Monday 31 October 2011

Flufftastic - Ferron Proxima and the 'Caffeine Wars'

As I was writing my last STC post for the 'Ruined Caffeine Plaza Market' things kidn of got out of hand. A lot of ideas surfaced, fluff-wise for Ferron Proxima, far more than one post deserved and it would have taken away from the fact a new STC had been found! So I decided to split the fluff and create another new series 'flufftastic'. I've a couple of ideas of how this is going to go to bring Ferron Proxima to life but the very process of writing things down can build a rich tapestry and exciting new options arise, for example who knew there are a couple of sister planets - Ferron Ultima and Ferron Minima? So I give you my first efforts [although there's plenty of fluff already been written in the blog], 'The Caffeine Wars'

The flora and fauna on Ferron Proxima has always had a profound effect on how settlers and natives interacted with their environment. Unlike Caliban with it's mass of ancient woodlands [before it was destroyed] Ferron Proxima is a much more barren, desert like environment, rich in iron deposits, basking under sulphur skies. Many plants have had to evolve to cope with such a hardy environment. One of these is the Ferron Bindweed (Fallopia ferrousica). Ferron Bindweed is a species of flowering plant in the Bindweed family known by several common names, including Ferron vine, Guarana fleeceflowerCaliban fleecevine, Caffeine lace vine. It is native to Ferron Proxima and it can be found growing wild in parts of the Heartlands and has been bio-engineered for crop reasons. It is grown for its seed-laced vines, and is extremely fast-growing plant that has the capacity to become an invasive speces by spreading beyond its intended limits.

The Bindweed seed is an effective stimulant: it contains about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in Bindweed seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans). As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels pathogens from the berry and its seeds.These seeds plays an important role in the native cultures. According to a myth attributed to the Bear Claw tribe, Bindweesd's domestication originated with a deity killing a beloved village child. To console the villagers, a more benevolent god plucked the left eye from the child and planted it in the forest, resulting in the wild variety of Bindweed. The god then plucked the right eye from the child and planted it in the village, giving rise to domesticated Bindweed. The fact that the Bindweed seeds were in fact bio-engineered to deliver a purer and more refined fruit by the early settlers had been lost for millenia, although the tribal tales, passed down from shaman to shaman, remain to this day.

The natives would make a tea by shelling, washing and drying the seeds, followed by pounding them into a fine powder. The powder is kneaded into a dough and then shaped into cylinders. This product is known as Bindweed bread, which would be grated and then immersed into hot water along with sugar. This highly potent 'caffeine' brew has become renowned among the subsector and over time Ferron Proxima became awash with competing franchises.

Caffeine shops, plazas and markets are a massive part of Ferron life, including Ferron Proxima, Ferron Ultima and Ferron Minima [although the sister planets produce their own Ferron Bindweed it is not of such high quality as Proxima Bindweed seeds so a huge export operation accounts for a good portion of Proxima's GDC]. Caffeine joints sprung up across the planet, the sudden increase of consumption and competition even raised questions among the Inquisition as to whether the Bindweed seeds were at worst warp tainted or at the very least addictive. Declassified documents pertaining to the Caffeine Wars of 4541942.M40 show close examination of the gene-structure by Inquisatorial MechAdepts revealed discrete but recognizable STC matrix components. This led the Inquisition to publicly close their investigation but privately they approached each franchise with a mandate to claim compensation on behalf of the Emperor and the Adeptus Mechanicus for the use of  STC technology in their brew. Forced to capitulate to these new 'tithes' the cartels pressed harder to expand and compete against each other to cover the new expenses. 

Competition grew to the point where open warfare in the 'caffeine plazas' between franchises took place, with some franchises stepping up their protection by employing mercenaries and off-world gangers. Much like gang warfare in many of the Hive's sectorwide the 'caffeine loyalists' would band together to assault rival franchises, bringing new meaning to the term 'hostile takeover'. Regardless of the victor the battlefields were the caffeine plazas, the terraces awash with blood, spilled beans and latte foam. Many of these ruined plazas have long been abandoned, as it's not good for business to associate with the lowest point in 'barrista history'. Many independent retailers were obliterated including some large franchises, as well as renowned 'caffeine dynasties' dating back to the early settlers, who learned of the properties of the Bindweed and shared 'tea' with the Bear Claw Tribe. Since the cessation of all attacks in 4541947.M40 Starforts Caffeine has remained dominant in the Ferron market but Codex Coffee waits in the wings, plotting and vying for another chance to take control...

Saturday 29 October 2011

A dreadful idea?

It's been a long while but I popped into  a GW the other day. Not that I particularly care about the new game we've all heard about - Dreadfleet, there was however one aspect I was keen to see first hand. I'm talking about the printed fabric play-mat that comes with it. I had in my head an idea of the material I thought it would be but because I can't actually describe what that was lets just say I was surprised at the actual finished product. At this point I must apologise for not actually taking any pictures at the time, one of the staffers was keen to get me playing the game and I really only had enough time to look at it and all the cabinets and high-tail it back to work, so all the pics below are from the GW website.


Anyway back to my opinion of the mat. Well it actually looks like a big thick silk scarf. The pattern is vibrant and really detailed and I'm sure the weight of it is sufficient to keep it in place while gaming. It's even got a stitched edge to it to ensure it doesn't fray. My whole reason for checking it out is to raise the questions "What if this mat wasn't 5' x 3.5' and 6' x 4' instead? And what if it wasn't a sea-scape but a battlefield?" Is this something GW should be looking at? What would it be like for the next iteration of 40k to come with it's own battlefield included?
Granted GW might fear the cannibalization of it's Realm of Battle Game Boards but lets be realistic £155 is a lot of cash for a table-top, which you still have to paint yourself.
In actual fact GW is already aware of this which is why it already has a gaming mat for £18.50. Now I did have to do a bit of searching to rediscover this little gem but I think that's a decent price for what could be a new sideline in the GW market. Coincidentally it also seems to be roughly the price the Dreadfleet mats are selling for on ebay. I'm pretty sure these things would make quite a profit, even compared to the current play mat. I'm sure there are far more companies who can produce printed fabric sheets than sheets with flock glued on them. Having a multitude of fabric companies to secure a cheapest deal is more likely than couple of specialist model suppliers.

But the concept doesn't end there because if you can do one type of printed battlefield, 'Cityscape' for instance, you can probably do half a dozen -
  • Chaos Waste
  • Ice planet
  • Desert
  • Jungle
  • Alien infestation
  • Oh, and Red Planet!
Because, as we all know when given the choice GW often tries to sell us six products when one will do (£15 for 6 Vortex templates?!):  

I'm sure you actually need all 6 of those templates but it's sets a precedent that there could be half a dozen different battlefields on offer for those that just want to play, not interested in the hobby aspect and what better way than to include one in the next starter set? They could even add another £10-£20 to the base price and you'd probably find people amenable to the concept.

Of course I'm not going to hold my breath for such a thing, and you don't have to, you can always print out my FREE Ferron Proxima battlemat, either at a local high street printers or in tiled A4 sheets and piece it altogether on one big piece of MDF...

Friday 28 October 2011

My mate in the news, AGAIN!

My mate Liam, he of the scratch built Warhound and Warlord, fame once again hits the headline. He and one of my other old gaming buddies Ben trotted off to Warhammer world for the Throne of Skulls doubles tournament. He came 54th out of 200 and Ben came 6th! So congratulations but Liam also got nominated for best painted army and here's why:

And here he is hiding at the back in the middle when he received his award

Well done Liam!

Tuesday 25 October 2011

A year of living dangerously

In my life I've always had an obsessive nature, certain things have owned my attention, firstly Games Workshop but after university and a lack of gaming that died off. Then I found a new passion with my obsession for my favourite band Pitchshifter until they went on indefinite hiatus, there's only so long you can pine for a band in the hope they'll release new material. So my return to kendo took over and for a good few years I was happy until the catalogue of injuries made me think I'd have to give it all up [though that may still happen] and it opened the door, together with my son's interest, to my oldest obsession  and it was then that I realised it was more of an addiction.

So there we go, I've completed the task I set - to try and post at least every other day something 40k [or gaming]  related. There's been ups and downs and hopefully I've contributed to all the true hobbyists out there, not just the ones that GW co-opted the name to use for the people that buy their products, but the ones willing to build and convert and model because they see value in home made stuff. I never wanted to start a blog and then leave it after a few posts. I wanted to add to the community both with items to build on the cheap and old bits from my extensive collection and I think I've received enough positive feedback to know I've done that.

But don't worry, this is not the last of the blog, I will still be keeping my hand in, just not rigidly sticking to a post every other day. It may be longer between posts and there will still be good stuff to share with you all. I still have my Dark Angels to complete and I will post updates of those and the many other projects started on my 'To Do list', but not completed over the coming weeks and months.

With the pressures of life I don't need the added hardship of supplying content when I should in fact be doing the hobby, if you recall I'd had nearly a years head start on my son's 'nids before I took up the blogging side of things so maybe it's about time I built up some more stuff so I can have a better source of material further down the line. Thanks to all those that have stuck with me for year, I'll keep trying to give you something worthwhile but I hope you aren't disappointed with me 'cruising' along, for a while at least. Here's to year two and whatever it may bring.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Terrain is everything - Hail the Omnissiah another ruined STC is found!

Caffeine shops, plazas and markets are a massive part of Ferron life, including Ferron Proxima, Ferron Ultima and Ferron Minima. The massive competition for the highly sort after local caffeine came to a head in the 'Caffeine Wars' 4541942.M40. Details of the Caffeine Wars are still be declassified for public consumption but common knowledge is that 'competition' grew to the point where open warfare in the 'caffeine plazas' between franchises took place.

Much like gang warfare in many of the Hive's worldwide the 'caffeine loyalists' would band together to assault rival franchises. Some franchises would begin to step up their protection by employing mercenaries and off-world gangers, regardless the battlefields were the caffeine plazas, the terraces awash with blood, spilled beans and latte foam. Many of these ruined plazas have long been abandoned, as it's not good for business to associate with the lowest point in 'barrista history'. Since then Starforts Caffeine has remained dominant in the Ferron market but Codex Coffee waits in the wings, plotting and vying for another chance to take control...
The Ferron AdMech library has revealed STC files to construct your own Caffeine Plaza/Market. To access the full STC please point your Cogitators here:

This STC will be uploaded to the full Ferron Proxima STC library shortly. You can access the database here:

Friday 21 October 2011

'nids part 27 - DiY Mycetic Spore pt5.

Yeah, I know. It's a bit of a jump from pt4 isn't it... OK, what can I say? I've already pointed out that when I get into painting something that I have a clear process of start to finish it just flows and boy did this thing paint easily. In actual fact I think this was by far the easiest thing I've painted. The Bonewhite bits just drybrushed like a dream and the texture built into the Pot Pourri seed practically painted itself. The Gryphonne Sepia washes pooled to perfection, I used Badab black in all the joins with the Chitin armour, blending it with the Sepia in places to make a pseudo Devlan Mud.

The hardest part was the Turquoise striations in the Chitin, there's quite a lot of them and doing it all at once became a bit tedious. This baby was pretty much cranked out in an evening, after the washes had gone down, hence the lack of step-by-step shots.

The Tentacles are just simple liver highlighted with a Devlan mud wash. I don't usually do more than that, maybe I should but anyway the base was done to my usual Red Planet basing recipe but where the spore has impacted I used Early learning Centre Black poster paint to shade it. Not sure why, there's no afterburners to scorch the earth on the spore but maybe it's orbital entry made it's bottom hot, hence the scorched bits. The Poster Paint really works well for this thing, really matt and effective, maybe this might be useful for other effects on my buildings etc.

A close-up of the Pot Pourri seed and Chitin armour

Now there's a few more shots where i was messing around with the white balance to try and get better colours. As mentioned I have the Ferron Proxima battlemat in the garage while we do the kitchen so I nipped in there to take these pics. There's slightly more available light in there, I don't know how, so I think these pics are naturally a bit brighter. The main point I took them is for scale - so can you fit 20 Termagants in one? I doubt it, certainly not 9 Warriors but the original plan was just for my son's Zoanthrope which it's plenty big enough for. Anyway the Monstrous Creature base is a significant enough concession to the real world dynamics of this beast.

I've looked again at the rules for this thing and aside from the obvious nonsense I really love them. 40pts with a squad of 20 Dev-gaunts dropped in your opponents back field would be so much fun. 60 shots from the Termagants and then just have this thing with a Stinger Salvo to get four shots on folk to hopefully annoy them into assaulting. If they get through the Termagants then maybe they'll forget that as a Monstrous Creature this thing does Power Weapon Equivalent attacks - BOOM! 

So, there we go, all I need to do is Purity Seal the beast and gloss varnish it's claws and it's complete. So why do I want to do another one. A lot of heartache and delays on this but in the end I think I could crank one of these out over the course of a week if I was pushed. With them being so easy makes me wonder about the Plasma Hatchers and their future... hmm!

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Bill the Pony and his horsey mates

What can I say? It's Bill the Pony. I always planned to have him in my Empire Army and although he's been in this Humbrol Enamel state for decades he's been in the Dettol so he can be shiny and new some day soon.

Now this fella is indeed another Lord of the Rings figure but not from the Fellowship set. I think it's a Citadel Miniature and is one of the Black Riders mounts. Not sure where the Nazgul is but of note is the mistaken use of red poster paints on the hooves and eyes, y'see they're flaming right!

Partiuclarly mistaken in then using it on these elven chariot horses as no matter what I did the poster paint bled into the white. Successive coats still of white paint were left with an unearthly pink glow anywher in proximity to the red poster paint, which pretty much killed off all efforts to continue painting them. Except of course for ranomly starting again in black, which was sure going to solve that seepage problem.

Anyway, check out the solegends site, there's plenty of old skool stuff that I remember/still own!

Monday 17 October 2011

'nids part 26 - DiY Mycetic Spore pt4.

In the end I couldn't wait to get the white undercoat and Wilko's offering wasn't great value so I just went and used my Red Oxide Primer on the Spore. I figured if any of it showed through on the Bonewhite bits it would add to the texture, I'm only going to coat the stuff in Gryphonne Sepia anyway!

I also picked up a craft acrylic paint from the Range as a Bonewhite substitute. With two Plasma Hatchers to paint as well I didn't want to use tonnes of my best acrylic paint on something 'disposable'. I picked up a colour called 'Latte', it was a choice between that and 'Linen'. Linen was lighter and more yellow, latte had a bit more of a fleshy tint to it with Bonewhite somewhere inbetween. With the washes in place I didn't think it would really matter too much but I thought it better to go with the darker shade.

The Latte paint has a very Matt finish so I wouldn't be recommending it on detail work but it had really decent coverage on the Red Oxide Primer, as you can see. Blue chitinous plates ready for washing and the tentacles just need the liver colour added for their correct tone before washing. All this without a new pot of Devlan Mud in sight, how will I manage?

The base has had it's Red Planet base coat of Vermilion and a wash of Badab Black. Next up a Vermilion dry brush and the remaining colours. I can't believe the pace this is picking up. After so long in 'gestation' I'm really getting down to this and reinvigorated to boot. Of course I know the reason why, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise as I've already observed this sensation before. Everything is progressing because I know exactly what I'm doing and the naturalistic elements means I can get away with mistakes. The Dark Angels slog is taking longer because I don't have a complete plan of action and mistakes on the man-made armour just look like mistakes. Not to mention the 'history' I have with the Emperor's finest. Never fear I'll get there in the end with my other tasks.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Ebay sales I don't regret - Epic bits and bobs

What we have here are some more bits and bobs I got rid of, partly to fund a digital camera that's since broken but you can't have everything. My recollection of all things Imperial Guard Artillery wise may be a bit off so please forgive any mistakes. GW initially released these models/rules without any clear indication that they would be Imperial Guard only. I just saw they had good stats and that 'yep, I'll have some of them'. So you have the four mortars on the left which had awesome firrepower and the three manticores [?] on the right, I loved their little spotty targetting spheres. Additionally there are three Gorgons, I think there are the two original style when it was a mine sweeper/layer and then the revised version that was the more chunky design aesthetic Epic went down, with less detail. This version was bigger, but still not big enough in my opinion to transport the many guardsmen this claimed to do. Also my Baneblade and a stack of plastic guardsmen sprues, mainly the beasatmen figures.

This lot was my moles and termites. If I recall correctly I also had the super heavy sized boring transport [I forget the name] but it was not in this auction and I'm not sure if I've sold it or it's still knocking around my parents attic, where I did most of my painting. Also you'll find my Squat Zepplin and these were all painted in the same colour as my original squats from way back when. look you can even see the Jack o'lantern symbol on that hatchway! I also gave away the Imperial Guard assault stand and a lone Rough Rider as a freebie, hey that's make me bid on it!

Just a little reminder of my orignal squat color scheme.

Thursday 13 October 2011

DiY Whirlwinds

Back when White Dwarf showed how to make stuff from junk they came up with the Whirlwind upgrade to the Rhino Transport. All you needed were a couple of Rhino hatches, some stowage boxes, plasticard and a 40mm base. Below is a slightly modified version that I made using a couple of model robot kit bits and aluminium mesh.

You should be able to make out on the last picture the plug and socket system I made to make the Whirlwind swappable. A plastic shield and some other plastic component did the job and the Dark Angel Rhino had a round base with a corresponding socket for it to attach to.

Here's the standard version with the stowage boxes on the sides and handles as pipes

Wire mesh on the top for variety and some mounting card 'chads' hole punched out for slightly more interesting back to the Whilrwind. Lastly the Dark Angels Rhino I mentioned before with the round base with a corresponding socket for the Whirlwind to attach to.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Look Around You! - Real world inspiration 2

More things that inspire me on a daily basis. On my way home in Manchester I pass this construction site on Great Ancoats Street. I think funding has stopped on it which is why most of the steel work has started to rust. Strangely though I was sure the safety netting was orange at some point last year, maybe it was replaced by this yellow stuff. Anyway there are some lovely colours and textures here to inspire your next construction.

I'm very keen on the idea of all this open space. I'm looking into producing a similar floor plate that can be stacked to make a building of any height. Original sketches wanted to mirror the current Hex aesthetic of buildings on Ferron Proxima but I want to do some structures that are more 'city-like' with a regular block structure. If I plan it right I could make the lift blocks in the centre have the same footplate as my modular plug socket, in which case that will mean the top floor could have any of the pre-existing plugs slotted in if wanted.

Next we have a train crane at Appley Bridge Station where I get my train to Manchester. The rust and deterioration on this thing is fascinating. I'm still trying to work out if the whiter bits below are white or in fact the same yellow faded by the sun.

Some interesting grime streaks as well. Not sure how this would translate to Ferron Proxima green chlorophyl does not exist on the planet. Yellow and white are the colours of most of the foliage on the planet and the sky is yellow, did I never mention that?

Another shot of the crane and two weigh bridges. There is a company alongside the station that constructs weigh bridges for transport and this area alongside the tracks is a storage place both for bridges that are to be refurbished and those that are under construction.

I'm particularly fond of the colouring and patination on this. It's not too apparent the side pits are a lot darker than they appear, almost black, especially when wet.

Another close up and an I-beam of steal that the local Banksy-Wannabe has left his mark on. Nice pitted rust effect. What I'm thinking though is how I would love to do some Iron Warriors that used these colours, although I'd probably rename them Ferron Barbarians, only appropriate don't you think? Only to play around with mind, although I don't really need to add any fun jobs when my to do list hasn't shrunk yet.

I have this as a starting point. Obviously I need a sword or banner to replace the one I've taken off and to remove the Khorne symbol but it might nice when I get chance to take this challenge. On top of that I have a few of the Space Crusade Chaos Space Marines to play with if I wanted something more than the one fella. We'll just have to see...

Last set of shots from a recent visit to Liverpool and some of the Verdigris on show on the many statues in the City. I really think my attempt probably needed Bonewhite to mix with the Turquoise than just white but we'll continue with our current efforts for uniformity. Interestingly, if you can just make out, is the way the Verdigris is much stronger on one side of the statue than the other. Clearly the elements are battering it from the left more than the right. Not sure if that would translate to a model as it might just seem odd without the prior knowledge that this does happen in nature.