Friday 28 December 2018

Terrain is everything - T'is the season to pick up trees

A few years ago I picked up a bag of model trees from Dobbies, our local garden centre [and craft shop]. They only have them in the run up to Christmas as they're for making your own Christmas scene with miniature revellers and holiday nik-naks. I managed to pick up a couple of sets post Christmas a couple of years back 50% off and I've just had a look online.

They are on sale at Webb's Garden Store again at just £6.99 with £4.95 postage, so I thought I'd share so everyone can get a chance at a bargain. There may be other offers online, this was just the first hit I got off Google. The set I got was 21 pieces from a company called Lemax. Clearly there's at least two that are just a bit too big, they're the same size as my 40k outpost that got bigger! but great line of sight blockers for a Trygon!

Of course the originals weren't going to fit with my table so I decided to paint them - undercoating them all in Red Oxide primer and then repainting them in shades of yellow.

Although I still have to complete the 2 newer sets here's the finished first set:

Tuesday 25 December 2018


Merry X-Mas from Professor Egon Seuss and the rest of the Magos on Ferron Proxima. Additional felicitations from the guys and gals at the Vulcan Institute of Techno-Archaeology. May all your X-mas wishes be plastic [or resin, but not Finecast].

In case you're not X-mas orientated please accept the following good wishes:

Monday 24 December 2018

Warhammer World Visit

In November, my favourite band Pitchshifter ended a 10 year hiaitus to go touring and recognise the 20th anniversary of their [arguably] most successful album [they since relinquished their own URL]. This manifested in five or 6 shows, culminating in a home town blow out in of all places - Nottingham. Our original plans were to see them 3 times on the tour but obviously things changed and it was only my brother and I who went to the final gig, so I had to drag him to Warhammer World for breakfast and the obligatory Rhino shot [he does NOT like having his picture taken].

Typically we also got there too late for breakfast but we enjoyed a sandwich in Bugman's

This was day 2 of the Vigilus weekender so the hall was packed.

But this Titan Battle was also going on.

Couple of Warlords facing off against each other.

And plenty of Knights too.

The highly intricate and claustraphobic Kill Team table

Adeptus Titanicus!

Deja vu of the battle going on in the main hall!

Knight Castellan and the new Necron Heavy Construct

and painted too.

Eavy Metal studio Speed Freeeeeeeeeeeeeks

Blackstone Fortress minis.

A big dragon!

Far from the weekend originally planned but these guys [who I haven't seen in so long] were amazing. Both my sons have middle names of Clayden, Mark and Jon Clayden [left and right] are the bass player and lead singer. It was amazing that my eldest got to meet his namesakes and alongside Dan and Tim they were all so supportive during the initial hardships of my youngest's treatment.

Left to right: Mark Clayden, Dan Rayner, Tyler Edward Clayden Weston, Tim Rayner, me, Jon Clayden - the mighty, mighty Pitchshifter [and fans ;) ]

Friday 21 December 2018

"What's this? What's this?"

"The monsters are all missing
And the nightmares can't be found"
Remember when these were our best [most despised] option for Mycetic Spores, the forerunner of the Tyrannocyte? They were roughly the right size, vaguely Tyranid and dirt cheap in budget shops [but then suddenly costing a tenner on ebay when folk figured them out]! Well I saw one for £1 on ebay the other day and couldn't resist

Obviously it's way down on my list of things that need doing and I don't even run Tyrannocytes nowadays and with their Chapter Approved points drop I'd consider running my scratchbuilt one over the Plasma Hatcher every time. However, they do make cool scenery items and for that reason alone I picked it up [plus £2.95 postage]. With a bit of effort [one day] I can add to these two.

And just to share some good news ahead of Christmas. The hospital have been in touch and their continuing genetic tests on my son's tumour have revealed that it is not the 'high grade' cancer they thought it was and is in fact and 'low grade with high grade features'. That means he will now only need the six week course of radiotherapy and won't need the 14 weeks of chemo. I'm not counting my chickens and we are from being out of the woods just yet but it's a relief to know we're in Lothlórien and not Mirkwood! He'll be less susceptible to infection and our initial ordeal will be over much sooner and with better prospects. Keep those fingers crossed 🤞🤞🤞

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Warhammer Underworlds Garrek's Reavers pt1.

I took these pictures at the end of September, that seems so long ago now. I wanted to further explore what I'd done with the Stormcast but more fantastical. The bases got a rough pale blue base.

I then applied a fair bit of purple shade and also green glazes to make it quite ethereal.

Here's a close up of the shading.

I then drybrushed the base to pick out some highlights, might have lost some of that range of colour.

And now I'm stuck as I can't decide what colour to do the piles of sand/dust on the bases. Brown seems so dull, glossy black? Or yellow? maybe I should paint the skulls so there's more context. 

I've an interesting take on the rest of the colour scheme, perhaps I should block those in too for the full effect before I pick the colour?

Friday 7 December 2018

Imperial Knights - House Corvus Twins in manufactorum pt6. 'strike a pose'

Just checking in. Over the past few weeks I've had opportunity and the mental capacity to get back on the hobby, but the blogging will still be as and when. I'll do an update on my son at the end but the headlines are - he's doing well, back at school for a few lessons a day and he will start further treatment in January.

On to the Knights, this is something I'd been thinking about doing ever since I got my first Knight - making one shoulder similar to Heresy Era Mk5 Space Marine armour. However, instead of studs I would use the extra Mechanicum skulls in the kit.

I'm not entirely sure it works, simple studs might have been better [and easier to arrange] but it's done now and all I have to do is figure out how to paint it. I had a thought to do the entire shoulder pad black/yellow stripes but the black/white studs might look odd, plain red is the obvious solution.

And finally back to the legs. When Oscar's surgery/recovery was ongoing the prospect of painting was unthinkable but getting this pose locked down was challenging enough that my mind was unlikely to wander. With the unexpected changes to its pose after the heatgun and gluing of the left leg the right leg needed to be twisted a bit.

I kept trying to make the joint pipework fit but in the end I needed to extend the arc and suddenly remembered I had some spare bits of Magnetix, from when I remove the magnets for all my magnetising needs. I drilled out holes in the hip and thigh socket. Super-glued and pinned it in place then added hot melt glue for a stronger bond and fill it out. I'll greenstuff some pipework [poorly] over the top of all this. I also butchered the groin pistons so they almost look like they're functional. 

The left hip also required a hamfisted kitbash on the groin pistons, they won't be too noticeable when it's done. I also had to adjust the joint pipework on this leg.

There was quite a gap at the bottom of the pipework, so I cut a shim out of a rounded corner of sprue and filled it with poly cement to bond it all together. Greenstuff will hide the mess. The two trailing pipes were bent to fit. The left leg is at its maximum stretch and with both I cut the nozzle attaching to the leg so they could rotate to fit. The right pipe is bent SOOO much you can see the plastic has gone white between all the ridges to fit it in.

I also threw in some detail on the base. Some more bits from my Empire Strikes Back toy kit and a bit of tubing left over from the other Knights base, cut in half and it'll be attached clumsily to the tank.

And you might recognise the piece as DSS-02 Shield Generator. Not sure whether I'll go all in as metallics or try and make glowing bits either side or make them glass insulators like my Predator Las-Cannons - what do you think?

Imperial Knights - House Corvus Twins in Manufactorum
Parts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 |

So the latest update is that Alder Hey hospital still haven't got a concrete diagnosis from their genetic tests - it is very complex and unique, but they have enough information to prepare a treatment plan. The bad news is they're considering it 'high-grade', but the good news is a recent MRI scan shows no change in the six to 8 weeks since he was first admitted. It might be aggressive but currently it is stable. 

My son will be having radiotherapy and a course of chemo starting in January. Full head and spine to try and nuke it all. It'll be 6 weeks, 5 days a week with the chemo starting week 4. Then 4 weeks off and then another 4 weeks of chemo. We've a couple of prep sessions beforehand and then we get to it. No prognosis as such as they just don't know but they talked about long term side effects and how that copuld impact him in his 50's, so they clearly believe this could be curative at least. Bottom line we're still in the same boat, we just have a timescale for the procedure.

He is taking it all really well, he has his sense of humour ramped up and we're all looking forward to Christmas. January/February will no doubt be hard and right now I'm looking at cancelling going to one or both of the Last Chance Open and GT4. Neither of them really matter in the grand scheme of things but it's a discussion to have nearer the time.

Anyway, I've done a fair bit of hobby so I will have plenty of pics to share when I finally get around to blogging in earnest again. In the mean time, stay safe.

Friday 9 November 2018


So here's the explanation of what's going on. You may have seen a few posts that feature my youngest son [below] I'll start by saying he's fine and doing well, all things considered - we've won the battle, we just need to now win the war.

He'd had a routine eye test  for new glasses on the 18th October and the optician noticed his optic nerve was swollen and suggested we should take him to A&E to get a scan. After the CT scan showed a growth in his brain they transferred him to Alder Hey Hospital (one of the best children's hospitals in the country, and it's in Liverpool so only 30 minutes away) that evening.

The next day an MRI scan showed it was a 3cm brain tumour, a lot smaller than they would usually see and with no other symptoms we'd been really lucky to catch it; ordinarily they'd find tumours the size of a grapefruit in severely ill children. The doctors arranged for its removal the following Wednesday and just six days after the eye test it was removed. By the Sunday he was home and physically he's made almost a complete recovery from such extensive surgey, you can hardly even see the scar.

Unfortunately we're not out of the woods yet though. There's still more treatment to come as there are some secondaries on his spine (they won't operate on those) but having caught it so early we're hoping we've got a good head start on beating this. We've been back twice for tests but there's still no conclusive diagnosis of what it is. Some presentation of high grade (bad) and some presentation of lower grade (not as bad) cancer cells. Without a definitive identification they don't want to commit to treatment he doesn't need (radio or chemo). As he isn't presenting symptoms they feel they have time to get it right. So it could be another 2-3 weeks but he'll have an MRI inbetween so they can see if anything has changed. Until then it's back to the waiting game...

My blog hiatus and 8 year blogaversary post highlighted that my blog is a personal 'diary' first and foremost. As such it has covered a number of personal things outside of the hobby, ironically the blog was initially something I suggested for my wife to do when she was going through a difficult time. She never did anything with it and I just repurposed it. Going forward I'll need to use it as an occasional outlet, which I appreciate isn't hobby related so if I need to 'share' thing in future I may preface all those posts with a 'personal' title. Blogging will continue to be low on my list of priorities.

Understandably the hobby was not something I could entertain during the treatment - painting involves too much reflection, too much time in my own headspace when things were in the balance. As we await the next stage and the illusion of normality has been cast I've been ticking along with finishing my second Knight build but I've zero expectations on my To Do List as of right now. In the grand scheme of things none of it matters. There will be time where the hobby will help me through this challenge, there will be times where it won't. I'll continue to take pictures but when I share them will very much be as and when I feel the need.

I'm grateful for all those I've 'met' through the blog that have become friends on Facebook and who've contacted me to show their support; it's far from obligatory and this isn't a pity post it's just to inform everyone of the situation as I can't abide those cryptic statements that leave people hanging.

Lastly a huge big up and thank you to the staff at Alder Hey hospital. In a world built on celebrity and rife with 'super-heroes' it truly astounds me that miracles are being performed, without fanfare, every day by the amazing, surgeons, nurses, healthcare assistants and even the cleaning staff who would happily chat to help reassure us. The NHS is an amazing institution, offering such great care and with their support I hope we can kick this cancer's arse!