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...


Thursday, 20 September 2018

Sorry to be a boar, but here's MORE

Just a note to say that I've brought forward the sculpting of the Gnoll cavalry, Hobgoblin hounds and hobgoblin rocket teams. Martin Buck is doing the sculpting and the project has been paid for this morning. 
This will allow you to field complete armies in the old school manner from the outset. The Gnolls are of course on boars. 
The Hobgoblin rocket team will be a portable weapons platform as befits fast moving, nomadic types, rather than a cumbersome wooden frame. 
All of the models have separate heads, so you can have a lot of variety in those armies.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

A Gnollish Gallimaufry & Satanic Doings


Firstly, I'd like to share with you all, the logo for the sub-brand of Screaming Mob Miniatures, that of Satanic Panic Miniatures.

All of the 80s retro-themed models will be released under this label, and those of you who remember what the Satanic Panic of the 80s was and it's effect on the gaming hobby, will probably 'dig the vibe'.

These models are after all based on the ones your Mother tried to discourage you from buying!

Next up is the news that veteran gamer and participation game organiser par excellence, Paul Clarke has taken a shine to the concepts for the Gnolls and has found an place for them in his Oakenheart project, which is something I am really stoked about.

Paul's been busy creating a map of Grouen, a major settlement in the city-state of G'Normandy and has asked me to do a thumbnail background write-up to go with it. Paul will be uploading it in the very near future. It's a brilliant way for me to flesh out the Great Gnolls and other ranges and follow the old school tradition of not producing game-specific miniatures.

Please take the time to go and look at the Oakenheart page here:

Monday, 17 September 2018

So, Who Or What Are The Great Gnolls Of G'Normandy?

The Great Gnolls were bred from the brightest and largest Goblin bloodlines by the Great Wizard (nobody knows his true name because as everyone knows, true names have power). They were schooled in the ways of men and were taught the values of discipline, and order as well as the arts of metal working and armouring in imitation of the men of the Western Lands, whose proto-chivalric existence was well suited these disciplined folk.

Over time the Great Wizard expanded his lands and created the city-state of G'Normandy (well, that’s what you do when you’ve spent a life studying diabolic magicks) and, being less affected by daylight than their more ‘natural’ cousins, the Great Gnolls populated that land, building human style keeps of wood over the networks of tunnels in which they lived. A few human warlords got quite a surprise when they assaulted what they thought was a keep containing a few dozen defenders, only to find that there were hundreds of well trained and well equipped Great Gnolls in vast tunnel complexes below (it was akin to picking a boil), who relied on discipline and tactics rather than fungal brews and bloody great balls and chains.

The Great Wizard has not been seen in decades, but his creations continue to slowly expand his borders so that G’Normandy is encroaching into other civilised realms. Is this natural expansion, or is it a sign that the Great Wizard is still very much alive and plotting something a bit nasty?

The Great Gnolls have varied skin colours but they are less vivid than those of their Goblinoid cousins, tending towards ochre, olive and swarthy flesh tones, as well as insipid blues and oranges. Their eyes can be either very human in appearance, solid black or red. 

They are tall for goblins at around 5 feet with a slightly bandy gait, which belies their strength and dexterity. 

They are braver than many of their cousins, but also have a greater intellect and thus, are not going to hang around if it makes no tactical sense.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Behold! The Great Gnolls Of G'Normandy

I am easy pleased to be able to share with you, the concept sketches by sculpting supremo Martin Buck for the first of my 'Fantastic Tribes' range which will be produced by 'Screaming Mob Miniatures' under the 'Satanic Panic' label which will bring you ranges of miniatures just like those your parents believed would lead you into demonic black masses. In short, a range of truly retro-looking miniatures for your favourite wargames and RPGs.

As I have mentioned before, all of the bodies will be available with every head variant. All the models, with the exception of the missile troops will be open handed, to accept a wide range of weapons. This means that you can have an army in which no two models have to be identical.

First up, I present the Great Gnolls Of G'Normandy in all their glory...

I really hope that you are as excited as I am about this truly old school range. Personally, I think Martin has truly captured the style and feel of the models I bought as a teenager.


Thursday, 13 September 2018

A Galimaufry Of Things, Including Monmouth, Big Robots, & The Blues

Lordy, it's been a while since I posted, but Roger has been prodding me, and thus I feel it's time to put arthritic and painful hands to the keyboard...

I have been doing savagely long days (but of course that means that the coffers are filling and bills are being paid, and so that's not a complaint, just a statement) which is the main reason I've not been blogging.

Firstly, I'd like to speak of giant robots and the like...

Back in the 80s, a mutual friend of both I and the aforementioned Roger one Darren (now Professor) Ashmore chanced upon the Macross model kits based on the Japanese anime series. Now back in the mid 80s these were not well known as they are today, and the models were 'something else, man'.

We bought them, we built them, we bought more and more, and soon wrote a set of rudimentary rules which often saw games being played on 12 x4 boards at Sheffield Wargames society... These were often 1/72 scale models so you can imaging just how striking these games could look.

The late Pete Armstrong (aka: Greblord) was our mentor on all things anime and introduced us to some of the really obscure stuff and we were hooked in a BIG way.

However, there are tales in the Sheffield area of how an unnamed group of wayward youths, bored on a damp Saturday afternoon, when they were not indulging in their normal 5 days per week of gaming, took a number of well painted and now pretty damned valuable Macross kits to a field together with some crow scaring pyrotechnics and blew them to kingdom come... I can neither confirm nor deny the identity, but Pete Armstrong would have given us a damned good hiding if we'd been stupid enough to 'fess up'.

Anyway, a few years later came Battletech and then the GW Adeptus Titanicus game came out. We played both in our assorted gaming groups, but it was A.T which had the big robots we all craved - even if they were a third of the size of the Macross models.

Anyway, things have a tendency to come around again and Roger dropped me a line earlier this week to say he was interested in the latest version of Adeptus Titanicus, and I reprimanded him for his foolishness and spendthrift way, in fact I may have mocked and berated my old chum somewhat, because then, when I was offered a set having looked in more detail and decided that the price I was being offered it for was actually quite reasonable, Roger was a little surly with me.

Rightly so...

Anyway, I have the eye wateringly priced Grand Master Edition on the way and I trust that Roger will also acquire one so that my shaming might come to an end.

It looks pretty good, being a combination of the earlier and later mechanics and does seem to give a feel that these behemoths (and they really are large models at about 1.3 mm to the foot) are the gods of the battlefield whilst everything else is cannon fodder or at best expendable.

So, please accept my apologies Roger - I was a foolish old man.

Roger is normally a historical gamer but he does have a few little perversions such as Cthulhu, Twilight 2000 and big robots knocking the shit out of each other, and we have discussed various systems now and again, but none seem to convey the sheer size of the combatants in quite the same way as the A.T game.

I'll no doubt blog about it more when I've had a chance to play a few games, but You Tube videos seem to look rather favourably on it, and so my expectations are high.

In other news, I have this week placed an order for the forces at Sedgemoor in 28mm working on a figure/man of 1:20 and actually using full establishment strengths for the Royalist units to allow them to be used in other projects. They are 28 man units with Rebel units being 36 and the cavalry being represented in terms of troops and squadrons.

I have bought a good number of books, including the excellent titles by Chris Scott and John Tincey and the latest Helion & Co title on the army of James II.

As per my 'Stop At 50' directive the painting of all but 6 artillery pieces and the staff officers has been outsourced and so the total cost of the project has come in at around £2000.00, bringing my year's gaming to a nice neat close.

I am hoping that my 28mm ECW will be with me in the next couple of weeks, so that I can begin the basing as winter wends it's way towards us.

So, I have a lot of nice projects in the pipeline but I just cannot seem to shake a pretty hard bout of depression which has cropped up out of nowhere. I can't pin the cause down, but I have been given to thoughts of old friends living and passed on, the loss of my Mum, and how perhaps instead of once telling her, my friends are my family' and 'You ca choose your friends but not your family' I could have been a little less vile a human being because, whilst many of my friends are truly amazing people whom I am proud to be acquainted with, one or two down the years, have turned out to complete c**ts, not worth my time or indeed recognition by name. Sorry, but that's the kind of dark mood I have been in recently.

It has however made me more intent on doing things my way, when I want. I have less years ahead of me than behind me now, so I am not relying on others to share projects with me. I am happy to have my truly genuine friends, such as Roger work with me, but when I decide I am pursuing a project it will not be reliant on others. That sounds pretty harsh, but what I mean is, that if I am incapable of putting together a game, with both sides painted at my own expense and effort, it's unlikely that I'll bother with it. I am very happy for others to be involved and their input can only enhance the experience, but were they to not bother, I could say to the, 'Want a game of (insert period) this weekend?' and they could turn up, safe in the knowledge that I could furnish a table with everything that was needed.

Equally, I want to be connected with interesting and humorous people who can converse about food, drink, art, music and the like, as well as gaming. I need mental stimulation and have decided that I'll not waste my time, short as it is.

I'll also be damned if I allow depression to stagnate my mood. No sir, I'll get my act together and damned well turn it into a searing tsunami of creativity. Those who wish to join me can do so, but those who have no interest may as well stand down, because I am focussed on living my life.

In closing, I have no more news on the impending Screaming Mob / Satanic Panic Miniatures fantasy ranges at this time other than Martin Buck is beavering away on all three ranges as we speak. Rest assured that as soon as I have news, you'll read it here first.