Friday, January 30, 2009

GENERAL: Let's hunt daemon!

When I talked about which army I should play over the next six months I forgot to mention my Daemon Hunters. I remembered in time to add them to the poll but I thought I should just discuss them a bit in the blog.

My Daemon Hunters don't include any Grey Knights; they are a radical army. They are a ramshackle army cobbled together from a random collection of models but they are well converted and painted. The best thing about playing my Daemon Hunters would be the fluff - what could be a better adversary than Chaos Daemons? I'd also love to get those assassins out again.

The worst thing would be their codex. It's many years old, and came out in 3rd edition if I remember correctly, and doesn't mesh well with the 5th edition rules.

Anyway, I'll let the poll run and see what the result is.

Meanwhile, I've put up another Imperial Guard battle report on my other blog. It was an interesting game against Gary who had been chopping and changing his armies every week. What would he bring to this one?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

GENERAL: Bi monthly book update

I feel like I'm getting somewhere with my reading pile.

I finally finished American Gods which was a fantastic, flawed, sprawling epic road trip. It's the kind of book that gives you a tingle up the spine at the audacity of some of the ideas. Fortunately Neil Gaiman had the writing ability to take on the massive themes and still make the characters matter. If you only ever read Games Workshop novels this type of book is a reason why not to. The whole scope of the book and the sheer quality of the writing are eye opening. I'd put it into the same category as The Diceman and Catch 22. They're long books that you really need to put some effort into reading but it's worth it.

With that out of the way, and Fighter Boys before it, I concentrated on reading some Games Workshop publications.

First I finished off Imperial Armour 6: Siege of Vraks Volume 2. The second book in the Imperial Armour Vraks series was originally slated to be the concluding book but is now the middle book of three. This confusion in direction transfers to the book contents as the story meanders about without any real purpose and the rules seem counter intuitive. Why, when Forge World have produced Chaos Renegades with a distinctly Nurglesque feel, have they written a Khorne army list?

The narrative started out stronger than I expected with better descriptive passages and fewer spelling mistakes. I actually had the thought while I was reading it that it had been edited. Perish the thought!

Normal service is resumed about halfway through, though, presumably at the point Forge World realised that they weren't going to wrap things up in one book and had better just get this book out right now. The repetitious sentences turn up, as do the spelling mistakes.

Still, the photographs and art are just stunning with the Kopinski portraits in particular getting better and better. The models look great too.

Mechanicum was a must have and I started devouring this book almost immediately I got my grubby little paws on it. I am a big Graham McNeill fan and I rate him as probably the second best author currently working for the Black Library, just behind Dan Abnett. The good news is that Mechanicum doesn't faff about getting into it's stride. By the time the book starts the lines on Mars are already drawn, the sides have been chosen and everyone is just waiting for the incident that will spark off the coming conflict. The battles are well written and include the Skitarii, Knights and of course Titans.

The biggest controversy with the book is the whole 'Void Dragon' on Mars plot line. The book hints that the Emperor defeated the Dragon on Earth in AD 1100 and then imprisoned it upon Mars later. Really?

Unlike some of the other recent Horus Heresy novels the book does introduce a lot of new information regarding the Adeptus Mechanicus and the civil war itself so for this we should be thankful.

I wasn't blown away by this book but it is better than many of the more recent Horus Heresy novels.

Warriors of Ultramar was a good, solid read. It was like an amalgamation of all your favourite action movies rolled into one; I saw Aliens, Predator, every war film ever made and a host of others. Whether you think this is a warm-hearted reinterpretation of age old stories or just plain plagiarism I'll leave to you to decide. In any case it is action packed and gory and reads very quickly. It also has quite a nasty streak, which is a good thing and a little out of the ordinary for Black Library books. Recommended.

Books read.
  • Mechanicum
  • Imperial Armour 6: Siege of Vraks Volume 2
  • Warriors of Ultramar

Books bought.
  • None

Books wanted.
  • Red Fury
  • Planetkill
  • Titanicus
  • Imperial Guard Omnibus Volume 1

Here's what I already own and still need to read:
  • Imperial Armour Three: The Taros campaign
  • Liber Chaotica
  • Storm of Chaos
  • Imperial Infantryman's Primer (Damocles Gulf edition)
  • The Life of Sigmar
  • Faith and Fire
  • Dark Apostle
  • Cardinal Crimson
  • Dead Sky, Black Sun
  • 13th Legion
  • Kill Team
  • Annihilation Squad
  • Space Wolf
  • Ragnar's Claw
  • Grey Hunter
  • Soul Drinker
  • The Bleeding Chalice
  • Crimson Tears
  • Soldier
  • Imperial Armour Model Masterclass Volume 1
  • Codex: Space Marines
  • Warriors of Chaos army book

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

GENERAL: Which army to lead?

I got in another great game of 40k last night with my Blood Angels against Gary's Chaos Daemons. It's good to be playing games every week again.

I've finally got an after action report on last week's game up on my battle reports blog. Again, this was played with my Blood Angels against Gary's Chaos Daemons. In this game we were playing Capture and Control for two powerful psykers.

The only problem I'm finding with playing my Blood Angels is the lack of units I have painted. Together with my slow pace of painting new models it means all I can do is play pretty much the same army every week.

My solution is to stop playing with the Blood Angels until I've completed my painting pledge in August this year. By then I will have another 1000 points of models to choose from, making a 2500-3000 point army in total. That should give me more than enough choice and stop me from getting bored.

So what army do I play instead over the next six or seven months? The obvious choice is Chaos Space Marines because I've just finished painting all of my models and there are still a few I haven't used yet such as Abbadon and the Khorne Berzerkers. The downside is that I've been playing that army for a good couple of years consecutively already.

I could play my Cadian Imperial Guard but the new codex is coming out shortly. I have Orks and they have their new army list already but some of the models are tired and the paint schemes are poor.

The last, and potentially most interesting is my Chaos Daemons. They would be cobbled together from the models I own but they would be a brand new army that would cost me nothing. And who could resist a Daemon v Daemon smackdown?

Maybe I should start a poll?

Monday, January 26, 2009

NEWS AND RUMOURS: Release the dogs!

Games Workshop have released a FAQ for the Space Marine codex. As far as I can see it answers none of the 'hot' topics that actually need resolving, such as Drop Pod doors, God of War, Vulkan and Sisters of Battle and Gate of Infinity. 9 out of 10 for speed of issue, 3 out of 10 for usefulness.

According to the latest White Dwarf, Space Marine casualty figures will be released on 21st February and will cost £12 for three figures. Handy for objective markers, perhaps.

Forge World
Forge World have come up with another release tied into their Vraks books. Click here to see pictures of the Hounds of Xaphan with Khornate Ogryn handler. I'm not totally convinced by these models but I'd like to see them in the flesh before I condemn them. The unit is a Fast Attack choice and has Fleet. Their profile is decidely average, though, so their tabletop viability is questionable. Hey ho, that's Forge World for ya.

Black Library
Black Library have announced a new line of publications entitled Space Marine Battles. I first saw a hint of this at Steve Parker's blog. You can follow the discussion on the Black Library forums here. It seems to be a series of books based upon famous battles like the battle for Rynn's World (involving the Crimson Fists). Do we really need a series of books solely dedicated to Space Marines? Aren't a big chunk of Black Library publications already covering Marines?

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I had a few hours to dedicate to my Blood Angels yesterday. I had already put together my scenic Terminator bases so I decided to stick the Assault on Black Reach Terminators on there.

The more observant of you will have noticed that there are six Terminators rather than five. The last guy on the right came free on the front of White Dwarf and I only remembered I had him when I was halfway through assembling the other models. Of course the Blood Angel codex only allows Terminator squad sizes of five models, unlike the Space Marine codex which allows the player to add extra models at 40 points a pop. Grrr!

I'll still paint him up as in future versions of the rules my BA may be allowed variable size squads again or I could swap him out for the assault cannon Terminator if I want.

Speaking of the assault cannon, this is a very straightforward weapon swap. I had originally tried to fit an old Baal Predator assault cannon on the model to make a meaty Assault cannon but I couldn't figure out a way to build a convincing harness around the arm. Instead I found a really old assault cannon arm and simply glued that on as it was. This bit is so I old I think it's actually lead - it certainly feels very soft and bends relatively easily. The gun itself is smaller than I would have liked but I was pleasantly surprised that the hand was the same size as the new Terminators. The arm itself sits further down the arm so I had to build it up a little to get it right. To help disguise the join, and to bulk the model up a little bit, I added a shield above the cannon.

I plan to paint these models next, right after my Assault squad.

I had hoped that it would only take about an hour or so to finish the Terminators but it took closer to three, so I had little time to devote to my Assault squad.

Still, as you can hopefully see in the photo, I have managed to finally get the last highlight onto the armour. The next step for these five models is to paint all the black details such as the jump pack harnesses and weapons.

Turn by turn action
I ported over a couple more Imperial Guard battle reports yesterday in between modelling projects. The first of these is a turn by turn report of a 2000 point game against Gary's Biel-Tan Eldar. Scope it out here.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Two years ago I blogged a big painting and modelling 'to do' list. I included every single model I owned. I thought it might be fun to revisit that list and see how I've done.

NEW items are models I've bought. Those marked SELL are models I plan to sell so will not build or paint. SOLD models have already been sold. Built items have been put together but not painted. Painted items have been constructed and fully painted. If there are no notes next to the item then it's probably just sat in it's box! Some models may be built and painted to a very basic level but need stripping and starting over.

Space Marines
  • Techmarine and 4 servitors built
  • Whirlwind built
  • Rhino painted
  • Landraider painted
  • Landraider Crusader
  • 16 Scouts
  • 5 Honour Guard
  • 30 RTB01 plastic Marines
  • NEW 10 Tactical Marines from the Assault on Black Reach set
  • NEW Dreadnought from the Assault on Black Reach set
  • NEW 6 Terminators from the Assault on Black Reach set (one free from White Dwarf)
  • NEW Captain from the Assault on Black Reach set
  • NEW 10 Tactical Marines from the Battle for Macragge set
  • NEW Chaplain Lemartes

  • 8 'Ardboyz
  • Dreadnought
  • 3 Killa Kanz
  • 3 Mega armoured Nobs
  • NEW Warboss from the Assault on Black Reach set
  • NEW 3 Deffkoptas from the Assault on Black Reach set
  • NEW 20 Ork Boyz from the Assault on Black Reach set
  • NEW Ork Warboss from the Assault on Black Reach set
  • NEW 6 Ork Nobz from the Assault on Black Reach set (one free from White Dwarf)
  • Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka
  • Warboss, slugga, choppa
  • 6 Nobz 1 powerclaw with slugga, 4 choppa with slugga
  • Painboy
  • Wartrukk with big shoota
  • Warboss, big choppa
  • 14 Shoota boyz, rokkit, nob with powerklaw
  • 21 Slugga boyz, nob with powerklaw
  • 13 Slugga boyz, nob
  • 17 Shoota boyz, big shoota, nob with choppa
  • 12 Shoota boyz, rokkit
  • 30 Gretchin, runtherd
  • 20 Gretchin, runtherd
  • 12 Gretchin, runtherd
  • 10 Gretchin, runtherd
  • 5 Warbikes
  • 1 Wartrakk, twin linked big shoota
  • Dreadnought, rokkit launcha, big shoota

  • 9 Plaguebearers painted
  • 8 Deathguard painted
  • 8 Khorne Berzerkers painted
  • Fabius Bile
  • 9 Bloodletters painted
  • 6 Daemonettes painted
  • Keeper of Secrets painted
  • Terminator Lord painted
  • 20 Chaos Renegade Militia

Sisters of Battle
  • 4 Arbites
  • Saint Celestine
  • 2 Vindicare assassins
  • Culexus assassin
  • Callidus assassin
  • Eversor assassin
  • Inquisitor
  • Uriah Jacobus
  • 3 Henchmen
  • Immolator
  • 20 Sisters

  • 2 Crisis suits
  • 16 Kroot
  • Hammerhead
  • 6 Vespid
  • 2 Broadsides
  • 3 Stealth suits (new plastics)
  • Sniper drone team
  • 3 Aircaste (forgeworld)
  • 10 Kroot hounds
  • Commander Crisis suit
  • 3 Pirhana
  • 24 Firewarriors


  • Vyper
  • 4 Jetbikes
  • 30 Harlequins
  • 6 Guardians
  • Jain Zar

Imperial Guard

  • SELL 5 Lascannon
  • SELL Autocannon
  • SELL 70 Infantry
  • SELL 4 Command
  • SELL Mortar
  • 4 Lascannon
  • 6 Mortars
  • 72 Infantry
  • Creed and Kell
  • Commissar
  • Rough Rider (converted)
  • Company Standard
  • 3 Psykers
  • Lieutenant
  • 2 Medics
  • Chimera
  • 13 Stormtroopers (part painted)
  • 12 Infantry
  • SELL 8 Vostroyans
  • SELL 5 Tanith

  • 10 Termagants from the Battle for Macragge set
  • 6 Genestealers from the Battle for Macragge set
  • 8 Spore Mines from the Battle for Macragge set

Warhammer Fantasy

  • 77 Wood Elves
  • Nurgle Palanquin
  • Beast of Nurgle
  • 5 Marauder Horsemen
  • 1 Chaos Knight

  • 3 Bounty Hunters
  • 8 Ratskins
  • 9 Escher gangers
  • Orlock ganger
  • Delaque ganger
  • Van Saar ganger

  • 2 Goblin cheerleaders
  • Jordell Freshbreeze
  • Dwarf Death Roller
  • Dwarf Coach
  • Goblin Coach
  • Dark Elf assassin

Battlefleet Gothic
  • Plastic boxed set

  • Daemonhost
  • Death Cult assassin

Aeronautica Imperialis

  • NEW 4 Thunderbolts
  • NEW 2 Lightnings
  • NEW Marauder Bomber
  • NEW Marauder Destroyer
  • NEW 6 Fightas
  • NEW 4 Fighta Bommers
  • NEW Bommer
  • NEW Grot bombs.

  • Squat
  • Pilot
  • Navigator
  • Imperial Pilot from the Battle for Macragge set
  • Forgeworld abandoned Chimera
  • SELL Forgeworld Chaos Marine bust
  • SELL Forgeworld Bloodletter daemon bust
  • SOLD Limited edition Space Marine 'Iwo Jima' diorama
  • SOLD Limited edition Ultramarine standard bearer

Phew, that's one hell of a 'to do' list. It should reduce considerably in 2009, though, as I have made a resolution not to buy a single new model.

I'm hoping that a big chunk of my Space Marine models will get built and painted as I continue with my painting pledge until August. After that my plan is to get cracking with my Orks.

After some deliberation I have decided that I want to strip the paint from all my old models and then re-do them for my new army. They have been painted over a 20 year period and are wildly varying in colours and quality. The main problem with the models is that they are from every edition of the game!

I've got Thrugg's Bullneck Raiders from Rogue Trader, the 2nd edition Goff Boyz and Gretchins, late 2nd/early third plastic Ork Boyz and 4th edition plastics. Then I've got the brand new 5th edition models to paint. The models are all different sizes too.

I might just whack them all in the stripping pot together and see what comes out!

Alternatively I could possible sell some of the unsuitable Orks as they are, probably for a tiny amount, just to get rid.

Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

GENERAL: Raider v Daemon smackdown

Boy does it take a long time to write up battle reports. I've only just finished last week's game report and now I have to write up the game I played last night!

Both games were played against Gary's Chaos Daemons. After playing a few 1000 point games in previous weeks we increased the total by 500. That allowed me to include my Land Raider in its first run out and Gary brought his winged Daemon Prince out to play.

You can read the battle report, and look at the pretty pictures, here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

NEWS AND RUMOURS: Inquisition on the far horizon?

Not a great deal happening on the New and Rumours front really, at least nothing too exciting that has caught my eye.

ihadhq posted a link to the Shadowsword box art on this Dakka Dakka thread.

Harry, a regular poster of accurate rumours, has been teasing the folks on Warseer about the future plans for Grey Knights and Sisters of Battle. He stated that there wouldn't be a new codex in 2009 but it wouldn't be too much longer after that. Does that mean 2010? A lot might depend upon the actual release date for the long awaited Dark Eldar.

Warhammer Fantasy Battle
The latest White Dwarf announces that Chaos Chosen heads will be available separately from mail order. They are out in late February and will cost £6 according to Avian in this thread.

Lord of the Rings
Again on Warseer, dax has posted a link to pictures of new plastic Ents.

Games Workshop has put up a teaser trailer for War of the Ring on YouTube. Holy hell, that's a lot of models!

Black Library
Black Library have swapped the time slots for Blood Pact, the latest Dan Abnett Gaunt's Ghosts novel, and Heroes of the Space Marines, a collection of short stories written by numerous authors. Heroes will be out in May while Blood Pact has been pushed back to July. My understanding is that Dan was/is struggling to to get Blood Pact finished in time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

OPINION: On painting

This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of monthly opinion pieces on different aspects of the gaming hobby. It's kinda like Jervis Johnson's Standard Bearer column in White Dwarf. Only I'm not selling anything. And there will be, you know, actual opinions expressed.

They will be controversial, may spark some debate and will almost always include swear words. Those of a nervous disposition should look away now.

You have been warned...

Playing against an unpainted army has all the appeal of watching a naked Jade Goody eat a greasy kebab.

Surely one of the primary reasons we play with toy soldiers is the aesthetic element? Hordes of Goff Orks, replete with dags and checks, sweeping majestically over the plain of a well crafted Armageddon ash wastes table, crammed with unique terrain like ruined factories, fallen monuments and Titan wrecks. The Steel Legion Imperial Guard, led by Commissar Yarrick, furiously repulsing an attack on their hastily erected barricades. Blood Angels Space Marines dramatically crashing to earth in their drop pods unleashing bolter death upon the greenskins.

It’s not quite the same when you have a proxied coke bottle as a drop pod, second edition mono-pose Orks, bare metal Guardsmen sagging in their unglued bases and grey plastic Marines without arms. Even 3 flat colours on a model would be better than that.

Now everyone will have played with unpainted models at some point. Probably when they were eleven years old. Then they grew up.

But some people didn’t. Instead they started whining and whingeing and preparing their excuses.

I just don’t have the time to paint.


I’ve played against people who’ve been in the hobby since Rogue Trader days and they are still playing with their original unpainted lead models. Can you honestly say, with a straight face, that you haven’t had time to paint a single model in 20 years?

How come you had the time to buy 12 Nob bikers, two Warbosses on bikes and 90 Ork boyz and then glue them all together? Three weeks after that you made the time to assemble two winged Lash Princes, 9 Obliterators and 21 Plague Marines. Next month you’ll be putting together your fluffy mechanised Eldar list led by Eldrad and Yriel. And have enough time to play three games of 40k. And you’ll have clocked Half Life 2. Gimme a break.

I know this is just a lame excuse because I have an extremely busy life but I still find time to paint my models. I have a full time job which involves weekend and evening work, I’m in a relationship, I have an active social life and I have loads of other hobbies and interests. Because my time is such a precious commodity I have to plan it quite carefully. 30 minutes every other day keeps me ticking along and I’ll get the models finished eventually. Just paint all the bolters black one night. That’s all. The next time highlight them. Paint the metallics next. You’d be surprised how quickly you progress if you keep it up. Even if you’re playing games with the models in the meantime at least your opponents will see that you’ve made progress.

Everyone has the time to paint; they just choose not to.

I’m terrible at painting.

That’s because you’ve never really tried, you cretin.

I can’t play the guitar. If I threw some time and, God forbid, some effort at it I would be able to, even with my fat sausagey fingers. Okay, so it’s unlikely I’d be as good as Slash. But I’d probably be good enough to jam with my mates on a Tuesday night. Maybe I’d make it into a band. Maybe I’d write one or two passable original songs. Maybe I’d waste away in a lonely garret, my works of genius unheard by any other ears until rediscovered some years after my tragic death.

Ahem…where was I? Ah, yes.

Just because you won’t be able to paint like Mike McVey doesn’t mean you should give up before you start. We were ALL crap painters when we started out. The first models I painted would make your eyes bleed if you looked at them. You’d probably try to gouge your eyes out with rusty spoons and start crying for your mummy. But I practised. I experimented. I improved.

You’re not terrible at painting; you've given up before you've even started.

So stick your excuses, I don’t want to hear them. At least have the courtesy of not lying to my face. Just tell me you can’t be bothered to paint your models, you don’t care about how the game looks, it’s not a high enough priority for you. You’d rather be playing Halo 3 or Warhammer Online. You’d rather be watching Big Brother. Fair enough. I can take it. I can handle the truth.

If you had the stones to be honest I’d have more respect for you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

NEW MODEL FUND: Reaches its Zenith

I had a stellar run on the items I sold on eBay before Christmas. They were mainly graphic novels, collected works from 2000AD. The best sellers were three Zenith books. I hadn't realised that due to legal problems none of the books had been reprinted since I'd picked them up in the early nineties and they were therefore as rare as hen's teeth.

Altogether I raked in £116.33. Sweet.

Here's how my New Model Fund stands:
  • Total income from sales (and my penny jar) £743
  • Less models bought £537.12
  • New model fund £205.88
  • Models bought None
It's less than three weeks into the New Year and I'm already almost halfway towards my target of £500. Who knows what treasures I still have lying around my games room?

Another Imperial Guard battle report
It's 4th edition 40k. 2000 points. Imperial Guard versus Orks. Who do you think will win? Find out here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

GENERAL: Raider rush

I played my first game since Christmas yesterday when I took my Blood Angels round to Gary's gaff to fight his Chaos Daemons. It was a good 1500 point game with me using my Land Raider for the first time and Gary giving a run out to his winged Daemon Prince. I'll be writing up a full battle report, with photographs, shortly.

In the meantime you might like to read another battle report involving my Imperial Guard. This game was a 2000 pointer against Gary's Dark Eldar.

Righto, I'm off to listen to the second half of the Newcastle v Hull cup match.

Monday, January 12, 2009

NEWS AND RUMOURS: Of Lizards and Inquisitors

I made a New Year resolution to restart my News and Rumours posts so this is the first of what will hopefully be a weekly update.

It will predominantly be Games Workshop related because I play their games virtually exclusively, but if anything else takes my fancy I'll cover that too. My preference is for 40k so my reports will inevitably be biased in this direction.

Ironically, there's not too much happening on this front ahead of the Lizardmen army book for Fantasy. The Ork Stompa is definitely confirmed by Games Workshop and photographs can be seen on Warseer. There are also cool pics on Bell of Lost Souls.

Brimstone has confirmed the Valkyrie product code in this thread (which means the plastic Valkyrie is definitely on its way - probably with the Imperial Guard codex in May).

Warhammer Fantasy Battle
In what is seen as a surprise move by many, GW have released a new FAQ for the 7th edition rules. Now I haven't read this in a great amount of detail but I am led to believe that it covers a lot of common rules queries. I hadn't expected these issues to be addressed until 8th edition.

The Lizardmen are obviously the big GW project on the horizon. January's White Dwarf carried pics of the new plastic Stegadon and I understand the army book will be released on 7th February. You can check out the Games Workshop Lizardmen preview here.

Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings is going Apocalyptic with War of the Ring in April. The book is said to cost £35. The rumour is that models will be moved around on oval movement trays. It will allow players to recreate those great big battles like Helm's Deep in a single night.

Forge World
Forge World were teasing customers over Christmas by showing a photograph of parts of a model, slowing revealing the whole thing. It turned out to be an Inquisitor in Terminator armour, along with three members of his retinue. He was announced at the end of Siege of Vraks book two as Inquisitor Lord Hextor Rex as he takes over the besieging armies fighting the debased followers of the Cardinal of Xaphan. Nice model.

Black Library
Games Workshop's publishing arm listed their top 30 best selling books of 2008. It's nice to see a background book on there as well as an audio book. I like to see Black Library experimenting a bit.

The next major instalment of the Horus Heresy saga will be Prospero Burns, to be written by Dan Abnett. It will be one of two books covering the Thousand Sons versus Space Wolves showdown, with the second book to be written by Graham MacNeill. Each book will look at the story from the point of view of one of the factions. Tasty. Prospero Burns is due to be released in November 2009.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

GENERAL: Heavy weather

We've had some scary weather up here in North East England over the past couple of days with extreme cold followed by very high winds. It was bitterly cold at the match yesterday where Newcastle were unlucky to scrape a draw with West Ham when we should have won it. I was kept awake during the night as the wind blew our bins around the garden and some tiles from the roof. The wind hasn't let up all day so I haven't gone out at all.

Instead, I've spent most of the afternoon painting highlights on the first five marines from my assault squad. I'll hopefully get some photos up tomorrow.

In the meantime you might like to check out another Imperial Guard battle report. It was a big old 2000 point rumble with me using Daemonhunter allies to take on Gary's Chaos Space Marines. Scope out the action here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

PAINTING AND MODELLING: Black Reach and Battle for MaCragge

Some time off work and feeling energised following the completion of my Praying Mantis Superheavy have combined to produce a spurt of modelling and painting creativity in me. Here's what's on my workbench.

The pledge
The main thing I need to get cracking on is painting my Blood Angels. I'm a little behind in my painting pledge over on Warseer (although I have eventually managed to get my Chaplain and Death Company on there).

My target for the end of January is to complete this 10 man Assault Squad. It has two plasma pistols and the Veteran Sergeant has a power weapon and melta bombs. It would count as a hefty 300 points towards my 2000 point army and would also be great on the tabletop as they count as Troops in a Blood Angels army.

They were already painted up to a very basic standard, essentially with just the base colours, so the first thing I did was to wash the yellow helmets with Gryphonne Sepia and wash the armour with Baal Red. I took the photo while the ink was still wet, so while it was drying I busied myself with some base building.

Captain Lazarus
The Black Reach boxed set has been cluttering up my games room for a while now, stuffed with new models for my Blood Angels and Orks. I decided to take the models from the box and put together the Marines both to save some space and to give me something to paint later in the year. The fist model I put together was the Commander.

This model is a stunning sculpt for a snap fit. It only consists of four components; the legs and back, the torso and head, the sword arm and the backpack and standard. I put it together as it was, without conversion. I didn't mind the lack of a jump pack or bike because it will fit into my mechanised Blood Angels just fine - he'll be deployed in a Rhino, Razorback or Land Raider.

More problematic is his weapon loadout. The power weapon is fine but the boltgun is a problem. Can you believe that the Blood Angel codex doesn't allow a Captain to have a boltgun? I'll have to ponder my options; I could count it as a storm bolter or bolt pistol or I could take a knife to the model. The problem with that is the way the model is carrying the gun. I can't just cut it off his hand because he's holding it underneath and it's all molded together into his hand, arm and hip. Aaaarggghhh! Anyone got any ideas?

Terminator Squad Sanctarin
The next model I took off the sprue was the Terminator Sergeant. You might be able to make him out at the front of the group shot. As I was cleaning him up I remembered that the Terminators now come on the larger bases and I had lots of resin basing bits that would fit on there perfectly. So I stopped putting the model together and created the five Terminator bases.

Dreadnought Osiander
Since I already had all my basing gear out I cast about for other stuff to base. I had an even bigger piece of resin which fit onto the Dreadnought base perfectly.

What are we fighting for?
Next I dug out some objective markers which originate from the previous 40k boxed set. They aren't the best objective markers, and they aren't themed specifically for my Blood Angels but they are better than using a die. They should paint up very quickly too.

Okay, the ink on my Assault Squad should have dried by now so I'm off to start detailing them.

Back through the mists of time
My latest Imperial Guard battle report was a game against my gaming nemesis Gary. He was trying out his Eldar ahead of the Gauntlet Tournament 2004.

Yep, 2004.

Please remember that these battle reports have all been republished from my old, defunct website so are from 40k third and fourth edition. That's why the army lists may seem a bit odd, the tactics are strange and rules may be off. It's not my bad gameplay, honest!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

GENERAL: 2009 New Year Resolutions round-up

I made four big posts in the last few days outlining my gaming resolutions for 2009. In summary they are:
  • Finish 2000 points of Blood Angels Space Marines I currently have 735 points painted)
  • Paint 1000 points of my Ork army
  • Paint a total of 100 points of models over the year (the formula is in this blog entry)
  • Completely finish publishing my old battle reports
  • Finish my Blood Bowl league
  • Finish my trench board and accompanying terrain
  • Restart my News and Rumour posts
  • Switch domains
  • Buy no more Games Workshop novels
  • Review every Games Workshop book I read
  • Review a broader range of Games Workshop products
  • Spend nothing at all on models
  • Have £500 in the New Model Fund by the end of year
Phew! That's quite a list of resolutions. I'll republish this list at the start of 2010 so we can all see how I've got on.

Dakka dakka
I'm still publishing my Imperial Guard battle reports played way back in 40k third edition. After playing one game against a now obsolete army I played another straight away - Feral Orks. Steve was trying out a new 'guntrukk' tactic with his army. See how we got on here.

Monday, January 5, 2009

PAINTING: Mantis Stalk Tank finally finished!

The beast is here!

I've been working on and off, mostly off, on my Praying Mantis Stalk Tank since March last year and I've just finished it today. I've put a Khorne Berzerker in the photos so you can see the scale.

In my last update back in December I had blocked in the main colours; the gold and silver metallics, the red armour plates and the black. There were still lots of fiddly little details to complete.

A good example is the piping on the legs, neck and head. I painted all the piping a dark green colour as I wanted it to look functional and because there was so much of it on the model I didn't want it to stand out too much.

I went for a bright, industrial yellow on all the flamer canisters. This was Iyanden Darksun (god bless the foundation paints for painting yellow) and then a couple of Bad Moon Yellow layers. I then washed Devlan Mud liberally over the canisters.

I found the decaying corpse difficult to paint because the detail was a little muddy on the model and I couldn't tell what was supposed to be flesh, bone or hair. Still, I eventually got some Charadon Granite, Adeptus Battlegrey and Astronomican Grey on the bones in successive layers. Some Badab Black pulled them together.

I used Tallarn Flesh on the skin, mixed with some Rotting Flesh for that unhealthy green tinge. I mixed in more Elf Flesh for later layers. Then I washed the lot with Ogryn Flesh. When that had dried I added spot washes of Thraka Green and Baal Red. The intestines were painted Mechrite Red and had some Elf Grey highlights. A couple of Baal Red washes again pulled the layers together.

The rope is Khemri Brown followed by Bleached Bone and then a Devlan Mud wash.

Every time I turned the model I found some details I had previously missed. All the spikes had heads, helmets and skulls impaled upon them. I painted all the skulls with the same bone recipe as I used on the corpse. The Necron head (why doesn't this just phase out?) got a wash of Asurmen Blue over drybushed silver and I called it done.

The Tau helmet was painted Hormagaunt Purple and then highlighted with Warlock Purple. A little tentacle Pink was added to edge the helmet. I washed it with Leviathan Purple and then tidied up the gaps between the plates with some Chaos Black.

The eye lens I painted Orkhide Shade then Snot Green. I washed the eye with Thraka Green. I added a line of Scorpion Green at the bottom of each part of the lens then a white reflection on the top.
The daemonic face was painted with the same palette as the corpse. The eyes are pure Rotting Flesh.

You can see the weathering I did on the red armour plates in this photograph. It was a tip I picked up from the Imperial Armour Modelling Masterclass book from Forge World. I got a sponge from a blister pack and tapped it in some Boltgun Metal. I then lightly dabbed this on the plates to make it look like the red paint had been scrubbed off so the metal underneath was showing. The advantage to this technique is that the sponge leaves tiny, tiny flecks of paint in a random pattern which you could never achieve with a paintbrush.

It's probably not clear from this photo but the whole model sits well off the table on its four legs. It is very back heavy and I was initially concerned that the battlecannon, which is mounted underneath the Mantis on the abdomen, would be dragging along the ground, but the paint on the leg balls and sockets has kept everything nice and tight.

To give a further idea to the size of the model I dug out my other Superheavy, my Baneblade, and took a photo of the two together. As you can see the Praying Mantis is far bigger than a Defiler and easily matches up against the Guard tank. I can't wait to have an Apocalypse game with these two monsters facing off against each other.

Painting points = 20
Total painting points for 2009 = 20

I know I painted a lot of this model in 2008 but in last years' total I also included several Chaos models which I had started in 2007. The rule is that the model counts for the year it is finished.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

NEW MODEL FUND: The model crunch

The fourth and final instalment of my New Year introspective concerns my New Model Fund. It has been the one part of my gaming life that has been an unqualified success.

Plastic crack
I began the fund in January 2007 as a way to control my spending on models or 'plastic crack' as they are sometimes known. I had an absolute stack of unpainted models already so I pledged to only buy new models with the money I made from selling stuff on eBay (and the money from my penny jar). In the two years the fund has been running I have generated an income of £626.67 and spent £537.12 on models, leaving me with a healthy profit of £89.55.

I still plan to put two items up for sale on eBay per week in 2009 but my new pledge is to refrain from buying a single model in 2009. Impossible I hear you cry (and my inner geek whimpers in sympathy).

I'm sure there will be many models released in 2009 that I would really like to own - the plastic Stompa I already know about and loads of new Imperial Guard models are rumoured - but do I really need them? Couldn't I just add them to a wish list while I get on with painting the models that have been hidden away in boxes for years?

If I can keep this crazy resolution it should have three major benefits; it will save me money while the credit crunch bites, it will reduce my painting 'to do' pile significantly and it will help me keep focus on painting the models for the armies I want to play.

My plan on the painting front, as I have mentioned in an earlier blog, is to paint up 2000 points of Blood Angels and then start my Ork army. I already have all the models I need anyway - I just need to knuckle down and paint them!

If I can resist the impulse to buy the Shiny New Thing in 2009 I will hopefully appreciate the models all the more when I finally buy them in 2010. And I'm sure some of the 'must have' models will drop off my list as the novelty wears off and other models are released.

Another way to decrease my 'to paint' pile, and boost my income to boot, is to sell some of my unpainted models. Obvious initial candidates are my Praetorian Imperial Guard. I've been dithering about selling or keeping these models for as long as I've had my blog but I really need to get them up for sale. Am I really going to paint them up when I already own Cadians and Renegade Imperial Guard? Not likely. I'll probably offload my Catachans for the same reasons.

I plan to keep the money in my New Model Fund to one side, at least notionally, during 2009 so that I have a healthy profit for 2010. This could open up the possibility of some serious spending like splashing out on an entire new army or buying some big Forge World kits (Reaver Titan anyone?). At the absolute minimum I want at least £500 in my New Model Fund for 2010.

Of course I might be so taken with my pledge that I might carry it on for another year...

Imperial Guard battle report
The games keep coming thick and fast. This was a game against Jamie's well painted and modelled Eldar Ulthwé Strike Force army, an army that is now defunct (it was originally released as part of the Eye of Terror codex). Scope it out here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

REVIEW: New Year Resolutions

This blog post is the third in a series looking back at what I got up to in 2008 and what I have planned for 2009.

Six times a year
In 2008 I began a new feature which I called the bi-monthly book update. This wasn't meant to replace my full book reviews but to give a broader overview of my reading habits. It catalogues the books I've read in a two month period, the books I bought and the books released that are on my wishlist. It also includes mini-reviews; my initial thoughts on books I've just finished reading.

In 2009 I will continue my bi-monthly round ups but I will also make a bigger effort to complete full book reviews in my synopsis/opinion format. I stalled on this in 2008 because I was partway through several series of books (Gaunts Ghosts, Ravenor, the Ultramarines books) and I didn't want to start my reviews in the middle of a trilogy, for example. Of course I never followed through with my idea to go back to the earlier books and review them first.

So I'll just have to bite the bullet and post a review of every book I read, even if this means reviewing the books out of sequence. In the gaps between those new books I will return to the older ones when I can and review those too.

Goggle eyed
By my reckoning I read almost 20 Games Workshop novels and publications over the year, and that doesn't include 12 issues of White Dwarf. I also read lots of other non gaming books and novels. I'd like to make a sizeable dent in my reading pile in the coming year and this will only happen if I reduce the number of books I buy and read more of the ones I already own. So my pledge is to not buy any more Games Workshop novels in 2009. This is a tough ask for me, possibly the toughest resolution I'll make for the year. Gulp.

My other aim is to return to the spirit of my original reviews feature and look at more than just books. I'll try to review miniatures, paints, websites, podcasts and other publications too.

Another day, another Imperial Guard battle report. This one was remarkable as I included Cypher in my force to take on Gary's Eldar.

GENERAL: What's it all about, pilgrim?

Last time around I examined my painting habits in 2008 and looked forward to 2009. Today I want to look at my blogging in general.

Stat Attack
In 2008 I blogged 138 times on my main lone pilgrim blog and made 83 entries on my lone pilgrim battle reports. I also launched a third blog, the Old Albion Premier League, and made 23 entries. That comes to a grand total of 244 blog posts, a creditable number. In 2007 I made a total of 279 posts so I'm roughly on a par. I plan to continue blogging at a rate of one post every other day for 2009.

I want to rescue all of my old battle reports from my defunct website and get them published on my battle reports blog by the middle of 2009. That will free me up to concentrate on playing and writing up my current battle reports. These things take a great deal of time to create so I hope people enjoy reading them. I know I get a lot from reading them back, especially the really old ones which I had all but forgotten about. I really want to play some more campaigns as I think they are the pinnacle of miniature wargaming. In particular I'd like to paint up my Mighty Empire tiles and play a Warhammer campaign between my Warriors of Chaos and Gary's Dark Elves.

Once I'm up to date with the reports I plan to go through them all and compile lots of statistics such as win loss ratios with each army and my record against certain players. It's the sort of thing that really appeals to my inner geek.

It's just not cricket
On the Old Albion Premier League front I have lots of blogging up my sleeve. Most importantly Gary and I need to get back to playing the current season. We abandoned this halfway through when we got the chance to compete in the 40k Gauntlet tournament and we still haven't gotten back to this. Once that is done I have five past seasons of games and results to post up. If my Blood Bowl blog isn't well past 100 blog entries by the end of the year I will be very disappointed.

Meat and potatoes
I also want to address my main lone pilgrim blog too. I want to ensure a regular stream of decent content posts without the blog eating into my gaming life too much. There is a tension between actually doing the hobby (playing games, painting, making terrain, developing background) and blogging about it. I don't want my blogging to replace my gaming, I want my blogging to reflect it and enhance it.

Now that I've hived off my battle reports and blood bowl games to their own blogs that means the focus on lone pilgrim will be narrower. In 2009 I plan to blog more about my painting, I want to show some love to terrain making and I want to go back to bringing you news and rumours. Of course there are many websites, forums (fora?) and blogs that cover Games Workshop news but I want to take a slightly different approach and present a weekly round up of news and rumours in one easy to read bulletin. I'll try and pull together everything I read across the net in a single weekly blog.

I also want to inject a bit more opinion into my blog. I do have strong opinions about things like pre-painted armies, Win At All Costs players, luck and lazy gamers but I never seem to get around to blogging them. I will in 2009!

Another thing I need to address is photographing my miniatures. I'm currently reorganising all of my photos digitally - not just of my models but holiday photos, friends, family - everything. Once I've finished that I'll need to work out how to put the photos of my models into my blog. At the moment I think I might add a whole separate blog for finished photos and then use lone pilgrim for works in progress. Again I haven't made a final decision about this just yet.

One thing I won't be blogging on lone pilgrim, which I have in the past, is army background, particularly regarding the Skolarii Sector. I want to put all this type of content on it's own blog. If this happens it will be much later in 2009 so watch this space.

You switch if you want to
At the moment all of my blogs are hosted from my own web domain at This is something I'm considering changing in 2009 due to the cost. I'm with 1and1 at the moment and pay them £60 per year to manage my domains and give me webspace. With the credit crunch looming and money tight I could switch back to a free blogger account and save all that cash. Of course it would mean changing my blog addresses which is hassle for everyone but needs must. I'll be sure to keep you all informed when and if this happens.

Wow, this turned into a massive post. Bring on the rest of the year!

Double team
Following my game against Wayne's Space Wolves we teamed up to take on some Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marines and Dark Eldar in a 2000 pointer. Check out the after action report here.