Spurred into action by my compatriots ridiculous ingenuity! Seeing as lockdown has left me with custody of most of our gaming terrain, I thought I’d take the opportunity to “upcycle” some terrain pieces that had been bugging me for a while – the woods.
Now, these were just model trees meant for railway picked up off eBay some years ago and glued to some thick cardstock which was painted dark brown and flocked. And it looked, y’know, OK... for a while..
The magical new basing material? CDs! Turns out that if you soak them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes or so, you can cut them with common or garden kitchen scissors – and once you’ve got your shape cut out you’ve got a perfectly stable, warp-free base. Now, this may be old news for some of you out there, but it was a revelation to me! First under the scissors, a disc of drivers for a printer that died in about 2014. I put it in a bowl, boiled the kettle, left it for five minutes, came back and got stuck in cutting bendy irregular shapes out of it.
Next up, I pulled the trees from their original cardboard bases and hot glued them in place on the CDs- this can be a bit fiddle, you need a big dob of hot glue on the CD and another generous glob on the tree, hold them in place until they set…
Once that was done, out to the shed and stipple on some home made texture paint (black craft paint, mixed with PVA, sand and filler powder).
Once this was dry I sprayed the whole thing black.
With this stage done, on to painting and flocking! I started with a “wetbrush” of dark brown (specifically Folk Art 476 Asphaltum, looking at the bottle), before a drybrush with Americana Honey Brown and a further drybrush with Americana Buttermilk.
So, sitrep – things suck. We’ve passed 19,000 dead here in the UK, the NHS is running on fumes, America has projections of almost a quarter of a million dead and God alone knows what’s going to happen when Covid-19 hits the slums in places like Bangladesh or Calcutta. Here in the UK, the maxim is stay home, stay safe, protect the NHS – and regrettably it seems many people can’t even manage that. It’s a bleak and scary time.
But it’s also a time to maintain a sense of proportion. Yes, We’ve lost 19,000+ to the virus – but we regularly lose 8,000 to seasonal flu. In the US it’s estimated that 24,000- 63,000 fall to seasonal flu each year. Let’s be realistic – statistically you’ve got a 99% chance of surviving the virus should you contract it. The projected death rates are simply from the fact that we have huge populations. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones from this, but it is NOT the end of the world. 100 years ago, Spanish flue tore through a world recovering from the butchery of World War 1, and despite having nowhere near the scientific base of knowledge we have now, the world endured and survived. We will endure and survive this too.
Dan and I are both following the rules and staying at home, and we both have a personal stake in this – Dan’s wife is a nurse, my girlfriend is an HCA (health care assistant), and we both want them home safe at the end of each shift. So I implore you (although if you’re smart enough to read this blog you’re smart enough to know this anyway) – STAY HOME. IT’S NOT LIKE THEY’RE PUTTING YOU DOWN A F*CKING COAL MINE. STAY HOME & WATCH NETFLIX… pretty sure the WW2 generation could manage this without issue!
Anyway, rant over – seeing as my other half can’t come over and my gaming buddy is under lockdown too, I decided to do movie & game night with a zombie theme.. hey, you think things suck now? Imagine that the virus reanimates it’s victims…
So with that in mind, I set up a solo version of Apocalypse Earth: Black Ops – our skirmish RPG variant on the main game rules – with the idea of an Atlantic Alliance Special Forces team moving through a derelict industrial estate to rescue a group of scientists trapped in an abandoned APC.
Hmm. Slightly unsatisfactory experience, if I’m honest. However, I had given all the zombies guns and a fair old turn of speed, which, in addition to their numbers probably gave them an unfair advantage. After a few minutes rumination I reset to go again, but this time the zombies would have no weapons, a CCR of 0, a move allowance of 8cm, and the team’s weapons would be replaced with more advanced “pulse rifles” with a ROF of 5. Let’s give this another shot!
Whew, well, that second go around was a LOT more intense and cinematic! I got bogged down in the early phases trying to gun down the zombies but that was never going to happen, their sheer numbers were always going to win out, so I should have kept moving as fast as possible, only shooting when necessary and keeping my distance. Oh well, as an Atlantic Alliance player I guess I’m too used to standing my ground and gunning down Dan’s Holy Soviet Army hordes… and once all this coronavirus hideousness is over, I’m very much looking forward to doing that again!
As always, stay safe, stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon (hopefully). Love to all our friends out in the blogosphere!
It’s probably fair to say that one thing EVERYONE on earth has in common, is that 2020 is not playing out the way the wanted or expected it to.
Or if it is playing out the way you wanted, well, f*ck you and the horse you rode in on.
In any case, the lockdown has robbed me of gaming buddy (not a COVID casualty, mercifully, just being careful and following the rules – getting pissed and playing soldiers with your mate hardly counts as essential travel business) , so in his absence I’ve been busying myself with readying a new faction for One Page Rules Grimdark Future / Future Force Warrior / 40k. You’ll have already seen their armour contingent, now here are the lads themselves!
As I mentioned, I think the “Rebel Guerilla” faction are meant to represent the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars, but I kind of like the idea that 40k and Star Wars kind of represent two sides of the same coin.. Luke Skywalker and co. might think they’re fighting for freedom, but in fact they’re just dupes of the Chaos Gods, killing for Khorne, fulfilling the machinations of Tzeentch, their defiance feeding Nurgle.. as for Slaanesh, I guess Leia snogging her brother in Empire Strikes Back ticks that box! Meanwhile God-Emperor Palpatine knows the TRUE nature of “The Force” and knows that only brutal repression can prevent mankind’s corruption at it’s hands.
So with that in mind, pics!
I even had a bit of a backstory for these lads – originally part of a PDF territorial reserve unit tasked with internal security operations, these lads were sent to arrest a cell of four individuals tasked with Warp/ Force sorcery… but when they arrived to round them up they found they couldn’t quite remember why they were there, and their CO suddenly found that he bitterly resented propping up a corrupt and inefficient administration that had one law for the many and one for it’s cronies. Ever since then, they’ve been on the run, existing as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them.. maybe you can join The Hazzard People’s Front!
Building on the idea of “baddies who think they’re goodies”, I went with a paint scheme inspired in equal parts by Return Of The Jedi, Rogue One, and the Vraksian Renegades from WH40K. Craft paint tan for the base uniforms, washed with thinned brown and black inks, webbing done with Vallejo Olive Drab. I think it came out rather well, something sinisterish about it but without overplaying it. These lads don’t know they’re baddies yet, remember- skulls and spikes all over everything might give the game away!
So there we are, another army to get stuck in with when freedom reigns again! I’m quite pleased with these guys, they should get in close and hit hard – how will they do against Da Skooderia? Or the Hazzard 1977th? Only time will tell!
Stay thrifty out there, but most importantly stay safe, stay healthy and to quote Mel The Terrain Tutor, “Keep Calm And Crack On”! See y’all real soon now
A quarter of the world is on lockdown (as of Thursday – probably more now). Try and wrap your head around that – a quarter of the world. We are living in unprecedented, historic times as coronavirus wreaks its’ havoc across the globe. Indeed, as I write this the UK is locked down, all non-essential travel forbidden.
Which kind of rules out our regular games night. Pretty certain going to play soldiers and drink beer with your mate doesn’t count as essential travel. So this has left me picking through the pile of toy soldiers we acquired in an eBay haul waaaaaaay back in 2012, with an idea in mind.
I’ve long fancied doing a “renegade” army, Chaos but without featuring Chaos Space Marines (as to my mind, they should be as rare as Loyalist marines) – just as the vast bulk of the Imperium’s battles are fought by the Guard, surely the vast bulk of Chaos forces will be cultists? But all the Codex stuff leans heavily on Traitor Astartes or full on Daemons.. not what I was looking for.
However, the good folks at One Page Rules have got you covered! Their Renegade Guerilla force – I believe it’s based on the Rebels from Star Wars, but it looks like a pretty good fit. We dig their Grimdark Future game, having had a couple of good scraps last year (plus it includes solo rules for when you’re missing your gaming buddy). Plus I liked the idea of a Chaos cult not really understanding that that’s what they are – having been educated in the Siege of Vraks by the excellent Arch Warhammer (a great listen while you’re cleaning, painting, decorating etc) – the rebels initially had no idea they were fighting for Chaos, initially believing they were the true loyalists… and that fits into a vague idea of the Star Wars and 40k universes being the same thing from different perspectives, Star Wars rebels thinking they’re noble freedom fighters against the repressive Galactic Empire, the Galactic Empire knowing that repression and stringent restrictions are the only way to fight Chaos/ The Force….
…or indeed coronavirus…
So I planned my list. I’ll show the infantry when they’re done, but let’s start off with the armoured component of the force – a Creighton-pattern light assault vehicle, a design native to the world of Hazzard Prime.
I’ll be showing the infantry soon, and then it’ll be nice to have another faction to scuffle on Hazzard Prime – plus these guys will probably count as “baddies” (whether they agree with it or not) which will provide a nice bit of balance when we next do a REALLY BIG GAME – and we will… things might seem grim now, but it’s not forever.
Till next time, stay home, stay safe, wash your hands and don’t do anything stupid. If you’re NHS and reading this, then thank f*ck for you and may any and every deity protect you going about your duties. The world will turn soon enough, hang in there folks.
For a while now we’ve been playing with the idea of “scaling” the Apocalypse: Earth setting for different games – just as back in the day GW had Epic, 40k and Necromunda for massed battles, intermediate and small scale skirmishes with different levels of detail, we’ve been toying with the idea of a 6mm mass battle version as well as an intimate, up-close-and-personal RPG (of sorts) set in the shadows of the Apocalypse: Earth universe.
To begin with, we thought we’d shift the focus from Allies v Holy Soviet Empire, and shine a light on some of the small scale behind the lines security.. Now, one of the factions that we haven’t explored too much on the tabletop are the extraterrestrials – the iconic Greys! If you’ve read the fluff, you’ll know that the main reason the Atlantic Alliance has the jump on the other sides in terms of technology is due to an alien spacecraft crashing in the deserts of Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Ever since then, Alliance scientists have been busily reverse engineering every aspect they can, creating the UNIVAC artificial intelligence to run the everyday infrastructure (and maybe more..) of Alliance nations, and the ARPANet instant electronic communications network, as well as the antigrav tech that powers things like the Silverbug gunships.
But although we haven’t seen the Greys in open battle yet, behind the lines it’s a different story, as elite security teams drawn from the best Allied combat units fight desperate small unit actions against alien infiltrators!
Accordingly tonight’s game pitted our gallant Alliance Special Forces team against an unknown foe, sweeping across an abandoned industrial sector..
And with that, the game is over! A resounding victory for the Special Forces team, but bear in mind that this is the lowest threat level, and would be an encounter that takes place at the start of a campaign. A fun, and at times pretty tense mission, looking forward to more playtesting on this!
Till next time, stay thrifty (and dry..) out there, see you soon!
His brush quivered in exhausted fingers that functioned on little more than adrenaline. The final wash. The final drybrush. The final details and basing. After countless hours, the endless had ended. The numberless hordes of miniatures were painted.
He felt a strange lightness- trepidation almost. For what, now, was his purpose?
He paused, trying to remember a life before this. Visions of sunlit uplands and glorious blue skies fuzzed into an imagination too long neglected, sacrificed to the demands of such a project.
As abruptly as it came, the fear left him.
You are free
“I am free” he whispered, not daring to believe it.
“I am free” he whispered again.
“I am free” he said, more confident now.
He drew a deep breath and threw his face to the heavens.
“I AM FR-“
And with that final roar, his heart beat its’ last.
Yes, it’s happened- these are THE LAST RATMEN! Finishing a project begun in something like the 4th century BC, this is a good feeling – four boxes of Miniknight Ratmen (available here, from the looks of it) bought with the intention of creating a proper old-school Warhammer Fantasy Battle Skaven army.. just a bit smaller. These fellas clock in at 1/72 or 20mm, so about 4/5 the size of a GW miniature… but a lot less than 4/5 of the price. This whole horde came in at under £40.
Anyway, this last tranche had been waiting in the “to do” pile for some considerable length of time as I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them. I knew I wanted to include as many of the bonkers Clan Skyre special weapons as I possibly could, and thankfully the Age Of Sigmar reboot hadn’t changed them much, so I modelled a pair of each of the Warplock Jezzail, Ratling Gun, Warpfire Thrower and Warp-Grinder Drill teams. Now you’ve already seen the first three, but I got started on the Warp Grinder operators…
..and was just about to pat myself on the back and have a VERY large glass of wine to celebrate finishing the behemoth of a project, when a cursory rummage revealed these two f*ckers that had been hiding!
Made worse by the fact that I’d run out of grey and white primer, so these little fellas got a spray of black, followed by a basecoat of bone craft paint… this actually worked surprisingly well, so I’m a little turned around on black primer! I then basecoated tan, washed the models with Vallejo Smokey Ink (talent in a bottle) and drybrushed back up with the original bone. After that, I blocked in the flesh tones and details. Vallejo skin wash brought everything to life and the craft acrylic I used for the red was already pretty translucent so responded to the underpainting pretty well. I wonder if I’ve perhaps stumbled on to a secret formula for cheap Contrast paints here! Anyway, here are the results:
We’ll be using these for Sigmar, old style WHFB, Age Of Fantasy:Regiments, and as the Virum Nascii for Hyperian Wars – and these lads have been smacking DOWN in our HW mini campaign last summer!
Right, if you’ve made it this far congratulations on reading a post about how I painted TWO tiny model soldiers X-) and here’s a group shot of Lord Ratticus’ mighty horde:
Of course, no wargaming/ modelling project is ever truly done… I’d like to add flags and battle standards to these guys, as well as my planned DIY Doomwheel, Plague Catapult etc, but for now I’m drawing a line under these guys and calling it done B-) Of course, in the event I have to self-isolate, I’ll at least have something to do!
Till next time, stay tuned and thrifty! (and try not to cough on each other…)
After Endless January, it seems like February has been swallowed almost entirely by 1:1 scale, also known as Real Life, problems. First car – and trust me, there are not enough swears in the world to cover my feelings toward that f*cking thing at the moment – then nature – Storms Ciaran and Dennis have been wreaking havoc and even here in dear old Leicestershire, we’ve not been immune. Although it’s nothing to what some people have been suffering in places like Wales, it was a bit disconcerting to see a lake forming on my kitchen floor, while Dan suffered tiles blown off and a leaking roof. Clearly, more offerings to the sun god Ra are in order.
So that’s why we’ve been a bit quiet.
But in between the mayhem, we’ve still managed to slip in a bit of hobby time… and after the Virum Nascii were slaughtered ignominiously in their last outing, we decided a bit of exra firepwoer was in order. So with the last few models from the four boxes of Miniknight Ratmen we bought in a fit of madness back in 2018, we’ve been busily converting to create special weapon teams inspired by and similar to (but definitely not the same as) the Clan Skyre teams from Warhammer Fantasy/ Age Of Sigmar.
Unbelievably, however, we’re still not done! There are still two guys awaiting conversion to a drill team, and after that there are the war machines! Currently there’s a prototype Doomwheel lurking in the cupboard made from two peanut butter jar lids… so if the real world could leave us alone for the next few weeks, maybe we can label this project as “DONE” – inasmuch as any gaming project ever is!
Anyway, stay thrifty out there, and our thoughts go out to anyone who’s taken a real hit from the weather these last few weeks.. See you soon!
This is definitely something we’re going to have to revisit, as Lt. Grant is currently a POW residing in a Holy Soviet internment camp somewhere on the Orkneys, so a definite game on the horizon will be the insertion of a Special Forces team to break him out, reconstitute Buffalo 2-7 and save Britain from the dastardly Soviets! Something to test our Black Ops game with, I think…
Speaking of One Page Rules, after watching our hobby sensei Wyloch we decided to give them a try- Grimdark Future and it’s skirmish cousin, Grimdark Future Firefight. Although we weren’t 100% converted, it’s a fun and quick system thoroughly well suited to a pickup game – no codexes, everything free, no rules bloat.. it just works! In fact, it’s managed to be everything 40k would like you to think it is, but isn’t (if that makes any sense..).. it’s also inspired a project for this year that is pretty high on the ambition scale… DIY Adeptus Mechanicus! More on this as it starts to take shape.
Counteracted by THIS. Scratchbuilding escalation in Epic scale!
So – busy year all round, really, lots of games played, lots of terrain made, lots of miniatures made and painted. On the horizon for 2020?
Well, I mentioned DIY Adeptus Mechanicus in 1/72, but I also fancy getting some reinforcements for our “legit” 40k armies – most likely in the form of Patoroch papercrafts – as well as more Epic shenanigans, the Virum Nasii to finish, and maybe, just maybe….. just maybe…. we’ll get some more of our rulesets actually put together and published!
So what about you out there in hobbyland? What goals have you got this year/ decade? Send us your comments, and stay thrifty out there!
EDIT: Forgot to mention – one slight negative, this was our first year on record where we had fewer views and visitors – 325/ 81 in 2015, 4095/ 1897 in 2016, jumping up to 18358/ 10297 in 2017 and 21124/ 11324 in 2018.. but down to 16399/ 7578 in 2019.
That said, I’m still pretty pleased as we had an absolute record number of likes and comments, so I’ll take that as a win – clearly more people have realised what we do and made the decision as to whether or not they’re into it, but the ones who do dig what we do are clearly keen! So shout out to Pete S/ SP, John@justneedsvarnish, Imperial Rebel Ork, Davekay and all the rest of you guys out there in hobbyland, keep ’em coming!
We’ve covered the initial tranches of slaves and warriors, and the lads have seen combat in the Mortal Realms, as well as the world of Hyperia and wherever Age Of Fantasy is set, and have given pretty good accounts of themselves. We’ve got Plague Monks, Poison Wind Grenadiers and elites to add variety, and with the latest haul we’ve added a Seer, a Death Master and a unit each of Night Runners and Gutter Runners to provide skirmishing capabilities. Obviously we’ll have to rename them for Hyperian Wars, but they’ll do just fine for Age Of Fantasy, Age Of Sigmar and what the hell, we may even dig up good ol’ Warhammer Fantasy herself to throw down retro style!
Meanwhile, of course… pics!
I really think Miniknight are onto a winner here, 20mm is a great scale for fantasy, enough to let detail on the models stand out, the models are dirt cheap and they look great racked up into regiments, you get more manoeuvre room on the table top -there are undead, orcs, goblins, dwarves from Caesar, Miniknight and Dark Alliance to check out and each of these races will have a place in the Hyperian Wars canon!
Still to come are conversions for the heavy weapons teams, and of course there’s some war machines on the horizon! We’ll be making a Doomwheels, and a Screaming Bell.. and basically everything over the next few (18?) months and everything will be rolling out on the tabletop in due course, so stay tuned!
Right, this may be the absolute flat out anyone-can-do-it simplest old wargaming trick ever…
Hedges! SO easy to do, so simple , so effective…
And it would appear I have lost most of the pictures that go along with this 😦
Still, here’s where we begin – lolly stick and pan scourer:
Chop the pan scourer to about 15mm height – enough to give cover but not block LOS completely (for 20mm scale – you poor deluded fools in 28mm might want to go a bit higher) and glue to the lolly stick. We used acrylic caulk for this but PVA will do the trick too, it’ll just take a little longer. The great thing about using the lolly stick as a base? No warping!
Next, spray prime black, and drybrush dark brown – you can be quite heavy with the drybrushing, as this is really is more like a base coat than a highlight. I did have pics of this stage but I seem to have had a senior moment and deleted them….
Now it’s time for flocking – we use Jarvis scenic flocks and followed a bastardised version of Mel The Terrain Tutor’s three tone flocking technique. Dark green in the “lowlight” areas, light green highlights on the most exposed bits and then mid green over the whole thing. Paint your hedge with PVA and then sprinkle the flock accordingly.
After that, we hit them with some clump foliage to represent weeds and undergrowth and to break up the outline of the lolly stick base. Finally, sealing! There’s a LOT of flock and clump foliage on these pieces, the last thing you want is them shedding everywhere. So, we topped up an old Windolene spray bottle with a mix of PVA and water (about 10-1 water to PVA) and just went to town soaking the pieces in it. Then the next day we did it again.
And finally, the end result!
Pretty happy with these, although I may have overdone things with the differing flocks, I have seen some really nice pieces that just went with dark green… but oh well, they look pretty good from two feet away and that’s really what matters.
Hope that’s given you some ideas and inspiration, so stay thrifty out there and we’ll see you soon!