Sunday, 2 May 2010

Aquanef: The Fleet of Nemo's Allies

"May, 1879. The Coast of Peru, near Iquique: shipments of arms and ammunition are coming south to equip the belligerents in what will come to be known as the War of the Pacific. Chile, Peru and Bolivia have ignited a struggle over control of mineral rich areas of the Atacama desert, and principally, the supply of Saltpeter, an ingredient essential to the production of gunpowder.
Captain Nemo, outraged by the prospect of militarists fighting a war over the very thing that enables them to destroy their fellow man, has decided to intervene.....two merchant vessels, loaded with a cargo of Minie and Chassepot rifles, see a monstrous shape emerge from the depths and race towards them at high speed...."

A quick run-through, then, of the completed vessels that will fight alongside Nemo in the conflict outlined above. First off, we have the Ironclad submersible the 'Catfish':

Next, we move on to the steam-powered 'Squid'

Finally a couple of views of the 'Piranha'

Some group shots; the paint schemes have come out looking rather more 'cute' than I had originally intended, so I may have to dirty them up with some ink-washes and maybe some rust streaks here and there:

Nemo's Allies sail off to prevent mankind from destroying itself:

So what of Nemo's own vessel, the Nautilus itself? Well, that scratch build would be a distinct step-up from this level, and is something I'm still thinking about. The iconic image familiar to modern readers is probably the version created for the 1954 movie version starring James Mason, done by Harper Goff for Disney studios; I doubt if I could really do this justice -
see some once commercially available versions here:

It is interesting to ponder, though, that the original version described by Jules Verne in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, bore more than a passing resemblance to a vessel contemporary to the time of writing, namely the 'Alligator' of Brutus de Villeroi, built for the US Navy:

There's a fascinating site detailing the hunt for this lost vessel to be found here:

I think mine will be more likely to resemble this one, and then the search will be over!

Professor Arronax: "What is in those sacks they are carrying?"
Nemo: "Nitrates and phosphates for ammunition. The seeds of War. They're loading a cargo full of death....when that ship takes it home, the World will die a little more...."


  1. Hi SoS,Fantastic!! Sir I doff my hat to you!

    Really lovely and a cracking paint job.


  2. Thanks guys, glad you like them - they were great fun to do!
    I just noticed that the base edges need some tidying up - I was too keen to get them photographed, I think! A quick bit of dirtying up, and they should be totally complete....then on to those Militarist faction Ironclads...

  3. Awesome! I think some weathering might make them look less cute and more 'piratey' (don't tell Nemo I said that). Also, the eyes on the Squid ... I don't know, perhaps they should be moved more to the sides, made larger or something, the ones on the other two fish are a lot more mennacing, for some reason. I think it looks too much like a hedgehog's head. Apart from that, a fantastic job, looking forward to reading about more sightings ...
    As for the Nautilus - make it big. :)

  4. Hey Luka, now that's just unkind.....I mean a hedgehog! Nemo will be incensed.....actually, the more I look at it, the more I see what you mean...less terror of the deep and more brambly hedge - some remedial work needed, then!

  5. Great stuff
    Love the Catfish!

  6. Terribly sorry :( (but then again, dare I say it's your fault you've set the bar so high for yourself ... :P).
    Now, in my opinion the following could be totally wrong or quite interesting; perhaps before you re-do the eyes, try adding either another one between the two, or one or two more on each side. Chances are you'll end up with some dots that won't resemble anything, but perhaps it will look like a terrible monstrosity from the abyss ... either way, less is often more, so I'll understand if you'll want to keep just a pair of eyes ...
    (Dodges a torpedo, shot by Nemo who's getting pretty annoyed)

  7. No, wait, I think I know what it is - the combination of a black dot in a white circle! Try some other colour combination (black circle and white, green or yellow in the middle) and I think you're good to go! Also some detailing on the head (just some painted rivets) should break the large, monotonous surface, taking some attention off the eyes.
    Now I officially stop spamming. :)

  8. Hey Donogh, glad you liked the Catfish, that's shaping up to be my favourite, too!
    Have just noticed though, that I committed the beginner's mistake of not slicing off the mold lines before painting; won't show up so much at tabletop distances, but does look a bit rough in these photos....I think I was just too darn keen to get them painted!

    @Luka...seems you're getting a bit obsessed...are you sure you're not secretly working for the Militarists?
    Seeking to ridicule the technological might of Nemo and his Allies?

    To be fair though, some excellent ideas; I had thought of putting some patterning on the bow around the eyes as it were, but guessed it might look a bit busy - but I think your colour suggestions for the eyes should help more, as you say with some more rivet spots for some texture....I'll make sure to include an updated pic in a later post!

  9. Obsessed yes, but only because Nemo was one of my first and biggest childhood heroes, so you could say I'm trying to contribute to the resistance. :)
    I thank you for your patience and applaud your work once more.

  10. Love the models, love the board you're playing on. I'm a HUGE Jules Verne. I've often pondered gaming some of his stories - 20,000 Leagues and Journey to the Center of the Earth, but also The Lighthouse at the End of the World and The Mysterious Island.

    Keep it up,

  11. Cheers, Jason, glad you're liking them; definitely a heap of fun to do; couldn't agree more about Verne being a deep vein to mine in terms of inspiration - keep it under your hat, but I'm working on a mini to represent the incredible flying machine of Robur the Conqueror, with hopefully a bit of flavour from the Vincent Price Hollywood version 'Master of the World', to match these keep watching the skies!