Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Imperial Dropship Data Sheet

I did promise the data sheet for my Dropship model. So here it is.

There are rumours of a Planetstrike supplement coming for 40K so I'm getting ready.

I hope you can read the writing. I know it's rubbish but I am a doctor and we spend years learning to write like that.

Grotslag's Gunwagon

OK, so da wagon is a bit rusty and da grots ain't waxed and polished it lately but it's dead shooty.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Lizardmen Pool

Deep in the swamps of Lustria, something stirs in the water.

Cue Vincent Price: Nah - aha hah ha.

Note: I elected to use hotpour 'water' rather than the more expensive cold pour, resulting in one melted Plastic Crater and a burn in my hand that you can still see three weeks later.

If you are tempted to save cash this way, my advice is - For the Love of God, don't!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Imperial Armour Model Masterclass Vol. 1

I picked up the First Volume in the Forge World modelling masterclass books.

It was reasonably priced at £26, given the high quality photo work within. Some of the techniques described are for static display models rather than wargame miniatures because they would not withstand handling or coating in varnish. Nevertheless, I found it extremely useful and I learnt some new neat things.

I recommend it, even for experienced modellers.


The mem'sahab announced that she wanted to go to Godinton House to see the daffodils. We were a little early but, well, here are some pics. Its a Kent 15C manor house with many bits added at various times.

Sentinel Kit

Hi, as promised here are some pics of the finished kit. It needs a little filing before painting. It is a great little kit, quite intricate with lots of detail. The finished model is sturdy enough for wargaming. It has quite a lot of flexibility for adjusting the pose and there are a huge number of permutaions of equipment and finish possible. No two will ever be the same.

Look at all the bits I had left over (great for Kustomisin').

Best Sentinel kit yet.

I have to paint it and then it will go on display in GW Maidstone, my local store.

Desperado Rule

Master Darksol wondered about the Desperado rule for IG Penal Troops in the new codex. It works like this. You roll before the game on a three choice table for special abilities, such as being psychotic.

To be honest, it looks like a bit of a gimmick.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

New Sentinel Kit

I have a copy of the new Imperial Guard Sentinel kit to make up for display at the Maidstone GW store.

It looks a cracker with a wide range of posible Cadian, Steel Legion and Catachan variants. There is a lascannnon, plasma cannon, autocannon, rocket launcher, flamer, and cutter.

You can make it up as an open or armoured vehicle, with a Cadian or a Catachan head. It's a great model.

I should assemble it tonight and put up a pic tomorrow.

Cost and value

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Oscar Wilde, Lady Windemere's fan

I recently picked up a nail in a rear tyre of the car I bought a few months ago. It didn't leak but on grounds of safety I elected to change the tyre, which meant both back tyres. At the tyre centre they pointed out that I had unbranded tyres on the front, which explained the slightly disappointing handling. I have a Focus with a powerful Turbo-Diesel that has the same suspension as the Focus ST Sports. So I changed the front tyres for new as well.

I put on Ford recommended high performance tyres at £650 a set, even with discount.

They cost a lot but the handling is now perfect.

The value of the tyres was shown later that afternoon when a child cycled off the pavement into the road right in front of me on a pedestrian crossing where the tarmac is greasy with rubber-flake.

I hit the brakes and the Focus stopped dead so violently that my wife and I were left hanging off the straps. (I have also paid extra for aa car with ABS breaking). It didn't skid, deviate or roll.

The child was untouched.

The cost of those tyres was £650. The value was a child's life and my peace of mind.

So back to wargaing. Why do so many wargamers whine about the cost of models. What is wrong with them?

There is a debate on Bell of lost Souls about the cost of the Valkyrie.

Why do people bother to read a 40K site to be able to write in to say that they no longer buy 40K products because they are too expensive? For God's sake, get a life. Better still, get a girlfriend. You know, they are the other half of the human race.

I am considering writing to Ferrari pointing out that they have had to forgo my business again because their cars cost to much. That'll teach them in Milan. While on the subject, I must remember to write to Jaguar, Lexus, Massarati, McClaren, BMW, Mercedes, Lotus.......

After all, I have nothing else to do with my time.

One guy wrote in to BoLS to say that GW would sell a lot more Valkyries at half the price. Ferrari would sell more sportscars if they only cost as much as a Focus. But you know, both companies would go bust if they started selling products at a loss. Companies need to make a profit to survive. It's called capatalism guys; get over it.

I wanta that Valkyrie. The cost at £35 is less than the value I place on it given the pleasure it will bring me. I can afford to buy three - so I will!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Imperial Guard Codex

I had a quick perusal of the new Imperial Guard Codex while in the store.
It looks a really good read.
Some things I noticed is that specialist vehicles are back. I spotted Manticores, Hydras, Griffons and heavy mortors as well as Valkyries. There are two new Hellhound variants - the chemical toxin one looks really nasty.
Vehicles can be bought in troops of three.
Col Schaeffer's men are gone. There are penal troops but they are kinda dull.
Trop choices now include platoons, heavy weapons, penal troops and some really hairy veterans. Hellguns now have a reakick (AP3?).


New Valkyrie Kit - photos

Here it is folks.
The new plastic Valkyrie kit.
It is a lovely model. Rob of GW Maidstone is holding it so you can see the scale. The other pics were taken in a patch of sun on the pavement outside next door's employmeny agency - much to the interest of the staff.

The model has been assembled and spray undercoated ready for painting.

In the new Guard codex a three-plane flight of these is a single Fast Attack choice. There is a heavy weapon Vendetta version in the codex.



This another of my super-heavy Ork vehicles. It is 'loosely' based on a Rhino. The is a great deal of plasticard and Robogear plates in there. The rolla is from my wife's garden storage box. The orks and grots come from old and new models and kits. The twin-linked rocket launcha and zap gun are Forge World. The cannon are Emhar 1:35 WWI field guns. The twin-linked big shootas are cut of an old Ghazghul Thraka model and the grot bomb is a modified Star Wars missile from a Y fighter.

I used the usual weathering techniques.

The grot in the tower, Wozzy, is there to spot targets but also as a roving reporter for the OBBC, the Ork Battle Broadcasting Corporation. When the 'Rolla gets stuck in he gives a rolling news broadcast for the ladz on foot left behind, denouncing them as nancy-boys.

This ensures the infantry keep up - so they can break that bloody grot's neck when they catch him.

It's a tough life in the OBBC.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Storming Hell

I have finally made the front page of a magazine with one of my stories:


You could describe this as a steampunk fantasy story. I play a trick of having a universe where the scientific laws operate according to the principles of Victorian Science rather than modern science.

It starts like this:

The sun rose slowly on another long day. Crystal showers of frozen air fell gently, sublimed upwards under the sun's rays, only to refreeze and fall again. Fine snow littered the surface like baking sugar, lending the splintered landscape a surreal beauty. This was a place of dialectical extremes, of hot and cold, of light and dark and of stone and dust.

The only splash of colour came from Sarah's multiple reflections in the viewing port. Convention decreed that her long dress and tailored jacket be Royal Navy blue, her blouse cream, but she was allowed to express some individuality in a neck tie and the band around her straw hat. She elected to wear a defiant red.

Sarah was too keyed up to enjoy the bleak landscape. She gazed out of the porthole, lost in her thoughts, disinterested in the view.

"Ma'am?" a piping voice sounded behind her.

She turned, moving carefully so that her skirt would not fly up.

A boy in a midshipman's uniform half made a salute then thought better of it.

"Is that your sea trunk, ma'am?"

She nodded in assent and he clicked his fingers at the porters. Two Selenites scuttled forward, sharp claws tapping on the stone floor. Like all lunar natives, they were six limbed but their exoskeleton was without the tripartite division that characterised the insect body. The size of a large dog, they stood mostly on four legs so that their front claws could be used as hands. The Queen Below bred them for Port Bedford's use as part of the Co-operation Pact with the British Empire. A not unpleasant wet-straw smell drifted off the creatures as they grappled with her luggage.

"The captain presents his compliments, ma'am, and asks you to accompany me to the ship."

"Thank you," she said. "Lead on."

They made a strange crocodile through the narrow corridors, the midshipman in front, her behind, and the Selenites bringing up the rear. Convention decreed that they should walk in single file on the right. This necessitated one of the Selenites walking backwards, something that seemed to discommode him not at all. She thought of the Selenite as "him," though "it" was probably a more accurate pronoun for a sterile worker.

Sarah stepped over the lip of a double-doored hatchway into the aethership, revealing far too much ankle for her liking. The porters banged her trunk against the hatchway. She admonished them and they listened politely, clacking lateral mouth mandibles in reply before forcing her trunk through the narrow opening. The midshipman walked on without pausing, causing her to half run to catch up. It was so undignified; her instructors had impressed upon her the importance of comportment for a lady but what was one to do?

The air inside the aethership held a sharp tang of carbolic soap, like a newly scrubbed hospital. The ship had recently been refurbished so it did not yet smell of stale sweat seasoned with the aroma of ripe latrine but, given time, it would. Port Bedford's air was clean and natural in comparison, if a trifle musty, refreshed as it was from fungal forests Below.

She was soon completely disorientated in the maze of cramped passageways and staircases. Sailors hurrying about their duties gave way when her party needed to pass. She ignored their interested glances. A final spiral staircase gave access to the bridge. The mid stopped in front of a man wearing a captain's uniform and smartly snapped to attention, saluting.

The captain, who was deep in discussion with one of his lieutenants, ignored them. She took the opportunity to study the man who would be in control of her life for the foreseeable future. He was about thirty-five, tall, slim and fair haired—a typical member of the Anglo-Norman ruling families. She resigned herself to being patronised when he finally acknowledged her existence

"My dear Miss Brown, welcome aboard Her Majesty's Aethership Cassandra." He pumped her hand vigorously and grinned. "I trust that they made you comfortable at Port Bedford while you waited for us. I am afraid we had a little trouble with our cavorite panels, which delayed our departure."

"Thank you, yes, I was quite comfortable," she said.

"Either I am getting older, or the pilots are getting younger and prettier," said the captain to the officer beside him.

She blushed: the interview was not going precisely to her expectations.

"This is my first independent posting but I assure you that I am properly qualified, Captain Fitzwilliam," she said. She tried to sound brisk and efficient but it came out as pompous.

"I never doubted it, dear lady," he said.

He cocked his head to one side and looked expectantly at her.

For a second Sarah's mind blanked and then she realised that she had unaccountably forgotten to carry out her first duty. Fumbling in her bag, she finally managed to remove the two critical pieces of paper. Why did everything take twice as long when one was flustered?

"My posting and pilot's certificate, sir," she said, handing them to him.

He cast a quick eye over them as convention decreed before handing the certificate back.

"Show the lady to her room, Mister Chomondely," he said to the midshipman.

"Aye, aye, sir."

She made to go but the captain stopped her with a raised finger.

"I hope to have the pleasure of your company at dinner tonight, Miss Brown, but in the meantime, stow your gear quickly and strap yourself in, as we shall be lifting shortly." He glared at the other officers as if defying them to contradict him.

The midshipman showed her aft to a small cabin, taking his leave of her without entering. The click-clack of Selenite claws disappeared down the corridor as she shut and locked the door. Pilots had a special status on Queen Mary's ships because the Royal Navy still struggled with the concept of a lady in the crew. Ruling Queens were a long accepted tradition in Britain, ever since Queen Boudicea told her groom to sharpen the scythe blades on her chariot wheels while she looked up London on the map, but ladies on a Royal Navy bridge were anathema.

The Senior Service had settled for a typical British compromise. She was classed as an officer and so bunked aft and ate in the wardroom. However, it was strictly understood that she most assuredly had no place in the chain of command. One of her instructors had compared the position of Royal Navy pilots with that of the army's regimental mascots—and not to the detriment of the latter.

Stowing her luggage took little time as there was very little storage space to put anything in. She left most of her possessions in her trunk, which she pushed with some difficulty under the bunk. Then she arranged herself on the narrow bed and fastened herself down with the safety webbing. She stared blankly at the featureless grey walls, trying to control her breathing. Terrors nibbled at the edges of her mind like hyenas around a wounded beast but she was determined not to give way to hysteria. She inhaled and held her breath for a count of two, then again to a count of three and so on. Slowly, she brought her rebellious body under control.

Sarah balanced a watercolour miniature on her stomach that depicted the likeness of a cavalier sitting upon a rearing horse. He waved his hat high over his head with one hand while the other pointed a pistol at a coach. A speech-bubble depicted him saying "Stand and deliver all enemies of the crown."

She composed herself and prayed, slipping gently into a trance, but she was nervous and could not quite achieve enthesis. When she opened her eyes, she saw nothing but featureless light grey haze, like sunlit fog.

"Captain, Captain, are you there?" she asked.

White rings formed cloud-like shapes, sharply defined on the outside edge but fading into mist in the centre. They developed, imploded, and were replaced in a repetitive moving pattern. She prayed harder and for a moment thought she saw the shadow of a figure but it drifted away when she reached out. Her stomach lurched and she disconnected, suddenly back in her cabin. She was upside hanging by the webbing, which alternatively pulled and relaxed at her body as she became lighter and heavier. The three coloured galvanic warning lights over the cabin door shone steadily; the ship was lifting from the lunar surface.

Her stomach lurched again as she first became weightless and then fell back into her bunk as down reasserted itself. Obviously the engineering problems had not been entirely addressed. She grabbed the bowl that a steward had thoughtfully clipped to her cabin wall and was violently and horribly sick.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Last Man Standing

I have an alternative life as a fantasy fiction writer. The photo shows an early version of me - very, very early - in the early 80s. Normally I write for American publishers, notably Baen.

Anway, I have just signed a contract with Black Library for a short story tentatively entitled Last Man Standing. Wrote the first lines tonight.


This was my first Ork conversion vehicle for the new codex, and the first one based on a Rhino. I wanted to try a new style where the vehicle was mucky and rust eroded. I also wanted it to look 'busy' so, wherever the eye alights, there is something going on. Hence the grot riggers and gunners.

My Skullhamma conversion was developed from the techniques tried this model, as was a Deathrolla which is still drying outside. More of the latter tomorrow.

The Zap gun is from an old metal model and the turnrable is a reversed chimera turret.

Revell rust acrylic and MIG old rust powder pasted on with PVA glue were used for weathering along with brown acrylic, dilute red-brown acrylic wash and the good old Tamiya mud weathering stick.

Thursday, 19 March 2009


I have been putting together a Lizardman army, bit by bit. It's a slow process as I get bored painting mass ranks.

Here be the Steggy

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

War Mammoth

Sean designed this model and gave me the bits as an Xmas present.
I use the rules off the Forge World site, changing them only by removing transported infantry.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Have at you d'Artagnan

I couldn't resist putting this up.
Sean's new official stompa duelling with his scratchbuilt stompa.

Ork Clash

Sunday Game

My mate Sean's Ork warboss disagreed with my my warboss about who was to be warlord. Naturally they settled it the traditional Orky way - wiv da stompas.

Sean fielded a stompa supported by battlewagons, deffcoptas and truks. My warboss turned up with his Skullhamma and Flyboy Buggles made an appearance over the battlefield.

The deffcoptas showed a miracaculous ability to survive by jinking, surviving my supa-gatler without loss; it did jam on the first burst.

Buggles had minimal impact on the game. He slammed two supa-rokkits into Sean's stompa, but they bounced off the armour and then he was chased off by dakka from the truks and battlewagons.

I charged Sean's stompa with mine, inflicting terrible damage and winning the game.

The only problem is that it is possible that the driver was stunned when it charged. So I may have won by cheating. Oh well, all's fair in love and war.

Skullhamma Battle Fortress

First let me apologise for the photo quality.

This was a difficult model to photograph as it is highy-detailed but large so getting all the bits in focus was a challenge.

It is a more or less canon Skulhamma with special Kannon, lobba, and two twin-linked big shootas in the pods. I have added the two optional Supa-Rokkits and also an AA mount in the form of twinn-linked big shootas in a can on the turret (from an old scorcha kit).

This is my warbosses personal vehiclen for my Kult of Speed so it has his warbike on a crane on the side. You can see a Mek making a few adjustments. The tank is equipped with straphangers (yes, I was a London commuter). The turbos are from an Airfix Robogear kit.

The weathering uses MIG Rust and concrete powders, as well as my usual Tamiya sticks. The concrete has to be put on AFTER you varnish the model - I used PVA glue.

I tried to make the finished product interesting by adding customised detail on every surface.