Tuesday 26 December 2017

Genestealer Cult Patriarch

The patriarch cometh through the gloom, all razor sharp claws and teeth.

He's taken out at least two Space Marines.

Ready to leap on the prey.

A bit more lit up to show detail.

Sunday 24 December 2017

Saturday 23 December 2017

Xmas Miniature - Tau Stormsurge

Finished my Xmas Miniature Project, which is destined as a display model for a friend.

The white crystalline covered base is, of course, a necessary feature.

Did you know the Tau use squirts of liquid nitrogen to cool the barrels of their really big guns between shots?

I don't know which planet the Tau have invaded but I suspect the Hand of Nurgle somewhere.

Another photo showing the Tau Ethereal directing operations from a hover drone.

One hell of a recoil from that cannon, which seems to be targeting aerospace assets.

Still think Nurgle is involved.

And that's all, people.

Monday 18 December 2017

Kitbashed Inquisition Gun-Cutter

High Altitude Flight.

"What rose above the landing platform out of the blizzard night,its down thrusters wailing, was my gun-cutter. Four hundred and fifty tonnes of armoured alloy, eighty metres from barbed nose to raked stern, landing gear still lowered like spider legs, it rose on the blue-hot downwash of angled jets. Banks of floodlights under its beak-nose cut on and bathed the deck and the cultists in fierce white light.

The gun turrets in the end of the stubby wings rotated and washed the platform with withering heavy fire.....Bodies were reduced to sprays of liquid.'

Thus Dan Abnett inspired me to kitbash a Gun Cutter for my Inquisitor and gang. Eighty metres is a trifle on the large size, about 1.2 metres in game scale, so I cut it back a bit.

I started with one of these, A Revell snap-together Halo Pelican kit. This is modelled at 1:100, roughly 15mm in game scale, so is manageable as a 28 ml model on the table top. These models can be bought for about £25.

This kit really does snap together. The parts fit tightly without glue. I am a little uncertain about this being suitable for children as quite a bit of pressure is needed on the snap-tights. The assembled whole has great playability with lots of moving parts, bits that light up and a 'whoo-whoo' space noise.

Assembled it's about the same size as a Valkyrie. The great thing is that the cockpit bubbles are huge at 15mm, so just right for 28mm.

I was so pleased with the result that I used the model more or less as is.

Gun Cutter in Flight Configuration.

I sprayed the model all over in Citadel Mechanicus Standard (medium) Grey to prime and undercoat - with the cockpit removed. To this I airbrushed on a top coat of Vallejo metallic black (gunmetal) and on top of that Humbrol Multi-Hue Blue. I then spot painted with Mr Colour Metallic Red. Some spare Citadel 'flight' decals completed the look.

The Business End.

I put a couple of searchlights on the front hull. The model comes with four hard points on the wings so I added some Old Crow resin missiles from my bits box.

The cockpit is colourised on the inside with Citadel 'candy' blue transparent paint so one can't see the 15mm seats but the blue interior flashing light is still visible when i want to make woo-woo noises.

Landing Gear Lowered.

With the gear lowered and the ramp dropped down at the rear, the Cutter can easily be loaded.

Rotating Thrusters.

Ready for Vertical Lift Off.

I added two rotating cannon mounts under the engines. The Cutter now has the same weapon loading as a Corvus so may be played as one and still be wysiwyg.

So there we go: a really neat Inquisition Gun Cutter for the princely sum of £25, some paint, and a few spare bits.


Sunday 3 December 2017

Death Guard Blightlord Terminators

I have a rather large Deathguard army, including a Titan, but somehow never got around to acquiring terminators - so I was pleased to see the release of the Blightlord set.

The models are nice but one thing struck me upon building them. If one compares one of the new terminators (left) with a Deathguard Plague Marine (right), then the relative lack of stature of the termies is clear. By making plague marines so big, GW may have created something of a problem for themselves. Their terminator equivalents look a bit unimpressive, somehow, in comparison.

And here is the full set.

This laddie comes with his own muckspreader.

The squad leader with combi-weapon and plague sword. He is a bit on the fly-blown side.

Another chance to see, showing his best side for a close up.

This guy has come over all steam-punkery.

I love the cape on Lord Zorro the blubberback.

And it's goodbye from them.

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Thursday 23 November 2017

A Soviet Steamroller? The Soviet 9th Guards Mechanised

The release of documents to historians after the fall of the Soviet Union has given a new insight into The Eastern Front in WWII. It turns out that German General's memoirs written after the war for their new NATO allies were about as reliable as official publications of the Russian Communist Party.

The image given by said general is of supremely capable German Divisions of √úbermensch slaying all around them but being swamped by a sea of Untermenschen, like hosts of mice bringing down elephants. But how real was this?

Well, the Soviet 9th Guards Mechanised Corps was ordered to concentrate on the 4th January, 1945, to break through the German Hungarian defences in a night attack in the fighting around Budapest and then to exploit deeper in axis territory to capture key points.

The heart of a Red Army Mechanised Corps were its three mechanised brigades, and its single tank brigade – note that a Soviet Corps is closer in strength to a western division.  The paper strength of a mechanised Corps in 44/45 was:
246 Armoured Fighting Vehicles (183 T-34, 21 SU-76, 21 ISU-122, 21 ISU-152)
16,438 personnel: about 6,500 infantry in nine motorised rifle battalions and a single tank rider battalion
3 Tank Regiments and 3 Tank Battalions
9 Motorised Rifle Battalions and 1 Motorised Submachine Gun Battalion
3 Motorised Artillery Battalions

Given that Budapest was a key theatre of war, and the 9th was to spearhead this attack, one might expect the Corps to be close to paper strength, and possibly even reinforced above paper strength – yes?

Well this was its actual tank/infantry composition for the battle:
18th Guards Mechanised Brigade: 3 Shermans, 6 Valentines, 3 SU76 SPGs and 620 infantry
30th Guards Mechanised Brigade: 2 Shermans, 2 Valentines and 45 infantry
31st Guards Mechanised Brigade with: 14 Shermans, 4 Valentines, 2 SU76 SPGS and 420 infantry
46th Guards Tank Brigade: with 29 Shermans and 91 infantry
14th Guards Motorcycle Battalion: 3 Shermans, 1 SU76 SPG, and 118 infantry
31st Guards Engineers Battalion: 260 infantry
15th Guards Signals: 2 Shermans
Grand Total: 63 tanks, 6 SPGs, and 1554 infantry
And this was a reinforced break-through unit.

Saturday 18 November 2017

Warlord Games African Warriors

I needed some general-purpose, late nineteenth century African Warriors to test a scenario for the new Skirmish book  am currently writing for Pen & Sword so I bought one sprue each from Warlord Games' Natal, Zulu-married and Zulu-unmarried ranges to get a nice mix.

They sell these as one offs without bases at shows and on eBay for the princely sum of £2 a piece - which is a great deal by anyone's reckoning.

The photo above shows spear and shield armed warriors.

Another photo showing warriors with various firearms.

Wargamers for both artistic and entirely practical reasons do like any army/regiment to have a unified style that defines it as distinct from other armies/regiments on the table: GW are masters at this. But photos of African warriors from various armies in the field, as opposed to in dress regalia, suggest they were neither uniform nor necessarily particularly distinct so it is not entirely unrealistic to use a mixed appearance, general purpose force as a money-saving fudge.

Except for artistic and practical purposes of course.

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Adeptus Mechanicus Galvanic Servohauler 2 - Mobile Crane

This is a a great model of a crane on a rotating platform attached to what looks like a railway wagon low loader. I chose to attach the claw to the end of the chain as being more 'Grimdark' but a standard hook is also supplied.

The Techpriest is there purely to show scale but the fire extinguisher and toolbox come with the kit.

I glued the fire extinguisher onto a corner of the bogie.

I can see this looking good in a Steampunk or Weird World War II setting.

This whole kit set is great value for £25.

Highly recommended.

Saturday 11 November 2017

Adeptus Mechanicus Tractors - err - Galvanic Servohaulers

Adeptus Mechanicus Tractors from the Galvanic Servohauler Box.

These are great kits with a limited degree of exchangeable bits, although I have to say they look best the way you are supposed to construct them according to the plan.

They are easy to put together and chunky and tough so very robust to play usage.

The back of the small tractor cries out for a rear platform and enginseer or servitor to be added as a controller.

The full boxed set is great value at about Twenty Five of our Brexit Pounds.

Thursday 9 November 2017

Dark Ages and Britain's Rivers

I have just had accepted a Dark Age Hail Caeser supplement by those delightful if somewhat crazed chaps at Warlord Games.

It struck me when I wrote the book how important the waterways were in Dark Age Britain. One is struck by how many battles took place near rivers, probably for reasons of logistics and navigation.

But it goes deeper; the kingdoms formed in river basins and of you ignore the rivers and draw imaginary lines between them from coast to coast then you start to see the shadowy outlines of the kingdoms themselves.

Saturday 28 October 2017

Infinity Engine's V(ictoria) 2 Secret Weapon

Infinity Engine were back at SELWG.

Their display always looks great with unusual brightly painted Wellsian and Fantasy miniatures.

I was taken with their new Steampunk missile launcher and bought the first one they have ever sold!

And here it is sitting in the low sun of a Martian summer - other wise known as my lounge carpet.

Production is decent with just a few rough bits to sand and air holes to fill. I strongly recommend cleaning thoroughly before painting. I didn't which gave me issues at the primer stage.

I modelled it with the rocket loose as if it's at the point of being fired with the arms swinging away - that way I can get the missile off during a game.

You can buy one here.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Hawk goes under, TTC is their White Knight.

The clearout amongst the small wargame manufacturers continues. The latest victim is Hawk who produced Drop Zone Commander.

Their Dropfleet Commander Kickstarter ran into serious trouble with many complaints about late and undelivered pledges.

Hawk follows the pattern set by Spartan of a retailer buying a manufacturer, in that the company has been acquired by Troll Trader down in St Columb Major. As an aside, being a Newquay boy, I used to go hurling in  St Columb.

Spartan Kickstarter backers lost their money when the company went under.  The situation at Hawk looks more hopeful...

This was just posted on Kickstarter:

'Hawk Wargames Creator about 3 hours ago
Hi everyone! Lewis here from TTC. I'm having a read through the comments and updates. I'm here to answer some questions. I don't have ALL the information at the moment (things are rather hectic here!), but as the dust settles I'll know more.
@OldNick: It's true!
@Nick (new Nick?): Hi! I'm communicating! We try to stay on top of things with our customers. Transparency is key, especially in a time like this. Hopefully once our production and distribution facilities get DZC and DFC up and running we'll all see an uptake of interest in the games, and stores can finally keep product in stock!
@Thierry: DZC 2.0 is getting pushed back a bit. The rules I think are all done and ready, but with all the upheaval we'd rather launch it properly, and get everyone's DFC stuff to them first before galloping ahead.
@Draccan: I think he'll have a personal note published soon.
@Andrew: Yep! And the credits will be usable on the TTCombat webstore once all the Hawk products are listed. You'll be able to use them on Hawk products or TTC products.
@Michael: Oh umm... yeah. What you said. :D'

I have a copy of Dropfleet Commander. It's a good Andy Chambers design so it works.

Here's hoping.

Death Guard, The Flyblown, Flylord

Meet the Flylord, leader of the Flyblown, my unit of Blightlord Terminators.

He has been well 'blessed' by Nurgle for his devotion to the cause of entropy.

A sword crackling with rust and the power of Nurgle.

Combi bolter.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

New 40K Army: Adeptus Mechanicus

To celebrate the arrival of a playable version of 40K, I decided to paint a new army. My family gave me an Adeptus Mechanicus starter set for my birthday. As a STEM person, I have always had a hankering to the theocratic engineers.

The starter pack includes an HQ character, the Dominus. This is a great model which would appeal to steampunk gamers as well as 40K-ers.

The troop choice in the set is ten Skitari figures that can be built as Rangers or Vanguard. I liked the look of the Rangers. I tried to give them coherent weapons, fluff wise, rather than an optimum gamer mix, as you get quite a choice.

And finally the heavy support in the set, a Dune Crawler. Again there is a wide range of weaponry available but I decided on the AA version with a general purpose Icarus weapon system.

I bought an additional set of heavy battle servitors to act as a bodyguard for my Dominus, as per the fluff.

Again, I went for a weapon system that supported army coherence without worrying about optimum gaming strategy.

A view showing the engine mix. These are great models and the set is great value for money.

I've had this somewhat knackered metal Tech Priest for at least a decade. He was a stalwart of my Imperial Guard.

Four old metal servitors from the same era.

These are OOP 'Iron Brotherhood' figures that I bought years ago because I thought they looked cool. I believe MicroArts (?) made them. I have never used them but now they make a nice alternative servitor unit.

And finally, the whole army in all its glory: it makes up about 40 PPs so is fine for small games or as a detachment in big multiplayer ones.