Wednesday 30 September 2009

Games Day UK 2009

I took Saul to Games Day at the NEC on Sunday, taking up the offer of a parent's ticket for just £6. Despite having been to a number of wargames shows I think Saul was a little overwhelmed, it is a very intense and noisy show, with 7,000 gamers determined to fit in as much as they can in a short space of time.

There were a lot of really impressive games, heaven knows how many Stompas and Baneblades were in use in the gaming hall, but it must have been truly frightening. Ironically even these large models were often dwarfed by the scenery and other scratch built models on display.

I took a lot of photos and have compiled them into the traditional Ironcow TV video on You Tube complete with obscure prog soundtrack (this time some Prog Metal to reflect the younger audience!).

Purchases were relatively few. I picked up a couple of Christmas presents for Saul which will need starting soon and he grabbed a bargain of five various LOTR guides and Collectors guides at the end for just a quid! Whilst we had a couple, he decided he'd give them to a school friend who is into LOTR.

Both of us took the opportunity to make up some of the free scenic items and we now have a couple of impressive looking Interceptor Guns and rather a lot of Imperial baricades.

We also had the opportunity at the end of the day for Saul to meet Alex Stewart (nom de plume Sandy Mitchell), author of the Ciaphas Cain books. Saul is really into these and was amazed to find out that in Death or Glory, Alex had inserted a reference to a distant Imperium planet called Blease's World! We also learnt where the next book is set, but Saul has decided it is top secret so I can't tell you (but the anniversary release of a popular limited edition game is apparently purely coincidental!)

Saturday 26 September 2009

"They're Here, Already!" Possibly...

Wargamers are weird people. A bit of cardboard, a piece of polystyrene, a stone in the street and we all get excited about using it as a bit of scenery or whatever... Such a moment occurred to me today when I went in the kitchen to find SWMBO making some more jars of her lovely plum jam (the plum tree in the garden getting a bit over enthusiastic this year). Anyhow after scamming a tester on a piece of toast (and it was lovely...), my eyes alighted on a saucer of discarded plum stones. Now to most people this would be garden waste to go in the compost bin, but to a wargamer, well...

Rather than compost. my first reaction was, "Oh! Don't they look like the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers!" Credit to SWMBO, she didn't groan at all and has offered to boil them clean and dry them so they can be tested out. As you can see from the photo with the Victorian gent they are about 5 foot long in 28mm scale, which is great for a curled up body! All I need to do know is find an appropriate lorry (that said I then started pondering on using them in an SF environment and even a VSF one - perhaps mounted on a card base that could be placed on different vehicles..). Anyway, watch this space for interesting uses of discarded plum stones! :-)

"Look, you fools, you're in danger! Can't you see?! They're after you! They're after all of us! Our wives, our children, everyone! THEY'RE HERE, ALREADY! YOU'RE NEXT!"

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Pirate Metal

I am sad to say I dropped the ball the other day by not celebrating 'Talk Like A Pirate' day, a heinous oversight as Bleaseworld is based in the home port of no less a piratical celebrity than Blackbeard himself.

By way of amends and in celebration of all things piratical, here is a video of the 'True Scottish Pirate Metal' band Alestorm playing their song 'Keelhauled'.

Alestorm are a lot of fun and have released two albums, Captain Morgan's Revenge and Black Sails At Midnight, that are ideal background music for when you are counting your pieces of eight. Surely any band that writes lyrics such as "With the power of ale, he could not fail!" deserve wider recognition?

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Burgundian Pike

At long last I finished the Burgundian pike blocks started over 25 years ago, re-started last month. As previously stated the bulk of the pikemen come from the long OOP Corvus Miniatures range with a couple added from the defunct Grenadier UK fantasy warriors range sculpted by Mark Copplestone and one old Citadel Wars of the Roses men-at-arms converted to carry a pike.

I've based them up for Terry Gore's Medieval Warfare rules (available from Foundry) and have started some work on a couple of bases of (ex-Citadel) mounted archers and (ex-Grenadier UK) handgunners. Also in their recent sale, I availed myself of some of Foundry's Swiss for the opposition.

As the Burgundians will be fighting the Swiss, I was persuaded by SWMBO to use some of GW's Modelling Snow on the bases as all three battles against the Cantons were (unusually) fought in the winter. The final effect is ok, looking more like ice and slush than snow to my mind, that said as it is supposed to be patchy it seems to suit the bases.

Monday 21 September 2009

Blood Rites

Finished Blood Rites, book six of the Dresden Files, last night. For those of you unfamiliar with the Jim Butcher Dresden Files series, they are centred around the investigations of Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard/private investigator. The books were the subject of a short-lived TV series and whilst I enjoyed the show, the books are vastly superior.

Blood Rites is a return to form for the Dresden series, which had got a little formularic of late (Harry takes case, Harry gets beaten up by Big Bad, Harry recovers, Harry saves world in climatic final battle), and involves two of the three vampire courts attempting to polish off our hero wizard.

What I enjoy about the Dresden series, and this one if no exception, is that the plots lend themselves to small scale wargames and this book alone has some good scenarios including a desperate raid on a homeless shelter to take out a nest of Black Court (Nosferatu-type) vampires and save the hostages and a fun puppy rescue against monkey-demons that throw flaming poo!

If you haven't read any of Jim Butcher's books start at the beginning with Storm Front and enjoy, I need to dust off my half-written horror rules Deliverance and get them finished...

Monday 14 September 2009

Screaming Eagle Marine Scouts

Saul's birthday today and one of his presents were these Marine Scout units and Land Speeder Storm I painted up for him (this was what I picked up at Devizes).

The Storm is a stretched version of the standard Land Speeder and is a nice, easy model to put together, though the instructions are pants and I did miss sticking on the dashboard so had to cut it in two and stick it in at a later stage. Whilst the rest of Saul's Screaming Eagle Marine vehicles (and Marines) are clean, I weathered this one with some dirt and worn metal areas and added an Ork skull trophy as I wanted impression that the Scouts are often at the sharp end where 'spit and polish' is not the order of the day.

All the crew (except the driver) are pinned in and can be removed when the Scout unit deploys on foot. This was more work than I anticipated as the Speeder crew are not equipped as per the foot squad so I had to convert two to carry spare shotguns from the foot pack. As best as possible each crew member has an identical foot substitute. The only major difference is the heavy bolter Scout whose head mounted targeting display switches from one side of his head to the other upon jumping out of the vehicle!

I must confess I never really liked the Marine Scouts when first introduced into the 40K background sporting knives and bolt pistols but these figures are much more commando like. However they are still too clean looking so I added scrim style camo netting to all, some have cloaks wrapped around, others tabard-like camo.

This was a positive fall out of slicing my finger open as when taking the bandage off I thought "ooh camo netting!" (like wargamers do...). It was soaked with diluted wood glue and I raided the kitchen and stole some majoram from the herb rack (I don't know what majoram is used for but the container looked old and unused and the herbs were a good size for leaves).

I also painted up the sniper unit, adding a bit of scrim to the sniper rifles (as they already had cloaks) and giving the missile trooper a scrim tabard. Whilst I liked the three firing, the fourth sniper was holding his rifle up at a funny angle whilst attaching his scope which just looked silly, so I chopped his arms around to what looks a more sensible carrying position.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Colours 2009

Saul and I went to Colours at Newbury today. This was the first time we've managed to get to the show since it moved from Reading and I must say the venue is much better (and it has free parking and is nearer Bristol!).

As it's his birthday tomorrow Saul had some birthday money from relatives and picked up a bargain of three AT-43 Therian Wraith Gologoths for almost the price of one (albeit without the cargo containers). He also got the Karman army book for half price. I treated him to the em-4 pre-painted Ludus Gladiatorius game in a box as it was being sold for a tenner (not bad for a game with five painted 28mm figures, rules and colour playing arena).

I was quite restrained spending wise (though very tempted) picking up some of GZG's 15mm wheeled weapons 'bots for use in Iron Dog, I think they'll work well in 28mm with the Pig Iron stuff. Having tried Unchartered Seas out with Saul we didn't weaken and buy the game (just) but I did sneak a purchase of the Shroud Mage fleet as I thought they'd work well in Man O'War (whilst supposedly twice the size, the frigates are roughly the same size as the MoW galleys and the big ships do look like battleships).

Having taken far too many photos, in time honoured tradition (well as done once before), I've stuck them together as a video montage with a bit of prog rock for your delight on You Tube.

Saul had a crack at the Achtung! Dice POW escape game (featured in this month's Wargames Illustrated). This uses a simple race game mechanism at its core with random Germans and event cards and is great fun (if you can get to Warfare in November it'll be there). Other games that really caught by eye where a 54mm LRDG raid (by the same guys who did the 54mm El Cid at Devizes) and a stunning Angels v Demons in Hell, something I've always wanted to do and now I've been beaten too it.

Overall an enjoyable day and Colours is back on the "must attend" list again...

Friday 11 September 2009

Valkyrie with Va Va Voom!

I've been working in Paris most of the week (sounds more exciting than it is) and took the opportunity to pop round to the GW store near Gare St Lazare.

In May I spotted the staff painting up the new Valkyries in a decidedly non-GW scheme (indeed most of the models in the shop sport rather refreshing paint schemes), unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me. This time I did, but the shop was shut!

Fortunately two of the Valkyries were visible through the window and whilst the photos aren't as good as I would have liked I think they show off the rather interesting Gallic approach adopted (I've played with the photos to remove the glare from the glass etc).

Not sure what the "Dark Powers That Be" in Nottingham would think, but I quite like them (certainly better than just painting them Dark Angels Green!)

Sunday 6 September 2009

New Bristol Cathedral Head Chorister

Been a bit of a busy day today as Saul was appointed the latest Head Chorister at Bristol Cathedral (so not much painting done!).

Absolutely knackered so going to sit down with a long drink and watch the new series of Medium which I taped on Friday...

Thursday 3 September 2009

Chaos Dwarf

Following a few emails on Chaos Dwarves on the SFSFW Yahoo Group, I dug out one I converted last year as a test piece for a potential Chaos Dwarf unit in Saul's Chaos army (I don't like the Marauder models or the old Chaos Dwarves with the silly hats).

The model is a mix of bits from the current Dwarf box set with helmet and arms/flail from the Chaos Marauders with a bit of green stuff to fill gaps and give a fur trim to the cloak (which was suitably 'distressed' with a hot knife).

Background wise I was thinking that maybe a small band of survivors from the fallen hold of Karag Dum had been corrupted by Chaos, hence a kind of more northern traditional Chaos/Dwarf look than the more Eastern look of GW's Chaos Dwarves of yore.

Not sure whether I'll do any more though I am quite pleased with the end result.

Wednesday 2 September 2009

Nocturnal Warrior of Hrud

Way back in 3rd edition 40K, there was a picture entitled 'Other Dangerous Aliens' which along with the prototype Kroot and Necron included a basic drawing of a 'Nocturnal Warrior of Hrud'.

Over on the SFSFW Yahoo Group a discussion broke out about the nature of the Hrud (my fault as I suggested they might make an interesting adversary in Space Hulk).

Initially GW were going for the Space Skaven approach but have subsequently tried to move away from the fantasy in space idea (bit hard with Orks and Eldar methinks...) and recent mythos has been of a more insect-like race (albeit with similar tendencies to Skaven).

Anyhow the possibilities of the Hrud led me to writing up some rules for introducing them in Space Hulk and I've sent this off to Ragnarok for consideration. The main differences to the Genestealers is that due to the Hrud distortion field blips are not revealed on line of sight but have to be actively scanned at the cost of 1AP by a Terminator. They can also pass through occupied squares. Obviously I need some models and a copy of Space Hulk III to get the rules down pat but I think they'll prove a different challenge to the 'stealers and fun to play.

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Dwarf Mining Convoy

In a spurt of enthusiasm resulting from painting up the Dwarf "Tin Man" Mining Machine I grabbed these three mining wagons off the shelf and painted them up over the weekend.

They have been sat around in an undercoated state for a little while as I lacked enthusiasm for any 28mm fantasy after a bit of burn out a year back.

The wagons come with the GW Dwarf Miners set, a great example of GW at their best for all the odds and sods they cram on the sprues (like the captured goblin in the cage). I'm not sure how manyBold wagons come in the box as Saul won the sprues these were on in a draw at the local GW. The model is based on the wagon that comes in the Skull Pass box set, although the wagon itself is open topped and empty and the horse has been slightly remodeled.

For these three I did some further work on the horses, adding bits and pieces, converting the manes so they all looked different and repositioning one leg. With the trucks I dropped in a rectangle of plastic card then built up a mound of filler before covering in sand and painting up as recently minded gold ore off to be smelted (or whaterever gold miners do).

I'm really pleased with the end result and they should allow for some fun ambush/convoy scenarios.