Wednesday, 17 October 2018


Yesterday I was informed that several large packages (previously blogged about in this parish) were delayed and would be delivered today.

This was a stressful bit of news because  we were due to have our cut-de-sac resurfaced, beginning at 7AM this morning.

At 4AM this morning we heard the sound of the reversing signals of a large truck outside and figured that this was the advance scouting party, and thus were prepared here at the Dark Tower to withstand the ensuing three day siege.

7AM came, then 8AM...

At 9AM the first of 8 packages arrived and by 10AM the last parcel arrived unlike the work crews. It was then that the mystery of the noise in the night was revealed, when I saw that the signs warning us that were were in a war zone, had been changed to the 22nd. Obviously this was why they'd been around during the early hours.


And so at 10AM this morning this was the state of my kitchen:

trust me, that is a lot of figures and games, all of which are now neatly stacked awaiting proper unpacking due to my heavy work schedule today, as I was using the memsahib's day in the office (she's a senior civil service type so does sometimes have to leave the house to attend face to face meetings when it's something important) to get a few hours extra work under the table. Then it was on with the house cleaning, the memsahib eventually escaping her formal duties at about 18:30.

I did of course leave the kitchen for her attention so that she wouldn't feel left out of the 'fun' as is right and proper.

I did open one package ugly - the Strontium Dog miniatures sets, from Goblin Gaming, and found they had kindly included the Johnny Alpha with electronux special edition model, gratis. This was a lovely surprise.

I will be writing some more old school reminiscences and thoughts in due course, but at present I have a load of emotions, and metal sketches that I need to be able to organise properly, so please bear with me.


PS: There are several hundred Chaos models in those boxes, somewhere!

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Bargains Galore & Reminiscence

Well, as I close out 2019's gaming season I've been bitten with the Warhammer bug as well as a distinct need for some connection to my younger self on a cultural level.

As you know, I bought a rather nice and somewhat substantial Chaos collection on Saturday, but yesterday, I came upon a rather large and reasonably well painted Nurgle daemonic army which I won on a well known auction site for a measly £185.

I am pleased enough with the painting and will only be using a bit of gloss varnish on some chitinous carapace, and rebating them all over onto square bases as is right and proper.

1 x Daemon Prince
4 x Pox Bringer
2 x Spoilpox Scrivener
12 x Nurgling Bases
101 x Plaguebearers
9 x Plague Drones; a couple of missing hands, but I have that sorted
1 x Furculent Gnarlmaw

All in all, the unpainted value is around £450 - £500 so I am quite satisfied with the deal.

I also picked up both of the original Realm Of Chaos supplements for 3rd edition Warhammer for £135. I had been told by several 'fonts of knowledge' that I'd never get them for that price, but as you may have surmised by now, with very few exceptions, I know the value of any old school item probably better than most.

Both books are in great condition despite being 30 years old, and the first volume, 'Slaves To Darkness' is an interesting item, having a dust cover, something I've not seen before (and trust me these flinty and cynical old eyes have seen many. many rare and interesting items over the last 4 decades) so I am more than happy with the deal.

And then, last night, I was struck with the idea that I should sell my 'big box' Adeptus Titanicus which I bought the other wee. I had a paint issue with the two Warlord titans and had sold them, so I was left with essentially the same as the £35 set with a big box.

Well, I was able to sell the incomplete set for the same price as I paid for the complete game.

I immediately purchased the £35 rule set for £30 ( I will be buying titans to suit my own tastes) and then invested the rest in the 'Strontium Dog' skirmish game from Warlord.

Now, I was a lover of the S.D story in 2000AD when I was a lad and even today, they are still great stories,so the opportunity to fire a number 4 cartridge and blow a hole in the wall, take my electronux to the jaw of the guy stood just inside and then finish the battle with a well placed stasis grenade was so zarjaz that I vas as happy as der cucumber!

My younger brother turned up today with a box of freshly renovated Citadel pre slot Gangsters, having kindly agreed to give my recent purchase some TLC which should see them goof for another 3 decades of shoot-out on the mean streets.

I've been trying to be very disciplined at work, but I have so many things going around in my head in the form of ideas for games which I need to flesh out - the first being the creation of a 'living town' as outlined in a recent post.

However, first off, I need to decide whether I am going to proceed with my 28mm ECW plan. The house is filled with 810 of the little buggers, but I just don't have the time to base them.

So, I may offer them for sale or trade.

If you have a collection of any of the following, fully painted and fancy trading them for some ECW (Perry metal) then drop me a line:

28mm Medieval
28mm Early Renaissance
28mm Feudal
Pre slotta Fantasy

I've also been reminiscing about the days of Games Workshop's pre-Warhammer incarnation, games of Once Upon A Time In The West Country and Saturday morning visits over to Doncaster to Athena Books and the venerable Terry Wise's 'Wargamers Attic' with Darren, Simon and Roger (more so with Roger) as were always at each other's homes and always willing to go that extra mile for our hobby. 

I was thinking about how fast we could all paint back then. We could get 10-20 28mm figures painted on Saturday morning and by lunchtime, we'd be over at Terry's den swapping them for something from his shelves. I lose track of the stuff that we came home with, but it was always something interesting.

Terry's regular mailing list of secondhand figures were also a joy as you often found something obscure. 

when Terry called it a day, they guy who took over was obnoxious and the suspicious type who thought if you had long hair you were going to empty his shelves. He once made a smart arsed remark when I was out to do some serious shopping and I placed the 20-30 books I had in my arms on the counter and just walked out. He was no Terry Wise - people of that caliber are few and far between these days. The best examples I can think of are John Armatys, Tim Gow, Jerry Elmore, David Harrison and Dave Hoyles - gentlemen wargamers to a man and all a cut above the rest in my humble opinion. We need more people like this, in these days of plastic and big book rule sets.

Ah me - I am getting all teary-eyed.


Friday, 12 October 2018

R.I.P Greg Stafford

For those who like me grew up in Glorantha, it's a sad day indeed...

Chaosium write:

Vale Greg Stafford (1948 - 2018)

The shock and grief the Chaosium family felt at the news of the passing of our beloved and revered company founder, Greg Stafford, cannot be measured. Greg died yesterday in his sweat lodge at his home in Arcata, CA. Mercifully, his passing was painless and quick. He died as he lived, on a spiritual quest of enlightenment.

As one of the greatest game designers of all time; winner of too many awards to count; and a friend, mentor, guide, and inspiration to generations of gamers, “the Grand Shaman of Gaming” influenced the universe of tabletop gaming beyond measure.

Greg founded The Chaosium in 1975, and from the outset (to quote his own words) “was never content to imitate, but instead published games that were original in their style of play, content and design”. Under his leadership, the company quickly became renowned for its originality and creativity, and was responsible for introducing numerous things to the hobby that are standards today. As John Wick (7th Sea, Legend of the Five Rings) memorably said, “The older I get, the more I hear young RPG designers say ‘Never been done before!’ And then I just point at something Greg Stafford did a few decades ago.”

Greg’s work in roleplaying games, board games, and fiction have been acclaimed as some of the most engaging and innovative of all time. There will doubtless be many valedictory messages over the coming days from the countless many that Greg inspired and enthused across his many interests and passions - Glorantha, Oaxaca, King Arthur, shamanism, mythology and more.

For now, we leave you with the words of the Myth maker himself, speaking at the 2018 ENnies Awards ceremony, his last public engagement. Greg was immensely proud of the work Chaosium had done in recent years, particularly since his return as chair of the board in 2015. Ultimately, on reflection, he recognized that everyone’s success in the gaming industry was down to the enthusiasm and support of the fans. We at Chaosium recognize that countless RPG fans are fans (including us!) because of Greg Stafford and what he achieved.

A Red Face Is Today's News...

Every so often, I can be a bit of a twat.

Today my ECW figures have arrived, and I confess that the photos had made them look very bright - too bright as I commented somewhat brusquely.

But grabbing two strips at random from the boxes in my dining room, they are bloody lovely.

I've of course written immediately to the painter and thrown myself on his mercy and my sword.

Never let it be said that I will not admit when I am wrong, and let the record publicly show that in this instance, I was.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Lots Of New Toys, But A Real Pain In The Neck...

It's rare for me to take a day away from my desk, but I awoke in the night with what I think is a trapped nerve in my neck and despite my daily swim for my arthritis, it's giving me enough pain that after sitting at my desk pottering about with this and that, I threw in the towel and instead spent the day, ordering all of my material supplies for 2019.

As of 17:30 today, the only thing I've not sorted out is my brush order. I've decided to do away with all 3 of my Daylight Co lighting rigs in favour of new Daylight Co adjustable LED rigs at £145 each. I will only use the best, but having spent an entire month's gross income, I am feeling satisfied but somewhat poorer for the exercise. That said I know that I have probably the best stocked and equipped studio possible.

Feeling as I do, it was something of a struggle to sit and pour over 200+ paint colours, adding them to the basket one at a time.

But, I'll be back at my desk in the morning and getting on with work as normal, regardless.

It's been an interesting week in terms of purchases. I'd decided to not go ahead with having 1200 15mm Italian Wars painted and so with a large amount of money in hand as a result, I decided to spend it in a shotgun fashion... Pulling the metaphorical trigger and seeing what I managed to hit.

I decided to use a portion of the cash to pay off some of my credit. It was all in hand anyway, but why not speed the process?

I was then the jeweller's on Sunday finding out how the hell to change the time on the engines watch that Kayte gave me for my birthday. It seems that it's a sure threaded winder which the member of staff who originally calibrated the the watch  had over-tightened. Problem solved (for with a watch of that value they do solve things there and then) I wandered around the store and, in a fit of love and spontaneous generosity, I bought Kayte a rather nice little Tissot timepiece.

Later, I came across a largish collection of Citadel pre-slotta Gangsters from the early 80s, which needed a tiny bit of TLC (thanks to my kid brother, Andy this is in hand)and at £2 per model it was a no brainer, although I had no real plans to buy any gangsters.

Then, again on Sunday I found some rather nice 20mm WW2 British which were priced quite fairly at £50 and so, were added to my collection, just because I couldn't resist.

Monday saw me purchase a large 20mm Romanian WW2 army which I'd been considering for a few months and which had not sold - surprisingly. My mate has a load of unpainted Russians, so it's all hands on deck to get them painted, I hear. At £300 I'm more than happy to be patient whilst my opponent marshals his forces.

And in a final flurry of retail therapy, yesterday I bought a very large Warhammer Fantasy Battle Demonic army for £500. Again, I'd not planned to buy an army of this type, but its pretty and as I previously noted, LARGE.

Anyway, on to the details of the army - by box:
Box 1
Generally, a big demons box.
Demon of Tzeentch
Demon of Khorne
Demon of Slaanesh
Demon Prince (Belokar)
Keeper of Secrets
Greater Demon of Tzeentch
A scratch built The Blue Scribes. Can be used as a Herald of Tzeentch on Burning Chartiot
A 6 ‘man’ unit of Bloodcrushers, with full command. This unit was painted by a Golden Demon finalist
Box 2
Generally, a box of bigger stuff!
Burning Chariot of Tzeentch
Skull Cannon of Khorne – a cannon for chaos!
Khorne Soulgrinder
Bloodthirster, Greater Demon of Khorne. An awesome figure – it’s heavy but all limbs have been pinned.
Box 3
Now we come to the rank and file
5 Screamers of Tzeentch (see box 5)
6 Flamers of Tzeentch (newer model – see box 4)
52 Horrors of Tzeentch
Standard bearer and musician. Painted by Golden Demon finalist
Herald of Tzeentch. Painted by Golden Demon finalist
Box 4
More rank and file
30 Plaguebearers, including Standard Bearer and Musician
8 Harpies
20 Daemonettes of Slaanesh with Standard Bearer, Musician and Champion. Painted by Golden Demon finalist
Character – The Masque of Slaanesh. Painted by Golden Demon finalist
10 Seekers of Slaanesh with Standard Bearer, Musician and Champion. Painted by Golden Demon finalist
6 Flamers of Tzeentch (older model)
Box 5
More rank and file (my favourite box!)
5 Screamers of Tzeentch (in addition to those in box 3)
6 Flesh Hounds of Khorne
Character – Karanak, Hound of Vengeance
Character – Skulltaker
Herald of Khorne
46 Bloodletters, including two standard bearers.

Following the purchase of the gangsters, I had a look around for scenery and decided that the TT Combat MDF buildings would be fun, and thus plan to buy a dozen or so.

Then after a chat with my fellow gamers, I decided to begin with a Prohibition era town and add in later buildings to create a sort of living small U.S town which will see 70s crime waves and gang troubles, 80s extraterrestrial abandonments, creeping horrors and soviet invasions, all tackled by the ever resourceful American teenager.

Later we'll see terror plots and zombie infestations. Yes, the town of Fackham is going to be busy, busy, busy...

Tomorrow, I am expecting 900 painted 28mm ECW to arrive, having been commissioned back in May. Now all I have to do, is to get them based and the pike and flags fitted, and that will be the last gaming purchases for 2018 and will hopefully herald in some good winter gaming sessions.

My neck still hurts though...


Sunday, 30 September 2018

Will Wonders Never Cease?

It's been another hard week in the studio, but that's not a complaint; simply the reason why I've been quiet for a few days.

In the last two weeks, as I noted a couple of posts back, the Memsahib and I have taken to a daily swim before work. This means that I don't get my first coffee of the day until 2 hours later than normal, but it does mean that I am getting exercise which is also beneficial as I spend my days hunched over my desk painting, and it goes some way to countering the effects of doing so on my neck and spine, without any high impact which would not be good at all for my arthritis.

I'd recommend swimming for any of you who have desk jobs or who spend a lot of time painting figures. It'll make a hell of a difference, and after several of my contemporaries have checked out from planet Earth in the last two years, I'll try anything that might balance the scales in my favour somewhat. The premature loss of my Mum to undiagnosed heart problems in May has played very heavily on my mind so a bit of gentle but determined activity is a step in the right direction.

As I also mentioned in a previously, I purchased the new Adeptus Titanicus game after Roger poked his stick of inquiry through the bars of my cage and then threw me the peanuts of curiosity to munch on.

I looked in the box on the day the game arrived and I frankly blanched when I saw the number of pieces which needed to be built. Now, when the original game came out, it was a 5 minute job to get a Titan into a playable form, but that was in the early days of GW plastic components. Today it's a different world where ivory tower dwellers like I, are assaulted by kits with 100+ parts and told 'it's normal' - Yes, of course it is for today's gamers, but in my day we called these precision model kits and bought them from shops like Beatties, Marcway and Redgates - they did not come as part of a game and would have been a very elite (and expensive * ) way to come up with figures for a tabletop battle.

Anyway, this morning my good lady was too fragile to swim and so, we had a bit of a lie in for a change, but by 10:27 I was getting restless and so I prowled downstairs for coffee and mental stimulation, my eyes alighting on the A.T box.

And that was where the first wonder occurred, when I decided to start and build a Titan...

Ten minutes and a cheeky shower later saw the second wonder graced our humble home, when a  brief visit to my studio 'up on 3' saw me with clippers, glue and scalpels in hand (and yes I did trot through the house with a handful of sharp blades in front of me, because I was that way out this A.M) and was opening the box at the dining table (I know my studio would have been better, but I am in there enough as it is, so quit nagging!) and fighting down the rising fear which ran it's tongue up and down my spine.

5 hours of hard graft later, a third wonder came to be, and I had the two Warlord class Titans built to the point of painting. The bodies have been left partially constructed ahead of being sprayed and the armour plates have been left off as they will be painted separately. I did however make use of the magnet mounting points that GW thoughtfully included in the tooling so that I have my model future proofed ahead of any additional weapons sets being released. For this e interested, I used epoxy to secure the rare earth magnets, but always make sure that you have the polarities right before gluing them into place. I made all of the magnets on the torso mounting points, 'positive' and the magnets on the weapons themselves, 'negative'.

I am really really impressed with the tooling on the models and the detail is outstanding. I thought that they were excessively priced as you may recall, but I reiterate that I've had to reevaluate that position and apologise to Roger for my rantings because they really are something else and the building process although tedious for me (because of my job, rather than the models) endeared me to them even more.

Anyway, this is where I was at close of play today (although I really do hate 'working' a the weekend):

The legs are a work of art and are very possible if that's your bag. Just be careful as they are tricksy if you don't look at the instructions (yes, I got it wrong at first) and like me, you're building two kits at once.

So, all in all a day of wonders has ensued.

Having shelled out last week for 1200 15mm renaissance, together with the cost of having them painted, I am pretty much placing an embargo on any more spending for the year, but I did weaken slightly, earlier on in the week, when I purchased a couple of the new Reaver class Titans, which mercifully have a few less pieces.

I have to say that despite my earlier reservations, this is the most accessible LARGE mocha game on the market today. True, if you are a frugal gamer you may as well stick with Battletech but if you can afford A.T then it's going to give you a lot of value for money by the look of things.


PS: I also indulged in several Marks & Spencer sweaters in pastel shades, for the winter convention season, because you have to keep ahead in the sartorial stakes after all, and being an old school gamer, knitwear was very big in the 80s.

* Back then, there were no mecha games so we bought 1/72 and 1/100 scale Robotech kits which were truly enormous and not cheap and as I have recounted before, we wrote our own rules - see that FASA? We were there first!.

This expense was magnified because we  bought dozens of them and our collective pocket money was drained very quickly indeed. That said, we were pretty good builders and painters and there were always older sic-fi gamers we knew on the show circuit who would pay handsomely for our work. We could sell one and buy three more larger kits on average. 

We also routinely carved up these expensive kits to model them with exposed superconductor cables and the like, which did sometimes lead to hysterical outbursts when we goofed up.

The Tactical Pod Regult was a bastard of a model with it's possible legs that were always loose, leading to the permanent posing of the joints with adhesive.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Another Logo

As I start to overhaul the online presence of Screaming Mob Miniatures and to launch the Satanic Panic sub-brand, I thought I'd share the new S.M.M logos with you...

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Well, that closes the doors on 2018 for me, with a last hurrah of Italian Wars stuff... Oh and a Giant Killer Reptile

This week has been a murderous one, work-wise, so imagine my pleasure to be able to sit at a table yesterday and plan my final project for this year, in the form of 1200 Italian Wars figures, using the Venexia range.

I am not one for set army lists for the period, but rather I like to have a big cache of models with all the right troop types for the various antagonists in approximately correct numbers. This means a lot of Swiss and Landsknechts but obviously a wedge of generic infantry and cavalry with a few nation specific touches for flavour.

I spent 3 hours with my regular opponent Dave yesterday putting together a list, and then 6 hours last night and this morning, turning those notes into lists of castings, with basing instructions and painting guides, before sending them off along with a 4 figure some to be painted.

As usual I'll paint the commanders myself as therapy, but also as usual, I am not spending my weekends painting hordes of troops, when I've spent the previous 5 days doing just that for a living.

Now I have to work out all the flags I'll need and try to be patient as I await the return of the models.

I also thought it may tickle some of you to see what happens when a mad younger brother and a tortoise owning friend, have an hour of spare time on their hands...