#Orktober Part Deux – Da Black Ork Cav – DIY Battlewagon & Command Group

So to match my comrade in blogging, I too have taken up the challenge to Paint The Sh*t I Already Own and organise (Orkganise?) it into a fully 2nd Ed legal “baddie” force to oppose Dan’s gloriously technicolour Blood Angels.

Some of you may remember these lads from the dim and distant World That Was – pre-pandemic, pre-war – and although I scraped together enough models to fight the scenarios in the 2nd Ed battle booklet, I just… left them there. In order to make a fully legit 2nd Ed force. They were going to need the most dreaded phrase in wargaming parlance – “rounding out”.

Happily, I still had a few Orks left over from filling out the ranks of the Boyz (as well as a random Grot), a copy of the 2nd Ed Ork Codex from 1994 as a PDF from what I assume is a legal source.. and of course hope (Sorry, wrong franchise).

I planned out a list with the intent of making an “armoured cavalry” themed force of mercenaries using the scratch built Ork tanks that WD 136 came with cardboard templates for – cool quirky things that would make their way into Epic like the Gobsmasha, the Lungbursta, the Braincrusha and the Bonecrusha or Bonebreaka.. only to find that these no longer had rules in 2nd Ed. So after some wailing and gnashing of teeth, I came up with another plan – although the original paint scheme left these guys as largely clan-agnostic, most of the ladz had camo trousers of some description, meaning I could legitimately run them as Blood Axes… and that meant access to Imperial hardware.

So, a Gobsmasha could be an Orky take on a Vindicator? Scans Marine & Guard codex…nope, Vindicators didn’t have rules back then. However, the Leman Russ was new to the Guard back then, and there’s no reason why a Blood Axe Mek shouldn’t have looked at that great mountain of dakka and thought “Hmm…”… so I figured I could pretty reasonably knock together a Lungbursta hull, slap a couple of sponsons on it, and hey presto – Orky Leman Russ.

I came up with a battle roster suiting the kit I had to hand – 20 odd Orks, 41 Gretchin.. keeping to the theme of austerity (Orksterity?) I figured the rest would be vehicles and Dreads because I could scratch build them virtually for free – hell, I’d already done a Dread.

So here is the roster:

2 x Mobs 10 Boyz (bolt pistol, flak armour, axe) – 120 pts each

2 x Mobs of 20 Gretchin (autogun) – 100 pts each

Da Dread – lascannon, heavy bolter – 145

585 so far..

Warboss – Flak Armour, Kustom Blasta, Kustom Forcefield -115 (700)

Gretchin Champion Assistant – Flak Armour, Autogun, Knife – 6 (706)

Mek & Painboy – Kustom Blasta, Kustom Forcefield – 68 each (842)

2 Battlewagons – 50 each (942)

Bigboss- Ork Eavy Armour, Power Fist, Frag & Krak Stikkbomz – 57 (999)

2nd 500 pt block

Ork Nob – Autocannon, Frag, Krak, Melta Stikkbomz, Kustom Force Field – 61pts

Runtherd – bolt pistol, flak armour, Kustom Force Field, Frag & kark Stikkbomz– 43pts (104)

Nuvver Dread – Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher – 145 (249)

Yet Anuuvver Dread – Heavy Bolter, Heavy Flamer – 120 (369)

2x Warbuggy – Multi Melta – 130 (499)


3rd 500 pt block

2 Leman Russ Demolisher w/Heavy Plasma Guns in sponsons – 250 each – 1999

As you can see, a fair bit to do! Currently I’m painting the remaining infantry and building a retro-style battlewagon:

Remaining Orks and lone Grot stripped, based – homemade texture paste, PVA, dunk in the mass of sawdust and general Garage Floor Grit, prime white and thinned Smoky Ink wash (partly for the gradation of colour, mainly for outlining details that my aging peepers might otherwise miss)
Floorplans cut from foamboard – you can see the measurements marked on. Shaded parts are the bits to be cut off.
Stroke of genius here! X-D Stacked up the foamboard offcuts to make the fron drivers compartment and the rear mounted engine compartment… I’m thinking BIG V8!
Overview of the foamboard chassis, Ork Boy for scale
NOW we’re cooking! Card panels cover the foamboard engine & driver compartment, single corrugated card for the passenger compartment side panels, wheels are cardboard tube with cardboard added for armour plate and balsa wood coffee stirrers provide the cross bracing on the wheels
More armour panels and rear wheels built from toilet roll tube – bigger rims… “Ghazgkull sez, ride big”
Rivets! Detailed with hundreds of the bastard things, little dots of PVA added with a cocktail stick… tedious to do, but looks SO GOOD when you slap the paint on… Note as well the spikes filling in the gaps in the armour, these are just cocktail sticks trimmed to fit and held in pace with the magic combo of superglue and quick dry PVA.
Rear view..

Now let’s finish off with a few beauty shots – there’s a fair bit to do to get these up to the magic 2000pts (let alone the hefty force of Marines Dan’s Blood Angels will add up to) but I rather like this idea of a renegade Ork mercenary force with a lot of dakka for hire.. an elite cadre of Orks with the Gretchin “hired help” pressed into services as supporting fire/ meat shields.. Look out for a battle report in the near future as we get the gaming shed ready for some 2nd Ed retro goodness!

All painted up and ready to roll!
Base of red craft paint, washed with smoky ink and drybrushed up, pin washes of smoky ink and went heavy with the sponge chipping and drybrushed up some brown to represent mud
The new recruits! Boss WarBastard IV identifiable by snazzy kustom shoota (bit of lego jammed over an Imperial bolter by the eBay seller), sword and spiky armour – yes, I will be doing back banners!
Da Black Ork Cav on parade!
All together – WAAAAGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

And by my calculations I’ve got enough scraped together to field a legit 1000pt army (just need the banners) to go up against Dan’s boys in red for a proper legit retro 2nd Ed scrap – so Dan, is Captain Tycho ready to get his pretty face messed up again? Let’s do this!

As always, stay thrifty and we’ll see you again soon!

#Orktober! Teeny Weenie Greenie Meanies

Christ, that came around quick! Well, seeing as we spectacularly failed to accomplish anything Ork(c) related during last year’s #Orktober, Jim and I figured it was time to write that wrong.

And considering that we are now about to dive headlong into the Second Great Depression (according to most news sources here in the UK), it seemed like a good idea to paint the stuff we already had rather than go and do something as reckless as spending money.

Years ago, in The World That Was – in fact ye gods, I believe it was as far back as 2012 – we scored a major eBay coup and picked up a box of 2nd Ed Space Marine (or Epic, as it became known). Although there were no Eldar included, there was a healthy force of Space Marines and a ton of Orks. Jim took the Marines, and I got the greenskins, and we’ve had a good few entertaining scraps over the years. But there were still a good chunk of Orks left over that I never got around to doing anything with, so I figured this was a good time to start.

We have here a Death Skull clan – nice and cheap and very useful, as because of their place in Ork society as thieves and looters, they can nick other clan-specific cards – Evil Sunz Gobsmashas, Goff Lungburstas and the like – which means you can tailor them nicely for whatever plan you have in mind.

Each clan can be reinforced by up to five units, but I only painted up a couple – partly because they were the only ones ready to go, and partly to allow me to reinforce them with other units – so what we have here is a clan (roughly a company) of infantry reinforced by a mob of Stompers and a mob of Bonebreaka tanks:

I did the flesh and bases with Goblin Green, washed with Green Ink, blue was Wilko’s Duck Egg Blue layered with a cheap blue craft acrylic and then bolters in black. The banners were done the same way and I used snipped up paper clips as the mounting poles.
The red bits on the vehicles were Vallejo Hot Orange washed with red ink, and for the metallics it was Vallejo Mithril silver drybrushed over a black undercoat and then washed with a mix of Smokey Ink and Flesh wash for a rusty, battered look.

And now the entirety of Waagh-Bozzhog:

Towered over by Big Red the Mega Gargant, with Slasher in attendance.. Warlord Bozzhog & his Stompas at the front, backed up by Goff, Evil Sunz, Bad Moon and now Death Skull infantry!
Unfortunately it is very possible to see how my painting approach has changed since whenever it was I last put brush to Epic Ork, and the colours don’t quite match… so I’m going to have to do some more re-organising and homogenising before I’m really happy with them.. but isn’t that always the way?

Anyhoo, Jim’s up next with a really cool little build, the boy’s getting into his stride! Stay thrifty and see you soon

The League Of Who? DIY Epic Squats!

It’s been a while, this. You ever get those project ideas which come really quickly but then take forever to get stuck into? This was one of those..

..which makes it all the sweeter to be finally able to show it off!

After Dan converted me to the Church of Granny Grating with his adorable Imperial Guard, I’ve fallen hook line and sinker for the charm of the technique, and after he decided to theme his army around the force featured in the 1992 (1993?) White Dwarf Battle Report, I decided to undertake a similar project based around the Squat force that fought against Ghazgkull Thraka’s Ork horde-

-and then, stuff got in the way…..

..and then this happened!

Yup. Stop the clock, as they say.

Now, the new look Squats are very much a source of controversy, but this army is firmly old school early 90s classic feel. So, to the pics!

Here’s how we start – wine box card and granny grating crosses, note slightly different shapes for assault troops (with swords) Hearthguard (greenstuff blobs to denote exo-armour) and banner poles to denote command stands.. no point going over the construction here as we’ve done it plenty over the last few years!
Thunderers – each of these lads mounts a shoulder fired heavy weapon, a granny grating clip off superglued to the shoulder
Grand Battery – 10 Mole Mortars, 5 Thudd Guns – drinking straw barrel, cardboard shield, granny grating undercarriage and wheels made by sling a sausage of greenstuff
Not fooling anyone yet, are they? But you wait till they’re based and painted!
Primed white, Vallejo Goblin Green for the overalls, cheap red craft paint for the flak jackets and Cadmium Yellow for the helmets, flesh tone craft paint for the faces. Everything then got a thinned Vallejo Brown Ink wash.. and then it was time to tackle the metallics!
The metallics were initially silver before I checked some pics online and discovered I needed to do bronze.. so initial basecoat of Vallejo Mithril Silver, overlaid with a craft bronze (that had virtually nothing in the way of pigment) and finished with a Brown Ink wash.
Hearth guard – yellow over white primer, overlaid with bronze craft paint and washed with brown ink.. yeah, I know, but from two feet they look pretty good!
Basing was a craft brown, layered with Garage Floor Dust (TM), dry soil and Jarvis mixed flocks
Grand Battery! I actually primed these guys gold with some spray paint I had from making Christmas decorations a few years ago, happily after a wash with Brown Ink they homogenised pretty well with the infantry!

So there we are, first tranche complete! Next up I’ve got a Guild Biker force to put together, and I’ve got some ideas for that… Granny grating is this stuff, so as you can see it’s an absolute steal, and one sheet has done all these Squats, Dan’s Imperial Guard, my Star Wars armies and there’s still a fair bit left!

Hopefully this has inspired you to give this technique a go – we can’t claim to have invented it, and sadly the original creator seems to have disappeared – this is as close a link as I could find. If anyone knows anything more, please let us know!

Stay safe and thrifty out there, and Slavia Ukrainia!

Crossing The Rubicon Nostalgius Pt. X – Characters

And we proceed into the end phase of this projectwell, probably.. after nigh on TWO YEARS (!) I’ve finally got the supporting characters for Captain Tycho’s HQ.

Presenting:

From left to right – Librarian, Medic, Chaplain
Side view on Chaplain – he was based black, drybrushed up and then washed with black again – yellow and bone parts shaded with Vallejo Skin Wash and I tried to feather the wash a little with a wet brush… looking at the close up though I can see a few issues!
Medic – I was happier with him, based in Dulux Jasmine White (yep) thinned with Windsor & Newton medium, given a very thin coat of Skin Wash to warm the whole thing up a bit – slightly heavier wash on the yellow and/ bone parts
Librarian – I did the blue with Wilkos Duck Egg Blue, washed with a craft blue and did a thinned down wash over the silver on the power sword to suggest a “power” vibe

The back banners were my attempts at freehand and I think it’s undeniable that I REALLY need to get my eyes checked – I think I may have another crack at these, drawing them out on paper first rather than going in freehand!

Captain Tycho and his supporting cast…

Hmm. Looking at these from two feet away, they look OK, but under the unyielding light of camera close up, I’m not happy. Glasses and retouching I think are the order of the day – anyone out there have any experience of this sort of thing?

Stay safe and thrifty out there, back again soon!

Crossing The Rubicon Nostalgius Pt.9 – When You’re On A Roll…

There’s an old saying – when you’re in a hole, stop digging, but when you’re on a roll, keep rollin’! So after the first Rhino actually took me slightly less than two years….

Yeah…

After having realised (with a couple of pointers from Jim) how to crank ’em out, here’s two more:

These were built exactly the same way as the first one, papercraft template downloaded from “In The Grim Cheapness” (RIP), glued to card… ignored the fiddly bits, used straws for the exhausts, PVA dabs for the rivets and Polyfilla (sanded down with an emery board) to fill in and take care of any glaring gaps. Primed white (and pre-shaded with brown ink), then Vallejo Hot Orange base, Red Ink Wash, drybrush with Hot Orange and edged with cheap Cadmium Yellow craft paint.

Metallics are Vallejo Mithril Silver over craft black base, whites are Dulux Jasmine White house paint (!)
Notice that No. 9 Rhino has a) the variant frontal armour and b) a small dent after having been inadvertently sat on by the boy.. not to worry, what would have been £30+ quid of plastic down the pan gets a quick shake, squeeze and prodding back out with a cocktail stick and..
Good to go! Seen here with the first Rhino, Captain Tycho and some friends…
“Our aim is to create a recognisable brand to strike fear into the hearts of the Imperium’s enemies”

So there we go, more progress on the 1991 Blood Angels Tribute Act… now, to make this force 2nd Ed legal, I need to bodge together a Techmarine, plus there’s a Land Speeder, a Land Raider, a Thudd Gun, two bikes (Christ knows how I’m going to do them) and the rest of the characters still to do… so hmmm, what’s next on the hit list….

Stay safe and thrifty out there, and slavia Ukrainia, slavia heroyem – all things pass

Crossing The Rubicon Nostalgius Pt. 8- Startin’ Up The Motor Pool!

After my compatriot’s rather heartfelt (and heavily researched) post on the unfolding conflict in Ukraine, I kind of feel a bit sheepish popping this here, but here we are – the first vehicle for the 1991 Blood Angels!

Fittingly enough, it’s a Rhino – the ubiquitous M113-battle-taxi of the far future. This was (fanfare please) a DIY papercraft build, put together from a template downloaded from the now-shuttered (sadly) blog “In The Grim Cheapness” – I’d recommend downloading the hell out of everything on that site while it’s still up.

I actually built the basic hull and treads back in 2020 (!) and pretty much forgot about it, so hauled it back out and started applying details. Hatches and armour layers were cut from thin card, and the iconic four exhausts (borrowing from Wyloch.. praise be upon him) were made from drinking straws. I plugged up the holes with greenstuff and cut down thinner drinking straws for the very top of the exhaust.

You can see the rivets – dots of PVA glue, dabbed on with a cocktail stick. I also used Polyfilla (spackle, in American) to fill in some of the gaps, and then sanded it down before priming.

In white, naturally, as was the style of the time – and I decided to get clever, adding a thin chestnut/brown wash over the primer:

Before applying the basecoat, two thin coats (naturally) of Vallejo Hot Orange, washed with Vallejo Red Ink, drybrushed with Hot Orange and edge highlighted with thinned Cadmium Yellow craft paint.

Craft black for the bits that are going to be metallic and the campaign badge, and the vision slits because no bloody way was I going to cut out raised lips for them…

You might notice that although this is based on the classic Mk 1 Rhino from the Rogue Trader but I wimped out of doing the radiator grills – I did have a plan to use nylon tulle (which we used when we made Skalk Point) but after losing several layers of skin trying to superglue the bastard stuff I gave up and went for armour layers with cardboard. So we have a beast which is neither quite fish nor fowl, but after a lick of paint, we are left with….

My First Papercraft! With thanks to Jim for a bit of assistance 😉
Freehand shapes were drawn on in pencil and then Dulux Jasmine White house paint (thinned with Windsor & Newton medium) to fill in the shapes.. I actually measured the arrow to get it geometrically right, a first for me!

In situ on the terrain mat with some friends for scale

So there we are – it’s not quite done, I need to get a couple of bolters to mount on it but riding a wave of confidence I may even scratchbuild some to stick on there!

Not perfect and I very much doubt it would fool anyone into thinking it’s a legit GW product, but works nicely for us and looks pretty good – the army list calls for another two, so that’s me occupied for the next few weeks!

On another note, we decided that one thing we could do is cash out everything we’ve earned from selling Apocalypse: Earth to the DEC appeal to support Ukraine, so from now on until all this is over all proceeds will be going there. Not much, but better than nothing. As Jim mentioned in the last post, we did have some engagement with Russia (43 readers… out of 144 million people.. still) so if you ARE a young Russian chap of draftable age reading this and conscription season is right around the corner, maybe now is time to take that gap year abroad you’ve been promising yourself…..

Stay thrifty and safe out there, and may sanity prevail before too long. Slavia Ukraini, slavia heroyem

Alternative Alternative Armies – The Valiant 44th Free Companies Levy

We’ve all been there. It happened with Da Skooderia. It happened with the Virum Nascii. That idea, the initial rush of enthusiasm… and then nothing.

Such it was with this guy – a Valiant Miniatures “1/72” German converted with cardboard, greenstuff and the now infamous granny grating into a sci-fi trooper with an unfeasibly big gun. I was pleased with the results, and resolved to make him some friends.

And then I did nothing about it. For a year.. or close to it.

But then the other week I got to thinking, “I could just go for a bit of Firefight…” – Dan offered the use of his gloriously retro Blood Angels to play the part of the Crusaders (humanity’s power armoured elites), I ordered up a load of bases from eBay and we were rolling once more!

Greenstuff for face coverings (COVID security) and kneepads – we’ll assume all troops are fully vaccinated too!
Granny grating to turn those Mausers and StG 44s into something suitably futuristic and sci fi! Cardboard cut to fit body armour plates – yeah, won’t be winning any awards on that anytime soon..
Voila, a platoon of the Free Companies’ finest!
Groundwork – I knocked up a texture paste of filler powder, PVA and some crud off the garage floor, then when that was dry sprinkled yet more garage floor crud (sawdust, cat litter, gravel chips) on them, lots of lovely texture, all for free! And crucially these days, I know to do this pre-priming…
Primed white and hit with base colours – the tan is just a craft paint, the body armour is Vallejo Russian green (a colour we’re seeing a worryingly large amount of in real life at the time of writing..)
The Valiant 44th (because that’s the number of the TRUE F1 World Champion!) on patrol!
Support weapon – triple barrelled gatling/multilaser/heavy blaster thing
Lieutenant, aka “Lute” or “first pip” (according to the rulebook fluff)
The lads in action during their training missions – close assault here….
Using heavy weapons to clear a roadblock
House clearance led by Crusader NCO (who promptly got himself killed.. meaning the Levy NCO had to practice taking command… yeah, sounds like a plausible training mission!

The first mission of the rulebook campaign saw the Crusader NCO taking the squad out on a patrol, clearing a building. This saw them first ambushed by a Goblin patrol in the garden in front of the house:

Off we go, out on patrol…
Ambushed by Shia Khan Goblins!
A brief scuffle sees the Goblins cut down almost to a man, the survivor flees into the house..
Preparing to assault, but there’s a second Goblin patrol in ambush!
Fast & furious action sees the Goblins annihilated, but it’s a close run thing!
Sniper, booby trap and radpit traps all fail to slow our lads down, and here we see a celebratory picture of the lads completing their first patrol!

We’re getting the hang of “Firefight” now, and it’s a really fun game – even though the lads emerged unscathed, gunning down the opposition, it was a much closer run thing than the result might show! If you’ve never investigated this unsung 90s classic, I thoroughly advise you to do so – low model count, fast paced rules, neat campaign system.. perfect for a Friday night in when the weather is vicious!

The Levy platoon is 18 strong which leaves me 40+ Valiant models to do something with… and I have me an idea… watch this space!

Stay thrifty out there and see you soon!

Back To The Granny Grating – DIY Epic Sentinels

How do again world. Having built up a nice head of steam painting Captain Tycho and being within touching distance of finishing my Retro Blood Angels, it makes perfect sense to leave them once again to concentrate on something else.. but as my partner in thrift mentioned, sometimes you just want those little wins, and the idea of a quick and simple project lit a fire under me.

In these days of economic apocalypse where just heating your house seems to require working three jobs (and one of them being a hedge fund manager), the casual wargamer could be forgiven for thinking that the Epic Imperial Guard army he once coveted as a kid would remain out of reach forever…

Look at the top caption – a glorious sight, one’s heart fills to bursting with pride in the Hammer Of The Emperor

Guess again.

Some of you have already seen the Granny Grating Imperial Guard force taking shape over the last couple of years (and I certainly can’t take credit for the idea) and as the project as taken on a life of it’s own I’ve started to base it more and more on this force from the “Assault On Barbarius” battle from 2nd Ed Space Marine back in the early 90s. We’ve got the infantry component and a contingent of Rough Riders, plus a Vindicator company (the Guard could take them way back when) and of course the DIY Leviathan. The Assault On Barbarius force also called for (amongst other things) a squadron of Sentinels, and I quickly saw how a bit of granny grating and greenstuff could take care of that. A couple of evenings later – done!

The infamous “Eggs On Legs”! Granny grating frame (3 up and one across, I believe), vaguely elliptical blob of greenstuff for the cockpit, “L” shape greenstuff for weapon and pilot. Bases 20mm single corrugated cardboard from wine box. Shown here about to be primed white, as was the style of the time.
Up close and personal- these are never going to fool anyone that they’re GW originals, but it’s clear what they’re supposed to be.
The army (as it stands) deployed on the DIY battle mat..
A few units to go before we’re “street legal” but I’m pretty pleased so far
“Wow.. how much did all this cost you?” “So far? About £5”

So there we go, another unit added to the Hazzard 1977th – for free! Stay safe and sane, see you soon

Terrain Talk Pt. 19 – Epic Imperial Communications Bunker

Sometimes, you just want that quick little win. And so it was the other day, as I finished the washing up and was about to toss an innocuous looking soft cheese container into the recycling, when I caught sight of it from a certain angle and something about it caught my eye..

Hmmm..

Cue a rummage around the Drawer Of Interestingly Shaped Crap (we’ve all got one) – and an old internet/ phone line junction box, a bottle cap and the lid from a nasal spray and things are starting to take shape:

Definitely something there….
Added superglue tops and made an archway with cardboard – after all, personnel have to be able to get in and out, even in the Imperium!
View from the other side
Out to the shed we go.. Primed black, then dusted white.. I’m not sure about the merits of zenithal highlighting, but as the black spray can ran out events forced my hand…
Overbrush with Wilko’s Duck Egg Blue house paint from our long serving tester pot
Splodge on some thinned red craft paint (thanks to Lukes APS for the paint scheme – veterans of the blog will recognise this scheme many times over)
Drybrush/overbrush with Granite Dust (another Wilko’s tester pot)
Highlight up with Cloud Burst house paint drybrushed strategically, and then a thin black wash to tie it all together

Next up I blocked in base colours – Vallejo Russian Green and Mithril Silver for the metallic bits and gave the whole thing a thin black wash. I mixed in a little tan craft paint to create something lighter and did a little edge highlighting (sorry Dan) on the exposed edges, and for the psychic Astronomicon relay tower I used the same trick from the plasma reactors (itself lifted from one of Duncan’s old Warhammer TV painting guides), so I won’t retread that here – particularly since I don’t think I made that great a job of it, just couldn’t get it accurate enough so the effect is a bit smeary.

The great thing about the base box is that it comes with its own base! So I painted the lip brown, painted it with PVA and sprinkled first earth, then sand, then flock over it. Matt varnish sealed the whole thing and boom, we’re good to go! Beauty shots below:

Roman numeral for “44” in honour of the TRUE F1 world champion.. he shall return and wreak vengeance!!
Weathering wash applied using a thinned down Vallejo skinwash – I tried to find places where rain might gather and streak
One of Whittlesey’s decals – I was hoping to get a second one on the other side but failed in applying it and manged to tear it…

So there we go, first build of 2022! On an unrelated note, we’re both big fans of Mel The Terrain Tutor, and he’s been worryingly quiet of late, particularly taking note of health issues he’s been suffering from – we wish him well wherever he is, and if you happen to be reading this Mel, drop us a line to let us know you’re Ok.

Meantime, stay safe, sane and thrifty everyone, we’ll see you again soon!

That Was Another Year That Was – The Great 2021 Hobby Retrospective

Well, we survived a second year of The Great Plague. As the hangovers and queues for booster shots and lateral flow tests subside for another year, let’s take a little look at what we’ve done hobbywise…

Here in the UK, we kicked off the year with a third and (so far) final lockdown – and when the weather is freezing and dark and Nurgle’s apostles are rampant across the world, it’s always tempting to hunker down with some nostalgic reminders of a happier time. Which is exactly what we did – my pet project, while Dan rolled on with his, was the creation of a DIY Space Fleet set, the short lived 1991 precursor to Battlefleet Gothic. And seeing as this project involved squares, it was perfectly suited to lockdown remote gaming.

Speaking of my compatriot, Dan’s 1991 Blood Angels and the “quick fix” (where have we heard that before..) 20mm fantasy Orc horde have been trundling along merrily this year even if they haven’t quite met with completion – and when summer rolled around, bringing with it Freedom Day and crushing disappointment as we nearly nearly nearly won the Euros, we put on our BIGGEST GAME EVER, in which said greenskins would play a pivotal role… And Dan has sworn faithfully that he will undertake no new projects until these are done, meaning he’s got some serious papercrafting to do -I might help out a bit there, as he’s got 3 Rhinos, a Thudd Gun, a Land Raider and a Land Speeder to make and I vividly remember 2017’s Leman Russ build taking quite the toll on his sanity.

For myself, I managed to get my Accidental Tyranids (Hive Fleet Imprudens) finished, and now Dan’s got his 1991 style Terminators completed I can see some Space Hulk on the horizon (perhaps with this kind of scenery…), particularly if the Omicron variant dooms us all to another lockdown.. I also knocked up a test figure converted from Valiant Miniature’s oversized 1/72 WW2 infantry, with the intent of knocking together a Levy force for Firefight and using the rest as Brood Brothers to augment my Hive Fleet Imprudens ‘Nids. To date I have produced precisely 1 figure, but that said I have been busy writing rules… not going to raise anyone’s expectations too much on that topic as these things take SO LONG to come to fruition in reality.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our addiction to granny grating. Dan got the ball rolling in 2020 building his Imperial Guard army for Epic, and that rolled out in 2021 into mini Kings Of War and teeny weeny Star Wars forces that saw action toward the end of the year using the classic early 90s ruleset “Hellfire”.. and the air was thick with “I AM YOUR FATHER” “THAT’S NOT TRUE, THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE” squeaked out in Chipmunk voices.

We’re SO cool.

Honourable mention goes to Dan’s terrain cloth, built using the techniques shown on Mel The Terrain Tutor’s video (and wherever you are Mel, we wish you well and hope to see you again soon- stay safe brother) – and seeing as we’ve got loads of the dust sheet left, we’re planning a desert cloth, a snow cloth, and also a proper retro single colour flock as shown in the early 90’s White Dwarf battle reports, so stay tuned on that. Oh, and of course our brief fixation with zombiesTHAT was quite the game!

For our blog, this was another good year statistically – 18,221 views up from 18,065 in 2020, although visitors were down to 7343 from 8265 in 2020.. Likes were way up though, 245 from 171, and comments 186 from 150, all time bests on both fronts. Comments are a bit of an iffy metric to judge on, as WordPress counts all the comments we make too, but the “likes” are encouraging – definitely a sign that although we may be getting less “passing trade”, we have a solid base of folks that know what we do and enjoy/ have forgiven us for it.

So, for 2022? As stated, Dan has vowed not to embark on any more projects until he’s finished his Marines and Orcs, and I know he has some more units planned for the DIY Guard. My goals are writing, testing and God forbid actually self-publishing some rules.. also my aforementioned Levy platoon and Brood Brothers… also, I quite fancy rounding out my 2nd Ed 40k Orks into a legit army.. but granny grating has called to me with it’s siren song and whispered to me of…. well, let me leave this here:

So, how about y’alls out there in the blogosphere? What are your goals for 2022?

Stay safe, sane and thrifty out there, may your booster jabs be side effect free and may you forever test negative….