May Of The Dead: Papercraft Ghost Ship

As you know, this month Going Last is hosting the May of the Dead blog carnival. (You can click here to see the other articles, but not until you’ve read mine.) When they announced the carnival, one of the first things that came to mind for me was “ghost ship.”

This is actually an experiment that came to mind when I was making World Works Games’ (WWG) “Sea Maiden,” but instead I decided to try out someone else’s papercraft – I went with the “Sea Dragon” by Fat Dragon Games. The idea is this: instead of printing the ship out in full color, could you create a simple ghostly effect just by printing in black and white?

I think the answer is yes – of course, one could achieve a more ghostly effect by adding details, but those kinds of details aren’t something the consumer can add without a lot of extra effort. In my mind, black and white does the job nicely (scroll down to see the black and white ghost ship next to the full color Sea Maiden).

Ok, so there was one bit of detail work that I did to make it look like a ghost ship: the sail is a freebie I got from the Fat Dragon site. After I put it together, I cut holes in it, and “shredded” the bottom. I think that one very easy bit of detail work really makes it clear that this is a ghost ship.

By the way, one tip I got from the WWG Sea Maiden instructions: when you glue your sail front to the sail back, if you bend the sail in a backward sweeping form while the glue dries, it will stay that way. It really gives the sail the illusion of being full of wind.

Here are a few build notes about this model:

I absolutely love the way the mast works. The WWG ship’s masts have to be inserted carefully through all three decks, so you have to make sure the holes are lined up perfectly. When you need to separate the decks, you have to pull the masts out completely. Big pain. This Fat Dragon model, however, has the mast separated into two sections. So you don’t have to remove the mast from the ship when lifting off the main deck to reveal the lower deck. The mast comes off with the main deck, and there’s a second short “mast” piece marking where the mast attaches to the lower deck. Extremely elegant.

The sail also works really well. I don’t like the way the sails hang on the WWG Sea Maiden – they use tabs that fold over the masts. I ended up using paperclips to keep them in place because they kept slipping off. Instead of this method, the FD Sea Dragon uses a ring that slides onto the mast. It’s no harder to remove than the WWG model, but stays on much better.

Unfortunately, the Sea Dragon had its own frustrations for me. The forecastle was needlessly complicated to attach. In fact, I ended up gluing the tabs on wrong way (on purpose) and blacking out the white that was showing. Honestly though, that’s my only complaint, and I was able to work around it.

Overall, this was a really quick build. 2 hours cutting, 2 hours assembly. Compared to about 5 times that for the Sea Maiden. No, seriously, the Maiden took me about 20 hours. In fairness, the Sea Maiden is much bigger. Below is a side by side comparison:

In the end, I don’t think that the difference in size is that big of a deal. Yes, it’s really cool to have a huge ship on hand, but it would also be cool to have four smaller ones; based upon the time the Sea Dragon took, I might just do that.

So next Friday, I’ll be posting a Two Page Mini Delve that uses this ghost ship, and also incorporates some lessons I’ve been learning about horror gaming from H.P. Lovecraft and Ryan Macklin. But first, this ship needs a name. Below is a survey using names I got from Twitter, as well as a few I came up with myself. Vote on your favorite, the winner will become part of the Two Page Delve!

[poll id=”4″]

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