Saturday 28 January 2023

There Will Be Blood

As I've spent a good amount of the last six months converting my Blood Angels 40k army into 30k, I probably should try to play a few more games of Horus Heresy with them. Therefore, when Pete suggested tangling with his Alpha Legion again, I jumped at the chance.

The last time we fought, I found myself somewhat outmatched in every department: he had bigger guns, longer range, more men, better elite troops and a force that was better suited to their special rules. On top of this I had a terrible day for failing charges and also made some really bad decision.

I hoped that my most recent work on the army might rectify some of these issues.

We were playing 1500 points as this roughly the level both of our forces have reached. My ad hoc Blood Angels strike force consisted of:
  • Cataphractii Centurion
  • Chaplain
  • 10 Tactical Marines 
  • 10 Tactical Marines & Rhino
  • 7 Indomitus Terminators
  • Casta Ferrum Dreadnought with Power Fist & Multi-Melta
  • Leviathan Dreadnought with Power Claw & Siege Drill
  • Predator with Assault Cannon & Heavy Bolters
  • 5 Heavy Support Squad with Missile Launchers

Pete's probably traitorous, but possibly sort of loyal, Alpha Legion were, as far as I remember, as follows:
  • Praetor
  • 5 Cataphractii Terminators
  • 10 Tactical Marines
  • 10 Tactical Marines
  • 10 Tactical Marines
  • 5 Tactical Support Squad with Rotor Cannons
  • 5 Tactical Support Squad with Melta Guns
  • 5 Headhunters
  • Leviathan Dreadnought with Storm Cannons
At first glance, it looked like Pete still had the advantage in numbers and firepower (marginally), but I was marginally better suited to close combat (marginally) and crucially had armoured targets that only his Leviathan and short ranged Melta Squad could really deal with.


We rolled randomly for the scenario and got 'War of Lies'. This meant our line troops (the Tactical Squads) capturing objectives and hoping that we rolled well for victory points at the end of the game. As ever, killing units was relevant, as was killing each other's warlord.

I won initiative and deployed as you can see earlier in the article, with my more aggressive troops bunched together in the centre of the battlefield, ready to push forward. On my right, I set up the tower of terror. A Tactical Squad holding an objective on the ground floor and the Missile Launcher Squad higher up to get a good vantage point.

There are no more pictures of these as the main battle didn't really involve them, so whatever else is going on, assume these guys are off to my left, plinking away at the enemy.

Pete deployed his forces more spread out, with a Tactical Squad holding an objective in the ruins opposite the tower of terror, his Terminators, Rotor Cannon Squad and another Tactical Squad holding an objective in the centre, and a strike force on the other flank of yet another Tactical Squad and his Melta Squad.

Ahead of them, making use of their infiltrate and scout rules, were the Headhunters, creeping through more ruins towards my Dreadnoughts.


My plan was fairly simple: run forward and hit them, whilst my ranged flank weakened the enemy line. Therefore I pushed forwards in the centre (a little bit of cheating here as I ran with my Leviathan), keeping ruins between my forces and the enemy Leviathan's storm cannons for a small amount of cover.

In a process that would be repeated uninterrupted throughout the battle, my Predator opened up on the Tactical Squad opposite, felling several of them. Meanwhile, the Missile Launcher Squad targeted the Rotor Cannons and began the process of neutralising them.

On my right I moved the Casta Ferrum Dreadnought to try to deal with the sneaky Headhunters. It's flamer was ineffective, but the multi-melta fried one of them.

However, it was now isolated and exposed. 

In Pete's turn, his firing towards my main force was somewhat ineffective, however, he targeted his Headhunters, Leviathan and some of the advancing Melta Squad as the Castra Ferrum Dreadnought, and despite using a move reaction to get cover, was destroyed.

First blood to the Alpha Legion.

Blood Angels 0 - Alpha Legion 1


Despite the loss, there was nothing for it but to stick with the plan. My Leviathan and Terminators continued their advance; the Leviathan (no longer cheat-running) dropped a phospex missile on some exposed troops, whilst the Predator killed more Tactical Marines and the Missile Launcher finished off the Rotor Cannons. On my exposed left, I sent the Tactical Squad in the Rhino to hold up Pete' flanking force.

The Alpha Legion moved up and found the Blood Angels Terminators using a move reaction to get closer. Realising what I had up my unsubtle sleeve, Pete put fire from his Deadnought and a Tactical Squad into my Terminators before his own Cataphractii fired. He did manage to kill about half the squad, but I still used my Wrath of Angels reaction to charge the Alpha Legion in their own turn...even if it did mean running through a newly created Phospex puddle.

I was outnumbered, but Blood Angles need to charge to access their special rules and I was helped by Pete's Praetor being out of position and having to challenge to get in the fight, limiting the impact he could have. Additionally, Pete helped out by rolling appallingly, killing two of my Terminators, whilst the my unwieldy fists ripped through three of his. Pete then obliged by failing his morale roll and running, but I couldn't cut them down due to my Centurion's Cataphractii armour. 

Had the tide turned?

Blood Angels 1 - Alpha Legion 1


Despite having won the fight in the centre, the battle was not over. I needed to press the attack to destroy Pete's scoring units, and I knew that unless I was incredibly lucky the Praetor would rally and be back for round two. The ABC doctrine of the Blood Angels (Always Be Charging) and so the Leviathan and remaining Terminators moved into strike range. 

The Predator continued with the extermination of the Alpha Legion Tactical Squad opposite my right, whilst the Missile Launchers turned their devastating fire on to the squad in the centre. As they had to shoot at units they intended to charge, the Leviathan and Terminators opened up on the enemy leader, arguably being too effective as their combined melta fire killed off the last two Cataphractii, leaving the Praetorian out of range of the Dreadnought.

The Centurion would have to do this (sort of) alone.

Meanwhile, on my left, the Chaplain ordered the Tactical Squad out of the Rhino and took up defensive positions against the advancing Alpha Legion forces. Unfortunately, their intention to inflict withering bolter fire onto the foe was somewhat neutralised by the Smoke and Mirrors of the Headhunters as the repositioned out of sight of most of the unit. However, somewhat hilariously, one of them was killed by a single bolter shot from the Rhino.

Battle raged between the warlords, but neither could inflict a telling blow (Pete continued to helpfully roll badly with this paragon blade) and the epic fight would roll into Pete's turn, where the Praetor would ultimately emerge triumphant.

With his Praetor exposed, Pete turned all his firepower onto my Leviathan, ripping several wounds away from it. However, deciding to let his Tactical Squad fire at it, bought them a face full of reaction fire that cut down almost all of the unit.

However, using my reaction in the centre meant that the Tactical Squad on my left were defenceless, save for a very flimsy wall. Bolters, melta-guns and wierd-ass Headhunter guns ripped into the squad, killing them all, leaving just the Chaplain standing next to a damaged Rhino.

Blood Angels 2 - Alpha Legion 4


Despite taking heavy losses and losing my warlord, all was not lost. The Missile Launchers and Predator continued with what had been a devastatingly effective game for them and finished off oneof Pete's Tactical Squads, leaving just a Sergeant for the Predator to hunt down the following turn, robbing him of the opportunity to score objective points with them.

The Leviathan also finally managed to charge and, after some frantic rules reading to find out if paragon blades instant kill Dreadnought (they don't) he squished the Alpha Legion Praetor.

At this point, it was all square at 5-5...

I then did something silly. I charged the Rhino and Chaplain into the enemy forces to certain death. I did this for a few reasons:
  1. This was a friendly game with nothing riding on the result. If winning was important, I'd have mounted up and run away, hoping to lure some of Pete's units into range of my Missile Launcher Squad.
  2. The Blood Angels special rules grant a bonus to vehicles ramming and I wanted to discover how this worked.
  3. There was a slime chance that my Chaplain could win a fight against the Tactical Squad and cut them down, not only scoring a point, but killing Pete's last unit able to capture objectives.
  4. Blood Angels ABC.
Unfortunately, things didn't go to terrible plan.

I did, however, learn about the ramming rules, so there's that.

Blood Angels 5 - Alpha Legion 7


I was getting late and so we decided to call the game there. We worked out that the Predator would track down and kill the last Sergeant on the right, whilst with two turns of the shooting, the storm cannons of Pete's Leviathan would finish off my damaged Dreadnought in the centre. With nothing to stop them, the remains of the last Alpha Legion Tactical Squad would capture an objective, and obviously, my Tactical Squad (which had fired once all game) would capture one for me.

This left the scores at 8-6 to the Alpha Legion with dice rolls to be made for each objective captured to see how many victory points each was worth. With a lisst bit of luck, I would score 3, Pete would score 0 and victory would be mine...

FINAL SCORE: Alpha Legion 9 - Blood Angels 6


This was actually a really enjoyable and close game where we both had the upper hand at different points and it could have gone either way. I've learned the following things:

  • The changes I made to my army were good ones: the charging Leviathan really concentrated Pete's attention; the Missile Launcher Squad kill Marines really effectively; and putting heavy bolters on the Predator makes it a much more focused unit.
  • My character selection was poor. My Chaplain once again failed to achieve anything and needs to be with something more aggressive than Tactical Marines. Had I dropped him, I could have had a Praetor in the centre, which would have been much more effective, although the Cataphractii armour undermined the one advantage my Terminators have over Pete's: being able to make a sweeping advance.
  • Pete's main advantage was having more bodies. I killed a lot of them, but he still outnumbered me at the end. I need more infantry, and I need units that will allow my Tactical Squads to do what they are supposed to: capture and sit on objectives trying not to die.
I think I enjoy Horus Heresy more than 40k, despite the fact that the organisation of the rulebook is a mess; nothing is where it feels like it should be and information is split up across chapters (and books) with some information repeated almost word for word in different sections. However, the nature of the Marine vs Marine conflict makes for a much more balanced experience; units stay alive longer so you get to actually play with your toys; and the fact that armies are so similar means that both players not only largely understand what they are up against (there are very few horrible surprises compared to 40k) and, most importantly, they can help each other with the rules.

Going forward, I am much more likely to play Horus Heresy that 40k, which is a game that these days seems to come with homework. What fun!

Sunday 22 January 2023

Our Chief Weapon Is Fear...And Surprise!

One of the things I like about being cheap is that often my hunt for a bargain takes me down paths I wouldn't have ventured on otherwise.

The Vatican in Carnevale is one such example. It's not that I don't like the range, it's just that for me it doesn't have the lure of the fish monsters of the Rashaar, the gilded finery of the Patricians, the classic horror of the Strigoi or the abominations of the Doctors. If left to my own devices, the Vatican would have been well down the queue.

And yet one bargain on eBay and here we are...

Mind you, cheaphammering does have it's downsides too. I mentioned the casting issues I encountered in the last post and this got me into problem solving frame of mind. Even though the Vatican models had significantly fewer issues with flash and mould lines, I was dismayed to see that one of the raised parts of the cross emblem on the Inquisitor's hat was missing.

Therefore I got to work trimming and gluing a tiny replacement piece onto the hat to form a full cross and got the model ready for painting and went to look at a reference picture...only to discover that the hat, a biretta, was only meant to have three peaks in the first place!

Fortunately, a little bit of research revealed that four peaked birettas also exist but are only for those who have a doctoral degree from a pontifical university. So it wasn't wasted effort after all, it's just my Inquisitor is more educated than everybody else's.

Nobody expects the academic Inquisition!

Painting the Inquisitor was relatively simple, as I'm sure you can see. I shaded the Xereus Purple robe with Carroburg Crimson wash rather than highlighting as I felt it lends a deeper more ominous tone to the colour.

I took care with the gold trim and adding writing to the book as the details on a largely single colour model like this really stand out. I also had to go back over some of the blood on his hands (which is seeping from magical stigmata) to make it more patchy and prevent it looking like he is wearing latex gloves.

I believe the Inquisitor is a spell caster, which is good as it means that the Rashaar won't always be unopposed on the magic front. Also important is the fact that he is a leader for the Vatican, which means my next purchases can be pretty much anything (although I need to ensure I have more henchmen than heroes).

Another fairly straight forward model to build and paint was the Executioner. The only issue to sort with this model was a slightly bent chopper (ooh-err missus) which a little hot water sorted out. I did have a bit of a battle with mould release agent on these two and they both had to have a couple of baths in soapy water and was still fighting to get paint to stick in some places.

The definition of the muscles is a bit odd in places, but that might be because I've left the under-shading a bit thick in places. I was initially not happy with him, but I'm chilling out about it as time passes.

So there we have it, I've started a Vatican...gang? Is that the right word?

Anyway, I'm not sure whether I'm going to add official models and/or proxies at this point, but the Vatican do have the advantage of being both relatively normal looking (bloody-handed clergy notwithstanding) and more knightly in their attire, which means that my bits box and lead mountain are more likely to contain things that are applicable. 

On that subject, here are the numbers:

Acquired: -22
Painted: 32
Lead Mountain: 528

Saturday 21 January 2023

Welcome To The Cheap Streets

I mentioned in a previous post that I'd managed to pick up a cheap lot on eBay containing six miniatures for Carnevale. Apart from the price, one of the things that made me bid was the fact that three of the miniatures in the lot were for my existing gangs: the Guild and the Rashaar.

Therefore, when it came it came to getting thing painted, I began with them; a Citizen for the Guild and a Hybrid and Slave for the Rashaar.

Admittedly, none of these characters are going to exactly change the balance of power between the two forces, given that these are amongst the least powerful characters from either gang. Fortunately, however, despite already having four Citizens, three Slaves and a Hybrid, these were all new sculpts for my collection.

When I bought the lot on eBay, the description mentioned parts being used for conversion, and so I was expecting to have to raid the bits box to make some of the miniatures useable. However, I was delighted to find that the miniatures were all complete, but dismayed to see that there was a fair bit of mould slippage on parts and more than a little bit of flash to remove.

I suspect that this odd assortment of miniatures were actually sculpts the seller had opted not to use due to issues with them, and I guess they'd contacted TTCombat for replacement. That's the only way I can explain them going for such a low starting bid.

Nevertheless, I bought them expecting I'd need to do a bit of work, so I got on with the job trying to make the best of their imperfect forms.

The Citizen had a fairly noticeable mould line down the sides of his coat and boots. Fortunately, one of resin's more advantageous properties is the fact that you can cut it away fairly easily. The flat sides of the coat needed shaving down a little and the boots needed a little trimming to. Even though I didn't do a perfect job, on cloth surfaces, once you've proven the straight line, mould lines tend to disappear after painting.

My theme of tying the Guild together with dark red is getting a bit awkward, as he didn't have a handy scarf or sash and I've already done one citizen in a red waistcoat. I opted to go for a full red coat, even though it leaves him looking more than a little like an English country squire. I like how the yellow waistcoat has come out.

The main issue on the Hybrid was on the arms, which were separate. There had been quite severe mould slippage on the wrists. Fortunately, the worst bits were on the bandages, so after I'd trimmed away enough so there wasn't a ledge in his arms, I used painting to put back the lost detail of the bandages. This process has left him with quite emaciated arms, but for a Hybrid beggar from the poorest part of Venice, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Of the three models, I'm most happy with this guy as the contrast paints I used all over the model have worked out really well. It's a shame he's such a low ranked character and destined to die a grisly death in most games. 

The Slave had the biggest issues to deal with of any of the six. There was a huge lump of resin still attached between her legs, going all the way down to both ankles that from a distance made her look like she was wearing a long dress. In addition, under her arms and around her neck were full of flash. My initial dismay was tempered by the fact that I already have three Slaves and they're terrible in game, therefore I could go at this model with a knife knowing that messing up wouldn't be a total tragedy.

I did mess up...I cut her foot off.

Fortunately another quality of resin is that it glues quickly and strongly so I was able to fix her ankle later; and it would be much later. About an hour of carefully carving and slicing the resin lump and flash allowed me to trim it back to pretty much exactly how she should look. Her legs were a bit nicked and under her arms doesn't bear close inspection, however, I figure that live as a Slave to the fish-men might leave a few marks.

Despite the fact that she's the worst for wear, I'm actually really proud of the salvage job I did on this model and I shall think of her fondly each time I feed her to a Lesser Ugdru or she dies whilst trying to climb over a fence.

I'm actually really pleased with how these turned out. Getting them second-hand at a bargain price probably made me more sanguine about their imperfections than the original owner, so I hope they were able to get replacements. I've certainly not seen anything as bad in any of the other Carnevale miniatures I assembled.

I've not bought anything new this week and I've continued to be active on eBay, selling a Scourge starter army for Dropzone Commander (I'm counting the bases of tiny infantry as single models) and so I'm building up a bit of a head of steam and making inroads into the Lead Mountain.

Acquired: -22
Painted: 30
Lead Mountain: 530 (I think I got my maths wrong last time...I've double checked that this is right)

Saturday 14 January 2023

The Mad Max Two

I'm not a massive fan of the Mad Max franchise. It's not that I don't like it, far from it, it's more that in the realms of cult TV and films that I could be putting time and energy into recreating in miniature, Mad Max isn't at the front of the queue.

In fact, despite attending a few 7TV Apocalypse events, and even getting my ass handed to me by Lord Humongous at one of them, this is only my second post dealing with models painted specifically related to the road warrior and his 'chums'.

The only other thing I've painted has been Max's V8 Interceptor, which was the add on I selected as part of the 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter. The reason I picked the modular car kit was because the campaign went so well that I also gained some stretch goal models somewhat similar to the Max himself, as seen in the original movie poster (although it's questionable as to whether it's actually Max)  and the Gyro Captain in Mad Max 2.

There was also a kid who appeared in Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome (which I've never actually seen), but I have plans to use him in a different setting.

As stated earlier, the Road Warrior miniature is clearly based on the art of the original movie poster, which I've always assumed to be a representation of Max. However looking more closely at images from the film identifies the character on the poster as being much more similar to Goose, not least because he's wearing a motorcycle helmet.

In terms of painting, he was relatively straightforward, being mainly dressed in black and done with Black Templar contrast paint, then with details picked out in other colours. I've avoided doing the helmet silver, instead I've gone for Apothecary White contrast over Grey Seer with a Blue Horror visor. I've stayed totally clear of the crosshairs that appear on the helmet in the poster, using the excuse that Goose's helmet doesn't have one in the film.

The other character is clearly based on the Gyro Captain, played by Bruce Spence in Mad Max 2. Rather confusingly, Spence also plays Jebediah, who is also a pilot, in Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome. Apparently, they are meant to be different characters despite both having a similar skill set and being played by the same person in the same franchise.

He was mainly painted in Wyldwood contrast paint, again with details being picked out in other colours as appropriate. As ever with Crooked Dice miniatures, painting these two was a pleasure as Crooked Dice avoid extraneous and unnecessary detail and so there are never any tedious fiddly bits.

The road sign, that features in the original film, is a 3d print which was a participation prize given to all attendees at the Dales Wargames 7TV Apocalypse event in 2021. I've also got a couple of 3d prints of Max from Mad Max: Fury Road, but there's only so many guys dressed entirely in black that I can motivate myself to paint at one time.

I've tried to emulate the sign in in the film, but I couldn't get the yellow of the '9' on the top line to stand out as much as I'd like as the recess is too deep. Also, I've not bothered crossing out the 'O' in 'force' and putting a graffiti 'A' above it to make it say 'MAIN POLICE FARCE'. Sue me.

Finally, I've painted up some rough terrain or debris for use in post-apocalyse or sci-fi games. These are simply resin scenic pieces stuck to some MDF 'ponds' from Warbases, painted an liberally sprinkled with scrubland terrain base ready from Geek Gaming Scenics.

Technically, I think these bits of terrain are meant to be representing something from Fallout and I bought them with some more obviously Fallout related terrain which I've yet to get round to. However, they'll work for all sorts settings: Mad Max, Terminator, Fallout, 40k, etc.

So there we are. The maths on my different tallies is beginning to get a bit convoluted. I've obviously painted five more individual models, but I'd listed the terrain in my lead mountain total as seven separate items. On top of this, I've sold three Lord of the Rings miniatures I wasn't going to use and bought another four Carnevale miniatures.

So I think I'm up to date when I say the following:

Acquired: -4
Painted: 27
Lead Mountain: 541

Sunday 8 January 2023

Judgement Day

In the spirit of finishing things off, I've finally come to the end of everything that I have for Terminator: Genisys, the short-lived but actually quite good game from River Horse Games.

Don't brace yourself for my finest painting, as I went for the 'just-get-them-done' approach consistent with the rest of the miniatures I've painted for this game.

I suspect that the major reason that this game went out of production was the fact that the Terminator: Genisys film was somewhat underwhelming received, as the gameplay is excellent (designed by Alessio Cavatore), the plastic miniatures were cheap and cheerful but effective, the metal miniatures were good likenesses (but a bit pricey) and all in all there's no real reason that as a game this should have failed.

Except the film's a bit crap.

Anyway, onto the figures.

First up is the T-800 Terminator in good guy mode on a motorbike. Yep, it's Arnie. As I said, this is a pretty good likeness and is a faithful representation of the character as he appears in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, although I'm curious as to why they didn't have him wearing sunglasses.

There was not a lot going on in terms of painting here as it's pretty much black and silver all the way and so my usual mix of contrast, washes and dry brushing did the trick. I didn't bother with doing the eyes as with most 'truescale' models, they're a bit of a bugger to pick out and highlighting over the wash does enough to work.

Although intended for Terminator: Genysis, there's every chance that Arnie might find his way into games of 7TV: Apocalypse, either as himself or a generic biker. Therefore, I've taken to opportunity to paint up a separate bike for when he dismounts (I have an on-foot Arnie-alike from Reaper Bones).

It's not the same model of motorbike, but it will do. It's actually quite a clever MDF piece I got with a shed for taking part in the Great Wargames Survey one year. The MDF means that the sharp corners would annoy me if I used it for scenery, but as a token of where Arnie has left his bike, it's more than adequate.

Next up are the SWAT team I got sent as part of the 7TV Secret Santa this year. I opted to put them in the Resistance as they're a bit short to work with my existing SWAT and Cops. Being notably different from the plastic miniatures will make them good as commanders, although the two assault rifles and a shotgun aren't the best weapons,

I put the DNA symbol (my freehand painting needs work) on the shield as I've done the same on some of my vehicles and it prevented it being a bit bland. There are no rules for anything like this in the game, but I'll talk to Matt (who is the only person I lay this with) about letting him and anybody behind him count as in cover when shot at from the front.

I also had part of a sprue of Resistance fighters left from when I converted a couple of infiltrators. As my force is growing, I've increased the number of better quality weapons (rocket launcher, grenade launcher, plasma rifle). I'm not sure if they'll all get in my list as there are limits on the number of rocket launchers and grenade launchers you can have.

As I said earlier, these aren't amazing figures, but given the number you got in the starter box, they're more than adequate.

No Terminator post would be complete without a couple of endoskeletons. The Crawlers have both lost arms to the Infiltrator conversions I did some while ago (but this doesn't really matter as they're meant to be damaged and I believe the T-800 in the first film was down to a single arm by the end.

The standing Endoskeleton was just spare. These remain the easiest models I've ever painted.

Given the slapdash nature of the way I paint models for this game, I opted to get them done first with the aim of making some quick progress, something that I think I have achieved. I can't imagine I'll add much else to this collection, although I might get round to doing a T-1000 by either making large silver bullet holes in a policeman or painting a puddle silver.

Acquired: -5
Painted: 22
Lead Mounted: 551

Friday 6 January 2023

Bring Out Your Dead!

 As discussed a few days ago, I've set myself three resolutions this year: reduce the lead mountain; finish things off; stay cheap. This post, I believe, exemplifies the spirit of all three that I'm trying to achieve.

Reduced the 'Lead' Mountain

I've gone and done one of those YouTuber things where I gather together all of my unpainted models to see how big the problem is.

Now, I am fully aware that there are many, many people out there with a backlog exponentially larger than mine, but this should be seen in the context of me not only selling off/giving away quite a lot of my original mountain before I go back into the hobby properly about 15 years ago and I've also been putting in quite a bit of work to reduce the new pile I accumulated over the last half a decade or so.

Anyway, here it is.

I know, it doesn't seem like that much, which is quite pleasing really. The biggest individual chunks of work to do are a 15mm Ancient Greek army for Impetus; the remains of various Dropzone/fleet Scourge and Resistance forces and all the remains of my Batman Miniatures Game collection that I've completely lost motivation for. I'm also conscious of some of those larger pieces which are likely to be time consuming like the Lord of Change, Balrog and Nazgul on Fellbeast.

All in all, there are 570 individual miniatures (I'm counting Dropzone Commander infantry per base and 6mm ACW infantry per strip) in these photos. There are likely to be some more miniatures lurking in my bits box, but what happens in the bits box stays in the bits box.

However, I've decided to add the Lead Mountain tally to my usual acquired/painted numbers, mainly so I can keep track of things as the pile reduces.

To begin the process, I opted to go for a traditional quick win. This resin ruined building was amongst the massive collection I inherited from my dad and was one of very few unpainted models that I have kept.

I'm not sure of the manufacturer but I like painting resin scenery as it's a really straightforward process as resin responds well to basecoats, washes and drybrushing.

As a piece of terrain it will be extremely versatile, being eminently suited fantasy games and historical games all the way late dark ages/early medieval to World War 2. In fact, I could see it turning up on a set for a 7TV Children of the Fields game.

Finish Things Off

In amongst the Lead Mountain are lots of leftovers from different projects which number a handful of models that just need completing. The reasons why they haven't been finished are many and varied and in the case of this Dwarf skeleton from the Moria terrain set was simply because I overlooked it.

Now that I've properly catalogued the backlog and know what's in there, you can expect to see more of these random oddments popping up just to get them off the list.

Stay Cheap

I like finding alternative to official miniatures lines, and I like finding uses for models that are just hanging around my collection. This is not born from any desire to cut corners, but I like the creativity and problem-solving aspects to it. I also don't like feeling beholden to a company, particularly when they do things like ban conversions at events, put profiles in with miniatures and charge exorbitant prices for this 'exclusivity'. I'm constantly baffled when Stockholm-syndrome has kicked in and 'loyal' customers view any variation or creativity as somehow damaging the wider hobby.

This is one of the reasons I really respond well to companies like Crooked Dice and TTCombat. Despite the fact that Crooked Dice produce a range of miniatures, 7TV is a miniatures agnostic game where creativity is actively encouraged, whereas by putting their rules and stat lines online for Carnevale, TTCombat encourage people to try their game with other miniatures (which is what I did) before they invest. In both cases, I am actually more inclined to by official models because I like the cut of their jib.

Having said all that, here is an example of me at my proxying finest. This is Tasha Lem from the Papal Mainframe set for the now deceased Doctor Who Miniatures Game from Warlord Games. Now she has risen again and been reborn as a vampire (initially a Noble Strigoi, and later probably demoted to Common Strigoi, that's Venetian politics for you) for Carnevale.

I felt that the DWMG miniatures were good match for Carnevale as both games have fairly truescale proportions (no massive heads or hands) so she wouldn't look out of place.

In terms of painting, I'm not massively pleased as the contrast paint I used didnt really respond well to the quite shallow details on the model, and my initial experiment with Gulliman Flesh really didn't work meaning there are more layers on the skin than I wanted.

The face looks a bit clownish in the photo, but she looks better in real life, possibly because my eyesight isn't very good. She may end up being stripped an redone in time, but I'm just as likely to leave her until I get hold of some of the official vampires.

Whilst I was painting her, I also took the opportunity to rebase and repurpose a model I had put together to proxy and try out Guildball. I built two full proxy teams but only ever played a few games and never bought into it (although I do appreciate Steamforged Games giving me the opportunity to do this), not because I didn't like it, just because my gaming group didn't really take to it and fantasy-sports games don't really take off as projects without opponents.

This model, given that it was originally a zombie, seems like it would work best as a Starved Dhampir. I think I'll repaint the purple bits to be red to be more thematic at some point too.

So here's my current proxy Strigoi gang for Carnevale. A Noble Strigoi, two Reapers, a Nosferatu and a Starved Dhampir. That comes in at 72 ducats, which is more than enough for a small game and will allow for multiplayer games, along with my Guild and Rashaar, and just a break from using the same models all of the time. Additionally, by me having proxies it means if a friend likes the look of the Strigoi, our forces won't be identical.

As it happens there some more Carnevale miniatures arrived today. I bid on an eBay lot which implied that some miniatures miniatures might be broken or missing bits and I had been prepared to raid the bits box to make something work. However, it turns out that the lot I bought for just £8 (including postage) included 6 full miniatures (RRP is £25 for five) and a few random bits that might be useful for conversions.

The selection includes two Rashaar cultists (a Slave and Hybrid), one Guild member (a Citizen), two servants of the Vatican (an Inquisitor and an Executioner) and a Patrician partygoer (another Barnabotti to join the one I already own). All of these are sculpts I don't own and so this was a pretty good eBay haul. The flip side is that 've now started two more gangs and so the Strigoi might remain as proxies for some time.

Admittedly, this does mean an increase in the Lead Mountain, but I've countered this by giving three MDF 15mm bunkers for Flames of War to Pete and throwing away eight broken Lord of the Rings plastic miniatures that were beyond saving. All of this leaves my numbers for the start of the year looking like this:

Acquired: -5
Painted: 11
Lead Mountain: 562