Monday, 22 December 2014

It's Green, Hard And Nine Inches Long... No it's Not A Venusian's Pr*ck!

I've been at work this morning on the first of the kits I received on Saturday from Japan.

I've started with one of the smallest and by contrast, the largest to give you an idea of the scope for my fleet project.

Here you see one of two escort carriers and then the behemoth which will be both my fleet carrier and flagship, with a dozen squadrons of fighters and devastating defensive batteries.

Both kits are Bandai 'Space Battleship Yamato 2199' models, although I am a lover of generic 70s and 80s starships as depicted by Chris Foss in his artwork. These will do just nicely.

More pics, soon.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

More Chaos Dwarves Gather Under The Banner Of The Dark Tower

In a weekend which I thought was pretty good already -  having been in the front row of the 'Fish' gig last night and shook hands with an artist who was a great influence during my youth as front man of prog rockers 'Marillion' (and who also heckled me from the stage) - I was pleasantly surprised to be able to purchase more 80s Chaos Dwarves for a reasonable 3-figure sum an hour ago...

Admittedly I already have 5 of the bazooka teams but two more won't hurt will they?

Anyway, here's pics of my purchases:


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Japanese Invasion Of Sheffield Studio

A knock is heard...

At the door stands a postman with a box from Japan.

'Great!' I think... 'Darren has found a cheap way to come home.' 

But in point of fact it is a package of very nice models from Darren Ashmore who, is a Professor over in the Land Of The Rising Sun and whom I should be seeing for the first time in a few years.

I have known Darren for over 3 decades now and  as youths we gamed and gamed and gamed as often as we could along with a raucous and motley band of similarly fanatical youths.

I met Darren in what could have been dodgy circumstances had I not just been released from 3 weeks of house arrest after I split with a schoolyard girlfriend.

She had given me an ultimatum of 'It's me or Runequest...'

I had done the maths and reckoned that I could get another girlfriend - being a handsome if quirky youth - but that I had invested some serious money in my Runequest stuff. A no-brainer, frankly.

She spoke to my Mum, and what did for me was that rather than 'kiss and make up' I was more bothered about getting a set of dice back (£1.99 even then) from her Mum's house.

All bets were off, I was grounded and had to spend three weeks sitting from 4PM until bed time in an armchair in absolute silence. I ate in silence, read in silence, did various chores in silence, until my Mum broke and let me out a week earlier than planned. I tell you, Mandela had nothing on me when it came to passive resistance.

Released from the parental penitentiary, I was again outside The Wellington on Wednesday night. 

Not wanting to miss a minute of time set aside for games it was probable, nay, expected that our gang would be there for the opening of the pub’s doors. We were canny and just in case the licensing laws had change since the previous Wednesday we arrived half an hour early.

As I got out of the car - my Dad was a little more forgiving than my Mum, so a lift was not a problem - I noticed a sturdily built youth in the shadow of the building.

I approached cautiously, trying to weigh him up. He spoke first ‘Ah, a new boy. Let me show you the ropes…

New boy? New boy? I’d been gone for a few weeks and it had come to this. This interloper, this cuckoo, had landed in my nest and was making out that I was some kind of Johnny-come-lately to war gaming.

 It has been claimed that I had the look of a murderer in my eyes but I remember that I simply replied, ‘No let me show you the bloody ropes…’ The blood was up and was not going to let this slight slip me by, but murder?

This was the first time I met Darren, soon to be known simply as ‘Flash’ but the story of why must remain untold. 

By the time the doors opened and in that curious way that boys with similar interests do, we were chatting animatedly like old friends. 

And so began a friendship which, although not always smooth - what friendship us? -  endures to this day.

Thanks Daz... For the kits and your friendship over the years.

See you shortly!

Oh go on then... have some Japanese eye-candy - It's Christmas...

Thursday, 18 December 2014

No Work Until Jan 5th


After a head down couple of weeks, I have finally finished for the year, 5 days earlier than expected.

Better still, I have managed to get a full crew for Malifaux finished, thanks to the kindness of one of my clients.

I'm really pleased with the results as I have worked on a white base coat which is so rare for me to be worth mention.

Here's a quick pic of Ophelia's Gremlin Crew. I will try to take more pics over the Xmas holidays, but I confess that having taken delivery of 5 x Chaos Dwarf Bazookas, 1 x Swivel Gun and a Mortar this week, I may be head down on those over the festive season.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Dwarven Chaos In The 80s And Beyond...

I was discussing my choice of Chaos Dwarves for a retro army recently and it was (correctly) pointed out that there are no Chaos Dwarf army lists in the earlier Warhammer rule sets.

Now, this would mean that I could have a problem as I play 1st, 2nd and 3rd edition rules, all of which are quite different. 3rd ed sees the introduction of the Chaos Dwarves proper, with the weird and wonderful bazookas, swivel guns and mortars, so there is no problem there.

The later editions give the CD army a neo-Babylonian makeover which I really, really do not like, and thus the later additions of even more weirdness just don't need to given a second thought.

So, back to the earlier editions and the fact that no specific lists exist.

When one, actually reads the flavour text for the Dwarven army list in the Forces Of Fantasy expansion  to the 1st ed, it notes that whilst Dwarves are generally considered to be of a neutral alignment, there are in the more out of the way mountainous areas of the 'Old World' enclaves of Dwarves who have turned to the ways of Evil, and in the borders towards the Chaos Wastes, yet more which have thrown in their lot with the Chaos gods.

So, there we have it, there's the precedent for a Chaos themed army...

Now, we have to consider the fact the the majority of the models which were produced, are heavily armoured and in later sets of rules there are limitations on the types of armour etc, which may be used on a figure.

With 1st edition, you see in the lists that there is a simple 'Yes/No' entry under the column headed 'Armour' which makes it a lot easier to build your army. The premise is that  you can decide exactly what grade of armour your troops are wearing, paying the appropriate cost. Obviously the fact that heavier armour has a higher point cost naturally limits how many troops you can field, and thus there is no need to have artificial limits in the form of '0-??' in the army list entries.

So, you can see that with no bending of rules you can legitimately field a Chaos Dwarf army which will perform like the traditional Dwarven army, including (and it states this clearly in the flavour text) a hatred of Goblinoid armies.

The only potential sticking point is the inclusion of some of the interesting war machines such as the bazooka. I personally think that it would be reasonable to treat a bazooka team simply as a bolt thrower, but frankly the army can have 25% of it's troops armed with crossbows, so firepower is hardly an issue when you look at the survivability of even the most basic infantry model.

And so to troops...

Now, I love the old 3rd edition Chaos Dwarf Renegade models which are expensive to come by these days and which are also quite limited in terms of variety.

The Bazooka Teams and Mortar are commonly sold on eBay and you can get them at £8-£15 each which whilst not 'cheap' is offset by the fact that you don't need a lot of them.

My own choice for the majority of models has been the Ewal Dvergar range of figures commissioned from sculptor John Pickford , originally a private commission but made available in limited numbers by Carsten at

They are very similar to the 'classic' models but being multi-part castings you can have a truly individual army with every model different to the next. For example, one pack of crossbowmen can produce 96 variant models... You get the idea.

There are of course other ranges, but the ED range really captures that retro feel and enhances the feel of games using the older rule sets.

My own army has been based around 12 units of 16 models, with a few heroic types. This is more than enough for a 3000 point game. I like the smaller units that typified the games we played as kids. Personally, I always thought units of 12-20 models looked 'just right' and gave a really nice looking game with 10-15 units. Later sets of rules had larger units which just looked clumsy and meant that you were painting for years (or so it felt) just to get the most basic army on the table top.

I'll be regularly updating the blog with progress reports and eye candy, once I begin to paint the army up, so, if this is of interest to you, make sure to check back regularly.

Even if you are not a fantasy fan, I hope that you'll check in anyway to see what my brush has produced. After all, a well painted toy soldier is a joy to behold, regardless of the theme.


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Old School In The New Style...

I think that I finally have my mojo back...

As you'll have read previously, I had, thanks to my dreadful year involving Sheffield Wargames Society and the opinion of one member that I was the most destructive thing to happen to them in 40 years (quite an achievement when compared to other things I could think of). Metaphorically, my WRG rules have been torn asunder and my average dice ground to dust. Champagne corks have popped across the city and cheers raised as the Great Satan of the gaming table has been cast down. Oh the feel of power as they calculated  the die modifiers for that one...

Not surprisingly, I lost my drive for the historical guff and in fact for most of the hobby as a whole. So I am very surprised that I have re-found my love of the older fantasy games again and a new passion for the modern board games.

The other week I picked up a job lot of old Dwarves from the 80s and as the price was £1.07 per piece I reckoned that I could cherry pick a few bits that were especially significant to me and turn the rest back to the market to cover the costs. Well, I did this.

This done, I decided I am going to reinvest in an army of Chaos Dwarves from the Ewal Dvergar 'private production' range of models which have all the styling and charm of a late 80s Citadel model - and which match very nicely - with multi-part posing. I have hunted down a few of the old Citadel artillery pieces and I have a quite nice 200 piece army on the cards for the New Year.

I have just two days of work before I close down my studio until Jan 5th 2015, and the time between then and the 23rd will be spent painting a Malifaux crew for my own use, thanks to the kind xmas gift of one of my clients who gave me a paid week off as his xmas gift to me. And very pleased I am...

The luxury of having a week to paint at my own pace and to my show standard will be simply blissful.

I have a few sets of paints and inks purchased just for this week and I am really excited about re-visiting some materials I have not used since the 80s.

Roleplaying is coming more and more to the fore and I am informed by an associate of mine who works at the toy distribution centre at the North Pole, that Santa has me pegged for a copy of the superb 'Mice & Mystics' board game this year, because I have apparently met the criteria to be classed as 'nice' rather than 'naughty' - which would have meant I would have received a set of WRG 6th ed Ancients rules instead. *shudder*'

Well my cup of hot chocolate is almost emptied and so I will sign off for the time being...

Merry Xmas!