Category Archives: Man O’War

The Making of Jaws

The second scratch-built Ironshark has left the dry docks and this time around I took some work in progress shots along the way.

Modelling tools
Tools of the trade

It was a much quicker and cleaner process second time around, now that I had a template to work from and figured out the best order of construction steps.

WIP Ironshark of Khorne for Man O'War
Bottom and deck assembly
WIP Ironshark of Khorne for Man O'War
Body of the ship and Fimo jaw with markings for carving

Comparing with the Citadel catalogue page, there is obviously less detail on my reconstruction, but it has enough for my purposes. I see Man O’War ships somewhere between miniatures and playing pieces.

WIP Ironshark of Khorne for Man O'War
Ready for painting

The third Ironshark is at the second stage above, so I am hopeful of being able to finish it over the weekend. Next project – the dreaded Bloodship.

Ironsharks of Khorne for Man O'War
Ironsharks under sail in the Sea of Chaos


Since digging up the Plagueship I have been meaning to scratch-build some more ships for Man O’War. I decided on a squadron of Ironsharks of Khorne to get me started and so far managed to build and paint a prototype over the weekend.

Man O'War Ironshark of Khorne
Scratch-built Ironshark of Khorne for Man O’War

The original models for Man O’War are quite stylised and abstract, not to mention rather over the top. That makes it quite easy to recreate them, although I am not attempting to achieve perfect replicas, but rather recreations using the materials and techniques at hand.

Man O'War Ironshark of Khorne
The winding mechanism for the jaw is kept below deck

The shark bow of the ship is formed in Fimo, with cut offs from plastic sprues for eyes, cardboard teeth and fin and shield bosses from Skeleton Warriors for hinges. The chains leading below deck are sections from Dark Eldar trophies.

Man O'War Ironshark of Khorne
Texture is mostly just painted onto the cardboard

The body of the ship is cut from thin cardboard, held together with superglue. Rather than sculpting the oars I decided to simply paint them on strips of cardboard, same as the planks and the window slits. The mast is a toothpick and the yard a thin strip of balsa wood.

Man O'War Ironshark of Khorne
Ironshark ready to snap

Scratch-built Plagueship of Nurgle

I was a big fan of Man O’War when it was released but with the ships being both difficult to get hold of and expensive (I was a student and already playing every other GW system available) I scratch-built several fleets.

Fast forward to 2013 and only one ship is still afloat – the near-unsinkable behemoth that is the Nurgle Plagueship.

Man O'War Plagueship of Nurgle
Scratch-built Nurgle Plagueship for Man O’War

It is made entirely out of card, paper, toothpicks, matchsticks and bits of plastic sprues, covered in glue and hard varnish. Using the pages from White Dwarf that showed all components in original size as building instructions, this came together quite easily.

I remember I also had ships for Orcs, Skaven, High Elves, Dwarfs, Empire and some of the other Chaos Powers but threw them out at some point for not being ‘proper’ enough. Admittedly, they were not as slick as the originals but I do wish I had them still. Well, I guess I better get the toothpicks out and start again…

Man O'War Plagueship of Nurgle bow
Matchstick catapult and cardboard/plastic sprue bow
Man O'War Plagueship of Nurgle sails
Hand drawn sails