Sunday, 11 December 2011

So you want to start painting miniatures, Part 2

When I first started painting I used the Humbrol enamels that are used for the plastic model aircraft kits. Whilst for the beginner these are ok, they can be a little too thick and you will lose the finer detailing on your model. They also limit what you can do with detailing effects. The enamel paints are notorious for shortening the life span of your brushes, as they have to be cleaned with white spirits.

Tamiya paints are acrylic, although they do smell as though they are spirit-based, personally I’ve never done too well with Tamiya paints, and again, I find them too thick for miniature painting. Also if you try to thin them down it can be hard to judge the right amount of thinner to use. To be honest I personally have had great success with Citadel Colours. These paints are acrylic and water-based, also and more importantly they are non-toxic. The paints are easy on the brushes and clean up easily. Because they are water-based it makes them easy to thin down and this makes them perfect for washes, although Citadel do produce specially designed inks for just this job. You will also need to buy undercoat. Citadels Colour starter kits provide a good range of colours and also supply some plastic miniatures to get you going.

Once you have your paints you’re ready to find yourself a miniature to apply the pigment to.

Finding the right piece.

Now you have your tools and your paints, you need to find a miniature. If you are new to the gaming fraternity, then the best place to find your models is the shop where you buy your games and dice. Again Games Workshop stores have a wide selection so as you buy your paints, browse the miniatures as well. Choosing a suitable piece can be quite difficult as you will be trying to find one that you like the look of plus finding one that has an interesting characteristic. If you are preparing to paint your first model don’t pick one with heavy surface detail. A highly detailed model may look good but if you’re new to the craft then you will find it quite daunting. This also goes the other way round, even if you are new to miniature painting, don’t get a model that’s too plain as there will be no challenge and you will not enjoy your time. The first miniature I painted was a fighter figure wearing a cloak; a helmet that comes over the eyes and it held a scimitar in its right hand that rested in the left. It also had a shield bearing a Celtic knot design. Ok so you have your tools, and now you have your model, you are ready to start painting.

For me painting a model is like colouring in a picture. I also find it very relaxing. Painting can be time consuming, but if you have the right motivation towards it, it is time well spent.

The first thing you need to do is find the right location. The ideal spot is in the kitchen, preferably when it’s not in use by other members of your household. Although sitting in the kitchen may get you roped into chores like tea making and washing-up. There are several good reasons for using the kitchen one is the fact that most people have a large table in the kitchen, (be sure to cover the table before you start work.) another is that kitchens tend to have large windows. A big window is great for painting as it allows lots of natural light to paint by. Lighting is an important factor to consider when painting. A figure painted under artificial light may not have the same lustre when displayed in natural light. So you have a good work area and now it’s time to set up. Put the pots of paint on the table then spread them out a bit so that you can clearly see each colour. You will also need some water. I tend to use three containers of water. One is for the light colours; another is for the dark colours and a third for the metallic colours. Yoghurt pots are perfect rinse pots.

The first thing you need to do after set up is clean the model.  Once you are happy that the piece is clean leave it to air dry for about an hour. When you return to your work you will need to remove any flashing and mould lines. Using needle files and you craft knife carefully scrape away any parts that don’t belong on the model. When using the knife always work away from your body, NEVER towards you, firstly this can result in a severe injury, secondly you may get a very interesting colour scheme. Now that you have removed all the flash and lines it’s time to undercoat your figure. I find that the best method for undercoating is a spray can. Different people hold different opinions on undercoat. Some say that a light or white undercoat is best, others tend to go for black. I like grey, I tend to buy the grey acrylic spray primer from a local car repair shop, it’s cheaper than GWs sprays and the cans are larger.

In order to apply the undercoat you need to be in a well-ventilated area. A spray box can be easily constructed. Place the model on a separate piece of card so that you can turn it as you spray. Hold the can about 20-30 centimetres from the model, then spray in quick short bursts. When you have completed the undercoat leave the model to dry, again for about an hour.

Now your undercoat is dry you are ready to start painting proper. You will need to attach the piece to something so that you can move it around without touching the painted areas of the figure. An empty paint pot with a large lump of blu-tac type stuff on it is ideal.

Start with a base coat picking out the larger surface areas. Your base coat should be a darker shade of the colour you want to end up with, so if you want a light blue cloak for instance, then the cloaks base coat should be a dark blue. Once you have applied the base coat to the model you can start on the smaller areas, such as boots, gloves and the like.

After you have completed the base coats you can move onto the more technical stuff like washing and drybrushing. For the wash, you need to use either ink a a wash. If you do not have ink or ink or a wash then you will have to thin down some of the paint. A wash should be darker than the base coat you used initially. To apply the wash you will need to use a large brush; a size 2 should suffice. First place a drop of ink onto a white surface, then dip your brush into some fresh clean water and drip the water into the ink. This will thin the ink out a little more and make it run easier. Before you apply the first wash, work some of the ink out by painting it onto the plate. Then apply the ink to the recessed areas of your model. You should see that the ink runs into all the grooves and folds on the figure. You can apply 2-3 washes, lightening the shade as you progress.

After you have applied the washes you will, again, need to allow the figure to dry. Make sure that the ink is completely dry before you proceed to the next stage.

Now that you have completed the wash you need to apply a drybrush to the surface of the model. Drybrushing is a simple but effective method of highlighting the detail on the model. A drybrush starts with a shade that is a little lighter than the last colour you used before you washed the model. You need to lighten the shade with each application. To apply a drybrush take a small sample of the previous colour then add a tiny amount of white to the colour. Add the same quantity of white for dry each brush application. To perform the drybrush you need to use an old brush. This is where those nylon brushes come into play. Pick up some paint on the brush then using a piece of kitchen towel or tissue wipe off the paint on the brush. You may have to do this two or three times to achieve the right effect. When you have wiped the paint off the brush paint over the model, being quite firm and rapid with your movements. You will begin to see that the paint that is left in the brush is adhering to the surface of the model, picking out the raised areas as you go. If you want to achieve a good effect for a sword or armour or an axe-head, paint the area with a dark metallic colour. Citadel Paints BoltGun is perfect for this. When the base coat is dry, run over it with a drybrush of the lighter ChainMail. Repeat this with a lighter metallic colour i.e. silver. You will see that you have created a convincing area of light and dark patches on the piece. With time and patience you will create some incredible effects with your paints, and you will soon want to move on to larger models.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

So you want to start painting miniatures! Part one.

Before I get started on this please be aware that I DO NOT consider myself to be some all knowledgeable painting guru, I don’t actually think I’m that good. However I have over the years been asked to paint models for friends and they have been pleased with the results. Plus some of my models have received a few “wow” moments when they’ve been placed on a table. The best painted model I own is my metal Nightbringer, it wasn’t painted by me but by a professional artist and will always have a special place in my collection, I plan to retire it soon and when I do it will take pride of place on my display shelf.

Also the views and opinions that you are about to read are mine and I paint to my own methods, if after reading this you find it useful then great, I hope you have many happy hours painting.

My first little gem of advice is start small, there’s literally hundreds of superb models available from many quality production companies, I’m not here to promote a particular company but since this blog is predominantly 40k and GW I’m going to assume that those are the models you want to paint. My second snippet of sage wisdom is to visit the GW website and check out their painting and modelling articles, but obviously not before you’ve read this, after all that’s why you’re here.

So where to start? First and foremost are the all important brushes, in this modern age the are so many different options for bristle type from natural sable right through to nylon. Personally I prefer sable, the bristles hold the paint well and they are supple enough to shape around that one piece of detail that you want to pick out with a different colour later. Although a good stiff nylon brush can be useful for applying paint to eyes and writing, but I have a cheat for that!

When buying a brush there’s a couple of things to look out for, firstly examine the bristles for defects, the lower the cost the more important this is, are the bristles coming together to a good point? are any bent or sticking out? or even kinked? all of these will present problems when using them. If the bristles aren’t making a crisp sharp point, make them do it! there are two ways of doing this, the first is to stand in the shop and shout at the bristles until they form themselves into a well defined point, now although this is highly amusing to those around you, it doesn’t work! So what you need is some water, a good art shop will have a beaker of water available on the counter for the purpose of this method of pointing a brush.

Firstly dip the brush into the water, then using the hand opposite hand to the one you’re holding place the tip of the brush in the largest crease in your hand and close your hand. draw the brush out slowly, twisting it as you do, all being well the bristles will form a nice neat and crisp point, if they have then try “painting” one of your fingernails to see how well the bristles hold the point. If the point is still good keep the the brush and pay for it. this method is also useful for maintaining your brushes when you finish with it after a painting session.

What about sizes? most brushes have a number stamped on the handle somewhere, the higher the number, the larger the brush. The largest brush I use for an average infantry model is 2, the smallest is 00000 or five O, i have a couple that are smaller but they have a specific use. as a good start go for at least two of each ranging from 2 down to about three 0s. cheap brushes do have a use but I’ll go into that a bit later. For now a little tip, good brushes have a small plastic sleeve that protects the bristles when you’re not using the brush, if it doesn’t then a small piece of drinking straw cut to the right length will do the job.

Caring for your brushes is probably the most important part of the painting hobby, ideally they should be stored flat with the sleeve in place, or stood up in a jar bristles up. I know that’s a bit obvious, but I have seen some chaps store their brushes really badly.

another very useful bit of kit are plastic cutters for removing the model components from the sprue, the sprue is the frame that the part are attached to, using clippers will help you avoid damaging or breaking the parts as you remove them.

Next are some needle files, files are used to remove flashing, excess plastic left over from the moulding and mould lines, the files only need to be a couple of inches long and four or five millimetres thick.

A sharp modelling knife is useful I like the surgical scalpel style blades.

I have a model, I’ve removed all the bits from the sprue and prepped them, now what do I do?

First off, I never said to remove any parts from the sprue yet, before you do anything with the parts you need to wash them. Sometimes the release agent that is used to aid in the removal of the sprue from the mould can stay on the plastic and this can prevent the paint binding to the plastic, so give it a wash in warm, no too soapy, water. This will remove any unwanted release agent.

Now you can set about prepping a model for painting, the first stage is applying the undercoat, Undercoat is slightly rough and it gives the basecoat a good base to bind to. the next few stages are really down to personal preference, but I’ll go with how I like to proceed.

I spray the components whilst they’re still on the sprue, when that’s dry I apply the basecoat. at this stage it’s not too much hassle touching up areas you’ve missed, either because of attachment points or they’ve simply been overlooked. Once the basecoat is on, build the model in stages, clean off the paint from the points you’re going to apply the glue, don’t worry you can retouch the areas when the glue has set.

Which glue to use? There’s really only to choices for glue, plastic is best joined with good old fashioned polystyrene cement, I recommend the precision type that has a needle type applicator, but brush applied is just as good, DON’T use the stuff that comes in a tube that you have to squeeze unless you have a very steady hand and lightning reflexes.

For metal and resin such as Citadel finecast and Forgeworld models you’ll need a slightly thicker than usual superglue, the gel type is ideal. WARNING superglue is very quick setting and seems to glue skin much quicker than models, so be very careful when using the stuff.

Whichever glue you use you’ll need to hold to parts together for a few minutes so that the glue can form a bond.

So now you have put the model together, it’s undercoated and basecoated, now what?

Pick out the detail, apply shading and highlights and you’re done.

As for paints. there are several to choose from, the best ones are Vallejo or Citadel, avoid humbrol enamels, water based paints are the way to go as they are much easier to work with and thin down.

As you develop your technique you may want to invest in separate sets of brushes that you use for light, dark and metallic colours, also try to use at least two separate pots of water for washing your brushes, one for ordinary colours and another for metallics, kitchen towel is also useful for drying your brushes.

In part 2 I’ll do my best to explain how some very simple techniques can further enhance your skills.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Yes I play Warhammer and AD&D, yes I'm a geek, but are we really that different?

So there I was sitting on a bus travelling home from Hythe reading the latest issue of White Dwarf. It was one article in particular the held my attention. It was a focus on one of the in house painters, and how he got into painting miniatures and his techniques. This got me thinking ashow-waterbout what it was that drew me into the hobby all those years ago. Initially it was white dwarf, to be more precise it was Issue 75. I’d already been gaming on and off for a few years and I had just been introduced to a game called The Call of Cthulhu, horror role playing in the 1920’s Issue 75 had a Cthulhuesque picture of the cover and some articles about the game, including a mini adventure. Yes, believe it or not but back then the anaemic short one was indeed a more wider based magazine. The issue also had a couple of painting articles. I soon discovered that a local toy store stocked Citadel Miniatures, so I bought a model and some Humbrol Enamels, Citadel didn’t start producing paints until a couple of years later. Armed with a brush and a very limited pallette I set about painting my very first model. By todays standards it was rubbish, I didn’t know about drybrushing, washing or any of the other methods that I teach the lads at the shop, and because I was using enamels I also needed thinners which meant that I now had to consider where I was painting and I needed to be wary of spillages and naked flames and fumes, It’s so much nicer these days. I still have that first model and I think I may dig it out, strip it and give it a fresh painting using more up to date brushes, paints and methods, actually I have a number of models that could be revisited with 21st century knowledge.
pic380258_mdAs for 40k what drew me in to that was the release of the first edition of a game called Space Hulk. Set in a dark and distant future, the same one as 40k to be precise, Space Marines Terminators board derelict interstellar craft to carry out mission that range from equipment recovery to cleansing the wreckage of an alien menace known only as Genestealers. Borrowing heavily from the Alien franchise the game was for two players and was very enjoyable, My mates, at the time, and I would play for hours, we once played over a whole weekend starting with the first mission though to the very last one that was published in a copy of WD, this event included all the mission from the two expansion sets as well. Fortunately one of the lads worked in a pizza parlour and arrived late on the Saturday weighed down with various pizzas and cheesy garlic bread. In fact Matts free pizzas became the mainstay of a number of gaming evenings. I then picked up a copy of Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader, and a small Space Marine army. I played for a couple of years, expanding on the army and painting the models until slowly but surely time took it’s toll and friends moved on or moved away and I sold my books and models being certain that I no longer had the need for them. I continued to buy the odd copy of White Dwarf for a while after but, for me the golden age of White Dwarf was over as it had became a purely in-house magazine that no longer carried features on other gaming systems and had even stopped advertising other gaming companies such as TSR and West End Games. I also thought that gaming had gone the way of the dodo due to the release of consoles like Playstation and the Sega Megadrive. Now the games that I used to pay 10p to play were available to play at a moments whim for free and no one was interested in using paper, pencils, funny shaped dice diceand a little imagination. So I packed away my dice and rule books and set about looking for a new hobby. However gaming has always been one of my favourite things to do with my free time, yes I bought a console and I like the RPG games that are available, but none of them compare to the enjoyment of sitting at a table with some good mates discussing the drawbacks of full plate armour. Eventually I managed to persuade a few friends that shared a love of all things daft to give AD&D a shot and soon my rule books were dusted of and my dice were hitting the table again. Then I became friends with Sue and she had just started stocking GW products and I mentioned that I used to play 40k and might be interested in collecting a small army. Sue suggested that she would like to offer a gaming session to the lads that were buying the models and asked if I still new anyone who had experience at running a gaming group, surprisingly I did, me! I offered to supervise the sessions but the only problem was that as I hadn’t played in a while I’d need a rulebook and maybe some models, the rest is history, here we are five years on and much has changed, 40k 6th edition looms on the gaming horizon, Space Hulk returned with vastly superior models and I have three armies for 40k all in excess of 300 points and, more than 20 years after my first foray into the rather odd world of tabletop gaming I finally have a Warhammer Fantasy Battles army and rulebook.
05c71016684404235c73a3ff1e1b4858Over the last 30+ years of gaming I have seen many changes and attitudes to the gaming society, from religious zealots who promised me an eternity  of red hot pitch forks in places that I can’t mention here to people who think that gaming is just.. well.. weird. Despite all the setbacks I think there is still a large community of bearded men who get together a couple of evenings a month to moan about their girlfriends, or lack there of, whilst fiddling with their dice and trying desperately to get a really low AC and as high a THAC0 as they possibly can. For myself there is only one gaming related question that needs to be answered, what is the damage for a polearm with a night watchman on the end?
Until I think of some more drivel to put on here, hopefully with a title, may all you die roll well.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Dreadfleet open box review

SDC10938Having the good fortune to get my grubby little mitts on a copy of Dreadfleet a little early, I thought I’d share my opinions on Games Workshops most recent publication.



The box art is, as expected, excellently printed and easy on the eye. The main image is by John Blanche and it is clear it’s his work, as is the majority of the art in the rule book; all 96 pages feature incredible imagery. The artwork follows through on the game cards.


Three packs in total, two packs of small cards and one pack of larger cards. Around the sides of the inner box are the instructions for building the models and various game accessories.

The box, unopened, weighs in at a little over 2.5 kilos. Yes, I weighed it! Lighter than Space Hulk and a smaller box.




On to the models, everything that isn’t card or paper is the bog standard grey plastic, those who enjoy painting and building their models are in for a treat. GW has designed the kits along the same lines as Assault on Black Reach, Isle of Blood and Space Hulk so it’s all click fit. The level of detail is easily up to the standard we’ve come to expect from GW plastic and once built and painted you’ll need to pack the models very carefully or masts, flags and other fragile components will end up looking like the wrecks before too long.





The majority of the Warhammer Fantasy Battles races are represented by a ship and the rulebook, SDC10945rather obviously, has a detailed entry for each of the ten models which includes a background story and details of special rules. Stat lines consist of 6 attributes, Speed, Hull, Crew, Broadside, Handling and armour. I won’t go into detail for the stats; I think I’m pushing it a bit having the game already. The twelve dice are average and there’s nothing special about them, you get 11 ivory coloured and a red one.


It would have been nice if the dice were a little larger and perhaps had a nautical theme, but oh well, maybe there’ll be a limited edition dice set available?


Finally included in the box is the game “board”. Not so much a board as a table cloth, or at least that’s what the missus called it. I don’t think the photo does it much justice by way of showing the design, but you can see where they were going with it. The missus describes it as having the feel of cheap nylon, I think the intent was to give it the look and feel of an olde worlde silk map, I wouldn’t say they failed, that would be harsh, but it definitely doesn’t have a silky feel to it. but it does feel very durable which is the important thing. At 5 feet by 3.5 it’s large but it will fit on a fair sized dining or gaming table, assuming your gaming table isn’t themed, that would make for very rough seas.

Personally I’m looking forward to putting the models together and getting them painted, I’m also keen to start playing. Whilst the rules do look a little complicated I’m sure that it will only take a couple of games to grasp them and blasting your enemy out of the water and sending them to Davy Jones’ locker.

Of course the main question is what are the negatives? As I mentioned above, the dice, I think a little effort could have been put into them, maybe an anchor where the one should be or perhaps a skull & crossed bones. My second gripe is the amount of work involved before you can actually get to play. Of course you can simply snap the kits together and get on with it. But, for me anyway, part of the enjoyment of collecting these games is to paint the models. It’s so much nicer to see painted models in play rather than the dull boring grey of the plastic. The other thing that’s missing, in my humble opinion, are more detailed building and painting instructions. It’s all well and good putting a quick guide on the outer edge of the inner box, but they’re not particularly clear and there’s not a great deal by way of a painting guide. A four page guide would be handy. The only source available is the small photographs in the rulebook or the images on the GW website.

My favourite model in the box? It has to be the Black Kraken, those chaos dwarves and their engineering skills, it’s submersible, can’t wait to learn how that works in the game. I also think GW could have done some of the work for us, with so many models to build and paint, some of the counters and other gaming accessories could have been better presented by casting them in multi coloured plastic, but maybe that’s just me being lazy.

Despite the few negatives I like what I’ve seen and I’m glad I have a copy. I strongly recommend it and I’m sure that it will give you great pleasure both from the hobby side and the game.

Enjoy it me hearties, hoist the main sail and prepare to catch the wind and have your timbers shivered and your buckles swashed.

I’m sorry, but did you really think I’d get through this post without the ubiquitous pirate reference?

Something else I picked up today was liquid green stuff. This is most definitely a WTF moment. Apparently it sets hard and can be worked once set. Sanded, drilled and cut just like the two part putty. To be honest I’m dubious, it looks and smells like extra thick green paint. GW also have a “now you’re taking the p*ss” release this month, a set of files specifically designed for the finecast range. For file read fine emery board, blokey types may not be too familiar with the product, basically it’s finely ground glass/grit/sand glued to a flat wooden stick. They can be bought in a budget priced outlet, the type where stuff costs a pound or less and you can buy about twenty for a quid rather than a possible three for £4, they’ve also bought out a second prep kit that contains two items, one looks like some form of tool for removing flash from finecast models, the second tool in this kit can only be described as an over sized toothbrush, because you clearly haven’t thought of using your girlfriends toothbrush to clean your models.

I’ll post my view on Liquid Green Stuff when I get a chance to use it. My main concern is that it may have a very limited shelf life.


Special thanks for this post go out to my secret supplier for the early provision of the game, and to the missus for holding up the game board cloth so that I could take the photo.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Lordy lawks, what a bloomin’ week!

I haven’t been keeping up with blogging, to be honest I haven’t been able to put my mind to it. I should have done a post last Sunday but I was too knackered and sore so I thought I’d do it on Monday instead. bad idea as I was in more discomfort than Sunday. Why, I hear you ask, was I  so ache ridden. Well the reason is that on Sunday I went back to the Western Heights in Dover, this time there were more bods coming along and I had set myself a personal goal of accessing a part of one of the places we saw on our previous visit.

On arrival at Saint Martins car park we learned that some of the chaps were already in the deep shelter, this was a relief as I was sure that it would have been sealed by now. We spent some time exploring the shelter and accompanying Gun batteries before heading down to the Grand Shaft. Whilst exploring the gun placements it was noticed that Saint Martins Battery was running alive with the most annoying creature known to man, a beast so foul and toxic that the mere thought of them sends a shudder down my spine, my hair stand on end and my stomach churn. What vile animals could promote such feelings of dread and repulsion? Children! Don’t get me wrong, not all children are evil minions from a hell dimension, I actually do know a handful that are quite pleasant to be around and I can stand more than ten minutes of. The children that were out in force on Sunday however were the worst kind. CUBS, I assumed that they’d been taken there for a day of history, it seemed as though they’d actually been handed blue smarties and cheap cola on arrival and told to run free like little apes released from a zoo. There were some adults who were alledgedly supervising the little “darlings” by supervising I mean sitting on the floor scoffing cucumber sandwiches and nattering about who’s doing what to who and when*, whilst ocaisionally shouting things like “do be carefull” and “mind you don’t fall”. So wanting to put distance between us and the horrors we headed down to the grand shaft. After walking down a 200 year old flight of steps our ears were assaulted with the yelps and screams of yet more cubs. It transpired that the walk down may not have been in vain, the gates to the Grand Shaft were open, Woo Hoo! We made enquiries about the possibility of going down the shaft, only to be told, by a very glum adult cub that the shaft was only open for the cubs. I looked around at the 40+ kids who were running here and there in a pattern that could only be explained using the chaos theory. It seemed clear to me that they were more interested in playing “hit the small kid with a stick” than the history of their surroundings. So having no luck with Captain Grumpy we headed away from the Grand Shaft and I led the party in search of a Tunnel that I half remembered, sadly my memory painted a better picture of the tunnel so we  made our way towards the engineers tunnel via a route that was last trodden by Raptors, or so it seemed. Fortunately it turns out that badgers are excellent path finders and he soon had us back on track. As we were walking through the early Cretaceous forest I noticed that an access door to the Drop Redoubt was open, my heart stopped. I absolute do not condone vandalism and I would not damage a property to gain access, but if someone else has chosen to make access possible, I would certainly take advantage of it. I mentioned To the Badge that if we could get in, we would go for it. Further along our walk we saw a group from the WHPS (google it) on one of their work days. When we got to them we enquired about the chance of a walk round the redoubt, we were politely told no as there was already a tour in progress and the next one, at 2pm would probably be full, of cubs, and Health and f*****g safety wouldn’t allow us to just wander around on our own. We decided not to wait and headed off to the North Entrance. After scrambling through a very small hole into the drawbridge mechanism pit we tried to find a way of getting up to the top of the fifteen feet wall to further explore the place. We managed to get a fair few of our number up and it was so very worth it. during the explore of the system I took a picture of a hole that I fell down in my now distant youth and we eventually headed out and on to the Detached Bastion where we finished a brilliant days exploring.

That’s about it, no painting or astronomy this last few weeks as Smiffy’s been away with work and family commitments and the sky’s been rubbish.

Hopefully there’ll be something a bit more exciting over the next few days. but before I go I would like to bring something to you attention.

Please visit the website below and read the info then sign the petition. Lets work together to save the little chaps life.

Thank you

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Tournament 2011

This weekend saw the gaming clubs second tournament, I set off Saturday morning to help out. The lads who were attending started to arrive all keen and eager to set up and get on, I, on the other hand, was not at all prepared, since I wouldn’t be playing I didn’t bother to take along any models, this also meant that I didn’t have any templates, dice I had aplenty, but with out templates certain things would be a bit hard to work out. Oh well we just had to get on. The rules for the tourney were fairly simple, for day one each player would play two games using an army of 500 points. the games would be annihilation and the winner would be the player with models remaining on the table there would be no turn limit and play would continue until one clear winner was determined. this all went rather well until two players had a minor falling out when one claimed the other had been cheating. It was decided between the moderators that a third game would be played and that it would follow exactly the same rules but this time it would be supervised from the onset and the the moderators decision would be final. eventually a clear win resulted and the lad who initially claimed his opponent, and brother, had been cheating won the game. The other lad was given a good sportsman award for taking the whole thing really well. personally I don’t think that there had been any cheating, it was more a case of the lads not playing exactly to the rules and interpreting them how they saw fit and when it all went wrong for the other chap he got a bit upset. the thought of losing to his big brother irked him somewhat and he wasn’t happy, so there was probably a bit of sibling rivalry involved as well.

Sunday was the 1000 points event and the games were seize the objective with a minimum of 5 turns, these games went without a hitch and a clear winner and runner up were awarded, the winner was in fact the lad who received the good sportsman award an Saturday, and his win was well earned and deserved. the only upset from today was one of the lads who had two clear losses and claimed that it was unfair because both of his opponents were fielding metal models. I explained to the chap that I failed to see how the other players having metal models had an effect on his gaming, maybe the magnetic resonance of the metal had an influence on the dice! he argument was that metal models are heavier, again I saw no relevance on that and had to fight back the urge to tell him he was being ridiculous.

On the whole the lads taking part behaved brilliantly and I cannot fault the way they were with each other, aside from the two brothers and annoying whiney boy, they had fun and there was no malice toward any of the lads from each other. That’s one of the things I like about the hobby, the way that it generates a strong sense of camaraderie with the players, we share advice on painting and modelling and most of time we will point out if our opponent has missed something out or forgotten something tactical, I say most of the time as I tend to lose a lot and if I’m playing against a horde army like Tyranids I don’t tell my adversary that he’s forgotten to roll for reserves, especially when he’s just taken out half my army in two turns. you know who you are!

I’ve been told that I need to learn how Warhammer Fantasy Battles, I also need to paint the models, and that will be done by mid 2012 at the current rate I’m painting models. so over the next few weeks I need to have a major push on getting the Tau finished. Oh dear, this may be about to turn in to another moan about how much painting I’m not doing, so before it falls in to that pit of tedious monotony I’m going to close. In closing I would like to say well done to the lads that won in there categories and also to all the lads for their brilliant behaviour, as a club we could ask for a better group of members. you are all brilliant. most importantly, I would like to thank Sue, every week she hands over half of her shop floor space to a bunch of noisy lads who probably scare off customers and make a mess, but without Sue there wouldn’t be a Saturday gaming group or the monthly grown up day, so the biggest thank you is for that wonderful and fantastic person.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Metal Menace rises victorious

you know how there are times when you think “stuff the rules and choose to completely ignore the Force Organisation Chart” well today was one of those days. Mike was desperate to play his Dark Eldar (P’tooie*) against either my Space Marines (Huzzah!) or the Necrons. I haven’t played in a while and I really fancied a chance to field the Nightbringer, especially as there’s rumours abound that hint at the loss of the C’tan from the Necron Codex. So we agreed on 1800 points and set about putting our models on the table. Since Mikey wanted to play test a DE character named Asdrubael Vect, apparently he’s rather nasty and would give the Necrons a hard time. Mike agreed that if I let him proxy this character he’d let me field three HQ choices rather than the standard two. So two lords, one on a destroyer body, The Nightbringer, 20 Warriors, six Destroyers, three Heavy Destroyers and a Monolith were placed on the table.

We rolled to see who would take first turn, I rolled 4 Mike rolled lower, he then announced that one of Asdrubael Vects' special rules was that an army he had joined could seize the initiative on a roll of 4+, so he re-rolled and got 2. I was definitely taking first turn. The destroyers and warriors advanced on the dark Eldar force, 18 shots from gauss cannon had no effect and of three heavy gauss cannon shots one destroyed the a Raiders Dark Lance. The Nightbringer silently made it’s way to Vects’ Dais of Destruction, but was out of range for any of its fire power to cause any damage to the vehicle. On Mikeys first turn his Reavers screamed across the battlefield, their blade vanes slicing through the metal hides of Necron Warriors and Destroyers, the Hellions moved in on a squad of Destroyers cutting two of them down. The Kabalite Warriors on-board the Raider unleashed 31 splinter rifle shots which felled a total of 8 warriors. At the start of my second turn I restored only three of the fallen Necron Warriors and only lost two of the Destroyers, 1 from each squad. One squad of Destroyers reduced five of the Hellions to dust and then the Heavy destroyers turned their weapons upon the Raider and Vects Dais of Destruction. Gauss fire tore through the hull of the Dais utterly destroying it, leaving only a pile of molten slag that hissed and bubbled as it melted the bodies of the handful of Wyches that were caught in the explosion, some of the Wyches and Vect himself had managed to jump clear of the devastation and braced themselves for more incoming fire. The Monolith, having completed the charging cycle for the gauss flux arc released the energy on the reavers that had felled the warriors, a total of 9 Reavers were struck, 5 of those were melted down to a boiling ooze of flesh and steel. The Nightbringer moved toward the hellions, as it gained ground it sliced through the air with its scythe sending ribbons of ancient energy into the squad, bringing down one of there number, the Hellions sky boards were swift and the ancient monsters attacks could not find purchase on any of them to inflict any damage, the same could not be said for the Hellions, they tore into the star god like wolves on fallen prey, a total of 4 wounds were caused on the Nightbringer. At this point I was worried, not only had I just rolled 5 1s for the Nightbringers attacks, but my rolls were so bad I also failed the four armour saves that I had to make. One of the Necron Lords fired upon the reavers with its Staff of light, failing to bring any of them down, the lord then motioned the remaining five warriors that had accompanied it to attack the Reavers in close assault. A foolhardy endeavour that would result in a stalemate.

The Kabalite Warriors fired again at the Squad of Necron that were close to them, another 31 shots that bought down another five warriors. Vect and his remaining Wyches made an effort to assault the Nightbringer, but even as they moved in a wall of force pushed the Wyches, Vect and the Hellions back from the Nightbringer. The Reavers struck back at the Warriors and the Lord, their assault bought down two of the warriors Their retaliation was harsh, three of the reavers were cut down, but, being made of stern stuff and as expected from a race that were bred to fight, they stood their ground.

On my third turn the fallen warriors were raised and fired on the Kabalites, bringing down three, the remaining destroyers fired upon the hellions, taking down another two, The Nightbringer posturing with it’s scythe bought another to the ground with an arc of lightning. The Warriors and Lord that were occupied with the reavers finally cut them down. the Kabalites moved in to assault the Destroyer lord, a bold move that fortunately had no effect, other than causing the lord to strike back bring down two of the Kabalites before vanishing from their sight only to reappear from the Monoliths portal.

The Necron Warriors made short work of what was left of the Kabalites, erasing them from the surface of the planet leaving only a cloud of acrid vapour where they once stood. The destroyers applied the same relentless devastation on the last remaining hellions and all that remained of them was shards of metal as the gauss energy all but evaporated them. Vect failed to notice the Monolith coming to bear and too late he saw a huge plume of gauss energy fall from the sky, turning the remaining Wyches to separated atoms that could do no more than drift away on the breeze. With the majority of his force dissolving around him, Asdrubael Vect saw no other option than to seek vengeance for his fallen brothers and sisters, he made to move toward the Nightbringer, the ancient monster gazed quizzically at the form that charged it. A leering grin split The C’tans face as it raised the scythe and sliced through the air, a strong sulphuric odour filled the air as lightning gripped the Dark Eldars' body, a new scent rose, that of burning flesh and hair until the aged body of the leader of the Kabal of the Black Heart exploded as the lightning boiled it from the inside. The Nightbringer, its hunger for death temporarily satiated vanished, leaving no trace but the charred remains of its victims. The remainder of the Necron force returned to the tomb from which they had been awakened, leaving only a small sentry unit active in the event that any Dark Eldar should be seeking revenge for the loss of one of their greatest warriors and leaders. Somewhere deep within the remnants of the intelligence that the Necrons once possessed, they knew that day would come. Let it come they thought as one, let them all come, the undying machines would show no mercy, any that stepped upon the tomb worlds soil would meet the same fate as the last fools that felt they had claim to the land.


*the noise that is made when people spit after hearing a name or word that they find distasteful!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Oops, I blew it!

Two shop days this weekend, Saturday was for the kids, as usual, but I did manage to get on game in, a “capture and control” Space Marine v Chaos Marines, through some careful shenanigans I managed a win but only just. To be honest I’m not sure that it’s a legal move if you string out one squad to capture two objectives, I’ll have to look into that.

Sunday was an adult gaming day, I’ve been asked to stop referring to our Sunday sessions as an adult session, apparently it sounds wrong. I played two games, the first was Necrons V Tyranids in a C&C. The beginning of the game was rather amusing. I started with just a monolith on the table, a fun tactic. four squads charged towards it, those four squads took hits from the gauss flux arc and they promptly ran away tactically withdrew. I managed to wound a trygon and a hive tyrant on my second turn, 40 warriors, 3 destroyers, 1 heavy destroyer and two lords appeared on the table and I planned to unleash a whole heap of unpleasantness on the nastiness that is Tyranids, but knowing my luck I knew from the start of the game that I was doomed. I may sound like a bit of a naysayer here, but I know when I’m in for an ass whoopin’ and this was it. After a couple of attempts my destroyers were bought down by genestealers, and they soon caught up with the heavy destroyer and tore into that, bringing it down. The warriors were troubled by hive tyrants and warriors. all I could really do was use the Monolith to pull any of my remaining force out of close combat and bring them through the portal, follow that with a bit of gauss fire in the vain hope that I could do some damage, this wasn’t going to work and the Necrons soon had no option other than to phase out.

My second game was a simple skirmish Space Marines v Grey Knights, oh dear! being limited to just 500 points I could only take one HQ and 2 Troop choices, and considering that the GKs can take Terminators as a troop choice I was pretty much done before I started (again). I did put up a bit more of a fight this time and managed to take out one squad of marines before the decimation of my force began.  Still both games were fun, which is the whole point of the game, although I suspect that my first opponent was a little miffed at the fact that I wasn’t at all bothered by the fact that I was losing units at every dice roll, I feel he wanted me to put up more of a fuss when his genestealers came at my warrior squads with 20+ attacks. My only real saving grace was a few lucky “we’ll be back” rolls. I’m a bit odd really as I don’t think I’m a particularly competitive player, I just enjoy a game. Although, if I’m honest, I don’t enjoy a game that only lasts two or three turns or playing against someone who takes delight in pointing out that he took out a five man squad with 40 attacks, but that’s where I’m lucky as none of the people I play 40k with are like that.

I’m looking forward to our next Sunday session as there’s a chance that at least one old friend is going to be along, even if only to see what it’s all about, it will be good to see them and catch up on days long past.

Until then, ta ta!

Monday, 11 April 2011

just a quick update

Hello there, this post is really aimed at the gaming fraternity, but non gamers feel free to partake.

I have created a forum for use of the gaming group, but even if you don’t get to come along to the meet ups, please join up and post your thoughts. However, please be aware that there is a possibility that persons under 16 may use the forum so keep it clean.

if you paint and/or convert or just like looking at peoples models there is a section for folk to post pictures of their work.

the forum can be found at:

come along and join in



Thursday, 24 March 2011


hello loyal reader, it’s all gone horribly wrong and I’ve had to move the blog. it can now be found here:

Right then you pesky mice, I’m about to stuff up your plans!

The one thing I really miss about paper and pencil RPG, that’s not Rocket propelled grenade, that would be silly! Aside from the social side, sitting down with a few good mates stuffing your face with pizza and cola, is the chance to completely mess up the hard efforts of a good DM. The way I see it is this; as a DM it’s my job to keep the players on their toes and to challenge their ingenuity, keep them guessing and do my best to finish off their characters. If they survive a campaign then they deserve to be rewarded, primarily with XP but also with fame and fortune in the universe the game takes place, for D&D it was usually the Forgotten Realms, I was never a harsh ref, if I could avoid character death I would, botching a hit roll so that a PC is badly wounded rather than killed outright is not uncommon as is fumbling a save roll so that a PC lives rather that suffer an excruciating death, it’s incredible how players get attached to something that is, effectively, a series of numbers and letters. I’ve seen players weep at the death of their level 9 cleric, I’ve seen players storm off in an angry huff because their Dwarf couldn’t dodge a crossbow bolt whilst climbing a drainpipe in full plate armour, you know who you are!

I also know players who throw their characters in front of every monster in the game in hope hope that the PC will meet with it’s untimely and and they can set about making up a new character. I like character generation but I like to see how they progress. us gamers are an odd bunch.

Then comes the role of the player, in actual fact most DMs hate the players, it’s true, they spend weeks writing a campaign and creating the bad guys, they consider all eventualities and encounter outcomes, and then a player comes along with a well aimed crossbow bolt or a very succesful backstab, I love rogues! and poof, it’s all over! the campaign ends prematurely because the ref wasn’t expecting a player to to do something as mundane as attack the bad guy. oh no, he’s expecting a battle, spells being thrown and minions rushing in to defend their dark master, and it’s all ruined because he forgot that he’d earlier given one of the player a ring with three wishes bound to it and that the player in question is a high enough level to cast permanent illusion, oh how we laughed. There’s a lesson to be learned here though, as a Dungeons and Dragons DM who’s prepared to wipe out an entire party, never ever go to the toilet before the big battle, players will conspire against you, you know who you are too!

DMs and players go through a kind of posturing, as players we get all cocky and confident that our characters are immortal with high armour saves and Vorpal Swords, as referees our job is to find nefarious ways of setting the player character up for a mighty fall, as players it’s to out think and out roll the most devious NPC that the DM can throw at us, and that’s why I enjoy gaming, it can be very frustrating at times but it can also be such good fun, especially when the DM gets all crest fallen because he didn’t plan for the rogue to be using an F type poison on a concealed wrist blade.

That’s the thing I love, when you finally get to meet the sadistic so and so that laid waste to a whole village, enslaved the children, murdered the men folk and enrolled all the totty into his harem, The ref prepares his best “I’m so bad I eat puppies” speech and one of the players looses an arrow, rolls a natural 20 and oops, it’s all over, we didn’t want to hear your stupid speech anyway. now we free the women and children and take all your valuables to pay to rebuild the village, minus our 20% of course, I may be lawful good but I’ve got to eat!

One day soon I shall play again and I will once more hear the familiar clatter of my dice on a books hard cover and pray to Randomonia for a twenty, she won’t listen of course, she never does. All I need is three other players and a ref!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

3 years and still going

I had a brilliant day at the shop today, over the past three, it could even be four, years I have seen many lads come and go. some have stuck with the hobby, some have grown out of it and moved on to other things. The ones that have been with us from the start have done really well, some of them have such a good grasp of the game whilst some have developed some fantastic painting skills. One or two still rely on the more experienced players for guidance with the rules and a couple still don’t have a clue. but that’s what the hobby s all about, a group of like minded people getting together to have fun whilst enjoying a game or two.

One of the lads who has been coming since the gaming group started has become such a skilled painter I really hope he sticks with it, if he continues to improve his skills he will be on par with most of the painters that work for GW. I hope he remembers his roots if that day ever comes, I must admit that if it did I would be so proud.

I managed to get a game in this afternoon, I put the Necrons up against Mikeys Dark Eldar. I was hoping to get some payback for the crushing defeat my Space Marines suffered at their hands on Sunday, my metallic minions didn’t let me me down. We’ll be back had a fair bit to do with my win. Mikes jet bikes swooped in all swoopy and slicey and every time he took down a handful of Necrons most of them got back up again, I love WBB! I managed to take out seven Hellions with 9 shots from 3 Gauss Cannons, and a Heavy Destroyer took out a Raider which also resulted in the loss of five of the troops on board. The three remaining Hellions had a drawn out close combat with the three Destroyers before removing them from play. The Monolith proved useful when I teleported what was left of the warriors and the lord along with the last Heavy destroyer, pulling the Heavy Destroyer out of a Close Assault which I was certain it would have lost had gone to a second round. I must admit that the Jet bikes are nasty and although Mike won’t believe me they tore the warriors apart. If it wasn’t for WBB the end result may have been very different. It’s not often that I get to decimate an army with Necrons but without the Jet bikes they are rather weak in the armour save department, but despite that he did manage to take out 15 Warriors, three Destroyers and a Heavy Destroyer, those losses made my victory a difficult one. the game ended at the end of turn five, had we played turn six I still don’t think that I would have managed to clear the table. Mike only had one or two Jet bikes left but when they Turbo boost they get a 4+ cover save and he was rolling those a bit too well. The dice were against me as usual and both of my Particle Whip shots had little effect on the Dark Eldar. I would like to see how the Necrons would fair against a large Tyranid force, but I think I may add a second Monolith before that happens.

I hope that the club continues to do well and that the lads that come along carry on enjoying the hobby and sharing it with us, they’re the ones that make the club what it is.

Warhammer 40k players are a funny bunch, they come in at all ages ranging from 12 through to 50 and beyond. Some are just painters and some just play, others are happy to do both. I for one prefer painting rather than playing, I play because I have so many models and it’s really the only way I have of showing them off so I game. Ours is a geeks hobby, we collect miniatures, paint them and play war with them. However if you mention toy soldiers and you’re likely to get your head bitten off, although not by me, it’s a game, and the game is played with small plastic/metal models that represent the soldiers. so why do some people find the phrase offensive? even if there were some other way of describing our hobby, it would still feature the words game, play, models and soldiers. I enjoy my hobby and don’t find any embarrassment in telling people what i do, of course some people laugh, why wouldn’t they? A grown man (well sort of) playing with toy soldiers, then I mention the time and effort that goes in to preparing the models, the hours of painting and building them. I get comments like “what a waste of money” I get a bit of a thrill when I ask how much this seasons shirt cost and if they’ll be buying the new season shirt if a months time? As you can tell I’m not over enamoured with the alleged beautiful game.

Anyway, before this turns into a rant I’m going to close, thank you Mike for an excellent game, I don’t doubt that you’ll get a win back soon.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Power corrupts


I’m afraid this post is a bit of a moan, for me Warhammer 40000 has been an enjoyable hobby, I like the social side things, getting together with some like minded friends and having a good laugh interrupted by some occasional gaming. I love painting models, from starting with unmarked grey plastic and finishing with a model that tells a brief story through the way the paint has been applied. The painting scheme can be used to tell the tale of the hardship the character has been through, the cleaner and fresher the paint the less the character has suffered. Let’s face it, life in the 41st millennium doesn’t present itself as an afternoon having cake and ice-cream in the park feeding the ducks, ducks are probably extinct or they’ve become a new threat to the Imperium of man, “Quack, we want your bread, quack!”

When I paint I’m generally sat in the kitchen with the telly on in the background listening to the missus moan about the goings on in East Coronation Dale, I used to listen to the radio, but being in a house with someone else makes the whole radio thing a bit difficult. Painting with someone sat next to me who is also painting is nice. My usual painting companion is Smiffy; he’s also my main adversary. I think the hobby is split between those who prefer to paint and those who just game, the problem is that models have to be painted. I must admit I get a buzz from placing a painted model on the table and having someone tell me that they think it’s well painted. I have one model in my collection that I didn’t paint, my Necron Nightbringer, it was painted by a professional artist and my own work is nowhere near Pauls level of skill, I would love to have a few lessons from him, I think my painting ability would improve after just a couple of sessions, but I get by on what I can do.

When playing I like the banter between players, there’s never any malice involved, it’s just light hearted mickey taking or taking the chance to have a bit of a giggle when it all goes wrong for your opponent, for example throwing six dice, needing just one six and rolling six ones, I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point, the goddess Randomonia can be fickle with her favours. I shall prattle on about dice a bit further down. The one thing I like about gaming is the fact that a player can win one game then immediately play a second game and lose drastically, but it’s all taken well. Can you imagine how the world of 40k gamers would be if we took the same stance as football supporters? Space Marine players trying to kick the bejesus out of Ork players and Tau players casting doubts on the parental lineage of Eldar players? Games Day would be interesting!

Then there are the eccentricities of players, we’re a superstitious bunch, I’ve gamed in one form or another for the best part of thirty years from RPGs to table top and over those years I’ve met some real nutters. A 40k player who fielded Ork and would only use green dice, a chap that used to roll his dice on a silk cloth, any that rolled off the cloth were thrown away, he got through a fair few. A good friend kept his dice in a silver goblet, which he also used to rattle them in before casting them, that made for a noisy evening, we all have our quirks, I have a main set of dice that I won’t let anyone else touch, I carry spares with me to a game in case someone needs to borrow a die, that way they won’t need to use any of my main set. I have a mate who we swear is a dice killer, if you have a die that tends to roll high give it to Pete and it will never roll high again. As 40kers know we use good old six sided dice (D6) for the game, but I own dice that have anything from 4 to 100 sides. Whenever I bought a board game the dice would be removed and added to my collection of plastic cubes of randomness. At last count I had somewhere in the region of 300 D6, I ask myself if I really need that many, the obvious answer is “of course I don’t” can I bring myself to part with any of them? Absolutely not! I have no idea why, I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them away when someone else could make use of them, and giving them away seems a bit like giving someone your favourite pair of socks, OK not a good analogy there, but you get my drift. I’m very possessive where gaming is concerned, I have character sheets that are 20 or so years old, the sheet is dog eared, worn thin in places where hit points have been lost and gained, stained with tea, coffee and cola, a couple even have cigarette burns on them. Most of them have doodles in the margins, I found one a while ago that had a phone number written on it. I have no clue whose number it is/was, but looking at the character it was someone I met in 1996.

Where Warhammer 40000 is concerned the game has changed considerably over the last five editions, I wonder if players of the first edition would even recognise the current edition as the same game, and the armies have also changed quite drastically too. Over the past year or two we’ve had a few updated codexes and with each one the relevant army has become ever more powerful. On Sunday I played a small (600 points) game, Space Marines v Dark Eldar. The game lasted three turns, and I don’t think my opponent fired a single shot, but he still managed to deplete my force by half by the end of turn 2. Every army gets rules that counter everything you can throw at it. Even bog standard troops seem to have 4+ invulnerable saves and feel no pain. The current weapon system seems that the humble bolt pistol, or equivalent, could render a planet down to a small pile of smouldering charcoal, and that’s if you’re both using a fifth edition codex. If a player is using an older codex, i.e. fourth or third they stand no chance of gaining anything remotely resembling a victory, minor or otherwise.

I think the main problem is that our form of gaming is somewhat stagnated, the term gamer presents the image of a greasy haired teen with a pale complexion due to spending most of his/her time in a black curtained bedroom shouting “BOOM! Headshot!” louder than the stereo. The traditional gamer is now considered a bit lower down the social scale. We’re shunned because we read books and communicated face to face, our friends are real and not a computer generated avatar that bears no resemblance to our real life counterpart. We know what our friends look like and we speak English, not in a series of letters and numbers that represent whole words. We really do laugh out loud, we don’t spell it. I for one enjoy reading my rulebooks and I like the fact that they use whole words not abbreviations or acronyms unless they need to. Had I written this post in “txt spk” it would be less than a quarter of a page not almost two. When I game I like to be involved in a narrative that is described to me in detail, not illustrated in full 3D HD 1080p. I like to fail and not have the option of starting again but pausing the game and pressing up, down, left, right, orange, yellow, left shoulder button twice and having infinite health. If I fail it’s because I wasn’t up to the challenge, not because I don’t know the cheat code. The thing I like most about games like 40k and AD&D is the fact that I control the story, not the other way round. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of button bashing (not a euphemism) but Console/computer gaming does strike as being a bit solitary and extremely elitist, RPGs are to some extent, but I’ve never been called a f**king noob when I haven’t rolled well.

I miss gaming and I know that my friend Al does, he may not admit it but I know he does, the worst thing about it is that he’s one of the best DMs I’ve ever had the pleasure to game with.

Fortunately the hobby still has the social side and the painting to keep me interested, plus the fact that I have a good win/loss ratio with Smiffy.

So there you have it, a view on the current gaming climate, well sort of, from a gamers point of view, feel free to comment, it would be nice to know the point of view from other gamers.

G’night all, may you roll well, unless Pete’s man handled your dice!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Mission (and Mumak) accomplished!

I have finally finished a model that has taken me more than 16 months to paint. I wish I could say that the whole of the time was spent painting the model, but this is not the case, I’ve actually spent around 12 hours painting a War Mumak of Harad. The model has been painted in three stages, Mumak, Howdah and base. the easiest part to paint was the Mumak, the hardest was the base. It’s a very busy base, as you can see in the pictures. the hardest part to build has to be the howdah, mainly because I’ve misplaced, er lost, the instruction sheet. So I had no idea how the blooming thing went together, fortunately a good search of the net was very helpful. after cleaning and removing mould lines and flashing the whole thing was sprayed with grey primer, including the base. The Mumak’s body was in two halves, as was the head, those components were glued together and then washed with Badab Black. I figured elephants are more or less grey and the Mumak is just a bigger, nastier version of an elephant, so washing over the primer should work fine, it did! I got the effect I was after and the wash settled in all the wrinkles of the hide to create a multi tone effect from black to the grey of the primer. the head, tail and ears were given the same treatment, the eyes I painted blue after the head had been washed so that they stood out, and applied a little red war paint on the front of the head. on each of the Mumak’s flanks there is some rigging which forms the main strutting for the howdah, this consisted of wooden beams, rope and a blanket of some type. The beams were painted with Beastial Brown, it appeared to me that the blanket was made from a type of leather so that got painted with Snakebite leather. The rope was left grey and the rigging washed washed with Devlan Mud,

The howdah appeared to be constructed from three types of material, wooden beams, cloth and what looked to me to be wicker, so the beams were painted Beastial Brown, the cloth was base coated with Mechrite Red and the wicker was base coated with Khemri Brown. The wooden beams and the wicker were then washed with Devlan Mud and the cloth was washed with Baal Red, once the Baal Red wash had dried the cloth was washed again but this time with Leviathan Purple. The tusks and toenails were base coated with Bleached Bone and then washed with Gryphonne Sepia, once that wash had dried the the tusks were washed again with Ogryn Flesh and the toenails were given a wash of Devlan Mud. Once it was all dry I set about building the howdah, it wasn’t easy! Once again GW moulding left a lot to be desired but after a few minutes, and a couple of choice words, later and the thing was finally together. I attached the head to the body and the glued the tusks in place.

For the base I sprayed the whole thing with Iyanden Darksun and then painted the three horse corpses, one black, one brown and one grey. The fallen warriors were given green cloaks and the armour was base coated black then dry brushed with Boltgun Metal, their hair was painted with Bad Moon Yellow and the exposed skin was painted with Rotting flesh and then washed with the old style Flesh Wash. I also picked out the other details like weapons and rocks. I then sprayed the base with Devlan Mud (again) and then repainted areas like the warriors hair and faces using the same palette. I then gave the exposed rocks a wash with Badab Black and then dry brushed with Fortress grey to highlight the edges. I also gave the grey horse a Fortress Grey dry brush. After a few finishing touches the beast is finally finished. I’m very proud of the finished model, I don’t know if it’s because it’s for someone else but It definitely seems to be one of my best efforts yet.

Any way, on to the pictures





The base primed


Iyanden Darksun basecoat


Some detail painted


Washed and more detail painted


The completed base, the pictures don’t show the detail that well.

And Finally!





So there you have it, back to the Space Marines. I still have the Venerable and Iron Clad Dreadnoughts to paint, 2 devastator Squads and a Predator to paint, and then I have a Librarian Dreadnought to get on with. It’s gonna take a while.

Night all!

Monday, 7 February 2011

In box review


Furioso Dreadnought

I collected one from the shop today, I know it’s a bit late and a few of you may already have had a chance to see the contents of the long anticipated dreadnought model. So where do I start, well i guess the obvious place is the box. The art work is up to GWs usual standard, the front of the box features a diorama photo of all three variants that can be put together. The Furioso itself, a Death Company Dreadnought and a Librarian Dreadnought. The back of the box has photographs of the details from each variant.

So what about the contents? After tearing open the cellophane, I took a moment to feel the weight of the box, I think it’s a bit light. Considering there’s three variants in the box i was expecting a bit more, opening the box I have to admit I was a little disappointed to find the standard Dreadnought base. I would think that particular base is getting a little tired now and fielding three Dreads that are all on the same style base can be dull. To be honest I would prefer a plain base and either bits on the sprue to make the base individual or leave the base design to the person who has bought the model. The instruction manual is well presented and not too confusing, it has detailed instructions for the variants, something I find a bit odd as it is, after all a Dreadnought and goes together like any other dreadnought. Moving on to the sprues, there’s only two. Again I was expecting something more, considering the amount of stuff that is available for the models I felt there would be at least three. However, on closer examination it’s clear that the boffins at GW have done their homework and crammed a great deal of components on the sprues making use of every available space on the frames. The components for the legs and feet are also Dreadnought standard, considering the fluff for these things says that they are old, would be too much bother to change the design to represent and older version of the Dreadnought? or do they all have to be MKV?SDC10063The quality of the moulding seems to be above average and there were no discernable flashings or mould lines, that will make it a bit easier to paint. The individual sarcophagus pieces are very well detailed and display a lot of character for each type. One thing I did notice is that a lot of the Blood Angel iconography can be quite easily removed through careful use of a sharp blade and gentle filing.


Like the recent Storm Raven release GW claim that the three available variants are exclusive to the blood angels, but I really don’t see why other chapters wouldn’t place highly decorated and revered psychers in a Dreadnought so that they can continue to serve the Emperor, after all a great deal of training and experience is tied up in a Librarian so I believe that they would want to keep that warrior around to train potential librarians and as a last resort unleash them on an unsuspecting foe in the darkest hours of a battle.

My overall impression of the kit is good and I would rate it very high, despite the Blood Angel markings the kit will prove a hit for BA players and general fans of the mighty Dreadnought, I don’t doubt that there are many people who have plans to adapt some aspects of the kit into their existing armies. Magna grapples may prove useful and who wouldn’t want a Librarian Dreadnought stomping over that battlefield and slicing through enemies with its Nemesis Force Weapon?

So I plan to build and paint a (non Blood Angels) Librarian, probably as a display piece but I may get to field it if my opponent is feeling brave.

Sunday, 6 February 2011


I had the house to my self today, what shall i do? oh I know, I shall see if Smiffy fancies giving me a hand with a spot of painting. Several months ago one of the guys from the shop bought a rather large model for the Lord of the Rings table top game, the model concerned is a War Mumak, it’s basically a big elephant with six tusks and a bad attitude. I was asked to paint as the lad isn’t very confident in his painting skills. so, like a fool, I agreed. that was over a year ago. well since i had the house to myself, and given the fact that yesterday I gave the chap my word that the model would be painted and delivered to him on Sunday, I made a start on painting the thing. I started at around 13:00 and finished at about 18:00. I must admit that i am rather pleased with the results so far, and my deadline of having the model finished by Friday night is looking rather realistic.

The model is based on a beastie that features in the books and, obviously, the films, and it is the standard elephant colour, grey! now I’ve never painted something that uses a real animal as the template, I’ve painted a couple of dragons and some weird alien creatures, both of these allow you a free run with your palette. so an elephant was a bit of a challenge, i spent a few hours looking at pictures to get an idea of skin tone and shading, and to get get an idea on the best way to paint the tusks, granted it’s not an accurate representation but it’s close enough for jazz, as you can see by the pictures here. SDC10051



They don’t really do it justice, the flash from the camera washes out the shading and the background could be better as Trudes pointed out. but the important thing will be Sunday when I present it to the owner and see how he reacts to the end result, I expect I shall be a bit worried that he will hate it, but knowing him as I do that’s rather unlikely. All I have left to say about this particular model is, although I’ve enjoyed painting the model, I’m never going to do another one.

The model is incomplete as Smiffy has had the task of painting the howdah that mounts on the back of the model. He’s recommended that the wicker work of the construction should be done with the foundation paint that is Khemri Brown, so I shall nip into the shop tomorrow and grab a pot. I can’t thank him enough for his help with this model, without him it would be a long way from finished.

I shall post on Sunday and let people know how Mikey reacted to seeing the finished piece, lord knows the poor chap’s waited long enough.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

One win, one loss, not bad I suppose.

With it being the middle Sunday of the month I set off to Hythe for a day’s gaming wiv da boyz, we had the usual crowd in and Mickey and I had a game whilst Dan and Data played on the other table (ooer) I went up against Space Marines with Necrons. I would like to be able to say it was a tough battle, but since I decided to start the game with a Monolith, 20 warriors and a Lord in reserve, Mickey managed to do some serious damage to the six destroyers, 3 heavy Destroyers and Destroyer Lord that were already on the table, Taking first turn I couldn’t do much, with the majority of the Marine infantry making full use of available cover all I could do was take pot shots at a predator and a dreadnought. The dreadnought was shaken but the extra armour on the tank proved to be just a little too tough for gauss cannon to puncture. On Mickey’s first turn he dropped an Ironclad Dreadnought into close assault with three destroyers, killing them with little effort. At the start of my second turn I rolled to see if the Monolith would arrive, it didn’t! So I tried to take out some of the tactical Squad that had just moved out of cover, 9 shots took out one Blood Raven. The luck of the dice continued to be against me as the dreadnought retaliated and took out a heavy destroyer and three lascannon on the predator took out three destroyers, fortunately I had a resurrection orb in play so I didn’t lose all three straight away, but failing two out of three we’ll be back rolls put paid to two of the fallen destroyers and yet another failed reserve roll meant that the Monolith with its cargo of destruction meant that my third turn was going to be a struggle, and my last if Mike rolled well. As fate would have it, he didn’t. Although my force was severely reduced I managed to score a glancing hit on the dreadnought and that resulted in a shaken, turning my attention to the ironclad a penetrating hit from the remaining heavy destroyer caused it to explode. Mike destroyed the remaining destroyer, moving into turn four and I finally made a decent reserve roll and the Monolith arrived on the battle field. The troops within poured onto the scene firing gauss flayers as they exited. The lord joined the fray, bringing down a small number of one of the tac squads, it would have been more but armour saves assured that the majority of the squad remained to fight, and fight they did. I can’t really remember much from this point; I really must start making notes so that I can put a more detailed battle report together. What I do know is that the Monolith scored two glancing hits against the dreadnought resulting in both weapons being destroyed and a melta shot from a servitor wrecked the Monolith. The game ended with my Necrons phasing out and Mike being very happy that he had finally beaten the Necrons.

My second game was against my oldest adversary, Smiffy. We decided to play as close to 2000 points as we could and ended up fielding 1975. My force was pretty much the same as had put against Mike, plus another twenty warriors and the Nightbringer. For this second game I must admit that the man of the match goes to the C’tan. It dealt with Smiffys' Chaos lord quite rapidly, but the with six S10 unsavable wounds I would have been very surprised if it hadn’t. It also finished off a squad of Chaos Marines whilst my destroyer lord finally ended a close combat with a chaos sorcerer that had been waged for at least three turns. When the game ended It was won on kill points, four two to me. That gives me two wins over Smiffy this week; I had one on Wednesday when we had a Chaos Space Marines v Space Marines battle. The worrying bit is, that he’s overdue a victory and I don’t doubt that it will be quite a devastating win when he gets it, I’m off to work out a force that he will struggle against.