Gimletstown and his barbaric crew have been conscripted as part of the Bull Knight-Pirate invasion fleet, a force of fifty thousand men and semi-sentient life forms pointed at the �civilized� island of Mythron like a foul-smelling nuclear missile. They certainly did not expect the Mythronese navy to sail from Carthal in their advanced warship, the Eagle.
�Captain, do you see that?�
�Yes, I do, and we have to warn the fleet- fast!�
Before anything too exciting happens, here are some pictures of the Eagle.
History note- before the ship�s wheel was developed, rudders were controlled via the �whipstaff�, a long pole that ran up through the ship to where the helmsman (or dwarf) could reach it. I like castles much more than ships, so don�t cite my expertise.
The rudder and the back of the captain�s cabin. Looks like a poorly-made castle, right?
The cabin windows of my own simple design that I intend to use in a castle sometime soon.
Guns (I dated my build to match my storyline, not Mythron�s. I�ll work hard to fix that later.)
Guns atop the forecastle, or fo�c�sle as some have it.
A young wizard, hands already stained by potions, and his undead maid man and skeleton the mast, driving the ship forward at unnatural speeds without any sails at all.
The maid, wearing a garment made with a ratty brown cape and a rubber band.
Crossbowmen patrol the foredeck (or whatever it�s called).
End detail break.
The barbarians are detected before they can leave. The knight in command of the ship draws his crew�s attention.
�A steamer! Cannons, on my command!�
The sound of artillery draws in a pirate galley (conveniently destroyed after unloading some of its crew so I didn�t have to build one) and three more of the notorious barbarian steamships. Even the Weezil gets in close, and hand-to-hand combat insues.
A pirate takes a swim with the turkey�.
Surprisingly, cavalry wins even at sea.
Stephen gets his first taste of battle when he faces down a sailor with a small ballista.
More of Stephen�s crew fights its way from the foredeck back.
Scytain the Bold and one-handed Cedric himself follow them, leaving their steamer with a skeleton crew.
Two captains duel in the classic shipboard style, with cutlasses along a narrow spar.
A knight in black takes on both a seasoned pirate and a strange individual with glowing red eyes.
The fighting is more ferocious on the middle deck, where the two forces have become hopelessly entangled.
Crack Mythronese archers and crossbowmen stand their ground and decimate the enemy, keeping their good name in an era of black powder.
The mounted elite is similarly deadly.
Fire spells atop a pitch-sealed tower of timber? I�m not sure that�s quite wize�
As dangerous as the Mythronese firing squad is, it can still fall prey to a wily pirate with lots of knives.
Crossbows are a less intelligent choice for a survival-minded lass, because as soon as you�ve had your shot, the knight with the big morningstar will spread your brains across the cannon carriages.
Easter egg? Wrong holiday.
Weezil the chimp seems to like this floaty thing better than his namesake.
The foul, armor-clad beast swoops down from the skies, though none know whether it means to evacuate its allies, aid them in battle, or destroy the ship so none can have it. Deprived of their upper hand, the surviving pirates and invaders flee to their ships, loosing quarrels and bullets to little avail. Soon, the battle is won for Mythron.
True to its name, the Weezil carries its surviving crew and a pair of pirates to the safety of a rocky outcrop in the desolate ocean.
�Tell me the truth, Bill- will I keep my arm?�
�Stop your sniveling; �tis but a scratch, as a knight I knew once said. It�s a mark of courage, that is. This bandage should put it back in order.�
Two pirates hold conference at a distance. Thanks to their complete lack of armor, tolls on their kind were the hardest of all.
�Hey, Sam, did you see me? I think I got one!�
�Yes, Ivan, but how many of us did they get? Did you see anyone else get out of there?�
Ivan�s excitement is replaced with worry.
�What are we going to do, Sam?�
Captain Harold has also lost mates, his first mate and a primate, but holds himself together. The invasion has been shattered, and the armies of Cedric are scattered. Rallying them will be difficult, and time-consuming. In the meantime, Mythron may seize the chance to build its defenses, but the sailor has more immediate matters to take care of. With no planned regrouping point, he has to decide on a destination and drop off the pirates. There is not enough coal in the boiler to return to the haven of Northern Rainos, so he makes a dangerous decision.
�Crew, fall in. We will weigh anchor and sail for Mythron. There�s a place I know there- some tower held by barbarians. If we can make our way upriver, we should be able to restore our fuel with timber and press on to the fortress. Then we can contact Cedric, and drop off the pirates when we reunite with our army. Jump to it!�
As the Weezil departs once again, the writer runs out of closing comments to spend on the moment.
Elsewhere, the nauseous mage looks around for someone to dispense his potions to.
Similar scenes of carnage litter the once-pristine Eagle, but the captain soon rallies his men in a grisly hour of deck-swabbing.
Upon its conclusion, the soldiers line up along the sides like a row of somber tombstones. The only noise is the sea breeze and the gentle creaking of the ship.
The captain begins his obituary.
�These poor souls died in battle, perhaps fighting for a cause they saw as just.�
�I commend their souls to any god who can find them.�
With a splash, the pirate corpses hit the water. Some sink, and some bob up and drift by as the ship floats slowly onward.
Then the armor-clad remains of the Mythronese soldiers are hefted by grieving comrades, and the captain recites their names.
With a blessing and a cannon-shot, the warriors go to their final resting place. As the glinting metal sinks below the waves, the captain swears to bring vengeance to the murderers, through whatever means necessary. Here ends this chapter of the Mythron saga, to be continued in the ancient stronghold of Felmore Tower.
The Expedition Begins
Someday I will finish my first chapter concerning the courageous soldiers, sailors, and other explorers sent forth by the King of Ankoria to scout the new continent discovered to the north of the empire, but today I have chosen to work on chapter three instead.
The story began when Captains Humerus and d�Colore, of the navy and army respectively, recruited six civilians to serve as sailors aboard their warship (still creatively named the Eagle), currently under construction in a nearby dry dock. Instead of the crack sailors they wanted, they found a pair of old and legal rum-runners, a nautiphilic dwarf, a veteran of King Leo�s dated excuse for an armada, a young woman with a terrible urchin accent, and a carpenter with an atrocious hairdo. This eclectic crew traveled inland to the brand-new academy of Sir First for boot camp, and then marched back again. Now they and their companions for the adventure stand shivering in file on a windy pier in Dryton. Having already loaded all necessary cargo from grapeshot to grapes, they can leave as soon as the captains are ready.
�There is a chill in my bones, Captain d�Colore. Let us release the ship into the zephyr and pass through the air, rather than let it pass through us.�
�You could wear clothes, like that young lady over there.�
�The wizard�s maid? Bah! She�s a freak, not a fiery-eyed warrior like my kind. Hardly dead at all, in my opinion.�
�Hmm. On the topic of crew, I want your opinion of the wizard. He�ll be the youngest man aboard, and we must rely on him for all matters of the arcane.�
�If you can take on another platoon of soldiers at the last minute, I can hire a wizard. He can do no more harm than them, I�m sure.�
�The Lions? I was ordered to bring them. The Red Kingdom�s men in general are an uncouth bunch, but this squad is apparently the best they have. Our king hopes that by sending them with us he can deprive our newest territory of a chance to revolt.�
�What of mutiny, then? They can cause trouble in whatever berth they find.�
�Not with my men around. That�s why I asked for the dwarves- we outnumber them three to one. Now, Humerus, I must confide in you before we leave and all hope of prevention is lost.
�Take a look at our civilian crew. Forget the king�s �equal employment� policy for a minute and think. We have one-to-five-and-twenty ratio on this dock, and you know what I mean. You have sailed the seas for a century as man and corpse; will you break millennia of nautical tradition on a whim? There is a reason sailors call it bad luck!�
The undead mariner�s eyes gleam in a way that the explorer can only describe as �evil�.
�Captain d�Colore, what gender is the Crown Princess?�
�That�s different! She will only have to deal with courtesans when she takes the throne�,�
�And �courtesans� are also known as �knights�, and that�s a crowd that used to give sailors a good name. And might I ask you, how do you think women cross a sea? What is the difference between passenger and crew, but a modicum of familiarity? Blast it all, even if you are not yet satisfied, the lass has yon bony maid and Eagle herself alongside her. A figurehead and a freak might not be creatures of flesh, but they�re still female. Come to think with it, so were about half of the skeletons I fought on the Necromancer�s ships with; everyone�s the same when you strip away the details.�
Wrapped in their part of the debate that will sweep through humanity (and eventually dwarfdom, trollishness, and all those other vital groups) for centuries to come, the two captains fail to notice a far more immediate dilemma. Intent on his opportunity to have a voyage�s worth of regular (if rather unappetizing) meals, one of Snake Street�s younger denizens quietly clambers aboard.
The captains elect not to alter their crew, and give the order to set sail.
Soon the anchor (which was forgotten in this model by an incompetent and irritated shipwright) is lifted, and the ship sets sail on its maiden voyage to virgin territory.
The discoverers, after a brief once-over of their temporary home, settle into their tasks. Sailors and marines swarm the rigging, doing their best to work with the enchanted, invisible sails (bwa ha ha� another shortcut).
Discovering that some of the dwarves are uneducated in modern warfare, master gunner Richard of Stableton takes it in his hands to change this fact.
Farther along, one of d�Colore�s crack archers has nobly to keep in communication with the figurehead of the Eagle, who, like many of her kind in this land of magic, is practically alive. Bewitching figureheads in this manner is a common strategy to allow the ship to speak for itself when it has an undetectable leak, or rats are eating through the rope locker.
One of the soldiers is doing something below deck. This calls for a closer look�
�which we take by bunching the masts together�
� and uncovering the entire midsection. Unfortunately, we still can�t see who the man is yelling at, so let�s dismantle the ship further still (We don�t like it much anyway, do we?).
There goes the forecastle roof�
�followed by the forecastle itself. Look, the soldier is trying to tell the knight that there isn�t any room to walk a horse about in the hold. The silly man obviously has not had much experience with knights. Also take note of the rustic lattice windows in the stable and the nearby brig.
Here is the cargo bay itself, filled with netting, barrels,
A decomposing fish,
And harness for the knights� horses.
At the aft end of the hold we encounter the door to the captain�s cabin (property of d�Colore because Humerus has no need for �living space�), as well as two of the smaller guns. Voices emanate through the woodwork.
Caught! A day from port, the knight on the left apprehended the knavish stowaway, and d�Colore is furious.
�You wretch! No doubt you thought that you had a career in the navy all lined up for you with this clever little trick. Well, I have news for you: you will spend the next five days in the brig and not set foot on shore until our mission is completed and we return to Ankoria!�
�Honest, guv, I didn�t mean to stow away or nothing. I was picked up by an eagle, and ended up in here. No pun intended, guv.�
�You won�t win me over with feeble wordplay. Sir Brod, take him away. And if Captain Humerus wants to feed this urchin to the sharks, I will not stand in his way.�
Did you see my tiled ceiling? The captain�s cabin is by far the best part of the interior, perhaps even the entire ship. While I withheld detail throughout most of the structure just to see if I could get a ship shape, I made an effort here.
Instead of the customary organ, the back of Captain d�Colore�s cabin is occupied by a very comfortable bed, suspended from the ceiling to ensure a good knight�s sleep. Pardon that pun as well.
At long last the narration drifts downward to the galley, where Rudolph Scruffy-Beard whips up a potion that apparently calls for fish, flowers, and an apple or two. The chicken leg is not magic at all; it�s lunch.
Across the table from the inexperienced wizard sits Del, daydreaming idly.
Most of her thoughts are of her recently-lost life, and how wonderful it would be to have it back. This proves that, for some people, the grass is always greener on the other side. For example, last year Del would have been insanely jealous of her future waistline.
Here is the galley from above. The salt and pepper shakers really add to the ambience.
I have run out of pictures concerning the Royal Explorers. That means it�s time for my MOC review.
I feel that I regressed by two solid years of Lego building on this ship. The insides were crude, the outsides rough, and the colors assaulted my eyes. My main purpose in constructing the Eagle was to learn about the art of shipbuilding, but I forgot all my preliminary research by the time I started building and the lesson seems to be, �Do not build ships, Gilbert Despathens.� Despite this setback I will return to the seas again, one or two major projects in the future, but with a smaller, curvier, and generally more awesome caravel-type warship.
Continuing with the bright side, the namesake eagle featured in some of the earlier pictures gave rise to some new building techniques that I concentrated in an angelic-looking knight later on.
Also, I am rather proud of the curve on the front end and the other curve that continues beneath the ship. The last time I built a major vessel I tried to use the base plates from my Troll Warship, and this SNOT style is much more effective.
Photography did not improve for this MOC, which indicates that perhaps my next project should be a proper backdrop instead of the tower I was considering. Now, here are some fun pics.
If you have remained for this long, I salute your endurance and humbly request that you leave a comment containing either praise or constructive criticism. Because I do not feel that I put forth my best effort on the Eagle I will not ask you to rate, but nor will I stop you. Thank you for viewing, and feel free to check out my other creations (with the possible exception of my adventure in Bionicle building).