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Pirate Livingroom: Pirates of the Caribbean Models

Since Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Zap Action! Skeleton models were the beginning of my interest not only in pirates, but also in skeletons, they deserve a page as well. I have had the remains of two of these models since I purchased them in a small General Store (no kidding) in Carleton, Michigan. When I was a kid, I was really into the models. I was a horrible model builder, of course, being only 6 or 7, but it didn't stop me from getting a few of them. During those years, I had owned 4 of the models. These included those shown below.

POTC Model Box 1 POTC Model Box 2
POTC Model Box 3 POTC Model Box 4

Now, most of the original models I owned were destroyed or tossed in moments of youthful indiscretion. When I became more interested in pirates, I found I only owned the base, chest and and crab from Ghost of the Treasure Guard (lost the cool lantern, darn it). I owned nothing at all from the Condemned to Chains Forever kit. (Although I remember having the base - with the skeleton's feet molded directly to it - cheap MPC folks. I owned a complete, boxed with instructions, mostly still on the sprues Hoist High the Jolly Roger kit. (But that's a pretty dull kit, so who cares?) The treasure was most of the parts from Dead Men Tell No Tales. The skeleton is missing his right arm and his neck - well, I don't know what happened to it, but it's gone. Half the wheel was MIA. But other than that...everything appeared to be there - right down to the parrot. The base hadn't even been painted!

So that was to be re-used. For what? Why, for the diorama to be put on the Plank Shelves! To complete this project diorama, I picked up some models off eBay as mentioned on the main page for this section. You can see those two kits on that page near the top. So far, I've just begin my modeling adventure with the old MPC POTC kits. They are shown in their raw state below.

POTC Model Parts

I was originally going to build these myself until I discovered that one of my fellow pirates - Dan Needham - was an excellent modeller. I like Dan, so I offered to pay him to make the models. He did an amazing job. At my request, he created a skeleton mermaid on the small base left over from Ghost of the Treasure Guard. He also built a skeleton version of Raphael Mission preparing to help a fellow skeleton by sawing off his arm or leg. He gave this skeleton a spyglass so that he could be positioned across from the mermaid. (Heh heh.)

POTC Model - Mission Pirate Skeleton, Patient and Mermaid
The Pirate Mermaid Being Espied By Mission the Surgeon Skeleton's Patient

POTC Model Cannon and Sand Detail
Cannon & Real Sand Detail
POTC Model Cloth Sail Detail
Cloth Sail on Dead Man's Raft Detail
Dan also added a variety of real world items to the models to give them a more realistic look and feel. For example, several of the island bases have had real sand, fake moss and similar things added to them. The sail on the Dead Man's Raft model is made of heavy canvas-like cloth and most of the skeletons have received a similar treatment. Unfortunately these images are a bit to small (plus the camera sort of robs them of their texture). Seen in person, they are absolutely amazing. With that being said, I now share photos of the five models Dan managed to create out of the jumble of pieces I sent to him. Enjoy!

Fate of the Mutineers

POTC Model Fate of the Mutineers Action
Fate of the Mutineers Rescuer
I had always wanted this model as a kid. I just liked the idea of it. (I don't know why the idea of a skeleton pulling the arm off of another skeleton trapped in quicksand appealed to me, but it may give some insight into my interest in making haunted houses rooms. In fact, I used this model as an idea for just such a haunted house room.) So it was one of two I went hunting for on eBay. I did find one in pieces, which (fortunately) I never got around to working on before I sent it to Dan.

Dan added a variety of nice little details to this model. All the clothing you see on the skeleton had cloth layered on top of the existing plastic clothing which gave them a nice texture. (Dan did this for most of the POTC skeleton models as noted.) He also added a mossy material to the base of the island which gave it a really interesting texture.

Dan gave the rescuer a scabbard and repurposed one of the swords that were found among the parts I had. He put the little parrot on one of the mushrooms or plants or whatever those things are supposed to be. The parrot was one of the pieces from my original Ghost of the Treasure Guard model I had owned.

POTC Model Fate of the Mutineers Victim
Fate of the Mutineers Victim Angled
POTC Model Fate of the Mutineers Side
Fate of the Mutineers Left Side View
POTC Model Fate of the Mutineers Details
Details - Sword & Parrot

Dead Man's Chest

POTC Model Dead Man's Chest Front Closed
Dead Man's Chest From the Front - Closed
Dead Man's Chest is another one of those models I longed to own as a kid. It had the iconic skeleton at the wheel from the ride and another skeleton who pushed open the box on the deck and stabbed his knife into a map with Zap/Action! Who wouldn't want that? I have a vague recollection of seeing it at the local general store, but I as I recall, I couldn't afford it at the time. (Seriously, we had a general store in town that sold models - it looked just like you probably imagine.) So I paid a princely sum to get a partially built Raft off eBay.

Dan built it with the skeleton pieces I had gotten, doing an excellent job weathering the wood of the box, the ship's wheel and the deck of the ship. He also added some nifty details like cloth on the skeletons, the peg leg and clay pipe to the wheelman, a bottle and candle.

POTC Model Dead Man's Chest Front Open
Dead Man's Chest Front With the Skeleton in the Box Popping Up
POTC Model Dead Man's Chest Angle Open
Dead Man's Chest in an Angled View From the Back
POTC Model Dead Man's Chest Right Side
Dead Man's Chest From the Right Side - Nice View of the Sail
POTC Model Dead Man's Chest Back, Box Closed
Dead Man's Chest from the Back With the Box Closed

Freed in the Nick of Time

POTC Model Freed in the Nick of Time Box
Dead Man's Chest From the Front - Closed
This was not one of the models I remember wanting. In fact, I barely remember seeing it during my youth. I sort of stumbled across one for sale while I was looking for the other two models I coveted: Fate of the Mutineers and Dead Man's Raft. Looking at the images on eBay, I decided I had not given this model a fair chance and I purchased it.

This is another raft-based model that comes with a number of really cool details, not the least of which is a pair of skeleton hands trying to climb up onto the raft from the water. Other neat details include a skeleton with the hook hand, an anchor inexplicably attached to the victim skeleton, a really well-done barrel, a flag attached to an oar and that magnificent giant octopus.

Dan made the most of the details, giving the raft, barrel and oar a splended weathered wood look. He put the emblem of my crew (the Mercury) designed by our quartermaster William Pace on the flag. Like the other models, he added real cloth to the plastic clothing to give a more pleasing texture and feel to the model.

POTC Model Freed in the Nick of Time Front
Freed in the Nick of Time Front View.
POTC Model Freed in the Nick of Time Left Side
Freed in the Nick of Time Left
POTC Model Freed in the Nick of Time Back
Freed in the Nick of Time Back View - Nice look at the Oar and Flag Here
POTC Model Freed in the Nick of Time Right View
Freed Right View - Not the Skeleton Hands

The Skeleton Mermaid (on the Dead Men Tell No Tales base)

POTC Model Mermaid Skeleton
The POTC Model of the Mermaid Skeleton from the Left Side
The mermaid skeleton was something I had wanted to include for the POTC model diorama. I wanted her crawling onto land post. I explained what I wanted and asked him to do the best he could with the idea. As you can see, he did an amazing job.

This is the only model to have hair because Dan felt it looked bizarre without it. He used one of the extra skeletons I had purchased off eBay and added some nice details like a shell brassiere and a green necklace.

The Dead Men Tell No Tales island is a big pile of coins and treasure, which dan painted in such a way that this was apparent. I can remember wondering how to paint this island when I was a kid... each piece of coin? That spider on the skull's head? It was unimaginable. It is for things like this that I sought out Dan to do the model for me.

POTC Skeleton Mermaid Model Front
The Skeleton Mermaid From the Front
POTC Skeleton Mermaid Right Side
Skeleton Mermaid From the Right Side

Mission and His Patient (Ghost of the Treasure Guard base)

POTC Model Mission and His Patient
Mission and His Patient
Another deviation from the true Pirates of the Caribbean models was one with my pirate surgeon character holding up a patient with one arm and holding a bone saw in the other. The island was a relic from the Ghost of the Treasure Guard model I had owned as a kid. That model included the boring pirate from the Hoist High the Jolly Roger kit and the skeleton pirate from the Dead Men Tell No Tales kit. (Even as a kid I recognized the cheat.) Since the skeleton was no longer around and the pirate didn't interest me, I asked Dan to put a Mission and a patient using a spyglass together. (I wanted to have spyglass trained on the mermaid seen above.) Plus I just like the idea that I would be standing on one of the islands I had owned for so long.

Dan managed to capture one of my pirate surgeon outfits very nicely including my brown waistcoat, long-sleeved blue shirt and brown breeches. He built the saw and spyglass from scratch and even added two scarves to the Mission skeleton and a head scarf to the patient. This island was also the one with real sand on it. The cannon was not part of the original model, but I thought it was a nice touch.

POTC Model Mission Island Details
Model Details
POTC Model Mission & Patient Lef
Mission and Patient Left Side
POTC Model Mission & Patient Front
POTC Model Mission and Patient Pirates Front
POTC Model Mission & Patient Right Side
Mission and Patient Skeletons From Angle
POTC Model Mission Skeleton Back
Mission and Patient Skeleton Island from the Back

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