Monday 29 September 2014

Terrain is everything - Hail the Omnissiah a new Print & Play building

It's been a good few months since my last   'Print & Play' terrain template so it was about time I added the wide version of the green marble building. If you've made the first beige or black building then it's exactly the sayellow grid leaded effect. So the building is the same, but wider with just a different colour for variety on your battlefield.

These would ideally be suited for foamboard that has the black foam core. I was going to make one but didn't get round to it, sorry. However, that black foam would make these easily playable from the off, without looking too much like a quickly knocked up bit of terrain.

To access the full STC please point your Cogitators here, be fair warned it is 13.5MB in size [I make no apologies for this, I could probably render it as a .jpg or spend hours trying to reduce the file size, I tweaked it a little bit and got it down so hopefully it's less of an issue now.]:

Alternatively if you want to reduce the footprint a bit and still retain some of the proportions you could employ the standard 2 storey template on one facing to make a rectangular building instead of a square one. It's your choice but here's another 'artists' rendering and a link to the page where it's at.

Friday 26 September 2014

Terrain is everything - Project Ω - Realm of Battle board.

And now you can see why there were no teaser pictures for this project. There's no picture I could take that wouldn't reveal what this was. Anyway, I was really lucky because I'd been planning to pick one up for a while and then one appeared on eBay, collection only but in Manchester. Working there and with a colleague who was prepared to pick it up gave me options. In the end the seller brought it in on the train as I work right next to the station. 

Now I do regret the fact I didn't make my own but Liam, Ben and Otty have the official GW boards so I felt it prudent to have something that would sync up with them. Of course winning it at auction for £70 certainly eases my conscience a bit! I'd sat on the auction, put in a bid well above that knowing full well what one costs in the real world and it ticked over onto £70 from about £68 and no one else bid, I couldn't believe it. Gotta love that adrenaline rush when you're expecting ebay snipers!

Of course the loft conversion has meant its been stored at work for the last six weeks but I finally got chance to bring it home. In that time I've thought long and hard about how I was going to paint it and one thing I wanted to do was add a little more texture to the surface so I could get a more interesting effect. I thought about adding PVA and flock like my Armies on Parade board but decided it was too rough. Eventually I decided to use PlastiKote Stone effect spray paint. I hoped this would add the texture but bond effectively before being covered in Red Oxide Primer.

So first up was masking all the skulls. Yeah I know they're almost universally disliked but I can live with them.

I'm considering making all the bone pits as Digestion pits. I'm worried the lime green will be a little overwhelming though, don't know whether to go with yellow ones like my original digestion pit, opinions welcome.

I was actually quite surprised how much texture is on the boards already but I still wasn't sure how it would drybrush for me. I've obviously seen lots of them and play on them regularly but I wanted a finer texture and I also hoped it would help mitigate all those figures that slide down the hills.

So here's the final spray. If I'm honest I'm worried the texture won't actually bond to the plastic. It may have bonded better if there was a primer on first but hindsight is always 20:20. Certainly by the end of the day it was still moist to the touch with nearly 12 hours of drying...

I got through the whole can and it does say thin multiple layers work better than thick ones. Well you can see the coverage isn't complete so it's certainly thin enough in some places, it's just the thicker areas I'm concerned with.

Afterwards I removed the generic sticky tack with the interesting result that whatever propellant/varnish is used to try to seal the texture to the board made the tack become ultra soft and sticky. I had bright blue tack all over my fingers, not good when I was about to start painting our new bathroom white!

Hopefully you can make out some of the added texture, I also did a final spray from about 2 foot away which resulted in those large spots, at the top middle and left. Some nice variety I think. Havign removed the tack I then ran a cocktail stick along all the cracks just to ensure they were not disguised by the texture paint.

Can't wait to add the Red Oxide Primer, I've got one and a bit cans, with another on order. I'll do a light coat all over with the cans in stock and then finish it up with the new one so I don't end up with four boards in one colour and the last two in another.

A final note is that right about the the time this was bought the new Imperial Sector Battle Board came out. Of course I was very interested in this but aside from the ridiculous low price I managed to get my Battle Board I didn't go with the City one for a number of reasons. It's not as versatile for one thing, there are only a couple of tiles and there are no variations in height. You pay a premium for the detail and although it's lighter and more compact I just think it's style over substance. If  there had have been some raised plazas or a dais, nothing they haven't already tried on the Forgeworld boards, it may have been different. There's plenty of examples in the Dawn of War video games they could have referenced and they could have found a way to have it positioned in a variety of ways just like this board. Such a missed opportunity in my book.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Blog Wars 8 - The Reckoning

Alex at From the Fang has finally got round to releasing tickets for Blog Wars 8 so I've got in there sharpish and booked a ticket. PeteB is also interested but his transition from Eldar to Space Wolves means he may not have a fully painted force by November 8th in which case he may just come along for the experience.

However, I have persuaded both Ben and Liam to join in. Liam's got his ticket and will be 'forced' to play with his Dark Eldar. they're absolutely stunning, one of my favorite armies of his to look at that is. Playing against them is a frikkin nightmare.

And Ben will be taking his Necrons. The list building rules for BW8 are a little unique and certainly not without quite a few limitations. This has forced us all to be economical with our army choices and hence Liam's Dark Eldar and Ben's old standbys being dusted off.

I will of course be taking my nids, for their third outing at Blog Wars [hopefully the Dark Angels will be ready for Blog Wars 9]. I will definitely be taking my Skyshield, it means I won't get a Quad Gun, so I'll struggle a bit with anti-air but I did promise Alex I would take it seeing as it didn't get a run out last time. I'm struggling a bit with my list because there is only one Combined Arms Detachment allowed and you must take a Special Character, unfortunately most of the nids are HQ choices so that means I lose a second Winged Tyrant to replace it with Deathleaper :( I can't even add a Leviathan data slate as Formations aren't allowed [I could have taken the Deathleaper Assassin Squad, although the Special Character has to be in your CAD...]. 

It's quite frustrating really, but I'm in full support of Alex running it this way, it's his tournament and he has to run it as he sees fit and by the looks of it keeping track of all the possibilities in 7th is a nightmare so why shouldn't he make it simpler. However, 7th is an embarrassment of riches and it's a bit tough to go back to 'meat and two veg' after haute cuisine! Still it means being creative and I may run a few interesting oldies but goodies for the giggles. On the plus side I am going to get a Deathleaper model so I'm no longer using Death as my proxy ;) Of course that means I have to paint him and he's not on my list :(

Monday 22 September 2014

'nids part 153 - Project Z?! Gets some fixing

With hobby time at a minimum thanks to my home improvements any progress is good news, although if I'm honest this is very little at all. It needs doing though. Project Z is requiring a lot of remedial action to fix certain elements together and cover other gaps. I'm not entirely certain I'm doing a good job of making it any better, clearly my patchwork of Milliput and Liquid Green Stuff is not doing it any favours.

Hopefully the paint job will hide a multitude of sins but I can still do a bit of sanding to try and eliminate some of the obvious seams. Stupidly I haven't even washed this model yet. I think once that happens I'll be able to move on with some more construction work...

...and reveal this beast in it's entirety.

Oh yeah, and with the extra Milliput I mixed up I managed to start another thing on my To Do List:
Tyranid Bastion Crater. All I was really doing was reinforced the mounting card edges and a couple of tentacles. I will be adding some large chitinous plates at some point, and some suitably gross fleshy bits to show where the ruptured Bastion once stood. It'll also make a decent bit of terrain, hopefully.

Friday 19 September 2014

'nids part 152 - MOAR Genestealers!

Apologies again for the micro-blog but by now you know the reasons. Things are moving forwards but not in a productive sense. Instead I'm just 'pushing peas around on my plate'. What i have done is get the Genestealers dipped ready for eventual painting. I have 11 of the new Stealers I won on ebay, they're the ones on the left alongside the 10 my Kendo buddy Tom Widdows surprised me with.

You can also see that after four or five years I finally decided to get some new Dettol. I'll strip these with a toothbrush in a few days.

And then transfer these from their inky black bath into a fresh Dettol one. I've had them in there for a month now but the Dettol has become saturated with past paints and the original Behemoth colouring has done no favours. Essentially they'reall covered by thin slime akin to used motor oil. I'm hoping fresh Dettol will strip them a little more and failing that a burst of Fairy Power Spray will make them acceptable.

I'm actually looking forward to adding some extra bits to all these Stealers. I'd question why I was doing this, they're not on my list and with my only recent success with Stealers being the Maufactorum brood, which I have sufficient models for this is really a pointless exercise. I do like the idea of having a full Manufactorum and Broodlord Hunting Pack. It's not a list that I think I could take but it is interesting and then I could add my Genestealer Cultists, By no means is this about making a Genestealer Cult army but it certainly makes it viable, even if gaming wise it wouldn't be.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead

What's this? No I havent lost the plot, this is still 40kaddict, I haven't gone all fantasy about the big hatted bonehead model that just came out. What has happened is that in all the upheaval with the loft conversion a relic copy of White Dwarf [WD173], that had been in my bedroom for months that I repeatedly overlooked, suddenly became very relevant. This particular issue was the release of the new Undead and has all sort of decriptions of the key characters and locales. So I decided it would make a nice micro-blog as I really have no other content at the moment. So I give you the early art for Nagash

And also a short story. I'm not sure if this content will still exist within the current issue, I doubt the artwork will considering the new modle is so wildly different [but still with a big hat]. So it should be interesting to those who play fantasy and were blissfully unaware of these humble origins. Although it should interest us Grey Beards too with a whimsical look back 20 years ago.

There'll be a couple of other elements I'll share from this issue later that should be of mild interest to you all, at least, I think they will be. Till then i hope this is 'alwight'!

Monday 15 September 2014

Blood Bowl - Elves Progress

With so much going on at home it's been quite restrictive for hobby activity. I was sat there with a curtain pinned to the roof of our 'den' trying to keep out the dust from the building work but I would still see clouds billowing up from the 12" gap between the hanging drapes and the floor. So I boxed up most of the stuff on my hobby table and covered the remainder with a plastic bag. Meanwhile I thought the Blood Bowl Elves are actually quite near to being finished. I only had the bases, skin highlights, orange highlights eyes, hair and any little details to do and they were done. The hair and bases alone were the biggies so I set to...

The brown planet basing is very much similar to my red planet basing, just replace Vermilion with Burnt Umber. At this stage I'd washed them and already put the first highlight on. It's not so much of a drybush as wet brush/polish. The artists acrylics are designed for painting on canvas so when you try and put them on tiny gravel the opacity is minimal. It becomes more like a tint than paint, the more you work the drybrush the more paint actually gets removed!

Of course that encourages you to load more paint on which can spoil the effect so the best bet is to re-highlight with the same Burnt Umber upon completion of the first set of highlights. Successive coats bring out the true colour and provide the hoped for effect.

I then mixed in some Bonewhite to make it lighter for the highlights. I also added the orange highlights on the towels, some more highlights on the black armour with white spotlights in certain areas where light would catch.

Once again I do this mainly around the edges. It helps mitigate drybrushing brown on the already painted miniature and adds a shadow area under the model for a small element of realism and means the contrast between the model and the area he's standing in is greater and thus enhances it - or so I keep telling myself.

So next up skin and eyes and picking out the Bonewhite chips on the bases. You may have notices I'm also painting a Frank N' Stein star player, and a referee, just for giggles. There's the purple haired catcher, who is a legacy painted model, I may add him as a Star Player too, hence the purple hair. I also have a kicker who is not even undercoated and a Treeman who hasn't even been bought. I'm actually looking at this guy from Willy Miniatures

But I also like this one from Reaper, which is half the price :) and twice the size :) but probably completely impractical for game play :( which is a shame as although it isn't as appropriate as the Willy model I really like it.

Other than that there are quite a lot of options but I'm not enamoured by most of them and some are ridiculously expensive for something worse looking than these two options. Anyhoo, "game on!"

Sunday 14 September 2014


I'm not sure if I've ever been able to attribute half a million anything to my life, maybe breaths and heart beats but who really counts them? But half a million page views, that's like nearly 500,000! We don't do this for the money - there is none, but if I had a pound for every view I'd be half a millionaire ;) No, seriously, I couldn't have done it without you all, I mean literally I couldn't have done it without you all! Otherwise there would have been zero page views, although I'm sure some bots might have visited in some form.

I've touched on this before that if you've got a blog and you're committed to it then milestones are a key motivator in keeping going. Arbitrary ones and real ones they're all good. Page views and followers are like the film and TV awards that are 'voted by the viewers'. They're the things actors/singers gush about being important because it's voted for by the fans [up until they get an award voted for by the industry when it becomes important because the experts know what they're talking about ;) ]. 

However, page views and followers are a big deal for bloggers because it keeps us going. Milestones like my To Do List are cool too, it shows we're getting on with our hobby and doing stuff - providing content. But there are plenty of bloggers out there writing and posting with just a handful of followers and page views and I salute you all for keeping going and hopefully this will be a testament that it can be done.

I'm looking forward to my next half-million, there's plenty of new projects and battles to report on and I look forward to bringing you all along for the ride. I may never shake my addiction but with a support group like you all, I'll just take one day at a time.

Saturday 13 September 2014

Space Hulk, oh no!

Much as I'd like this to be a 'he only went and bought it anyway!' post that despite my protestations I put the money down and have my own copy the fact is I didn't but I have just gone onto ebay and it 'suggested' something I may be interested in - the new 2014 version for the princely sum of £200! So clearly the ebay resellers will not be crying over their lost revenue [OK they haven't sold, yet...] what they'll be doing is rubbing their hands over the new stock they can resell at a premium due to it's limited nature.

The answer, stop making it limited, have it available all year round! I mean the oft discussed Tactical Objective Cards aren't limited yet they're just as hard to get hold of. Surely they can put in an order and then renew it every six months. Even if it's limited they could at least indicate if it would ever be restocked. So frustrating.

Friday 12 September 2014

What GW should do - "Think Different"

In case you didn't know I've bought Citadel Miniatures and GW products since the late 80's. I also have a blog, it's quite cool you can view it here. Those two facts alone qualify me to make 'suggestions' to Games Workshop and their subsidiaries in how they can grow their company/improve their products. So, free of charge I will be sharing some of my sage business advice to them and just you wait as 'we're bound to see them take forward my ideas with gusto. Of note though is that I started this article way back when and may have begun to disagree with myself along the way but I'm loathe to delete it, especially when I've nothing hobbywise worth sharing at the moment thus you must endure my ramblings.

By all accounts GW believes it's hit upon the most successful formula for their stores - the one staffer run shop. They seem to think it offers the best returns for their investment and I can see why but I think they need to look at a retailer with massive success, a similar fanatical customer base and similar 'drop-in' sensibility to their stores - Apple no less. Of course their markets are wildly different but in some respects Apple has made the stores greater than their wares. 100s of people go in, not necessarily to buy but just to be in store. GW has less 'footfall' but with the added dimension of getting people inside to participate in hobby aspects for potentially longer periods of time.

However, as you can see this:

or this:

Seems a very different prospect to this:

Obviously Apple has a lot less stock to sell and as filled as the GW store looks back in the 80s/90s this would have been practically empty of stock given the rack upon rack of blister packs. But surely there is something they can do to try and lift the look and feel? A quick look around google images shows a variety to their stores, with some having faux castle battlements but the predominant motif seems to be black. Now black is cool, all the kids will tell you and maybe black is the perfect colour for GW and it fits their logo better than anything else but there's an oppressive and dated feel to it [maybe even that iconic logo too for that matter] that I think could be improved. But it may be ideal for their 12-25 male target audience.

However, recent changes to their books have shown a shift to white in places to make some of the artwork standout and it's not like Star Wars Stormtroopers or White Scars for that matter get a raw deal for not being black.

Maybe it's the lack of space, but square footage comes at a premium and despite the healthy returns on a Finecast I can't see GW investing in bigger premises with one guy overseeing quite the way Apple does. However, this image by Dave Jessup from the G+ TableTop Fan Community shows that you CAN make a game store look not entirely unlike an Apple Store. This looks quite stylish, quite cool, a place I'd not only happily hang out in but be intrigued to go into.

One other issue is the Disney Store greeting that you get from the staff. Don't get me wrong, I like having a chat with the store managers but I think that "how can I help you today?" or "so, what brings you here?" faux American service industry needs to reassert it's own British identity that can engage with customers but not be immediately in your face with fake sincerity.

They need to create a more enticing atmosphere that will draw curious and nerdy onlookers inside. Maybe they even need to look again at their food/bevarage policy and have their own coffee facilities on site. Lets face it another couple of quid here and there from someone who may spend the day just painting in a corner and nipping out for their drinks is a couple of quid in GW's pocket that they didn't have. And it's not like they couldn't market that either!

Like I say, some random thoughts there, some contradictory but I think they perhaps need to look at  other retailers. They do sell a unique product and it has been noted that even with economic problems there have been times where GW has bucked the trend but equally there are some indications that sales are down. By looking at other shops, and with Apple they didn't even have any stores 13 years ago and now they're almost ubiquitous in major cities, they can see if there's anything new they can do. This isn't a 'we've always done it this way' moment, they need to reinvigorate the brand, stores and potentially diversify to build the customer base.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

What ho Space Hulk

When I started getting interested again in the hobby [read falling off the wagon] it was right at the last release of Space Hulk. I saw that it was a limited edition and I tried to weigh up getting it as it only had a few miniatures that my son and I needed to paint and would be an easy entrance into gaming for him. Alternatively I could get 5th Edition 40k which I knew I would ultimately want too.

In the end I waited and missed the boat. I always regretted that decision. I desperately wanted the cool Genestealers [although I have since got many of the more generic ones from the set] and the Terminators, though Blood Angels could have been converted to their Fallen brothers. Not to mention the many fond memeories I have of playing it with my mate Chris, back in First Edition. And it's a cool game to boot. Eventually my Mother-in-law gifted me 40k for Christmas and so my descent into hobby bliss continued. Obviously since then I've looked at many ebay auctions with envy and regret so to hear a re-issue of this edition was imminent was very exciting to me...

...and then it wasn't.

I'm pretty sure the reason I've lost interest is the price. From what I recall the previous limited edition was £60 [or £65] this new re-issue is £75, so we're talking a 25% increase on something that already exists, something that's unlikely to require new molds, thereby making better value of those already made. Now that's not to say that that's not still a bargain compared to ebay prices but those prices are only inflated due to the limited run from 5 years ago.

So that new price has gone over my tipping point, and that's baring in mind I didn't buy the hardback copy of 7th Edition or Stormclaw that I intended to, so I could argue I have the funds. Granted I bought other things instead but I just can't justify to myself that price, not at the moment, despite wanting it so badly.

Now ERIOCHROME posted this article the other day that echoes many of my own feelings but I can only reiterate the single biggest mistake in this is a limited run. It will make the ebay market a little more competitive, that's all. If it was still £60-65 and it was available all year I would definitely be able to plan ahead to take advantage of that but given the tiny lead-in time of a weeks notice then I can't shoehorn in a purchase of that scale. Sure I'm having a loft conversion done and that isn't cheap either but that is part of the problem, I'm seeing £100's and £1000's going out on a daily basis and I look at my office chair in the 'hobby room' that's been broken for about 3 months now which I've delayed replacing and in all good conscience I'd rather have that done, so I can paint/browse the internet in comfort than fork out for more plastic.

Oh and Mrs 40kaddict said no!

Anyway I do have some new Genestealers to paint and these are they. The funny thing is I never bought them, erm I didn't steal them either, although I thought I might have. What happened was they arrived in the post from Triple Helix Wargames, via what I believe is their ebay trading arm which is aa-wargames [or something like that]. I opened it and was really excited, had I won something only to forget? But I didn't remember paying for it either. Now I immediately though 'Free Stealers' but then I thought no, these aren't mine and someone would be expecting them and the sellers ebay rating would be affected. So I searched for completed listings and found the auction, found the seller and knew then that it was in error. So I rang Triple Helix and left a message and then also sent a message via their contacts page but never got a response so actually forgot about them over the last fortnight.

The funny thing is I started getting some cryptic messages from an old Kendo buddy Tom Widdows about bitey things and claws and teeth. Tom is an actual British Kendo Squad member and practices in Manchester. He's the guy on the left in the picture below with my friend Joe Willmott. This was taken at a fund raising event for the victims of the Japanese earthquake where we put on a demonstration and I first discovered Tom also had a passion for 40k, when I saw he had a copy of Gaunt's Ghosts with him.

When I was able to practice kendo I was a little in awe of Tom. Although I had a few years more experience on him he'd clearly crammed in a lot of training which had accelerated his learning and meant he graded quicker than I. When you add in youth, enthusiasm and a bucketload of talent I found myself learning an awful lot from those practice sessions. An absence of ego is a key element to kendo, something I continue to struggle with but believe in and seeing someone better at something you've spent longer doing is a humbling experience but ultimately rewarding. Since I had to give kendo up we've kept in touch and he's shared quite a few of his hobby related activities on my Facebook group these Eldar being the most recent but there's some crazy tru-scale shenanigans from way back too.

Anyway, he'd asked for my address recently and I'd thought it was something to do with a recent North West Kendo Competition that Manchester, Liverpool and the other local clubs had arranged/supported. But it turns out it was to deliver these Genestealers and it was a genuine gift, no doubt to help fuel my own hobby and the blog. Tom is struggling with his hobby mojo so I guess at the moment I'm doing what he can't and he's doing the kendo I no longer can. He mentioned starting a hobby blog, which no doubt would be cool but personally I'd rather see him do a Kendo blog. If I could still participate I would, whether that would mean I would not be doing this, or maybe just in a reduced capacity I don't know but Kendo is a way of life. As much as I love my hobby I'm aware that it's a passion, an obsession, an addiction, it may control me but it does not define me. 

So this is a big thanks to Tom for the unexpected gift, I can now paint them without any guilt attached knowing they were for me all along and I'll look to try and add some of my spare Stealer bits so they're more interesting. So in a week where I felt marginalised by the excess of the new Space Hulk it is an act of generosity from a friend that reminds me of the spirit of the community, the meeting people and sharing experiences that are the core of what we do. So I will admire the Space Hulk as it returns and hope that in 5 years time it will come back this again, but for now I'll stick to the 10 first generation Stealers that emerged from hibernation unexpectedly but most gratefully.

Monday 8 September 2014

Support your local blogger -

Greg Hess has been a regular supporter and commenter on this blog for quite a while now, he's even taking part in this years Hobby Season, but he also has his own blog on the Feed Your Nerd website, here:

He's just come back from the NOVA open, his first visit to gaming event and there are a gazillion pictures available from that event. Why I think you should pop on over is it's clear that not only is he supporting my own blog but he is commenting on lots of others. Every time I nip to one of my favorite blogs I find Greg's words of wisdom somewhere. I talked a while back about how blogging networks aren't as effective as you'd think and how you really need to put the mileage in promoting your own blog yourself. Greg was the first person to comment and state his own views, in particular his first tip was
1) Actually visiting other peoples blogs and commenting on them. (That's the whole point really, meeting new people and learning tips and tricks to the hobby!)
And he does just that! He's joining in in the community and trying to foster that spirit. from the looks of the NOVA open he got to meet up with some of my other favorite bloggers and I think that's further testament to the spirit of the hobby. Its not always about having the latest miniature or win at all cost list, it's about entering your first painting competition or attending a gaming event just to see what it was like and take pictures, even if you're not competing, I love that!

But there's other stuff on his blog too, plenty of painting and with quite a To Do List for the 2014/15 Hobby Season there will be more to come. I particularly like his Black Templars, there's an understatedness about them that is enhanced by the little touches of the grass tufts, and scenic bases.

There's also a really good tutorial on painting brown rock bases that's worth taking a look at.

And a tutorial on magnetising a Techmarine that I wished I'd found sooner, doh! :(

So nip on over and support Greg the way he's been supporting us all over the past few months.