The ‘Pirate Ship’ referred to by the Crew as ‘the boat’, and by the film Crew as ‘the ship’. This vessel is made up from joining the aft’ end of an ancient old hulk to the fore’ part of a more recent ‘ship of the lime’. She is small, badly nailed together and most of the midship’s section is missing. Over the years she has gathered many odds and ends including a garden shed and a figurehead of very mixed origins. The concept design by Peter Lord, Norman Garwood and Jeff Newitt came with an artistic licence.
So our vessel with no name and ‘no port of registration’ was launched on to the studio floor in November 2009. She has been busy everyday for the best part of two years.
In the ‘design’ our ship spent some sixteen weeks. A ‘cardboard’ model was made and remade, discussed and changed again before the ship finally went on the drawing board.
Cod Steaks, a Bristol based model making company built the ship. To give Cod Steaks the necessary information over forty drawings were prepared, all done the old fashioned way in pencil. The drawings range from the ‘lines drawing’ (giving the shape of the hull), to all aspects of the quarter deck, fo’c’stle, capstan, masts, spars, rigging sails and on and on.
She was built just like a ‘real one’, frames cut and erected on a keel, with planks steamed and bent to the frames. The team at Cods Steaks talking futtocks, strakes, dead eyes and spankers, our land lubbers are now on the case ‘Bristol fashion’. The build went very well, if a little ‘close to the wind’.
Our ship was delivered as a kit of parts to be assembled on motion controlled gimbals. Once the fore’ and aft’ sections of the hull, the mast and the spars were bolted together she was 4.5 metres from bow sprite to garden shed. If she wasn’t missing her topgallant she would have been 4.5 metres tall (a CGI model was used when her whole rig was in shot). She now needs her sails and running rigging. A number of sets of sails being made, billowed, goosewinged, furled and more. Some 50 metres of running rigging all wired so as it could be dressed to camera.
It doesn’t stop there, to give a sailing ship life, no matter how subtle, the wind needs to be felt in the sails and rigging. From shot to shot a number of small motion controlled electric motors were attached to sails, ropes and blocks to animate the ship.
She is now completing her first ‘tour of duty’ and looks better than ever. With any luck she’ll be back soon with her Captain and Crew on another exciting adventure with Pirates.
Phil Lewis, Art Director