Friday, 23 January 2015

Your Doom Approaches, Man-Things!

Just to vary things up a little, and to avoid painting more Clanrats, I've decided to make my first foray into Clan Pestilens territory and paint up some Plague Monks. These will add another hard-hitting unit of troops to the army, and provide even more numbers! There will eventually be a Plague Priest (and possibly even a Plague Furnace) to accompany these critters at some point, but I will need to construct a slightly elaborate base for the Plague Priest as he won't rank up without some sort of elevation. 

These are all now based up and ready for painting to begin. Given that they are mostly swathed in robes, I might diverge from my usual method and undercoat them with a suitable sickly green colour, rather than the browns I've used on all the other models in the army. I've also taken advantage of the fact that the Plague Monks are free-standing rather than slotta-based, and used some regiment bases in the unit, rather than have them all as individual models. 

I've begun getting together a few more bits of kit that will finally enable me to start using the airbrush that I got last year. I think the Plague Monks might make for some excellent test models...

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Awakening of the Wood

Here are the first of the Wood Elf models I plan to get painted this year - my second Treeman and the first unit of Wild Riders (I have a second unit unbuilt). The Treeman is a slight conversion based loosely on one that was shown in White Dwarf Weekly back when the Wood Elf book was released - basically, the staff of the Treeman Ancient has been combined with Durthu's sword to make a huge Treeman-sized spear. I've played around with the various joints to come up with a different post, although I don't think this one has worked out quite as good as the first Treeman.

The Wild Riders are a pretty fiddly bunch of figures to put together, and don't sit on their stag steeds in a regular fashion, which makes fitting the riders on top a bit of a nightmare. I think once they're painted, I'm simply going to fix the riders to the stags permanently, rather than go through the rigmarole of trying to balance them on top for the duration of a game. It will make them a bit more difficult to store and transport, but it will save headaches when they actually get used...

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Horned Rat Ascendant!

The End Times continue apace as the Warhammer world awaits the return of Grey Seer Thanquol, with the fourth installment of the saga released this weekend. Preceding the release of the book was a brand new plastic Verminlord kit, which I pre-ordered and got delivered earlier this week.

So, in line with my aim to get the Verminlord painted as part of my Skaven contingent for this year, I began putting the kit together on Tuesday night. 

As I've mentioned previously, the kit can be used to build one of five variants of Verminlord - the Warpseer (Seers), Deceiver (Eshin), Corrupter (Pestilens), Warbringer and Skreech Verminking, a new special character whose story will unfold in the upcoming End Times book. Clans Moulder and Skryre didn't get a Verminlord variant because they have new toys of their very own coming!

The main body is the same for each variant so I settled with putting that together on Tuesday night, while I mulled over which head and weapon variants to use. Given that games are often few and far between for me, the question was largely one of aesthetics - which one looked the best. I knew I wanted a doom glaive, as the archetypal weapon of choice for Verminlords everywhere. 

Ultimately, I ended up following the Warbringer build exactly. I really liked the Warpseer arm holding the Scry-orb as seen on the box picture (and it's a pretty tasty item as well!) but wasn't keen on the Warpseer head, and the Scry-orb with the Warbringer head didn't seem right. So in came the punch dagger and my Verminlord is complete! 

Just for reference, here's a comparison shot with the Treeman - as you can see, the Verminlord towers over him!

And just to top things off, I found this in with the Verminlord box - a cool little Horned Rat pin badge! 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Tor Gaming - Relics Mystery Box Competition!

One of the aims on my list of projects for the year is my starter set for Tor Gaming's Relics; well, this could be your chance to get your own starter set, plus much more! Tor Gaming are currently running a massive £150 Mystery Box Giveaway, containing all you could possibly need for a faction of your choice plus a copy of the Relics rulebook. Go take a look!

I've been meaning to talk about Relics for a while to be honest, as I picked up a starter set and rulebook way back in March of last year. I started painting the figures and we played one proper game before life intervened, but it's certainly one we intend to come back to. 

The game itself is a small-scale skirmish level game, currently with four factions to choose from, and with starter sets available containing fairly balanced forces for each, allowing you to play straight out of the box. Although the game is not designed with 'army lists' in mind, the authors have gone to the effort of including points values for those who are inclined to play "equal lists" games. 

The figures themselves are great sculpts, with a variety of influences to suit all sorts of tastes - from "stitchpunk" Britanans to the evil pixies of the Vaettir. The starter sets contain between five and nine figures, but the ranges for each faction allow you to expand from the starters, or forgo the starter sets altogether to pick a different selection of models to play with, if you so wished. Of course, if you win the Giveaway, you'll have all the figures you need! 

Monday, 12 January 2015

A Taste of Things to Come

I've talked about 2014 already elsewhere, but it was a bit of a damp squib when it came to painting figures. I've had a think about what sort of things I want to aim for in 2015, and decided to concentrate on completing small chunks rather than whole collections. This should serve two purposes - firstly, it will give me a sense of progress as I (hopefully) tick items off the list and secondly, it will (hopefully) prevent me getting too bogged down in painting the same things all year. I say hopefully because, as anyone who's been reading the blog for a while will know, I'm not the greatest at sticking to any sort of plan...

So, here's the list of aims for 2015:

  • Bloodbowl Wood Elves - I have most of the figures converted already. I need to build a couple more Linemen and then the team is complete and ready to be painted. 15/16 figures
  • Vikings - As already stated, there's the promise of a campaign in the not-too-distant future so this will be amongst the first projects of 2015. Using SAGA rules, this could be anywhere between 20-50 figures...
  • Relics - We've only played one game so far, but with only 9 figures in the starting warband, this should be an easy project to complete. 
  • Pirates - I have all the figures I need, a mix of actual pirate figures and conversions, so all they need is paint. 20 figures
  • Mordheim - I have Sisters of Sigmar, Beastmen and Dwarf Treasure Hunter warbands, plus a few additional figures for my existing Witch Hunter warband 30-ish figures
  • LotR - I'm halfway to completing both my Dwarves and Moria Goblin forces, so getting those done is the aim. I have 47 Dwarves, and about the same number of Moria figures to paint. A sizeable target, but it would be a big achievement. c.100 figures
  • Skaven - The End Times has renewed my interest in Warhammer, and the Skaven are about to get their own instalment (which I've pre-ordered). Painting up at least a couple of new toys would be a good addition. A Hell Pit Abomination, one of the new Verminlords (also pre-ordered) and a big unit of Plague Monks are the targets. 42 figures
  • Wood Elves - Continuing with the End Times theme, there are several toys that should have been added to my Wood Elves last year that I didn't manage. I'm aiming to complete the last 10 Eternal Guard plus a Highborn, my second Treeman, the Wildwood Rangers I meant to paint last year, a unit of stag-riding Wild Riders and my Dragon. 50-ish figures
It sounds like a lot, and it is - roughly around 300 figures - but I'm hoping that by breaking it into manageable chunks and varying projects, I can keep my focus and motivation up. If I can come back in 12 months and cross at least half these items off the list I'll be happy. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015


Another Christmas present I received was a copy of Zombicide by Guillotine Games and CoolMiniOrNot. The game has been around for a couple of years now, but it had largely escaped my notice until about six months ago. It's at the top end of the price scale for a board game, but with all the content you get in the box it's certainly value for money. I was still surprised to receive a copy though!

There has been plenty written about the game (and it's several expansions) so I won't go into too many details other than to say that it's proven to be a fantastic, fast-pace and intense game, and already a firm favourite. It's even got my other half hooked!

We played several games over the festive period, with two, three and four players at various times, and each game has proved be fun and exciting (and often, pretty tricky!)

The survivors all begin together, with only the most basic supplies and equipment available

Zombies spawn in buildings whenever a door is unlocked - this can lead to quite a mob forming!

Our first game (after the tutorial mission) saw us jump right into the deep end and attempt the "City Blocks" scenario, rated Hard. Our thinking was "how hard can it be, really?" Turns out, pretty damned difficult!

The culmination of our first mission attempt - two survivors left, trapped in a room with a zombie horde...

Our second attempt at the same mission saw us last a bit longer, thanks to taking the time to open a couple of smaller buildings first and find some half-decent weapons, but ultimately ended the same way

This time we managed to claim two objectives before being eaten!
At this point, we realised we'd bitten off more than we could chew and opted to try something easier! The "Grindhouse" mission looked more manageable so we gave it a try

Doug unleashes his dual Sub-MGs and clears the room in a single burst

We managed to complete Grindhouse in a single attempt, which I'm not ashamed to admit elicited much high-fiving and celebration! Several more games followed, including a few on New Year's Eve when my dad and brother got involved and had much fun slaughtering plenty of zombies before eventually getting eaten anyway. 

And so Zombicide has been added to the list of board game favourites, and also to the substantially shorter list of games that my other half will play, which is an achievement in itself! 

The one thing that is giving me pause for thought though are the figures; specifically, whether they should be painted or not. I like the "board game feel" that comes with using the figures as they are, coloured plastic. On the other hand, I've seen some great examples of painted Zombicide models that look fantastic (not least at Carmen's Fun Painty Time, who seems to have painted every sort of miniature out there...)

To help decide what to do, I'm going to throw the vote open to the world and see what comes of it. To paint or not to paint: that is the question...

New Figure Gallery!

I spent some time today taking updating pictures of my completed Wood Elf units, using my new photography setup (much better lighting, tripod etc. for hopefully much improved photos!)

I've now added a standalone gallery page to the blog (which you can access via the navigational tabs at the top of the page or directly from this link) showing my Wood Elf army thus far. Naturally, I've only included those figures that are completely finished, including bases and movement trays, so there are some models that have featured on the blog that aren't in the gallery yet - namely, more Eternal Guard and the Treeman who have yet to receive the necessary snowfall on their bases.

Of course, as more units are completed they will be added to the gallery in time. I'm also planning on adding separate pages for other armies and collections - most likely, the completed units for my Clan Rictus army will be the next to gain a permanent position on the blog, once I get round to photographing them all.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Raiding Party

As I mentioned before Christmas, there are tentative plans in place to begin a Viking SAGA campaign soon and so we've all begun frantically assembled various northman figures to build our warbands. The plastic Gripping Beast Viking Hirdmen kit has been exceptionally useful in getting a large bunch of warriors together in a short time, and I've still got some left to assemble! But for now, here are the beginnings of my Viking warband...

Two character figures, also from Gripping Beast - Jarl Sigvaldi on the left, and Egil Skalagrimsson on the right.

The select few who are fully built, including shields

Those warriors who will not receive their shields until after painting...

And the whole bunch together, including some who have yet to receive heads! 

As of now, I have ten Vikings only partially assembled and a whole sprue (ten more Vikings) still in the box. Once those are assembled as well, I'll have a grand total of 46 Vikings to form my SAGA Warband. More than enough to play our little campaign, I should think.  

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Let There Be Light!

So here we are then, the first blog post of 2015. First off, a Happy New Year to all - I hope the festive season brought much merriment and joy! 

Of course, Christmas also brings presents and I thought I'd start off the year by sharing one of mine. Technically, it wasn't a Christmas present (I got it in the January sales...) but it arrived today and so I've spent the morning tinkering with it. The present in question is a lightbox; more accurately, it is a "Portable Photo Home Studio" that includes a light tent, two 240v GU10C Daylight effect lamps, four different coloured backgrounds (white, black, red, blue) and a mini tripod stand for my camera, all packed up in a handy carry case. As I said, I've only begun playing around with the kit this morning but my first impressions are very good and I can already see big improvements in the few photos I've taken. Given the price (a little over £25) I absolutely cannot grumble! 

Here are a select few of the photos I've taken this morning, just because I feel like sharing...

Grey Seer Pritislik and his Screaming Bell are possibly too big for my little tent...

A Wood Elf BSB, courtesy of's Miniature Exchange and the talented paintbrush of Baardah

Warlord Queek Greyclaw of Clan Rictus!

My Mordheim Witch Hunter warband
Classic Wood Elf Archers!

The newest addition to my Wood Elf army...

And finally, the Doomwheel

So there you have it. I'm pretty impressed so far. The first couple of pictures shown were taken with just the two lamps provided, after which I brought in my desktop lamp to supplement the lightning, which seemed to improve the overall shot. It's not a great light source (it's not designed for photography after all) so I may look into getting another lamp specifically for the light tent, but it will certainly do for now. The only other thing I'll need to sort out is the creases in the background sheets - a quick iron on a low temperature should smooth out any issues (if you'll excuse the pun!)