Crossing The Rubicon Nostalgius Pt. 4- Retro Blood Angels Devastators

I’m blaming Brexit for this. Sorry to get political – I’m on the fence about most things, but since the start of this month I’ve been moob-deep in paperwork, which in turn has knocked on to a lack of hobby time.. with the result that it’s taken the better part of a month to get this next unit done,

This is the Devastator squad, as featured in the original 1991 Blood Angels army I’m using as my template – a few concessions to necessity, as the models I got in my haul back in May (eight months ago! How did THAT happen?!) are all wearing Mk 7 armour not Mk 6. As with the White Dwarf studio army, they’re packing two missile launchers and two heavy bolters.

The goal:

Picture courtesy of our good friend Whittlesy40k

The painting process was basically the same as the two tactical squads, so I’m not going to repeat it here – the only difference was the blue helmets, which I used cheap craft blue, highlighted with Wilkinson brand Duck Egg blue house paint from a tester pot. Yes, I’ve used house paint to paint Space Marines. I offer up my soul to the Emperor in penance.

I also noticed for the first time the little blue circle campaign badge, so I put that in too, again with Duck Egg blue. I’ll have to go back and add that in to the tactical squads over the next couple of.. weeks? Months? Depending on my dealings with the Administratum….

Anyway, pics:

Overall I’m fairly satisfied, although I’m becoming increasingly aware of deficiencies in my technique – I can’t edge highlight for sh*t and my eye for the detail is getting progressively worse… when all this COVID crap is over it might be time to bite the bullet and go get tested for glasses… and I really don’t know what went wrong with some of the basing! I figured it would be easier and less messy to paint on the PVA and dip them in the sand before priming, and for most if them it worked but for some…. Really, not so much.

Still, from two feet away they look pretty good, and they do capture that 2nd Ed vibe, so I’m not going to get too hung up on the details – and here is the full force so far:

The grim darkness of the far future, in glorious technicolour.

So, Jim lad, feels like it’s my turn to host a remote game, fancy trying Betrayal At Calth with these lads tomorrow night?

Meantime, wherever you are, stay safe, stay sane, stay thrifty and hang on in there, we’ll get through this.

New Year, New Project! DIY Space Gaming Board

It’s tough out there at the moment. And when the going gets tough, the tough go retro… but more on that in due course! In this post, we present for your delectation a quick and easy project that I actually managed to get done over the course of a day (!)

I began with our Deadzone board – for those who don’t recall this 2018 project, this was based on a 24″ x 33″ piece of scrap hardboard I had lying around. Now, the thing about hardboard is it has two sides, so I began by turning it over and spraying it black. Took about three passes with the cheap pound shop spray paint I had to hand.

None more black

Now, I’ve seen a couple of guides on how to do starfield effects using clever tricks with airbrushes or spray paints in exotic colours, but the fact is I don’t have any of that stuff to hand, and because we’re in lockdown (and Austerity January… meaning no money being spent on hobby stuff – although in deference to the extraordinary current circumstances we might bend that rule a little..) I really had no way of getting any of it.

What I did have was a big old splodgy DIY brush and some yellow, red and blue craft paint which is more than a little translucent – in fact, it’s startlingly similar to Citadel Contrast paint – so I stippled clouds of this stuff on strategic locations and feathered the edges using an old brush and some water to blend as naturally as possible back to the black background.

Not going to win any prizes yet, but stay with me…

Next up – stars! This one was fairly straightfoward after a couple of false starts – dip brush in white paint (in this instance, Dulux Jasmine White), flick bristles at board… stars! Took me a couple of goes to get the hang of spattering the paint in the right direction, so the project took a brief hiatus here while I cleaned paint off the floor, the walls, the TV and myself. Still…

Now we’re talking!

Finally – the tedious bit. For th game we wanted to play, I was going to need to separate the board into squares. So, tape measure and ruler in hand, I duly marked off 2″ squares and using a straight edge painted in the lines using the same Goblin Green Dan’s been using to base his retro Marines. I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for that colour! This took a while, but was fundamentally a simple process, and the slight translucency of the paint I like to think gives the effect of looking at a hololith-style display. Result:

And there we have it, all ready for gaming!

And the game we’re going to use it for?

Brace yourself, because we’re going aaaaaaaaaaaaaalllll the way back……..



Oh hell yes! From 1991, with expanded rules published in White Dwarf 139 (the same issue as the Blood Angels army Dan is paying tribute to) this game is intended for two or more players aged 8 and up, so even after a brew we should be able to handle it. First game was Friday via Zoom and we’ll be putting a battle report up along with an in depth review soon of this interesting little curio from GW’s distant past, ancestor of Battlefleet Gothic. Being in squares and using the little helm computers makes it a good candidate for remote gaming (in fairness, Betrayal at Calth or Deadzone or Firefight would probably have also been good candidates, but hey…) and it certainly was a blast last Friday.

Next up, we need to make some model ships!

As you can see, not exactly a visual feast! But great fun nonetheless

So there we have it, a brand new project to keep us both sane in what will hopefully be the final COVID lockdown… so wherever you are reading this, stay safe, stay thrifty, hang in there because better days are coming.

That Was The Year That Was… The Great Hobby Retrospective Post 2020

Well, thank Christ that’s over.

Said roughly eight billion people all around the world…. yes, COVID is still around and causing misery and havoc, but now the vaccines are rolling out and we can start to think about returning to normality, or something close to it by spring/ summer. In the words of the indomitable Mel The Terrain Tutor, let’s keep calm and crack on – and in keeping with tradition, here’s our hobby review of 2020:

Stats wise, it was a pretty good one – 18, 065 views up from 16,399 in 2019, 8265 visitors up from 7,578, 171 likes up from 141, and although comments were down from 157 to 150, WordPress does of course count the comments that we ourselves make, so pretty good number of folks out there engaged with what we do!

Of course, as for 2020 itself……

It all looked so promising this time last year. We kicked things off with the biggest Apocalypse: Earth/ Hyperian Wars/ Future Force Warrior mashup game that we’ve ever done, played over several evenings covering a couple of weeks. We weren’t entirely sure how this would work, but seeing as all three games have basically the same mechanics, we figured it at least should work to some extent. In fact it was a total blast, albeit a fairly one sided one in the end… it also provided some useful hints in terms of game development which will come in handy when we eventually get some more stuff self published. And we will, before the decade is out! X-D

We also managed to get a long running project finished, putting together the final touches to our 1/72 Ratmen army for Warhammer Fantasy, Age Of Sigmar, Age Of Fantasy, Hyperian Wars, Kings Of War and whatever else we find to amuse ourselves with.. the sky seemed the limit! And then… yeah, we all know what happened next. In order to keep some sense of perspective – COVID maybe a nasty vicious disease but it doesn’t turn it’s victims into flesh eating zombies – I ran a solo zombie game of Black Ops, our small unit higher detail version of Apocalypse: Earth (our “Kill Team” to A:E’s 40K, if you will) and we both got stuck into some painting projects to keep morale up as the pandemic surged. I got a rebel warband sorted for Grimdark Future while Dan, after being compelled to paint every surface in his house, went on a full on retro binge beginning his tribute to the Blood Angels army detailed in White Dwarf 139 back in 1991. Goblin Green bases, the works. A shout out here to Whittlesey40k who got in touch to offer us a set of decals for free!

Of course, Dan wouldn’t be Dan if he could just stick to one thing, so I must also point to his DIY Epic Imperial Guard, dedicated to recreating the army used in a Space Marine battle report using granny grating and vehicles built from foamboard… and I have to say, I absolutely love this, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen! Then there was the incident seeing the Caesar fantasy orcs on special offer… and of course the accidental purchase of some Tyranids which I now have custody!

Summer brought a bit of a respite and we dipped a toe into the waters of 40k’s 9th edition, rerunning the legendary “Battle At The Farm”, and we kicked off the GrimDark Future Fight Club, using 1000 point forces, and for a while all seemed well.. and then autumn happened. Temperatures dropped, infection rates started to soar and Lockdown II: The Revenge. I disappeared under mountains of risk assessments, and we both found ourselves afflicted with COVID blues as this situation just seemed endless. I managed to perk myself up creating some big polystyrene ruins inspired by – well, copied from, really – Midwinter Minis YouTube channel and Dan has been making steady and impressive progress with his Blood Angels, and we’ve got some plans to use them over the next few weeks using Zoom and some square or hex based systems….

So, looking to the future.. well, courtesy of the fine people at Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca we can at least expect to have a future, and we’re aiming to have a MASSIVE game to celebrate! I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Dan’s granny grating Imperial Guard and will have to make some supplementary forces, maybe have a crack at Eldar, Squats or Chaos.. oh, and I’ve still got a truckload of old Epic Orks to paint! Plus zombies – that was a really fun evening, and I think it will lend itself well to a remote game, and we can keep refining those rules for eventual publishing.

Oh, and let’s not forget Dan’s test piece for urban ruins – when we did the urban board, we did have the idea of a massive city fight in mind, and as we left our Apocalypse: Earth story after the D-Day anniversary in 2019 the Soviets had successfully established a foothold in Scotland and we did have a plan to fight the next stage in the sort-of campaign, the Battle Of Aberdeen! So there are many good things on the horizon, for now it’s simply a case of gritting teeth and keeping heads down until this bloody pandemic has finally run it’s course.. and it will.

See you in the pub come summertime.

Stay safe, stay sane, stay thrifty out there, this is almost done – and if anyone out there reading this was involved in the development of the vaccine, THANK YOU!!