Tuesday 31 January 2023

#BloodBowl - Varag Ghoul Chewer - BIG BUILD TO DONE!

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity my old friend Pete got me Varag Ghoul-Chewer as a Christmas present and I put him together in my usual Christmas hobby building efforts [yes I know it's February tomorrow!].

He's quite the substantial guy and it has prompted me to commit to finishing my Orc Blood Bowl team so he can join them.

With the basing sand added he's now ready to be primed when the weather is a bit better.

Alongside Varag, the entire Orc team and the Troll is has inspired me to finish them for #ArmiesOnParade2023 and my #NewYearNewArmy


Additionally I will look to create a Blood Bowl 7's pitch, and even try to make a 7's Mega Bowl pitch if it'll fit in the dimensions. That way I can have my Human, Halfling, Nurgle and Orc teams facing off against each other - well it's a better plan than anything else I can think of.

Here's the Great Big Big Build RUSTY Stamp of Approval for the build.

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Dark Angels - Ravenwing Sammael Custodes Jetbike conversion

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity having finished my Ravenwing I somehow thought I should do more Ravenwing! So I've been converting my own Sammael on Jetbike out of a Custodes Jetbike, using Chamber42's awesome tutorial. I managed to pick up a Dawneagle jetbike for just £12.60 on ebay and I had most of the other parts to make a basic upgrade but I went all out bling and got a Ravenwing Command Squad sprue for £18. Now, that may put this at £30.60, not much different than the official model, so why bother? The Command Squad sprue comes with another Black Knight bike, Plasma Talons, Grenade Launcher, two Corvus Hammers and various other bits. Should I get just a cheap bike or two I could have another two or three Black Knights for very little, as well as Sammael. So, it's cost effective in the end.

As this is the Plasma Cannon rather than the Assault Cannons of the Talonmaster conversion I decided not to do an underslung Cannon and instead have it mounted in the chassis similar to a Scimitar pattern Heresy Jetbike. I went looking for the Forgeworld link for these when I started writing this post and couldn't find them, a couple of days later they're announced in plastic!

The Plasma Cannon is from the Deathwing Terminator Command sprue, so could have been underslung with ease but I wanted a more streamlined profile, so a bit of cutting and digging was needed to fit this in.

Here's the underneath where I had to remove the front bit of the central piece to fit the cannon.

I have a small metal ruler that I aligned with the three grav nodes to score along the base. I cut out most of it, but you can still see the score marks and the piece with a central node I glued back in to close the gap. It's pretty messy so I've got to clean it up yet. 

I don't know if you could have just cut the small piece out that needs to be removed to fit the Plasma Cannon, without taking the piece I returned but it might be worth trying.

Mold lines need cleaning. You can also see that the bottom part, where it joins the 45º lower left gun cowling has started to separate. Not sure why but it'll be fixed. Fitting the Storm Bolter in the gun cowl will be a challenge. It comes as a Hurricane Bolter [3 guns] I can remove one which will make it a Storm Bolter and allow it to fit better because the Cannon currently resides where that third lower gun sits. There's some fettling to do that's for sure.

I've got my rider and extra bits to try and fit in the next update but that's in the post...

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Dark Angels - Ravenwing Black Knights and bikes

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity I've been #PaintingWarhammer I have, so much so I haven't been keeping track of my progress - both in pictures and subsequently the blog. So, it's just a quick pick/post to move things along.

As you can see above I powered through these to the extent they're even based. Plasma was all done and some molten metal power swords that aren't as good as the Talonmaster's but I got them done so I'm moving on. TO DONE! pics still to be taken but they will be forthcoming eventually.

Friday 13 January 2023

@rosemaryandco paintbrushes

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity I've been busy hobbying, I know the blog hasn't reflected that but I've finished my Ravenwing and still need to take their TO DONE pics. I've also been putting some Terminators together so there's really not much to see until their big build pics. I did however treat myself to some Rosemary&Co paintbrushes before Christmas.


I ordered a 2, three 1's and a 0 with a friends affiliate link to share the love.

As you can see they came well protected and some sweeties and a sticker too!

I've used them a bit since I got them and found them really good. They're slightly larger than I expected with the length of the bristles, a 00 might have been a sensible choice with the three 1's being three 0's.

I'll give a better review further down the line when painting is a more regular occurrence. It's just great to not be reliant on one decent brush and now I have a few at a decent price. I try to clean my brushes but I always feel they get wrecked even with Valejo brush restorer and Masters brush cleaner. So, spending a fortune on something I feel will ultimately get wrecked doesn't sit right with me. Luckily these sit in the price bracket where I feel I'm getting better quality but not spending so much when they go I won't feel gouged. Anyway, I'll keep you informed on my progress.

Monday 2 January 2023


Personal post, so if you want hobby feel free to ignore.

For those that are new or have never gone back as far into the blog as October 2018 we discovered by chance our youngest son had a brain tumour. Luckily it was removed, a few months later they diagnosed what it was and he received radiotherapy treatment in the January - whole head and spine, to kill all the filthy cells that may remain. This treatment did not come without additional cost - his pituitary gland got fried which meant his growth hormones didn't really kick in. He's about 5'2" now, which isn't super short but it's far from the height he would want to be and he's unlikely to grow any taller. He also developed scoliosis, which hasn't helped his height and he is constantly wearing a back-brace to control the curvature of the spine. Not to mention he's partially sighted after the surgery, had to relearn to write and suffers anxiety and depression.

His short term memory has been impacted. He struggles to remember things verbally, which has a huge impact on his education and the GCSE results he got. The lack of support he got from his school didn't help either. He had brilliant psychological support from Alder Hey Hospital, but they also identified he is on the autistic spectrum, potentially with Asperger's. It's probably not as a result of the treatment but it's yet another thing he's had to deal with over the last 4 years. Punctuating that time are regular visits to Alder Hey. Be it the MRI scans he has regularly - to check the cancer hasn't returned, to eye tests, X-rays, or collecting his back braces. They're good at block booking these so we can do two or three things at once, to save on journeys, but even so it can be stressful.

MRI scans are the worst, particularly in the early days. He lies down in the scanner and gets to watch a DVD while we, or during COVID, just my wife watches by the side. He's in there for an hour and usually we have an appointment later in the afternoon where they give us a preliminary observation. A week or so later we'll get in writing a full report after all the oncologists, radiologists, brain surgeons etc. have looked in detail at the scan. They refer to this period as 'scanxiety' which fits perfectly but despite the fit is awful to say, I can't work out why it sits so badly on my tongue. But that period leading up to and after the meeting is unlike anything you're prepared for as a parent. Particularly in the early days when so much is unknown. 

Not his scan, he's got a hole in the middle of his brain where the tumour was.

The first scan was never going to tell us much, but the second and the third were so stressful and he went through these scans like he had no care in the world, which couldn't be further from the truth. But the scans showed no change, everything stable, which is good news. Whatever remnants or dead cells were not regenerating. You see the thing with cancer is it disguises itself as part of the body it's trying to invade. That disguise prevents your immune system from attacking it. The chemo, or radiotherapy strips away that disguise when the cells die and so when the body comes to repair the cells it doesn't - because it can see it's not a brain cell. With his spine and brain an irradiated wasteland we hoped all those cells were dead and gone.

As time went on we became more confident that he'd beaten this thing. His type of cancer is a high grade [Anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma - Anaplastic PXA], aggressive and if it was going to return it would do so quickly. Therefore the longer he went without growth the greater the chance the radiotherapy had done it's work. We had a couple of scares, times where he may have moved in the MRI and certain areas looked suspect. We ring our loved ones to share the news as they breathe a sigh of relief. They've been worried naturally, but nothing like the dread you feel as a parent and nothing like the existential dread you must feel as the one inside the scanner, the one that's having their brain assessed, while being pricked, measured and prodded.

After a year of scans every 3 months it usually moves to 4 monthly scans, then 5 and eventually 6. Then after 5 years you're done. The scanxiety goes down with those longer breaks inbetween, normality reigns during that time and we face the trivial issues of him falling out with friends, struggling at school or the Department for Work and Pensions claiming he's not disabled and taking away his benefits.

You become complacent, but what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to be stressed to the hilt all the time, or try to enjoy what respite you have inbetween the doomsaying every few months? So I'll spit it out, what you've already gathered.

Unfortunately, the last scan showed some growth in two areas. He has one area roughly 8.5mm x 7.9mm that is in the cavity where his golf ball sized tumour was removed. Another 8.4mm tumour is on the anterior of his brain stem, not somewhere they could operate even if they were planning to do so. They thought about it on the part they can reach, but mainly for a biopsy. However, whatever new information they'd get about the cells it wouldn't change the fact that his cancer has the BRAF mutation, which is rare but also quite helpful. This mutation acts as a target for a new type of medication - Dabrafenib [Encorafenib below] and Trametinib [Binimetenib]. This is a belt and braces tag team, because sometimes you stop the BRAF and the MEK still keep on telling the cells to repair, grow and divide.

We were so close, 3 scans away from free and clear and now we have these cells 'grumbling' some small growth of a millimetre or so. It's as frustrating and world-altering as it could possibly get. It feels like these last four years were wasted, all the side effects of his radiotherapy were for nought. Neither are true, but you can't help feel it. We're lucky because this treatment exists, it's been really effective thanks to the mutation it can target and the company that produce it are willing to let Alder Hey treat him with them both. There are families who have been on it for 3-5 years with no further growth and even shrinking the cells and with no additional surgery this is the best we could hope for, under the circumstances. On top of that, it's the NHS, somewhere else we'd be having the added worry of how we'd pay for it all!

That said, there are three tablets that he will start taking in the new year that will hopefully be preventing his death... yep, I said it, but that's what this post is for. He's watching Harry Potter films, playing on his Switch, sat around in his pyjamas, wittering on endlessly about something I have no idea what he's talking about and in a few weeks three tablets a day will try to ensure that keeps happening for the next five years at least! And then we get to face the scanxiety again, like it's day one...

So here we are, it's the new year, although I write this just before Christmas. This year had been momentous for a variety of reasons. I started a new job just 3 days before we found out the cancer had grown, something I never would have taken on if I'd known. In some respects I was lucky it happened that way but everything was looking great to close out 2022 and now we have all our hopes pinned on 2023 kicking cancer's ass, or at the very least holding it back. I rarely swear on the blog, I don't like to,  but I think it's justified here:
If you have loved ones, hold them close right now. Appreciate that you have this moment. As challenging as the world, is revel in their presence because who knows what the future will bring. We will face 2023 heads held high. I know that those who follow the blog enough to comment will be sending support, I had lots of comments back in 2018 which the demise of Google+ eradicated from history [much to my dismay]. I'll thank you in advance. I may provide updates further down the line, we'll be getting support from various mental health providers, family and friends, but writing about it helps. It acknowledges he exists, he's here with us now and we've had 4 years since it tried to take him away from us and we'll do our damnedest to not let it succeed this time.