Thursday 31 December 2020

So, how was your year?

I'm doing a review of the year, and, yes, there's an elephant in the room.

However, this is a wargaming blog, therefore I'm going to do my best to ignore the big grey viral bastard.


Ironically, 2020 began in a post-apocalyptic vein. With me travelling to Board in Brum for a 7TV day where I won best opponent despite taking a filthy broken cast of zombies.

I also painted my Fallout: Wasteland Warfare miniatures.


I prematurely believed I'd finished off my Soviets. This of course will never be true.


Looking back, the beginning of 2020 seems so structured and organised. I played a couple of games of Dropzone against Pete, I also apparently finished off my Fallschirmjager.

I've since found another sprue of miniatures...which sort of sums up how 2020 developed.


I curiously found myself with extra time on my hands and so painted my entire backlog of Masters of the Universe miniatures.

I also watched both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, listened to Andy Serkis read the Hobbit for charity and paint a crapload of MESBG miniatures.


I continued to plough through my Lord of the Rings miniatures, completing both forces for the first scenario in the War in Rohan book...that I still haven't played.


Real life started to demand that I do stuff, and so my output dropped. However I worked through my Kitbash Kickstarter for Pulp City.


Things started to open up, and I actually managed to get some games in against Matt and his new Japanese army for Bolt Action. I found machine guns to very useful for ensuring social distancing.


With the release of the Indomitus box filling the internet, I was tempted towards 40k for the first time in a decade. Fortunately, my valiant Blood Angels came out of retirement to protect me from buying tons of things I didn't really want.


As well as continuing to repaint my Blood Angels, I actually managed to get a game against Pete where I failed miserably to defend the approaches to Stalingrad.


My painting turned back to Saturday morning cartoons, as I painted up the Thundercats and their Mutant enemies.


It turns out that my lockdown goto project is He-Man. I'd recieved more, so I painted more.


In a bid to get my painting numbers up I painted a battle group of Scourge for Dropzone Commander before returning to the Blood Angel's.

So with the year coming to a close, let's take a look at my painting tally.

Acquired: 206
Painted: 303

My hobby resolution last year was to make inroads into my lead mountain, and so I'm calling that a win, despite Leon's best efforts to derail me by 'kindly' sending me free stuff.

My broad goal was also to finish off projects, and I've definitely done that to an extent, with Fallout, the Soviets, the Fallschirmjager, Masters of the Universe and Lord of the Rings all reaching a point where I can add things at my leisure.

However, despite this success, this year I'm going to go back to more specific resolutions as I've missed them.

1. Paint more than I acquire

Yes, that's Lead Mountain in Colorado again.

This has gone well with me 
reducing my pile by 100 miniatures. I've also cancelled my subscription to Wargames Illustrated and so the influx of unwanted plastic should slow down. On top of that I've rationalised my future projects to prevent things getting out of hand and I've got more plans to further reduce my unwanted pile as storage space is really becoming an issue.

2. Play the games I've been planning

This one sort of depends on wider world issues, but I want to get my War in Rohan campaign started (and begin the Quest of the Ringbearer that I got for Christmas), Pete and I have Dropzone and Stalingrad campaigns to return to, and I want to take some of the casts I painted last year to 7TV events so that I have an excuse to buy more 7TV casts when Karl of Crooked Dice sends out his tempting tendrils.

3. Experiment more with solo gaming

This is probably one for the first half of the year. This is the something I did struggle to do this year, despite actually writing a set of solo rules for 7TV that are available for free download on the Crooked Dice website. I only managed to finish off my Breakout campaign for Super Mission Force. However, I do have lots of games (Walking Dead, Rangers of Shadow Deep, Descent, Fallout) that lend themselves to solo play that should keep me occupied until...well...

On a personal note, 2020 has been an odd year with some extremely low points that actually had very little to do with Covid 19. I've actually been extremely fortunate to not be in an industry too adversely affected, beyond trying to apply the government's crystal clear, totally consistent and realistic plans...

On the up side, I've reconnected with my old roleplaying buddies via technology and we've now got two campaigns on the go, and this hobby is one that has a strong online presence, which has provided my with plenty of opportunities to escape when I needed them.

I know this may sound like the sort of platitude that gets said every year, but this time I really mean it.

I genuinely hope you and your loved ones have a safe, prosperous and happier 2021.

Wednesday 30 December 2020


Why 'shhhh'?

Because I've painted librarian (space wizard) for my Blood Angels.

Also, because I don't want to hear that the model is actually a captain, doesn't have a psychic hood, has the wrong iconography and so forth.

He's a librarian. Deal with it.

I think I originally painted him as a librarian because when I first played 40k captains were a bit lacklustre. This is apparently no longer the case, but I didn't fancy stripping him to start again.

The model is the last of the repaints for my army (barring some veterans that need doing from scratch), and actually took very little work, mainly just sprucing up the gold and red and adding a couple of washes and transfers.

The transfers were a bit awkward, because I had to cut them to match where the cloak exposed, which made things small and fiddly.

The only notable change was using Nihilakh Oxide over white on the sword to make it more obviously a force weapon.

It's the first time I've used this technical paint and I think I'll prefer it to Hexwraith Flame for ethereal/ghostly stuff.

On the subject of the ethereal and ghostly, here's the librarian looking spooky on the edge of some eldritch portal...or a lamp.

Only one painted, but christmas only delivered a single new model, a T-34/76 for my WW2 Soviets (although I did get some excellent new board games). I also recieved another MotU miniature in the post.

Assuming I don't get a load of miniatures thrown over my fence today, it looks like I'll have smashed my target for the year.

Acquired: 206
Painted: 303

I'll be back tomorrow for my customary review of the year and  resolutions for next year.

Thursday 24 December 2020

In The Red

There haven't been any painting updates for the last couple of weeks because I've been chugging through the last repainted unit for my Blood Angel's and I've been less than motivated.

Anyway, they are done.

A second tactical squad. This time armed for close assault of infantry rather than holding ground or tackling armour.

The sergeant (although the model might actually be something else) packs a power sword and a plasma pistol.

The flamer guy should get round that perpetual issue of needing to roll to hit - which is apparently quite good in overwatch.

All but one of the Marines in this squad are actually metal miniatures. These three are the same metal miniature.

I ran out of bolters when assembling this squad. In fact, several of the bolters are carved off the snap-together marines from the Assault on Black Reach starter set.

This squad will probably be put in the Rhino for getting forwards into the enemy. Unless that's not a good plan. It seems like a good plan, but until actually play a game of 40k, I won't know.

Despite getting these 10 finished, I've actually had a run of things I ordered arrive over the last couple of weeks meaning that I've gained another 15 miniatures.

Acquired: 204
Painted: 302

I should still have enough of a buffer to cope with Christmas acquisitions, but who knows?

Anyway, I hope tomorrow's reduced celebrations bring you everything you want.

Happy Cristmas!

Friday 18 December 2020

The Long And Winding Road

This is the third installment of our Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign set in the Border Princes. Our heroes: Wolfgang Braun of Nordland; Garil Ragnarsson the Dwarf; Rudiger Reich a devout of Sigmar; and Heinz Castel a nobleman, strangely reluctant to share his background, have travelled over Black Fire Pass to the Border Princes to start a new life. They had travelled with a caravan of refugees from the war and faced many perils, most significantly an attack by Beastmen of the forest. Ultimately they'd parted company with the others, who had decided to seek a place to settle in a mining village called Sweetwater. Our heroes have chosen to seek their fortunes in the town of Masserschloss, the seat of power of a local prince, called Dieter.

This session actually happened several weeks ago, and o my memory is a bit hazy, hence the lack of detail at certain points.

The four travellers watched their erstwhile companions disappear up the track towards Sweetwater. Or at least where they believed the mining town to be. Despite losing the safety of numbers, a strange lightness filled each of their hearts.

Wolfgang Braun felt a sense of pride that he had, in a small way, contributed to the safety of those simple folk. He wished he could have done more. Nevertheless, given the dangers they had faced in the forest, Wolfgang knew he had done all that was in his power to protect the vulnerable. Perhaps he was indeed up to the task of finding and protecting what was left of his family.

Garil Ragnarsson’s relief was much more pragmatic. The caravan had made a very big, very slow and very tempting target. The journeys of his younger days had taught him that these lands were unforgiving. At least the four of them now had the option of being able to avoid threats too large to fight. Perhaps not even drawing unwelcome attention at all.

Rudiger Reich felt liberated. He had wrestled with which path he should follow. Should he protect the people of Sigmar, or follow in his footsteps? Now he knew. He would stride into this wild and untamed land, and bring it into Sigmar’s light. Those loyal folk would someday flock back to his banner when the new Empire was born.

Heinz Castel was just glad to be rid of the tedious peasants.


Turning south, the four companions had a spring in their step and now made good time. Spirits lifted further as the volcano grew closer, but was now to the west of them. Occasionally they passed small trader caravans that hurried northwards without stopping to encounter the armed travellers, perhaps fearing they were bandits.

At one point, on the side of the road they came across a small shrine to Sigmar.  It was nothing more than a one-foot-thick wooden wall with a small roof over it, with a wooden carving of Sigmar protruding from the wall.  A handful of scraps of parchment bearing prayers were tacked to the wall and various offerings lie at the foot of the shrine: fresh cut grain, flowers, a woven cord bracelet, a wooden carving of a boy, and a wooden bowl containing a few brass pennies.

The site of this shrine, far from where such things were common, heartened Wolfgang, and lit a fire in Rudiger’s eyes. A sign, perhaps, that Sigmar’s hand was on them. They both took time to pray, and leave offerings of their own, whilst Garil waited patiently and Heinz muttered to himself.


Pressing on, the land began to rise. A row of hills linked the highlands to the northwest with the land around the volcano, which smoked and loomed. Reaching the crest of the low ridge, the four of them were able to see that the land flattened to the west, into low lying fenland, shrouded in mist. They remembered the warnings of greenskins lurking in the marshes and unconsciously gripped their weapons tightly.

Later in the afternoon, their attention was drawn to what was clearly a large movement on the road ahead. Heinz scouted forward on his steed and rode back to report that a large company of armed men was headed their way, marching in formation. Moving to the side of the road, the four took the time to rest whilst they waited for the company to pass.

Maybe sixty strong, the men wore black uniforms. They marched under the banner of a spread eagle, red, on a black field. Their arms were composed mainly of pikes with some greatswords and crossbows mixed in. Mercenaries. Tilean probably. At least that’s what Heinz surmised from the cut of the cloth of the overdressed dandy that rode at the head of the column. Barely acknowledging the existence of the four travellers, the group passed north, probably heading to the Empire, to profit from the troubles that beset it.


As darkness descended, the group made camp away from the road and passing trouble, although they did risk a small fire to warm their bones. They took turns to watch whilst others slept, and it was whilst Wolfgang was on guard that their sleep was disturbed.

Steps in the undergrowth, brought the Nordlander to his feet, hammer in hand. He was immediately reminded of the beastmen attack on the camp, and whispered hoarsely to the others to wake them, and braced himself for combat. A shape came stumbling out of the bushes, and collapsed near the fire. Wolfgang was about to spring forwards in attack until his senses took in that this was a man, bloodied and wounded.  He had taken an arrow through the arm, which now hung limp. 

Quickly, the camp was awake, hands grasping for weapons, but Wolfgang was already tending to the man, who groaned in pain. Through his anguish, the man was able to relay that his name was Detlef. He was a bounty hunter. He and his partner, Karl, had tracked three bandits to a rocky hill nearby, but they were ambushed.  His partner was killed. 

Detlef asked the travellers for aid. He needed their help to retrieve a locket for Karl’s widow, and perhaps even his body for a proper burial. He also offered them the bounty, if they were able to capture or kill the bandits. Eager to see justice done, they agreed, but only in the morning. Blundering about in the dark would likely get them lost, or killed, or both.

The day broke wearily, and after a meagre bite to eat, the travellers shouldered the packs and followed the injured Detlef into the wild. Without real tracking experience amongst them, the journey could simply have found them wandering had it not been for Detlef’s stumbling and falling making a trail so easy to find that a child could follow it.

The trail led to a rocky outcrop that Detlef remembered as where he and Karl were ambushed, and before long the dead man was found. Whilst the bounty hunter tended to his friend, Heinz rode round the outcrop and returned shortly after to report that he had found an opening that looked a likely spot for a hideout.

Moving stealthily around the rocks, Garil and Rudiger led the way, with Wolfgang keeping a sharp eye out for ambushers. Cautiously, they edged into the narrow passage, which opened into a hollow in the centre of the outcrop. Completely obscured from outside, it seemed the ideal location for outlaws or bandits to lair. Indeed, there was evidence of a recent fire, and a camp abandoned. The killers of Detlef’s partner must have broken camp, fearing retribution.

The body of Karl was wrapped in blankets and put over the back of Heinz’s horse, much to the chagrin of the nobleman. A grateful Detlef swore to uphold his end of the bargain and seek to help the four companions however he could once the reached Masserschloss. And so the party made their way back to the road.


“Keep moving, don’t get involved,” whispered Detlef as they approached the group by the side of the road.

Three armed men on horseback had crossbows levelled at a ragged group cowering in front of them. Terrified faces of two men and two women quivered in fear. Their sallow complexions and drawn faces betrayed a tale of hunger, whilst their stained and worn garb suggested they had travelled many miles. Meanwhile, the horsemen were clearly well fed and armed, and did not care that there was another group approaching. Their brash confidence said something other than banditry.

“What’s going on?” muttered Garil, uncomfortable with the scene unfolding in front of him.

“See, the red sashes on their arms? They’re Dieter’s men.”

That made sense. These were more of the Outriders, the caravan had encountered in the north. From what Garil understood, they were somewhat akin to Roadwardens, and were likely to deal with criminals, thieves and bandits. However, the pitiful figures stood by the side of the road didn’t exactly look like hardened outlaws, and if they were bandits, they clearly weren’t very good at it.

“Move along,” called one of the men, sneering. “You can buy us a drink to thank us for keeping the roads safe at the Bridge.”

“Please sirs, help us,” cried one of the ragged men suddenly, his voice betraying a Reikland accent “we haven’t done any…”

Before the man could finish what he was saying, there was a sharp twang. A black fletched quarrel embedded itself in his throat, and the man crumpled to the floor.

“I said keep moving,” snarled the rider, reaching to reload.

Wolfgang’s heart sank as he sense his Dwarven companion bristling with rage beside him.

“Why did you do that?” barked Garil, “He was not threat.”

“Be off with you, or you’ll get the same,” snapped one of the others, “we’re Dieter’s men, on Dieter’s orders.”

“Well, I take exception to this Dieter, and I’ll not be moving on,” growled Garin.

Two more crossbow bolts flew towards the Dwarf, but both went wide. Garin strode confidently towards the riders, only to be overtaken by a charging Rudiger, who barrelled, screaming with rage, towards the fray. Rudiger had understood that these were Sigmar’s folk in distress and was now gripped with righteous fury. Rudiger’s flail swung heavily into the legs of the lead horse, causing it to rear up and dump its rider heavily into the dust.

The other horses screamed and reared and the two mounted men struggled to keep them under control. Taking his opportunity, Wolfgang also leapt forward to assail one of the riders. Reaching up he bought his hammer heavily into the man’s chest. The impact collapsed the man’s chest and he fell out of the saddle and lay still.

The third rider, seeing his companions assailed, took flight and hurried to turn his steed around. However, this momentary pause allowed time for Heinz to kick his own horse into action and leap forwards after the Outrider. If even one of these men escaped, Heinz knew that they could very quickly expect a hostile reception in Masserschloss.

Garil stumped over to where the snarling man lay cowering in the dirt. The man was still fumbling to unsheathe his sword when Garil’s hammer smashed across his temple, dropping him back to the ground.

Heinz spurred his horse forwards, desperate to reach his quarry. He knew what it was to live a life pursued, and having made it all the way over the mountains, he had no intention of starting his new life on the run from the authorities. Again.

Drawing level with the Outrider, whose horse was beginning to gather pace, Heinz brought his heavy, iron handled cane round in a wide arc that toppled the man out of his saddle. Wheeling his horse round, he charged and caught the man rising from the dirt with an upswing right under his jaw. Heinz felt bone splinter as the solid metal head of the cane connected.

Detlef looked on stunned. His new companions demonstrated an instant brutality that had shocked and surprised him. These men were either going to go far in the Border Princes, or they were going to meet a very swift end.


The inn was warm and welcoming. Wolfgang, Garil, Rudiger and Heinz ate their meal in silence, relishing the first proper meal they’d had in weeks. For some reason, Heinz had paid for the meal secretly so that his companions did not have to dip in their own pockets. It wasn’t clear why hed done this, but nobody was going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

After burying the Outriders in shallow graves, and putting an injured horse out of its misery. They had told the three remaining travellers to head north to avoid trouble, and perhaps head for Sweetwater, where they might find others from the Empire.

The companions had made excellent time with three horses between them, despite the fact that they were now loaded with crossbows liberated from the dead Outriders. Detlef had warned them that there might be suspicions raised at the Bridge Inn, a toll gate and staging post for the Outriders, but Detlef was known to the guards and few questions were asked.

The following day the party paid the toll, crossed the bridge and headed up into the hills beyond. The land rose quickly, and before long they were exposed to searing cross winds which cut through their cloaks.

There was no immediate signs of habitation for much of the way, although at one point, about a hundred yards off the road the travellers spotted a ravine. The wind made an eerie howling sound as it blew through it.  At the top of the ravine there was an old decrepit shack, which listed toward the ravine, as did all of the trees on either side of the ravine. The party barely paid this sight any attention as they were so close to their destination.

Indeed, it was shortly after this that the crested a hill and looked down into a valley, and beheld for the first time, the walled town of Masserschloss. The seat of power in the region and a place that would become so important in their futures.

Sunday 6 December 2020

Painting By Numbers

A conversation with Pete and an opportunity to pop into my FLGS, Wargames Emporium, to finally pick up some Grey Seer spray reminded me that way back in March I'd started on another formation for my Dropzone Commander Scourge army.

And so I decided to get them finished.

If you feel like you're experiencing some deja vu, then it's probably because you've seen a very similar unit before.

Last January I spent a gift voucher on the new, larger, Scourge starter set. This gives me a large, if samey, force to build. However, it also means that I won't need to spend much more on my Scourge army.  I'm also hoping that playing with my Scourge feels different to my Resistance, where every unit is unique. More 'swarmy'.

The core of the unit are two squads of 15 Scourge Warriors. These have been done in my usual slapdash style for everything below 15mm.

I've actually done them in slightly different colours than the previous unit. This is to allow me to differentiate if they are in buildings together, and also gives me the opportunity to use one of the units as Aged Ones: older, fanatic, more elite infantry.

The Warriors are transported in Invader APCs. These have no weapons as they are designed simply to get the Warriors in close as fast as possible.

The Invaders are transported in turn by the Marauder dropship (it's out of focus because it's moving so fast). It's viscous plasma hose gives it the opportunity to rain death on enemy forces once it's dropped off its cargo.

Another 33 miniatures painted gives me a solid buffer against any potential influx of minatures over the Christmas period. Before anybody complains about such small models counting as 'one', I counted the infantry individually when I acquired them. So there!

Acquired: 189
Painted: 292