Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Random Hobbyness

Hi guys. Thought I'd put up a few musings as I've not posted for a few days.

I was digging around in the attic a couple of weeks back and stumbled on a box of old metal figures that I'd started out with, when I first got into the hobby in the late 90s. Back then, I'd clumsily daubed them with any sort of paint I could lay my hands on... the results weren't too great, but everyone's gotta start somewhere I guess.

Previously, I've tried to strip down old metal figures using nail polish remover with a high acetone content. This is OK, to a point, but requires quite a soak and a lot of effort and gives a reasonable result, at best. In a passing conversation with my good mate Dan, I mentioned this and he recommended...

...Polycell advanced paint stripping gel. This stuff is awesome and I would absolutely recommend it on to anyone else looking to reclaim some old metal pieces. The tub set me back around £12.00, which sounds expensive, but it has gone a long way and I still have some left. At a conservative estimate, I think I've reclaimed £200 - £250 of old figures, including some really classic casts.

I found the best way of cleaning the figures was to part-fill an old plastic sandwich box with the metal pieces and then add the gel until they're just covered. Ideally, leave them to stew for a few minutes, but they can be worked almost straight away. I transferred them from the pot to a container of warm water and used a toothbrush to remove the paint. This stuff is great and a lot of the figures can out as new with very little effort. The latest batch was left to soak for a day or so and the paint virtually fell off. The gel does stink a bit, so make sure you open a window, and it does turn the consistency of snot when you're removing it after.... other than that, it's great.

So a little investment, a bit of time and five tubes of superglue later, and I've got a whole raft of renewed figures to paint up again. 

Whilst looking around on the net for some painting inspiration, I found a couple of guys who are turning out some awesome figures. The first is a guy called Lester Bursley. He's got a heap of tutorials all over the net and his figures are really quite impressive. From what I've read, he's only been on the scene for a relatively short amount of time, but his stuff is cracking.

The second guy can be found online here: . I've pinched a couple of pics from this guy's blog as they're nothing short of stunning and would really recommend you head on over and check out the site in it's entirety. Of particular note are the Angels Sanguine Terminators...

Well, that's it for now, more soon. 

Laters :D

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Kingdom of Britannia

Hey folks, for today's post, I thought I'd change tack a little and put up some pics of my Kingdom of Britannia fleet for Dystopian Wars. Dystopian Wars is a relatively new game on the market, from UK developer, Spartan Games. It's set in the late 1800s but in a slightly altered reality. A technological discovery in Antarctica lead to the major world nations developing huge war machines, rather than use the tech for the greater good.

Dystopian Wars got popular in a hurry, possibly unexpectedly so, and models and books were at somewhat of a premium a little while back. Unusually for me, rather than read the rules first and get an idea of where I'd go with it, I figured I'd be patriotic and throw my lot in with the Kingdom of Britannia. The Prussians and Blazing Sun were already popular and I didn't like the American boats too much, so the KOB seemed like the best bet.

I picked up the starter fleet and set about painting them up. After a couple of games against John's Blazing Sun faction, I quickly added another battleship and hoped that running two battleships would psych out the opposition. However, the Dreadnought class ships were released shortly after, and my battleship team (above, with three cruisers) was quickly outclassed.

The other real issue was that the KOB ships need to be fairly precisely placed in order to capitalise on the weaponry on board and how it is positioned. Being under-gunned on a small table with lots of land features is a certain loss for the Brits.... if you play an 'out of the box' army, that is.

The answer came with another wave of reinforcements for the KOB in the submarines. These things come with a 'ram rating' so if there is a collision, then they're at a considerable advantage. I'm not a finesse guy at all; my gaming motto has always been 'roll the dice, don't think twice' and just throw it all in there. I was causing collisions with my other boats and fairing reasonably, but by taking models with a ram rating, it gives you the upper hand in these situations. Add to that, these things can surface, ram an opponent, then submerge again out of harms way, so a much better fit for my playing style.

Despite my initial determination not to run a dreadnought like everyone else, they're just too good and I took the plunge. They pack a massive punch anyways, but the ram rating sold it. So much so, that I bought a second, which is still awaiting paint. The smaller vessels in the pic are the Bastion Class Escorts which you can throw in front of the capital ships and take a hit. Unlike most of the other escorts available, the KOB boats don't have a primary weapon in addition to the anti-air defence systems, which is a minor grumble.

To add a further threat, I added to the number of bombers in the fleet. I've also customed the 'tiny flyer' tokens for another talking point. The standard tokens are single-piece resin castings, 20mm x 20mm with three planes molded on the top. My good mate Dan pointed out a couple of web pages where others had 'released' the planes from the bases and thought I'd give it a try. It's easy enough to do with a small multi-tool with a circular blade (remember to wear a mask!). The planes can then be re-mounted onto a Warhammer-Fantasy-sized base, using thin brass wire located in a small hole drilled on the underside of each aircraft. The square holes in the corners were cut to act as dice-docks, another idea from the interweb. Each is big enough to locate a 5mm dice in, so you can track each tokens fuel consumption without losing your dice in amongst all the other markers on the tabletop.

The current, revised list comprises of two dreadnoughts, each with escorts and a tiny flyer combat air patrol, the submarines and the bombers. And that's about it. As I'm running two dreads, I figured I needed a marker to denote which one is the flagship and I found this guy on the Hasslefree Miniatures Website. He does the job pretty nicely, and I've tied the figure in with the fleet by carrying the dark green livery through onto the base, along with the red, white and blue striping seen on the side of each ship.

Well, that's it for now, more coming up soon :)

Monday, 20 February 2012

The Great Devourer

Hey all, thought I'd give over today's post to the Great Devourer (no, not my kids!)

Two Christmas' back Santa was kind enough to bring me the makings of a Tyranid Army (what a cool guy!). Over the last couple of years I've changed my approach to army building. Rather than picking up odds and ends as you go (and ultimately lose interest), I design the whole list, with a theme, and pick up all the pieces in one hit. It's then a marathon build, before undercoating en masse and painting a unit at a time.

I'm not the quickest at getting models from the box to the battlefield; the Necromunda gang I posted about last week took a year to complete the ten models... Needless to say, my Tyranid horde isn't finished yet. However, I thought I'd put up a few pics of it in progress and hopefully spur myself on to do a bit more.

Recently, I posted this pic of my Ork Ripper Swarm. This guy was inspired by the special rule 'The Sarge is Acting Strangely'. I'd had the idea for the conversion before seriously considering the army list and was a major catalyst for choosing the Parasite of Mortrex character as an HQ selection.

The Inquisitor was another conversion that I'd had in my head for some time before starting construction of the list. I didn't want to build yet another Space Marine list to incorporate him in, but wanted to have a reason to use him. I figured he'd been sent to the planet to investigate a xenos incursion, so depicted him tracking through some alien eggs. 

This is the finished article; pretty happy with the final piece. The colour scheme is deliberately close to that of the Tyranids in order to achieve coherency in the army, despite the variation of figures in the list. This has also given me the excuse to build some Guardsmen conversions that I'd dreamt up a while back, but didn't want to convert up a whole army. I'll get some pictures of the Inquisitor's inducted guard squad 'Ripper Swarms' up once they're painted.

The swarm itself is lead by this Hive Tyrant. As always, I'm on the lookout for subtle ways of converting pieces up, so they're not totally bog standard. The main alteration here is a head swap from the Carnifex kit which needed a small amount of remodelling to fit the neck socket. Since building this, the kit has been re-released in resin, which would have been a stack easier to assemble. I tend to avoid metal figures that have more than two components, but this was a necessary evil. The worst part of the assembly process was getting the legs in place and fixing them substantially enough to support the rest of the figure. In the end, I used the power drill to bore a hole through the lower body in order to use some heavy gauge wire to fix it all together.

This is the finished Hive Tyrant, albeit with a repainted tongue (originally green) as blue seemed a better contrast to the rest of the colour scheme and had already been used as a highlight colour on the Inquisitor. I always try and use as limited-a-pallette as possible when painting an army as it provides strong coherency between all the component parts.

The army vanguard is lead by the Parasite of Mortrex, built from the Warrior kit with Forgeworld resin wings, another necessary evil as I've had problems with their products in the past. This thing is absolutely mental and has some quirky special rules. The vanguard is comprised of four Shrikes (winged warriors) and a brood of 20 Gargoyles. These guys should be able to close on enemy held objectives or key units in a short space of time and tie up any resistance until the main bulk of the army arrives to wipe them out.

The army features two Tervigons as Troops choices rather than HQs, thanks to taking broods of Termagants. These things can give birth to 3D6 new Termagants each round, until you roll doubles, so could potentially add a couple of extra troops choices each, to the game before their birthing sacs dry up for the night. 

One of these bad boys will bolster the main bulk of the army with the Hive Tyrant, whilst the other will likely sit on the home objective, spewing out new troops units to help defend against enemies trying to capture it. Whilst being extremely useful and giving birth to new Termagants, lets not forget that these things are Monstrous Creatures too, so no slouch in combat. I'm hoping that they will be enough of a deterrant for most would-be challengers, but will be able to mix it up if the fighting gets hot.

The other little modelling thing I wanted to try out with the main characters, was to use the collapsed aquila structure from the Honoured Imperium terrain set. In the pic above, you can just make out the shape of the aquila, when you stand the figures back-to-back. This was reasonably straight forward to achieve with a multi tool and a bit of household filler, and adds that extra bit of character to the army.

Well, that's it so far; hope you guys like the results. As ever, once I've got some more pieces painted up, I'll post some images.


Friday, 17 February 2012

Space Marine

Hey all, thought I'd go a little different today and put up a quick post about Space Marine from THQ on the '360. I'd best describe myself as a casual gamer and this one is bang on my level. The campaign was good fun; long enough to offer a challenge, but didn't drag; tough enough to offer some tricky spots, but not so much so that it stopped being fun. There were a couple of switcheroos in the storyline which were entertaining, so all in all, I thought it was well worth the money.

The real (unexpected) treat here is the online gameplay. Having played through Halo, Gears and some of the others in the genre, I've been largely put off playing online as games tend to be unbalanced in a hurry, if you play against more serious players who session the games and unlock all the cool stuff. With this you're on a much more even footing; if you get popped, you can copy the guys weapon fit for a life, regardless of whether you've unlocked the guns and perks for yourself yet.

The customizer allows you to pimp up your character using components from around a dozen different variations of power armour (and the same again for Chaos) which can be custom coloured. Alternatively, you can get alternate chapter specific skins with unique elements from the game marketplace for a small outlay of MS points.The tactical marine is getting more and more useful as I'm advancing through the levels. The ability to carry two decent guns plus the Bolt Pistol as well as the increased movement you get from travelling light is really useful. The Storm Bolter in the picture is absolutely awesome, particularly in Exterminatus mode against waves of Orks.

My guy is currently up to level 26 and should advance to level 27 during the next game (unless it's a total blowout). I've just switched my preferred assault setup from the Thunder Hammer and Plasma Pistol from the pic above to the relic chainsword and bolter, as I've unlocked the true grit perk and the chainsword is a bit quicker to wield. It's also worth taking the final vengeance perk in the secondary slot, so if you get nailed, the jump pack blows up and often injures or kills the attacker if they were in close quarters.

All in all a load of fun and would really recommend to everyone. Big shout out too, to el Tod, RinoMuffins, HiPrime8, EvilWeeble, DaveyDee, Beast Unleashed, Ray Gun Reno and all the other guys online.


Thursday, 16 February 2012


Hey folks, in last Friday's post, I briefly mentioned my Necromunda gang, so thought I'd put up some pics of them today. Whilst looking around at the various options available, I messed around with a few odds and ends I had left over from previous projects and figured that would be the way to go. So, I ended up kitbashing a gang together and am really happy with the way they turned out. They're basically Catachan Guardsmen with heads from the WFB Chaos Marauder Horsemen kit, plus a few extra pieces thrown in.

I wanted the gang to actually appear as though they are interracting with the environment. It's not always possible to tell a story on a 25mm base, but these worked out reasonably well, I think. Each of the bases has a textured top, giving further suggestion as to the surroundings. These came from various sources, including the 40k weapon crates kit and a couple of spare Rhino hatches. The paving slab effect on the two in the picture above, was achieved by cutting discs from the WFB modular movement trays. The machine type parts on the bases were looted from the 'Guard heavy weapons team, a Necron Destroyer and the Marine tank upgrade frame. The Genestealer skull came from (I think...) the Scout kit.

The guy on the left if my variation on a conversion I've seen a few times on the web, with the plasma-gunner shielding their face in case the weapon overheats. I thought it fitted in quite well with the scavenged and crudely maintained feel of the underhive wargear. The shotguns came from the Space Marine Scout kit and required the most modifcation of all of the scavenged parts in the gang.

Of all ten figures in the gang, these are probably my favourites, negotiating the barrels. The flamer upgrade worked pretty well too and have since used this on several other figures I've put together. The flame itself is a modified burning torch from the WFB Flagellant warband that was trimmed and filed to fit inside the muzzle of the flamer, which was drilled out with a pin vice.

Hope you like the finished articles as much as I do. I'm intending to get some pics uploaded soon of the gang I recently painted up for my bro.

Well, that's it for now, laters all

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Call of the Wild

Hey folks, today I thought I'd put up a few pics of the Space Wolves army the I took to the 40k doubles tournament a while back, with my bro, Olly. The format was that the army should be comprised of two 500-point forces, each bringing 1x HQ and 1x Troops choices. Between the two forces, each of the other army unit types should be represented (Elite, Heavy, Fast) before you can take a second choice from any of those categories.

So, the list we ended up with was:

Olly - Wolf Guard with Frost Blade & Blood Claw pack in a Drop Pod, Dreadnought with Multimelta in Drop Pod and a Lone Wolf in Terminator armour.

Pete - Rune Priest with Murderous Hurricane and Storm Caller powers & Blood Claw pack in a Drop Pod, Long Fangs with two Plasma Cannons, two Rocket Launchers and a Rhino transport, one Landspeeder with a Heavy Bolter.

This is the Rune Priest with one of the Blood Claw packs. During the second game of the tournament, these guys jumped out of their Drop Pod and felled a Chaos Terminator squad to a man, with their Bolt Pistols. I did crack a smile.

This is the second of the Blood Claw packs, which teamed up with the Wolf Guard battle leader, again in a Drop Pod. When you deploy with the pods, you can deploy half (rounding fractions up) on turn one, and roll for the rest from turn two onwards. They also have inertial guidance systems which prevents them scattering into buildings/other units and so on, so they're pretty accurate. In the first three games, this really complimented the Wolves' aggressive style. In hindsight though, we should have played way more defensively in the last game, which ultimately cost us a placing.

These are the Long Fangs with the Wolf Guard. Despite the tendancy of Plasma weapons to be a little unreliable, these worked absolutely perfectly throughout the whole day without any overheats at all.

 The Dreadnought was based on the Black Reach snap-fit model with a couple of wolfy add-ons. This was also deployed by Drop Pod and managed to deny our third round opponents half of the board and an objective, when it was deployed. The Lone Wolf in his Terminator Armour is the last surviving member of his pack and set about seeking a glorious end. Strangely, despite throwing him into a stack of certain death situations, we only managed to kill him once. He was pivotal in the closing moments of our third round encounter with another marine army and stuck around until the end to deny a second objective.

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Tequila Allstars

Hey folks, mega-quick post today with a few shots of my Mexican Bandito Posse, dubbed the Tequila Allstars. These guys are from the Tombstone range by Black Scorpion Miniatures (see more from these guys in last Friday's post). These are one-piece figures and are a really good price for five models.

The Mexican's really stood out with the whole sombrero thing going on, which really pulls the whole posse together.

The cows for the cow rustling scenario came from The Foundry. They're nice models, two pieces each and aren't badly priced for what they are.... the killer here though was the postage, which nearly doubled the order total. To be fair, they were delivered within 24hrs, but really wouldn't have minded waiting a little longer!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Into the Maelstrom!

Guys, if you need to stock up on some hobby kit or are looking for some inspiration,. head on over to and take advantage of their current 18% off promotion, until 20th February. SImply use the code GET-HOBBYING at the checkout. This will work on any products except those from the Gale Force Nine ranges.

I've been using Maelstrom for some time now and am always very happy with their service. The range is excellent and I've just stocked up on a few essentials!

The indies

Hey folks, having posted examples of my GW figures over the past week, I thought I'd do something a little different today and put up some examples of minis from some of the independants.

Whilst Games Workshop is, by and large, the recognised establishment in the wargaming world, here in the UK, there are some fine alternatives if you're looking around for a bit of a change. I've always referred to them as the indies, but they are great figure manufacturers in their own rights, and here are a few examples.

This was a freebie miniature given to the first 4,000 through the gates at Salute in 2010. Salute is a cracking show put on by the South London Warlords each year, and recently it has grown to such a size that it's been hosted at ExCel in London's docklands. This year's event is on the 21st April and you can find out more about it on the Salute website. The model itself was sculpted by one of the guys over at Black Scorpion Miniatures who have a great range.

These cowboys also come from Black Scorpion as part of the excellent 'Tombstone' series. I'll feature my Mexican bandito posse over the next few days.

Next up are the guys at Hasslefree Miniatures. I love these figures; the quality of the sculpts has always been excellent and the castings very clean. Head on over to their site and have a browse around, there are some really great, slightly quirky models on there and are normally less than £3.50 each, which I think is cracking, considering the excellent quality of the pieces. The adventurer on the left of the picture is sold with a 'mystery (right) arm option' and was very pleased to find it was actually Hellboy, which, coincidentally, I'd been trying to find a figure for, for some time.

All the figures in the range are full of character...

These were another great find and a lot of fun to paint. If you're on the HF site looking for them (or Hellboy) they're not listed under the official character names, obviously for copyright purposes; I just interpreted them in the paint schemes you see them in...

This guy is a figure which, I believe, HF bought the rights to, rather than design from scratch, although a couple of tweaks were made as the original scabbard caused issues tearing the casting molds. Still a great figure and produced to the normal high standard of the rest of the HF range.

Last up is this bloke from Heresy Miniatures' trenchcoat gang range. A while back when we were looking at running a Necromunda campaign at the club, several of us looked at these as alternatives to the figures available from GW. Ultimately, I kit-bashed a gang together (I'll pop these on a future post) as I wanted something unique that would be a talking point. However, this is a great range with some really characterful pieces and the Heresy site is well worth a look as well. If there are any Doctor Who fans reading, Heresy produce several incarnations of your favourite time lord.

Well, that's it for the day. Laters!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Random Games Workshop Figures

Wassup everyone? In today's post, I've put together a series of pics of some random odds and ends I've been painting up recently, from the backlog of GW figures I've acquired over time.

I picked up these Space Marine Chapter Masters shortly after they were released. I'd originally intended to use them as squad leaders in a Marine force, but, when I got round to it, ended up building a primarily bike mounted force (see yesterday's post). 

This guy actually represents a Ripper swarm in my Tyranid force. There's quite a lot of narrative pieces in the list and this one was inspired by the rule 'the Sarge is acting strangely'. If an emeny unit tried to enter from a flanking table edge, they first have to roll to see if the squad leader turns into a Ripper swarm. The downed Ork is actually from the WFB Empire Archers kit. With a little modifcation including the Ripper instead of the arrow, an extra armour plate and a head-swap, I'm pretty pleased with the end result. The other swarms in the list are represented by an Inquisitor and his inducted Guard platoon stalking through alien eggs. I'll post some pics of those when I finish painting them up.

This Fire Dragon was bundled in with a load of figures I inherited from a friend who never got round to painting or playing. Just like GW a few years back, I've gone through a bit of a red phase...

The figure in the center was the UK Games Day special a couple of years back and was kindly donated by Gambit Games member Colin (cheers bud!). He was actually the test piece for the recently developed red schemes. The figures either side have been hanging around for about six years, so thought it was about time they were fixed up. By the way, if anyone is thinking about painting White over predominantly dark colours, I'd highly recommend a Dheneb Stone foundation layer first, and follow it up with a couple of thinned down layers of white. 

Two more inquisitor's henchmen from the backlog. Was pretty happy with the finish on the guy with the hedge trimmer.

The last offering today is this group. I'd originally intended to use Telion (center) in the Salamanders force, but figured removing all of the Ultramarines iconography could get a bit sketchy, so I scratch built an alternative model that better fitted the feel of the rest of the army. I'd recommend a trip to or if you're looking for specific components (but you've gotta be lucky!)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


OK Bond fans, so these guys don't carry golden guns for a million a shot... they're essentially White Scars in Salamanders armour, but they're a bit different from the normal armies you see on the tabletop and here's the story.

The whole thing started after a colleague at work bought me a space marine bike from the local store for the office Secret Santa one Christmas. As it was a one-off I raided the bits box and converted him up a bit, with a powerfist, head from the old Space Wolves upgrade frame and a couple of other bits and pieces. He turned out pretty cool and after re-reading the Space Marines codex, I decided it would be fun to have a bike based force. 

The original guy became the Captain (front centre). The cool thing is, if you equip your Space Marine Captain with a bike, you can take bike squads as Troops choices instead of fast attack, which is a great thing. Hanging back in cover and making a last-stitch swoop on an objective could be a game-winner. Whenever I set about a new army, I tend to build it around several units that are a little quirky that would be fun to play and/or interesting to model and try to balance the list with complimentary units. It doesn't always make for the most competitive list, but I've never been a maths-hammer-style player and would rather spend the game talking about the cool figures rather than how many D6s you can roll. 

The bike-mounted command squad is quite a points-sink, but it's the only one I've seen played at the club. The banner gives the edge in close-run assaults and the Apothecary grants the squad 'feel no pain', also pretty useful when the fighting hots up. Add to that two meltaguns and a flamer, and they can bring the fight to virtually anything in the game. The stand-out moment for this squad was a drive-by powerfist to a Chaos Dreadnought, which was pretty funny! 

The main objective capturing part of the army is the large bike squad, which consists of seven regular bikes, including two meltaguns and an attack bike with a multimelta. If need be, you can employ a sneaky conga-line tactic with these guys and stretch out across the board some way...

To bring some heavy firepower to the mix, there are two three-model squads of attack bikes with heavy bolters. There's been some talk about taking multimeltas instead, but I wanted to be able to dish out volume of fire from the mid-range while still having the greater flexibility of movement afforded by the bikes. Remember, bikers are relentless, so can move at full speed (not turbo though!) and fire their weapons at max.

Bolstering the number of Troops choices available are two Scout squads. One is kitted out with sniper rifles and a rocket launcher, with a Salamanders version of special character Telion (far left); the other with bolt pistols and combat blades. Their Sergeant packs a rare punch in Scout squads with a powerfist (looted from the Cadian kit). The sniper squad is normally deployed on the 'home' objective, preferably in decent cover with a good view! The other can outflank and surprise the opposition, causing them to re-think their strategy.

Out of the whole army, it's the close combat scout unit that has achieved the most notable success. In a really enjoyable game against a 'Guard army, these guys tore through two 'Guard squads, disabled a chimera with the powerfist and were setting about dismantling the command section when the game ended.

Rounding out the list is a Devastator squad, with three lascannons, three boltguns and a kitted out Sergeant that can defer a shooting benefit to one member of the squad if they themselves don't fire that round.

The paint scheme was relatively straight-forward, thanks to the Army Painter's Angel Green, and the whole force was base-coated in around 20 minutes. The armour highlighting was Snot Green; eagles are Dhened Stone, washed with Ogryn Flesh; shoulder pads Chaos Black with Mechrite Red/Blood Red/Macharius Solar Orange flame icons; mud and weathering is drybrushed Calthan Brown; lenses/scopes are Hawk Turquiose/Ice Blue/Skull White highlights; metallic areas are Tin Bitz, washed with Ogryn Flesh and highlighted with Boltgun Metal; bases are Scorched Brown/Dheneb Stone Drybrush with Citadel static grass detailing. The muzzle flashes and discharged shell casings were purchased from Armorcast based in Ohio in the States.

I've had mixed success with this army; there've been some great wins and some total slaughters (vs mechanised Orks *cough*), but it's always been fun to play.