Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Sunday 28 February 2016

I done nearly lost my nerve, Bill...

Painting mojo is a mysterious thing. One thing I've learned from reading other people's blogs and hanging around on the LA forum is that your drive to actually get stuff painted needs to be nurtured and protected.

So imagine my disquiet when a batch of figures more or less wiped out my mojo at a stroke.

The guilty parties are these Mantic Orcs.

They were cheap enough but when I came to paint them there were some horrific blanks where detail should've been behind the legs and under the arms. Obviously this is the price you pay for cheap, one piece body plastics but dear god it was a struggle to get anything out of them.

So what now? I was disheartened and depressed and really didn't want to pick up the brush again.

A change is as good as a rest. So I did the one thing guaranteed to bring a sense of wellbeing; stuck on a western and painted some cowboys.

In this case it was starting over with the Deadwood series and finishing off the last few Black Scorpion resin miniatures I had left. 

A world of difference; full of character and detail and fun to paint. 

I'll take some proper pictures next week if I can get some decent light. 

This also means that I have more or less enough figures for a decent western skirmish. Although... is more or less actually enough? After all, I get paid tomorrow...

Saturday 27 February 2016

Space Hulk: The First Mission

"They're everywhere... they're coming through the walls..."

Space Hulk is, self-evidently, one of the greatest games ever. It's also the closest you can come to living the film Aliens without shipping out to LV-426 and getting eaten. The tension of the timed rounds, the resource management of the limited action points, the suspense of the blips... it's a hectic, adrenaline soaked game for the Marine player. For the Genestealer player, it's a satisfying game of laying traps, of planning ahead and then of launching overwhelming force at the puny humans.

I like it quite a lot.

So having finally assembled the various bits and pieces for the game, I was eager to play. Thankfully, the Good Lady Er Indoors - though generally disparaging of my toy soldiers - likes a bit of boardgaming, so a bit of fast talking got us a game.

I took the marines, and she took the Genestealers. You'll recognise the first mission from the original campaign - all I had to do was fire the flamer into the room at the bottom of the map. How hard could it be?

Pretty ********* hard, it turns out.

It doesn't look that far. This should be easy. 

First Squad, all nicely painted up and ready for deployment

But who's this just waiting around the corner....?

She's taking altogether too much pleasure in sliding those blips toward me, in my opinion.

Not what you want to see at the end of the corridor. 

It gets worse. 

"Don't worry, lads, I have a plan!"

...and then dice happened. 

And the 1s just kept on coming...

...until only Sarge and the Flamer dude were left. The flamer guy has three shots left. Can the Sarge keep them off his back long enough for him to complete the mission?

Can he hell as like. 

In fact, the flamer dude makes it right to the door of the final room - with one shot left. He just has to risk taking on one last Stealer in hand to hand. 

And then dice happened.

It was a great game - everything that Space Hulk should be. Fast, brutal and fun. The good news is, she's agreed to play again!

Monday 22 February 2016

"Gods were worshipped there with savage rites..."

I've finished off the sacrificial altar. Quite happy with the result; I made one slight change to the blood recipe I've been using since the Lord High Awdry gave me it - I've added gloss black instead of matt black.

I also added a touch of gore to one of the standing stones to encourage proper looming and foreboding. Can't have standing stones without some proper foreboding. 

I'm rather happy with what was, after all, a very simple build. While researching it I found again Tacitus' description of the Druidic sacred groves that were burnt by Suetonius on Anglesey.

"Interlacing boughs enclosed a space of darkness and cold shade, and banished the sunlight from above. ... Gods were worshipped there with savage rites, the altars were heaped with hideous offerings, and every tree was sprinkled with human gore. On these boughs ... birds feared to perch; in those coverts wild beasts would not lie down. ... Legend also told that often the subterranean hollows quaked and bellowed, that yew-trees fell down and rose up again, that the glare of conflagration came from trees that were not on fire, and that serpents twined and glided round the stems. The people never resorted thither to worship at close quarters, but left the place to the gods. When the sun is in mid-heaven or dark night fills the sky, the priest himself dreads their approach and fears to surprise the lord of the grove."

Rather a fascinating description and certainly one to get the creative juices going. Which is all by way of saying that I think I will be returning to this to build something slightly more elaborate at some point in the future.

Sunday 21 February 2016

Ringstone Round

"Huffity, puffity, Ringstone Round,
If you lose your hat it will never be found, 
So pull your britches right up to your chin, 
And fasten your cloak with a bright new pin, 
And when you are ready, then we can begin, 
Huffity, puffity, puff!"

I got hit by a fairly nasty dose of Half-termitis and so, after finishing the Space Hulk miniatures I foudn myself lacking the motivation to launch into the Dragon Rampant stuff.

I am aware that my terrain is quite history based - with some SF thrown in - and what I lack is decent fantasy stuff. You know what I mean - proper forboding, looming stuff. Inspired mainly by insane jealously triggered by Gordon's fabulous battle report I decided to cobble together some simple scenery.

As per usual, the two main divers were cheapness and speed; thus standing stones based on 2p.

Good old blue foam. These were simply offcuts kept from the In The Emperor's Name vignette. 

 Black undercoat and then drybrushings of blended greys up to white:

Giving this final effect:

I also had some leftover slate from a fossil-hunting expedition with the Eldest so I've started to cobble together a sacrificial altar, a la Caesar. 

Not bad for an hour sitting in front of I, Clavdivs. 

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Space Hulk

It's the best game ever. We all know this to be true. There are few games that can get the adrenaline surging like being the Marine player on a 3-minute clock as what feels like thousands of stealers pour down the corridor towards you...

Anyway, as you know I've replaced the terminators with metal ones. Today I dug out the boxes and started figuring out what was there and what wasn't.

First up, the Stealers. All present and correct although they have been painted in my Blue Crab Tyranid colour scheme. This doesn't bother me. The pale colour fits with the lightless confines of space hulk for me. And I have plenty more Stealers if I decide to go old school with them.

There were also the Genestealer hybrids from the expansion. I have no intention of using these but they should be fun to paint up.

There were also the Librarians, continuing the pattern of awful Marine plastic sculpts for this game.

I seem to have a full set of all counters except the doors. Annoyingly I know I've seen them somewhere before we moved house; so the question is do I buy a replacement set from ebay for a tenner or do I design and laser cut my own from MDF?

Lastly, and most annoyingly I have all the rule books and even the hardback campaign book - but not the original Mission book. Does anyone know where I can find a pdf copy of that?

Lastly, and most annoyingly I have all the rule books and even the hardback campaign book - but not the original Mission book. Does anyone know where I can find a pdf copy of that?

Overall I'm very happy - as soon as I can score the missions, I'm ready to play.

And some leftovers in the original paint scheme


Just a quick update; while I was faffing about with the airbrush I did some work on an old Heresy piece I dug out of the lead pile. The intention is that this will end up in the Dark Elf Dragon Rampant force as a Warbeast - or possibly a Bellicose Foot with Flying.

And the current position:

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Space Hulk Part II

First off, the name of the blog has changed; it's based off a post I read somwhere which summed up every experience of my wargaming life: "I had a plan and then dice happened." It was too good to pass up.

Finished off the Terminators. Lots of chips, oil streaks and graffiti. Some in the latin alphabet, some in cyrillic. I'm happy with the overall look; just need to decide on the basing.

First Squad

Second Squad

And the full Space Hulk Expeditionary Force

Monday 15 February 2016

Space Hulk Part I

This was my other purchase on ebay.

I dug out my old Space Hulk the other week and realised that the plastic terminators had gone missing somewhere along the line. This isn't a disaster as the plastic terminators are, frankly, a bit rubbish.

So a quick scout around shows that 1990 vintage metal terminators are available for very little. So a quick splurge and...

10 terminators for £20 - which, incidentally, is nearly how much the naff plastic ones go for. Madness. 

It seemed like a good opportunity to crack out the airbrush as I could basecoat and highlight in one go. 

Then it was time to start the detail. I decided that the only modern style painting I wanted to do on them was the lighting claw, so a bit of wet blending was called for:

Daylight colour check:

A quick highlight and then on to freehand markings in the old Rogue Trader style. I wanted to go for a soviet style as the Terminators and Dreadnaughts have always put me in mind of tanks; and as a massive T-34 fan, what else can you do?

So here are the two squads looking pristine as if they've just stepped off the dropship. Up next will be the chips, scoring and oilstains to make them look like they've been dumped out on a drifting Space Hulk for a couple of years. The graffiti - a mainstay of the Space Marines I grew up with back in the late 80s - will be in white, just like the stuff you used to see on soviet tanks. I haven't decided whether to do it in the Cyrillic alphabet or not yet.